Finances, Goals

Our 7 Current Financial Goals // Final Report

When I first sat down to make these financial goals for my current 101 in 1001 list, I thought of them as being “stretch” goals–I figured that they’d be “do-able” in the 2.75 year span, but I also thought they’d be a real challenge.

Imagine my surprise, then, upon finding that we were able to complete many of them within this first year!

As a result, I’ve decided to make a new list of financial goals for 2022 (which I’ll do as its own post), which means that this will be a “final” report of sorts for these particular 7 goals. Now, I haven’t completed all of them, but the ones that I haven’t will look slightly different in the coming year, so stay tuned!

Note: There are affiliate links below to products and services mentioned, which means I may get a commission on any sale, at no extra cost to you.

Note on How We Track Our Financial Progress

For basic budgeting and household account maintenance, I use Mint, which I’ve used and loved for years. Recently, I’ve started using Personal Capital as well, which has many of the same features as Mint, but I like using it instead of Mint for tracking our debt reduction and investments, as I find their tools are a bit better for that. Both are free. (And if you sign up for a free Personal Capital account, we can both earn a $20 Amazon credit if you go through my referral link!)

For a clearer snapshot of our financial picture over time, I started tracking our net worth via Google Spreadsheet in August 2018. It’s been a total game changer, and I highly recommend you read the post I did on the why and how of that process here.

Our 7 Big Financial Goals

Just for a quick recap, these 7 financial goals were all taken from the “Finance” section of my 101 in 1001 list, which is a list of 101 goals I want to complete over a 1,001-day period. I’m currently working on my second 101 in 1001 list, but if you’re interested, you can see the (different) financial goals I worked on for my first 101 in 1001 list HERE.

I hadn’t anticipated being able to complete so many of these this first year into the challenge, but then again, I also hadn’t anticipated getting multiple stimulus checks and the Child Tax Credit payments, either, nor was I planning on getting a part-time job OR starting my own business this last year. So obviously, things were able to happen in a more accelerated timeline than originally planned.

1. Open up a brokerage account + invest $2,500

Our brokerage account is through Fidelity and is in their Total Market Index Fund (FSKAX). We decided to go with this option after reading The Simple Path to Wealth and from me doing extensive research about the FIRE movement (Financial Independence / Retire Early) over the years. I talked more extensively about FSKAX and our investment strategy in my last financial goals post, but for now, it’s sufficient to say that we opened up this taxable brokerage account in order to give us more options for drawing money in early retirement (aka, before we reach typical retirement age).

Note: the amounts below don’t reflect any of the money we’ve MADE on the investments–they only reflect the money we’ve actually put in.

I thought we might be able to meet this goal by the end of the year, but we ended up having quite a lot of expenses for the flower farm to cash flow this last quarter of 2021, which took away our ability to complete this goal. However, I will have a new goal in this category for 2022, so check out the forthcoming post to see what the new number will be!

  • Goal Amount: $2,500
    • Initial Amount Invested: $500
    • Amount Invested at Checkpoint #1: $1,600
    • Amount Invested at Checkpoint #2: $1,600
    • Amount Invested at Checkpoint #3: $1,700
    • Amount Invested at Final Checkpoint 2021: $1,800
  • Progress Made This Quarter: $100
  • Percent of Goal Reached: 72%

2. Buy and pay off a vehicle to replace the Buick

We completed this one right away in the first couple months of this year, thanks to one of the stimulus checks and thanks to our in-laws, who sold us their old Mazda for a steal.

Now, we still have yet to SELL our Buick, but eventually I’ll get around to it…

  • Initial Amount Saved: $500
  • Goal Amount: We planned to go for something in the $8K-$10K range, but we ended up buying one from my in-laws for $3,000
  • Amount Paid Off: $3,000 (GOAL COMPLETED)

3. Get each kids’ savings account to $500

Both Matt and I served missions for our church and count it among one of the best choices we ever made, and we want to be able to give our kids the same opportunity. (Note: All missionaries that serve for our church do so on a volunteer basis and pay for it out of their own pocket.) We will encourage them to save some of their own money for this as well, but we want to provide a good chunk of it, too. If they don’t want to serve missions, this money will be used towards their higher education.

Note: Once we reach the $500 goal for each account, I won’t do any further reporting on that child’s fund. In other words, I’ll just keep recording each fund until it reaches our minimum goal of $500 and then I’ll just count the goal as complete and stop recording any further amounts here.

As you’ll see, we were able to make great progress this last quarter of the year!

  • Initial Amount (Kid #1): $222
    • Amount at Checkpoint #1: $392
    • Amount at Checkpoint #2: $417
    • Amount at Checkpoint #3: GOAL REACHED ($500+)
    • Percentage of Goal Reached: 100%
  • Initial Amount (Kid #2): $203
    • Amount at Checkpoint #1: $363
    • Amount at Checkpoint #2: $363
    • Amount at Checkpoint #3: $430
    • Amount at Final Checkpoint: GOAL REACHED ($500+)
      • Progress Made This Quarter: $70+
    • Percentage of Goal Reached: 100%
  • Initial Amount (Kid #3): $204
    • Amount at Checkpoint #1: $350
    • Amount at Checkpoint #2: $350
    • Amount at Checkpoint #3: $405
    • Amount at Final Checkpoint: GOAL REACHED ($500+)
      • Progress Made This Quarter: $95+
    • Percentage of Goal Reached: 100%

4. Make an extra mortgage payment (not necessarily all at once)

Considering how we struggled putting much extra on our last house, I thought it would take us awhile to complete this, seeing as how an extra mortgage payment is $1,415. However, thanks to the unexpected revenue streams this year mentioned in the intro as well as the fact that we’re now really going for financial independence in the next 15 years, we definitely are a lot further along in this category than I anticipated.

Note: I don’t know how anyone else calculates making an extra payment towards the mortgage annually (since I know it’s a common goal), but this goal was the amount of a full monthly payment (including Escrow and interest). Obviously a regular payment wouldn’t all go towards principal, but I wanted to do a goal based on the whole monthly payment as a stretch goal.

I did recently publish a full post on how much extra we put towards our mortgage this first year HERE if you want to check that out, and we’ve since done an additional $300 toward the principal. Slowly but surely we’re chipping away!

  • Initial Extra Amount Paid: $134
    • Extra Amount Paid at Checkpoint #1: $1,034
    • Extra Amount Paid at Checkpoint #2: $1,456
  • Goal Amount: $1,415 extra paid toward principal
  • Percentage of Goal Reached: 100% (and we’re now actually at 310% of this goal!)

5. Start contributing to my IRA again

I didn’t cross this off last quarter, but I really should have since my goal was vague and since I DID put a couple hundred dollars into my retirement fund in late summer.

For next year, I’ll be more mindful of making sure ALL my goals are very specific, so that I won’t go back and forth whether or not I can count them as “complete.”

The real goal going forward will be to set up automatic monthly contributions, but that still hasn’t happened yet. You’d better believe it will be on the list for 2022 though!

Status: COMPLETE ($200 invested in Q3)

6. Max out Matt’s Roth one year

We’d been putting $150 a month for the last couple years into Matt’s Roth IRA, but that was the most we could manage for a long time. Thanks to a raise this year, we were able to finally starting putting in the max monthly amount ($500) so that we can hit the max yearly amount ($6,000) from now on as we’d hoped.

Matt doesn’t get any retirement benefits from his work so these savings are all on us. Thankfully, we both saved a decent amount in former jobs we had in our 20’s, and now we just need to get my IRA to the max allowed amount as well.


7. Save up $2,000 for home improvements

Here’s a goal I didn’t think through very well.

I think I was hoping to save up a biggish chunk of money so that we could start remodeling our main bathroom, but what I hadn’t factored in was that any spare money we’ve had for home improvements has all gone straight towards trying to finish all the projects we started in our home when we bought it in 2020 but still haven’t finished.

Right now, our bathroom remodel has fallen so far down the priority list that it won’t be showing up on any of next year’s goals, at least not as of right now. For now, we need to focus any and all home improvements funds on totally finishing the kitchen floor, installing baseboards, and getting the leak fixed in our master bathroom.

Additionally, if we’re able to save up a big lump sum of money in the future, we’ll likely use it to add a bathroom to our basement, if that’s possible, before we worry about remodeling the current one that everyone uses.

For now, this goal has had $0 of progress made on it, but I’m okay with that.

Total Financial Goals Completed in 2021: 5/7

Honestly, I’m astounded at the progress we were able to make this year. Sure, I would have loved to have been able to say that we completed 100% of our goals, but seeing as we sunk several thousand dollars into starting the flower farm this year, I’m really very impressed at how much we were still able to accomplish by keeping all our other costs as low as possible in 2021.

I’ll be interested to see where things stand at the end of 2022!

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