Wow I can't believe 2015 is over already! What a great year 2015 was for us. Although we currently live in the suburb that I grew up in, the area has grown significantly over the last 15 years. After exploring the area more and getting more accustomed to the suburb life the past year, we finally feel like we are a part of the community. Mrs. T have joined a number of moms groups and through these groups, we've met a number of new families and become friends with them. It has been nice having my parents living close by so they could help out taking care of Baby T when needed. Neither of us have missed the Vancouver urban lifestyle.
In 2015 we were very fortunate to go on two different vacations. In the summer we spent 4 weeks in Denmark and had a fabulous time. Thanks my negotiation skill, I was able to convince my manager to let me work remotely for two of the four weeks (a bit of sarcasm here, rather, I was told to work remotely for 2 weeks instead taking 4 weeks off). This allowed me to test the feasibility of working remotely in a different city & time zone than co-workers that I interact with. This was a big step forward for my overall work/financial independence planning. You see, if I can demonstrate that I can work effectively remotely and still complete all my work assignments, maybe Mrs. T and I can start our traveling around the world idea in a few years rather wait until we reach financial independence. The second vacation we went on was a 2 week vacation in Japan. I have been to Japan a number of times for business but it was the first time for both Mrs. T and Baby T. We all loved the country and thought Japan had a lot to offer. We also gained valuable knowledge on how to travel with a toddler in a new foreign country. We all loved the wide selection of Japanese food. Mrs. T and I fell in love with ramen and would have ramen cravings occasioanlly. Luckily there are lots of great ramen restaurants in the greater Vancouver area to ease that craving.
When it comes to work, 2015 was a big year for me. While staying with the same company, I left my engineering career and started a new career path with the marketing department. Yes, I went from being an engineering project manager to being a marketing product manager. I never thought about switching my career path but having been a project manager for 5+ years, working on many challenging projects, it was time for a new challenge.
Financially, 2015 has been an interesting year. The stock market had a terrible year. However, since we are still in the accumulating phase, this gave us a great opportunity to purchase stocks at a discount. We received $8362.30 in dividend income in 2014 and it looks like we will break the $10,000 mark in 2015 (Due to DRIP, a couple of the dividends won't show up on the statements until next week). This would give us roughly a 20% YOY growth in dividend income. I'm very happy with this progress. We saved aggressively to allow us to maximize both our 2015 TFSA and RRSP contribution limits, as well as adding money to our taxable investment accounts. Despite the down stock market, our net worth grew in 2015, mostly fueled by our savings and the growing real estate property value.
In 2015 this blog saw a steady growth of readership. A few of the articles were featured on Rock Star Finance and one got picked up by Lifehacker. I'm truly grateful to all the readers and all the continued support. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.
What can I say, 2015 was a great year. 🙂
2016 Looking Forward
First of all, I want to make an announcement that we're expecting a new addition to the family, due in late Q1 of 2016. We are very excited about the new addition and can't wait to have two little ones in the house. On a side note, I'll have to figure out how to call Baby T once the new baby comes out. Baby T1 and Baby T2? Or Baby T-101 and Baby T-1001 after the Terminator models?
We plan to continue saving aggressively. We have already transferred money to both of our TFSA's to maximize our 2016 contribution limits. We'll monitor a few stocks and determine which one to buy. Oil & gas stocks and consumer staples looked enticing, as pointed out in my Early 2016 stock consideration post, but lately the Canadian banking stocks also looked good. I'll write up a post or two when we pull the buy trigger.
I plan to spend more time reading books and learning different things this year. Currently I have 4 personal development books lined up to read so I'll have to get started. I have a few personal finance and investment books on my to-read list as well. When it comes to writing on this blog, I plan to continue writing about dividend investing, frugal living, personal finance, but also write more personal articles that people can relate to. After all, this is a personal finance blog. 🙂
Last year I spent almost a month on the road for work travel. The only work travel I have lined up so far is later in January. Considering most of my work travels are last minute, I really don't have any visibility to how much traveling I'll do this year. Hopefully my work travel will be slightly reduced this year so I can spend more time with Mr. T and the kids.
I missed FinCon 2015 as we were in Japan. This year FinCon will be in San Diego. This is a conference I'd love to attend but at the moment the cost is slightly higher than I anticipated. The rough cost estimate is around $1,700 Canadian (the exchange rate is terrible now). Considering FinCon is not until September, that gives me a bit of time to put money aside.
Dear readers, what do you have planned for 2016? I'd love to hear them.