Monday, February 16, 2009

Financial Goals for 2009

I’ve been trying to come up with some goals and resolutions for 2009 and I’m having a hard time! Everything is so uncertain right now, it seems useless to set a net worth goal. I’m trying to just focus on little things I can control, so here are a few ideas:

  • Get off all those stupid email lists

I’ve been aggressively tackling this already and it makes me feel good! I have drastically cut down the mailing lists I’m on. This only indirectly affects my finances– sometimes I’d open one of those emails and click through to an online retailer and buy something, and now I’ll be less likely to do that. Also, it was just a time-waster, and time is money!

  • Cut down on dining expenses

After looking at all my food spending details, I’d like to just scale back somewhat on my lunches, dinners, and liquor, for health and financial reasons. I think a good goal would be to cut those expenses by at least 10%.

  • Increase savings

This should be easy to do, as I have no intention of spending thousands of dollars on travel this year, and my other expenses tend to be fairly consistent.

  • Pay extra towards mortgage

I’d like to make at least an extra payment or two, going towards the principal of my mortgage. I view this a nice conservative investment. I’m not sure refinancing would be worthwhile for me right now, as I already have a decent rate, but I will keep an eye on interest rates to see if that changes.

  • Rebalance my investment portfolio

My current portfolio balance isn’t all that out of whack with what it should be for a person of my age, but there are a few mutual funds in there that I think are dogs. I’m in the hole right now no matter what, and the question is whether I have the best investments to help me climb out whenever the market recovers.

  • Increase my income?

I already know I won’t be getting a raise this year, and if I get a bonus, I’m sure it will be small. I also don’t think the current climate is one in which I want to be jumping from one company to another. I don’t think there is any opportunity for a promotion at my current company right now. So that leaves other sources of income. I could try to increase the advertising on this site (and drop the pledge to donate all proceeds to charity). I also have an idea for another website I could start, but I can’t imagine where I’d find the time to do it! Taking on a 2nd job also doesn’t seem feasible. (Of course I could do it in an emergency, but right now I’m prioritizing my sanity!) So all in all, I don’t think I’ll focus too much on this goal.

  • Roth IRA contribution

I actually knocked this one off my list the other day. I made my $5,000 contribution for 2008 and put it in a Vanguard bond fund. I’m toying with whether to also make my 2009 contribution now– I will probably put off that decision until after I find out about my bonus, as I don’t want to tie up too much cash. Gotta have some liquid funds in case of emergency, now more than ever!

What are your goals for 2009?

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