Although I’ve been tracking my finances publicly on Consumerism Commentary since 2003, this is only the fourth year I’ve outlined specific financial goals for the new year. The next year is a bit of a mystery for me. I feel like some changes are necessary, particularly in my day job. Although I have some big plans for the work I do outside my job, I have to consider the possibility that these plans simply won’t work out. I’ve been hedging my bets for a while, but I’m not sure that I can continue putting as much as I want into my projects, working 9 to 5 in a corporation, and maintaining my health and sanity.
So it will be interesting to see where I am able to go this year.
While I try to determine my immediate life plans, the least I could do is set some financial targets.
While my “Other Earned Income” increased from 2008 to 2009, there was a trend throughout the year of less of that income being generated through advertising. That is both good and bad; while it means I’ve diversified my income somewhat, advertising is generally the main source. It is possible that advertising has had a slow year in general, and will pick up with the economy, but I’m not counting on it.
My goal for 2010 is to maintain a a six-figure income outside of my day job. I think I will need to keep conservative expectations this year. This will be difficult enough considering the trend of declining income in the second half of 2009.
I’ve been considering increasing my non-retirement investing, currently $1,000 per month in the Vanguard Total Stock Market Index. I am not sure the numbers make sense, though. The stock market has spiked up recently and I prefer to increase investing following declines. I will continue investing in my retirement accounts but I’m going to consider ceasing my automated monthly non-retirement investment in VTSMX.
The limit for investing in a 401(k) in 2010 will be $16,500, reflecting no change from the 2009 maximum. I’ll continue investing a percentage of my income for retirement that would hit that mark after 52 weeks. I will also fund my 2008 IRAs this year.
If you’re considering investing, ShareBuilder is offering 10 free automatic investment trade credits if you start an investment plan in January. Normally, these automatic purchases of stocks through ShareBuilder cost $4 each, so you could save up to $40 on transaction fees. Keep in mind it will still cost $9.95 to sell your investment.
The most popular New Year’s resolution, even more popular than to get out of debt, is to lose weight. I have no choice but to be like everyone else; my primary non-financial resolution is to get in shape this year. I am not significantly overweight, but I need to increase my level of activity and eat healthier.
I don’t consider myself to be very organized, and living by myself, I have a tendency to let entropy take hold. I will resolve to keep my apartment in such a condition that I could quickly prepare for visitors rather than needing a weekend to make my living quarters presentable.
And finally, I plan to continue doing things that I enjoy and that enrich my life. One of my favorite hobbies right now is photography. I signed up for a second photography class starting in January, but unfortunately the course might be canceled due to low enrollment. I’ll keep finding interesting things to work the creative side of my brain — in addition to writing.
What are your goals and resolutions for 2010?
Updated September 2, 2011 and originally published December 31, 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.