Whether you want to run a marathon, be a millionaire, or be a musician, goals are an important step to not only mark progress but also to motivate you by creating a concrete finish line to which you can look forward. On that note I thought I would list my financial goals not only for this year, but also my long term goals so you get a sense of what it is I am trying to accomplish.
1. I want to invest my entire tax return once I get it in April
This is an easy goal to accomplish. It is only one thing I need to do once and there are no obstacles to keep me from succeeding. It almost shouldn't be listed, but I think by investing the money before I have a chance to mindlessly spend it I will put myself ahead towards a lot of the other goals I have, so you can look at this instead as a step.
2. To earn $200 from dividends in 2012
This one should not be all that difficult either, but I think it is a lofty accomplishment all the same. When I first started thinking up my goals I thought $100 would be impressive. But then I decided to check how much dividends I collected last year, starting when I bought my first mutual funds in August. Well to my pleasant surprise I found I made $21.11, all of which I reinvested using a dividend reinvestment plan (DRIP). So those two mutual funds alone may bring in $100. I also have 55 shares of a dividend paying ETF which I just recently bought, and I plan to invest the money I make from my tax return into this fund or another dividend paying equity. So even $200 may be underestimating myself. This is one of the things that excites me most about the upcoming year.
3. Get a part time job for the fall semester
My first year I thought would best be spent focusing on my schoolwork and getting acclimated to the university life. That was a nice thought but as I am sure many people have found out intentions such as these get left behind by the many ways to have fun . So next year I want to find a part time job where I can work 10-15 hours a week. That should not interfere with school or my free time too much, and it should be enough to pay for an expense that I pick. I would like it if I could pay for my housing from a part time job, but that may be unrealistic.
4. Have a net worth of of $10,000 by the end of the year.
As of this writing Mint tells me that I have a net worth of $8,142. From that number it may not seem like I am poor, but of that, I have $8.00 in my checking account, an estimated $500 from my crap car, and most of the rest is money I either can't touch (RRSP) or do not want to touch for a long time (TFSA). Gaining $1,900 in the course of 12 months does not sound unreasonable, but with the money I make in the summer I need to pay all my school expenses next year, no help. So I need to make a lot of money this summer.
5. Pay for school with no debt this year
I do not want to use any debt to fund my education next year. I have a student line of credit and will be applying to get a higher limit on it, but that is merely for peace of mind as well as maybe being available after I graduate to buy a home. I want to make enough money in the summer to pay all the expenses I will encounter next year. This may be the hardest goal because next year is going to be expensive. I have a May-May lease on an apartment close to campus for $575 a month plus utilities. Say that is $600 a month. For 12 months that is $7,200. All my tuition and school expenses this year minus room and board were $7,724.65. So I am at 14,924.65 of expenses to pay for next year. That total does not take into account groceries or any fun costs. So I am going to assume a cost of $17,000. Another assumption being made here is that I can manage without a car for next year. The plan is to let my insurance expire and bum rides from my parents and others to be able to visit home. That is how much I want to make this summer. I am going to fall short of that for sure, but hopefully my part time job next year will cover some costs. This may be my most ambitious goal for the next while.
6. Make $100 from online surveys this year
I am a member of several online survey sites. I think 5, but I do not receive offers from a couple very often. I would like it if I could make $100 from these sites in the next year. I have no idea how much I made in the 4 or so months that I have been doing these surveys so I do not know if this will be difficult or not. But I think the round century mark for the year is not something to sneeze at for doing next to nothing. It is very easy to do the surveys and most do not take longer than 20 minutes. If you have to be at the computer anyway you might as well get paid, right? I think more people should know how simple it is to make money online from surveys.
7. Make this blog a success
I do not know how to measure it, but I will know it when I see it. I would love if I got hundreds of page visits a day. My lack of writing ability, intellect, interesting things to say, etc. all make that unlikely. But if I started to get a consistently increasing number of visitors I would be unable to complain. This would be really cool.
8. Graduate Debt Free
I am guessing that this may have been obvious. I have heard and read horror stories of $70,000 student loan debts upon graduation. I would love to be in the black when I am done school. Simply having more money than I owe would put me ahead of lots of my fellow students, but I would like to have as much money as I can. The more the better.
9. Pay cash for my first house
Almost guaranteed that I will not do this. But I would like to pay as much of a down payment as I can so saving to pay for the whole thing, even if I do not reach that, I will still have a significant amount saved up. The idea of a mortgage is unappealing to me, so I want to get rid of one once I have it as fast as I can. By paying a large down payment I make that more realistic.
10. Retire by 35
I think, while this seems like a pipe dream, that this will be easier to accomplish than many people think. That could be the obnoxious cockiness of a 19 year old but, given 15 years to save enough money to have my investments be able to pay my expenses, I honestly expect that I can do this. Lots of things are going to come up to interrupt my progress to this, but it is something I really want to do. Or at least be able to work at a job not for the money but because it is something I want to do. I am going to school to get a well paying job, but if by 35 I have enough money that I can instead get a job I am very passionate about, such as personal training, without being worried about paying the bills, I will be incredibly happy. The money to pay my expenses will likely mostly come from dividends, perhaps real estate because I like the idea of renting rooms or houses that I own. I do not know yet, but because I am starting so early, I have a better chance at succeeding and also a little leeway to make some adjustments if not outright mistakes.
These are the things I hope to accomplish. Some of these are things to help me get more money, some are things to do with money I get. It turned out to be a much more extensive list than I thought it would be, and it could be a lot longer. I will be updating my progress on some of these later, hopefully with good news.