Happy New Year!
I waved a hearty good-bye to 2018. The news cycle has been a bit anxiety inducing and kids have kept us busy.
This last quarter we wrapped up cross-country and fall soccer. We still have futsal, piano, tae kwon do, and math club keeping us busy this winter.
With any luck, 2019 will be a bit better. Our daughter will get her braces off in a couple weeks, my son is looking forward to joining robotics club at school, and we are deciding on vacation options for the year.
If you’d like to see where we last left off, check out the September wrap-up.
My primary health goal for this year was to lose a bit of weight or at least a couple inches.
How did that go?
For a while, it was going pretty well. But right now, my measurements are where they were at the beginning of the year and my weight is up 3 pounds.
And no, it isn’t muscle weight.
On a positive note, I am working out more often than I was the previous year. What does need to happen is working out with greater consistency and make the workouts more challenging. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to work more on my diet.
Last year I gave up on pushing more vegan and vegetarian dinners due to the high number of complaints from the kids and, eventually, from the husband.
Since I’m not willing to cook two different dinners, old standbys came back into the dinner rotation. I am still watching for vegan (or mostly dairy-free vegetarian) dinner options the whole family will enjoy so we can cut back on meat consumption.
Each year we look over our investments and rebalance as needed. We did this in Q1 and set a target of
- Bonds: 25%
- REIT: 8%
- Stocks: 67% broken down as
- Total Stock Market: 37% (primarily US large-cap stocks)
- Small cap: 10%
- International: 15%
- Emerging markets: 5%
It’s time to look at our portfolio again and rebalance. There is some discussion as to whether we want to lower our bond exposure to closer to 20-22%. Once we decide that, we’ll rebalance again for the year.
Set up more savings subaccounts
I had set up some savings subaccounts for various goals and that worked out quite well. Each month, we have money transferred in to subaccounts for property taxes, a “new furnace” fund, a “newer car” fund, and other savings.
The new subaccounts (a.k.a. sinking funds) were established and we’ll continue to add more as needed.
Organize and declutter the house
Have you ever just wanted to trash everything and start over?
Ok, it’s not quite that bad, but decluttering around here was a huge fail. Yes, we did manage to get rid of a fair amount of stuff, but we still have too much junk lingering about the house.
The battle continues. On the plus side, the bathrooms and two of three bedrooms are fairly well decluttered. One of the teen bedrooms needs some work, but while it has lots of stuff, at least it stays tidy.
I expected the market to go down this year and so it did, though later than I thought it would. Even though the downturn wasn’t wholly unexpected, it is frustrating nonetheless. Especially when I bought a couple investments the week before a huge dip. I keep telling myself it’s a long-term investment. And honestly, I didn’t buy much and it was in a fun/experimental account. So there’s that.
How did our primary investment accounts do? Well, Q4 was rough and the year overall ended on a low note.
With changes to the 401(k) plan in Q1 and setting up Personal Capital, I’m only showing the year from March 2 forward. Prior to then, the 401(k) wasn’t hooked up to the account thanks to a change in plan providers and blackout period. I also don’t include the kids’ 529 accounts in the totals as we consider it their money.
So, with all that said, how did we do in 2018?
In our IRA accounts, our dividends increased to over $16k, which is nice. These are all automatically reinvested, but in retirement will likely become income. It’s hard to tell what the exact dividends are in the 401(k) account given the information provided, so we’ll just leave it as unknown, but it’s something.
Our home value ticked up a bit in Q1 according to Zillow and then went down 8% over the course of the rest of the year. This IS reflected in the net worth graphs below. While we don’t hold too much stock in the estimates, the trend is indicative of the local market. This year our neighbor moved out and ended up selling their house 15% below the original asking price. Last year they would have probably sold over asking.
How about net worth? Well, Q4 was harsh with both the house value and stock market taking a turn for the worse.
Overall, we ended the year with a lower net worth than what we started with and a 4.5% loss overall since March. Bummer.
Needless to say(?), our investments fared the same. Here are the charts for Q4 and for the year:
Our allocations softened the blow a little this last quarter and the year overall.
Earlier in the year I had set a goal to do more pleasure reading as I had gotten out of the habit after high school. Before then, I was a bookworm. The goal was to read at least 2 books a month (for pleasure).
This past quarter, I managed to read a few more books:
- Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter
- Lethal White by Robert Galbraith (pen name for J.K. Rowling)
- Coco Pinchard set (5 books) by Robert Bryndza
- Grounded by Robert J. Crane
- Kingdom of the Blind by Louise Penny
- Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison
- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
For the year, I read a grand total of 50 books. This is the one goal I not only nailed, but exceeded. It’s more books read than previous years (some of which I could count on one hand the number of books read) and definitely got me back into the habit of reading for pleasure.
2018 Wrap Up
Overall, 2018 wasn’t great on many levels. Our net worth dropped a bit and the weight didn’t (or at least for long). I did, however, get back into the habit of reading for pleasure and exercising a little bit more.
How was 2018 for you? Did you accomplish some/all of your goals? I’m ready for 2019!
P.S. Doing periodic updates for you all has been interesting, but it won’t continue this next year other than the occasional note in emails.
It’s easy to keep track of your investments and net worth with a free account at Personal Capital.