2019 in review and looking forward to 2020

We had a phenomenal 2019. Our net worth increased by over $231k. Assets rose not only because we maxed out contributing to our respective 401(k) and in taxable brokerage but primarily due to the extraordinary run of the stock market which raised the valuation of all our investment accounts. Debt has gone down by aggressively paying down our mortgage.

Since we started tracking and documenting our financial journey from beginning of 2017, we’re amazed how far we’ve come. In January 2017, our net worth stood at $458k. In 3 full years, it has more than doubled to $943k.


Now to keep us honest on our goals from the last year-end post.

First, we’ll be maximizing our 401(k) at our respective employers. With an increase to $19k in 2019, that’s $38k tax-free shaved right at the top.

– Check. Done.

Then, we’ll be contributing to the max in in either Roth or T-IRA. With new limits of $6k this year, that’s another $12k for both of us.

– Almost check, we’ll be working on this till April 15 to get our respective t-IRAs fully contributed with $6k each.

Next, we plan to invest at least $9k in our taxable accounts for the full year. This will almost certainly bump up to $10k by the end of the year. As a comparison, for 2018 we invested $6,850 in taxable accounts.

– Not quite but pretty darn close at $8,400.

With automated pulls we’ll be putting $2.4k in our child’s 529 account for the year. I want to top it off to $3k.

– Managed a bit more than just automated pulls, but at $2,550 a bit short where I wanted to be at. But we have about $500 that is laying in a saving account and I’ll pump that in when a correction happens.

Our mortgage balance stands at $206k right now. Aim is to bring this down to $160k, mixed between regular payments and additional payments applied towards principal. This will be the stretch goal!

– We were on our way to reach this stretch goal till about September but scaled back (reasons in the next section). Current balance of $175.8k is a reduction of $26.5 is not shabby


Looking forward to 2020.

So, a big change happened in the first week of 2020. M left the full time job and became a stay-at-home-parent, with part time work. We outlined the plan in this post. This is one of the reason that we slowed down aggressively paying down the mortgage. We still pay $106 extra to principal on the monthly mortgage payment.

Since this will be the first year riding out this big change, I’m not going to set goals for 2020. We’ll report the contributions to 401(k), Roth IRAs, taxable brokerage, and 529 account at the end of the year.


Here’s hoping to an amazing 2020 everyone! Maybe your life, and journey towards FIRE, be a glorious one.

December 2019

Another solid month to wrap up the year. December 2018 was sort of a bloodbath for the markets, if you all recall. I was expecting at least a slow bleed for this time in 2019. But no, the markets just keep going forward!

Major expenses for last month was …surprisingly nothing, if you exclude the gifts purchased for the holiday season. As those are seasonal, and recurring every year, we already have them baked into our saving/spending buckets.

November 2019

Net worth reaches another high of $915k. Buzz of an impending recession is everywhere but we still plow into our tax advantaged and taxable accounts. We are also hoarding some cash. The recession will come but we don’t, and neither does anyone else, know when. And it will pass too.

There were a major expense of $2,706 this month, where we booked a vacation with a credit card and then promptly paid it off.

Things to keep in mind when looking at these numbers:

  • These numbers are snapshots in time, most likely the last day of the month
  • Since I copy/paste the numbers from the online accounts, the decimals remain but they are insignificant (obviously, duh!). Neither are the ones and tens digits of each account balance. What is important is the trend.

If you’re reading this for the first time, welcome! If you’re thinking if now is the “right time” to invest in the market ….well, everyday is the right time to invest, if you’re in it for the long haul. Remember the adage, “time in the market is more important than timing the market

October 2019

Our net worth is close to $900K! After an initial hiccup at the beginning of October, the markets have continued moving up. As you’ll notice our cash holding is at an all-time high. Major part of it is due to known expenses coming up, part of it is dry powder when the markets takes a dive. Does this sound like market timing? Well, yes, it is! But the amounts are so small to what we have out in the market invested, it does not really matter in the large scheme of things. It’s more to do with mental jujitsu, that we have some cash around when the correction comes.

Incomes 2019

This is what we are on track to make through the end of the year.

  • W’s base salary is $101,296
  • W got a bonus of $2,865
  • M’s base salary is $153,000
  • M got a bonus of $11,400

Our total yearly income is (or would be if we continued our employment till the end of the year) $268,561

This puts us in the top 3% of US household income. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect on that. We are incredibly blessed to have a number of factors working in our favor, a lot of which are just plain birth circumstances. Sure, we work hard and made conscious choices to invest in college educations but that doesn’t even tell half the story.

See 2018 Income.

September 2019

A late monthly update post! We had some planned travel from end of September so didn’t get this out in time. Let’s dive in.

Another good month in the books. We’re hoarding some cash due to a planned expense coming in the next few months. Markets have been doing well. All is good.

New phone carriers

Yes, carriers – plural.

We had been with T-Mobile for about 12 years. Our monthly bill, for a family plan of two, had averaged out to around $75/month for the past couple of years. Not bad. We were grandfathered into an old plan and didn’t quite think much about it.

But starting this year, T-Mobile dropped the corporate discount we used to get. Monthly bill jumped to $84. Just a $9 increase, still it got me thinking if other comparable options were out there with a lower cost.

After a bit of research and a lot of procrastinating, we finally pulled the trigger to switch in August.

W went with Google FI. You pay $20 for unlimited calls and texts, and $10/GB of data used. One month cost was $32. This is post paid with users only paying for the amount of data they use. Coverage is quite possibly even superior to Verizon as Google FI uses combination of any available network and wi-fi spots. Can keep old number.

M went with Mint Mobile. This is a prepaid MVNO operating on the T-Mobile network. They have “free” unlimited talk and text on all of their plans. You “only” pay for data. Paid upfront $66 for 6 month, with 8 GB of 4G LTE data every month. That works out to $11 a month. This is a promotional offer that anyone can avail. Regular priced plans start at $15/month for 12 months, for 3 GB of data every month; and other combinations of number of months and data limits – all prepaid. Coverage is same as T-Mobile. Can keep old number.

By switching we have effectively cut our phone bill in half, with same or better coverage. Boom.