Since it’s the first week of 2012, I figured that I’d share my goals for 2012 with all of you. I don’t list every goal in every category, but I do put the ones that I feel relate to the things we talk about on the blog.
At the beginning of every year for about the last 6 years I’ve set some goals for myself. Over the years I’ve found that breaking them down into categories is the best way for me to go. I typically break my goals into top level categories, such as finances and health. From those categories, I get down into the nitty gritty – perhaps creating a goal in the “finance” category of “saving X dollars for Y purchase by Z Date”. Picking the higher level categories allows for me to decide if that category is something that’s really worth focusing on for the year, and picking goals for that category allow me to advance my progress in that category. My goals started with just a few categories and have now branched out to about 6 categories.
I find it very difficult to write my finance goals list for this year. Last year it was simple-pay off one student loan and try to pay off the truck. While I didn’t pay off my truck, I made good progress and I didn’t go into more debt, so I was fairly happy with my results. This year though, my financial goals won’t just be “mine.” I’m getting married in July so I can’t have my own financial goals anymore (not that this is a bad thing). So, it’s something that I’ve been trying to deal with over the final month of the year. Luckily, H and I have similar financial habits (now that I’ve changed mine, for the most part) and we both enjoy the same things: travel, friends, food, family, etc. Liking the same things will make it easier to prioritize and make it easier to create goals. Like me, she’s very debt averse, so that will factor into all of our decisions. Unlike me, she’s really interested in buying a house. I’m not against it, I’m just still trying to figure out exactly what I’d like in a house so that I can better communicate that to her and try to get us on the same page. A potential house purchase is something we have been talking about for some time, and we are starting to get closer and closer to what we want in a future home. As it’s looking now, me figuring out what I want isn’t going to happen right away, so we may just set a large savings goal for a house downpayment (in addition to what we’ve been saving for the past 15 or so months) for the end of the year, to be used sometime in the future. I told her a long time ago that I wasn’t willing to sign a 30 year note (15 years for this guy), told her why, then showed her the numbers – she seemed to be OK with that, so that’s something else out of the way.
Unfortunately, all of this leaves me in a lurch for 2012. Whether or not I complete my goals is no longer a matter of how low I can get my expenses, how high I can get my income, and simply paying off debts. Now I have to think about what’s best for both H and I, given our goals for the future and taking into account both of our situations. I can’t just say “pay off truck in 2012” I have to see if that’s the best use of our available cash, and how H feels about doing that. I’m not getting married until July though, so I think I’ll set some first part of the year goals and then revisit sometime after we get married and get situated and used to married life.
The first goal that I’ll have is to not add any new debt from now until the wedding. This shouldn’t be that hard, but it could be a bit difficult, so I just want to put it out there. I’ve got a lot of things to prepare for in terms of wedding clothing, gifts, etc. I’d love to be able to cash flow all of the things that I need to buy (which I will post about later). I think this will also keep me from going overboard on weddings (much easier than you’d think).
My next goal is to pay down half of the truck loan. I initially thought about trying to pay off the remaining ~9,000 by the wedding date so that when I got married, the only debt that I would bring is my final student loan. Though I don’t think I’ll be able to make that, i’d really like to lower the amount on this loan quite a bit before I get married. I think I can do this by keeping my wedding expenses to a minimum and getting creative in other areas, such as going out and travel. If I can cut these things down, this goal should be no problem.
The final goal is to create joint financial goals with H after we get married. Obviously, once this is done we can continue to move forward as a couple with our joint goals, and work to complete them together. Right now, I’ve got a bit of an idea about what will shake out of that conversation and be transferred onto paper. Once that happens, I’ll probably update you all on the new set of financial goals, and our methods to get there. .
Readers: What are your health goals for the coming year? Do you have health goals, or are you simply trying to maintain what you’ve got? Are you goals focused on weight-loss or something different?