This morning I have been thinking about “next year”, not in the Cleveland Browns sense where “there is always next year”, but that I am eagerly awaiting what is to come next year. If you have read my articles, there are probably a few reasons that you can come up with as it relates to next year, but I was hoping to write about them and the impacts that it will have on my life , beginning January 2017.
Over the last few months I have begun talking about how I really cannot wait for the next year to start, I know my girlfriend can attest to it and is more than likely tired of hearing it, but it is true. There are so many great things to come in the upcoming year, and that is not to belittle the year of 2016 (heck, our Cavs won an NBA title and the Indians are going to the World Series!), but something about 2017 seems “fresh”. I’ll list out the overarching ideas and thoughts that have come through my mind when I begin to think and discuss the upcoming year and what will be different, what it will bring and what I’m ultimately looking forward to.
Why 2017 will be another great year
My Tax Strategies: Ah, the big one! My tax strategies can be smoothed over in 12 months, as opposed to a shortened 4. As you may recall, this year I was trying to maximize my 401(k) of $18,000 in a few short months and the $2,850 (2016 max less $500 employer contribution) in the same time frame. That, after excluding what I did for the 401(k) through the first 8 months with no HSA contributions, has been $3,436 per month of contributions to these vehicles (pre-tax of course), which definitely limited other areas of my life (as it is just a pure number adjustment). However, creativity helped me bridge the gap, such as side hustles, swagbucks rewards, credit card rewards redemption, you name it – that all helped cushion the amount that was going out of the pocket into these pre-tax vehicles. However, now I have the chance to do this over 12 months instead. For pure math purposes, instead of $3,436 per month, this now breaks down to $1,500 for the 401(k) and $325 for the HSA (maximum 2017 is $3,400 less $500 employer contribution) per month. The new total per month is $1,825, which is a whopping $1,611 less! Now that will be able to keep the engine moving, but also providing more liquidity to buy individual stocks, other investment vehicles, other events that come up, etc.. This will greatly reduce some of the stress and intense monitoring that I do on my budget (well, I’ll still be like white on rice as it relates to my budget!).
Career: With busy season coming up in about 2 or so short months, I just may be sitting on the saddle for my 6th run. Damn. My hair definitely isn’t staying black, the greys/whites are coming in like crazy. With 2017, though, on the horizon, post-busy season if I go through it, will allow me to really sink my teeth into what is next. Is this what I want? I love my clients, don’t get me wrong, but I have to find out if I like the direction of the company I am with and the overall group that I work with. Some are phenomenal people, and would consider them some of my closest, if not, best of friends (Bert – big shout out to you here), but others – get praised for being a person I don’t agree or want to associate myself with, and I see more and more of this occurring. I thought at the level (manager) that I am at, that I would be able to make changes to the overall feel, but I have tried and failed. Not saying I am giving up, because I am here, but I have failed, thus far. Trust me, it is difficult to swallow when you know in your heart and others, that some people are just being very incorrect in how they are carrying themselves and that you’ve tried to change it, but that it is not always easy. So 2017, will be a year of finding and discovery of, well, me.
Big Events: There are big events in 2017 coming up already. I recently found out one of my siblings is going to be a father, which makes me a soon to be Uncle! So I want to take time to make sure I’m there for a long period of time, so that I can be there for whatever is needed. Definitely shocking news that we received a few weeks ago, but am very hopefully and excited that the baby will be healthy. Pending all of the other items listed above, my girlfriend should be finished with the CPA exam, which opens up even more free-time, as well as her sister finishing up school officially. It should be nice to see these big pieces moving and in the right direction. Also – it will be tax filing time come March/April for me, and given the tax strategies I deployed above, this should be a fun form to submit. I am very curious and excited to see what my 1040 ends up concluding at and to see if my projections were fairly accurate on the tax savings side of things. Additionally, I may even be on the hunt to potentially live somewhere else, as I am in a spot that no close family member or friend lives (within a 25 minute radius), so that is something to consider in 2017. Additionally, I am officially in ZERO weddings next year! I find this funny, but honestly it should also open up quite a few weekends, as well as should keep my suit closet at status quo. Too funny, and Bert – i loved your bachelor weekend and your wedding, so don’t think that’s what I mean, those were two of the greatest weekends and moments, period.
Challenges: As 2016 Goals and challenges are coming to a close, this brings new items to take on. During the month of November is typically when I have quiet time and illustrate out the challenges for the upcoming year. I’d like to somehow do a two to three day deep thinking, hiatus of a sort, to really find out what would be fun, challenging and rewarding for 2017. I don’t want to have more than 5 goals, I’d love to keep this a focused year. This is easily a reason why I can’t wait for 2017, just new experiences that await ahead, overall.
Closer to Freedom: This wouldn’t be an article unless I brought in financial freedom into it. It’s funny how when the calendar churns another year older, we feel like we are closer to something, almost something innate in our souls tells us that it’s a new chapter. The year 2017 will signify yet another step closer to financial freedom. I’ll be turning 29, the last of my twenties, and I believe I’ll have a few years left on the intense path I’ve been on. So very lucky, that as of this writing when including dividends, almost $35,000 has purchased assets that produce income. What 2017 means is that all of those assets that are producing income, have the ability to buy more assets in a faster, snowball-like fashion. 2017 will be another year to see if all of this hard work, saving, investing, pursuit to freedom is paying off.
Overall, I am excited, scared, anxious and curious on the year 2017. So many things can happen that are least expected, such as my little brother’s news above, and all of the unknown elements are welcomed. That’s what life is sometimes all about, right? However, I also want to take more control over the time that is being committed to other/various aspects of life, to lean the pendulum more towards what brings more happiness. I am starting to find out that if you have more happiness in life, that it ends up being more contagious to others and in the other areas of your life. Needless to say, the year of 2016 has been a roller coaster ride on the time spent on things not adding to the happiness-side on the pendulum swing. I’ll start the process on all of these items now, but 2017, just has that feeling, of the next chapter in life and my hand is already on the page to turn.