The end of March means that the first quarter of 2015 is officially gone! At the end of each quarter I like to take a look at how I’m doing on my goals for that year. Going in to 2015, I set 5 financial goals that I wanted to achieve:
1) Grow my net worth by $10,000.
2) List the house.
3) Pay off my student loan.
4) Invest $3,000 in a retirement account.
5) Earn $500 in “Side Income”.
I made a few changes to how I set my goals this year. First off, I wanted each goal to be independent of the others. In 2014, I set a main goal of growing my net worth by $10,000, and then set three mini-goals that would help me achieve that goal. About halfway through the year, I started to regret the way I’d setup my goal. If I didn’t grow my 401(k) by the amount I’d set in my mini-goal, but still grew my net worth by $10,000, did I fail at both goals? It was so confusing! So, this year, each goal is its own goal, independent of every other goal. I can fail at one, without it having any bearing on the others.
The second thing I tried to do this year was to make my goals more of a stretch. I wanted actionable goals that I could actually do things to affect. I didn’t want to just be sitting on the sidelines, waiting to see how things turned out. I want to be able to do things throughout the year, like saving more, or earning more, that will get me closer to my goals. I want to know that success (or failure) is directly caused by my actions (or inaction), not something I can’t control, like market fluctuations.
So, how am I doing?
1) Grow my net worth by $10,000. I ended March with a net worth of $15,201 which is $3,505 than the $11,696 I had at the start of 2015. I’m 35% towards my goal. Not too shabby, since only 25% of the year is gone. Of course, the year always starts off great, because of my tax refund. We’ll see how things go from here.
2) List the house. Done! Not only did we list the house, but we have accepted an offer. If everything goes well, we’ll be closing mid-May, and the house will be gone before the end of the second quarter!
3) Pay off my student loan. Done! Actually, Sallie Mae now owes me $105. Hopefully that will get straightened out here shortly. But my student loan days are officially history!
4) Invest $3,000 in a retirement account. I personally have invested $377.72 in my employer’s 401(k) plan. This doesn’t include any employer contributions, or interest/dividends/market gains. That puts me a little over 12% towards my goal. I’m way behind where I need to be. Honestly, I could easily knock out this goal before the end of the summer. However, I decided last month that I’m going to switch gears:
4-b) Pay off the car loan. Now that the student loan is gone, I’d like to focus my attention on my car loan. I ended 2014 owing $18,724. I still owe $17, 824, which means I’ve paid off $901 (or a little less than 5%) so far this year. I probably won’t be able to pay it all off by the end of 2015. Let’s be honest, that’s a crazy big goal! But, I feel like setting a crazy big goal helps motivate me to kick butt and try really hard. Even if I don’t get it all paid off by the end of 2015, working on it crazy hard all year means it will be much closer to gone when we start into 2016. I do NOT want this loan festering on for years!
I do plan on holding off until after we close on the house in mid-May, or at least until I have a better feel for how the inspection, appraisal and closing costs are all going to pan out. In the mean time, I’m going to be stockpiling all of my extra cash.
5) Earn $500 in “Side Income”. I’ve made $107 so far this year, mainly from selling things on Craigslist. We also scrapped some metal for $37, from some old screens and window frames I replaced at the house. That puts me 21% towards my goal. Honestly, with everything else going on this year, I don’t foresee me coming up with any stellar side hustle projects. But with selling the house, we’ll be getting rid of a lot of stuff. I hope to have a yard sale sometime this Spring, before we close on the house. I might be able to sell some larger items on Craigslist, although I haven’t had the best of luck with that so far this year. I still plan on making this goal, but not by doing anything that I can turn into a sustainable side hustle.
It’s only April, and I’ve already knocked out 2 of my 5 goals for this year. If I stuck with the original plan, I could see achieving all of my goals by the end of the summer. Adding the goal of paying off the car loan should only really affect being able to put $3,000 into retirement accounts. I still plan on putting money into my company’s 401(k), it just won’t be enough to make my $3,000 goal. At this point in my life, I think I’m better served by focusing on becoming debt-free.
So far, 2015 is shaping up to be a great year!
– Cindy W.