My 2016 Year in Review

2016 year in review

The one thing I absolutely love about writing a finance related blog is the fact that I can keep track of how my net worth fluctuates from year to year. I am able to see how my savings rate increases and how my debts are slowly being erased; it’s truly a liberating feeling! Since keeping track of your progress in achieving a goal is the second most important thing (after setting one first), having a detailed log of how you’ve achieved them to reference is key to helping to keep you motivated.

Throughout this year, here are some of the advances I’ve made:

2016 Goals Reviewed

Financial goals
  • Allocate at least $625 per month to my taxable brokerage account. – PASS; Allocated an average of $825
  • Hold a portfolio balance of at least $10,500 by 12/31/2016. Can include uninvested cash held in account. – PASS; Portfolio balance is $10,749.41
  • Receive $225 in total dividend income. – FAIL; $219.89
  • Allocate an extra $50 per month to my car loan principal. – PASS
  • Pay off my car loan principal IN FULL (Balance is currently $4909). – PASS! Completely paid IN FULL!
  • Allocate 6% of gross income to company 401(k) to get full company match. – PASS; Completed 10/15/16
Health/Spirituality goals
  • Sign up for another 5K run or a 10K run by June 2016. – PASS; Completed April 2016
  • Donate at least $50 per month to church or a reputable charitable organization. – FAIL; monthly average $40
Travel goals
  • Allocate at least $50 per month to my travel fund. – PASS
  • Take at least 2 domestic/international trips and 2 weekender/road trips. PARTIAL; 1 international and 2 weekender/road trips

2016 Net Worth Reviewed

In December 2015, my total savings were $16,713.17. My total debts were $20,586.82.

My net worth as of December 2015 was -$3,873.65.

This year I really did strive to pay off as much debt as possible. I also really wanted to focus on saving a high percentage of my net pay and grow my net worth.

As of December 21, 2016, here is my financial situation:


Student loans:

$3,148.27 at 3.4%

$2,631.43 at 4.5%

$2,001.58 at 5.6%

$5,747.27 at 5.0%

Total student loans: $13,528.55

Car loans:

$0 balance

Credit Cards:

$0 balance

 Total Debt: $13,528.55 (decrease of $7,058.27)
 Retirement accounts:


Personal Savings:

Emergency Fund balance at $5,000

Investment portfolio account balance: $10,749.41

Total Savings: $25,143.45 (increase of 8,430.28)

NET WORTH: $11,614.90

Wahoo! My net worth is finally positive! Up until this year, I was worth more as a baby with a $0 net worth (as the former Dividend Mantra used to say) than I was at 25. But due to diligently paying down debt, increasing my savings rate and making sound investment choices, I have crossed the $0 threshold and now know what it feels like to have a positive net worth; it feels great!

Stay tuned to see what my goals are for next year – I’ll have an updated blog post on that soon. I really can’t wait to see what financial goals I am able to achieve in 2017.

What have you accomplished in 2016? Let me know!

Thanks for reading.

Images: Upsplash with graphics added by One Woman’s Worth.


Recent Buy // JNJ

Building a portfolio utilizing a dividend investing is pretty easy; once you find a stock you like, all you have to do is keep adding fresh capital to it (assuming of course, the fundamentals of the company haven’t changed and you still believe in the product/service they sell). The one thing to watch is price. As long as the stock is trading near or below fair value, figuring out which stock to allocate your fresh capital to is really a no-brainer.

That’s what I’ve done with JNJ.

I purchased 10 shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) on 11/13/15 for $99.98 per share.Recentbuy_JNJ

If you recall, my first ever buy was JNJ back in July. Since then, the fundamentals of the company have not changed dramatically. The latest earnings report headline reflected a sales decrease of 7.4% of year-over-year growth; however, this was largely due to the impact of foreign currency issues and masked an underlying sales growth of close to 1% in business revenue.


  • The P/E ratio is currently 19.2 which is slightly above it’s 5 yr average. In addition, JNJ P/E is currently below the broader market.
  • S&P Capital IQ Valuation: $105.90


Again, it’s hard to go wrong with JNJ. I anticipate I will continue to add shares of this stock to my portfolio, as long as I see value. For this stock, anywhere under $100 (barring a substantial change to management or financials) seems like a fair price to pay. And since I am starting early and not really focused on strict asset allocation at this time (I will once my portfolio gets to the $50K range), I am OK with adding whenever I have the capital to support a purchase.

This additional purchase of JNJ adds an additional $30 to my annual dividend income, based on the current $0.75 quarterly dividend.

Full Disclosure: Long JNJ

Thanks for reading.

Images: Death to the Stock Photo with graphics added by One Woman’s Worth. 


Recent Buy // JNJ

Last week, in my mid-year review, I mentioned that I was disappointed to have to report that I hadn’t started investing. Between not taking the time to research online discount brokerages and feeling fearful of not having a large amount of cash on hand, I failed my 2Q goal of having $2,500 invested in a taxable brokerage account.  So I decided to but my fears aside and take action.

First, I researched online discount brokerage firms and decided to open my first account with Scottrade. With over 500 branch offices nationwide, reliable customer service, great trading platform, and good reviews, I really couldn’t go wrong. Also their fees are moderately priced. At $7 per trade, Scottrade isn’t the cheapest but it also isn’t the most expensive online discount brokerage out there. I may do a full review in the future after I’ve had more time to really use the platform.

Second, I analyzed the top ten stocks on my stock watch list. I wanted to make sure my inaugural stock was something that fits into my buy and hold strategy. So…

I purchased 10 shares of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) on 7/8/15 for $98.10 per share.



Johnson & Johnson is a Fortune 500 company that researches and develops, manufactures, and sells various consumer products in the healthcare field. They operate in three main segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices. You may have heard of/ already purchase some of their consumer products. Have a new baby? You probably use Johnson’s Baby products. Suffering from a headache or allergies of acting up? Maybe you pick up Tylenol or Zyrtec on your next drugstore trip. They sell quite a lot of popular brand products that people use in their every day lives.


  • Revenue has grown by average of 4.61 % per year over last 10 years.
  • EPS is 5.59 and has increased by 7.22% per year over last 10 years.
  • Current dividend yield is 3.06% and pays a dividend of $3.00 per share. JNJ has been increasing dividends for 52 consecutive years and the payout ratio is 48.9%.
  • Debt/Equity ratio is reasonable at 0.22.


  • The P/E ratio is currently 17.8 which right in line with it’s 5 yr average. In addition, JNJ P/E is currently below the broader market.
  • I valued the shares using the Dividend Discount Model with a 10% discount and a 7% long term dividend growth rate. The DDM analysis gives me a fair value of $100.


The company is really high quality. It’s hard to go wrong here. And while I would have loved to have bought shares sooner (when it dipped as low as $96 in October 2014 or even $97 in June), I think JNJ is fairly priced.

This purchase adds $30 to my annual dividend income, based on the current $0.75 quarterly dividend.

Full disclosure: JNJ.

What do you think of JNJ? Think the fundamentals are solid for a beginner dividend investor?

Thanks for reading.

Images: Death to the Stock Photo with graphics added by One Woman’s Worth.

2015 // Mid-Year Review

I started 2015 with the overall goal that this year will truly be different. No more resolutions! Be consistent with creating content for the blog! No more making un-SMART (strategic + measurable + achievable + realistic + timely) goals. I was tired of making resolutions and forgetting what they were – much less completing them every year. Writing my goals down and defining clear check points has definitely helped keep me accountable; not only because I wrote them down but because it’s been published in a public place where people can also hold me accountable. 

For me, the first half of 2015 has been both eventful and unremarkable- all at the same time.

Financial Goals-

  • Open a taxable account in a discount brokerage firm with $2,500 by 3/1/2015. (FAIL. Hoping to achieve in the second half of the year- Stay tuned..)
  • Allocate at least $400 per month to my taxable account. (PARTIAL: Jan- $400; Feb-$214; Mar- $306; Apr- $375; May- $387; June- $400)
  • Allocate an extra $50 per month to my car loan principal. (PASS)

Health/Spirituality Goals-

  • Give at least two hours of my time every month to helping someone in need. (PASS)
  • Donate at least $50 every month to church or a reputable charitable organization. (PASS)
  • Sign up for a 5K run by April 2015. (COMPLETED)

Travel Goals-

  • Allocate $50 per month to my travel fund. (PASS)
  • Take at least 4 local, stateside, or international trips by 12/31/2015. (PARTIAL: 2 of 4 completed)

January was largely quiet. I suppose the calm could be attributed to the fact that we are typically in “holiday recover” during this time. Financially, socially, mentally/emotionally. Even as it relates to our health. We are typically tapped out financially from all of the holiday spending. Socially, we’ve seen our friends and families more often in November and December alone than we have throughout the other ten months of the year combined. Mentally/emotionally, we may be drained from the first two examples! (As an introvert, this is my constant struggle- I’m conflicted between having quiet moments to myself + my own thoughts and going out to celebrate the various holidays with people I love + cherish.) I appreciated the stillness of January because the next two months were less than slow.

February was definitely the most chaotic month of the quarter. I spent the first few days in NOLA for the start of Mardi Gras- which was a blast! While I largely pulled from my travel fund (which I saved for throughout all of 2014), I still had some small expenses that I needed to pull funds for from my monthly budget. I also had some doctor’s appointment co-pays that I needed to pay for ($60 for an eye exam and trial contact lenses, as well as, $35 for a gyn appointment in December- more information than you probably needed to know but, hey, I told you I’m being completely honest!). I also bit the bullet and purchased the iPhone 6 (my iPhone 4 was seriously holding me back, ya’ll) on a two-year contract, which set me back another $199 + taxes. Yikes. However, I did manage to get some community service in by participating with co-workers in an Operation Welcome Home event.

March was much better in terms of staying on track financially and health-wise. Although I had to pay for my cell service twice this month (since switching from Sprint to Verizon), I started training for my first 5K. The threat of snow was no longer imminent, the birds started their chirping once more and the thought of running three miles straight seemed possible. While I’m still at the point of mostly completing the 3.1 miles wheezing, with a flushed face, and praying for the sweet relief of death in a record time that I am ashamed to admit as a former high school track runner, I am confident that I will be able to get to the finish line when I run my first race.

April and May were great for my health/spirituality and travel goals. In April, I celebrated my 25th birthday by taking a trip to Puerto Rico. Don’t worry- Again, I paid for the vacation in full by using my savings from my 52 week savings challenge/ travel fund from 2014 and still had money to spare. I also signed up and ran my first 5K with the Ronald McDonald House Charities. It was actually pretty fun! May was also pretty quiet…until the end of the month when I wrote about the scary possibility of a job loss. I am still gainfully employed and therefore my ability to meet my financial goals are still possible. But if I weren’t? I would be grateful to have my emergency fund in place to cover me financially for 6 months!

June has been wonderful and also largely quiet (are you seeing a trend here?! LOL). I was able to re-evaluate my goals for the year and start making necessary changes to achieve them. I’ve started researching online discount brokerage firms and even opened my first account (stay tuned to see which one I chose and my experience with opening my first account). Overall, it has been a great month across all of my goals.

Whether you realize it or not, thanks for holding me accountable! Share some of your goals and your first quarter progress below.

Thanks for reading.

Image: Death to the Stock Photo with graphics added by One Woman’s Worth.

WORTHY Reads // February 26, 2015

And just like that *snaps fingers*, another month in 2015 has gone by! How does it feel? Still chugging along and making financial progress? Still motivated? I really hope so!

When it comes to well-known holidays and observances, February is universally known as a month dedicated to love. We all (hopefully?) participated in showing love either to a partner or to ourselves.

However, besides excessive drinking on St. Patrick’s Day, March is all about Women’s History Month (also referred to as Women’s Appreciation Month). In honor of the many women who have fought and continue to fight for gender equality and women’s rights, I will be introducing a new series to highlight women I admire in the entertainment; business; and political fields. Stay tuned!

I hope you all have a great weekend. Here are three articles that I have read recently and enjoyed and hope you enjoy as well. Thanks for reading!
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WORTHY Reads // February 13, 2015

Happy ‘almost’ Valentine’s Day! I think Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. There is something about the idea of falling in love with your very own casanova, prince charming, soulmate, etc. I don’t know why but I just love, LOVE!

Speaking of love, I just came back from New Orleans a few days ago and I feel like I left my heart (again) in that amazing little city. I can’t wait to share my itinerary and budgets next week!

I hope you all have a great weekend. Here are two articles that I have read recently and enjoyed and hope you enjoy as well. Thanks for reading!
Continue reading “WORTHY Reads // February 13, 2015”

Stock Watch List

My Stock Watch ListTake a look outside. What do you see? I’m sure you see buildings, cars, people….how about trees?

Now, let’s take a minute to think about this tree. It started as a single seed which grew roots and was firmly planted in the ground. It then grew branches and, with each passing year, became stronger and more resilient to the harsh elements. It needed someone periodically tending to it to make sure it got enough water, that the soil was tended to, and the branches were pruned when necessary.

And, so the same for my tree. My “money tree”, that is.
Continue reading “Stock Watch List”