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The holidays are officially over. And I don’t know about you, but we had a blast! And though I’m sad to see them go, I am pretty excited to get on with the New Year and set some awesome new goals to work toward. Since this is my first official goal-setting post on iHeartBudgets, let’s go over a little of my background, and how we got to where we are today.
We Had Some Debt
Built into my budget, we put together some major goals based on Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps program for paying off debt and building wealth. When we combined our finances in marriage, we had a total of $42,851.31 in debt! (You can read about our debt payoff story here). Getting into that debt was mostly caused by student loans, and a few thousand dollars on credit cards. Lucky for me, my brother-in-law dropped the Dave Ramsey CD in my lap just before marriage, so we were able to get on a budget, build our small emergency fund, and then start aggressively tackling our debt.
We Bought A House
In the midst of our debt-killing rampage, Michelle and I saw an opportunity to get ourselves into a home sooner than anticipated. And though I definitely recommend buying a home when debt free, I also recommend analyzing every situation individually, and ultimately, your financial decisions should be based on your priorities. We decided that we would put the debt payoff on hold and save for a down payment. And soon after, we bought our first home!
We Got Pregnant!
I know, I know, I didn’t get pregnant, Michelle did! But it was pretty exciting nonetheless! And just like that, we were looking at a countdown clock for when we would lose about 35% of our income. WOOOOHOOOOO! I kicked my tail into high gear and started doing whatever I was able to do to make up the lost income as fast as possible. I became a tax professional, started an online business and pursued every promotion opportunity I could at work. As God would have it, I got promoted the day Michelle left work, I started preparing taxes, and have started to make a few dollars online as well, which has put us in a stable (though tight) financial position. As I’ve said previously, though it seems like we don’t have enough money, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
That brings us up to date at the iHB household. We’ve definitely had an adventure, and I’m excited to start a new chapter in 2013. Michelle and I recently put together our 2013 budget, and we have chatted a bit about our financial goals for the year. Here’s what we’ve come up with:
Pay Off The Student Loans: We’ve just been paying down the regular payments on these since we moved into our home and then had a baby, but now that things have settled and we have a more clear financial picture, I want to throw every extra nickel and dime at these things until they’re gone! I’m hoping to put up a debt payoff tracker on the site so you can follow along too! We have $14,406 to go, and though this is an extremely aggressive goal, I figure we shoot for the stars, and if we don’t quite make it, we’re still in orbit somewhere around Jupiter…(I don’t get metaphors sometimes…)
Start A College Fund: Our little man is now a 1-year-old (both his birthday and mine were on Monday), and we’re in a more stable financial position, so I want to start throwing money into a college savings fund, starting this month. I still need to research 529 vs. ESA, but we will definitely start funding this. I want to put away $200 a month in this account, because after 17 years if growing at 8%, it could be around $85,000 for college, which would rock! Plus, tuition is RI-DONK-ULOUS, so we need to start now and let compounding interest do its thing for as long as possible.
Double My 401k Investment: Right now, I am only putting away 3% of my income, and I want to invest up to the full 6% match my work offers. I hope not to see a difference in my take home pay due to my raise and the fact that it’s pre-tax money. I should be able to do this one easily.
- UPDATE: I have just completed this task! Now one thing I really need to do is find a financial planner to help make sure I’m putting my money in the right locations and not just dumping it into lame funds! Anyone do free financial reviews? 😉
Do Some Home Projects: Michelle wants chickens, I want a bigger concrete patio, and we have a ton of ugly bushes to rip out this year. Hoping to do this for minimal cost and make our awesome backyard even more…uhh…awesomer!
The Debt Movement
Goals are an amazing tool to help focus your time and energy into achieving what’s important to you, and not wasting time on those “other” things. One of the best goals you can have for 2013 is to pay off as much debt as possible. Whether that’s student loans, credit cards, personal loans or rockin’ the mortgage payoff, killing debt is a ton of fun, and puts you in the best possible position to really build long-term wealth! Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents is putting on another HUGE movement to help people get out of debt quickly and start keeping more of their money. His goal: $10,000,000 paid off in just 90 days! As someone with $14k in student loans still hanging around my house, eating my leftovers and getting their muddy feet on the couch, I’m joining the movement as motivation to kick those loans to the curb and enjoy being debt-free!
If you want 2013 to be the year where you finally get fed up with being in debt and feeling like you just can’t get ahead, consider joining me. First, I suggesting getting on a budget so you can plan your money before each month begins. Then, head on over to the Debt Movement website and signup to join the challenge. And if you need any further motivation, Jeff and his team are giving away over $15,000 in debt scholarships to help pay down your debt!!! So, whaddya say? You wanna join me and start paying off debt with the quickness? Awesome, let’s do this!
Comments: What are YOU goals for the year? Are you going to start investing more, pay off debt, buy a yacht, front row seats to a One Direction concert? I want to hear what YOU have going on in 2013 🙂
64 thoughts on “2013 Goals And Debt Movement”
I would totally buy front row seats to One Direction soley to flip those badboys (feel the same about some how coming across 50 yard line Super Bowl Tickets).
Haven’t sat down and thought about my main goal for this year. I should probably get on that, but I need to consult my old lady to make sure we are on the same page.
Congrats on having a sucessful year and here’s to increased success in 2013!
I like it. You sound like an opportunist 🙂
And yes, being on the same page is the best way to accomplish goals.
First off happy birthday and I like the new design you guys have. My goal for 2013 is to cut down our spending a little bit where I can and start saving for our daughters college expenses.
And let me know how the college savings goes. I need to start this year as well.
Happy Birthday first off! Great goal to get the student loans knocked out. We just finished paying mine off last January and it was a great feeling. Our big goals for this year is to start socking money away in a SEP as our business is finally starting to bring in decent income and start putting money away for the kids.
SEP’s are awesome, and so is a growing business. Congrats on that!
Good luck with your goals! I’m looking into the debt movement to pay off the last of my credit cards! My goals are to feel more financially secure this year. Yes that’s a vague statement but I have specific, measurable ways to get there.
Thanks! And good luck with yours as well. 🙂
Congrats on all fronts! My goal this year is to systematize and push hard on all my online properties!
One my goals this year is to start some sort of savings account or 529 type of plan for my daughter as well (she’s 2). It’s all so confusing and I really need to figure which is the best option.
I’ll be doing some resrearch and post my finding here. Hoping to find the best fit for our family as well.
Love the new design on the site mate. Goals for us are mainly to actually just pay the bloody mortgage in full but it’s a bit complicated with the $$ although we have it. We also want to start building up our investments, renovate and maybe save for an investment home. Lots to think about and heck a baby might be nice as well. We will see how it all unfolds but one thing is for sure we WILL BE budgeting. Cheers mate! Yes Harvard is pricey better get saving lol.. Mr.CBB
Thanks Mr. CBB! I would LOVE to get into a rental, but need the capital first. And babies are awesome!
Happy belated birthday and I am digging the new design. It seems you have been productive in 2012, so I can only imagine what you will accomplish in 2013. Good luck!
Thanks Grayson! 2012 was a whirlwind, I hope to get ahead of 2013 and take it by the horns!
LOVE LOVE LOVE the new header! It looks great! Your son is adorable
Thanks Marissa! I’m diggin’ the logo as well. Andrea from Nuts and Bolts Media did it up right!
We have our children’s 529 through our state plan (Indiana). We happen to live in an AWESOME state for 529s because for every $1 we contribute (up to $5k annually, total), we get a sweet 20% tax CREDIT off of our state taxes. So, throw in $5k, save $1k on taxes. For real.
Other states sometimes have a tax deduction you could get. Start with your own state plan and hopefully it’s a keeper.
I also live in Indiana and getting a 20% tax credit is SWEET. So sweet in fact, my dad is also putting money into a 529 for my son and will be starting one for my sister’s little one (he isn’t coming until May though). I’m just glad Indiana’s plan is pretty solid (it was pretty awful a fee years ago before they switched providers).
Hoping for something nice from WA.
Is this credit against your state income tax? We don’t have a state income tax here, but I plan on comparing the ESA vs. 529’s offered here. Just need to get started ASAP!
Thanks for the info, I’ll definitely look for the extra tax advantages!
And for your 401k, you likely have limited options but hopefully some are good. What fund(s) do you have it in? I like Target Date funds if available, since they are easy and usually low-fee.
I think the most important thing is to look at your asset allocation possibilities within that 401k and the fees involved. Way to go for getting that max!
I did a retirement series on my blog awhile back (linked at the top) which talks about choosing funds. Maybe that could help.
I have it in two funds, one Vanguard and one other one that had a good long-term track record (can’t remember the name right now). I’m getting some free consulting, so hopefully I can get into some good investments. I only have like 15 to chose from…
I’ll check out the series, thanks!
I’m pretty excited for what’s to come in 2013. I know I definitely want to look more into investing my money as I haven’t really ever had the money to do so. That’s definitely going to be one of my goals.
You can do it! For me, automated savings is going to be my best friend this year.
You owned 2012! And I bet that 2013 will be ever more awesome. Great job, my friend….and thanks for clarifying that it was Michelle that got pregnant! I was so confused!
LoL! Yea, some people get pretty upset when guys say “we’re pregnant”, so I wanted to clarify that I understand the difference.
Thanks for the encouragement, hoping for a killer 2013!
Good luck in 2013!
I’ll be posting all of my goals in detail next week, but I will be focusing my efforts on beefing up my LT savings, cooking at home more, upping my running mileage, and finally giving my blog a bit of love that it desperately needs in terms of growing traffic, etc.
Running is such a noble goal. I always try, and give up after a week. Mostly, I literally don’t have the time to squeeze it in AND see my family during the day.
My wife is getting a raise soon and we’ll be using a portion of that to increase her 401k contributions. Our primary financial goals are saving up for our house down payment (again), building up our emergency fund, and paying off 2 of our smallest student loans.
Did I read that right: your son was born on your birthday? That’s pretty neat as my dad and I share the same birthday. I was a pretty dreadful 21st bday present. lol
Hope you can get into a home, Jason, that’ll be awesome! Haha, yes, we share the same bday. I was darn excited when it happened 🙂
Awesome! Tell me about college….mine go to school in 2013. Ouch! IF you’re serious about wanting some help, OG & I would be happy to take a look at your questions. Anything to help a blogging friend!
I don’t take handouts from famous people!
J/k, I’ll shoot you an email. Thanks Joe!
May your wife have a healthy pregnancy! Congrats on purchasing a new home.
We did, we did. Our kid was born in 2011, but here’s to hoping for another great pregnancy in the future!
You can do it! I’m having a very financially optimistic day today. 2013 will be a great year!
That it will!
Does your work 401K provider have a planner? My office hires a fee-only planner to come in once a quarter to meet with people for 30-60 minute appointments as they want – free for employees. I went for the first time last quarter and can’t believe I had never used the guy in the four years I had been working there!
It’s nice because he’s not trying to sell you on specific funds.
You know, I haven’t actually checked! I have some people helping, but I’ll look into that as well. Thanks for the info!
Good luck on all of your goals. I am sure you will knock them out of the park. You certainly are motivated enough to do them! Happy new year. Becoming debt free will help you reach many of your monetary goals!
Thanks! They are aggressive goals, but really hoping for a miracle to kills these loans!
Thanks for sharing your budget details – we are also upping our 401k contributions this year. Great points – good luck and Happy New year!
Thanks! Glad to hear you are doing the same. Are you maxed out on 401k up to the company match?
Looks like you had a great 2012! Good luck with you 2013 goals!
Have you looked into Personal Capital? You can analyze your investment portfolio and they also have free financial advisers to do an analysis and produce report/recommendation. Also if your employer has 401k in a good brokerage like Fidelity, they have a lot of seminars and advisers to go over your portfolio with you.
Hmm, I have heard of Personal Capital, haven’t tried them out yet. Good to know about the free advisors. And we use Wells Fargo or something, nothing fancy. But I’ll see if they have on-board advisors.
Happy Birthday! I like the new design – I am planning a redesign whenever my time allows it. I will up my 401k contribution once my emergency fund is at a higher amount, but I do like that goal and will probably steal it from you.
Thanks! EF is the BEST goal to hit. I remember stopping everything to get that in place. Good luck!
Keep working and you will kit your goals!
I didn’t realize One Direction was so big in the States! 🙂
Looks like 2012 was pretty great for you! As for your investments? Vanguard. I wish I could invest in their mutual funds, but alas, I will have to rely on their ETFs up here in Canada.
My 2013 goals are to max out my registered investment portfolios, and maybe look at what the real estate market is up to.
Did I mention that you should look into Vanguard? 🙂
Have a good weekend!
One fund is Vanguard, and did the best this past year. I’m most likely going to stay in that one, but don’t want all my eggs in one basket.
And One Direction is getting HUGE here.
The bf and I weren’t completely debt free (well I was but the bf wasn’t) when we bought our condo. I know some people don’t “agree” with buying a home before you’re debt free, but like you said, everybody has to do what makes sense for them. Re: the promotion at work the day your wife left work, god works in mysterious ways right? If/when the bf and I get married and have kids I think I’d want to stay home. I’m OK with a stable, but tight financial situation if it means getting to see my kids grow up. Wishing you a happy, healthy and financially prosperous 2013.
Staying at home is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Can’t imagine doing it any other way.
Happy belated birthday! Your little guy is really cute. I don’t have a lot of debt…just house/mortgage debt. I am not sure if the debt challenge is appropriate for me, but I would like to check it out. I am always game to learn more about money! My 2013 goal is to have more fun…sounds kind of lame, but I truly just work, do errands and take on projects 99% of the time. The only vacation I take is between Christmas & New Years which is filled with visiting family & the customary flu going around at that time of year. So fun is definitely in order for me in 2013.
yes, definitely check it out. If anything, just track how much principal you are paying down on your mortgage as debt payoff. But maybe throw $100 extra at it per month? Couldn’t hurt 🙂
And yes! Budget in more fun stuff to do! I love my budget because I budget in vacations, gifts, dates and fun money. Otherwise I’d probably give up on it 🙂
If you’re shooting for the nearest star that would be about 4.24 light years away* and if you miss and end up at Jupiter, the closest distance between Earth and Jupiter is about 588 million km** then you really have not made much progress. Being that light travels at a about 299,792 km per second that would make Jupiter about 32.68 light minutes away.
I hope you make much more progress than your metaphors imply. (Maybe you can make progress on finding more accurate metaphors?)
Anyways, good luck on your goals this year!
* According to wikipedia (however much you trust it but I’m not going to do that math) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars
** some other source on the internet that I can’t verify the validity of 🙂
Hahahah! You win 🙂