Big Money Moves in 2017 – Putting Over $250,000 To Work



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Do you plan your big moves out in advance? Or do you just fly by the seat of your pants?

I believe that if you want to do something extraordinary in any aspect of your life, you have to be pre-meditated. That’s not to say there isn’t room for serendipity, but I can’t stress enough the importance of being intentional with the decisions you make, that will ultimately act as the stepping stones to your desired destination.

Those who fail to plan, plan to fail!

I don’t want you to look back on your life 40 years from now, only to be disappointed that you were not more intentional with the direction of your financial life. The reason that I share so much of my financial life on this blog, is to motivate and move YOU to ACTION.

I have witnessed in my own life, that those that choose to do what everyone else is doing, end up getting what most get…NOT MUCH WORTH WRITING ABOUT!!!

If you have yet to plan a few big moves for 2017, please stop reading, find a quiet place that you can spend 30 minutes to an hour deciding what money moves you will take in 2017.

Now that you have your list, let me remind you of the mantra we all know all too well in the personal finance space.


Keeping this mantra top of mind will go a long way in helping to ensure that you’re able to follow through on your big money goals. Simply put, figure out the total value of the money moves you plan to make, and then break it down weekly, monthly, quarterly, or whatever time frame that aligns with your big money moves.

My Big Money Goals for 2017

1 – Deploy $105,000 to acquire equity in the company I work for. As a part of my promotion to the C-Suite, in conjunction with a 40% raise, I was also offered the opportunity to take an equity position in the company. I was granted 6,000 shares worth $300,000, where I was required to put up 35% of the value, with the company financing the remaining 65%.

This opportunity wasn’t even on my radar back when I created my blueprint to a $10M net worth. However, in my original plan, I did call out a 4% allocation to “Business”. My original idea was that this blog would turn into an asset that would be spitting off enough income to make the site worth $400K. This blog has a long way to go to hit that point, but this investment in 2017 will now also occupy this new category of net worth.

2 – Pay Down $28,800 in Additional Mortgage Principle. We are about to start the 3rd year of our 7 year plan to pay off the mortgage on our primary residence. In the 1st year, we paid an additional $9,600 towards the mortgage. In 2016 the plan called for an additional pay down of $19,200, but we ended up paying an additional $26,400 due to a cash-in refinance to lock in a 2.25% interest rate.

We ended 2016 ahead of the plan by $7,200 due to the refinance, we really only need to pay down $21,600 in 2017, but instead we will be using this as an opportunity to speed up the plan a bit. If things continue to go as well as they have these past few years, we are considering expediting this goal to 5 years instead of 7 years.

3 – Max Out 401K with $18,000 Contributions. This is a practice that I started right out of college. I would actually recommend recent college graduates to consider doing the same as early as possible. My bet is that even with maxing out your 401K, you will still be taking home more money than you were during college. This is an annual money move I make automatically.

At the end of every year, I recalculate the percentage of my income that will need to be withheld from my pay in order to completely max out my 401K every year. SET IT AND FORGET IT!

4 – Max Out HSA with $6,750 in Contributions. Again this is another money move that is set to auto pilot. I contribute approximately $260 over 26 pay periods. Although we do pay for some qualified medical expenses from this account, this is really thought of as just another pre-tax investment account.

My wife doesn’t have a qualified plan at her place of work and our income level disqualifies us from any tax benefit of contributing to a private IRA. This allows us another bucket to put money away tax-free.

5 – Refinance Our Rental to Free Up Cash Flow. We are in the 11th year of a 30 year mortgage on our rental condo, which has largely been a break even proposition from a cash flow perspective. Even with the recent jump in rates after the election, a refinance and resetting the term of the loan will allow us to free up about $300/month. This should be a very low cost refinance, like others we have done. This is just a follow through from a refinance we attempted in 2016, only enough time has passed to allow amortization and appreciation to get us to a point that we are not going to have to bring any cash to the table (outside of the $1,000 or so for minimal closing costs).

These are the top 5 money moves that the GYFG household will be making. These are not the only money moves we will make, but these are the ones we have identified we for sure want to execute in 2017.

This will put about $160,000 to work in 2017.

By the end of 2017, we will have about $16,000 in our HSA, and I had made a mental note to invest that money once we got the balance over $10,000. So, I will be looking to put up to 80% of the value of the account to work, by investing money in an S&P 500 index fund that is available in the HSA account.

Another thing I have been working on is putting the cash stock pile I have sitting in my IRA and 401K to work. Currently, any new money contributed to my 401K gets invested into an S&P 500 index fund. However, there is about $46,000 of $56,000 sitting in cash. Additionally, there is $40,000 of about $90,000 in my IRA that is sitting in cash as well. So, another money move in 2017 will be to put this $86,000 to work over the course of 2017.

Lastly, we will have up to another $50,000 to $100,000 of new money to put to work, that we have yet to decide how we want to deploy. We continue to dream about picking up an additional piece of real estate, but have failed to pull the trigger (maybe 2017 will be different or maybe we will stick to the crowd funding platforms).

I would also like to put some money to work in my after tax brokerage account. Of course, there will be plenty more details to come in future posts as we actually put our money to work.

So, what are your big money moves for 2017? Do you have any multi-year goals that require a certain amount of action be taken in 2017? How many of your BIG money moves are automated?

– Gen Y Finance Guy

Gen Y Finance Guy

Hey, I’m Dom - the man behind the cartoon. You’ll notice that I sign off as "Gen Y Finance Guy" on all my posts, due to the fact that I write this blog anonymously (at least for now). I like to think of myself as the Chief Freedom Officer here of my little corner of the internet. In the real world, I’m a former 30-something C-Suite executive turned entrepreneur turned capital allocator. I am trying to humanize finance by sharing my own journey to Financial Freedom. I believe in total honesty and transparency. That is why before I ever started blogging, I decided that I would share all of my own financial stats. I do this not to brag, but instead to inspire motivate, and also to hold myself accountable. My goal is to be a beacon of hope, motivation, and inspiration, for you, the reader, by living life by example and sharing it all here on the blog. My sincere hope is that you will be able to learn from me - both from my successes and my failures! Read More



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38 Responses

  1. Awesome! You are in the big leagues now!!

    After many chats with friends who study personal finance, and asking questions on different blogs, I’ve figured out what I’m going to do this year. I currently am paying $140 in PMI a month and have roughly $30k of principal to pay down to get rid of PMI. I’m going to pay down that $30k in 9 months, and get rid of PMI. In addition, I will be maxing out my contributions to my IRA, and continue to grow my blog in the mean time. Should be a great year!!

    Thanks for sharing, I’m inspired by your work and your thoughts each time I read. – Erik

  2. I discovered the power of investing early last year and have slowly been adding to the engine. This year, I’m also planning on putting at least $105,000 to work for me. Next stop is $250,000 in Wet worth .

    Love reading your posts to keep me focused on the bigger picture – D4F

  3. That is a large chunk to put to work! You know my feelings about the best place to put it for a long term investment.

    I’m curious how you are going to put your money to work in your IRA / why / how long you have been sitting in so much cash. I’m also sitting in mostly cash the last 2 months and need to put it to work more wisely.

    1. Brian – It is a large chunk of cheddar to put to work!

      I do know where you would put the money. We have put new additions of investment real estate off the list for 2017; my wife and I just are not ready for another. Instead we are going to do a lot more hard money lending through a new platform…more details to come on 3/6/17.

      I actually wrote this a few months ago and have since put 100% of the $40,000 cash position in my IRA to work. Some of it was sitting their from covered calls that were exercised, giving me max profit, but stripping me of the position. There was also a bit of dry powder in there to take advantage of a significant down move, that just never seem to come. I still have about the same cash position in my 401K…well less the $27,000 loan I took from it recently to help manage cash flow with planned investments and putting my brother into rehab.

  4. Woooo! Way to play in the big leagues, Gen Y Guy. 🙂 It’s a great thing that you’re decreasing your taxable income, too. Our big money move for 2017 is less impressive but still wonderful: we’re paying off $65,000 of student loans. It feels WONDERFUL to see our net worth slowly crawling out of the red each month. 🙂

  5. Nice plan. Rock On

    Early feb, I deployed a windfall fully into option writing. I am considering doing the same with our too big cash position in the EF we have. The first one was an easy to do, the second one will be mentally hardre, both for me and my wife.

    At year end, i consider using the 3 yearly review to extend the mortgage and free up cash flow. We have, after tax benefit, close to 0 intererst, so, it is worth the thought.

  6. This is why I love reading your blog so much. The big numbers get me fired up and motivated.

    My “big” moves for 2017:
    1) pay of 25 000€ in student debt (planned for during the summer, when my bonus hits)
    2) Add 30% to my net worth

  7. I am going to max my Roth early this year. Extra funds in my savings at year end will go towards taxable account. I moved my 401k % up a bit and depending on other expenses may up it again. That’s what I’ve got for this year.
    401k maxing out is my plan for next year. 🙂

    1. Brad – We were planning to refinance into another 5/1 ARM at 4.125%. The goal was to free up cash flow and we thought we would be able to do it for little cost, but we actually just decided over the weekend that the $7,000 they wanted to charge was not worth moving forward. It would still free up about $120/month in cash flow but the payback didn’t make sense at 58 months (just shy of the 5 year fixed term).

      I was a bit naive in not knowing that we had two adjustments to the rate offered due to the fact that it was (1) a rental and (2) a condo.

      Right now we don’t have plans to pay it off early, nor do we plan to stretch it into perpetuity.

      Do you have other thoughts?

      1. That ARM rate seems high. You should be able to get a 30-year fixed around 4% and a 15-year around 3.25%. I’m a big fan of the lower rate and a 15 year term. I’m also a fan though of accelerated payoff – no regrets since we paid off our mortgage and freed that monthly cashflow.

        Need to run some math I suppose to see how the best rate works out for you. You can also go longer term to lower the monthly payment then pay extra to shorten the term.

        Every $100k financed 1/2% higher only costs you about $500/year… less of course with the tax deduction. So I think you have a lot of flexibility and options.

        I do think rates are going to head up though, so I’d be VERY cautious about adjustable rate options. In fact, personally I’d avoid them.

        1. Brad – those rates you quote on the 30-year and 15-year are whats being offered on primary residences. We have shopped around and we can not find any lender willing to provide those rates on a rental (let alone rental condo). The spread is typically 0.5% to 1% higher for rental properties.

          Would love to learn differently if you know of lenders giving those rates out on rentals. If I could get that 4% rate on the 30-year term, I would lock that up in a heart beat. Let me know if you know a lender.

          I am also a fan of accelerated payoff, but we are currently focused on paying off our primary residence based on our 7-year plan. We are currently in year 3 of 7 and are not scheduled to make another extra payment until April due to a cash-in refinance that we did last summer.

          1. Last I checked, and it has been a couple of years, I was offered a rate that was about .25% higher for an investment property over residential. That was with 25% down (more down got me a better rate offer), on a single-family house, and through a bank at which I’ve used for about 15 years – so a good relationship.

            You might want to check out LendingTree just for the heck of it. Let multiple lenders send over some offers. Then if one of the rates is better, share that with your favorite bank and ask them to beat it. With some work you can often knock a few basis points of a loan.

  8. Deploy that capital!

    We’re going to save $57,400 in pre-tax accounts this year and another $11,000 in tax-advantaged accounts. I’m always on the look out for more ways to shelter income (and more income).

  9. I am waffling and probably won’t decide until the end of the year, because I could skip the taxable account and be ready to fund my 2018 Roth early in the year. But it really is a ways and many other money decisions later. 🙂

  10. That’s brilliant Dom! Love your hustle man it’s an inspiration, it’s about time I start kicking myself into gear and as part of my big trip overseas that will be a part, back end of 2017 and 2018 for big money goals here I go.

    My objective will be to acquire min 3 properties in 2018! Watch this space

  11. Your blog has definitely found its niche.
    There isn’t another one out there that can chronicle the financial journey of a young professional in the C suite.

    It will be really cool to see you in another decade and if you take your skills to a larger organization and can educate us about the different financial decisions you have to make for those positions.

    To the question:
    I live in a very low cost of living area so my plan of automation is investing in low cost condos (<50k) for <10k down on each one.
    I don't have to worry about exterior maintenance, repair, snow or lawn care. just the renter and the interior. I have two so far.
    I already do what you suggest above which is max out retirement vehicles and invest prodigiously the remainder.

    1. Thanks Jason!

      I agree, the site certainly has found its niche, and I am excited that I will have everything documented to look back and reflect on. That said, I think that the content I produce can only get better over time 🙂

      Love the investment plan.

  12. Investing half your net worth in new investments is a monster move. Good luck!

    I invested $250,000 in a real estate crowdfunding fund in February. Target IRR is 15% with a 8% pref.

    We shall see!


    1. Sam – I agree, this is a monster move, but the good news is that it should only be about 35% of my net worth by the end of 2017 based on my projected savings (and before any gains/losses).

      Like you have said before in comments on your blog, at some point I have to get those seeds planted, if I want to reach that $10M goal.

      The crowdfunding deal you invested in sounds interesting. Is the 8% paid monthly? What is the projected time horizon on the 15% IRR?

      Based on your net worth though, that $250K is what 3%? Looking forward to the day I can put chunks of capital like that to work, that represent small percentages of my net worth. One day at a time, right?

  13. Great deployment plan! I’m sure you’ll be able to pay off that property in a revised 5-year plan too. What are your thoughts about ETFs and Index funds for the additional funds of $50-$100k mentioned?

    1. At the current price levels I am not interested in putting any new money to work in equities, so I will probably be building up the cash war chest until we get at least a 10% pull back in the market, before I put any new money into index funds (at least outside of my 401K, which invests in an S&P 500 index fund automatically).

  14. Brad – I am willing to miss out on that, but would participate in my 401K.

    I am putting money to work elsewhere, but also want to build up the cash stash again to be ready for bigger opportunities.

  15. I was lucky enough to refinance just before the “Trump rally” but I found that I typically was looking at around 50bps for my condo compared to a standard residential mortgage. I would be a little bit worried about the 5/1 ARM especially if we do see rates continue to push higher from here unless you’re looking to pay it all off within 5 years (I’ve got a balloon payment coming up on a commercial property I have in just under 5 years so doing what I can to knock that down to near nothing). Like Brad said it doesn’t hurt to check out Lending Tree but I’ve also dealt directly with some brokers who were able to get better rates if you’re looking to hold for the entire 15 years.

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