OK. Time to line out my goals for 2016. In addition to my longer term goals like quitting my job by age 43 (hopefully earlier), I like to set out a few goals for the year.
Last year I had five financial goals to hit, and we achieved them all. Of course, four goals were just to keep certain expense categories under $1,000, and the other was to pay off Marge’s Toyota Corolla, which we did just before the buzzer in December. This year I have more overarching goals.
1. 2016 Total Spending Goal: $30,000, absent all debt payments.
According to last year’s expense report, we spent $35,373 in non-debt expenses. This year, we will be traveling less and hopefully spending less on home maintenance and improvements. This is no sure thing, though. We haven’t lived on so little since 2006!
2. Savings Rate of 65%.
Last year’s savings rate was was 57.4%. By spending less (see above) and earning more, I hope to kick our savings up to almost 2/3 of our income.
3. Pay off our Student Loans
The remaining balance of our student loans is about $6,000. I hope to have that finally cleared off the books by the end of the year by putting in anything extra over our monthly savings goals.
4. Max Out My 457 Plan and both our Roth IRAs
This is a no-brainer. We did this in 2015, so it should be easily achieved in 2016. I just have to get this on paper!
5. Contribute more to Marge’s 401(k)
Well, to the extent that it reduces our income enough to keep us in the 15% federal tax bracket. As shown in my retirement account rankings, staying out of the 25% bracket is the deciding factor in whether to invest in Marge’s 401(k) or not. Her awful fund choices have expense ratios that are so high that they negate any positive impact to be had from deferring her income while in the 15% tax bracket.
That said, her employer
might should will be transferring their plan to a new company that uses a plethora of Vanguard funds! This is thanks in no small part to Marge who sounded the klaxxon on the high fees and got other workers on board with a change in companies. So if/when that happens, the sky’s the limit (or more precisely $18,000 is the limit) for 401(k) contributions.
I know you’re intensely interested in the Inner Life of Norm.
Read 24 Books
I accomplished this pretty regularly for a few years. Then last year was so busy, I didn’t have the time, and I only finished, like, 8 books. I blame you, rental property, house projects, and new blog! Thanks to Paperbackswap, I have piles of free books to read, plus more fun ones coming soon like Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard and The Big Short by Michael Lewis.
Watch 36 Movies
Book lovers are super elitist about reading, but I really think a smart movie is just as good for your brain as a good book. I feel like I used to watch many more movies than I do now. Not sure how true that is, but I went to a movie theater only a handful of times in 2015. Throw in Netflix movies, and I probably cracked two dozen.
But there are so many movies I want to see, and my Netflix queue is not getting any shorter! I need to find time and actually watch them. And though I don’t have any fitness goals, I can ride the stationary bike in our gym and watch Netflix at the same time. Two birds, meet one stone.
Write 52 Blog Entries
Yup, I’m going to aim to basically get a post up every week, no more, no less. Too many fewer than 52 and I’ll feel like I’m ignoring it too much. Too many over 52 and it starts to take away time from more important things.
Seeing as how I have 47 draft posts right now, this shouldn’t be too hard. And this is 52 posts in total, so if I miss a few weeks, I can make it up over time. But out of all my goals, this is the one I will definitely not be beating myself up over if I miss it.