A year ago I wrote up a list of financial goals for 2008. Today, I thought I’d take a look back at them and see how we did.
As expected, this one was a no-brainer. We maxed out our retirement savings across the board, though we were unable to make Roth IRA contributions as we were beyond the contribution limits. If you’re looking forward to the coming year, here’s a rundown of the IRA contributions limits for 2009.
We continued saving aggressively outside of our retirement accounts. We also came up with a overall allocation plan that maximizes tax efficiency while achieving our desired overall balance of stocks and bonds. While the need for this was driven by our non-retirement savings, we implemented it across our full portfolio. Here are a few related posts describing the changes that we made:
Simplifying Our Finances
This one mostly successful, in that we dropped down to two main credit cards Amex Blue Cash and Chase Freedom Visa while still keeping an old Citi MasterCard around for use at Sam’s Club. I ended up leaving our other Citi MasterCard since it reduces our apparent credit utilization, and thus has a positive impact on our credit scores.
As far as account consolidation goes, we still have a number online savings accounts that we don’t really use. These are partly a byproduct of my habit of opening accounts so I can write a review “from the inside.” Unfortunately, I’ve been lax when it comes to closing these accounts, so they’ve proliferated.
Finally, I’ve largely completed the task of automating our bill paying and investments. We’re automatically paying pretty much everything that we can, and I’ve set up e-mail and/or text reminders for the rare things that can’t be automated.
Protecting Our Future
This one is a big, fat FAIL. Once again, while we’ve gone to great lengths to protect our assets, we still haven’t closed the deal on a long term disability (LTD) policy for me. I have coverage through work, but we’re in the market for a private policy to provide supplemental coverage. It looks like this item will (once again) roll over to next year’s goals.
Creating a User Manual for Our Financial Life
Once again, FAIL. I’ve given quite a bit of thought to how this one will be implemented, and what to include, I haven’t taken the time to actually put it together. As I said before, “Iâ€™m envisioning a three-ring binder containing everything that she [my wife] needs â€” account numbers, insurance policy numbers, contact information, usernames, passwords, etc.” In truth, the usernames and passwords will likely reside in an encrypted computer file for added safety.
Kids and Money
This is one is a partial FAIL. In truth, I made a conscious decision to delay this one until the market settled down a bit. While we’ve stayed the course (and actually injected a bit more during dips) when it comes to our personal portfolio, I didn’t want to introduce the kids to investing during an uncharacteristically volatile market. That being said, I’m still not 100% sure how to implement this one once I decide it’s time, as we have four kids and I don’t really relish the idea of keeping track of four more investment accounts.
This one was mostly successful, in that I’ve aggregated most tax-related documents in a couple of places around the house (plus a few tax-related receipts in the car). Not quite as organized as I had hoped, but better than usual.
What About You?
How did you fare relative to your goals/resolutions for 2008?