Those who have been following this blog for a long time know that I love financial goals. I probably say this over and over again, but it’s true. Sometimes life seems a little boring and in my life, financial goals come to the rescue. They help me stay focused and intentional, which ultimately results in me earning the things that I want in life. Goals are a way to hone in on the things that are most important to you. While life is more than money, I think that everyone should have financial goals.

Financial Goals help you keep your eye on the target

Financial Goals help you keep your eye on the target

List on My Financial Goals

For those who don’t recall, here’s a list of financial goals that I established in October 2012:

  1. Pay for Mrs. 20′s graduate school in CASH
  2. Max out roth IRA’s in 2013 (2012 are already maxed out)
  3. Contribute 10% of Gross Income from day jobs to 403(b) accounts
  4. Invest Extra Cash in Real Estate
  5. Invest $800 per month in a taxable brokerage account
  6. Increase net worth by another 50% by October 2013
  7. Save up 20% down payment for a home (this will probably take us 2-3 years)

Progress on Goals

Well, at least I was ambitious when I set my goals. That’s one way of saying that these goals are seeming harder to accomplish as the year (since setting the goals) comes closer to an end. Let me recap my progress for you all.

1 – Pay for Mrs. 20’s Grad School in Cash

There are few of my friends that are completely free of any student loans, but Mrs. 20’s and I continue to wear this badge of honor with pride. I shared our secret of how we paid for both of our graduate degrees in cash, but I have never given a final announcement on this blog. We haven’t issued the final payment for Mrs. 20’s last semester of school yet, but we are weeks away and we have the cash in our savings account. I couldn’t be happier to pay it off. It really makes it difficult to save a lot of money when you have to pay several thousand dollars 2-3 times a year for school. This goal is practically accomplished. PASS

2 – Max Out Roth IRA’s for 2013

Over the past few months, my side income has dropped significantly. Part of that is my fault for not investing as much time and effort into my side business, but part of it is just dumb luck. Luckily, I don’t depend on my side income to earn a living, but I do use it to save aggressively. As a result, we haven’t maxed out our Roth IRA’s yet, but I think we should be able to accomplish this one by the end of the year. Part of it is that I am still contemplating putting the money into a savings account for the time being to save up a down payment on a condo. I already figured out it makes more sense to put in the Roth IRA, but I am looking at the high cost of renting in anticipation for the big move and I don’t like what I see. I’ll have to give this some more thought as the year comes to a close. I’ll most likely max out our Roth IRA’s and just delay buying a home for another year or two. Possible

3 – Contribute 10% of Gross Income from day jobs to 403(b) accounts

When I set this goal, I was still working my old job with a great matching benefit from my employer. I also made less money at the time. My new employer does not offer a retirement package (yet), but we are contributing 10% of my wife’s income into her 403(b) account. While we won’t reach this goal because I switched jobs and the situation is different now, I still think we are doing pretty well. This is a great example of how goals can push you. Even if you don’t reach your goal, it doesn’t mean you are failing. But, for the sake of pass/fail assessment, this one is pretty clear: FAIL

4 – Invest Extra Cash in Real Estate

This one is over and done with. I still need to write an update on this one, but this one is going well. I didn’t follow a traditional form of buying a rental property. Instead, I found someone to do it for me. For those who are familiar with all of the real estate investing options, you’ve probable already guessed it. I invested in a real estate limited partnership. I’ll share more details in an upcoming post, but suffice it to say that I will be getting great returns without having to do any work or bear any liability. There are some disadvantages, but not enough to scare me away. PASS

5 – Invest $800 per month in a taxable brokerage account

This one started out well the first 5 months following October. Then, my extra income dropped and this has become even harder to maintain. I’m not that disappointed, but it does hurt to fail another goal. I probably could work to reach this goal, but it would mean sacrificing my Roth IRA’s or something more valuable. Thus, I am going to give up on this one altogether. Things may change if my side income comes back in full swing now that I am investing more time again. We’ll see… FAIL

6 – Increase net worth by another 50% by October 2013

This goal was inspired by my previous progress on our net worth. When I first started tracking our net worth, the percentage by which we increased it was huge, as anyone would expect. We doubled it in just about a year. I wanted to increase it another 50% and this one is going to come down to the wire. I am pretty sure I will fall short on this because I only have three months left (my goals run from end of Oct – end of Oct), but I still made pretty good progress. This goal also was affected my the lower income. Possible, but Unlikely

7 – Save up 20% down payment for a home (this will probably take us 2-3 years)

I knew this one wasn’t going to be easy, nor would it be a fast goal to accomplish… and that has proven true. Yet, we are still making pretty good progress on this one. In the 9 months since setting this goal, we have probably saved a 4-5% down payment. That’s still far from the 20% that I want to be at (or really about 25% to have a little extra cushion for those unexpected costs). Once we are done paying for Mrs. 20’s grad school, we should be able to save a lot more money to speed up this process. If I were to place a bet on it, I’d guess we have two more years until we are financially comfortable with putting a 20% down payment towards our first home. We may push it a little if it means getting the condo of our dreams, but we’ll have to wait and see. ON TRACK

Overall, we’ve made a lot of progress in the past 9 months and it hasn’t been easy. As I’ve mentioned, our income has dropped a little, but luckily I am earning a little extra money from my day job than I was this time last year. We would have really noticed a difference if I were still at my old job. In the past year, we have saved a lot of retirement, for our future home, and invested in our careers. We’ve splurged a little, but I’ve noticed that keeping track of these financial goals keeps up motivated and focused. If you haven’t created financial goals, it might be time to give it a try. You might not accomplish all of your goals, but you’ll probably be satisfied with the results.

featured image provided by Rob Ellis