Time for New Goals

Since I began this blog in 2013, I’ve been setting goals for each year for what I’d like to accomplish financially. For me, having a goal helps keep me on track, gives me something to work for (other than the vague idea of financial independence), and lets me know how well I’m doing.

2015 has been a great year for me financially. I started the year with 5 goals:

1) Grow my net worth by $10,000.
2) List the house.
3) Pay off the student loan.
4) Invest $3,000 in a retirement account.
5) Earn $500 in “Side Income”.

Less than halfway through 2015, I’ve already crossed 3 big goals off my list: I’ve grown my net worth by over $10,000. I’ve sold the house. And I paid off the student loan. By the end of the Summer I expect to have crossed off earning $500 in side income as well; I’ve already earned $407, and we intend to have a yard sale at some point in the next few months.

It’s great to achieve goals, especially much earlier than you expect to. But if all I had left to do in 2015 was earn $93 in side income, and put $3,000 in a retirement account, I think I’d find myself becoming lazy with my money. Which is why as soon as I paid off the student loan earlier this year, I set a new goal of paying off the car loan. I’ll admit, it’s a really big goal for 2015, and I likely won’t make it. But trying and failing will still put me in a much better position than not trying at all. Being debt free is the best thing I can do to improve my financial picture at this stage of the game. I even put paying off the car loan ahead of goal #4, investing in retirement. I still am investing in my company’s 401k plan, and getting the full company match. But, unless something unexpected happens, I won’t reach the goal of putting $3,000 of my own money into retirement by the end of 2015.

Growing my net worth by $10,000 was a stretch goal for me last year, so I was definitely surprised to have already achieved it by the end of May. Sure, selling the house helped. But I don’t want to just sit back and relax now that I’ve reached that goal. So, I’m setting another goal: I want to grow my net worth by another $10,000 in 2015, for a total of $20,000. That means my net worth will need to be over $31,696 at the end of 2015.

If I stick to my goal of paying off the car loan, growing my net worth by $10,000 shouldn’t be an issue. But, like I said, I think actually paying off the entire loan this year will be a stretch. Having a second stretch goal will keep me motivated to stay the course. I don’t want to risk getting lazy just because I can’t completely pay off the loan.

So now, my goals for 2015 look like this:

1) Grow my net worth by $10,000 ($21,696 total net worth). Done!
2) List the house. Done! 
3) Pay off the student loan. Done!
4) Invest $3,000 in a retirement account.
5) Earn $500 in “Side Income”.
6) Pay off car loan.
7) Grow my net worth by $10,000 ($31,696 total net worth).

I’m looking forward to seeing how this year goes!

– Cindy W.

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