a year of grace: our 2020 goals

We’re big on reflecting and setting goals around here. As usual, it took the entire month of January for me to think through what happened in 2019 and consider what we want our life to look like in 2020.

2019: another year of big changes and many successes

The changes:

  • I quit my job on May 31. It was a huge change that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking through. My hope was to have at least a year to figure out what would come next for me, but that didn’t happen because…
  • We adopted a baby boy in August. He spent the first 152 days of his life in the NICU due to being born 13 weeks premature. Either Justin or I had eyes on him every day. Since Justin still jobs, the bulk of figuring out NICU life fell to me. Let’s just say that my first fall semester “off” was anything but that.
  • We moved to our new house in the fall. We’re super happy to be homeowners again and to have a space to call our own.

The successes:

  • As in 2018, we maxed out Justin’s 401k and our HSA. Through a combination of contributions to my 403b and 457, we were able to defer the full $19,500 for me even though I only worked half of the year.
  • Our net worth went up by 35% in 2019. Even with us paying for the rest of the downpayment and adoption, we managed to end up in a much better place than we started.
  • We were matched and placed with a baby boy. While the adoption won’t be finalized until next summer, we’re his parents. We couldn’t be more thrilled.
  • We managed to do a bit of traveling this year. Justin went to Lansing a few times for work. He also went on a camping trip with some friends. He had a work conference in Bermuda that I tagged along for. After we got back from Bermuda, I spent a week in Michigan visiting friends and family. We got matched with the baby three days before we were supposed to go to South Africa, so that trip got canceled.
  • With the new baby, both of our moms came to visit quite a bit this past year. Having them here helped A LOT.

the 2020 goals

For 2020, our word of the year will be grace. We’ve completely remade how our day-to-day life works in the last six months and there have been some definite growing pains with that as I’ve had to learn how be okay with not jobbing, become a stay-at-home mom, and we’ve both become parents. We have no idea what we’re doing. Every time we screw up, we remind ourselves and each other to have a little grace and laugh a bit.

financial goals

Our financial goals are pretty simple this year. A lot of our goals (like the 401k) are on auto-pilot. We set the amount and let things take care of themselves.

  • max out Justin’s 401k;
  • max out our HSA;
  • save $6k to our emergency fund;
  • save $15k to our brokerage account;
  • payoff the Subaru; and
  • pay mortgage down to 88% loan-to-value.

You may have noticed that I don’t have a plan to save towards a retirement account for me. There are two reasons for that: (1) While jobbing we managed to defer almost all of my income into my retirement accounts. Based on the math, these account will grow to be more than enough by the time I can easily access them at 59.5 years old. (2) We’re much more interested about saving into our taxable accounts this year as we start funding the gap between when we plan on retiring and 59.5 years.

employment and time

Justin plans to continue working for his insurance company. He likes the work and he likes being challenged as his role continues to grow. As we settle into a routine, he may decide to take a course or two at the community college this fall.

I’m still figuring out this whole mom thing. In the first couple of months home, our son had two to three appointments with various medical professionals every week. When you add up traveling to/from the appointments and actually meeting with the doctors, we’re looking at 15-20 hours per week on this alone. Not to mention typical baby care like feeding him, changing him, bathing him, etc. What I’m getting at is there hasn’t been much time for me to exist outside of being a mom. Thankfully, he sleeps like a champ through the night and I’m able to do other stuff (like write on our blog) for a bit every night.

My hope is to continue selling yarn at my Etsy shop, posting new content on the blog at least once a week, and working on enjoying this new chapter of life.

health and fitness

Ever since we got placed with our son, our collective fitness goals have been on the back burner. Until we were placed, I had managed to get 8,000 steps per day and went to yoga three times per week. My 2020 goal is to get back to where I was with regard to fitness. I feel like a much better person and mom when I’m calm and centered.

Related to health and fitness are our eating goals. Last year we were able to reduce our spending by 15%! This year, we’re hoping to spend 10% less than what we did in 2019. Part of how we’re reaching that goal is by eating less meat and being more mindful about eating out (and ordering in).

Justin is planning to find a fitness activity that sparks joy for him. While he’s happy to do yoga with me, our newest edition to the family makes that a little tough, and he doesn’t like yoga enough to do it on his own. More to come on this front!

travel and fun

With the new baby, our travel plans are a bit light this year. Part of it stems from him being on oxygen and the difficulties to travel that presents. The other part is that we’re not ready to expose him to other people’s germs. We do plan on sharing the world with him when he’s a bit bigger and healthier.

Justin will go to Michigan for work about three times this year. Otherwise, he’ll be at home. I don’t have any plans to travel at this point. On the upside, we’ll continue accruing travel reward points with our credit card and will be able to pay for a few trips that way when the time comes.

We are planning on lots of fun this year. With the little guy home, we’re planning on doing all of the holidays in a big way to start our family traditions. We’re also planning to have celebrations for baby boy’s first birthday and when the adoption is finalized.

What are your 2020 goals? How are you planning on achieving them?


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