A new year is coming soon, which means new financial goals! It’s time to check in on how we did this year and look to what we can accomplish next year.
How We Did on Our 2017 Goals
We established three financial goals for 2017. The first was to start investing 10% into our Roth IRAs. That goal took a backseat to our second goal, which was to get the PMI off of our house. This was because we began expecting baby Squidge early in the year, and wanted to free up some monthly cash flow for her. For those following along with our saga, the PMI goal was slowed down by our purchase of a used minivan to replace Mr. Steward’s not-totally-safe car. Then, both were paid off with a surprise windfall.
Only last month did we finally up our retirement contributions to 15%, plus a 3% match. We chose to do the contributions pre-tax instead of putting them into a Roth mostly for the out-of-sight, out-of-mind factor. The money will come straight from our paycheck before we ever see it. Now any Roth IRA contributions we make are truly additional to the minimum we need to retire at 65.
Our final 2017 goal was to travel to Boston for Mr. Steward’s brother’s wedding. We didn’t accomplish this goal because, well, the wedding didn’t happen last year. The date was finally set a couple of months ago, with the save-the-date card for September 2018 now affixed to our refrigerator door.
All in all, we did a good job knocking out our 2017 financial goals, although it was down to the last minute on several of them.
As for my personal declaration that 2017 would be the “year of home”, it did not really end up that way. I hustled hard at work most of the year to try to ensure a promotion (exactly what I said I planned to do in 2018–turns out, I got impatient once it seemed possible). The rest of my time was spent on morning sickness and generally just being pregnant. Not that I am complaining… Welcome, baby Squidge!
Our 2018 Financial Goals
My brother-in-law’s Cape Cod wedding is on the docket for early September. We’ve already taken two weeks off work to enjoy the trip, which will be our family vacation. We visited Cape two years ago, but did not see much of Boston while we were there. We hope to remedy that this time, hitting up the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and Freedom Trail in addition to the wedding on Cape. I’m trying my hand at travel hacking, and hoping to pay for most of the trip with credit card rewards. Nonetheless, we’re budgeting for spending money and any extra expenses while we are there.
I also plan to take a trip for my 30th birthday. More on that below.
Pay for School, Present and Future
Mr. Steward is finishing his Bachelor’s. While most of the expenses are covered by our employer, we will need to pay a little over a thousand dollars out-of-pocket once a year. In 2018, this will be due in roughly December, so we’ll need to allot $100 or so per month to this payment.
It’s also high time we started saving for the girls’ college educations. I’ll write a separate post on the “why” of our savings and how we reached the number, but we hope to begin saving $250 per month, per child. This is doable, but does stretch our budget with two in daycare and 11% more going to retirement than last year.
Make At Least One Extra House Payment
Although our PMI is gone, we’d like to keep our house payment the same in our budget so that we end up making an extra payment to principal this year. In my wilder dreams, I’d love to see us cross the threshold where more of our mortgage payment goes to principal than interest. That will take roughly an extra $10,000, however. Our ability to hit that number will largely depend on how much we earn in raises and promotions this year, versus any unforeseen major expenses.
Ms. Steward’s Personal Goals
Professionally, I’m still banging the promotion drum. It sounds like it should happen fairly early on in 2018. If it does not, i will need to come up with a new plan after speaking to my supervisor.
On a personal level, I want 2018 to be fun. 2017 flew by in a blur (perhaps due to having morning sickness for a large chunk of it). I was not unhappy, I was just not really present-feeling for a lot of it. I also turn 30 this June, and it would be easy to let that make me sad. Instead, I’d like to enjoy my 30th year! To that end, I have several things I want to do that I’ve never done before:
- Go kayaking: I’ve always wanted to try, but have never made it happen. I have plans to go with friends this spring, once it is warm enough.
- Run a 5k: I’m a horrible runner. As in, I probably look like I’m having an upright stroke when I try. But running is also really effective at getting me into shape (perhaps for the same reason?) Moreover, as the reformed nerd who got made fun of in gym class, I’d love to run a 5k to prove it to myself that I can. Obviously, this will involve carving out time for exercise and eating a better diet, but those changes are necessary for my health, anyway.
- Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter: This is perhaps the biggest, most fun goal for 2018. I have wanted to visit the park since it opened, and have plans with best friend to do so for early November as my 30th birthday celebration. Although I hope to use credit card rewards for at least the flight, making sure I have enough for the tickets, hotel, and spending money I need will require laser-like focus from my spending money budget–something I probably needed to have anyway.
Mr. Steward’s Personal Goal
Mr. Steward is all about school this year. His goal is to complete his college coursework in a speedy four semesters. Since the coursework can be done at his own pace, though, his stretch goal is to complete the work in three. Three semesters would mean we only ever pay $1,000 for his entire degree. (He just started, so we have no idea how realistic that is.) To facilitate his goal, Mr. Steward has completely given up two of his major fun things, alcohol and video games, until he finishes. Wish him good luck!
There you have it, our 2018 goals. What goals do you have for this year? Are you excited, worried, or something else looking to 2018?