Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Financial Goals


I'm a thrifty person.  I buy all of my clothes and as many items as I can from the thrift store instead of departments stores.  I watch every penny that goes in and out of our accounts.  I pride myself on being able to balance our bank accounts, and that the only debt we have is my husband's student loans.

However, last year took a financial toll on us.  I was sick and the pets were sick, and a lot of money went out to unavoidable circumstances.  So much so that we had to rely on the help of friends, family and readers in order to move our pets from our very unhealthy apartment to our wonderful rental home.  It was a good move - the pets are healthy and the house actually costs less in rent than our tiny two bedroom apartment did!  That being said, I dislike having to lean on others for help in the financial department.  I crave being financially independent like every good 26-year-old should.  In fact, I feel like a bit of a failure because I was raised with the notion that you would and should be financially independent at 18.  Don't get me wrong, I know we haven't failed.  But there's definitely room for improvement.

Here's the chart:


As you can see, I'm not happy with where we are here.  I need six goals to fulfill the financial portion of my goals.


The Pentacle Chart does not offer a "financial" section, but many of the goals, such as budgeting and retirement options, fall directly into the financial area.  That being said, here are my 2015 financial goals!

Manage our Budget and Build on Savings

While I had a budget for 2014, the thing about moving is that your bills suddenly change.  Particularly because we were renting an apartment before and a house now, I expected a drastic different in utilities.  When we moved, I asked my husband to stop paying extra on his student loans so we could build a bit of a cushion for extra expenses.  We both tracked the bills we paid since we moved in September 20th and I put them together for a budget.  I officially reworked our 2015 budget mid-way through December when all the bills had come in.  I even worked in padding and emergency funds, and sorted the budget as if my husband's income was the only income, leaving mine entirely for savings.  If that works out, we will have quite the savings at the end of the year!

Admittedly, I do not use a budget software or any particular template.  Instead, I developed a template that suited our needs and have been using it and adjusting it for the past couple of years.  I would highly suggest looking up budgeting templates, particularly ones that are done in Excel because they'll likely do all the calculating for you!

Now that I've built our 2015 budget, the primary goal is maintaining it.  On the 5th, Aaron and I will, for the first time in our six years of marriage, be merging bank accounts.  This will help me keep a better track on our expenses as a couple.  As long as we track everything day-to-day, we should be fine!


Build Credit

This is technically a two-part goal.  My husband has pretty good credit thanks to his student loans, but it could be better.  We have no marks against him on his credit, but we can always build on it.

I'm even worse, however.  I grew up in a household where the idea of debt and credit was banned.  My parents have never had a credit card ever and the only loan they've ever had is their mortgage, which they paid off in half the allotted time.  They refused to cosign for student loans and did not have a college savings for me, which meant I had to get enough grants and scholarships to afford to go.  In retrospect, I don't dislike that method but it meant that, when I graduated college, I had no credit.  And I didn't graduate college all too long ago.  I still have no credit.

I'm not afraid of credit, and I'm mature enough to manage myself.  So this year, it's time to start building mine as well.

Both Aaron and I will be talking to our bank when we merge out accounts.  I'm hoping that we can each get a low-limit credit card in our individual names to start building credit.  Aaron will be putting gas on his, and I will be putting groceries on mine.  These are bills we each typically pay, so we'll know to leave the money there in the bank account for them.  After paying the bill off for several months so we can get used to it, we'll each start leaving a carry-over debt of just $50 to start.  Apparently, this looks good.  And, in December, Aaron will take out a small loan that we'll hopefully use for one of his smaller student loans.  Speaking of which...


Pay Off the Chase Loan

Most of my husband's loans are managed through Sally Mae.  However, one is not and it has the most absolutely absurd interest rate I've ever seen!  If we pay the monthly amount owed on it without anything extra, it actually increases.  I want this loan paid off by the end of the year.  After budgeting, we had some extra money left over.  Much of that extra money will be going straight to this loan's principal.  At the end of the year, we won't quite have it paid off, but we'll have it low.  At this time, I'm hoping to have enough in savings to just pay it off in full.  If not, we'll build on Aaron's credit by taking out a small loan from our bank to pay it off.  Surely the bank loan will have a lower interest rate.  I don't even know if that's an option, but it's something we'll be looking into.

I know paying off a loan early can hurt your credit score, but it's almost worth it given the interest rate of this loan.  I'm so ready to have it off.


Research Retirement Options

My husband is paying in to a 401k at his job, which will help him.  Unfortunately, being self-employed, I don't have that option.  My goal for this year is to research retirement options.  I will be talking to our bank about that when I go in, but many of my books also cover the topic.  Once I get through the bank and books, I'll be researching one specific option a month until I settle on something I want to take on.  By the end of the year, I'll start building a retirement fund!


Tracking Financial Goals

In order to keep track of my goals, I will be posting up a list of them with some details about my progress and percentages of where I'm at from time to time.  Every month, I'll look at my progress for that month.  On the side column of my blog, I'll be keeping a yearly track of them.  The percentages will be based on the concise plan I develop at the beginning of the month to complete the goal.  Here is the template for my Career goals!

Financial Goals - 0% Complete for the month.
(Pictures and some notes on this month's progress)

Maintain a Budget. – 0% complete
Build on Savings. – 0% complete.
Build Marietta's Credit. – 0% complete.
Build Aaron's Credit. – 0% complete.
Pay off Chase Loan. – 0% complete.
Research Retirement Options. – 0% complete.

Coming up:
2015 Health Goals

To my audience:
What are your financial goals for 2015?

3 comments:

  1. My financial goal is to have a cashdown for a house. I bought a rental condo last november and this ate all my savings ! So I have to save for my cashdown asap. I bought for christmas the software YNAB (after testing their trial for free) and I'm pretty sure that software will help me reach my goal. YNAB stands for You Need A Budget and helps you track your transaction and let you see where you can put your money (and to have enough to cover your bills). They even have online free classes where you can have a chance to win a free copy of the software if you attend. I bought it on sale on steam and hope it will be worth it :).

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    Replies
    1. I'll have to check into YNAB. Sounds interesting! Best of luck to you on saving for a house!

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