Tag Archives: goals

She Wanted to Be Married with Kids By Now, Instead She Makes $12/hr.

My friend, I’ll call her Jessica, graduated high school with a plan. Well, she wasn’t sure exactly what she wanted to do with her life, but she knew she wanted to get married to a man who could provide for her, live in a big house, have kids, be a mother, and have a job that let her spend a lot of time with her kids.

Jessica grew up in a household where her parents worked multiple jobs to afford their middle class lifestyle, and was often left alone when she was young, so her goals were clearly aligned with having a family where the mother could afford to stay home and be around for her children’s lives. Continue reading

10 Financial Commandments for Your 20s, Part 2

This is part 2 of a series inspired by Give Me Back My Five Bucks, based on a Kiplinger article of the 10 commandments for finances in your 20s… I’m grading myself on each one of the commandments. Read Part 1 here.

6. Establish credit. In order to qualify for the best interest rates on a credit card, auto loan or mortgage, you need to start building a solid credit history. In fact, a good history can also save you a bundle on your auto insurance or help you land an apartment or a job (see Why Your Credit Score Matters). Building a good credit history in your twenties will ensure it’s ready when you need to use it. If you didn’t have a credit card in college, one way of getting credit now is to apply for a secured card: You make a deposit — usually $300 to $500 — in a savings account as collateral, and you can get the money back after one year of using the card responsibly. You can also start building a credit history through www.prbc.com, an alternative credit bureau that gathers data on regular payments for rent, cable and other recurring expenses. (See Rent Your Way to Good Credit to learn more.)

Score C. I’ve never made a big purchase on a credit card and paid it off slowly, so my credit score is not as great as it could be. That said, I’m totally opposed to how you need to carry a balance in order to build credit. I do have a credit card (ok I have a lot of credit cards) but I don’t have a lot of recurring expenses. Continue reading

The Money Offender: My 10 Worst Financial Moves

Looking back over the past 5.5 years since I graduated college, I’ve made some good… and some bad money moves. In line of trying to figure out what wisdom I have to impart via this blog on personal finance and related, I’ve made a list I thought I’d share of the top 10 smart money moves I’ve made, and 10 things I need to improve on. First, the list of 10 of my work money moves…

1) My food spend is WAY too high!
I spend too much money on food each month, and I don’t even eat that well. I skip meals all the time and end up so hungry I overspend at restaurants.
GOAL: Spend less than $200 a month on food

2) I splurge when I’m shopping.
While I’ve been pretty good lately at avoiding the mall, I still have enough times over the year when I went to the mall, or even an outlet store, and spent $200 to $1000 in one visit, often on items that I wore a couple of times.
GOAL: Make an annual budget for clothes and stick to it!

3) Wasting my gym membership.
I’m paying $35 a month and… haven’t been to the gym in a year. Yes, I want to work out and be healthy, but I hate the gym and when I do work out I like to do so outside or with an exercise video at home, not at the gym.
GOAL: Either use gym 2 times a week minimum, or cancel my gym membership May 1.

4) I should spending MORE on seeing family and friends back east.
This is actually a place I’m saving money, because I go back to NJ (where my family is) from California about two times a year. The flight isn’t exactly cheap. But life is short, and I miss my family. The older I get, the sadder I feel missing the holidays and family get togethers. Plus, my father is ill with terminal cancer, and while we aren’t exactly best friends, I know I’m going to regret the infrequent visits. I think it’s worth spending $300-$400 every 3 months to take a trip home, even for a weekend, to see my family and friends at home.
GOAL: budget more frequent trips home and see if boss will let me work from east coast for one week a quarter (he already agreed to this, but I haven’t pursued it yet.)

5) I’ve Treated my car poorly.
Five years ago, I bought my ’99 Toyota Solara with 130k miles on it for $7k. Granted, it’s lated 5 years, so that’s not too bad. But along the way the car has collected quite a few dings, and most recently, had half of the front bumper ripped off in an accident that was not my fault, but also was not provably the other person’s fault. I haven’t brought the car in for super regular oil changes, and while it hasn’t had a lot of problems I can definitely feel it’s getting to the end of it’s life. It now has 182k miles on it, but if I treated the car better I probably could have gotten to 250k miles… now it feels like it’s going to die at 200.
GOAL: If / when I buy a new car, be sure to take better care of it, to get the longest life out of the car.

6) Spending too much on investing fees
The way I invest is pretty stupid, but I forgive myself because if I wasn’t investing the money I’d be spending it on #2 (shopping splurges.) My worst offense is my Sharebuilder account, which I pay $12 a month for to get 12 free automatic trades, and I often pay extra on that because I put smaller amounts into stocks each week. It’s kind of dollar-cost averaging but I do it wrong so it’s more or less stupid. My Sharebuilder account is up 10% right now, which is ok, but I could be up 10% investing in a mutual fund this year or one ETF this year, with lower fees.
GOAL: Pay attention to (and account for) how much money I’m spending on my stock transactions!

7) Outgrowing my clothes (due to #3.)
My weight is all over the place, and this requires me to go to the mall often which results in #2.
GOAL: Use #3 to Solve This Problem

8) Not cooking / packing lunch for work.
I spend too much money eating out (#1) because I rarely cook.
GOAL: find low-cost, easy-to-make meals for my bachelorette self.

9) Getting my hair cut twice a year… is not enough
Why is this in my “poor money choices” section? Because after a few months, my hair gets kind of gnarly. While I could get away with that in college, I’m now in a director-level role and need to maintain myself, and my hair.
GOAL: Get my hair cut every 3 months, not every 6 months.

10)  Paying things late.
I’m the worst offender here. I tend to pay my credit card bills on time, but I’ve missed a few there too. Like the one $10 account balance that ended up costing me $50 in late fees. Then there’s the late parking tickets, which add up fast.
GOAL: pay all bills on time, right when I get them.

What are your Top 10 Worst Money Moves, and what goals can you set to improve these in 2011?

Mint’s "Goals" Depress Me.

It’s been a while since I’ve written on here because I’ve been so busy lately. Which is a good thing. I’m working a full-time job, spending some time on a side project, and not spending all that much money. All in all, I’m doing “good.” Heck, I’m doing amazing right now in relation to how I’ve done at any point in my life before – financially, personally, etc.

Yet I feel so far away from reaching any of my goals. Mint’s new Goals feature makes my future look terribly bleak. Especially given that my current salary — of about $120k per year, give or take — is temporary at best — and even WITH that salary I can’t save enough to reach my “goals.” At least according to Mint.
I made four different goals for myself…
Emergency Fund — I have my $8k in that, and it’s the only goal I’ll reach.
Save for Grad School — I need to save $110k, I’ve saved $1.4k. Yikes. At this rate I’ll go to to grad school by the time I’m 90.
Buy a Home? Yea, right. I need to save $207k for a downpayment. I haven’t really saved anything for a downpayment yet, but I’m counting my various non retirement investment as savings for a downpayment (which, it is if I ever want to buy a house.) Ok, so how much do I have saved now? A whopping $13k. Mint so nicely reminds me that I’m “4 years and 10 months behind” my savings goal. Granted, I wrote that I want to buy a million dollar house – but that’s not unreasonable where I live. That’s a pretty small house where I live. And I’ll never do it. Ok, so I’ll rent forever. Or I need to more to Kansas (I guess I’m renting forever.)
Retirement? Well, I’m doing OK on that goal. It doesn’t LOOK like I’m doing ok since according to Mint I need to save $6,362,665 by the time I’m 65 to hit my retirement goals. Yikes. Yea, so that’s giving me $80k per year in retirement income and I doubt I’ll need that much money when I retire, but I wouldn’t mind having it. I have $22.8k saved so far, at 26. You may say I don’t REALLY have $22.8k saved because that money will probably have to go to the down payment on my house one day when/if I want to buy one. Which SUCKS because I don’t want my retirement savings to go back to zero.
I know it’s good to be honest with yourself about your goals and how much you have to save, but really this is just terribly depressing. And as I contemplate seriously applying for graduate school next year, I am forced with knowing that grad school will make my goals even further from ever becoming a reality. It almost makes me want to give up. I’ll never own a house and never have enough for retirement. I’ll be lucky if I can buy myself another car when this one dies.

26 Aspirations and Goals for 2010

I like Affecting Change in Me’s idea to come up with the # of goals for the coming year based on your age. She’s turning 30 so she has 30 goals.


Here are my 26 goals for 2010…

I’ll check in each month to update how I’m doing on each goal.

1. Save 20% of my income for retirement

2. Save 10% of my income for other upcoming expenses

3. Increase my net worth to $60,000

4. Study (a lot) for graduate school tests

5. Take the GMAT (and poss retake the GRE)

6. Apply to grad school(s) in fall 2010

7. Stop drinking alcohol (except on my birthday)

8. Go to the gym 3 times a week

9. Earn $10k in freelance income ($833 / month)

10. Eat 1300 calories per day

11. Drink 8 glasses of water per day

12. Come up with sweet, non expensive things to do to make my boyfriend happy and do them

13. Go to 1 networking event per month and get up the courage to talk to people (which is going to be really hard since I’m giving up alcohol)

14. Keep my room organized (easier said than done, hello ADD)

15. Write max 20 posts per month for blogging gig ($500 / month)

16. Start a saving fund for basic expenses for the second half of next year when I’ll likely be out of a job.

17. Write hand written letters to the people in my life who I’ve lost contact with (sans Facebook status updates). I don’t really like many people, but it saddens me that I’ve lost contact with the few people in this world who I really admire and consider friends.

18. Take an antidepressant for a year and see if it actually helps my mood swings over time.

19. Go to group therapy when possible and give what it takes to get the most out of it possible.

20. Make an effort to spend one day a month with each of my few friends.

21. Invite my roommates to do something fun outside the house and try to build my relationship with them (I am really bad at socializing with my roommates, I like them but when I come home I usually just want to hide in my room. They are so close to each other it’s sometimes awkward for me to be there.)

22. Read at least 4 fiction books and 4 personal finance / economics books and 4 books on interaction design

23. Start saving for a car replacement

24. Put my all into work, even though sometimes I don’t know how to. Be positive at work and supportive of the chaotic environment that is life at a startup. Try to bring a smile to the table always.

25. Work on being a better listener and communicator. Learn from career counselor how to do that.

26. Try to take one day at a time and be happy for all I have and all the opportunities that are to come.