Can you believe we’re already halfway through 2018??
Since we’re halfway through the year, it’s probably a good time to check back in regarding my goals for 2018 and see how we’re coming along.
Personal Finance Goals
- Max out a 457 account – FAIL. This was a lofty goal to start with. It’s not impossible at our earning level, but after contributing over $1500 the first month (the amount needed to contribute each month to max out after 12 months), we realized that it significantly cut back our ability to do things like pay off debts. So, I cut back my retirement contributions to 15%. Mr. FC and I both make mandatory contributions to pensions (with matches) on top of that.
- Max out a HSA – WIN! I’m on track to max out a HSA by the end of the year. I’m on an individual HDHP, and my husband and daughter are covered under his PPO plan.
- Pay off our last consumer debt (a truck) – Grade C. It’s not paid off yet, but we’ve already cut the loan in half from where it was in January and it’s looking promising to pay it off by the end of the year. I’m giving this a C because I feel like we could have done more, but we have made progress.
- Open an IRA for Mr. FC and consolidate his retirement accounts from previous employers – WIN! We opened up an individual IRA for him and rolled everything over. If you went through a job-hopping phase in your early 20’s like he did, don’t leave any old money lying around! Also, don’t passively hope someone else is investing your money well. Understand your money and take control.
- Meet an after-tax savings rate of 33%. WIN? I give this a question mark, because it all comes down to how you calculate it. I consider post-tax our salaries with federal payroll taxes taken out. If we include everything that goes into a savings account, we are at 25% savings consistently. If we include that plus what is going to non-mortgage debt we are at 31%-44% depending on the month.
- Me: Don’t quit blogging! Grade C. I almost quit blogging. And I haven’t been posting as regularly as I probably should. It’s easy to come up with excuses. BUT! I was awarded a scholarship to FinCon in Orlando and I’m attending the Cents Positive women’s retreat in Denver. I’m re-invigorated to be productive leading up to both of these events.
- Me: Get my first freelance writing gig. FAIL. I haven’t really made this a priority though. I only submitted one pitch and was denied. Womp womp. I failed this partially though because I was succeeding at my goal below to be less busy. Between working full-time, being a Mom and a wife, blogging, I feel like I’ve got a lot on my plate. Freelance writing is still on the table, but I probably just need to re-arrange some of the precious time between when my daughter goes to bed and when I do in order to make it happen.
- Mr. FC: Start an aerial drone photography side hustle. FAIL. I probably made this goal too specific. I should have just said he wanted to make a side hustle. A drone business was his idea when I wrote up our goals, but we weren’t really willing to invest the money in a drone to make that happen. He’s pursuing a different idea at the moment that is looking promising. (If I had written “start a side hustle” in general as the goal I will give this point a Grade C too). I may give an update on his side hustle later.
- Get outside more. WIN! We’ve been on more walks regularly, been camping, and next week have a vacation planned to spend all week at a lake cabin.
- Run my first half-marathon in April. Fail. I was going to do this with my Mom and sister and they both bailed. Ok, I know I can’t blame it all on them, I bailed too. While training I realized that I just don’t like super long-distance running. I think I will stick with my 5K’s and 10K’s.
- Mr. FC finish master’s degree/get new job. WIN! He finished his master’s degree and I’m going to give him a win for that alone. Still working on the new job front, but there are limited opportunities (we live in a rural-ish/small city). He did get a raise for this next school year, though.
Things to give up
- Watching so much TV – Grade C. Win most of the time, but probably could do better.
- Eating out as often – WIN! I feel like we’ve doing much better at this. It helps that toddlers aren’t very easy to take to restaurants.
- Clutter – Grade C. I’ve been immersing myself more in the words of minimalism, but I don’t feel like I’ve made enough progress to give myself better than a C. I read Essentialism earlier this year, subscribed to several minimalist blogs, and I’ve been doing better at shopping less and not accumulating more stuff. However, I could stand to tackle the extra non-essential crap I already own.
- Trying to please everyone. WIN! I feel like I’ve been doing well at this. I mentioned the book Essentialism with the previous point, and I think that helped my mindset when it comes to this. Especially at work, I feel like I was able to push back against taking on some travel and extraneous tasks and has helped maintain a good work/life balance.
- Busyness. WIN! This probably shouldn’t be last on my list, because it’s actually a very high priority and an essential part of living intentionally for me. Overall, I’m happy with how my mental state has been toward busyness. When someone asks, “How have you been?” my first response isn’t, “Busy.” It has required stepping back from a few other goals (see freelance writing above), but overall I’m ok with that as a tradeoff. I think being less busy helps me be happier and more relaxed.
Well, there you have it! A very long-winded opus on the state of my goals halfway through the year. Eight wins, four Grade C’s, and four fails. I have more fails than I expected, but I’m not too disappointed in most of them. The Grade C’s are probably where I will focus on improving most between now and the end of the year.
How are your 2018 goals going up to this point?