It’s A New Year: Setting Your Financial Goals

2011 is approaching quite fast, and it is time for my husband and I to start thinking about our 2011 financial goals.  Looking back through the old blog posts, I see that I never articulated clear goals for 2010.  It feels like this entire year has been consumed by preparing for, executing, and recovering from an overseas PCS move.  We did manage to keep the “minimum” balance in our emergency fund and buy a new car for which we had the money.

Now is the time where we talk about our goals for 2011.  You might notice that I keep using the term “we.”  This is important to me.  I do the execution part of the plans, but the plans are for both of us.  It is amazing how much easier it is when you are both involved in making the decisions and both feel excited about meeting those goals.  Quite frankly, I hate making decisions so I am happy to lay out the pros and cons of each option and let my husband decide what is best for us.  Plus, he often thinks of alternatives I hadn’t considered.

So, what does 2011 have in store for the Kashman family?  First order of business is paying off the car loan.  We might even pay if off before 2011; we have the money but we are considering make a large-ish charitable donation before the end of the year and I don’t mind putting off the car another month.

Once the car is paid off, we will be debt free except for the mortgages on our two rental homes.  We already contribute 10% to my husband’s TSP account, and max out my ROTH IRA each year.  The upcoming options include putting money into his IRA, increasing our TSP contributions, or saving outside of retirement accounts.  I’m leaning towards the latter as we may want to buy another house when we go back to the US (likely in 2 1/2 years.)  With the housing market situation, and the cost of housing some of the places that the Navy likes to send you (think DC or San Diego), cash is a useful thing to have when you are house hunting.

What sort of financial goals have you set for 2011?  Pay off a credit card or loan?  Build an emergency fund?  Pay for a big expense?  Clarifying your goals (with your partner, if you have one) greatly increases the chances that you’ll accomplish that goal.  Telling other people about your goal also helps make it happen, so share!

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.