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Home » Personal Motivation

Share your Biggest Financial Accomplishments of 2012 & Goals for 2013!

Last updated by on 21 Comments

I hate resolutions as much as anyone.

But one thing I do like is reviewing (to understand where I’m at and what I’ve accomplished) and optimizing (to kick more butt in the future).

So I thought it would be prudent to put a cap on my 2012 finances, set some goals for 2013, and then ask you to do the same and share.

Recapping 2012

2012 was a big outlier year for us, in terms of expenses.

My wife began pursuing a nursing career change, started school in the fall of 2011 and graduated in December of 2012. The bulk of the tuition costs came this past year (about $10k in total). The low tuition was due in part to an hour long commute, which resulted in about $250 per month in fuel expenses.

Additionally, our one-and-only old car died (a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am with 182k miles), and we decided to purchase a new one due to her heavy driving and inflated used car prices. I highlighted how I was able to get 24% off of MSRP before trade-in (and pay cash for it), but it was still a huge expense for us.

Not long after, my wife proceeded to get in a car accident (she’s fine, thankfully). She was at fault in the accident, so it brought on a $500 deductible expense.

But there was a Lot of Good as Well

On the bright side, my income was at an all time high (I’d love to share, but it’d probably get me in trouble since I’m not self-employed). We kept non-education and car purchase expenses to just about $22,000 (including the $500 deductible and about $3,000 on fuel), which allowed us to keep our personal savings rate at very high levels (despite the education and car expenses). A few key monthly expense highlights included:

Given the income and low monthly expenses, I was still able to contribute the maximum 401k contribution and get my employer’s full 401k match.

Another highlight was in the area of health insurance. I took an educated risk and made the switch from a PPO to an HDHP plan (paired with an HSA). There were some bumps along the way, but overall, I saved $1,038 out of pocket and had leftover HSA contributions of $1,094 from my employer. I also ended up making a maximum HSA contribution last year and intend to do the same this year in order to build up the health insurance coffers for future years.

How did I do Against my 2012 Goals?

My three goals for 2012 were:

  1. Have Less of my Savings in Cash
  2. Optimize my HSA and HDHP
  3. Be Ready if I Need a New Car

Success on #2 and I guess on #3 (I would prefer if it hadn’t died, but at least I was ready for it).

I was not very successful on #1, and I attribute that to not putting a number on that goal.

What About 2013?

2013 financial resolutionsThis coming year should provide much less excitement than last… in a good way.

No further education expenses. No major car expenses. And significantly lower fuel expenses. I have my fingers crossed that nothing major pops up, but I know as well as you do that life happens.

My wife will be taking her licensing exam in January and hopes are that a job will soon follow. This would result in new income and a potential banner year in that department.

It’ll be even more important than ever for me to effectively allocate my savings to start generating more income. So that will be my main focus. I’m going to put a target of 90% of my savings in to securities that aren’t cash/cd/checking/money market.

A second financial focus may revolve around the car. Hopefully my wife gets a job locally, which would mean our need to drive would nosedive. This may push me to sell the car in exchange for an older one that would be cheaper to insure. Do I financially need to do this? No. But it’s something I’m going to seriously look at.

Now, it’s your turn.

What About You?

I’m sick of blabbing about myself. It’s your turn to show some pride, humility, and excitement about things to come, so we can all share, congratulate, brainstorm, and discuss.

  • What are your biggest financial successes in 2012?
  • Did you set out to achieve them or did they just happen?
  • What are your biggest financial goals/resolutions/focus areas for 2013?
  • What personal goals are you most excited about?

About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


21 Comments »
  • Mike says:

    I only have one! Keep track of everything I spend on a monthly basis. I hope it will be easier to cut some costs like that.

    I don’t like resolutions to be honest. So the only thing I can do is keep track of what is going on.

  • Jeremy Jameson says:

    I didn’t really have much in the way of financial successes in 2012, but I have set wheels in motion towards progress on that front. I also hadn’t set any resolutions for 2012, but I’ve chosen three goals for my blog in 2013: 500 subscribers, 50 unique visitors per post day, and payout from AdSense. While these may seem like trivial accomplishments to established bloggers, to my fledgling blog they are milestones which will set it well on the path of growing in readership and income capacity. Please come visit my blog and consider subscribing if you’d like to read more. Happy New Year! :)

  • Integrator says:

    Hitting $25k per year in dividend income. I’ve been working toward this for 10years, but wasnt sure I’d ever get there. 2012 was that year. New years resolution is to commit myself to $50k dividends per year by this time in 5 years. What’s life without goals! Best wishes in the new year to you and your readers.

  • SD Lurker says:

    I am 20 with a BUNCH of pluses (just turned 71 :-)) and expect to retire next year. Here’s what my wife and I achieved last year.

    - Maintained our employment status (she full time, me p.t.)
    - Made the last payment on our $750K residence and now have $2.50 balance on a home equity loan with a 2.4% interest rate.
    - Paid off the mortgage on a rental property bought in 1982.
    - Consolidated credit cards to a Costco AMEX and Sapphire Visa card.
    - Maintained our two excellent (if non-flashy) cars – a 2006 Hyundai Sonata and a 2009 Ford Escape – both acquired in the past for excellent discounts thru Costco Auto program.
    - Completed refi’s on two other rentals to reduce interest rates from 5.75% to 3.88%, reducing monthly mortgage nuts by $300.
    - Started to plan a remodel to our residence to accomodate our needs for staying here in our “mature” years.
    - Decided to take charge of our own health in view of the destructive & expensive Obamacare that was built on a web of lies and have switched to a near vegan diet, added 10,000 steps a day (~ 4 miles) to our daily regimen, deep- six’ed my Lipitor prescription (Total cholesterol 174) in favor of natural red yeast rice, Vit-C and Niacin (total cholesterol 158) and have lost 25 lbs in the process.

    One thing I know – this is a fantastic time for any 20+, so inclined who can qualify, to buy investment property. We will look back in 10 years in disbelief of the prices and interest rates available at this time. I am sorely tempted to but another rental property but since approaching retirement I have yielded to my preservative instincts as I don’t have the same amount of time to recover if I make a bad decision.

    Just as a point of R/E information for the 20+ members, we bought three rentals (3BR house, 2BR condo, 1BR condo) in San Diego from ’72 to ’82 at a total cost of 190K with 20% down (~38K). We operated for the first 10 years with a negative cash flow.

    Today those same properties (in a down market) are valued at $850K, or a profit of 2200% relative to our original capital investment. We have refi’d every time a good opportunity arose (original interest rates 9.5%, today 3.88%). That averages out to about a 10% annual return (compounded) on our initial capital investment not counting the positive cash flow for the last 22 years. Today we have a net cash flow of $24,000/yr from these three properties.

    The bottom line: private investment R/E is a great long term investment for building an excellent retirement vehicle and it will just keep appreciating over the long term.

    • SD Lurker says:

      I forgot to add:

      Today’s 20+ somethings are in danger of losing the Social Security and Medicare that my generation took for granted because you have voted in liberal politicians who refuse to acknowledge and deal with the undeniable fiscal problem. We have an unsustainable budgetary expenditures – it ain’t rocket science.

      The libs will NOT tell you that because the root of their power is based on selling “free lunches” based on borrowing from China and printing degraded dollars. But the chickens WILL come home to roost – guaranteed! It si your generation that will pay for the liberal’s debt run up on the US credit card.

      You had better dig in and learn economics and exert your political strength or your is a very bleak future.

      • Tim says:

        It could be argued that we are in for a very bleak future because your generation has taken S.S. and Medicare for granted, and continued to elect officials who had no foresight for budgetary issues. As a 28 year old, I have never voted based on economic issues (which I understand very well) because at 18 years old I understood that I was put in a position of living with insurmountable national debt by the boomers and I might as well vote based on my beliefs regarding social issues. When it comes to economics both parties are guilty of leaving our generation with no out. But that’s enough politics.

        2012 was an extremely prosperous year for me, I am most proud of having my investment accounts pass the $100k mark, my net worth go over $175K, and my debt stay at $0. For 2013, I am anxious to find the perfect home to purchase.

        • SD Lurker says:

          Tim, I totally agree with you that the boomers have acted recklessly by allowing elected representatives to spend, spend, spend. I have always voted for politicians that I thought would be frugal and treat taxpayer funds like they were their own money – sadly, not always successful in that regard. But does the boomer’s recklessness justify recklessness by your generation – ie, do two wrongs make a right?

          I was marinated by my parents in their depression era mentality and have lived my life with that ethic. As a result my spouse and I have positioned ourselves to be self-reliant and independent of the increasingly irresponsible socialist government.

          And I too don’t want to make this a political squabble. My point was that the young generation has ignored the disastrous economy that the current administration and the last has managed very poorly by refusing to establish policies that would eliminate wasteful expenditures and introduce incentives to growth.

          When we ignore facts and lousy performance and just vote for the guy who tells you he has your “personal back” rather than the welfare of the country (present and future), then you get what you vote for.

          I don’t have to worry about your generation (which includes my son) and the one that follows because I have taken care of my family – yet I do. I think that you and others like you are showing a personal commitment to taking care of your self by judicial management of your money, investing and by tuning into good sources of information such as this website. I worry about the substantial fraction of this generation who don’t behave prudently and tune out the very issues that will effect them and their future.

          This generation will either be saddled with unsustainable debt payments when interest rates rise or they will be assaulted by out of control inflation as we experienced during the Jimmy Carter era.

          What amazes me is that the left continues an unsustainable path that is clearly mugging your generation (in general) and this generation says, “give me more of the same.” There is a total disconnect between the administration’s words and it’s deeds yet nobody holds their feet to the fire. Without reform, SS and Medicare will NOT be there when you need it.

          Tim, do everything you can to decouple yourself from government dependency and continue to invest in your future.

          PS: “I might as well vote based on my beliefs regarding social issues” in lieu of voting for people who will seriously engage the nation’s economic problem just constitutes aiding and abetting the problem.

  • JE says:

    In 2012 I paid off over $38K in student loan debt. I still have a ways to go but my goal for 2013 is to pay off an additional $50K. This would put me on track to finish paying off the balance of my loans by the end of 2014. It’s aggressive but with great focus attainable. Bring it on 2013!

  • Ornella @ Moneylicious says:

    My biggest goal right now is focusing on making my Women’s Financial Empowerment Conference a success for June 2013 in Atlanta. I know it will be great, especially since Judge Hatchett is my Keynote Speaker.

  • Ryan says:

    2012 I jumped into home ownership by purchasing my first rental at 24. I live in half and rent out the other. Best financial decision (so far) I have made. 2013 goal is to pay as much towards my mortgage as possible (while still saving for an emergency) due to having no other debt and having rent cover 88% of my monthly payment (mortgage + escrow + insurance). I also decided to contribute an additional 1% to my 401k this year.

    • SD Lurker says:

      Ryan,

      That’s a fantastic start for a guy your age. Kudos.

      Some food for thought. If you have a market rate mortgage on the rental, say in the 4-5% range, you are borrowing very cheap money.
      We are living in a interest rate money bubble and it will not last. Consider it an asset and don’t pay it off prematurely – savor it and gloat as rates return a more normal 7-8%. You will eventually be paying the bank back in dollars that are worth less than a dollar – all to your advantage.

      Over the 30 years my parents owned a house (’50s to the ’80s)they never had anything lower than 4.5% and only for one house.

      Eventually we pay the piper with increasing interest rates. You might seriously consider taking whatever discretionary money you have and putting it towards your 401-K investments instead.

      In a few years, increased market rents will eliminate your negative cash flow assuming that you have a 30-year fixed mortgage. The extra money (tax deferred) going into your 401-K reduces your tax liability by what ever your marginal tax rate is and those investments should grow at a time averaged 7-9% per year tax free. Its a double whammy!

      Putting extra money on the mortgage just reduces you balance but gives you no tax benefit on Schedule E – and in fact reduces the tax benefit over time, because the interest rate write off is applied to a shrinking balance.

      Anyway, this is just my experience and it is certainly not meant to replace the wise advice that the author of this website dishes out!

      Good luck.

      • Ryan says:

        Thanks for the information, I have been reading quite a lot about paying off a mortgage early and certainly will take your advice into consideration. I am already contributing 10%, which is more than what my employer matches by 4%. I also have investments in a mutual fund and recently opened a high interest earning checking account (1.75% on up to 25k) so I’m definitely not forgoing investments due to paying off my mortgage early, but maybe I just need to be more patient. I’m just trying to figure out what my best option is and I may look into purchasing an additional rental this year after I get a better feel for the market in my area.

  • Barbara says:

    Last year I am proud we finally became debt-free, which is a major relief. I survived a car accident and managed to get back on my feet. This year our goals are to get life insurance, establish a retirement fund and save money to buy a house.

  • Dara says:

    Hi there! First time reader/commenter to your blog. I have to say that 2012 was life-changing for my husband and me. We had our first baby, a healthy little girl, in March 2012. Somehow, we managed to gradually pay off the expense ($2k) of my unexpected hospital stay due to an emergency C-section. My husband snagged an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa for a chemistry graduate student conference. We also paid off two cars and a student loan; our total debt payoff last year was about $7000, which leaves us with only our mortgage payment of $750.00. Yaaaay! I got approved to work from my house, sparing me a 34-mile round trip commute in ATL traffic. My goals in 2013 include beefing our e-fund back up, re-starting my freelance writing and editing endeavors, and putting some decorative touches on the home we bought in 2011. Happy New Year!

  • Jason D says:

    Got a job that has 2 week vacation plus 5 holidays and 2 floating holidays, 401K match for a total of 5% – me 5.5% Company, 15% stock purchase discount, cheaper PPO, shorter drive to work.

    Maxed out traditional IRA before April 2013,

  • Matt2610 says:

    2012 Had to be my best and worst financial year on record. I also learned how big you can win with a good education and how bad you can loose when you wife cleans you out. But looking forward to 2013 I am vowing to keep tabs on myself VIA Mint.com and continue to build my safety net. I have a feeling this year will be full of national change and fewer saving opportunities so defenses are up and Ill enjoy the ride to the best of my ability. :)

  • Smag says:

    Good riddance, 2012! I made about $15k all together between one short contract, some odd jobs, and unemployment for that year but I still have zero debt, fortunately. Being smart and super frugal (hello, Big Flats beer and neighbor’s throwaway furniture!) enabled me to maintain 0 debt, eat healthy, and buy a super cheap little honda with 90k miles in cash from some very nice folks on craigslist. It’s just enough to commute to a job I can’t bike or bus to, which greatly enlarged the number of companies I could apply to, and I landed my dream job at such a place that’s now paying me $60k! 2012 taught me to be flexible and confident that I can roll with ANY punches. And since I’m used to living comfortably on so little, meeting savings goals on my new salary will be easy!
    Maybe I’ll even buy some land.

  • Tomas says:

    I had an aggressive goal to reach a yearly dividend income that would cover my expenses (crossover point) by the end of 2012, but I still got to ~95% of it.
    The bad news is I recently moved and my rent went up, so the target moved a little further…

  • Nicholas says:

    I recieved a 15% raise in 2012, continued funding retirement, paid off my car, and paid off a nice chunk of student loans. Finished about a third of my Masters degree, and had an incredible week long vacation to Disney World.

  • slinky says:

    2012 was both a great and awful year:

    I started a new job and got a 20% raise. Hated the job within a week or two.
    Got hit by the city bus and totaled my just paid off car, but walked away with only a stiff neck.
    Dropped my iPod touch in a full bathtub the same weekend.
    Upgraded to a smart phone, which costs more, but i use constantly.
    Bought a new car – mini cooper s.
    Quit hated job after three months, got new job making same amount, but better fit, more to learn and nicer perks.
    Bought my first house with my husband, n 1853 farmhouse fixer upper on two acres. Lots to do, lots to love, lots of potential. Also, a big step towards my husband getting his blacksmithing business full time.

    My goals for 2013, are simple. Recover some financial stability after changes, and get my husbands forge running.

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