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Planning and Goal Setting Week: Flexo’s 2007 Goals

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I promised I would determine and publish my goals for the upcoming year by the end of the week. Giving myself a deadline motivated me to think about it. Here are my regular and stretch goals for 2007. They are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based). I’ve tried not to include variables over which I have no control.

For example, the director of my department told us several weeks ago that no one should expect a raise this year. No matter how I perform in my day job, I am limited to what the corporation provides, and financial services companies of the type I work for are notoriously cheap. It doesn’t help to be located in a “distant suburb” rather than the city. And it doesn’t help that my department generates no profit for the company.

Without further blabbering, here are the financial goals.

Goals for 2007

Income: Generate $40,000 in revenue outside of my day job. I think this is attainable. My side income has geen fairly consistently growing and as long as I keep working hard, I should be able to reach this amount. One challenge related to the environment becoming increasingly competitive. Stretch goal: $60,000.

Spending: I’ve managed to keep my spending fairly low over the last few years, except for gift season and food expenses, like dining out and groceries. I’m fine with the spending on gifts but my goal for 2007 will be to create a budget for food and stick to it. This will involve buying smarter and healthier groceries, cooking more, and eating out less. If I can stick to $100 a month for groceries and $100 a month for dining out, it would be a big improvement. Stretch goal: $80 and $80.

Investing in 401(k): I’m currently investing 12% of my day-job income into the 401(k) my company offers. The only reason I can afford this is through the help of my side business income. My goal for 2007 is to increase this to 15% by July. This should be possible with a little income bump. Stretch goal: max out the 401(k) with an investment of $15,000. That will be a significant stretch.

Investing in Roth IRA: I already max out my Roth IRA investment. My goal for this is for nothing to change.

Saving: The account I have marked for emergencies would cover one month of my current expenses. If I were to be in an emergency situation (i.e., no job) for longer than a month, I still have other cash I could use before resorting to credit, but that would involve borrowing from other savings goals. I’d like to double the size of my emergency fund by the end of the year. I’d also like to double the percentages of my day-job income I devote to long term savings goals, like relocation (a house, hopefully). Stretch goal: triple the percentages.

Debt: If I follow my schedule, I will pay off my car loan (at 2% interest from a relative) by September. The interest rate is favorable enough I’d rather keep the money in savings, so I’m not going to speed this up. On the other hand, I have about $18,000 in student loans remaining to be paid. The interest rate isn’t as favorable at 4.25%, but the interest paid is tax-deductible.

I’d like to pay this off faster than scheduled to reduce the amount of interest I pay over time. This amount wouldn’t be so high if I used my company’s tuition reimbursement properly, but many times I used those checks to assist my cash flow. If I pay this off in two years, I’d like to have half of the loan paid off by the end of 2007. Stretch goal: pay off the entire loan.

Charity: The non-profit organizations I’ve worked with in the past appreciate volunteers who give their time, and this is the approach I generally take. I like that 100% of the time I give affects the organization. When you give money, a portion is kept by the organization for administrative expenses and will never make it to the programs sponsored by that organization.

While I understand that administrative expenses need to be paid for, I believe I have more of an effect by directly involving myself. Despite this, my goal for 2007 is to select an organization that means something to me, one that I cannot spend time with and one I know the money will be put directly to its purpose, and donate $1,000. Stretch goal: $2,000.

The above goals are measurable, so I’ll be able to check my progress throughout the year. Here are some other things I’d like to accomplish in 2007:

* Exercise three times each week and ride my bicycle when the weather is nice.
* Improve my organizational skills.
* Communicate more with friends and family.

There you have it. Now when I don’t reach these goals, I’m publicly accountable.

Published or updated December 30, 2006. 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 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 Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar MillionDollarJourney.com

I like how you plan to give your “time” to charity. Great post.

FT
http://www.MillionDollarJourney.com

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avatar Beth

Hey, Flexo, think positive. The last sentence should read “if I don’t reach these goals,” not “when I don’t reach these goals.” Happy New Year!

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avatar ntguru

You guys who spend $100/mo/person or less are impressive. My home of 2 spends around $350/total a month for groceries. We don’t eat “fancy” (like steak), but I guess we also don’t eat “college-style” (like pasta and sauce every night).

Flexo, $40K/year extra is impressive. Is this mainly/solely from blogging income? Where do you expect most of your increase from?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Beth: you’re right, I should have said “if…”

ntguru: It’s mainly from blogging income but includes all sorts of stuff I do online. I should be able to reach $40,000 next year if things stay generally the same as they are now, but I have a sneaking suspicion the money-in-blogging community is in a bit of a bubble.

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avatar makingourway

Flexo,

Very interesting goals.
Professionally, how do you feel about your director’s statement?
Can you obtain a promotion and receive better pay? Would you consider changing departments or companies? Would it further your opportunities?

What are your relationship goals?

The financial goals seem great.

Good luck.

makingourway

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avatar makingourway

You can contribute $15,500 to your 401k this year.

m

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avatar Practical

Just a thought, but if you can’t make ends meet with your day job why would you give $1000 to charity? Give all of the time you want but it seems the cash would be better served by paying down your own debt.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,550 (Platinum)

Practical: I could look at it as if it doesn’t really matter whether the money is coming in from the day job or the side job. I end up ahead each month, and have enough at the end of the year to donate $1,000 to charity (or even more). Like I said about debt, I’m not accumulating any, and at favorable interest rates, I’m under no pressure to pay it off earlier.

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avatar Aaron

Flexo,

This may be a personal question, but are your girlfriend’s finances organized to the detail of yours. Also, does she have any significant outstanding debt. I was just wondering if you have common financial habits and goals. If not, do you believe it has any effect on your relationship? Thanks -

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avatar the Cerebral Assassin

Flexo,

Nice blog and great goals! I have a couple tweaks. One deals with the charitable end. I, too, share your concerns with making sure your $ work hard. Many religious types want/hope/wish people would tithe 10% of income. In this day and age, especially with a stay at home wife and twins, my goal is 5% of income + time. The cash is important for places like foodshelves where they can buy food at steep discounts (vs. you donating food or time). Things appear to be tracking well for you, therefore, I wouldn’t hesitate to bump up charitable donations even if it slows down your accelerated debt service a little bit.

The other tweak is mostly impacted by bumping up charitable contributions. If you don’t want to slow down your debt payments, you could cut back on your 401k funding temporarily. Don’t stop funding your 401k, but consider cutting back up to the employer match.

Keep up the great commentary!

tCA

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avatar Ebbie

Just an idea… Modest Needs is a unique charity, where 100% of your contributions go to the intended recipients. There is a grant that funds their administrative expenses. The other unique thing about Modest Needs is you actually have a say in who gets the money & what it is used for, along with the other donors. They also got a grant from another organization that doubles everyone’s contributions up to $300K. Check it out at modestneeds.org.

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avatar Lily Del Rosario

Your overall budget numbers (net income and expenses) are similar to mine. Luckily I do not have ANY debt other than my mortgage on primary home (1st and rider mortgage to avoid PMI), plus the mortgage on a rental property. I also etched out a food budget goal of $100/month. Alas I already spent $40 this week. But I’ll keep trying if you do.

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