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Flexo’s Financial Goals and Resolutions for 2009

This article was written by in Planning. 19 comments.


One lesson I learned this past year, after setting financial goals for 2008 and evaluating my progress as of last week, is that I shouldn’t set goals that are heavily dependent upon forces beyond my control, such as the stock market at large. My main target of a $210,000 “modified net worth” assumed the stock market would not perform so poorly. There’s that idiom about assumptions.

I’ll take a slightly different approach with my financial targets for 2009.

Financial goals for 2009

Income

Last year, I looked past my day job salary towards the income from my side jobs, including Consumerism Commentary. My target for 2009 was to earn $100,000 from a variety of sources outside of my primary job. I succeeded, with an official tally of $121,000. I’d like to see this year-over-year increasing trend continue, but again I need to look at the market.

Most of this income comes from advertisers, and many of these advertisers are financial companies. I don’t have to look hard to find news stories about the troubles facing companies in the financial sector. In addition, experts are predicting a slow year for internet advertising across all sectors. While a year ago I was considering following some of my blogging colleagues by quitting my day job and pursuing blogging and related projects full-time. This is a luxury I’d like to have, but I’m still playing it conservatively. As long as I can continue to basically work full time with two jobs without losing more of my sanity, I’ll do so.

My goal for “Other Earned Income” in 2009 is $108,000, or an average $9,000 per month. My stretch goal is to surpass this year’s success with $132,000.

Investing

My investing progress for 2008 was haphazard and unorganized. I’d like to be more clear in 2009 about achieving investing targets. This is what I’d like to accomplish by year end (or by the time I file my 2009 tax return in April 2010). The ability to reach these goals depends on earning the “Other Earned Income” I’ve indicated as my goal.

  • Contribute the full $16,500 to my 401(k).
  • Contribute the maximum to a Roth IRA if possible; if not, contribute to a Traditional IRA and convert the account to a Roth IRA in 2010.
  • Contribute the maximum to an SEP IRA.
  • Invest $250 per month into an account to help pay for future children’s education.

Saving

According to my year-end balance sheet, I currently have over $80,000 in various savings accounts and money market funds. I have a sinking feeling that a good portion of this is earmarked for the IRS. I’m working on finding a tax accountant to ensure that my tax bill isn’t any higher than it is supposed to be. After I pay my taxes, I’d like to take half of whatever I have left and earmark that amount for a down payment on a house.

Net worth

Last year, I made the mistake of setting a goal for my total “modified net worth.” I failed thanks to poor performance in my investments. Had I moved my investments to something safer than stocks at the first sign of trouble, I may have been able to make my goal. By doing so, I would be reacting to short-term indicators. Had I sold off stocks and bought safer bonds, I might have achieved a positive return on my investments and surpassed my 2008 goals. Staying invested in stocks was the right choice for my investments that won’t be tapped for a few decades.

For 2009, I will not set a net worth target. It is more meaningful to focus on my income and keep my spending in check.

Throughout the year, I will occasionally compare my progress against these goals. I have fewer goals this year, and the ones that I am keeping are the most meaningful, measurable, and mostly within my control.

What are your financial goals for 2009?

Published or updated January 5, 2009. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Goalhunter

I missed on my financial goals this year but I was able to keep snowfall down to fewer than 20 days this year :) Those two are about equivalent and I see that you felt the same.

I haven’t fully set up my goals yet, but this year will be the year of simplicity I think. I’ll be cutting expenses in many areas and salvaging what I can out of the clutter of my house. The result should be a more enjoyable life and more disposable money. Already cut the cable to the boob tube.

Regarding investing and the like I’ll be trying to claw my way back to the ring around the tub left in Dec 2007 before the water drained out. I was able to realize some big gains on some investment properties last year, which were totally countered but also mitigated the losses on the stocks. Now I’m fairly stuck as far as manouvering goes. No cash to play with so it will be a chess game this year.

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avatar Twiggers

We’re moving to a new city in 4.5 months. Our income will be substantially reduced (by about 60K). Therefore, the only goals I have are to continue to pay for everything in cash and not increase our current debt. We just need to survive for 2 more years before I finish my postdoc and get a real job. Then we’ll be able to set some great financial goals!

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avatar thomas

great financial goals for 2009. Paying someone to do your taxes might bring up anger ($500? I can do this on tax cut for $50) but the software can only go so far. A good accountant will reap you rewards well beyond their cost.

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avatar Jesse

Mine is to definitely start a 529 for my son. God knows how much college will cost in 18 years :(

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avatar Iliana

We don’t want you to brag about how much money you make and how important you are. You are not. We are not interested in your bullshit. You are arrogant and used the article to come out and show off. Shame on you!

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,371 (Platinum)

Sorry you feel that way, Iliana. This blog exists for me to focus on my finances, including goals. I’m not bragging, I don’t have much to brag about. My finances are nothing compared to a good number of people the same age as I am. But it wouldn’t make sense for me to make my goals without mentioning income.

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avatar Goal Hunter

I for one am interested in the things you write about especially when you make it personal. If Flexo was getting poorer by the year then I don’t think his advice would be something I’d read. Well, maybe I’d read it in the same way I look at a car crash, but it wouldn’t be inspiring.

Thanks for the great site Flexo!

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