2016 is done. Thank goodness.
I wanted to recap on the goals I set for myself, but I realized this year has been so crazy that I didn’t set any. I didn’t want to commit to anything because failed goals feel worse than undefined progress. Perhaps this is you too. Unlike my student loans, where I had a defined goal, I didn’t know how far I wanted to get with my saving and investing. Maybe I knew how far I wanted to get, but I didn’t know how far I would get.
That’s the tough thing about saving and investing. You can always save more. You can always invest more. Debt has an end goal. A beautifully articulated, well defined end. $0.
With that in mind, I chose to lean into the numbers with limits.
Tax Advantaged Accounts
I wanted to save for retirement. 401k – $18,000. IRA- $5,500. HSA – $3,350. I could reach for those. The government would get mad at me and punish me if I went over those goals. Each of those had their own shut off valves and I reached for those.
I’m so happy to report that I made it. Check. Check. Check. I am super maxed.
Hubs got pretty close. IRA – Check. 401k – Almost. We started late and he didn’t make it. What is amazing is that he was over contributing. So in 2017, his contributions will go down and he will make it. He’s already submitted his paperwork to properly max.
In 2017, everything will max. It’s gonna be good.
We were ready to move out of our apartment. After they cut our lock on our storage unit AND DIDN’T TELL US, we were ready to get outta here. The ridiculous rent increases made it frustrating too. Thankfully, we could afford it. We chose to live here (because the location is perfect) until we were ready to move. I’m so glad we had that flexibility.
We started saving for a house 2 weeks after I paid off my loans in 2015. We capped our house search at $250,000. 20% of $250,000 is $50,000. That was our down payment goal.
Drum roll…. We made it!
Thanks to cashing out two whole life insurance policies, we pushed over our goal. Due to sketchy timing, we reached our goal AFTER we bought the house, but before we closed. It was a real nail biter 🙂
In 2017, we plan to keep saving like we were saving for the house. Our finances won’t change. Going forward, the cash will go toward renovations instead of the down payment.
I still have a car loan. I still feel like a bit of an imposter being so proud of my student loan payoff while carrying a car note. The loan is at 1% interest and it’s tough to get motivated to pay anything extra. With so many other goals, I’ve been happy to drop this down to the bottom.
In 2017, I’ll finish the 3 year loan. Yay for no more car payment! Unfortunately or Awesomely, Hubs’ car comes off lease the exact same month. We plan to buy out and finance his car, putting us right back into car debt. If we can get equally excellent terms, we’ll ride out his loan. If not, we’ll probably still let it ride.
I’ve never had a mortgage before, but OMG I have a mortgage in 2017! Our first payment is due February 1. Our loan doesn’t have a pre-payment penalty, but for now that doesn’t matter.
With all we have to do with the house to make it ours, I don’t expect to make any extra payments in 2017. 2018, maybe. 2019 ABSOLUTELY.
Our interest rate is bomb dot com. 3.375%. Having a rate that low makes me less anxious to kill the mortgage. We’ll see how things evolve.
I’ve had a taxable investment account for 13 years. However, after that first contribution, I haven’t added a nickel to it. I’ve used it as an opportunity to learn about the effects of compound interest.
In 2017, I will continue to leave that account alone. I do, however, have a super secret (now not secret at all) goal of starting a joint taxable account with Vanguard. I’d like to at least get it started with $3000. I don’t know where this money is going to come from. With everything I want to accomplish with the house, this is going to be a struggle. Maybe it won’t be, but I expect it will. I’ll consider this my stretch goal.
Here is my 2017 waterfall plan in order: Keep Super Maxing > Keep ignoring my car loans >Pay the minimum on the mortgage > Save the excess for house renovations > Find $3000 to start a joint taxable account!
Somewhere along the way, I’ll find the cash to take a vacation.
2017 is going to be a big year!