If we believe the Mayan calendar, this is the last year of our existence, so we might as well have some fun. However, if it turns out we’re still going to be around, we might as well plan for the future, and even if it’s only this year, why not do what we can up until just before that time so we can throw a major party right?

In previous years I’ve posted my financial goals for the coming year. This year I’m not going to do that, but I am going to review the financial goals I thought most people should have shot for last year and I want to see how I did, then talk in more generalities about financial goals for this year, as I’m going to assume everyone else has similar goals.

I talked about 5 major goals last year:

  • Pay down more outstanding bills
  • Invest some of your money
  • Learn to budget your money.
  • Put some money into a savings account of some type
  • Always make sure to take care of yourself first when fiscally possible

I did very well with #1, and I always do well with #3. I never got around to investing money, and the savings account I have is actually the change jar next to my office desk; that might not count for some people but it works for me. After all, most savings accounts are paying less in interest than the monthly fee they charge you, so I’m good.

That last one is an interesting one to be sure. Basically it’s the “law” of paying yourself that first 10% and doing something with it and then using the rest for bills and whatever else you need. I’ve never quite been able to hit that one, but I hope some of you have. Thus it remains a goal of mine, and I think it should remain a financial goal for you as well.

This coming year, I hope those that don’t have health insurance either get it or start putting money away in a medical savings plan, which you may not know is tax deductible. Health care is going to continue going up, and it’s going to be harder to count on either the government or hospitals charity care plans to help you out; certainly it’ll be difficult finding any physicians that will give you care you might not be able to afford. This is paramount, so try to get it done.

Also, I expect that this will be the year that the housing crisis hits its low point and starts going back up. Recovery is already happening in some places, and Florida and Nevada home builders are starting to build new communities again, though slowly because there’s still a glut of pre-existing homes via foreclosure and other new communities that no one ever moved into. This means it’ll be a great year to buy a home or condominium, and you need to be ready. Make sure your credit reports look good, check your credit scores, and start looking and negotiating, as it’s a buyer’s market.

Finally, unemployment is starting to fall, which means that it’s finally a good time to take a look at getting a new and better paying job after 3 years. The new job situation might put you in a great negotiating position if you really want to stay but want more money from your employer. This is always a dicey proposition though so don’t count on getting a raise, since your present employer will still be worried about the pending health care bill and how expenses will react. I’m of the opinion that it will work great for smaller businesses but I’m still on the fence as to how it will impact larger companies that will be forced to pay for health care and how insurance companies might try to gouge them over the next couple of years (did I say that?).

In any case I’m hoping this will be the year where more people are finally able to start making money and feeling better about themselves. This is the year to plan for the future, no matter what the Mayans had to say about it. Good luck in the coming year.

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