Recap for this year
This year has been a pretty satisfactory year for me as I finally got myself to start thinking about our fiscal fitness and start taking steps towards a better future.
My tiny accomplishments
1. Set up a monthly budget
2. Got a Roth IRA set up for myself and my wife. Maxed out one of the accounts while just putting $100 in the other as we decided to save towards our downpayment
3. Met our target emergency fund of $15K from 5K that we had at the beginning of the year. We may use a portion of it for towards downpayment down the line if needed.
4. Got a 30 yr term life insurance for myself.
5. Got a disability insurance through my workplace.
6. Got better coverage on our car insurance.
7. Continue to pay my wife's monthly tuition w/o taking a loan.
Shortcomings this year
1. Though we did follow our budget for the most part which helped us meet our target emergency fund, dining out seems to be main item (almost only) that we consistenly overshot and I am guilty of this than my wife. Need to keep my gluttony down!
2. We followed the "envelope system" ( you might reference to it in Total Money Makeover book by Dave Ramsey) but what we didn't take into consideration was certain occasional ticket items and that created deviation from our budget. We revisited our budget and added some more items and have set a side some funds/paycheck.
3. This one is yet to happen - but I am going to take a week or two off in Jan and head out for a vacation. I haven't taken a single day off from work this year and HR is not so pleased w/ that. Why a shortcoming, well, I want a change of scenery for my break and if I have to get out of Iowa, I can't think of anything to do which is not going to cost me less than ~$1000 - $1000 that could go towards downpayment next year. May be road trip to someplace..dunnot yet. Any ideas? i was toying w/ having a road trip to may be CorpusCristi or something...all I need is a break.
Books Read/referred this year
1. Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
2. Personal Finance for Dummies - Eric Tyson
3. Investing for Dummies - Eric Tyson
4. Mutual Funds for Dummies - Eric Tyson
5. The Random Walk Guide to Investing: Ten Rules for Financial Success - Burton G. Malkiel
1. The Intelliigent Investor - Graham ( will make another attempt in 2008
Challenges for next year
1. There is only ONE challenge for next year and that is we want to be in our house next year this time. Hopefully we can make it happen. Will focus on saving as much as we can for our downpayment.
Major Events anticipated next year
1. We are expecting our first child end of April and we are pretty excited about it, though secretly I am freaking out!!
2. My wife will finish school or if she sits out a semester will almost be done w/ school next year and that wil ease our finances a little bit.
These will be pretty common knoweldge for most of you folks and just my $0.02, I am no finance guru but these are thoughts, principles or whatever I tried to abide by this year
1. No point avoiding to looking at your financial state in fear how bad a sate you might be in. Accept it at its face value and move forward.
2. Curb your spending and then start saving. No point saving if you are going to keep using your credit card and just paythe minimumon your debt. Right now we do not have any credit debt.
3. It really doesn't take countless hrs to get a basic finance plan going.
a. Spend couple of weekends/spare time reading a good personal finance book.
b. Set up a budget thats not too restricting. Put aside a little for recreation, if your budget is too restricting its not going to work out.
c. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account into savings and/or retriment accouns as per your budget. Saves a lot of trouble.
4. It takes time for things to turn around. This is more my problem than anything else
Now, that i am actively trying to better my fiscal fitness I tend to be impatient.
I know there is long way to go but I am happy about our progress this year.
I am hoping all of you have had just as a good a year and do even better next year!