To garner some support and keep myself accountable (to myself and to you!) I thought I'd post my financial goals for this year and the coming three. I'm 23 years old, and my husband and I have a combined income of almost $160,000. We bought a house two years ago and have a $1200 mortgage (which has since increased to almost $1400 thanks to rising property taxes.) We made some dumb decisions earlier in our lives, racking up credit card debt and rolling negative equity into car loan after car loan, so we have quite a hole to climb out of.
My husband and I agreed about eight months ago that I would take over the finances. We have a great relationship and he's very supportive of our budget. We make sure to communicate openly and we haven't had any trouble. I plan to keep it that way!
To get to the nitty-gritty, here are our goals:
1. Pay off $4,301.65 on our credit card. We have just finished paying off FOUR cards! We have unfortunately backslid due to an unexpected expense that our emergency fund would not cover. I have not set a date for this goal since this debt is at a lower interest rate than others.
2. Pay off a $4,709.89 loan on a dirtbike we no longer own. See? Silly! Our goal for paying off this debt is by the end of June!
3. Pay off a $13,211.61 motorcycle loan by December. I made the decision to make this purchase before I really saw the error of our ways and in some ways, I regret it. However, I'm enjoying owning and riding my dream-bike, so I'm using it to keep me motivated, because if things get tough, it's the first item to go!
4. Pay off a $14,687.25 student loan by July 2009. We've already payed off one student loan and just have two to go!
5. Pay off a $20,091.20 car loan by April 2010. Behold, the power of negative equity!
6. Pay off a $31,648.12 car loan by December 2010. More negative equity and more stupid choices. Lessons learned -- we plan on driving these vehicles into the ground!
7. Pay off a $61,783.67 student loan by June 2012. Then we will be debt free and will have paid off over $180,000 in debt in five years!
As we are paying off our debts, we will continue to do our best to save what we can. We have a $1000 emergency fund, a smaller high-yield savings account we're using to save for a vacation in a couple of years and a Roth IRA (since neither of our employers offer a 401k match). Debt repayment takes priority, but any extra money will be divided between our debts and our savings.
It's really stunning that young adults are taught so little about money before entering the world. We've had to learn our lessons the hard way, and thank goodness we've recognized our stupidity early on -- I only wish it'd been sooner before we were so deep in debt.
Thanks for being an audience. Thoughts, tips, advice and even criticisms are welcome.
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." - Albert Einstein