Reporting on 2023 Financial Goals

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Before the start of 2023, I set financial goals belonging to 4 broad categories: short-term savings, investments, debt, and travel. With the end of year rapidly approaching, I want to report back on the progress I’ve made on my goals. If you’d like, you can refer back to my 2023 Financial Goals post.

Short-Term Savings:

I hit most of these goals and modified one. I brought my Emergency Fund up to $5,000, my car repair fund up to $3,000, and my semi-annual fee fund is fully funded at $1,000. At the start of 2023, I was also planning to pay off one of my student loans (approx. $4700). I instead diverted that money when I needed to buy a new computer, and also raided that fund to pay for some legal fees. My student loans are supposed to be in repayment status now, so I’m not actively saving toward them at this time (but…see my last post about issues with my student loan service provider, MOHELA).

Investments:

I’m continuing to save toward traditional retirement, 403(b), an HAS, a FSA, a 529, and taking advantage of Arizona’s tax credit by donating to my kids’ school in exchange for a dollar-for-dollar credit toward AZ state taxes. The other investment is in relation to our house.

Historically, we’ve paid double payments twice/year. In November, I wrote a post about weighing options between continuing to pay aggressively toward our house versus using that same money to invest elsewhere. The overwhelming majority of commenters were in favor of investing the money elsewhere. It’s hard to argue with numbers. By paying off the house early, we are only saving the APR (2.625%). Or, we could invest the money and stand to make 10% or more in ROI.

That said, my husband is very fond of the idea of having a paid-off home when he retires. The security of that feels good to him. I mentioned what some commenters had pointed out – that we could invest the money and use it when he retires to pay off the house at that time. He’s still not crazy about it.

At this moment in time, we’re continuing to make double house payments. As we’ve been blessed with a series of raises over time, we may try to re-do our budget to invest some additional funds (over and above the double house payment 2/year). We’re still talking about 2024 financial goals, so I’ll report more soon.

Debt:

I’m officially consumer debt-free, as of October when I paid off my car! Although that was a big win, I also made the decision to pull back on aggressively paying off my student loans. Instead, I’m riding them out until they are forgiven through PSLF (approx. 2 years to go). That leaves me with only student loans and a mortgage as my remaining debts.

Travel:

I hit my two travel goals for 2023 (Disney with our immediate family; and a summer cruise with my extended family). In addition, I mentioned that one of my 2023 goals was to save for another big vacation on the horizon. In summer 2024, my husband and I will be going to Italy (as a couple/no kids). We’ve been planning this out and saving for it for over a year. My original budget was $6,000, but as we’ve been booking flights and such it’s looking like it’ll be closer to $7500. It’s okay – like I said, we’ve been planning and saving for over a year already!

I know this is a HUGE expense. I don’t take it lightly. This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of trip for us (literally, I don’t expect that we’ll ever return to Italy). I know this is a bit sideways for a get-out-of-debt blog, but I’ve been pretty transparent about my goals and the need to find balance in my life. This is happening. We’re doing it. But we’re doing it responsibly. It has not been a spur-of-the-moment decision. We’ve spent tons of time doing research and finding deals and figuring out how to make this work. And we’ve been savings all along so we have the funds to pay in cash and not take on any debt for the trip.

Overall Outlook:

Overall, I’m quite pleased with the way 2023 has shaped up! I hit the vast majority of my goals and, those where I didn’t, it was more of a conscious decision to re-allocate funds and shift priorities versus a complete failure to hit a goal. I have lots of thoughts and plans for 2024, too, so stay tuned for a forthcoming post with 2024 financial goals.

Do you set and evaluate annual financial goals for yourself or your family?

The post Reporting on 2023 Financial Goals appeared first on Blogging Away Debt.

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