I’m big on setting goals that are achievable. I don’t try to tackle too much and sometimes it’s as simple as just doing 1 thing better over the next year. Today, PF Pro contributor, Kali Hawlk takes a look at some money goals that you can set for 2015. This is also Kali’s last post for the blog so I wanted to say thanks for all her hard work over the past year!
We’ve only got a little more than two weeks left in 2014, which means it’s time to start thinking about the New Year. If you’re eager to set some resolutions you can actually work toward and keep to make 2015 even better than this year, consider setting a few goals with your money.
Creating a better financial situation is something you can work toward every week, every month — and you don’t need to make drastic changes. Baby steps, taken consistently over time, will get you there.
And don’t forget: there are countless ways to improve your personal finances. Not sure where to start? Consider these money goals to set for 2015:
Establish Financial Security
Did you experience a money scare or two in 2014? Make 2015 better by working to build up your financial security. There are two main ways to achieve this: pay down debt and build up savings.
Have you established an emergency fund? If not, make that your money goal for 2015. Set aside $10, $20, $50, or $100 per week until you have at least $1,000 secured in an easily-accessible (and liquid) account.
It’s okay if progress is slow. You have 12 months to meet these goals, right? It’s more important that you just get started.
If you already have an emergency fund, consider adding to it. Ideally, you’ll have 3 to 6 months’ worth of living expenses or net pay saved up. But adding to that provides additional financial security — especially if you’re self-employed or have heavy financial responsibilities (i.e., you have multiple dependents that rely on the income you produce).
If you have debt, it’s time to make a plan to start paying it down aggressively. Get mean! Do what you can to free up as much money as possible each month to put toward your debt, so you’re paying way more than the minimum and crushing that debt fast.
Already paying down debt? Consider ways to accelerate your progress. (My favorite method: side hustle!)
And there’s one more way to set money goals for 2015 that can help you build financial security. Consider getting the right protection for your assets and yourself if you don’t have it already. That means, depending on your situation, getting:
- Life insurance
- Disability insurance
- An estate plan
Not everyone will need insurance out the wazoo, but it’s important to consider. Look at your own situation, do your research, and determine what your personal needs are.
Build Your Wealth
Everyone should have this money goal on their list for 2015. Let’s all make a New Year’s resolution to build wealth!
We can do this by:
- Making sure we’re contributing to employer-sponsored retirement accounts and securing the match, if that’s available
- Also establishing a traditional or Roth IRA — this is a must of an employer-sponsored account isn’t available to you
- Using a SEP IRA if you are self-employed full-time or part-time (if you have a side hustle, you can contribute!)
That’s the easiest way to get started. Work to contribute at least 15% to 20% of your gross income to your retirement accounts. If you want to get serious about wealth-building, aim for 30% to 50% — or more.
When it comes to investing in these accounts, I prefer passively managed index funds.
You can also invest outside of retirement accounts, but take advantage of those first because they’re tax advantaged. (An invested savings account, for example, won’t be tax advantaged, at all.) If you qualify, you might also want to look into an HSA.
And you can invest in yourself, too! Continue your education. Pick up a new skill or ability. Add to your experience that can pay off in a tangible way in your career or money-earning ability.
Use Your Money Goals to Live the Life You Want!
Your 2015 money goals can be a little more intangible, or at least different than what someone else might be working toward. Your money goals might revolve around gaining access to the life you want.
Make your goal to save up for a home down payment if you’re ready to have a place to call your own.
Educate yourself on the trip you want to take and look intro travel hacking to make the most of your money (then save up for the rest, too!).
Work to be in the financial position where you can take time off to volunteer is important to you.
Aim to earn more in 2015 by negotiating a raise or starting your own side hustle — or even side business.
The possibilities here are endless. Take a moment to think about what the life you want to live looks like — then start drawing up a plan to meet some of the money goals you’ll need to get there in 2015.
Finally, take action. A new year is a good excuse to start something, to establish new goals to work at. Just make sure that you finish them, too.
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What money goals will you work toward in 2015? What are you hoping to accomplish in the new year?
Meg Schneider says
Thank you for this great article on financial priorities! This is a great reminder to plan for the life you want by planning your saving and spending.
An Affair of Character
Kali Hawlk says
Thanks Meg! Glad it was a valuable post 🙂
Joseph Hogue says
Great post Kali, I especially like the advice to use money goals to live the life you want. Too many people spend their whole lives saving and budgeting and forget to actually live. Spending a little (responsibly) makes budgeting so much easier to follow.
Definitely going in my weekly Best Blogs roundup next Thursday.
Kali Hawlk says
Thanks Joseph! I appreciate the kind words — and I agree, it’s all about striking a balance with your finances. Living within your means is critical, but you can’t simply forget to enjoy today.