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Year-End Assessment & Goals for 2008

December 23rd, 2007 at 11:43 pm

My financial goals for 2007 were to save 15% of my earnings and to use it to rebuild my emergency fund. Usually I put most of my savings towards retirement, as I have had no employer retirement contributions on my behalf since 2000, but this year, as a fairly new home owner, I felt that putting the savings into liquid accounts was vital.

$7265 into short-term savings accounts (savings + laddered CDs)
720 into retirement accounts
530 additional principal payments on mortgage
$8515, which rounds to 15% of my gross earnings for the year

(The additional payments on mortgage represent future savings, as I have, in two years, cut 3.5 years and $13,885 in interest off my 30-year mortgage, so I feel justified in including it here, even though techinically the additional payments are an expense.)

Goals for 2008:
Continue to save at least 15% of earnings. I'd prefer to be able to save 20%, but I have at least one major house repair upcoming next year, so I doubt I'll achieve the more ambitious goal. It also depends on how much I earn. I'm in the middle of a career transition that I hope to complete by 2009, but, as of now, my income is certain only through August of 2008. I plan to do an internship in the new line of work over the summer, and I expect it to be paid, but I have no idea how much. I'm moderately sure I'll have my one year contract renewed--there's a strong probability of a half year, and a moderate probability of a full year, extension. I'll finally qualify for retirement contributions from my current employer starting in January (Hallelujah!), and those amount to 10% of salary. Because of the retirement boost, and because of the imminant career change and its uncertainties, as well as the need in the foreseeable (3 to 5-year) future for a new roof on the house and a replacement for my car, I'll continue to direct the bulk of my 15% savings towards the liquid accounts--I'm planning to put 6.5% into retirement and 8.5% into the savings fund (which includes emergency funds, a car replacement fund, and home maintenance funds in separate accounts, but I do shift money between these as needs dictate.)

I'll be making some additional pre-payments on the mortgage, probably $460, saving a few more months and $$ in future interest.

As for non-financial goals, those are mostly related to the career change: complete a summer internship, interview for jobs next fall, take 3-5 classes over the course of the year, and lose at least 20 pounds for my health, to fit into my job interview clothes, and so I feel better about myself. This will entail being very regular again about exercise, which I let lapse during the past year. I hope to maintain my relationships and a sense of life balance over the year as well, for sanity's sake, but this year the social goals take back seat as the career change nears the critical "switchover" point. Once I'm focused on one career rather than two, I definitely plan to spend much more time with friends and doing things that I enjoy such as taking art classes and traveling. One more year in the current career, and then a year where I make the switch, and by 2010, life (and income) should, I hope, be more stable than it has been during this long transitional decade (the last time I had a "permanent" job, that is, one with more than a one-year contract, was 1999).

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