Alright, yesterday I talked at length about setting SMART goals, goals you can actually achieve because they’ve been well-defined and laid out. So today, I’m going to lay out my 2010 Goals. In the past I’ve made New Years Resolutions but they were never all that realistic or defined. There’s always the “Lose Weight” “Get out of debt” sorts of resolutions, so they usually don’t happen.
In 2009 I had one major resolution, and oddly enough without any specific planning, I managed to hit it.
Get out of Debt
In 2009 I finished my climb out of the $15k hole I had dug myself into. I did it by pulling out all the stops and trying every trick in the book to consolidate the debt and reduce the number of payments and overall interest rates. I cut all my expenses to virtually nothing and went crazy paying down debt with every cent I had. I did this because I wanted to propose to my girlfriend and didn’t want to bring the burden of debt with me into the marriage.
So earlier this year I managed just that and I’ve made so much progress on savings that I am paying for my wedding myself in cash.
So while 2009’s goal wasn’t entirely SMART, I achieved it through sheer determination. For 2010, what I want to achieve is a little bit more complex and varied so I need to craft better goals.
Goals for 2010
First off, it’s important to note that I’m getting married in June and we’re planning our honeymoon for September. These two major events are what my year will revolve around personally and financially.
Lose 30lbs By June, 2010
Before I moved to Michigan, I had lost over 50 lbs and was back down to my ideal weight of 150lbs. Now, I’m creeping up towards 180 again. I want to be in great shape again for my wedding and for my honeymoon. I don’t want to look pudgy in all of my photos! So starting Jan 4th, I’m cleaning up what I eat and signing up with a local gym. I will hit the gym at least 2 times per week. I know from years past that if I keep at a schedule, I’ll drop the weight pretty quickly.
Plus, when the weather turns warmer, I’m going to start biking into work. Since I only live 4mi away, it’s not going to be that difficult at all. This will speed up the weight loss and save me money in gas.
Build a 6 Month Emergency Fund by the end of 2010
After examining my fixed expenses, it looks like I need to have about $9,000 in liquid cash on hand to survive for 6 months on nothing but my own money. This is assuming no unemployment benefits etc. To pad this out, my goal is to have $10,000 in savings by the end of 2010 just for peace of mind. This is especially important now that I’m not just supporting myself, but soon a wife. My priorities are shifting from supporting just myself to making sure my family is taken care of.
To reach this point, I need to save $834/month. I currently save $900/mo at a minimum, and could scrape together more if I trim my non-essential expenses a bit.
Begin a small investment portfolio by the end of 2010
With much of my money going into building that emergency fund, and a lot of my current funds going to pay for wedding and honeymoon expenses, I’m not going to have a great deal left over. But what I do have left over I want to use to start building up an investment portfolio.
Right now all I have in terms of interest-yielding accounts is an ING Savings account giving me around 1.30% annually. This is where I’m putting my emergency fund. While it’s better than my standard savings account, it’s by no means robust or going to earn me any real money.
I want to start putting money somewhere that will earn more. At the very least I’m going to get a laddered CD setup going with a minimum of $1000 invested.
Blog at least 1 article a week
I’m terrible at blogging regularly. Which is a shame considering I used to write all the time, and my blogging in part was what helped me get a job at Stardock in the first place. Since working at Stardock, I’ve let that fall to the wayside, which in the grand scheme isn’t very smart. Writing regularly, and trying to write insightful content helps keep my communication skills sharp, and builds my personal brand, which is helpful in many many ways.
I’m working to build up a backlog of articles that I can set to auto-publish on a regular basis.
Those are my four major goals for 2010. I’ll try and expand on each goal in greater detail in future articles. I’ll also be updating my progress towards these goals periodically through the year.
What are your goals for 2010? How are you going to achieve them?