What I'd Change
1. I'd have a bit tighter rein over my spending. I'm not cutting back as much as I should given my part-time employed circumstance. There are a few expenses I regret, but most of them I don't...for many of them, I feel like I've been making investments in my future (spending about $500 on CPE units, spending about $200 on nutritional supplements and $100 on exercise equipment/gym fees/videotapes).
So I'm already on to
What I Would NOT Change
1. Money and time spent on my beloved Henry, even though the cancer beat us in the end.
2. Money spent on CPA review classes....got me through all the exams the first time around and saved on future exam fees (I think it's about 20% who pass all four on the first try)
3. For the most part, money and time spent on my health, though there are months I paid for the gym and didn't go.
What I'll Change in the Future
1. More focus on debt reduction. The past 18 months or so have been hard. I've been unemployed or part-time employed; my long-term relationship broke up; I lost my beloved dog to cancer; my mother is seriously ill and spent five months in a nursing home and while she's home and stable now, she does have a terminal illness; and my best friend's grandson has been dying of cancer...the last month we knew it was getting close to the end and I spent almost every evening with her so she wouldn't have to be alone with her thoughts; he finally passed last Monday. Because of all the hardship, I've fallen into debt whereas before I had none and needless to say, I haven't saved anything either. I need to focus on getting out of that debt...the credit card debt will be gone this year one way or another although some of that may be by transferring the debt to five-year loans I can take out at a low rate by borrowing against my retirement savings. Better five years at 5% that can be paid off early without penalty than 10% or more on credit cards.
2. I'm praying that my mom stays stable this year, both because I love her and want her around and because I really need to focus on completing my CPA license and getting a salaried job. It actually gave me leeway to be with her that I was only employed part-time last year. This year I really need to finish the license requirements (which means finding an auditing job after tax season) and find a salaried job one way or the other....so far I've only applied to CPA firm jobs and haven't tried for corporate jobs.
Archive for January, 2011
What I'd Change
Goals & Results for 2010
Goal: 1. Finish the CPA exam and the EA exam. Find a real self-supporting accounting job. Results: CPA exam--passed! EA part 1, passed. Working part time at a CPA firm and for 4th quarter at a doctor's office too. But no job that is full-time and self-supporting yet.
Goal: 2. Continue regular exercise with an eye towards weight loss. I walked 285 fitness miles in 2009...hoping to increase this to 365 in 2010. Also need to add in strength training at least twice weekly. Results: Walked 205 miles (didn't walk during two crisis months with Henry & my mom). No real strength training effort.
Goal: 3. I will focus on eating fewer prepared foods and smaller portions with an eye to both losing weight and trimming my food budget. Results: I made progress here--switched to Dr Fuhrman's "Eat for Life" plan in mid-Sept and have lost 19 pounds since Jan. 1 of 2010. I'll have to check how this affected the food budget...I don't really think it is down substantially.
Goal: 4. Do my own "happiness project" to combat the depressive tendencies that come with long-term unemployment and dealing with two dear family members facing terminal illness. Results: I made sporadic efforts and have at least avoided outright depression--mostly because I have been working part-time all year, much better for my mental health than total unemployment. Also a friend of mine whose grandson is dying of cancer and I partnered to form a strong mutual support network and check in on each other regularly, especially when one of us knows that the other is dealing with a rough patch, and this helps.
Low points of 2010: Henry's death; mom's landing in the hospital and then nursing home and realizing how serious her illness was.
High points of 2010: Landing the part-time job at the CPA firm; passing the last of the four CPA exams.
Goals for 2011 are the same but the plans and strategies are different.
One of the things that I appreciate about David Bach is that he usually offers his latest book for free for one day each book release. Today's the day. His latest book is "Debt Free for Life." Go to http://www.walletpop.com/david-bach to get your copy.
I haven't read it but I have appreciated his advice in the past.