When I wrote my 2020 goals post several weeks ago, I had a feeling that 2020 was going to be a special year. There was so much I envisioned happening, and while I shared most of those, I had kept a few of them to myself, for a reason you’ll see in a moment.
While I hoped to maybe break all these updates out into separate posts, alas, life has just been too hectic with all the exciting things happening, so here they all are!
I Got Engaged!!
Obviously I wanted to share the most important news first 🙂
My partner and I have known each other for 2+ years, dated for a year a half, and lived together for 6 months, so this is something that we were certainly moving towards. I’d been thinking about asking the question for quite some time, though initially I had planned to do it in the spring (when the weather turned nice so I could do it on one of our favorite hikes!).
However, given some upcoming uncertainty in our lives, I was looking for a good way to expedite this so (assuming she said yes of course!) we could factor this into any decisions as well. Luckily, we both agreed we wanted to go on a vacation to someplace warm in February (hence the rush for the Southwest Companion Pass!) to escape the cold, and it hit me that this could be the opportunity I was waiting for!
Enter the planning. Finding a ring she would like and getting said ring delivered to our apartment without her discovering took a lot more coordination than I would have thought!
Luckily I remembered a conversation we had a few months after we started dating when we somehow landed on the topic of diamonds. I recalled she specifically said she did not want a real diamond, so I at least had a place to start. I ended up choosing moissanite, which is a lab made gemstone that looks exactly like a diamond, only slightly less hard and came in at a fraction of the cost! FI win and it looks beautiful!
And finally, keeping this whole thing a secret was so much pressure! We took an unscheduled weekend trip to her parents’ house a weekend before our trip (for a separate reason I’ll get to later), so that was the perfect time to bring up my intentions to her parents. They were happy to hear the news and agreed to keep it a secret! I had called my parents the weekend before this trip as well to let them know and they were very excited as well!
As for the execution… while I was originally thinking of proposing during one of Arizona’s amazing sunsets, as we made plans I found a better opportunity. We planned for a morning 7 mile hike, and decided we wanted to get up early so we weren’t out during the hottest part of the day. I knew that by doing this we had a good chance of being the only ones at the summit when we got there.
Low and behold, this is exactly what happened and we had our solitude at the top. This was my chance! I set up a mini iPhone tripod (that I had bought a month before and used on other hikes so she wouldn’t be suspicious) and told her we should take a picture together. Little did she know I was actually recording a video! 🙂
After we took our “picture” I then asked her if she wanted a “mountain girl” photo of her staring off into the distance. She agreed and when she turned back around to face me I was there on a knee waiting. Clearly I already gave this away, but she said yes!!
I’m extremely excited to be marrying this woman and while it won’t change much overall from a day to day standpoint, we now have a wedding to plan. In addition, while we plan to combine our finances, we still need to have discussions about when we’re doing that and how that looks.
Depending on when we end up setting a wedding date, it could be a very expensive year with a wedding to pay for. Luckily for me…
I Got Another Raise! And a Big One at That…
The last two years have resulted in a significant increase in my salary. Both years I’ve gotten the yearly raise my company gives out, as well as a separate promotion to a higher level with more responsibility.
I entered 2018 with a $69,000 salary, and ended 2019 with a $97,500 salary… a 41% increase! I worked very hard for these raises, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was only possible because I have a boss that truly values the work I do and wanted to do everything she could to keep me with the company (as opposed to leaving to find a higher paying job elsewhere).
Given that the last two years included massive pay increases that I know are fairly atypical for a large company, I really wasn’t sure what to expect this year. It’s too early for me to get another promotion (since I don’t have the “years of experience”) so I knew that was an extreme long shot. As for a raise, I was wondering if this would fall back into the “typical” range of 2-5% depending on performance.
Suffice it to say I was absolutely shocked when my manager told me the raise I was getting… 12%!! This wasn’t anywhere close to what I was expecting but I was obviously very excited about it.
My salary has now grown from $97,500 to just north of $109,000 which is a huge increase to me. Since my salary had grown quite a bit the past 2 years, the subsequent raise was also amplified. This goes into effect for my first paycheck in April so you’ll be able to see the impact then.
In essence though, as my spending levels should stay the same, it will roughly add an extra $600 each month to my take home pay. It doesn’t need to be said, but obviously this will have a big impact on my FI timeline! As I’m pretty conservative with my projections, I only forecast a 3% increase to my salary each year, so anything beyond that could speed up my FI timeline significantly.
With an upcoming wedding to pay for, this raise comes at a great time to help cash flow those additional expenses.
At the same time though, the massive raise (plus recent signs of a potential slowing economy…) have had me rethinking my goal of changing things up mid-year. Do I really want to rock the boat and potentially leave the company when I have such a good thing going? It’s definitely something that’s been on my mind lately and will have to grapple with as the next few months’ progress.
Buying a House Too?
Speaking of changing things up, the other major life thing we’ve had going on is that my fiancée (wow that’s weird to say!) and I have now placed an offer on not one, but TWO houses in the past month!
In a shocking twist, these haven’t been for a rental property, but actually for a primary residence out of state. (Remember that impromptu trip to her parents’ house I mentioned earlier? Yep, we were mainly there to view properties…)
Unfortunately neither of our offers have been accepted, but it still shows that we’re serious about potentially moving out of this HCOL area. As we hone in on a potential new primary living residence, and also plan to cash flow the wedding, the rental property unfortunately will continue to be put on hold.
It takes a lot of effort to coordinate putting an offer in and being sure a certain property is one you want, so meticulously analyzing all the properties and details that have popped up in our target area has certainly been time consuming for us as of late as well.
While we are potentially reconsidering our haste to move from DC as I mentioned at the end of the last section, this is still something we will be keeping our eye on for the foreseeable future.
So there it is: all my excuses for once again being absent in recent weeks from the blog. One day I will return to consistency! But for now, I’m going to enjoy all the exciting new things that have and will be happening!
How has your 2020 started off? Any fun updates you want to share!?