Wow, it’s already 3 days into 2014. I’ve continued my OCD spreadsheeting of my investments, liquid savings and total networth that began in 2007 (yes, each year has it’s own sheet in one document, where at least once a month I record the exact amount of each account and stock/ETF/fund I own. And I’ve been doing this for 5 full years now.)
The past year has been successful in terms of hitting my networth goals. I closed out the year at $253k, not counting some additional funds that I should be receiving back in 2014 (though that may be balanced out with taxes owed, we’ll see.) Having a stable job for the year that has paid me more than any year prior (with bonus I earned something like $120k for the year) has helped in achieving my goals, as has staying in my shared apartment with $650 rent vs giving in to the temptation to move in with my boyfriend and pay at least $950 per person for a reasonable 1br space.
I’m also focused on kicking off my 2014 investments by maxing out my 401k right away. I am slightly concerned about the stability of my job and thus am focusing on taking advantage of having a 401k now and putting in the full $17500 if possible, in case I do not have access to one later in the year. I read recently that putting in a larger amount up front is a bad idea — but that’s only if your employer matches a percent of each month’s investment — and I’ve never met (or had) an employer who actually matches on the 401k contributions.
So the reason I have so much cash sitting in my bank account (see below) is not because I’ve suddenly decided on having an emergency fund (I don’t see the point as a single person without kids, as long as I can sell my stocks relatively quickly and they are in taxable accounts), but because I’m investing 90% of my pre-tax salary into my 401k starting my first paycheck of 2014. Assuming all goes as planned, by April 1 I should have my 401k maxed out for the year.
This also forces me to live frugally for at least January to March, given that I have to survive mostly on the cash in my bank account and not extra income. I started to do this last year but ended up spreading out my 401k investments as I was confident I was going to keep my job all year. Given I’m a little concerned my role will be made redundant, I’m going all in. Plus, the pre-tax investment boost helps push me towards my $300k-$325k networth target for this year. The only thing negative about doing this is if the stock market dives later in the year I haven’t dollar cost averaged, but I’ll end up investing more in taxable accounts later anyway (plus my IRA) so it’s not that big of a deal (says the person who doesn’t understand investment math well enough to advise anyone else to do this… I take my own non-calculated risks.)