Checkup – 2023 + Financial Goals for 2024

Welcome to another Dr. PayItBack financial checkup! I use this space to remain accountable to our expenses and goals, track net worth and debt, and muse on what was done well and what can be improved.

Budget/Cash Flow

We hewed very closely to our financial goals in 2023, with an informal “budget” of $10,000 per month and a goal savings rate of ½ to ⅔ post-tax. I put budget in quotes because we really just spend naturally without restraints, and so far we don’t seem to have any trouble meeting it (in fact spending in December 2023 came in at exactly $10k on the nose).

Our overall spending for the year came in about $40,000 less than last year’s, which is understandable given that we bought a house and car in 2022. Still, it’s reassuring to see that our costs have really not increased that much at all, despite the continued whining about inflation from loud voices on social media. Our food costs did increase by 6% in 2023, but this is easily attributable to our two boys who eat everything in sight. We also didn’t do as much traveling as in 2022 (no Disney World this year), and that will probably increase in 2024.

Our biggest purchases in 2023 were a new patio ($9,000), a new computer ($1,700), a couples vineyard weekend ($1,300), and a new phone ($1,100). It’s not hard to save when most of your spending doesn’t go above three figures!

We achieved a great mix of investing, with contributions to our mortgage, pre-tax accounts, Roth accounts, taxable account, and 529s. The above chart shows a lot of money going to cash, but that’s really just waiting to be deployed to investment accounts on 1/1/24.


According to Zillow, our house appreciated by about 4% in 2023. This is even with or just above inflation, and it takes our equity to just shy of 20%. No real implication for this, as we are already *not* paying PMI due to our physician loan.

Net Worth

Discipline with saving/investing plus a fantastic period for the markets (24% gain in the S&P in 2023) made this a remarkable year for our financial standing. Our net worth grew by $350,000, bringing us over the coveted $1,000,000 mark. Four years ago I wrote about our chances of getting to $1 million by age 40, and we beat this by almost three years. About $835,000 is in our own savings and investments (stripping out home equity, 529s, and our kids’ Roth IRAs) if you want to be very precise about it.

Financial Independence

Graph courtesy of Mad Fientist

I don’t know if I really believe this calculator any more, but it sure is nice to look at! My own calculations put the date around 2032, and Personal Capital (by far the most conservative model, and probably the most complex) thinks it’s around 2038.

Financial Goals for 2023

1) Max out 403b: $22,500 of $22,500 (100% done)
2) Max out 457b: $22,500 of $22,500 (100% done)
3) Max out backdoor Roth IRAs: $13,000 of $13,000 (100% done) ✅
4) Use taxable brokerage and Mrs. PIB’s solo 401k in addition to goals 1, 2, and 3 to save $178,000 total for retirement: $63,000 of $120,000 (52.5% done)
5) Contribute to 529s and get state tax deduction: $16,000 of $16,000 (100% done) ✅
6) Rebuild emergency fund to 3 months of spending: $30,000 of $30,000 (100% done)

Financial Goals for 2024

1) Max out 403b: $23,000
2) Max out 457b: $23,000
3) Max out backdoor Roth IRAs: $14,000
4) Use taxable brokerage and Mrs. PIB’s solo 401k in addition to goals 1, 2, and 3 to save $180,000 total for retirement: $120,000
5) Max out 529s for state tax benefit: $16,000
6) Increase umbrella insurance to $2,000,000

How Far I’ve Come

12 thoughts on “Checkup – 2023 + Financial Goals for 2024”

    • Thank you! Being able to do our normal daily spending without worrying about price tags gives me so much more joy than buying a $15k watch or whatever. Not to shame at all, I’m just grateful that I’m a cheap date.

  1. Hi! My husband and I always read your posts. We have three boys around the same age as yours, and I was wondering what income your kids earn in order to be able to put money into their IRAs given their young age. Do you keep track of their “wages” and do you file their taxes at the end of the year?

    • Thanks for reading! My wife has a small business/sole proprietorship, and when it was getting off the behind the kids were employed as models for the website/advertising. We kept time sheets and filed W2s/W3s at the end of the year.

  2. Hey there,
    long-time follower. You influenced me to get Roth-ing in training, so thanks for that. Closed out anesthesia residency, and doing ICU & CT now. The comment above about how you are 100% self-taught got me thinking about what resources you’d recommend beyond JL Collins’ book. The fees are wild for planners (even for attending earnings), and I feel like I’m making it more complex than it need to be.

    I’m gna copy and paste your annual goals b/c I like simple. Anything else I should anticipate reading/learning as I exit my training path in a year and some? Thanks!

    • Thanks for reading! I would definitely recommend the first white coat investor book, and searching that site for specific topics if you need. I don’t read as much of the current stuff bc it seems mostly like affiliate marketing and pitching real estate these days. The bogleheads forum is another great resource for specific questions.

  3. Really enjoy your reading your progress and transparency throughout your career! I am applying for residency and your blog has encouraged me to better track my finances year to year. I was curious what program you use for creating your net worth line graph and other net worth graph listed. I primarily do everything through Google Sheets and haven’t be able to make anything look so nice!

  4. Love reading your stuff. Is there any reason you picked $180,000 as your annual goal for total saving for retirement? Is it just what was left with your budget? Seems like a much loftier goal than the usual 10-15% I see.

    • Thanks! It’s basically 403b + 457 + IRAs + a rather arbitrary (at this point anyway) $10k/month in taxable. I won’t lose much sleep if the taxable is $8k or $5k or whatever.


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