As I wrote my four-part review of 2015, one theme stood out to me: both 2014 and 2015 were BIG YEARS for me, where I kept a very tight budget first in the name of paying off debt, then in the name of hitting big-time savings goals. In 2016, I want to stay the course with the habits of frugality, savings, and conscious spending I’ve been developing, but I also want to be a little more relaxed. I’m in a good, though certainly not great, financial position, and while maintaining focus I also want to let my hair down a little more by increasing my slush/entertainment/gifts/clothing budget. Just a little more, though, not a ton. With that in mind, here are my 2016 goals.
Goal 1: Increase my net worth by $22,000, in service of a longer-term goal: celebrating my 40th birthday with a gift to myself of a $100,000 net worth. I’ll be 37 at the end of January, so I have just over three years to accumulate $65000 more in assets. I think it’s doable. This would mean an average net worth increase of $1833/month; I hit this number only 5 times in the first 11 months of 2015, so I hasten to add that this goal depends in part on what the markets do and on whether or not I have any major emergencies. I am planning on much less travel this year, so that ought to help, too.
Goal 2: Increase my income, by either getting a raise or a new job. I can’t set an amount here since it would depend on what I was doing, but I would like to increase my base income by at least 15%, beginning in July.
Goal 3: Either buy a house, buy a car, or get my cash-on-hand from $11,000 (end of December anticipated figure) to $20,000. These are mutually exclusive goals since cash spent on a house down payment or on a car is not going to be on hand any longer 🙂 (Actually I think I am very unlikely to buy a car in 2016. 2017 is probably more like it. But you never know when circumstances will align.)
Goal 4: Contribute $12,000 to my retirement accounts. I actually have no idea how I’m going to make this, but I’m putting it out there anyway. I should be able to contribute $9000 according to my current plan (keep my $500 monthly contribution through June while I sock away down payment cash, then raise it to $1000 again) but where the other $3000 is going to come from, I’m not sure. I have so many plans for that forthcoming raise (and I don’t even know how much it will be!) that I’m reluctant to say it’ll come from there. Possibly I can line up an additional adjunct class on top of my job for the fall; that would be good for several reasons and also probably pay just about what I’d need to top off retirement.
Goal 5: Keep up the zero food waste project. That was really helpful to me this year, even though my posting about it kind of petered out. I took my food waste from moderate to almost nothing, and I’m very, very pleased with that for financial as well as other reasons.
This is probably the last set of yearly goals that won’t include a debt payoff number for a long time (assuming I do take on a mortgage this year) so I’ll enjoy that. To 2016!