The golden goal:
Find a condo that I want to buy, present a good offer, reach mutual acceptance, go through closing, and move in. (done in June!)
Save as much as possible:
Max out my traditional 401(k) – $17,000. (done in December!)
3. Max out my Roth IRA – $5,000. Fail! Did not complete since I am still unsure of my exact income and how much I can contribute.
4. Invest 20% of my gross income, investing beyond the traditional 401(k) and Roth IRA in my taxable investment account. Fail! I only invested about 17% of my gross income.
Save $3,000 towards a car replacement in 9 years by automatic transfer of $250 each month. (cancelled with condo purchase in June)
Re-pay the various savings buckets that I borrowed from in December of 2011 to help fund my down payment: taxable investments and car replacement fund. (done in February after closing didn’t happen – total ~$8,400)
Re-arrange money to get emergency reserves up to 6 months expenses at a rate of $3,600 in expenses per month. (done in February after closing didn’t happen)
Put any leftover savings amounts after paying myself back into my down payment savings account for my future condo purchase, including earnest money deposit returns, income tax refunds, and apartment security deposit returns. (condo purchased in June!)
9. Set aside mortgage pre-payments in a savings account, until September 1st, at which time, I will start making pre-payments. — I made almost $15k in pre-payments in July before my first payment was due. Does this count as a fail?
Pay the mortgage down to a maximum balance of $263,769.89. Ending balance was $259,600.
Have excellent credit:
Make zero requests to change the limits on my credit cards throughout all of 2012 – let the credit card companies come to me. I actually succeeded at this! Doing the refi was a credit pull, but it doesn’t violate this goal.
Keep financial anxiety to a minimum:
Maintain my system of: a) nearby credit union for checking, deductible reserves and 2 months of emergency reserves, vacation savings, and other small and/or short-term goal savings, b) Ally for larger, more long-term savings amounts (e.g. car replacement, down payment funds, and the rest of my emergency reserves).
Only check my checking account once per week, to ensure that there were no fishy transactions. Uh, yeah. I am at least less anxious about this.
Only check my Vanguard account on the 2nd business day of the month (when the previous month’s dividends post in my 401(k) account). Wait until they post to write my monthly summary. I got mostly better at this.
In January, create an investment plan for the year and stick to it. Yup! I changed it a bit, but I kept pretty close to the spirit of it.
After much deliberation, I decided not to set a net worth goal for the year. With the bonus structure of my income, my income could swing wildly in 2012, so I didn’t want to make a goal that could be unachievable despite huge efforts on my part. I am going to concentrate on how much I am saving and investing in 2012. I will still track my net worth, but I’m not striving for a particular number. If I hit all of the above savings and investing goals, then I will be saving about
$50,000 $60,000. That could turn into a net worth increase of $50,000 $60,000, but it could not, so I don’t want to spend the year stressing about that.
End result: $78,800 net worth increase. Wow!