Happy New Year, fellow LLNOE'ers. We hope you have a prosperous 2020 and meet the financial goals you've set for yourself.
It's hard to believe how much things have changed for us in the last year. As a recap, we inherited money from DH's father in 2018 but didn't make a decision about using it to pay off our debts until March 2019. We used some of the inheritance to clear us from BS2 and provide the balance necessary for BS3. I was able to increase my retirement contributions to meet BS4 (DH is already retired). And BS5 and BS6 were already handled. Which landed us tenderly in BS7.
We don't take it lightly that we are in BS7. In fact, we are still working on aggressively replacing the inheritance money so we can feel like we didn't "rob Peter to pay Paul." Which means Christmas wasn't much more than a craft again this year, but we were able to do more giving to others than in years past. DH and I cancelled a vacation we had planned in September (more on that later in this post); instead we used our timeshare for a week with our guys post-semester end / pre-holidays. It was nice to have a vacation that I didn't feel like we were broke! We actually over-budgeted for the trip which I think surprised us all.
The reason we cancelled our vacation in September is that I had a job change. For a variety of reasons, I left a place I had worked for nearly 3 decades to do the same work just somewhere else. A better environment, an opportunity to increase my skill set, and overall improvement in my quality of life. The new place was very generous in offsetting the benefits I was losing (my insurance, for example, was only $30/month for family plan at my former place as the rest was covered by the employer; my new job is $180. My new job offered more salary dollars to offset that difference among other things.) I have been so much happier since making the job change. (Oh, we had trip insurance on our vacation plans and even though we cancelled within penalty window, our trip insurance covered the difference so we didn't lose anything).
Other accomplishments: DSHome graduated in December! He started a full time job in July in his field. He is looking forward to having "just work" now after doing a semester of full time school and full time work. We are so proud of him. He'll still be DSHome until he moves out hopefully by summer. He's been saving his money and has enough saved up for a car and moving expenses already. So we'll help him start looking for a dependable car this month and then an apartment in the spring. (He's our son with Asperger's so everything is a step at a time.)
DSAway is one semester from graduating himself, but he's not sure what he wants to do / where he wants to live after college. He'll be participating in career fairs, etc., this month, and I'll continue "job coaching" him in terms of alerting him to possible positions of interest. His lease expires the end of July so he has until then to have his next steps figured out.
As for me, while I love my new job, I am thinking about retirement. I'm 14 months away from being eligible, so I'll have some big decisions to make with DH later this year. I do want to have the inheritance money replaced before I retire, so that's a goal and will play into the timing. I am using Lloyd's spreadsheet to project how much each month we need to replace in order for me to retire at various points in time. Dhis 8 years older than I am, so I don't want to delay too long on retirement for us to enjoy some time before we're unable to physically. Thankfully I am enjoying my work and expect that to continue, so it's not like I will "need" to leave. Just things to consider.
So all this said to say we are looking ahead to an exciting year ahead of us, finally with a feeling of financial peace!