Coming into 2018 we knew it would be a big year for us. I mean, Taylor was pregnant so there was that, but it just had this feel like something big was gonna happen.
Like all of the work we’ve been putting in over the last few years was about to pay off. And while we fell short on a few of our goals, we hit the key ones which was exciting.
I’m pretty sure we’re both in agreement that it was the best year of our life together as a married couple.
1. We had a baby!
On April 10, 2018, we welcomed our sweet baby girl, Alison Sophia Lacy. into the world.
Taylor has Lupus so the entire pregnancy was classified as “high-risk”. As a result of that, we were already anxious, but during the 20 week anatomy scan, the Dr diagnosed Alison with congenital heart block.
I won’t get into all the medical details here, but let’s just say in terms of Dr visits, we went from a pretty normal pregnancy to seeing a few specialists every week.
We were blessed and Alison was born healthy with no heart issues at all.
The reason this makes it into our financial recap is because we were able to cash-flow everything. From cardiologist visits, to weekly sonograms, to seeing maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and regular ob/gyn visits we paid for everything without taking on any debt.
Selecting the proper insurance coverage definitely played a huge part in that, however, I’m just glad that we were no longer deep in debt and had a steady cash-flow to keep us from drowning in medical bills.
This was a huge win!
2. I got a quality life insurance policy.
This was something that had been on my list for a while now, and I’m embarrassed that it took me this long to do it. Truthfully, all the credit for this one goes to my daughter (who wasn’t even born at the time).
At the time, it was just the two of us and we were completely debt-free. We also were living completely on her salary with a 6 month emergency fund.
If something had happened to me, Taylor would have been financially stable for a while with the $100k policy I had through work.
But with so many unknowns surrounding the health of our daughter, and wanting the ability to ensure she would always be taken care of no matter what, I made the decision to take out a term life insurance policy.
I went through Zander Insurance who helped me get setup with Banner Life Insurance. The process was fairly simple, but it did take about 4-5 weeks from start to finish.
Now I have a 20-year term policy for 10 times my annual income. If something were to happen to me, my wife should be able to replace my income with no issues.
With Taylor having lupus, she has been limited to our work policies, so, unfortunately, we could not make any updates for her at this point.
3. I started Winning To Wealth
Another one my daughter will get credit for.
As it got closer and closer to the due date, I became even more sold on our goal of reaching financial independence.
I wanted a space where I could share our goals, successes, and failures for maximum accountability, so on April 7th, 2018, I created this blog…3 days before my daughter was born.
I mean I already had a financial coaching business… why not add another endeavor on top of a newborn?!? Although I didn’t write as much as I wanted, I’m happy to say that I made the leap and got started.
Also, feel free to follow me on the Winning to Wealth social media accounts for regular life updates:
4. We bought a house
Okay so this one was a bit unexpected. Originally, our goal was to buy our first home with cash somewhere in the near future.
Coming into the year, we were essentially contracted out through our old apartment community to drive community engagement. This came with a few perks, but, most notably, a reduced rate on our rent.
We had no plans to end this agreement at all, but, after Alison was born, Taylor had a challenging time recovering.
I was only able to take off 2 weeks of work, so from that point on, Taylor had Alison for most of the day. Trying to feed and care for a newborn while planning and hosting community events for an entire community is A LOT.
Unfortunately the stress became too much and Taylor’s doctor recommended that we end the contract before she started back teaching in August.
Thankfully, we had a nice amount of money set aside that we ultimately used as the down payment on our first home purchase.
Due to the volatility in my career (more on that later), Taylor’s health concerns, and low interest rates, we went with a 30-year fixed. Although it wasn’t what we wanted to do, it made the most sense at the time.
As a result of that choice, we now have the flexibility to be super aggressive when things are going well or to scale back should I be laid-off or Taylor miss a lot of work due to Lupus.
We went with a house that was less than half of what we were approved for, and it fits our needs so well that it very well could be our forever home. There isn’t a lot of excess space which means every single room in the house is used regularly.
Having grown up moving from place to place and trying to make ends meet, it gives me joy to know that our daughter will have a consistent space to call home.
5. We Hit The $100k Net Worth Mark
Woo-hoo! This was a massive win for us! In 2014, we were $61,000 in debt with no idea what we were doing with money.
Now four years later we not only have a positive net worth, but a 6-figure one! It’s exciting just thinking back on how far we’ve come.
This milestone also makes our ultimate goal of a 7-figure net worth seem that much more attainable.
The best part is it comes from a solid mix. We have real estate, stocks, retirement accounts, businesses, and some cash in an emergency fund.
Our next big milestone is $250k which may take a little longer now that we have new expenses like daycare and a mortgage, but I have no doubt we’ll get there.
6. We Cash-Flowed College For Taylor
Since paying off our debt back in 2016, we’ve been actively looking for ways to increase our income.
I became a financial coach, tried a few other side hustles for a bit, and started the blog.
This year, Taylor decided to go back to school and earn her principal certification.
The cost of the courses was a little less than $5,000, and all of the courses should be completed by this summer which will allow her to start applying for jobs that will begin in August.
The potential salary increase could easily top $10-15,000 in the first year and even more afterwards.
Investing in yourself always pays off. Taking a vested interest in developing your skills will always guarantee better career opportunities down the road.
7. I Left A Toxic Job & Almost Doubled My Salary
I believe that doing your best work at work is one of the absolute best ways to increase your income. This is especially true for people like me who work in outside sales.
Back in May of this year, my former employer was bought by its largest competitor. Naturally, there was some overlap and that led to a lot of anxiety for a lot of people as lay-offs seemed inevitable.
Having a 6-month emergency fund alleviated this for me for the most part. I mean I actually liked the job I had and things were going well.
Also, having been a top performer, I was starting to make a name for myself within the industry which meant recruiters were calling me on behalf of other companies in my field to gauge my interest in new opportunities.
Shortly afterwards, my manager decided to leave for another opportunity and the company decided not to replace his position which meant I had a new manager. From there things went downhill FAST.
There was no clear direction, my objectives and goals were changed which led to a decrease in sales (and money for me), and the relationship between my new manager and I soured quickly with senior leadership offering no support.
After several candid conversations, I was almost certain that there was no way my new manager would ever promote me regardless of how I outperformed my teammates.
I started having anxiety attacks, and was just not in a great space mentally. In November of 2018, I finally gave in and started talking to other companies. After about 3 weeks, I had 3 offers in hand.
I put in my two-week notice and later accepted an offer that was not only a great fit for my skills, but gave me the opportunity to grow and develop as well.
My base salary nearly doubled, my bonus potential almost matches my old salary, my company match for my 401(k) goes from 3% to 6%, and I have a company car. Also, the benefits are outstanding which should save us even more money over time.
I’m definitely excited about the new role and the idea of reaching our goals much quicker with the new salary. We’re 2 months in now, and I can say that, for the most part, we have avoided any lifestyle creep.
So, as you can see, 2018 was a fantastic year for us. We had a few challenges that were health-related and we bought a house much sooner than we originally intended, however, none of those things will really keep us from our goals.
Furthermore, the progress we’ve made far outweighs any negatives. It’s unreal to think that just 6 years ago I was making $30k working in a mall kiosk selling vacation packages for a timeshare company.
And now here we are…well on our way to becoming millionaires and feeling in complete control over our lives.
We’re in prime position to build on that momentum in 2019, and I hope you’ll stick around to follow our journey to wealth.