It’s that time of year … time to reflect on the year behind us and look forward to the year ahead. Setting goals and priorities has become an annual tradition here at Stapler Confessions.
How did We do on Our 2015 Goals:
- Save for a down payment: SUCCESS! A combination of an up market and some serious belt-tightening allowed us to put down $50,000 on our home purchase. This is $10,000 more than we had at the beginning of 2015, and most importantly — it allowed us to avoid a rate increase for having a jumbo mortgage.
- Buy a home: SUCCESS! Just in the nick of time, we moved into a wonderful home in my hometown, just in time for Little Stapler to attend one of the best elementary schools in the state.
- Pay off Mr. Stapler’s private loans: FAILURE! So we didn’t achieve this. That’s OK. I do think we will be able to make a significant payments towards debt this year (more on that later).
- Grow my estate planning practice: FAILURE! Instead of continuing to freelance, I got a salaried position — so it’s not quite applicable. I have, however, been growing my estate planning practice bit by bit in my salaried job. I get a referral bonus for business I generate, so that has an up-side.
- Earn more income this year than I did last year. SUCCESS! Yay for a salary!
2015 was a huge success, particularly when I compare it to 2014, where I achieved nothing on my goal list!
We just have 3 Financial Goals for 2016. We are keeping it short and simple.
Why? Both Mr. Stapler and I are content with our employment. We finally own our dream home. We contribute 6% of our gross incomes to retirement. All we want at this point is to stop feeling so hamstrung by our student loans and to start feeling like we’re moving forward.
In addition to being on a great trajectory, we anticipate a big financial windfall in April: Mr. Stapler’s bonus. This is the first time one of us has worked for a company that provides merit-based bonuses, and Mr. Stapler has been killing it this year. He has already received a promotion and a raise in his first year at this new company, and has been promised a substantial bonus. But we won’t know how much until the spring.
I just want to make sure that we don’t squander it. Although we feel like there are things we would like for the house — rugs, a new bed, furniture for Little Stapler’s room — we both agree that we want this bonus to help move the needle towards zero net worth.
Our 2016 Financial Goals:
- Zero Net Worth. We are currently hovering around -$30,000 in net worth. Whatever we do with that bonus (which is an entire post in and of itself), we are going to get our balance sheet to $0 this year. We still hope to buy some things for the house, but first we are going to push that needle into the black.
- $10,000 Liquid Savings. Some people believe in having a significant amount of money saved in case of emergency. I’m not necessarily in that camp, although I appreciate the value of having immediately accessible savings. This savings is for emergencies, yes, but also the beginning of a “capital expenditures” fund. It is possible that our 1999 Corolla or our 2006 Prius will need extensive repairs or will need to be replaced. This $10,000 cushion will help soften that blow — if it materializes.
- Streamline our Finances. It seems like everyone is decluttering these days. Including me. Not only am I ready to clean out even more of my closet, I am also ready to cut down the financial noise in our lives. We have a few bank accounts holding $0.05 each. I want to close those. Mr. Stapler has a 403(b) account with his former employer. I would like to roll that into another retirement account. It’s also possible that getting our net worth to $0 will eliminate some student loans that are dangling in our faces with $5,000, $10,000, and $13,000 balances. I want to toss those right on out of our lives!
There you have it: Our simple but substantial financial goals for 2016. How about you — do you have any 2016 financial goals?
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