I was able to reach most of my personal finance goals last year, and I’m expecting big things again in 2013. My blog and personal goals didn’t go quite as well. Hopefully this year I can do a more well-rounded job of reaching my goals.
Now that my fiancé is working and we’ve combined our money we’re obviously able to save more toward our goals. Last year I was able to save $29,000 toward my $35,000 in goals. This included four months of combined finances. This year our goals total $40,000 and we are absolutely aiming to reach them.
When determining my goals for 2013 we first had to assess where we wanted to be in the future.
20 Years: I’d like to be working for myself, have a a couple of kids, and own my home outright. I want to have the flexibility in my career to spend time with my kids and be involved in their schools and activities.
10 years: Most likely have one child by now, with a second on the way. To accomplish this we’ll need to have my monthly cash outflows under control. We will want to have a chunk of cash for emergencies as well as made progress paying down my home.
5 Years: Ready to purchase a home with a standard 20% down payment. Will begin preparing to expand the family in the next two years from this point. We want to have at least $100k in retirement savings regardless of market performance between now and then.
1-2 Years: Purchase a used car for my fiancé. Continue to max Roth IRAs and save an additional amount toward retirement.
Only after understanding where we wanted to get could we focus on the steps that we need to take in 2013 to get us on the correct path. I created a quick 5-year projection of savings needed to reach these goals…
Obviously these projections will change, but it gives us a good idea of how much we’ll need to save in the next five years to reach our goals.
#1: Save $8,000 for a car
I purchased a car in 2012, and the end of my fiancé’s car is drawing nearer. We will definitely be purchasing here a car in the next two years, and most likely we’ll be buying her a car this year. We’d most likely to be looking for something used under $10k (hopefully around $8k) so our goal for the year is going to be to save $8k toward her car.
#2: Save $2,000 for travel
We believe that we have our honeymoon taken care of, but we’re likely going to be making a short trip within the U.S. so we’re going to save $2k for that. Depending on the cost of our honeymoon, this fund may end up being used to fund excess expenses from the honeymoon.
#3: Save $16,000 toward a house
We don’t expect to be able to afford the house we want until we’re 30, but to do so we have to start saving big money now. At the end of 2012 we had $4,000 in savings toward our house and during 2013 we want to save an additional $16,000, to give us $20,000 total house savings. If we were to reach all of our goals during the year, additional savings would go toward the house.
#4: Save $11,000 to contribute to our Roth IRAs
I’ve contributed the maximum to my IRA each year since 2008 and my fiancé has done the same since 2010. This isn’t going to stop this year. With the increased 2013 IRA contribution of $5,5000, we will be saving a total of $11,000 toward our Roth IRAs.
#5: Contribute $3,000 to my Roth 401(k)
To reach our retirement goals we need to be saving beyond the Roth IRA limits. It’s annoying that IRA limits are so low, but that’s the way it is. So this year I’ll contribute $3k to my Roth 401(k).
#6: Earn an average of $2,000 per month in side income
My side income is crucial to us being able to reach our goals. Without it, we would not reach the goals that we’ve created for ourselves. Last year I earned slightly over $2,000 per month in side income, and my goal is to do the same in 2013. I don’t track this monthly, but it’s something I calculate at the end of the year.
We are looking to save $40,000 on a combined annual income of about $100,000. I think that this is doable, particularly if I can keep my side income up.
#7: Publish at least three posts per month
Last year I didn’t reach my goal of five posts per month average. This year I am altering the goal ti be at least three posts per month. While I decreased the number of monthly posts, I also changed the requirement from average per month to simply a monthly total. That means my goal is also to evenly space out content so that some months don’t have one post and others eight. Round-ups of other blogs do not count toward this total.
#8: Publish one review per month
Each month, I want to review at least one book or one service. In 2011 I published a number of reviews, but there weren’t many at all in 2012.
#9: Weigh myself on more than 300 days
I realize that I may occasionally forget, or I may be out of town, but throughout the year I will weigh myself at least 300 times using my new Withings WiFi Body Scale. This will consistently keep me aware of my weight. This new scale tracks my weight and body fat % and transmits the measurements over WiFi to the online tracking dashboard. It makes it easy to track my weight throughout the year because I won’t have to write anything down; it will do it all for me.
#10: Lose 30 pounds by June 30; 45 pounds for the year
My current weight is 243. That was tough to say, but it shouldn’t be. It’s an unbiased number that reflects reality. Our wedding is mid-July, and I’d like to shed 30 pounds in the six months between now and June 30, 2013. That’s an average of five pounds per month, or just over one pound per week. I think this is doable if I stick to it. Last year my goal was to lose one pound per week and I only lost 0.20 pounds per week, but that’s because I didn’t consistently work on it. With the wedding within sight I’m as motivated as ever to lose the weight. I’m going to start the year following Weight Watchers as I lose the easier weight. I’ll drop my allowed points as I lose the weight, and when I plateau, I’ll move to dieting “more hardcore” to each the goal. After the wedding I’ll continue to work to lose weight, but I won’t be going as hardcore. During the year I will be purchasing a laptop at some point, and I won’t allow myself to purchase a new laptop until I’ve lost 20 pounds.
#11: Go to the gym or run at least twelve times per month
The weekly goal is to exercise three times per week, which ends up being around twelve times per month. For goal tracking purposes, we’re going to go with twelve times per month.
#12: Post my health report each month
Sometimes nothing works better than humiliation, and after shirking my responsibilities last year on my weight loss, I’m going to ensure that each month I post a health update, which will include my weight graph and a scanned copy of my exercise calendar showing days worked out. If I don’t post this, PLEASE call me out on it. Don’t let me get away with ignoring it!
Man, that’s a lot of goals! I think just tracking everything is going to keep me super busy. If I’m able to reach my financial, blog, and personal goals during the year, I will consider it to be a very successful year. I’m hoping you’ll follow along and hold me accountable.
Wishing you the best success in 2013,