Becoming Worthless and 2017 Goals

2016 has been an incredible year for us. We kicked it off with Distilled Dollar making a scary projection for the year. Read to the end to see our big goals for 2017. Before I dive into details of what our goals were, I’ll harp on one piece that we’ve accomplished: becoming worthless by the end of the year. We wanted our assets to surpass our debts and we’re happy to report in that WE DID IT!! WOO!

The long road out of debt continues, but we’re happy to be reporting a positive net worth now, albeit a few dollars! 🙂

Seeing the color go from red to black on our net worth has been a monumental feeling. The journey is far from over, but we’ve confident in our abilities to grow wealth ever since we officially combined our forces earlier this year. Our pace of building wealth is there, now we just need discipline and time to see more results.

The last piece of this post will detail our 2017 goals, but first, a recap:

2016 Results and Becoming Worthless


Our original goal was to DOUBLE our savings rate from 20% to 40%. We’ve accomplished that goal and in Q4 we even managed to TRIPLE our savings rate to 60%. Why? Because our goal is to transition from employee to investor, as soon as possible.

Many people have asked us why we sacrifice so much to gain our version of “peace of mind”. I balk at the question since frugality has helped us spend our time wisely.

Frugality isn’t a sacrifice.

Frugality is a means to gain more freedom and we’ve been taking advantage of it all year.

Given the amount of extra security we feel today, we won’t forget that lesson anytime soon.

How We Went from Saving 20% to 60% Within One Year


I’ve been seeing more requests to detail the different savings habits we’ve gone through to go from 20% to 60% savings rate.

After all, that is a VERY quick change.

It is crazy to think it would have taken us until January 2019 to save as much at 20%. We’re now two years ahead of our old curve and decades ahead of where we used to live: paycheck to paycheck.

I’m happy to say I’ve been putting together EVERY STRATEGY we’ve implemented in 2016 to achieve that result. I’m working on the post now, so expect to see it in January.

I have mentioned nearly every idea here on the blog before, but I know it will be helpful to breakdown every strategy into one article. Hopefully, when the post comes out, some people will adopt a few of the same strategies to see 5%, 10%, or more increases in their savings rate.

After all, even a 1% change can mean the difference of retiring 2 years earlier.

Goals for 2017


Now for the scariest part of this post.

In 2016 we saved a total of $50k. That was accomplished thanks to doubling our savings rate.

For 2017, we aim to save a total of $80k. This translates to making our Q4 2016 savings rate permanent across all of 2017.

We wish we could call it our “investing rate”. After all, we’re investing into our future security and buying a piece of that freedom with each paycheck.

We don’t imagine having 30 or 40 year careers climbing the corporate ladder.

Work becomes much more enjoyable when money is an afterthought.

We’re thrilled to live the lifestyle that makes us happy without buying the luxuries that tie us down.

We love to travel and spend on a few vacations each year (including one to Hawaii), but we don’t want to have luxury cars and a house we can barely afford.

2017 will be another year of exciting  growth in the Distilled Dollar household and we’re thrilled to have you along for the journey.

Where do you see yourself at the end of 2017? If you don’t typically make projections or goals, what is something big you hope to accomplish in the near future?


P.S. I’ll be outlining my Blog goals in the next few weeks so be on the lookout for those. My original goals from 2016 were hit within the first few months so I might need to expand my horizon as I make 2017 goals. Thanks again for making this site a success!

19 comments… add one
  • [email protected] Dec 28, 2016, 5:09 am

    Congratulations on reaching a positive net worth! Next year is going to be exciting for you, you’re going to see your net worth go up by many, many multiples. 🙂

  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life Dec 28, 2016, 6:24 am

    Congrats on being in the black! That’s a huge milestone! And best of luck with the 2017 goal.

  • Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies Dec 28, 2016, 7:01 am

    Woohoo! Stunning savings rate, too! 🙂 I’m so excited to continue following your journey. You are doing amazing things in an expensive city!

    As much as I hate, hate, hate, HATE our mortgage, our house is the best investment we’ve ever made. It’s appraising at well over $60K past what we bought it for and that’s without accounting for any of the work my husband has done. We got in at just the right time, and we’re fully aware that we could likely never do it again. So while I don’t calculate my net worth on my blog, that’s always been a bit of an ace up my sleeve. Not sure it’ll last, but it’s be fun to watch the value climb (though we’ll get hammered with a tax increase next year).

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher Dec 28, 2016, 7:02 am

    That’s so fantastic; congratulations on getting in the black! I won’t be in the black for some time now (damn student loans and mortgage), but it’s good to see others achieving this milestone. 🙂 I’ll be on the lookout for that post on how you cut costs! We’ve been hovering around the 50% savings mark and I’d love to make it even higher in 2017.

  • Roadrunner Dec 28, 2016, 7:40 am

    Congratulations, I really can feel your happiness by reading this post. Having a positive net worth is already a big success and your saving rate is more than great. In a couple of years you definitely won’t live from paycheck to paycheck as you won’t have any, only the passive income.
    Well done and I wish you at least this much success for the new year!

  • [email protected] Dec 28, 2016, 8:31 am

    Congrats Matt! What an awesome year! That’s an amazing goal for next year – but you have set up some great habits and can see the value in what you are doing! You and the soon to be “Mrs. DD” are on an amazing adventure! Happy New Year!

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Dec 28, 2016, 10:24 am

    Way to go Matt – I always knew you’d be worthless someday! 😉

    Looking forward to reading your strategies in January. Have a great New Year!

  • Amber tree Dec 28, 2016, 3:10 pm

    No need to say more: “We love to travel and spend on a few vacations each year (including one to Hawaii), but we don’t want to have luxury cars and a house we can barely afford.”
    Same here… Experience above material items that come with financial liabilities in the form of insurance, tax,…

    Impressive savings improvement… I wish you the best for 2017!

  • Daniel Palmer Dec 28, 2016, 3:42 pm

    Nice job on the positive net worth. But even more admirable is your savings rate!

  • Dividend Diplomats Dec 28, 2016, 6:45 pm

    Distilled –

    Pump you are taking on the 60% challenge : ) Something I’ve done now for years, and Bert as well over at the Dividend Diplomats. The 60% threshold is hard but ever so rewarding, and I cannot wait for you to continue building assets and income. KEEP GOING, heck – go for 75% for a few months and see where you land. Stretch yourself!!! Congrats, again.


  • Ricard Torres @ Escaping to Freedom Dec 29, 2016, 7:12 am

    Massive congrats Matt!! Think about it this way: you’ll NEVER have a negative net worth again (hopefully). It’s like when you turn 10 and you realise that you’ll always have a double-digit age for as long as you live – unless you get really lucky and reach 100!

    Looking forward to your reading about your blogging goals! 🙂

  • Jay Dec 29, 2016, 9:13 am

    Congratulations Matt on all that you and your partner have accomplished this year. It’s very impressive to see the ground to cover, and to think that you’re just getting started! I hope you had a great holiday season and look forward to keeping up to date with your progress in the new year and beyond!

  • Chris @ Keep Thrifty Dec 30, 2016, 8:39 pm

    Congrats on doing so well on your goals this year! You guys are looking it!

    I’m sure 2017 will be even better. Excited to follow along!

  • Millennial Money Dec 31, 2016, 1:09 am

    60 is totally the new 20 🤘Per your own suggestions I look forward to hearing about your soon to be escalation to a 61% savings rate 😝

  • Stephen Dec 31, 2016, 4:15 pm

    Congrats on the great year! 60% saving rate is pretty huge! You can be retired in no time with that!

  • Derek Hopper Jan 1, 2017, 3:24 pm

    Boom! 60% is so great. I hope someday we’ll be there with you. As a casual video gamer, these savings rate goals seem like online leader boards. Love seeing everyone mention their savings rates.

    We set a goal of 25% for 2017 with a stretch goal of 40%. I think we can get to 40% if we stay focused. It’s so crazy how the math adds up over time (like you said, a 1% difference can be huge). Then you realize you’re spending your time better with the frugal lifestyle. You don’t have all that extra noise that isn’t important.

  • The Grounded Engineer Jan 3, 2017, 8:27 pm

    Aside from the normal investment accounts, 401(k), HSA, and IRA, where else do you invest or save money into? I’m trying to determine if saving for a new car and home improvements “technically” counts as part of my saving rate goal for 2017.

    • Distilled Dollar Jan 3, 2017, 9:08 pm

      Outside of tax advantages accounts, we’re putting much of the extra savings into our student loans. As an accountant, I’m disallowing my interest payments and treat these as an expense separate from our savings rate. The way I see it, if our cash reduces our principal, then that’s the same thing as placing cash into an index fund (from an accounting & savings rate perspective anyway).

      We haven’t had any big “future expenses,” but we treat anything on that level as being on an accrual basis. So, we don’t count the expense until it actually happens, regardless of when the cash is paid.

      Hypothetically, if we save for 2 years for a wedding, those savings would be a part of our savings rate those 2 years. If on the 3rd year we marry and incur a giant bill, then that expense will only be counted in year 3 as the party occurred then.

  • Lance @ My Strategic Dollar Jun 18, 2017, 8:29 pm

    $80K is an impressive goal! Looking forward to seeing your progress.

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