2017 is in the books. 2017 was a year to remember. It was full of surprises. You never know what is around the corner. At the start of 2017, creating a blog was not on my list of things to do. The Financial Journeyman blog is now almost 9 months old. That is just the result of being present and taking advantage of what life has to offer. I have even greater expectations for 2018. Below are some of the major highlights from the past 12 months:
2017 started off on a high note. My boss called me the first week of January and told me that I was getting a promotion. With the promotion came an 11% raise and a $1,000 bonus for a project that I completed in the fall of 2016. I was excited and did not know that this promotion was coming.
The only major change the occurred was that I now had one employee to manage. I did not see it as a challenge. My new employee Jill is a super smart and motivated Millennial who has overcome some major hurdles in her life.
Over the past 12-months, it has been a pleasure to help my assistant develop. Jill is on the right path. She is contributing to her 403B account, just completed a Graduate Leadership Training course at Binghamton University, and is consistently asking me to be a part of projects that I am working on. It is my goal to help her transition into a management role in the future.
Meeting the Bogleheads
In February, I attended my first local chapter meeting of the Bogleheads in Philadelphia, Pa. I have read the Boglehead’s two books and browsed the forum for many years. To break-up the boredom of winter, I decided to attend a local chapter meeting.
It was great to meet and spend time with this group of people who are working to reach financial independence by following the teachings of Jack Bogle. If you are interested in passive investing and using low-cost index funds, I suggest you visit Bogleheads.org and check out a local chapter meeting. I am looking forward to attending the February meeting in Philadelphia.
The Financial Journeyman
On April 8th, The Financial Journeyman was created. It has been quite an experience. As a result of creating this blog, I have been able to interact with so many great people. I am meeting new people every week. The purpose of this blog was to share my journey toward financial independence with the world and to try to help others who are on a similar journey. This blog has become so much more than I expected. I look forward to what the new year has in store for this blog.
Reaching $1,000,000 Net Worth
I was not sure if I was going to share this milestone. After much thought, I have decided to share it because my blog is anonymous. The purpose of sharing this milestone was to inspire others what is possible if you live below your means, limit debt, save as much as you can, and invest your money wisely. It felt great to reach a $1,000,000 net worth at age 40. I am grateful to have this financial foundation as my wife and I continue to work on our ultimate goal of early retirement.
10th Wedding Anniversary
In August, my wife and I celebrated 10 years of marriage. It is crazy that 10 years went by so fast. It has been a productive decade. It has been the best decade of my life. I feel blessed to have Lori as my wife. She is my best friend. There will always be ups and downs in life. While I have experienced more ups, it is great to share all of it with my wife. I truly believe the best is yet to come.
London & Paris
To celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, we traveled to Europe for a week-long vacation. It was our first trip to Europe. We had an amazing time visiting both London and Paris. We got lucky with the most favorable exchange rates between the Dollar to Pound in recent history. If you like to explore new cities and enjoy history, take a trip to London. You will not regret it. Just be prepared to spend some money because it is expensive.
I have been a fan of J. Money for a few years. When I created my blog, I had the goal of writing a post that would be good enough to be featured on Rockstarfinance.com. It took me about 10 weeks to write and edit How the Mob Influenced My Asset Allocation. It felt great to see my post shared there. I now feel like a legitimate personal finance blogger. I am proud of the “As Featured on Rock Star Finance” tag on my blog.
If that was not exciting enough, I had a second post Keep Your Hands Off My 401K featured as well. My audience has grown tremendously as a result of the exposure that I received from Rockstar Finance. The personal finance bloggers who hang out on the Rockstar Finance Forum are a great group of people who work to help everybody in the personal finance space succeed.
ESIMoney.com is one of my favorite personal finance blogs. Some people build wealth by way of entrepreneurship and others do it by working for someone else. ESI Money is focused on building wealth by climbing the corporate ladder. That has been the approach that I have followed up to this point in my career. Along with providing comprehensive investment advice, ESI Money has a cool motivational series that features interviews with millionaires. I was featured as M25 in this series. The interview received a great response. In case you have not heard, John from ESI Money now owns Rockstar Finance.
New York Personal Finance Meet Up
I was not able to attend FinCon 2017. I did, however, attend the next best event for personal finance bloggers. That event was the New York Personal Finance meet Up. The New York Personal Finance Meet Up was an informal meeting of more than 20 personal finance bloggers and internet entrepreneurs. It was great to meet and chat with some of the financial independence bloggers who I often read. It was also an opportunity to meet new people who are working, saving, and investing with the goal of reaching financial independence.
The last highlight of the year was to be interviewed on Keep Thrifty. Keepthrifty.com was one of the first personal finance blogs that I started to read after I created The Financial Journeyman. Chris and Jaime write excellent content about paying down debt, saving, taking a mini-retirement, and raising a family. It was a pleasure to work with Jaime to write and edit this interview. She did a good job of getting me to share more about myself than I have in any previous post. Please check out the interview if you would like to learn more about the beginning of my journey to financial independence.
2017 was a great year. There were many pleasant surprises. While I had high hopes for a productive year, I did not expect it to be as good as it ended up. Moving forward, I am simply planning on continuing to do what has worked in the past and keep my eyes open for new opportunities. My goals for the upcoming year are:
- Continue to save at least 50% of our total gross income
- Become proficient in Travel Hacking (Travel to Ireland for free)
- Publish 5 blog posts per month
- Continue to grow blog traffic
- Attend FinCon 2018
Please keep an eye out for the fourth quarter blog performance metrics from The Financial Journeyman in early January 2018.