December is always such an exciting time for our finances. I usually love updating all of our numbers for the end of the year. I enjoy reflecting on where we were at the beginning of the year and where we finished it. I had none of the typical excitement when entering our year-end numbers in 2020.
Enduring a global pandemic for most of the year put a damper on that joy. This past year was full of chaos and change. At the end of it, I can say that for us, our financial picture was better than most. But it was a year unlike any other, in all of the ways, and our finances were no exception.
This month was disappointing because all of our best travel plans fell through. We’d initially planned to spend the holidays in the Canary Islands. We changed course in April, feeling uncertain about international travel. That turned out to be wise. Our consolation prize was supposed to be a 10-day trip to Hawaii. Travel restrictions to Hawaii made this a challenging plan, but we thought we could make it worse. Then, Mr. Vine’s mom received a scary medical diagnosis. She was scheduled to have surgery the day we planned to fly to Hawaii. We decided instead to visit her in Florida. It was a shorter trip and felt more essential than a simple vacation.
We braved air travel and learned that we are nowhere near comfortable with that. We were astonished at how many people in Florida behaved as if life was totally normal–crowding into restaurants and shopping centers. We’d structured our trip so that we would not have to eat out at restaurants and could essentially isolate, aside from our flights. On the flights we wore KN95 masks and face shields, which did not come off in the airport or on the plane. We took a test before departure, while in Florida and again on our return. All came back negative so we must have done some things right!
It was the first time we’d boarded a plane in nearly a year, since our Costa Rica trip in February 2020. We now have lots of travel credits from the canceled Hawaii trip–which we may take some time in 2021.
During December, all of the demolition happened in preparation for our renovation. And then nothing else happened. With the holidays, the project stalled out and very little progress happened.
As you can see from the quarterly progress to goal chart, our net worth continues its upward climb. The stock market growth has been somewhat puzzling. But it reinforces the idea that investments that favor the wealthy and powerful will likely always perform well.