The end of September meant the end of the 3rd quarter of 2014. Three fourths of the year is gone! Which means it’s the perfect time to check in on how I’m doing with my goals for 2014.
I set a goal of increasing my net worth by $10,000 in 2014. I started the year off with a total net worth of $1,216. As of September 30th I had a net worth of $7,791. That’s only a $6,575 growth so far this year. Which means I’m not exactly on track right now to make my overall goal; With 75% of the year gone, I’m about $1,000 short on growth.
When I laid out my plan for growing my net worth by $10,000 in 2014, I listed 3 steps, or “mini-goals”, that would get me to that overall goal:
1) Grow my 401 k by $5,000
2) Pay down $2,000 in debt through regular monthly payments
3) Pay down $3,000 in debt through additional principle payments
Tracking the difference between #2) Regular monthly payments and #3) Additional principle payments is really more involved than I want to get, so I’ve been combining those into one goal of paying down $5,000 in debt.
The weird thing is, it’s totally possible that I could make some (or all) of my mini-goals, and not make my overall goal of growing my net worth by $10,000. How is that possible? Because while my debts have been decreasing, and my 401 k is increasing, the value of my car and “liquid assets” (i.e. cash) have been decreasing. Those decreases are a major part of why I’m not on track right now to make my overall goal.
So, how am I doing on my mini-goals?
1) 401 k Growth: $3,494
I started 2014 with $8,861 in my 401 k plan. My current 401 k balance is $12,355, which means I’ve had $3,494 in growth. That puts me at right around 70% of my goal of $5,000 in growth. Honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll make my 401 k goal this year. I set my goal with the idea that both my employer and I would be contributing 6% to my 401 k plan. That amount would have more than equaled the $5,000 in growth; any dividend or interest increases would have been gravy. But earlier in the year I decided to put my own contributions on hold. That means I’m only getting my employer’s contribution, which is half of what I was expecting to be contributed into my 401 k in 2014. If I’m going to make my goal, interest and dividends will have to make up for the rest.
2 & 3) Debt Pay Down: $5,013
I started 2014 with $78,512 in debt, which includes my mortgage, student loan, and car loan. I’ve managed to widdle that amount down to $73,499. That means I’ve already made my goal of paying off $5,000 in debt!
I had hoped to pay off my student loan this year, and had even started making some larger payments towards the balance. But then the boyfriend lost his job, and that plan was put on hold. For the time being, I’m back to building up my cash reserves, so I’m not sure I’ll be making any additional payments towards my debt this year. But my normal monthly payments will continue bringing the balances down. I expect I’ll have over $6,000 in debt paid off when 2014 ends.
With $3,494 in 401 k growth, and $5,013 in debt paid off, I’m 85% of the way to achieving my mini-goals. But my actual net worth has only increased by $6,575, or just over 65% of my $10,000 goal. See what I mean about making some goals, but not all? Regardless of whether I make all of my goals, I can still feel pretty good about the progress I’ve made this year. We all have good years and bad years. What matters most to me is that I’m staying the course, even if it takes a little longer to get there.
– Cindy W.