This post was meant to be published before the year ended but the holidays happened and I never had the chance to finish the draft. I guess it worked out in the end because I get to post 2017 recap with graphs and include our 2018 goals here, too.
As I wrote here, 2017 has been a great year for us. After years of being together, we finally decided to try living in one income. The official joining of our finances (accounts) is yet to happen, but we’re not really too concerned about that at this stage. What’s important to us is that we can save half of our income and that extra assurance that we can support our current lifestyle in the event that one of us has to stop working.
Since we established and tracked our goals towards the 2nd quarter of the year, the numbers only show results over a 9-month period. In 2017, we tracked our finances from April to December.
We hit our goal of living in my net pay alone 4 times last year. We had a 4-month adjustment period before we got it right. While it seems like we balled hard during the first four months, we were still very mindful of what we spent our money on.
The expensive purchases we made during the first four months were mostly one-off expenses including 1) a smart TV in April, 2) concert tickets in June, and 3) plane tickets in July. In March, we also started paying our groceries in cash (we reverted back to credit card shortly after), while we paid off the previous month’s balance, causing our groceries costs to double during that period.
In August, we’ve adjusted more to our new setup and we started planning better for our expenses. By December, we have fully funded our travel expenses and we’ve also set money aside for my annual professional fees.
Since our main priority in 2017 was saving for a 20% house deposit, we didn’t start investing until August. We were able to double our portfolio value by December, thanks to investing consistently and the market, too.
We also earned ~$600 dividends from April to December, and ~$800 for the whole year.
And no, we haven’t found a house yet.
Our savings calculations are very rough because we didn’t track it as closely as we our expenses and investments. We saved about 41% of our net pay in 2017. With superannuation, this goes up to ~50%. (This is the annual rate. We included our individual savings before April.)
I say it’s a good savings rate, but my boyfriend isn’t happy about it. This is mostly because not all of our saved money stay in our bank accounts (or go to investments) – we also extend financial help to our families when needed. While our immediate families are doing well financially, some of our other relatives aren’t. I used to have a charity fund that covered both financial help and donations to charities, but my boyfriend made me realise that there really is no need for this. When you help, you help with what you have; you offer what you can. You can’t really put a cap on helping. Most of the financial help we extend are for education and medical assistance.
On top of this, we also include our travel fund in our savings and it didn’t help that I did a fair bit of travel this year.
During our year-end trip, we got to talk about our goals for 2018. I used to be the only one doing this for myself and it surely feels nicer to be doing this with a partner. Our goals are similar to what we had in 2017, only this time, we have definite numbers.
- Buy a house. I don’t even know if I want to put this here anymore because, really, it’s depressing to be a first home buyer in Melbourne right now. We currently have a good deposit but it feels like we constantly have to add to it to meet the 20% level.
- Live in my income. We specifically say “my income” because I have the lower pay. Using my pay as our spending limit challenges us to do better and use our money more mindfully than we would be if we know we have more to spend. We’ve made a few changes on how we pay for our expenses (a bit similar to Ms. AAB’s money map) and I think our current plan works best for us. I’ll write more about this in our first update for the year.
- Increase our portfolio value by 100%. Doubling our portfolio value in 2017 was easy because our starting figure wasn’t too high. It will definitely be more challenging this year but we think it’s doable, if (IF!) the market stays the same or goes up. If the market starts to fall, then it might be a stretch for us.
- Invest as least $24,000. This is really a fallback goal in case we can’t hit the portfolio target. This will not increase our portfolio by 100% but this is a level of additional investment that we’ll be happy with. This will include any amount we contribute to Vanguard.
We haven’t really talked about our non-financial goals yet, but health and fitness is still on top of our list. I’d also like to read at least twelve books this year (one book a month), because I’ve been a disappointing bookworm the past two years.
We’ve made a few wins in 2017 that we hope to see again in 2018. This year’s goals are very similar to last year’s but we are determined to do better this year. Last year was more like a trial period for us, while as this year feels more like the real deal. We are so ready to for 2018!
How was your 2017? Are you happy with how it treated you? What are your goals for 2018? Are they similar to last year’s or will you be challenging yourself and try something new this year?