2022 in review and looking forward to 2023

For the first time since we started this blog in 2017, we finished a calendar year with a lower Net Worth than we started. Ouch.

But these types of years are expected. They are part and parcel of normal economic and market cycles. The years of 2017 to 2021 gave us uninterrupted, and unprecedented, gains. Some pullback is only good.

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 6 full years, we are close to $1.3m. That’s lower than what we ended 2021 but still incredible!

We made the following contributions to our investment accounts:

  • 401(k) – $19,664 (only for W) more than the $15k from 2021
  • IRAs – $12k (combined for both) – made goal
  • Brokerage – $14,400 – handily cleared the 2021 contribution of $8.6k
  • 529 – $2,000 – less than the $2.7k from 2021
  • HSA – $6,300 – lower than the max of 7,300 but $100 higher than 2021
  • Bonds – $8,000 – I-Bonds
  • Crypto – $350 – an ongoing, but possibly failed, experiment. It’s ok though, this is earmarked for failure 😀

In all, we contributed $62,714 to our investments in 2022.

The one big-ish trip we took in 2022 was to a National Park. We flew in and then rented a car to drive around for 4 days. We made a few road trips to visit family over weekends and holidays. A slow year in terms of travel for us. We are hoping to take at least one big – possibly international – trip in 2023 and a slew of road trips.

Again, setting no goals for 2023 but will possibly try to hit 2022 numbers. And more trips.

December 2022

December, thankfully, brought close to a dismal year. Our NW dropped by almost $47k last month.

The weather in our part of the world has been, to put it politely, f**king insane. Record snow, blizzard conditions, icy roads, plummeting temps has made an awful start to winter. We traveled over the holidays but though we are all safe, conditions were frightful.

The new year apparently is going much like the past one. January already have had 3 school closures due to bad weather! Hopefully this will get better.

Life has been, otherwise, good around here. We’re engaged in activities that mentally and physically keep us in shape. We’re eating well. We aren’t worried about finances. We’re watching a lot of movies.

The year end review should be out before this month ends.

Hope your holidays were special. Cheers!

November 2022

Rising stock markets, second month in a row, lifted our NW by $58k.

Life is good around the here. Late fall has been mild. There’s snow on the ground but temps have only once gone close to 0°F. That’s a win in our neck of the woods! Winter activities, mostly held in different domes around where we live, are on in full swing. Though going out on ski excursions will happen a couple of times later during the season.

Spending in November was more than the *average*.

Not very surprisingly, groceries have been on an upward trend. With inflation, this number is now closer to $600 monthly average than the earlier $500. Thanksgiving and being around extended family pushed this even higher. Expenses on activities/sports (registration, signups, gear), car (regular maintenance), and other miscellaneous stuff brought this close to $4.5k.

Hope you all are living the FIFA World Cup, which for the first time is being held in the (Northern hemisphere) winter. Till next time, when hopefully Messi and Argentina have been crowned world champions – cheers!

October 2022

Again, almost 3 weeks into the month late …..I want ideas about *punitive* actions against us if we publish the blog post over a week late. Seriously 😀

Market gain gave us an increase of almost $79k for the month. Not bad. Quite a ways to regain all time highs.

Fall festivities are drawing near and we’ve been busy with fall/winter sports and activities. Though not as extensive as spring/summer sports, these tend to take up a lot of evenings during week nights and then some in the weekends. We are lucky to be involved in stuff that are near and dear to us.

Till (by the first week of December!) next time, have a great Thanksgiving! Cheers!

September 2022

September provided us our second biggest monthly loss at close to $89k.

We’ll just leave it at there. Especially since it’s 21 days into the new month!

Outdoor fall sports have wrapped up in a blazing few weeks and weekends of activities. We’re still recovering from multiple tournaments and games and …fun. Winter sports will start up in November. We’re currently in the zone where we have all the evenings for ourselves. Doesn’t happen much around here!

Expenses for September was the average archetypal spend for us. Over the course of a full year, $3k would be the average monthly expenses.

Here’s hoping you all are having a nice and contended fall. Cheers!

August 2022

NW decreased by $36k. All good.

Our lives are going on swimmingly though. Schools have reopened. Sporting activities have necessitated us being out in the fields on most evenings. Fall is here. I’m in the camp who believes that fall starts when we kick off September. Or when the NFL starts. Either works.

Markets have tumbled further in September. We’re still contributing in our 401(k), IRAs, and taxable brokerage accounts – in boring old index funds and ETFs. Nothing has changed.

Hope you’re having a good start to fall. Cheers!

July 2022

The market rose by around 10% in July and with it our NW gained $83k. Not bad.

We finally made a dent in the cash buffer (that has been borderline crazy) that we keep. These were some ways we burnt through cash last month (besides the regular stuff):

  • $6k to I bonds
  • $1k to brokerage
  • About $2k to pay for flights, car rental, and part of a hotel stay for an upcoming vacation
  • $823 on semi-yearly premium of vehicle insurance

Here is a break down of July spending:

Most of the recurring categories are at their average.

July ended in a blaze of …sunshine and sports. Many an afternoon and evening were spent cheering, or coaching, competitive youth sports. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful clubs, facilities, parents, coaches, and players where we live. These are the days and times we live for in the often frozen American Midwest.

Hope you all have been able to enjoy summer. Remember it’s already two-thirds gone!

This is the 100th post on this blog. Here’s to a 100 more. Cheers!

June 2022

Well, June didn’t turn May’s respite into something more 🙂 Instead, our NW ended up falling by over $72k.

Few things to note:

  • Value of (all) retirement accounts fell below $900k for the first time since Mar ’21. Oof
  • Value of 529 accounts fell below $40k for the first time since Apr ’21.
  • Cash positions at $92k is still insanely high. A few reasons for that,
    • Summer months are typically low income months for M (as schools are off)
    • The *impending* recession

June has wrapped up in a spectacular burst of activities, even by our standards. Weeknights and weekends were all spent outside. We’re all sporting various levels of tan, sun burns, and sun rashes!! We were very glad to have a long and relaxing weekend of July 4th (but even that ended up with some travel to visit some family!) Activities for the spring/summer session will draw down by end of July. The next season will start back up in mid-August.

Hope you all are able to enjoy the sun. Cheers!

May 2022

Markets turned a bit positive in May with us ending up a little higher than April, where our NW plummeted by ~$100k. June, so far, is turning out to be an even bigger hole. It’s still all good 🙂

Spending for May

With the current inflation, groceries, eating out/takeout, gas, and virtually everything else cost higher. We bought a new set of all weather tires for one of our vehicles.

We’re firmly in summer now. Weather wise, activities wise. School is over. Most evenings are spent outside in sporting events. Temperatures for end of May and beginning of June were pretty mild (refreshing) but the heat is turning up. We hit our first 100° day yesterday. Bugs are out in full swing.

Here’s wishing you all have a great summer ahead of you. Cheers!