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
Our Services in the Community (also available to you)
November was a very rewarding and joyful month in my household. My husband and I started the month off offering free financial and fitness coaching services. In the spirit of the holiday season, this is our way of giving and expressing our thanks to those we care about and to you, readers of our blogs (I’m linking my husband’s blog here; He recently shared quarterly update on our total net worth on his blog).
There’re two more weeks left if you’d like my husband (and/or I) to take a look at your current financial situation and provide you a roadmap helping you reach your financial goals in year 2018 and beyond. To learn more about this offer, visit an older post here. We’ve already gifted about 50 hours of time so far between the two of us.
On the topic of services, my husband and I have also attended several orientation sessions in preparation to do more volunteering related to financial education and financial literacy in the upcoming year. Some of the organizations we are networking with are Junior Achievement and Caritas (an organization to prevent and end homelessness).
Some Life Updates
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.
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:
I recently went through a pretty dark period in my life. Back in late 2016, when my husband brought up the topic of early retirement for both of us, I suddenly found myself going down the rabbit hole of fearing there’s “not enough”.
By that point, he and I have reached a consensus that we’d be in a great financial position to retire (for both of us) within the next year or two. That was our agreed terms, so I thought (I soon learned that was really the terms I put on our relationship). There was a certain financial number I (and only I) wanted us to reach. That was the number I was comfortable with. I don’t know why I was so stickle about that particular number. Maybe I like the sound of it. Maybe I like the roundness of that certain number. Maybe I like having extra built-in cushions in our finances before having both of us retired from our jobs. Whatever the reason(s) might be, I was adamant about reaching that magic and comforting number.
In the fields of economics and psychology, one living with the fears of “not enough” is said to be living with a scarcity mentality (or mindset). If you google “scarcity mentality” and read some of what’s been written, you’d quickly gather that living life with a scarcity mentality can be limiting and debilitating.
For me, I tie much of my sense of security to money. I don’t need to have a lot of money. However, when we’re talking about early retirement, I’d have liked to have reached a certain amount of money before I can feel safe. Both my husband and I had very good compensation benefits. Those benefits were a big part of my family’s safety net. In this blog, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the awesomeness of reaching financial independence and early retirement (see here and here). What I left out was my fear of giving up all the great benefits that came with W-2 employment (see here). The thought of having to let go of all that safety net seemed scary, overwhelming and wasteful. And I cringed at the thought of all that we’d lose when we leave our employment.
Naturally, feelings and thoughts of scarcity started creeping into my head and I found myself in a big mess. Consequently, the quality of my marriage and family life suffered. My mental and emotional health had also suffered.
Shedding Some Light into this New Mental State Experience
The days in August quickly passed by. My husband and I have been working on some new business adventures and we’re looking forward to sharing more details. In addition to that, my family and I will be closing on a real estate transaction later today! I haven’t write about real estate investing for a while. You can read some of the topics I wrote last year. I’ll be sharing more about our experiences and lessons learned on this particular one in future posts.
Below is a table capturing our July 2017 non-W2 incomes report.
The total number was somewhat surprising. We just had a fabulous month back in June and expected the July number to be similar to those of January or February, 2017.
What was new in July? First, my husband’s financial coaching business has been picking up. He has been enjoying every moment of those consulting sessions. Second, we received a large payment from our affiliate sponsors.
This is the 8th month we’ve been tracking our non-W2 incomes. You can view our past income reports here.
We use Personal Capital, a free financial tool, to track our net worth, view our investment performance, analyze our asset allocations and project and reevaluate our retirement goals. I wrote a comprehensive review of Personal Capital on another post. I encourage you to check it out. According to Google Analytics, that post is a readers favorites. I plan to do an update on this financial tool and share more recent images on the blog sometime in September. Look out for that, too.
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