When it comes to personal finance resolutions, it’s hard to find a one-size fits all goal for everyone to adopt. To be honest, I have a real hard time with New Year’s resolutions. I get excited about them for a few weeks… then they slowly fade into obscurity.
So for this year, why don’t we focus on what we actually accomplished for the 2011 year and throw out some ideas for 2012.
Looking back on last year, I’m most proud of three accomplishments:
- I was able to push my personal savings rate above 85%. It was not a goal that I set out to achieve, rather, it was a product of continuously pushing to lower my expenses and increase my income. I didn’t set out to achieve this, but it happened, due to a lot of hard work and some luck.
- The wife and I put ourselves in the position financially that she was able to start attending nursing school without accruing any student loan debt. At the end of 2012, she’ll graduate debt free, will make a higher income, and start a new career with a low unemployment rate that she is excited about. Win, win, win.
- The wife and I sold or donated roughly half of our personal belongings. We had been meaning to get rid of clutter for a long time, but this is the year it finally came together. It’s still an ongoing process, but thus far we’ve made roughly $3,000 by selling stuff online (Craigslist, EBay, and Amazon) and through a garage sale we had over the summer. I gave a ton of stuff to charity as well. Although, loosely a financial accomplishment (I did financially benefit), it was the one personal goal that I was most passionate about this past year.
As I look forward to 2012, some areas that I want to focus on include:
- Having Less of my Savings in Cash: I have too much money in cash, not earning any return, that is eroding due to inflation. I need to change this.
- Optimize my HSA and HDHP: In the 2011 open enrollment season, I changed my health insurance elective. 2012 will be my first year with an HSA and HDHP. I want to optimize my medical expenses and invest my balance so that I can hit health insurance nirvana with 2 years. And now that I’ve thoroughly jinxed myself, I’ll pray for a little luck on this one.
- Be Ready if I Need a New Car: My wife and I share a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. It has 190,000 miles, is burning a quart of oil every 2 weeks, and smells like gas fumes occasionally. I don’t know how much longer the engine will last. It’s on an IV now. I have been researching the cheapest new cars in the event it dies on us.
What About You?
Enough about me, I want to hear about what members of the 20somethingfinance community are proud of accomplishing and excited about looking forward so we can all share, congratulate, brainstorm, and discuss.
- What are your biggest financial successes in 2011?
- Did you set out to achieve them or did they just happen as a byproduct?
- What are your biggest goals/resolutions/focus areas for 2012?
- What personal goals are you most excited about?