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My FI Journey » 2013 Goals

2013 Goals

As the title suggests, this is where I will spell out my goals for 2013.  At the end of the year, we’ll review and see how I fared.

Financial Goals

Overall, these are pretty straight forward.

  • Invest at least $1,000 per month in my brokerage account.
  • Transfer the remaining money allocated for savings to my emergency/new car/everything fund.  By the end of 2014, I would like to have one full year’s worth of expenses saved in cash (~35K).
  • Continue saving 6% of my gross income in my current 401(K). Always max out the company’s match.
  • Transfer the money from my old 401(K) to my IRA.
  • Generate $3,000 in dividend income.

Financial Education Goals

Some of my biggest upcoming financial questions pertain to whether I should look into buying a house and whether becoming an investor in rental property is for me.

  • Educate myself about home buying.
  • Educate myself about rental property.

Blogging Goals

  • Post at least two posts per week.  That would be about 100 over the course of a year.  If I can do that without fail, I will be very impressed.
  • Begin to develop regular blog traffic.  I don’t know any kind of fancy SEO techniques to game Google, so I’m just going to focus on creating content and hope for the best.

12 Responses to "2013 Goals"

  1. Good luck with your goals this year. My blogging goals are pretty similar to yours, as I just started a couple weeks ago. One great plugin that’s already worked pretty well for me as far as SEO goes is “WordPress SEO”. As long as you can make the little ball “green” before you submit your post, it should be pretty well optimized for the search engines. Plus it automatically submits your sitemap to the big search engines.

    1. Moneyseed,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Thanks for the plugin tip. Currently I’m on wordpress.com, so no plugins for me. But if I ever get enough readers to warrant moving to wordpress.org, I’ll take your advice and check that one out.

  2. Laurie says:

    Hey! Just found your blog. Looks like you started at the exact same time we did! Looking forward to reading more. Great info here, and good luck with your 2013 goals!

  3. Nice goals. How are you doing with them. Please give us an update.
    Yikes two posts a week is a tall order. Wish I had the time to do that.

    1. MFIJ says:

      So far I’m doing reasonably well with my goals. I’ve been blogging 3X per week for three months now and it’s not a cake walk. We’ll see how I fair in summer when lots of other activities start vying for my attention.

  4. Will says:

    I would NOT invest in rental property if I were you. Not worth the time, hassle and (likely) limited return. Investing in REITs is a much better option.

    I know that you already own NLY. Check out AGNC, which is even better!

    1. MFIJ says:

      I’ve been spending a lot of time looking into rental property and, at least for where I live, it looks to be more of a hassle then the returns are worth. Of course, depending on where you live real estate could be a great investment.

  5. I need to set up more precise and clear goals for this year. Good luck with the goals and break the 100 posts for the year. I need to post more currently I only do one post per week. I like the all in one SEO pack but the one Johnny mention is great as well. I will be looking into rental properties in the coming months.

  6. JV says:

    MFIJ, I love your site, am a new investor, but mainly in 401K and Roth IRA. I would love to do what you are doing over time after I get my credit cards paid down, to do something like what you are doing even if it is on a smaller scale due to limited funds.

    Do you recommend investing in high quality dividend paying stocks in a Roth and then when the Roth is maxxed out, then invest in normal brokerage acct? Or have you bypassed the Roth IRA altogether and only invest in 401k and brokerage acct with taxable dividends, etc? Also, if you don’t mind, if you could provide a reason for leaning one way or the other…

    Also, would you recommend paying down credit cards 1st and then invest in high quality dividend paying stocks (either in Roth IRA or taxable brokerage acct), or try to do both simultaneously?

    These are the kinds of things I am currently struggling with and having a hard time figuring out which way would be best (smile)…

    Any advice/recommendation would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

    1. MFIJ says:

      JV,

      First and foremost I would pay off your credit cards. Credit card interest is almost always greater than investment returns, so knock out the credit cards before you start investing.

      For my 401k I just use a low cost index fund (S&P500), since most of the other fund options suck. Watch out for fees in the 401k, because those will destroy your returns.

      I do all of my investing in a normal taxable brokerage account. You can divide up your investment dollars between an IRA, Roth IRA, and taxable account based on how quickly you want access to your money. In these accounts, I stick to dividend paying stocks using the investment strategies I’ve outlined on this site.

      Generally speaking your investment strategy should go like this:
      1. Fill up your 401k up the match if your employer provides a match. Never pass up free money.
      2. Max out an IRA.
      3. Max out your 401k.
      4. Dump the rest in a taxable brokerage account.

      I do things differently because I’d like to hit financial independence by the time I’m 45.
      1. Fill up my 401k to get the full match. For me, that’s a 100% return just for depositing the money.
      2. Everything else goes to taxable brokerage accounts.

      My approach is not as tax efficient as the first approach that I outlined, but my money isn’t locked away for the next 25 years. You can feel free to pick a strategy that is anywhere between mine and the standard approach so long as it meets your goals and timelines.

      1. JV says:

        MFIJ, Thank you for the reply and advice.

        If you don’t mind, I was hoping I could fine tune your advice a little to our specific situation (if you have time to reply again)…

        A little background info on our finances:
        * I am 42 and my wife is 55. I can retire from my work at age 56 with full salary (100% salary based on average of highest 3 years of salary). My wife works in the software industry and is planning on working until 70. So, we are both planning on retiring in about 15 years or so.
        * We have 50K in credit card debt, in which we have been making dents in the principle by about 2K per month (on schedule to pay off credit cards in slightly over 2 more years).
        * My wife is putting 6% of her salary in company 401k for past 3 months and plans to continue at that rate or higher until retirement. Her company match is only 25% up to her 6% contribution (any contribution above 6% will have no company match). My wife’s only retirement contributions up to 3 months ago have been to Social Security (when she started putting money into 401k in addition to her social security contributions).
        * I work for County government and have defined benefit pension plan with no deductions for social security. Employed by County for 22 years and can retire at 100% salary at age 56. In addition to my defined benefit pension, I also contribute about 5% of my salary into 457 plan (similar to 401K, but no employer match offered), but have only been doing it for about 3 months.
        * Regarding the IRA, per the IRS, my wife and I do not qualify for the tax advantages of the regular IRA due to both of us having a retirement plan at work (although we do qualify for tax advantages of Roth IRA).
        * So, we are getting a late start, and have been financially irresponsible up to this point, but are taking an attitude that good financial decisions are better late than never. So, based on your recommendations with slight adjustments due to our situation, it seems we would do something like this:
        1. Pay down credit cards to $0
        2. At the same time as #1 above, pay 6% of my wife’s salary to her 401k up to her employer’s match max (which also reduces taxable income and Fed/State tax withholding which frees up extra funds to pay towards credit cards)
        3. Pay into my 457 plan (no employer match) or pay into Roth IRA – or both
        * At this point, I don’t know whether it is better to max out 401K/457 or max out Roth IRA. Due to my Pension, my 457, and my wife’s 401K, we have considerable funds going into tax advantaged retirement accounts in which we are lowering our current taxable income/income taxes. So, I thought it may be good to max out a Roth IRA before going back to maxing out the 401K or 457. Just a thought.
        4. Dump rest in taxable brokerage acct (although I am still a little unsure if we should max out all available tax advantaged accounts before dumping money into taxable brokerage acct)

        I really like the idea of putting money towards stock for high quality dividend paying companies, but it seems I can only do that in a Roth IRA or taxable brokerage account. As Roth contributions are limited to about $5500 per year ($6500 for my wife due to her age), would you recommend maxing out Roth IRA before dumping funds into taxable brokerage?

        Sorry for so many questions and I hope I am not taking up too much of your time. If I am, feel free to not reply… Keep up the good work and good luck on financial independence at 45. You are very knowledgable and it seems you are well on your way!

        1. MFIJ says:

          I think that you’re on the right track. Given that you’re planning to retire on a traditional timeline, I would concentrate on maxing out all of your tax advantaged accounts first. You may want to consider a traditional IRA in place of a Roth, which deducts from your taxable income the same way a 401k does.

          I would also emphasize paying down that credit card debt. If that means that you have to take a staycation this year and start cooking at home, do it. It won’t be a fun time, but the faster you get that debt knocked out, the faster you can start building wealth.

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