2013 Year in Review

Happy New Years’ Eve!

Well I am recovering from some writers’ block/all around laziness, induced by having been on holiday break since 12/20.  But getting back into business, here is a little recap of what has gone on this year:

Personal:

  • Around January, having already read PDITF, I started reading Mr. Money Mustache and learning about the concept of saving up your money and retiring early.  Mind = blown.
  • In March I started this blog in a fit of frugality fanaticism; I wanted to make my goals public and see who shares them.
  • May: started thinking ahead to post-debt life, ETA April 2014.  Started looking into index funds, peer-to-peer lending, and rental income for investments.
  • Through the spring and summer I got into frugal shape, streamlining my spending in many areas
  • September: paid off a $20K student loan that was $15,700 when I started working on it in April of this year
  • October: paid off another student loan, $7K, with some savings and inheritance
  • Since then: paid down my remaining loan somewhat, with current outstanding debt balance of $8,640(!!!)

National (economy, etc.)

  • May: articles start noting that student loan debt has exceeded national credit card debt; also exceeded one trillion.
  • July: Federal student loan interest rates doubled from 3.4% to 6.8%
  • July: Stock markets dip on concern of a Summers Fed confirmation
  • September: news starting to report mortgage interest rates and home prices going up
  • October: Healthcare.gov launches, initiating ACA.  Subsidized insurance is made available to some who previously could not afford health insurance, while others (including myself) experience a decrease in existing healthcare coverage which will eventually translate into higher costs… incidentally.
  • December: stocks soar with Yellen Fed confirmation; continue to float to the present despite the tapering decision

So, how do these events affect my and others’ ability to get financially strong and amass wealth in 2014 and beyond?  Well, I am in the home-stretch of epic loan-blasting.  I hope others out there with loans are taking note of all the “loan bubble” talk and shoring up their resources. The risk of increased healthcare costs due to my updated health insurance are pretty mitigated for now, but I am taking the increased potential liability of about $1000/year into account w.r.t. emergency funding.

I am keeping an eye on the stock market as I am sure many others are.  I was planning to dive headlong into rental real estate as soon as my loans are gone.  But should the market tumble from its lofty current position, I will probably change plans and divert money into it to get in on cheap stock prices.

Rising mortgage interest rates also got my attention, but that will probably not dampen my interest in rental real estate.  You have to get in some time.  The real estate market and associated interest rates are about as bottomed out as they will be in the foreseeable future.  I am not going to try to time that market, and the sooner the better is probably best here.

Well overall 2014 looks bright!  Now go secure a bottle of champagne people 🙂

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