2018 money wins and fails

We’ve had some big wins and some big failures this year, but we like to think of our failures more as learning opportunities. So we’re gonna share our learning experiences from our failures to hopefully help you learn and grow from our own mistakes.

Money Fails AKA Lesson

1. $17,500 was stolen from us in cryptocurrency.

What did we learn?

Don’t save your passwords in Google. Don’t download sketchy software from the internet and don’t keep your two-factor authentication codes somewhere on your computer. Print them and keep them in a safe.

Something that you never think will happen to you and when it does, then you’re like, all this stuff people told me is true. A lot of people take their internet security for granted. It had never happened to us before, I’ve never had a hacker that stole information. We didn’t have password protectors or passwords software that like keeps all of them random and we always used the same kind of password for everything.

Not anymore.

We knew crypto was risky going into this and we told ourselves that the money we put into crypto we would be okay with losing. We knew it was volatile and risky, but from losing that much money we learned that we’re not okay with losing that much money.

We learned our risk tolerance is more conservative to moderate and that we shouldn’t have been playing in the crypto game in the first place with that much money. You don’t think you know what your risk tolerance is until you’ve had some experience where the stock market takes a plummet and then you’re like, oh my God, this is not okay.

2.  We don’t like playing lender.

We went into a real-estate deal in 2017 with stipulations that we would get our money back in early 2018. 2018 rolled around and we didn’t get our money back. The partner that we were working with was making a lot of excuses why the deal wasn’t done and we believed him for a while. But eventually ended up having to hire a lawyer to initiate the foreclosure.

What did we learn?

We realized that we don’t like not being in control.  If we had just purchased the house and taken on the flip on our own, we would have felt a lot better. In the future it would be much better if we just invested in it on our own. This guy was a seasoned real estate investor, he had some experience so we thought we could learn some things from him and really it just turned out to be a headache. Now with the foreclosure proceedings, we will hopefully get the money back in the first half of 2019.

3. We went too cheap on the van.

As you know we purchased a 2006 Dodge Sprinter which we converted into a camper van. Some of the financials on that: we purchased it for around $8,000 dollars but ended up having to put in about $8,000 dollars worth of work into getting it running. We also put in six weeks of our time and about $10,000 dollars to convert it. Because it was an old van we could only sell it for $30,000 dollars, so we basically broke even.

If we purchased a newer, nicer van, we definitely could have made a profit on the flip and get paid for the amount of work that we put into it.

What did we learn?

Because we went cheap and we made an emotional decision when we fell in love with the van and saw it and just purchased it, we learned a lesson. The lesson is that it’s not always best to buy the cheapest one you can find.

Our frugal muscle got the best of us. And we fell in love with the red color. It’s always best to try to evaluate big financial purchases with less emotionality and more logic.

We should've taken a second to think about it, move slower, and evaluate our choices more carefully.

Money Wins

1. We stuck to our $40,000/ year challenge!

We spent less than $40K this year, so if you’ve been following us for a little while, you know that we challenged ourselves in 2018 to spend less than $40K for the whole year and we did it.

2. We maxed out our 401ks

Even though we only worked until April, we strategically maxed out our pre-tax retirement accounts. We did this to be tax advantaged and to save as much as much as we can for the year since we knew we weren’t going to be working the full year.

Because after we left our jobs we also knew we wouldn’t be able to continue to contribute to the 401K’s, so it was good to front-load them while we were there.

3. We were able to rent out our house in Bakersfield for around $400 dollars a month in cash flow.

That money is helping us while we’re starting businesses and not making a lot of money.

4. We quit our jobs.

Some people might not think that is the best financial decision, but to us it was because we invested into ourselves and into our businesses. This one has yet to really pay off financially but growing businesses takes time and we finally have the space, time and financial freedom to pour into our passions, so this is a win in our eyes.

5. We’ve got to do lots of traveling.

We started the year off in Europe, traveling through Prague and Berlin and Iceland, and then we went on a six-month road trip around the eastern United States, Midwest and up into Canada on our van.

6. We used our money to buy our freedom.

Now we get to make our own schedule, we get to go skiing on a Wednesday if we want or go to Moab on a Tuesday. We are the bosses of our lives and to me that has been the biggest win of 2018 financially. It took us 5 years to get to this point, 5 years of working at jobs with long hours and inflexible schedules and we may even have to go back to an inflexible job at some point if we can’t get our businesses to take off to be sustainable. For now we’re really enjoying our freedom and space to pursue our own passions and skiing on a random Wednesday in Colorado isn’t that bad.

Leave us a comment below, and let us know about your 2018 money wins and lessons. (They’re not failures!)

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