20 Financial Milestones: How’d I Do?

Last week at GenYWealth, they had a post called 20 Financial Milestones You Want to Reach in Your 20s.  It has been bouncing around the PF world since then, and many bloggers are stacking themselves up against the list and seeing where they can improve, and others are lamenting that they don’t have one for their age group.  I think Paranoid Asteroid had a great take on it: some of these things you may not want to do at all….so find something else.  We all know that personal finance is personal, so she suggests creating your own list of goals and an age to reach them.   I figured that it would be worthwhile to look at this list and see how I’m doing.  So, Here we go!

1) Finance a dream vacation…in cash

This I have not done yet, although I’m looking to do it sometime in the next 12 months.  I’ve got frequent flyer miles already earned to cover the ticket and I’ve got a friend to travel with, I just need to save up some vacation time and find a spot to travel to – I’d like to go out of the country, but I don’t know where yet.

2) Pay Off Student Loans

I’m working on this one as we speak.  I’ve paid off 1 of the 3, and I’m working at paying off the second one.  After that there will be 1 more, but I think I’m going to pay off my vehicle first.

3) Automate Paying your Credit Card Bill in Full

I don’t do this – If I did, I wouldn’t review my purchases every month, but I do pay my bill in full every month, and have since the “Great credit card break-up of 2010

4) Get Rid of ALL Bad Debt

I’m working on this one as well.  I’ve gotten rid of Credit Cards, and am working on student loans and will hopefully pay off my truck in 2010.

5) Build An Adequate Emergency Fund

I’m working at this as well, and just keeping steady with my $1,000 in the bank right now.  I’d like this to get bigger (who wouldn’t) but I think I’m sitting pretty for now.

6) Make Your First (and Last) Investment Mistake

I really hope that this is one that I’ll be able to skirt.  I am focusing all my spare resources on paying off debt, so I don’t really have much money to invest with.  Maybe before my 20s are over I will, but I don’t now.

7) Develop a Statement of Cash Flows

I’ve got this one down pat, and must say that it makes life a whole lot easier.  Knowing what you’re taking in really helps you know how much you can spend & save.

8 & 9) Max out a Roth IRA and Contribute to a 401k

I do have a Roth, although I don’t ever discuss it on here because the amount is so pitifully small that it’s not even worth mentioning.  I plan to focus more on this when I have extra cash.  I do contribute up to my employer match for my 401k, though.

10) Get a Degree or Certification that Increases your Earning Power

I’ve got a graduate degree, but it hasn’t done anything for my earning power.  Maybe it will someday, but I’m not going to bank on that, either.

11) Take a Career Risk

I recently did this. I transferred from my secure job with a stable salary to one with higher upside, but a lower salary. It had been a while since I had switched jobs so my resume needed updating. I personally think I’m awful at this, so when I started looking I looked for a resume company online and settled on Executive Drafts. They fixed up my resume and there is no doubt it helped me land the job I have now.

12) Negotiate Something

Check – Was able to practice negotiation when I bought my truck last year.

13) Earn Your First Side Grand

I’m going to go ahead and say that I completed this one, as I’ve earned way more than a grand from my second job, and while I don’t consider it “side” money, most people would.

14) Start a Sub-Savings Account for a Financial Goal

I’ve got this done as well.  Every month, I stash a little bit away for a future home purchase.  I’d like to increase this when my debt has been slayed.

15) Set a Target Retirement Date

This one is really interesting – I enjoy working (most of the time) and I don’t ever see my self really retiring.  If I stop working formally, I’d like to have a side business of some sort, maybe selling homemade goods or things I’ve grown/raised.

16) Monitor Your Credit

I do this, and in fact, this reminded me that there is something on my credit report that I need to get resolved.  I’m terrible at follow through for this, as I think I needed to get this resolved LAST YEAR!

17) Say NO to a Financial Salesman

I haven’t had the opportunity to do this (they usually don’t bother you if you’re poor like me), but I won’t hesitate when I do get the chance!

18) Give Just Enough to Make it Hurt

I am terrible at giving.  I while I realize that some find value in donating internationally, It’s not something that I find value in – I’d rather give locally.  Usually clothing is the easiest thing for me to give so I do that, but as far as giving cold, hard cash – It doesn’t happen very often.  I’ll need to get better at that.

RJ calls these next 2 “Milestones for the Over Achiever”

19) Invest $1 for every $1 You Spend

I’m nowhere close to this.

20) Start a 529 Plan

Not even on my radar.

For the final tally, I’ve gotten 8 of these done, 7 of them are not done or have not been started, and 4 are in progress.

How do you stack up?

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9 thoughts on “20 Financial Milestones: How’d I Do?

  1. Those are some great goals! Are you going to transfer them over to this year? I like how you titled No. 4, because, in essence, you separated that there is good debt and then there is bad debt. I absolutely adore your No. 17! LOL. I’m stealing No. 19. Go me!

    • Jessica –
      Thanks – I am going to carry on these goals for this year (it says you just need to reach them in your 20s (i’ve got 5 years to go). As for the titling of my #4, that’s all the debt that I have (2 student loans, 1 car), so bad/good, whatever you want to call it, it should be gotten rid of in my 20s. AS for 17, I dont really live in an area where a lot of income is earned, so margins are low for the salesman. and as for 19 — Maybe someday.

  2. I haven’t done the ones around development and career risks.

    I definitely have made my first big financial mistake (having too much money in 1 stock, my former company), but I’m not sure I’ve made my last one yet.

    I’m really surprised getting rid of ALL debt is not on here. That’s the current one I’m working on.

    • I’m treating it as getting rid of all debt, but I think for those with excessive student loans, that could be downright impossible – although still a worthy goal.

  3. Funny thing about PF milestones. They really don’t mean anything if you don’t set them for yourself. This time of year there are so many articles and posts about accomplishments, goals, resolutions. My take – work on improving something, anything, about your finances or your life every single day. Not just when the number of the year changes.

    • MMM – I agree. I work on paying down debt every day (by not spending money) and not just for a few weeks in january. I just posted this list (even though it wasnt created by me) because I feel like if you do most of these things in your 20s then you’re going to be on pretty solid footing.

  4. I would think that many of these would be hard to attain in your 20s.

    I don’t get about the invest a dollar for every dollar you spend. Does that spend number mean your mortgage too and such? I could see if it was just discretionary spending, but not housing and property taxes and such.

    If my memory serves me correctly, I would have satisfied 11 of the 20. However, I don’t even know if 529 plans existed when I was in my 20s!

    Interesting post.

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