2012 Financial Accomplishments


Happy New Year to any and all Millionaire Educator readers!  Overall, 2012 was another great year in many ways.  Financially, we made out like bandits by savings over $91,000 in our various accounts.  Once again we maxed out all of our retirement accounts, funded various educational accounts, and started a health savings account at Alliant Credit Union (link).  Professionally, we left our jobs and moved back to our home in west Georgia.  My wife landed a job at a middle school and I took a job at my old high school.  Unfortunately, it only took me about ten days to realize that I had made a mistake; I should have realized that I was too burnt out to take a new job.  I next did what I had to do and resigned.
Ever since late August I have been on a self-imposed sabbatical.  I now occupy my days with jogging, exercise, books and cooking.  All in all, my decision to resign was the best thing for me, but I was not happy about my abrupt departure.  I hated bailing out on co-workers and friends who were depending on me to do a bang-up job teaching.  I also felt bad about leaving a lot of awesome students behind.  Like I told my friends:  if I could have sucked it up, I would have buckled down and hammered the job.  Regrettably, I did not have the mental energy to pull it off.  In short, I am glad I quit the job, but for a while I felt like a “loser” for quitting.  However, don’t worry too much about me because this cat is on to his next life.
As part of my new life I plan on taking my blogging a little more seriously.  Not that I am going to become Mr. Highbrow suddenly.  Instead, I just plan on putting some of my financial thoughts to virtual paper for the whole world to see.  Who am I writing for?  In my mind, my readership is (will be) students, co-workers, other educators and  good ol’ personal finance aficionados.  Over the years, I have had a number of requests from students and co-workers to write my ideas out for them.  Blogging will force me to finally get up on it!  I plan on writing about both money and educational topics.
Okay, enough about how I plan on resuscitating this blog.  Here is something that will get your attention.  My wife and I are both humble teachers who socked away over $90,000 in 2012.  How did we do it?  Here, take a look…   
First and foremost, we FULLY funded all of our retirement accounts.  We started maxing out ALL our retirement accounts in 2010.  We will try to do the same in 2013, but more on that in a future post.  
Retirement Contributions for 2012
Retirement Accounts
457 Plan 
403b Plan
Traditional IRA Accounts
403b pension
Total 2012 Retirement Savings


 In 2012 we also continued funding various educational accounts for our son and our nephews and nieces.  Here is the summary: 
Educational Contributions for 2012
Educational Accounts
Total 2012 Educational Savings
When you tally up the contributions and add our health savings account to the bottom line, it looks like this:

The Grand Tally! 
Retirement Savings
Educational Savings
Health Savings Account
Total 2012 Savings
Thus far, this is the most money we have ever saved in a year.  While were not “super wealthy,” we are happy with our savings prowess.  One last thought:  the financial numbers you see here are intended to illustrate the possibilities of steady and committed savings.  Writing about money always has a bragging feel to it…at least to me it does.  That is not the intent of this blog.  Instead, I hope that these blog posts will help readers take action to improve their financial bottom line.  Regardless of the economy or your current financial situation, IT CAN BE DONE! 
Next post:  2013 Goals     
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Investing:  The majority (90%+) of our money is invested at Vanguard.   If you know of a better low-cost option, please let me know.  Why Vanguard?
Net Worth Tracking:  We use Personal Capital to track our various accounts.  Personal Capital is an great way to aggregate all of your financial accounts at one easy-to-use website.  (If you have less than $100k in assets, please register with this link.)
Banking:  We have used USAA for our checking and savings accounts since 1997.  We also have checking and savings accounts at three credit unions:   AlliantElements Financial, and Navy Federal.  Finally, we have an online checking account with Simple.
Health Savings Account:  We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.
Phone Options:  My wife loves her $10 a month plan at Republic Wireless (new plans now start at $15 a month).  I had the same plan and liked it too, but unfortunately I broke my phone in Mexico.  I currently use a WiFi-enabled phone at a cost of $0 a month thanks to three Google apps: Voice, Hangouts, and Hangouts Dialer.  We also have a Skype subscription with its own number for unlimited U.S. calls ($80 a year).
Travel Rewards:  If you'd like to learn how to get "free" flights and hotel rooms, take the free course at Travel Miles 101.  When we slow travel, we use Airbnb to find low-cost, month-long rentals.  Whenever possible, we try to use Uber instead of taxis.
Credit Score/Report:  Here are some websites with free services to verify your credit history:  Credit Sesame / Credit Karma / Annual Credit Report
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  1. Congratulations, this is impressive! I don’t have access to those kind of accounts, and not sure I would max them out as my priorities are to invest aggressively in real estate and try to generate passive income.

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