Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year!
In many ways, January has felt like a bit of a hangover from all of the excitement and changes in December. While I began to make progress in my personal life at the start of the Gregorian New Year, uncertainty, surprises, and disappointment resulted in financial decision-making paralysis in my financial life, making January feel like a false start. This year, I’ve decided to embrace the Lunar New Year as a much-needed second start to 2022.
In my original 2022 Financial Goals post, I talked about embracing the increased simplicity of my new financial picture. I had two fairly straightforward goals and asked for help deciding upon my third goal:
1) Earn the 20% match from Organization C (my new employer).
2) Save $1,000.00 as a non-emergency fund sinking fund.
3a) Allocate all additional money to student loan debt repayment. Repayment goal for 2022: Make it below $60,000.00 in student loan debt.
3b) Make $2,000.00/month student loan payments. Allocate any additional money, including bonuses and raises, to other investment opportunities and increased quality of life.
3c) Make minimum student loan payments. Allocate any additional money, including bonuses and raises, to other investment opportunities and increased quality of life.
There was also a swath of better ideas and permutations contributed by the Pennyfolk (thank you C, Eva, Ellen, Avery, Blissful, and Hope).
As I shared in a recent life update, life is rarely so simple. Thus, my revised 2022 financial goals are:
1) Earn the $2,000.00 match from Organization C. – That’s right folks, I went from thinking I had hit the jackpot 403b match to seriously questioning whether or not I should invest in my employer-sponsored plan at all. To earn the $2,000.00 employer match from Organization C, I will have to contribute $10,000.00 of my salary. This is a much more significant employee contribution, for a smaller match than I was earning at University B, however a) I am still earning $26,000.00 more at Organization C than I was at University B, b) it’s never good to leave free money on the table and, c) as C said, “You’re not getting any younger!”
Materially, the only change here is that I am earning a much smaller employer match and contributing $6,000.00 less to my 403b. Yea, all bad.
2) Save $1,000.00 as a non-emergency fund sinking fund. – No change to this goal. The deadline for this is just by the end of the year. I have actually learned to like saving and finding a few extra dollars here and there to chip away at this goal throughout the year will be fun.
3) Make it below $60,000.00 in student loan debt. – I went back and forth on this third goal for a really long time. In no small part because the Pennyfolk had a plethora of seemingly better ideas and were just really not here for this goal.
Seriously, only two folks wanted to see me continue to aggressively pay down my student loan debt. However, to be fair to the rest of the Pennyfolk, I think
some a lot of this is my fault. At the end of 2021, having gotten my student loan debate below $90,000.00, I really did start to feel immeasurably better about my financial situation and started to look a bit further down the road. However, doing this meant that I started to lose focus, and started to think about things (like buying a house) that weren’t really priorities for me. With no real financial plan in place, I have felt anxious and uncertain as to what my next step should be. I hate the feeling.
Additionally, another reason I think a lot of the Pennyfolk weren’t on board with this goal (besides the obviously lost opportunities in the current financial market and the benefits of compound interest) are also that I have done a very poor job of showing you all the ways that my life is very abundant. I realized that while I have been successful in paying off a significant amount of debt over the past few years, I have also seemed pretty miserable. And I could understand, and deeply appreciate, why other humans would support taking my foot off the gas a bit if it meant I might be a little less miserable. Honestly, my life is pretty great. I’m a bit more lonely than I would like to be (as of late…more on that later) but otherwise, my life is good and I feel very fortunate.
To achieve this goal would require a $28,879.54 net decrease over the course of the year. I think I can do it. I KNOW I can do this.
Okay…this has gotten too long. Finally…
For the month of February, I plan to post every single day. (Note: If you are a regular commenter eh hem, C, Ellen, Avery, Blissful, etc., please don’t feel like you need to comment regularly. You all have been so incredibly supportive of me during this journey, I know you all are crazy busy, and I appreciate your support whether you comment or not 🙂 ). Posting every day is really about me taking my Lunar New Year start seriously. In each of these posts, I plan to write 1) what I spent that day, 2) what I learned about finances to help me for when I am debt-free, and 3) how I lived my life abundantly.
A huge thank you to all of you that voted and commented. You are deeply appreciated…I hope you aren’t too disappointed with my choice.