Financial Goals; Looking Back And Moving Forward
The last blog post of 2015 here was related to finding ways to relieve financial stress. There are some pretty good tips in that post, if I say so myself (I do since I wrote it) but I didn’t mention whether or not any of them were part of my own financial goals.
I haven’t written a financial goals post since 2011 as I changed the focus of this blog more towards offering assistance for everyone else more than offering opinions and talking about myself as often. Still, I used to find those posts somewhat important because, when all is said and done, most of us end up having some of the same financial goals, whether or not we manifest them differently.
I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at 3 years worth of previous financial goals (not all mine), see if they were legitimate, and how they fit with the “me and you” of now. It’s hard to complete financial goals without knowing what they are, and in life you should never forget where you started. 🙂
Catch up on taxes
I had payment plans to catch up on back taxes I had from a couple of really great financial years where, because I did my own taxes, it turned out I hadn’t paid close to enough. This was my goal for 2 of the years, and I made a significant dent in it & got it paid off. It came back in 2015 where, because my accountant had categorized some of my income in the wrong place, once again I had a balance that I needed to set up another payment plan for. Luckily, it’s not as exorbitant as in the past, so hopefully I’ll have it taken care of by fall.
Earn back what I lost in my money market account
The early part of 2009 was horrible when it came to my investment account. One day I opened one of the envelopes from the company (I never opened them; please, PLEASE, always open your financial mail) and saw that I’d lost more than 67% of my account as the stock market dropped. I pulled my money out and wanted to figure out another way to recoup all those losses.
However, when the market finally started coming back around, I couldn’t get up the nerve to trust it again. That and I had other things to deal with. Now, it’s still the trust factor, although it’s still my intention at some point to get back into investing. I just might start out being less aggressive though and have more of a hands on with it. One day I’ll write a cautionary tale that involves having financial advisors and what you need to do, although this guest post from 2012 is a good place to start.
Put away at least $10,000 in savings (dropped to $3,000 for 2010)
Sometimes you have to dream big, which is what this one was. It took me a few years to get to the point where I could have made it a reality, but by that time I’d closed my savings account. In my opinion, when your monthly fee is higher than the interest your account is generating it’s time to make a change.
Instead, I’ve found other ways to save money, although none of it is generating extra revenue. My wife is covered on that front, and I’ll probably get another savings account at some point, but right now I hold on to some of my excess money in my business checking account. The rest is stashed around the house… but you didn’t see that (cough).
Build up the value in my house
There were a couple of years where I was following housing trends when the market was in trouble, and trying to figure out ways of increasing what my house was worth. However, I live in a flat housing market, which was great back then because my house wasn’t losing any value, but anything I do to the house won’t improve its worth; only time will. This works better in places like Florida and California, where people are always buying, improving and flipping houses, but it’s not universal everywhere. If you’re thinking about doing something like this research your area’s costs and fluctuations over a period of time before embarking on it. Improve your house for yourself.
Advertising on this blog
That part actually started and still exists, although it’s morphed a little bit. This blog now accepts sponsored posts and sidebar advertising, the second of which was very popular years ago. As of today any advertising you see in the sidebars are my own affiliate ads, but that could change at any time.
Pay down more outstanding bills
This one wasn’t meant for me but was a major suggestion for everyone else. I’m a big proponent of paying down debt as opposed to trying to grow money as a first option. The reason is that many times interest rates are higher on debt than percentage rates of growth in investing. I’m especially big on people working towards paying down credit card debt. I’m doing well on this front; how about you?
Learn to budget your money
Once again this one’s not about me because I’m always budgeting my money and helping others do the same. Why is budgeting important? Because if you don’t know what you have you can’t address either your problems or your wishes when there are things you want to buy but aren’t sure you can afford. A nice place to start is by checking out this post.
Purchase health care
When I first made this recommendation it wasn’t anything I had to think of. Now that my wife and I are both independent contractors, we’ve had to invest a little more time on it. There are many reasons to have health insurance, and the ACA has made it easier for people to at least get something at an affordable rate (some people end up not having to pay anything for it). The biggest reason is because it’s now mandatory by law or else you’ll have to pay penalties. However, the penalties aren’t quite what some people think they are; check out that link above to see what I mean.
Always make sure to take care of yourself first when fiscally possible
This one is the most important of all, and the main goal I still carry into every single year. I stash money away for emergencies. I stash money away so I can every once in a while buy something I want instead of need. Because I budget, I know my outlay of cash and what I need and can do with it. Taking care of yourself first doesn’t mean going out to dinner and dropping $100 because it makes you feel good. It means doing what’s necessary to protect yourself in case your money stream stops or gets interrupted, then seeing what you can do with the rest.
I covered a lot over the previous years didn’t I? What will you take from this to move forward into the new year?