2011 Personal Finance Goals

2010 was great for me financially. In my first full year of working, I was able to save about 50% of my take-home pay from my job, I was able to boost my income significantly with this blog, and I moved from a crappy apartment into something a little more reasonable.

For 2011, I want to continue building on my success. While my work income will increase slightly due to a standard performance review and likely raise, it will also be boosted by the 2% Payroll Tax Deduction and an expected bonus in February that could total around 10-12% of my pay. So overall, my income could increase by over 15%, which sounds great!

That extra income should allow me to keep my savings rate high, even as I let a little more lifestyle inflation into my life. I’m already planning a few vacations, but am more than ok with that.

For this blog, the income from the past year has been great, but I know that the it may not be sustainable, so I will ride the wave and take what is given to me without setting a specific monetary goal. In the meantime, I will work harder to produce higher quality content, and I’d like to increase visitors both through links from other sites and from search engine traffic. The best way for me to do this is to network, promote others endlessly, be active in social media, guest post more often, and gather more attention from a wider range of blogs.

One specific way to do that will be to comment on other blogs. I don’t do that nearly enough, but it’s never too late. I read about 40-50 blogs a day, but I don’t respond and add to the conversation as much as I should. My goal for this year is to comment on at least one blog every day. It’s a simple goal, and yet I haven’t done it enough.

I also want to continue my activity within the Yakezie, supporting other participants and providing advertising opportunities if I can.

One option I have been considering is obtaining another website. I remember the first 6 months of blogging as being a lot of work for little reward and I don’t think I want to go through that stage again, but acquiring a site that’s been established for awhile could help me build up my online empire (cross out) business faster. I’m not ready to buy yet, but if an opportunity presents itself, I may decide to pounce on it.

Happy 2011!

Readers, what are your financial goals? How will you get there?

17 Responses to 2011 Personal Finance Goals

  1. MoneyCone says:

    Saving 50% of your pay is absolutely fantastic! I’m sure there were some sacrifices, but it is totally worth it!

    Here’s to a very happy 2011!

  2. Great goals! 50% saving rate is beyond awesome. You won’t regret starting early that’s for sure. Good luck in 2011!

  3. krantcents says:

    My financial goals revolve around growing my portfolio. I am working on increasing the visibility of my blog (4 mos. old).

  4. Rusty says:

    One of my biggest savings goals is to create an emergency
    fund. My highest interest credit card should be paid off in April
    or May. Woot!

    • Daniel says:

      @Rusty, That’s great, and one that will have a huge effect! Good luck!

      • Rusty says:

        @Daniel, Thanks for the encouragement. I’ve been stuck at the 29% penalty rate for over a year – they won’t budge it. Once I get it cleaned up, nice and shiny, it’s going to be automatically paying my cell phone bill, and I’ll automatically transfer money from my checking every month to cover the bill. It’ll hopefully give my credit the boost it’ll need, because sometime this coming year I’m going to need a “new” car.

  5. Evan says:

    Wow you saved 50% of your income? That is amazing. What are you going to do with it? Are you just going to let the market handle it or increase your personal business options?

    • Daniel says:

      @Evan, This definitely gives me the flexibility to explore different business options, and I’m definitely earmarking some of it for some investment opportunities.

  6. Everyday Tips says:

    Great job on all that saving, most impressive. (Didn’t someone from Star Wars say ‘most impressive or something like that to Luke, along with reminding him that he is not a Jedi yet? I am having memories of some talking toy one of my kids had.)

    Blogging is a lot of work for sure. It is tough to decide whether to grow the current blog or buy an additional site. Both are a lot of work, that is for sure!

  7. Even if you lurk, it’s not a big deal. I do see commenters more and go to their blogs more, but just the reading is enough :) Or the RTing!

  8. Carrie#K says:

    I think blogging works the same way most other networking does,, who you know, see and be seen. So the more you’re out there mingling and participating, the higher your exposure rate.

    Fifty percent! Pretty fabulous. Are you taking advantage of any retirement tax strategies?

    • Daniel says:

      @Carrie#K, I’ve fully funded my Roth IRA the past 2 years and am planning on doing that this year. I may also take advantage of my Roth 401(k) through work, though sometimes I think investing so much in retirement now may not be the best choice.

  9. My financial goal is to do what I do every year and save. But this year, I want to take more financial risk with a portion of capital.

    Would be cool to see you comment around the sphere more.

  10. 20 and Engaged says:

    Great goals Daniel! I read a bunch of blogs too but I love leaving my 2 cents :) Continue the great work!

  11. love leverage says:

    Congratulations! I think you are off to a great start. What
    do you plan to do with the savings? Maybe it’s time to invest. my
    financial goal for the next two years (I will try to acheive it
    this year, but it’ll probably take 1 1/2 years) is to generate
    enough monthly passive income through real estate (cash flow), and
    small business in order to quit my job (or take voluntary layoff)
    next year so I can join my hubby and start our real estate business
    full-time.

  12. Ronald R. Dodge, Jr. says:

    I don’t currently own a business of my own, but rather work for an employer. Over the last decade, income has not kept up with expenses. Some of that is due to inflation, but some of it is also due to the fact the qualify of benefits has degraded so much, it’s actually cost more in that area now than it did in the past, even after taking inflation into account.

    50% savings, I have had a couple of years like that, but not easy to come by. It seems though I won’t see that sort of rate any time soon for as long as wages are still staggering low compared to cost of living. But then I’m also taking care of a family of 7 (my wife, 5 girls with ages of 3, 6, 7, 10, 12; and myself).

    However, ever since we hit rock bottom in February 2001 (when income finally went up higher enough to cover necessary living expenses), our Long-Term Networth Value on an after tax basis assuming 43% of retirement funds going to income taxes (purposefully being conservative as I would rather plan too much income taxes than not enough and get caught red handed) went from $(80,000) to now at $69,800. Yes, I use the accrual basis of Accounting, not the cash basis of Accounting as the cash basis isn’t nearly as accurate and too bouncy for me. Other than for a couple of minor difference, I do stick to US GAAP rules for our finances.

    I do set minimal savings goal to be 25% of “Actual Gross Income” going to one of 3 coubntable savings?

    What’s Countable Savings?

    Net Contributions into Retirement Funds (Most Preferred)

    Net debt reduction (The only type of debt I don’t take into account for this number is Current Debt as that’s paid off in full by the due date of every single billing period).

    Net Contributions into Emergency Fund

    These are the only 3 items that count as countable savings. I refuse to go by the 10% rule as most people go by as only 1 out of 4 people retire relatively comfortable as stated on EBRI’s website (www.ebri.org). Me having lived strictly on Child SSDI early on in life, no thank you. That’s why I make 25% of “Actual Earned Gross Income” as needing to go to countable savings as a major goal of mine. Ideally, because of bad financial years, I actually shoot for 40%, but know that won’t always happen. Example, first half of 2010 was really good and savings went up like nothing. Second half of 2010 was not so good. Income fell significantly and we had sudden losses in the second half. However, we still managed to have a saving rate of 29% for the 2010 year.

    What do I count as “Actual Gross Earned Income”?

    Actual Gross Earned Income is the gross income reported on the pay stub plus any amounts put into your retirement accounts in your name by the employer itself, which wasn’t reported on your pay stub.

    One of my first order of business for the 2011 year is to get the mortgage down low enough to get rid of the MIP as that will greatly improve the Daily Residual Income/(Expense) number by about $1.50 given I’m currently having to pay out about $45.00 per month for that junk fee. Pay down another $6,000 on the mortgage should do the trick. Note, that’s $1.50 less finance charges I will end up having to pay for per day, which amounts to $540 (45 * 12) per year for that $6,000 payment on the mortgage, not even counting the less interest charge on the mortgage itself that is at the rate of 4.99%. So really, that $6,000 pay down on the mortgage will really result in total annual savings of $840.00. (6,000*0.5+540 for simplicity purposes) If you think about it, that’s a pretty good rate of return (about 14%) for this one time deal.

    Given the significant tax refund we will get from the IRS via the Additional Child Tax Credit, the Make Work Pay Credit, and the fact my wife’s employer did NOT honor her W-4 form when she claimed “EXEMPT” on it via my instructions (hence I ended up filing a form 3949-A against her employer later last year after giving them a 30 day notice to rectify the situation and her employer flat out ignored the letter, which we do meet both requirements for such a claim on the federal W-4 form), we will be applying $2,000 of that into her ROTH IRA (to take advantage of her portion of the $200 Retirement Saver’s Credit), $271 of it into my ROTH IRA (To max out my portion of the $200 Retirement Saver’s Credit) so as to get the combined $400 Retirement Saver’s Credit, and then that will still pay close to about 2/3 of that $6,000 to the mortgage. The remaining amount will have to come from other sources, rather it be additional income or from the EF. At any rate, the sooner I can get rid of that MIP, the better off I will be. This alone will already take it to be about 12% of “Actual Gross Earned Income” (could be more or less depending on what happens throughout the year) the rest of the minimal debt payments to reducing debt (I have only student loans and the mortgage now) will account for about 2.5% of “Actual Gross Earned Income”. Total savings for retirement will account for about 14% of “Actual Gross Earned Income”. This means I’m expecting to have a saving rate of about 28.5%.

    The one credit neither of us has ever qualified for was the Earned Income Credit. When I did qualify by way of income, I didn’t qualify for it cause of age.

    Anyhow, you keep up with your huge saving rate as I learned from my self study on retirement back in 2003 was the following:

    Retire with total investable assets net of income taxes being a multiple of 50 of annual wages

    Withdraw no more than 2% of total investable assets per year. This may very well mean put about 75% of your retirement funds into a ROTH IRA prior to the age of 75 to be shielded from the RMD rules (at least until the inheritance rules kicks into play on such account, when such RMD rules kicks into play, but that’s after you are no longer living), as the RMD rules is the perfect formula to outlive your own resources.

    Requires a minimal of 25% of “Actual Gross Earned Income” going to countable savings for a period of 40 years.

    What had me come up with these various rules?

    I took into account of various risk factors and scenarios (Both during working years and retirement years). I wanted to have a set of rules that would have a 98% chance of being successful. As you know, there is no guarantee, but if you also learned about statistics, some people go up to 2 standard deviations (95% confidence interval), but for something like this, I chose to go to 3 standard deviations (98% confidence interval). Of course, this is assuming a normal bell curve for the standard deviations.

    Regardless what you do, good luck with all of your goals.

  13. Great job saving last year. Good luck expanding your blog empire!

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