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Big Picture Updates

December 18th, 2023 at 12:37 am

**Retirement balance is back up to $500K+, or where it was 2 years prior.   

New retirement goal is still on pause.  Should probably circle back now that we have college sorted out.  Still feeling somewhat "meh" about it re: too many future unknowns.

**I noticed last week that our net worth was up $60K for the year.  This was before stock market spike this week.  (Now up $70K).  ~$50K is my general goal and I am happy with where we are at, but very much at the whim of the stock market.  Will see how it all lands on 12/31.

Edited to add:  I just noticed that our net worth today is at the same place it was end of 2021.  

**We paid a large chunk to the mortgage down end of 2022 and I knew we were cutting it a little close on cash.  After that, it was a crazy expensive year!  Had a lot of home repairs and car repairs, in addition to funding MH's movie, etc.

I just calculated and I kid you not I have exactly a 6 month emergency fund left at 12/31.  What???  How the heck did that happen?  I am estimating MH's income for the month (will all go to savings), but looks like we will squeak by.

I was wise to give up on investing MH's income.  I think I invested $0 of his income in 2024, after setting a goal to invest everything above $1K per month?  

We actually have a little bit of cash buffer.  DL's college owes me $2,000.  So technically we have $2K cash in addition to emergency reserves. 

**I did ask for a bigger raise and received a bigger raise.  Was going to be a 3% COLA raise year.   After bumping my pay up 20% from prior job, I would not expect anything more in the future.  (Topped out very early on at prior job and came in 'at the top' to this job.)  But...  Had a crazy health insurance increase year.  A 12% increase this year.  Have certainly had many years of worse % increases, but our health insurance is so high the dollar amount is insane.  In the "it never hurts to ask" vein, I got 6% just for asking.  (I most definitely played up the '2 in college' thing also, when I asked.)

I probably won't work out 2024 goals until January.  A big chunk of the raise will be going to taxes.  Taxes and health insurance.  So I need to dial in taxes before I work on the budget.   I have in mind what I am hoping to work out, after taxes.  Hopefully I can add $100/month to short term savings.  I will have to decrease investments (re: losing temp ortho tax break).  

I am hitting a crazy tax cliff and it could all go to taxes.  I might err on putting my bonus to 401K next year.  Things to figure out...

If I do lower investment goal (from my salary) then I may commit some of MH's income to taxable investments.  But I might wait and see how the movie stuff sorts out first.  Expecting it to be a big travel year re: movie production and film festivals. At least the weeks he is planning to go to Ohio, that will be early in the year.  We can see how we are feeling re: cash after that and what else pops up.  & of course, we can always pull money from investments if I over-invest.  But my preference is to view investments as "untouchable."  In addition to it just being silly to invest money that we need in 2024.  But if I can't hit X dollars with my salary (because of taxes) then I will commit some portion of MH's income to investments.  Probably even just $100/month would make me happy.  

**DL(18) had his last final on Thursday.  We are both in disbelief that he's aready done with his first college semester.  It was over in a blink.   I expected a more rough adjustment for DL, but it's all gone as well as could be.  & he's more of the personality of my relatives who didn't attend college, so I don't have any expectations.  As of right now, I think he might actually do this college thing?  I just wasn't so sure before, but he seems very happy.  He'd also admit this semester was over in a blink so he can probably suck it up for 4 years.

**MM(20) is off working 24/7 on the Rose parade float in LA.  He refused to fly down for Christmas and wants to spend days on the road.  🙄  That gives him one day? to be home?  I think he's aiming to be home for 2 days.  Then he's going off camping (after New Years) and won't come home again during the winter break.  Or more of what I expected during these college years.  One nice thing about not having campus housing is he can go back on his own time, and is probably a lot of why he doesn't have to come home.  

I don't know how the girlfriend is doing.  Will hear more during Christmas break.  Talked to MM last weekend and she seemed to be doing better.  Clearly he isn't that concerned. 

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