New Year, Same Ol’ G

Reflecting on 2022

January through June

My financial journey over the past two years has been a whirlwind. I’ve learned so much about money that when speaking to potential financial advisors, their only advice was that I knew enough to manage it all myself. 2020 was a year of becoming aware of just how much I did not know about money. 2021 was a year of massive audacity, courage, determination, and action. I would research a concept with a compulsion that bordered obsession until I understood it well enough to take massive action. I did this for so many things: 529, 403b, 457, HSA, FSA, IRA, brokerage accounts, insurance, estate planning, tax optimization, side hustling, budgeting, saving, travel hacking, real estate investing, opening a small business, etc. 

2022 was a year of systematizing, automating and normalizing my new financial outlook and habits. Maxing out my tax-advantaged accounts all happened without my lifting a finger. This year, my family travel hacked our way to free trips (hotels + flights) to Costa Rica, Disneyland, and Alaska. We purchased our first rental property and learned how to manage it ourselves. It’s not nearly as scary as it seems, but it was quite a learning curve. I self-published a book while continuing my studies in school. I received a substantial amount of awards and grants to support my scholarship. It’s been a good year. Typing this all out, what seems like such a quiet time was actually pretty eventful and at times chaotic. With my husband by my side throughout it all, offering constant encouragement, support, and patience, I’ve managed to enjoy the process. I’ve learned to slow down, align my focus with my current priorities and long-term goals, and say no to myself when I have a cool business idea that would require lots of time and energy I don’t have to spare. That was the first half of 2022.

July through December

For the second half of 2022, my husband and I started seriously learning to trade options. We’d dabbled a bit in 2021, but we weren’t consistent. Sometime in the second quarter of 2022, I realized that if I were to be disciplined and diligent with my learning, I could reach financial independence ahead of my 8-year schedule. I could also learn a lifelong profitable skill that wouldn’t require me to report to a boss or have employees report to me. Eventually, I could teach this skill to my children, family, and community. Once I understood the potential, I became consistent. 

Learning alongside my husband makes it all the more enjoyable. We talk about our strategies, and our struggles, and excitedly share our wins. The process of learning how to generate income from the stock market has been rewarding and humbling. I’ve had to learn to detach from the outcomes of trades, to let the wins impact me just as much as the losses. I’ve had to detach from immediate gratification. Instead, if I learned something from a trade, it was worth it. Throughout this year, there have been weeks when learning and trading took a back seat to school and work. Consistency isn’t just about staying on course, it’s also about finding your way back to it when you find yourself at a standstill or on a detour.

 Speaking of a course, I broke my own rule and invested about $2,700 for mentorship ($800 of which was spent on a course). Before investing in my learning, I lost every penny of the $1,000 I’d deposited into my trading account. I was committed to the free route and considered free courses, books, and Youtube videos to be my guides. So, I saved money upfront just to lose it down the line… I thought that if I were diligent enough, free resources would be all I needed to master the stock market. In reality, I lead a very busy life and need to feel early success for something to keep my attention. In reflection, I think this comes from a scarcity mindset and scarcity in my upbringing. If I can avoid paying for something, I will because it often wasn’t a choice I had growing up. 2022 was the year for me to rethink this pattern of thinking. I am blessed and fortunate to have resources that I can allocate to hobbies and learning. My time and energy are my most finite resources. Moving forward, I am committed to guarding my time and more intentionally deploying and protecting my energy. 

My New Year’s Resolution

I wonder if my journey mimics other financial independence enthusiasts: first, you get excited, then overwhelmed, then you go into overdrive, and eventually, you shift to autopilot. I feel calm and confident in my finances. I’ve done the heavy lifting, now I get to slow down. I don’t feel the need to proselytize to friends and family about all things personal finance. Instead, my decisions and lifestyle are a testimony, and anyone who wants to learn more will let it be known. 2023 is the first year in 20 years that I  haven’t made New Year’s resolutions. For the first time since I can remember, I am okay with what I am doing, and where I’m at. That feels good, maybe that’s inner peace? I’ll appreciate my little slice of it while I have it. That’s all for now.

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