I haven’t really done a goals post in years past, as the primary goal was always to pay down my student loans as quickly as possible, and any other goals were considered secondary. I’ve treated my student loan debt as an emergency because of that, and all extra money was pushed towards that. As you know from January’s student loan update, that will not be the case for all of 2016. I have more financial decisions on the table and I’d like to flesh out a more detailed plan of what like I’d like to achieve. I’ll also be including some personal goals in addition to strict financial goals, which will hopefully keep me motivated.
2016 Financial Goals:
- Completely pay off student loan by May 2016
- Contribute $5,500 into my Roth IRA so that it is fully funded
- Use the extra money to either pay off my car loan or increase 401k contribution or open a taxable investment account
- Move out and re-develop my budget based on new spending levels
- Increase income either through current job salary/bonus or by expanding income outside of my job
I’ve already discussed my student loan goal previously, and I believe that I will be able to complete that goal early this year. The Roth IRA contributions I may have to hold off on until my student loans are paid off, though in recent years I have used a portion of my bonus to kick-start that contribution. The limit for 2016 remains at $5,550, which should be an achievable goal at this point in time.
After paying off my student loans and maxing out my Roth IRA account, that will leave a large chunk of money in my budget unaccounted for. I do have a car loan now, but that interest rate is currently locked into a low rate of 2.35% at this point in time. I’m thinking that even with how poorly the market has been doing, it might be better to continue making the minimum payment on this and instead start contributing to a taxable investment account or increasing my 401k contribution. There would also be the potential for increasing my car payments and choosing one of other options. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing on either end of the spectrum.
I had previously hoped to move out on my own (or with roommates/girlfriend) last year, but that was delayed. This year it is actually going to happen! My girlfriend will be relocating pending job interviews, and the apartment search will be on hopefully by the Summer. This coincides well with my student loan payoff, as I’m sure this will result in a huge budget retooling. I plan to provide updates on this journey once it begins.
Based on my idea of moving out, I know that this will cause a drastic increase in spending compared to what is being used on the “rent” category these past few years. With that, I will be looking to increase my income. The first place I will look to do that is through my current job whether it comes in a larger raise or bonus. I will also be exploring additional side hustles in hopes to increase income that way!
2016 Blog Goals:
- Continue making weekly posts on my blog
- Engage in social media for my blog at least once a week
I feel like I was able to consistently able to post once a week throughout 2015, other than the weeks that I went on vacation or around the holidays when things got busy. I averaged around 5 posts a month for the first half of the year, and then around 4 posts a month for the second half of the year. I’m happy with that amount of content and it made writing the blog feel enjoyable and not like a chore. That’s important to me and I liked the pace I wrote at and kept the quality of the posts up.
Towards the end of 2015, my social media activity drastically declined. I was trying to at least promote my posts or engage with other people at least once a week, and while it was only a small bump in traffic, I did notice a positive trend when using it. I’m hoping to be much better with that in 2016 and get back to where I was at the beginning of 2015.
2016 Fitness Goals:
- Increase body weight from 160 lbs to 185 lbs
- Increase squat weight from 145 lbs x 10 reps to 225 lbs x 10 reps
- Increase bench press weight 115 lbs x 10 reps to 175 lbs x 10 reps
- Increase deadlift weight from 185 lbs x 10 reps to 275 lbs x 10 reps
- Increase overhead press weight from 70 lbs x 10 reps to 100 lbs x 10 reps
I had really been going to the gym since college without really having a purpose, not really picking a goal, and not sticking to a single program. In October I switched gyms and did a lot of research and started a new workout plan. I’ve been going to the gym consistently since then and this has continued to this date. I’ve increased my weight from around 150 lbs to 160 lbs and it has been mostly muscle thanks to “beginner gains”. I hope to continue that trend throughout 2016 by slowly bulking up while also increasing my strength. I thought setting some quantifiable goals and tracking them will continue to provide motivation.