Saturday, January 17, 2015

2014 Year-In-Review

At the beginning of 2014, I made a list of financial goals for myself to be accomplished by the end of the year.  Now that new years has come and gone, it is a good time to do a review of the goal progress.

1.       Max out 2013 IRA – Goal met.  I only needed to add another $500 in order to reach the 2013 max, and the IRA was maxed-out for the allowable 2013 contribution before the April 15th deadline.  This means the IRA has been maxed out two years in a row (2012 and 2013).  Huzzah!

2.       Max out 2014 IRA – Goal not met.  I have not put a penny toward the 2014 IRA yet.  I am torn between the security of saving the money in a liquid cash account for emergencies and stocking it away for retirement.  The emotional me that wants financial security now beat out the future me that wants security in retirement.  This goal will carry forward to 2015 as I do still intend to max it out for the 2014 tax year.  I want to continue the tradition of maxing the IRA as long as I can.

3.       Pay off car loan – Goal met.  I hate car loans with a fiery passion to end all fiery passions.  So, I finally paid off the car loan in March, over twenty months early against my sixty month loan.  It felt like the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders when I saw the zero balance on that account.  Happy dances ensued.

4.       Pay back loan to Mom – Goal met.  Mom loaned me a couple thousand dollars for expenses during my senior year of college.  Since starting gainful employment following graduation, I had been slowly paying her back.  I sent the last check in June.

5.       Save $10,000 – Goal met.  This goal was met by stocking away money from every paycheck in addition to any extra found money during the year.  For the first time, I actually have a reasonably healthy emergency fund.

6.       Pay down mortgage principal – Goal met.  I have my mortgage payments set to deduct half of my payment every two weeks to align with my paychecks.  This results in an extra payment being made over the course of the year.  Also, I have the payments set to pay an extra $25 in principal every two weeks for a total of $50 extra toward the principal every month.  Overall, the mortgage principle went down by about $5000 over 2014.

7.       Pay cash for my MBA tuition – Goal met.  My company has a tuition reimbursement program, but I am still required to pay for the classes up front before I can be reimbursed.  In order to pay up front, I needed to have cash up front without taking away from other savings goals.  

8.       Travel – Goal met, sort of?  This goal is super vague, so it’s hard to say whether it was met or not.  I definitely traveled in 2014, but since I didn’t give myself a specific travel budget as part of this goal, I can’t really say I met or didn’t meet anything. 

9.       Increase 401k contribution to 12% – Goal met. 

I also had two stretch goals for 2014 that I added about halfway through the year after having success paying off the loans for the car and to Mom.  The stretch goals were to save $25,000 (increased from the $10k goal) and to open an index fund.  However, it turns out that these goals were a little over-ambitious for me.  I still want to do them, so these goals will be carried forward to 2015.

Overall, 2014 was a great year for me financially.  I obliterated the last of my consumer and personal debt with the exception of my mortgage.  I made great progress on paying down the mortgage and was able to build up my emergency savings.  I’m really looking forward to continuing my progress toward wealth building into 2015.  Keep an eye out for the 2015 goal setting post in the next week or two.  I’m sure it’s going to be a great year. 

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