2021: My day-to-day work life did not have a dramatic change like it did back in 2020. I am still under the same larger department, but the product line is more streamlined. Instead of handling individual’s money, I am working with business owners to offer their employees life insurance. In my previous role, there were at least five different types of accounts that I had to be familiar with to handle a standard phone call. Now that I am down to one product, I am able to dig deeper into the subject. I have a lot of tenure around me now. My current Team Lead has over 10 years’ experience just in my area. For some context, I am about to celebrate my 10th year with the company as a whole. I have had a good variety of roles, which has been helpful in recent days. I was already helping with phone calls for this new area, so adding the production work was just a matter of training. I still have a lot more to learn, but I am starting to get a feel for how it all works, even if I cannot process every request. 😊
One major difference about my current team is that my small team is the whole department. Now that I have met them in-person a few times, I know that I will be happy to be part of this close-knit group. The nature of the product makes my current role very secure. From my first day at the company until about 6 months ago, I was always on my toes. I didn’t know if my job would exist or be in my current location. Even as a newer person to my area, I have been helping the other new teammates get up to speed on basic items. My naturally curious nature makes me ask the hard questions to the Team Lead or the Underwriters. I usually remember their answer.
2021: I continued with my plans to pay down my debt and save for the future. I reached the milestone of paying off my car in March and sold some single stocks I had in May. I took my proceeds and paid down the smaller credit cards as well as put some in savings for my move to Peoria. I closed out a few lines of credit that I had not been using. In total, my debt level is almost exactly half of what I started with at the beginning of the year. I still save a small amount each paycheck for my travel fund as I get used to paying “cash” for the larger expenses. I also started investing another small amount into a REIT as most of my retirement fund is in stocks.
Even through all the turmoil of 2021, the US stock market performed well this past year. I am happy with my account balance, but it does make me wonder about the disconnect between stock performance and actual production output. Even my employer admits that a good deal of our net worth gain was based on the investments that were made.
One goal from 2021 that worked well was setting up an automatic amount of money for donations for each of the charities and organizations support. I had minimal “guilt donations” this year and I can feel the difference.
2022: In this new year, now that my job seems stable, I can really push hard to the end of paying down the final amount of debt and start some serious saving in 2023. Even the idea of having a long-term savings plan is still a new idea for me. If I can pay off as much as I did last year (or get close), I’ll be in good shape. My annual bonus will help jump start that cycle.
Travel: I do have two trips to Florida planned for this coming year and so I’ll continue to cashflow those as I did last time. I am looking forward to seeing some old friends and my family. My dad is taking an exciting journey and starting a new career while continuing to promote his recently published book. I am sure my mom will find my interesting interactions on dating apps rather amusing. My sister is getting married in 2022, so I am sure she will update me with all the exciting plans. My grandfather always enjoys hearing about how cold it is in my new home of Illinois. I’ll show him photos of the giant airplane that flies out of Chicago and brings me to Tampa.
Reading/Writing: My reading goal for the new year is 22 books. It’s a big step from my 2021 goal of 15 books, but I think I can do it. I love my movies and TV, but I need some new stuff and it’s going to be exciting novels and important non-fiction to keep me engaged. I am finishing up Project Hail Mary now and I am going to flip back to something in the fantasy genre for my next read. In the same mindset, I am going to make a point of doing more hand-written activities. Journaling and writing letter to people will be a good way to get away from the screens, if only for a moment. I have even purchased a very inexpensive fountain pen. Hopefully this won’t be start of a new obsession.
Faith: I have found a church that I have been visiting recently, so I will continue to explore and see what I can find. My faith cannot be sustained alone. I want to get involved with the church and the community. I have been avoiding that for a while. It’s time to re-engage the volunteer within me. In addition, if I am to find someone special, I will want to find someone in the same general faith as mine. 😊