I’ll be honest, I’ve set many a New Year’s Resolutions in my lifetime, and can’t think of a single one I’ve ever kept. Most years are pretty much the same; Lose weight, exercise, be more awesome. No matter how much I think, or want, or plan, they never turn out. So as 2014 was rolling in, I was kinda over the resolution thing.
That being said, I think there is something to setting a plan for the year. Every successful business starts the new year with a plan; sales goals, budgets, service metrics. The difference is that a good business sets goals according to past performance, trends, and well, logic. They have research and statistics and information that backs up why their goals make sense. Saying the 2014 me is going to be totally different from the 2013 me isn’t exactly based in reality. It’s just wishful thinking.
With all that in mind, I’m making 1 main goal for 2014: To grow my net worth by $10,000.
If you looked at my ending Net Worth for 2013, that may seem like a lofty goal. After all, I only grew my net worth by $2,970 in 2013. But as I pointed out in Where Did the Money Go, I had over $10,000 in expenses paid out in 2013 that didn’t change my net worth. Plus, I added a new debt with the new vehicle, which also put a dent in my net worth.
With that in mind, I’ve formulated a plan as to how I think I can grow my net worth by $10,000 in 2014:
1) Grow my 401k by $5,000+. Alright, this falls into “totally doable, if the markets don’t go to hell”. I contribute $51.35 each week to my 401k, which my employer matches. That equals out to $5,340.40 that will be deposited into my 401k during 2014. Hopefully, I’ll also see some growth in 2014. But my balance right now is fairly small (~$8,900), which means small amounts in growth. On the plus side, if the market turns, that also means smaller amounts in losses. So, going into 2014, I figure I’ll be happy to maintain the balance, and any growth is gravy.
2) Pay Down $2,000+ Debt through “Regular” Payments. In 2013, I paid down $2,106 in principal payments between the mortgage, the student loan, and the Escape loan. I paid much, much more than that in interest payments, since all of these loans are still in the first half of their life, when most of the payments go towards interest instead of principal. Which is why step 3 is important:
3) Put at LEAST $3,000 (but hopefully closer to $5,000) towards Debt Repayment. This debt repayment will be in addition to my regular monthly payments. 2014 is my year to officially start digging myself out of debt. Last year I got my financial life on track, and my budget in order. I saved for some necessary remodeling to the house (especially if I plan to sell in 2014). This year I can finally concentrate on killing my debt.
That is my plan for growing my net worth by $10,000 in 2014. I think I can do better. Actually, I HOPE to do much better. If all goes well, by the end of 2014 the student loan will be history. But again, plans should be based in reality, using past experience as a guideline. I don’t know what 2014 holds. This plan should leave some wiggle room for unexpected expenses, and not be so strict that I feel deprived. I think it’s a sound plan for 2014.
And of course, I’ll be thinner, and healthier, and generally a much more awesome person by the end of 2014. But that was a given, right?
– Cindy W.