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Annual Recap: Year 2017 Non-W2 Incomes

January 5, 2018

Happy 2018, readers. I hope you’re having a beautiful start to the new year.

This time of the year is magical for me. I enjoyed sharing extra special moments with families and friends, combined with delicious, comfort food (for weeks in a row). I also loved the holiday decors both at home and while being out and about. These moments can really be savored all year long. Sleeping until 9 a.m. has been typical for my family and I this past week as our bodies recovered from all the festivities.

Finishing the Old and Starting the New

As of yesterday, we’ve taken care most of our financial matters for year 2017, with the exception of paying property taxes and filing for tax return. We made purchases in my i401k account, rebalanced our investment portfolio, updated our financial accounts and made a projected budget for this year. So far, the two biggest, one-time expenses we’re looking at are money going toward paying for two international trips. Other than the usual recurring basic expenses, we also have several home renovation projects we want to accomplish.

December 2017 Non-W2 Incomes Report

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All I Needed was an Inspiration (and a Free Gift to You)

November 30, 2017

I Didn’t See Myself Being a Good Teacher/Coach

I’m what some people might call a Type A, perfectionist, or over-achiever. I have high standards for myself. Growing up and while in school, unlike many other Asian parents, mine didn’t pressure me to receive certain grades or go into a certain profession. I was always the one that was self-driven and put lots of pressure on myself.

Knowing that about myself, I didn’t pursue a career in teaching, despite having contemplated becoming a teacher during my freshmen year in college. Yet, somehow, being in academia attracted me (and the over-achiever in me) and I went on pursuing a doctoral degree. While finishing up my advanced degree, I was a teacher’s assistant for two semesters. I did not enjoy that experience. I lacked the patience. Being a mother has been a trying experience for me every day. I’m very thankful to have an extremely patient partner along my side.

inspiration financial coaching

Several months ago, when my husband suggested to me to consider doing financial coaching with him, specifically to work with couples, I immediately closed the conversation. It was not that I lacked interest. Everything I do and share on this blog stems from my strong desire to inspire, encourage and promote smart and savvy financial skills. I just didn’t see myself being a good coach. I lacked the confidence.

Self-doubts were casting all over my head. To give you an example:

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This is Financial Freedom: June 2017 Non-W2 Incomes Report & Bi-annual Recap

July 7, 2017

In this article, I share our financial freedom number, our 2017 bi-annual recap of non-W2 incomes and the wealth building strategies we use to grow our daily worth.

Our Financial Freedom Number

A little over a year ago, I started taking my financial learning seriously (you can read my story here). I read that financial freedom (financial independence) is reached when one has enough passive and/or residual incomes to cover all basic expenses. Certainly, “basic” is a relative word, however you’d like to define that for yourself or your household.

My husband and I have calculated that our basic monthly expenses is about $3,500. This number includes $1400 for housing (utilities included), $1,000 on groceries plus dining out/entertainment once per week; $300 on personal/household expenses, $80 on phone services, $250 on various insurances we carry, $200 on vacation, $120 on gas/car, $50 for charity, and $100 on the unaccounted items/events (e.g., gifts).

June 2017 Non-W2 Incomes Report and Bi-annual Recap

Once we summed up our June 2017 non-W2 incomes and did a bi-annual recap, the numbers in front of us confirmed that we’ve reached the financial freedom stage.

Below is a chart detailing our June report.

June 2017 non-w2 incomes report

For months, we anticipated that June was going to be an amazing month for us. To our surprise, the total amount we received way exceeded our expectations. This number is bigger than the one from our December 2016 report (typically, December is supposed to be the best month for dividends/interest payouts).

If you follow our previous 2017 non-W2 income reports up to June, our average is $3,528.23 = [($8,021.13 + $2,142.44 + $2098.93 + $5,249.31 + $1,704.66 + $1,952.92)] / 6 months

This $3,528.23 number is very close to our estimated monthly expenses. By definition, my family and I have currently reached the financial freedom stage.

Wealth Building Strategies We Use

My husband and I attribute this favorable return on our investments on the following factors:

(1) We continue to have a high savings rate;

(2) We continue to build our investment portfolio using our savings;

(3) Having a well-managed investment portfolio (we slightly adjusted our asset allocations back in September 2016 – types of equities, percentages and diversification);

(4) We continue to learn new things financially and put new knowledge into actions;

(5) We openly talk about and discuss money topics with others (once in a while we learn something new in the process); and

(6) We use Personal Capital, a free financial tool, to track our net worth, view our investment performance, analyze our asset allocations and project our retirement goals. I wrote a comprehensive review of Personal Capital on another post. I encourage you to check it out.

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Five Ways I’m Currently Growing My Family’s Daily Worth

June 18, 2017

The Then and Now

In several of the early articles of this blog (such as here, here and here), I mentioned that my husband loves numbers, analytics and investing. And he’s very good at all three. He started educating himself on personal finances, the stock markets and investing while in his mid 20s, and he continues to do so each day. Even though he’s not a day trader, he follows the markets (and major headlines) daily and analyzes our investment portfolio performance against several market indices. We use Personal Capital to track our finances and net worth. You can read my comprehensive review of this free online financial tool here.

From the start of our relationship, he’s always been the one that spends more time taking care of our equities (stocks) and fixed income (bonds) investments. This is still true even after I had my transformative moment (you can read about my story here). Despite my accelerated learning of the stock markets and investing in the past year, he’s still the more knowledgeable one.

building wealth daily worth

One thing that has been different in our relationship since that transformative moment is that nowadays I take a much more active role making investing decisions with my husband. I have a desire to learn from him (and many others) and continue to build my financial knowledge. Whereas before, I was glad to let him take care of all investments-related matters. Even when he tried to get me involved, I quickly dismissed his efforts.

Two People in a Relationship

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Behavioral Finance, Financial Planning, Girlfriend to Girlfriend Money Chat, Lifestyle, Marriage and Money, Money Habits, Money Psychology, Purchase Decisions

The Funny Thing About Money Psychology (What Would You Do?)

June 8, 2017

Wishlist and Bucket List

Do you recall when you first started having a wishlist or bucket list? I didn’t have one until I was in my mid-20s. Before then, I didn’t desire much. I was simply happy just having the essentials or necessities. I understood my financial situation as a student. My mindset at the time was that my situation was temporary and wanted to focus my attention on doing well in my studies. I looked forward to the day when I finished school, secured a satisfying career and then start living the life of my dream.

What was the first item that made it to my wishlist? It was a Marc by Marc Jacobs crossbody bag. I saw that bag on a fashion magazine that I subscribed to at the time. 

Around my 25th birthday, my husband and I visited Saks Fifth Avenue. When I saw that bag sitting on the shelf, I hesitated and started having second thoughts. The price tag was $249. It was a VERY expensive bag. My most expensive bag prior to that one costed me less than $30. My husband and I walked in circles around the store as I had a very hard time deciding if I wanted us to spend that kind of money. It was just a [beautiful] crossbody bag…After perhaps 45 minutes later, my then boyfriend was paying for the bag at the cashier register. And that was my first designer bag. From there, I went on to purchase couple Michael Kors bags.

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Deciding on the Now or Later

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