October 2011 Financial Goals Update – Short Term, Mid-term, and Long Term

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Back in January of this year, I laid out my short term, mid-term, and long term goals for the 2011 year. I do this once every year as part of my goal to create what author David Bach calls a Purpose Focused Financial Plan. The goal of this system is to employ money in your life in a way that matches your life values and dreams.

You can read more about my journey to create this system at the following links – Creating a Purpose Focused Financial Plan & My Personal Finance Journey’s Investment Strategy.

As part of making this system work, I wanted to give an update on how I’m doing so far this year with the goals I established. Overall, I’ve been very lucky in the regard that my progress to date has far exceeded the expectations I originally laid out at the beginning of the year. 

However, I’ve gotten pretty behind on these updates since the end of the summer with the PhD Qualifying Exam I had to take. As such, this post/update will serve to reflect new progress that has been made in the July 2011-October 2011 timeframe. Enjoy! I look forward to hearing your comments, thoughts, and progress on your own goals. 

Short Term (< 1 year) Goals:

  • Contribute $5000 (or $420 per month) to my Roth IRA with Vanguard this year (maximum allowed) – Complete. Have now contributed $5,000 so far this year. 
    • Because my graduate school employment doesn’t include the perk of a 401k, my tax-deferred investing options for 2011 are now exhausted. Because of this, I have begun pouring any extra money at the end of each month towards my condo home loan and washer/dryer installation savings. Nice! 

  • Reach net worth target for this year (not displayed here) – Ongoing – the equity markets don’t seem to want to cooperate in allowing me to achieve this goal, as it requires an ~30% increase in net worth. This may not be possible to obtain, but will attempt.
  • Maintain target 6-9 months of expenses in cash reserve fund in Dollar Savings Direct account – Complete – currently carrying 9 months worth of expenses in cash in my emergency fund account.
  • Rebalance mutual fund portfolio to meet asset allocation target %’s (75% equity, 25% fixed income overall) – Correct for now, but ongoing.
  • Obtain 15% ownership / equity in condominium – Complete – currently, I have 15.79% equity in my condo. I will be increasing this goal to 20% for the remainder of 2011.
  • Put together a will and have it reviewed by a lawyer – Will completed. Not yet reviewed by lawyer.
  • Continue to save money for trip to Grand Canyon – Ongoing – need to continue to evaluate when to take this. 
    • Currently, I have $340 saved up for this trip. My gut feeling tells me that this won’t quite yet be enough (probably needs to be in the neighborhood of $1200-$1500). To verify this, I just looked up the prices for flights going to Las Vegas (a nearby airport to the Grand Canyon), and they are currently priced at around $700 round trip
    • I am currently saving only $20 per month for this trip (and the associated life value that is assigned to it). I think I’m going to increase the monthly savings to $50 for the remainder of 2011 in order to slightly accelerate things. It would be nice to try to take this vacation in the late Spring time frame of 2012.
  • Upgrade condominium with investment in stacked washer/dryer combo – $1000 for unit, $1000 for labor/installation – Currently saving $87.50 per month for home maintenance and upgrades – Ongoing, but on track. 
    • As of September, I will have now officially accumulated 1% of my home value in my home maintenance savings account. From now on, I will be able to begin accumulating the $2000 that it will cost to get the washer/dryer in my condo. I’ve decided that since I have already maxed out my Roth IRA for the year and have no 401k available, I’m going to increase my monthly washer/dryer investment/savings to $200 per month to see if I can speed up the savings process for this. 
  • Invest $500 in Microloans for Latin America in 2011 ($41.67 per month) –Ongoing – Have invested a total of $417 this year so far to a working poor fund in Peru and Nicaragua and a fund that supports environmental sustainability in Latin America. Both of these funds come with a pretty nice 3.5% interest rate per year for three years. 
    • Note: I use Microplace.com to invest this money. It seems to work well and be dependable (my principal for some of my 2010 investments were paid back in September). I just logged in to my account, and it says that my money has been used to help 55 people down there! Pretty cool stuff if you ask me!
  • Donate $1,300 to Multiple Sclerosis Foundation in 2011 (5% of income) – Done. In the 2011 Tour de Vine event, I raised approximately $5625 to support finding a cure for this disease (with the help of company matches). My bike ride happened on June 11-12 of this year and was a huge success. I’m definitely planning to do it again next year (I’ve already signed up, in fact!) 
    • The other big donation thrust I’ll be doing for the remainder of 2011 and beyond is giving away 10% of my blog income each month, with 5% going to readers and another 5% going to charities that the readers select. If you’re interested in signing up for a chance to win, click here.
  • Save 3% of take home pay each month (after taxes) for Dream AccountOn target – Have an automatic transfer each month from my Bank of America checking account to my ING Direct high yield savings account.
  • Save ~30% of blogging income (if any) in a high yield online savings account in preparation for 2010 taxes. I had been very bad at doing this until late this summer, but I finally have begun to put aside significant amounts of money for taxes. 
    • The next step on my radar is to send quarterly tax payments in the government so that I don’t owe huge amounts in April 2012 and get penalized. 
    • I will need to make sure to update my net worth calculation Excel spreadsheet so that these tax savings don’t get counted in my asset allocation percentages, thus skewing the numbers.
  • Implement dollar value averaging for my 2012 Roth IRA contributions. This will be done in the beginning of 2012.

Mid-Term (3-5 years out) Goals:

  • Continue contributing $5000 to Roth IRA each year and using dollar value averaging.
  • Reach intermediate net worth target (not displayed here, but is 2X my current net worth)
  • Own a rental property by 2016.

Long-Term (>5 years out) Goals:

  • Obtain a net worth of $1,000,000
  • Own a home free of mortgage payments
  • Own a vacation home in the mountains somewhere remote
  • Accumulate enough funds not have to work, but will probably anyways because I would get bored. 

How about you all? How have the months of July through October (thus far) been for achieving your goals? What are your next milestones? 

Share your experiences by commenting below!

    ***Photo courtesy of http://farm1.static.flickr.com/230/503335275_6150e07aed.jpg


    1. I really enjoy your goal progress posts. I am a very goal-oriented person, at least in my personal life, so I like knowing what other people's goals are. I also find that posting my goals on my blog gives me some accountability for completing them, even if no one comments specifically.

      I'm actually rather jealous that you have so many goals that you're making progress on! I guess it's an old story but I feel like I'm a little more constrained with my financial situation and not able to meet all the goals I dream of – no matter how much I brainstorm about ways to cut spending! Plus we rent so we're not very diversified in terms of investment/savings vehicles. However, I can assume that you're at a similar per person income level to us (PhD students on stipends) so I can use your goals as inspiration!

      Thanks again for doing this series.

      • Thanks so much for reading ERHR! I can definitely understand where you all are coming from on PhD student stipends.

        If you're having a hard time deciding which savings vehicles/accounts to contribute money to, I'd recommend taking a look at the account hierachy post I put together – http://www.mypersonalfinancejourney.com/2010/01/w
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    2. I like how you broke it down to short, medium snf longe range goals. My progress is on track, but I feel the pressure of knowing there is only less than 90 days to the end of the year.
      My recent post Are You Obsessed with Goals?

      • True Krantcents! The end of year is coming alarmingly fast! I find that breaking down my goals in to short term vs. long term make things easier to execute. I especially think it's good when forming goals to give yourself action steps to take that are small within the next 48 hours.
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    3. 20sfinances says:

      Great goals and achievement. I was just thinking about putting together goals for my blog. Great minds think alike… well, more like many other blogs inspired me to do this (maybe I even saw your goals already and was inspired – i don't remember). 🙂

      P.S. I love your rental property goal (as well as ROTH); both goals of mine.
      My recent post How to Land that Job: Playing Hard to Get?

      • Good stuff Corey! Sorry it took me 9 weeks to respond to this comment! haha Did you get started putting together your goals posts since then?

        I need to catch up on summarizing my blogging goals status for 2011!
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

    4. My goals as of right now is to put aside a big emergency fund for my future wife and me. I am also continuing to save for our honeymoon and moving expenses. So far so good! I am reaching my goals. Keep up the good work with yours!
      My recent post Ultimate Guide to Grocery Store Savings

      • An emergency fund is a great goal to shoot for! How is it working out building up an emergency fund between you and your wife? Are you each contributing an equal amount?
        My recent post Easy Like Sunday Morning Weekly Recap and Roundup – # 5 – December 17th, 2011

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