I’m not usually one for resolutions. When I’ve made them in the past, they are usually too vague (like “exercise more” or “shop less”) or aren’t tied to a specific objective. Being a goal-driven person, that doesn’t really work out for me. I tend to forget about my resolutions before January has even ended!
However, I do make an annual list of goals at the start of each year. They’re specific, they’re time-bound (must be completed within the year), and they’re attainable. They’re also broken up into different categories: Personal, Work, & Financial. While there’s obviously some overlap between those categories—improving my finances will help me personally, improving my career will help me financially, etc.—it helps me to separate them so I can give each the right amount of focus.
So, what is falling in my financial goals bucket this year? Here’s a start:
- Increase 401(k) balance by X%. This will be a combination of increasing my contributions from my bi-weekly paycheck and also choosing the right mix of investments.
- Pay off my graduate school student loan completely. I completed my MBA program in 2010, and it has always been my goal to pay off my loans as soon as possible. This year, I’m dedicated to retiring them in their entirety by December 31st, 2012!
- Save $X by July for our next planned adventure: a trip to Germany & Austria later this year. Travel is a huge passion of ours, so saving for these voyages is always a part of my financial plan.
- Rollover old 401(k)s into IRAs. We currently have multiple accounts that we never rolled over from old jobs. It’s time to take a more active role in that money and get it all into one place.
- Stick to a clothing budget of $X per month, and make investment purchases, not impulse buys. Over the last two years, I’ve been working on creating a classic, timeless wardrobe and focusing less on the cheap and trendy. I find myself much more satisfied with a smaller closet full of quality items than a huge one with disposable fashion!
Like I said, this is a starting point, and I always look at these types of goals as “living” documents. They will change over the course of the year, as different priorities pop up or emergencies occur. However, no matter what, there is a specific end game in mind for my finances, which means I’m much more likely to succeed in achieving it!
What are your 2012 money goals?