2017 Financial Goals
Was it just me or did this year seemed to be an especially hectic holiday season? Maybe it is because Jett is getting older and more involved with our holiday traditions or maybe it was because sales had picked up for my clients, but it resulted in making a realization that I've never been able to put my finger on before. I have always struggled coming off the holidays and as each year gets busier and busier through the holidays, this year was the worst. I spent the first couple of weeks in January in a bit of a haze, floating with no purpose, just out of sorts. But the realization I had, after coming out of the post-holiday coma, was that my brain really needed that time to zone out and recover after the craziness.
One of the things that I had time to think about during my first-of-the-year stupor was our financial goals for this year. We are a few short months (budget update coming at the end of January!) away from paying off all of our consumer debts and we are back on track with our debt snowball after the holidays! So, in natural type-A fashion, I really wanted to take a look at some of our goals for this year!
Finish Baby Step Two Strong
The end of 2016 was a bit lackluster in the debt snowball department with things like life, the holidays, and general lack of spark getting in the way. But now that I can almost see the end, I am so so determined to get 'er done and finish this mess up! We are down to our last three debts:
Car Loan: $3,900
Credit Card: $4,437.03
Student Loan: $ 7,780.64
At our current rate of about $2,000 a month we should have this paid off in the next eight months but our goal is to do as much as we can to finish it all by June. That way we have the rest of the year to save up our fully-funded emergency fund... which brings me to goal number two:
Fully Fund Our Emergency Fund
For my entire life my emergency fund has consisted of two things: my credit card and my father. Any time we have had any kind of emergency, be they a real emergency or not, my fallback was always to whip out my credit card and pray it had enough credit to successfully process or tuck my tail between my legs and ask my dad for money.
Don't get me wrong: I have been so very blessed to have my father be so generous and helpful to me financially throughout my life. He has quite literally bailed me out of many situations and for his generosity I am truly thankful. But I think that by always having that security net there, it stunted a bit of my financial maturity, so I'm ready to get rid of it and be a fully functioning adult money-wise. That is why I am chomping at the bit to get my emergency fund stockpiled with cash because that is when I will finally feel successful as an adult and I will no longer have to rely on my father or a credit card in an emergency.
For our family expenses, we think we will need around $25,000 in our emergency fund, and that will take us roughly eight months to save up. Again, I'm planning to do some other things to hopefully boost our income, tighten up our budget, and make that happen before the end of the year.
Start Researching & Interviewing Financial Advisers
After we get our emergency fund in place it will be time to find a financial adviser that we trust and who will educate us on our investments, rather than just taking our money and doing stuff with it. I want to be extremely involved in this process, as our money needs to be working really hard for us if we want to accomplish some of our long term goals!
It is important to find an adviser that will show you what to do, rather than tell you what to do, because in the end, it should be your decision since it is your money. If you don't know what your money is supposed to be doing, how will you know if it is performing well or needs to be moved? If you don't know where your money is invested, how will you know what it is supposed to be doing? I am always up for learning new anything so I am excited to start this process!
What kind of investments do we need? We plan on both opening a Roth IRA and start education savings for Jett. We can only put $11,000/year in Roth IRA accounts so we plan to invest above and beyond that into mutual funds. Once we get to the amount that reaches 15% of our income, we will start throwing money into savings/investments to buy a house with. That comes later down the road though, because ideally we would like to be able to buy a house with cash.
Those are our three big financial goals this year and knowing that we can, and will, achieve them makes me feel SO GOOD. All of our hard work is paying off, and being able to see these big steps in our journey coming up so soon is so encouraging to my spirit. If you compared us financially two years ago to where we are today - it is like night and day. If you had ever told me I would feel hopeful about our finances or realistically planning to pay for a home in cash, I would have honestly laughed at you. But now - it is really happening, and a realistic goal. The ultimate goal. Because after that - we will be set for life and Jett will be set for life.
What are your financial goals for this year?