With 2022 coming to a close, it’s time for my third annual year in review. This is a quick reflection and goal-setting exercise that I do at the end of each year.
I find that I get easily caught up in day-to-day worries and doing this reflection really helps me to zoom out and appreciate just how much progress I have made over the past year.
For me, 2022 entailed some awesome stuff as well as some disappointments. While 2022 was a rough year investment-wise, I’m going into 2023 with my health and fitness dialed in with a more resilient strategy for reaching financial freedom.
I’ll start with my biggest disappointment from 2022: the stock market, and particularly tech stocks, took a big hit over the past year. The stock market in 2022 has really felt like waking up in the morning with a nasty hangover from the party that was 2021. My net worth on paper decreased pretty significantly over 2022, with the S&P 500 alone down about 17% over the past year and many tech stocks down significantly more than that.
2022 ended with a lot of layoffs in my industry, while at the same time inflation has gobbled up purchasing power and the stock-based part of my pay has nose-dived in value. I’m grateful to still have a job, but with my employer’s stock price having declined 80% over the past year, there is still a lot of uncertainty looming on the horizon.
Fortunately, I’m a pretty simple guy and the things that make me the most happy and healthy like sunshine, hiking, working out at the gym, and home-cooked meals don’t cost a whole lot.
Outside of my net worth taking a big hit over the past year, I made a lot of positive strides this year that I think are much more important long-term.
In spring of 2022, my employer did their first formal review cycle and I was very happy to be promoted to Senior Mechanical Design Engineer. This bumped my base pay by 20% and doubled my stock compensation going forward, and I also earned a 15% bonus. Since I’ve continued to keep my burn rate relatively low over the last year, this pay bump has allowed me to increase my savings rate and have more money available to invest.
I made health and fitness a major priority in my life this year. At 27, I feel like my overall strength and endurance is close to the best it’s ever been. My love for hiking was a central focus here: I hiked Mt Langley, my first 14er (peak at 14,000ft or higher) with a total distance of over 24 miles in a single day push from the trailhead to the peak and back. Some of my training hikes in the SF bay area leading up to Mt Langley included Mt Diablo and doing Mission Peak back-to-back-to-back (3x).
I also started running again this year and want work in some trail running as part of my training this coming year.
I cut out alcohol completely starting in July 2022. Although I’ve never had issues with alcohol and wasn’t a big drinker to start with (1-2x per month), I decided to cut it out completely after listening to Andrew Huberman’s podcast What Alcohol Does to Your Body, Brain & Health. I’ve noticed that I sleep better and just feel better overall, plus I save some money. It helps that my girlfriend and my friends are not big drinkers either.
In 2022 I wrote 5 new articles and published 9 new tools here on WalletBurst.com, with a focus on evergreen, quality content over quantity of content. My strategy is that I would rather build one calculator that will be useful and relevant for many years to come than write many articles that may be out of date in a few months.
I launched my first paid digital product on Gumroad a few months ago: the WalletBurst Wealth Planning Toolkit for Google Sheets. I put a lot of work into making this a beautiful and valuable tool and the reception has exceeded my expectations. I’m also pretty proud of my free Personal Budget Template for Google Sheets and I hope that it helps many to manage their budget.
Here are my goals for 2022 that I wrote out in last year's review:
❌ Reach 75k monthly sessions on this site. I averaged only 37k monthly sessions over 2022. This was a bit more than my average of 34k per month last year but still far short of this goal. Despite putting out new content, traffic in the finance space seemed to trend down a bit with the stock market taking a hit.
❌ Hike Mt Whitney and ✅ another 14er mountain. I wasn't able to get a Mt Whitney permit through the lottery this year, but I did hike Mt Langley (another 14er in Mt Whitney's shadow) this summer.
❌ Build my total passive side income to $1,000 per month. I did build consistent cash flow from WalletBurst by monetizing with AdSense and launching the Wealth Planning Toolkit, but I didn't reach the $1k per month mark.
✅ Learn to wake-surf.
✅ Grow @walletburst on instagram to over 1,000 followers.
❌ Create 1 post per week on Instagram.
❌ Publish 2 new pieces of content on WalletBurst per month.
❌ Read 6 books (one every 2 months). I only finished two books this year: The End of the World is just the Beginning and Die with Zero.
The theme for 2023 is focus and simplicity. With that said, here are a few of my goals for 2023:
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Cheers to 2023! 🥂
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