Our 2017 financial goals

Our 2017 financial goals

Here¬†our 2017 financial goals! I hope it’s not too late to share these ūüôā

Sure, it’s a few weeks past New Years Day, but cut me some slack! We’ve been super busy over here because –¬†surprise¬†– we’re moving!

We’re just moving across the Bay so we can be much closer to work. Our commute times will be so much shorter and hopefully that means more time to spend with each other and on our passion projects¬†*cough*¬†this blog¬†*cough*.

Anywho, enough about that. Here are our 2017 financial goals!

We're only focusing on four financial goals in 2017!

1. Move closer to work

Well, technically – we’ve already accomplished this! In fact, on the day that this post goes live, we will be moving all of our stuff in a U-haul van with some friends.

It did take some moving around of our money to pull off. But after almost a year of living more than an hour away from work, we decided it was worth it to move closer to work. Rent ain’t cheap – but we are at peace knowing that we’re paying for the convenience of living close to work. We’ll have a lot more time on our hands, and I think that alone is worth the money we will spend.

2. Replenish our starter emergency fund

We had to dip into our emergency fund recently to cover some family things. I feel so vulnerable not necessarily having anything right now in our emergency fund. But hopefully this will get done in the next paycheck or so. We just want to get our emergency fund back to $1,000.

3. Decrease our debt by 20%

We are in¬†a ton of debt. Seriously. It’s not good. More on those numbers in a future post.

We know it’s not possible to pay it all off in one year. Especially since we’re paying to move much closer to work. But we do want to keep debt repayment a high priority for us. So as soon as our first two financial goals are taken care of, all of our extra money will be thrown at our debt. I assigned 20% as our 2017 goal. Hopefully it’ll be more than that, though!

4. Save for travel

This year is full of travel plans! Next month, we’re going to Rome to celebrate our anniversary. In July, we have 4 weddings to attend (maybe 5). We’re going to Hawaii in November for another wedding. These travel plans are so exciting! But if we don’t plan ahead, these travel plans can really reverse all the progress on the other three financial goals we have.

So, we are going to be putting money aside each money just for travel. I know that this money would probably do better if we targeted it all to debt, but I want to make sure that we spend only cash for all of these trips. What good is debt repayment if we have to finance our trips?

So there you have it – our 2017 financial goals. I’m keeping it simple this year. Four¬†financial goals is totally doable. The less we have to focus on, the more damage we can do to each of our financial goals.

What are your financial goals this year?


Identify Your Obstacles

Identify Your Obstacles

This post is meant to immediately follow last week’s piece about your idea of what being rich means. If you haven’t had a chance to read last week’s post, I highly suggest you do before reading this post. I strongly believe that you can’t get started on identifying your obstacles¬†unless you’ve defined your destination.

Now that you’ve determined what being rich means for you¬†, you¬†must now identify your obstacles.

Identify Your Obstacles

In our case, The Husband and I looked at our definitions of being rich and went from there. As a refresher, here is what being rich means to us –

Being rich means being debt-free

Being rich means not worrying about money

Being rich means being incredibly generous

If you’re a visual person, like I am, imagine your ideas of being rich at the top of a mountain. On the way up this mountain, there are obstacles and set backs on the way, such as a steep cliff, or a tall boulder in the way.

Right now, you are simply looking toward your destination Рin this case, your ideas of being rich Рand want to identify your obstacles that you can see right ahead of you on the way toward the top of the mountain of financial freedom.

For example, The Husband and I literally looked at our ideas of being rich one by one and identified our obstacles for each. Here is what we came up with.

Being rich means being debt-free

Obstacle #1: Credit card debt

If you’re new to the blog, you must get familiar with my complicated relationship with credit. If you’ve been a reader for some time, you’re probably¬†sick of me talking about it. Well – so am I! This is the first obstacle The Husband and I face when we look to being debt-free.

Obstacle #2: Student loan debt

The Husband and I both went to pretty expensive private colleges. The only difference is that I came out of it with a ton of loans and he didn’t.¬†Hey, what’s mine is yours now, right? ūüėȬ†This is clearly #2 on the debt list.

Obstacle #3: Car loan debt

This debt is only slightly less annoying than my student loan debt, but it definitely makes a dent in our monthly expenses. Plus, now that we’re married, we have two car loans to worry about.

Obstacle #4: Mortgage debt

The biggest debt on the balance sheet, but the last in priority for us. I locked in a pretty great interest rate on this loan and we’ve got other debt to focus on in the meantime. Until then, this debt will remain last on the list.

Being rich means not worrying about money

Obstacle #1: Emergency fund

Currently, we have $1k set aside for emergencies. Ideally, we’d like to have much more, preferably 3-6 months worth of expenses.

Obstacle #2: Retirement funds

I’m a huge advocate for taking care of Future You. I don’t want retirement to be a source of stress for us when we’re older. Specifically, this goal means having fully funded Roth IRAs AND 401 k (or 403 b in The Husband’s case).

Obstacle #3: Saving for fun goals/expenses

The Husband and I want to do some major traveling before we start, you know, multiplying. Saving for this is incredibly important – we don’ like traveling broke!

Speaking of multiplying, we’re also thinking of starting a college fund for our future kid(s)¬†(God willing).

There are other expenses we might want in the future, like a new car (when the time comes), moving out (hopefully), etc. We want to be ready for all of these expenses.

Obstacle #4: Diversifying income

To diversify your income means to have different kinds of income streams flowing in as opposed to just having one main job each. We want to do this because it spreads out the risk of unemployment. When you have multiple streams of income, it’s not a huge deal if one of them doesn’t work out – you’ve got all the other “jobs” you can depend on! The more risk we can lower, the better!

Being rich means being incredibly generous

Obstacle #1: Weekly giving

As a Catholic, I firmly believe in tithing when able. What you lack in money, you can give in time. For The Husband and I, I think we are able to give both right now. I want us to start giving weekly to our church so we can start building the habit of generosity.

Obstacle #2: Monthly service

Even though it’s important to give money or even material possessions, I think that giving of one’s time is very valuable, as well. Right now, The Husband and I serve at mass once in a while at our home parish. I also serve in a choir that sings every week at different parishes.

Eventually, though, I’d love to give my time in other ways, like participating in Habitat for Humanity, or volunteering at a local shelter or food drive. I know that a lot of places depend on the time donated by many volunteers and I’d love to regularly be a part of that.

Obstacle #3: Outrageous generosity

Dave Ramsey likes to encourage outrageous generosity and I totally buy it! When we have more than enough, it’s a witness to Christ when we choose to use our riches for others and not only ourselves.

There are so many ideas that I have for this. From sponsoring a family during the holidays, to setting up a socially-aware business, and even paying for all of our family/friends to spend some time together – outrageous giving is something I want to have as a part of our every day lives.

Looking at our obstacles can get overwhelming. But it’s important to remember that we aren’t tackling each obstacle all at once. We will take these obstacles and build out a more detailed battle plan in my next post.

But for now – what are your obstacles on your way to being rich?


What Does Being Rich Mean to You

What Does Being Rich Mean to You?

After completely screwing up our wedding budget and being incredibly lax with our money during our honeymoon, it’s time to get back¬†into this financial battle against our debt, win the war for¬†financial independence, and start being rich.

It’s easy to say “DIE DEBT, DIE” and just start there, but we want to be strategic about our next few moves. Like a real battle, we don’t just want to run out into the battlefield and start hacking away at obstacles mindlessly.¬†Yeah, we might get some good progress going on our debt, but we can also run into burnout if we’re not intentional and if we don’t realistically pace ourselves.

That’s why it’s so important for us to come up with a plan for battle.¬†But even before that, we have to start at our idea of being rich.

What Does Being Rich Mean to You?

Start With the Big Picture

We can’t get to where we’re going if we don’t even know what our destination is or even what it looks like. The journey is important, but the destination is the whole point of it all.

So, for our financial journey, we’re starting at defining our destination – what does being rich mean to¬†us?

Being rich means being free from debt

Debt-free may be a no brainer for some, but for others¬†it isn’t.

But let’s think about it – imagine yourself with all the money in the world. Maybe you’re earning a lot at your job or maybe your passive investments are enough to pay for all of your expenses. To many, you seem rich – money is coming in faster than you know what to do with it.

But every 1st or 15th of the month, you are still obligated to pay your car loan. Or your student loans. Your mortgage. That personal loan. And on and on and on. Your income may be great and all, but as long as you have those debts to your name, your money isn’t all yours.

To The Husband and I, being rich means being free from the shackles of debt. No more due dates, no more “minimum monthly payments”. Simply put – our money is¬†ours and no one else’s.¬†(Okay, there’s taxes, but let’s not go there for the sake of this post ;))

Being rich means not worrying about money

Not only do we want to be debt free, but we also don’t want to have any worries when it comes to money.

Right now, we’re scrutinizing every single dollar spent. That $40 dinner? Let’s check our accounts real quick if we can afford that. That $20 Warriors T-shirt? Let’s see if we have the cash for that…

Every single expense means we need to look at our accounts. That’s because we’re still on our way to financial freedom.

We’ll know when we’re rich when we can spend money on a lunch or T-shirt and not even have to check the bank account to make sure we can cover it. We want to be able to spend on things that we enjoy (within reason, of course)¬†without it completely emptying our bank accounts or hindering¬†our goals.

Being rich means being incredibly generous

I’ve written before about how I will not give up giving even when I’m in debt. And I still firmly follow that rule. But when I’ve really made it, I want to give more than I’m asked – I want us to be incredibly generous.

I was listening to one of Dave Ramsey’s podcasts when I heard him mention that he flew his entire family to a cabin for a vacation as a¬†gift. As soon as he said it, I knew that I wanted to be able to do that one day for¬†my family and friends. Not to show off, but to be able to give the gift of time with one another.

Generosity to family and friends may be easy to want, but The Husband and I want to be generous to our parish and to other charities that mean a lot to us. To me, this is the¬†ultimate goal – to have enough for ourselves so that we are able to give to those who don’t have enough.

Whether you’re starting over with your finances or you’re simply starting, period, beginning with what it all means to you is the best place to start. “I want to be rich” or “I want to be successful” are common goals, but are terribly vague.

Dig deep and really think about what it all means to you. Being rich is great, but my definition of being rich can be the exact opposite of your definition of being rich. Make sure you’re chasing after your destination and not anyone else¬†*cough The Joneses cough* then we can get started on the goals.

What does being rich mean to you? What signals or events will trigger in your mind that you’ve “made it”?


What the Golden State Warriors Can Teach Us About Personal Growth

What the Golden State Warriors Can Teach Us About Personal Growth

Yes, another basketball related post. But hang in there! I swear I’ll make it¬†relatable¬†ūüôā

Today is the start of the 2015 NBA Finals and my beloved Golden State Warriors ¬†are¬†finally¬†playing in it! It’s been a long 40 years since the last time we’ve been to the Finals, and us Bay Area fans are absolutely stoked!

Golden State Warriors and Personal Growth

It’s obvious that I’m a Warriors fan because I’m from the Bay Area. But even if I was from somewhere else, I can’t help but look at the Warriors and really want to root for them. They’re the underdogs in the series, going up against Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavs.

Not only are they the underdogs, the Warriors players and even the entire organization really demonstrate a lot of qualities that are role-model worthy. One quality in particular is how the Warriors organization handled growth these past few years.

For all you Warriors fans out there, it all started with the Ellis-Bogut Trade.

The Trade

Way back in 2012, the Warriors traded Monta Ellis, at the time our star guard, to the Milwuakee Bucks for Andrew Bogut, an injured center. (There were other players involved, but this was the meat of the trade.)

Even if you don’t know much about basketball, this trade just doesn’t¬†sound right. Why trade one of our top performing players for another player who can’t even be on the court right now because of his injuries?

The night after the trade, Joe Lacob, the owner of the Warriors, went on court to present Chris Mullin with an award and he was met with overwhelming boos from the crowd. From Warriors fans themselves!

But Lacob knew what he was doing. Turns out Monta Ellis, although a great player, just wasn’t going to take us to the playoffs with his inconsistency. And even though Andrew Bogut was injured, he would end up playing a crucial part in our team today.

Fast forward three years later. Lacob, along with the rest of the Warriors organization, has built a powerful, cohesive team around our no-longer-injured center in Andrew Bogut¬†that has reached the furthest we’ve been in forty years.

The boos from the fans have been eliminated, the doubts are being silenced, and we are well on our way to a championship! *knocks on wood*

So, what does this have to do with you and your personal growth?

Stop Caring What Other People Think of You

People tend to think that their opinion really matters, so they’ll always have something to say about you. Whether you’re doing great or whether you’re struggling, there will be people talking smack no matter what.

Just like how the Warriors’ fans booed Lacob for the decision that he made, your critics may even be close to you. Family, friends, even acquaintances will have something to say. Be careful with what you actually listen to, though.

If people are throwing empty criticisms at you, if they are essentially “booing” you, stop listening and keep working. Doubts alone are similar to “boos” in that they are both completely empty of any constructive change or advice. It’s easy to “boo”, but it’s much harder to actually express where doubt is coming from¬†and¬†how to get passed it.

Silence the haters, y’all. Their voices have nothing to do with your personal growth.

Build Slowly, but Surely

For the Warriors, the trade was instant, but we didn’t see real, productive change right away. We worked through it season after season, with carefully thought out changes and adjustments.

Are you working on your finances? Make it a habit to check your bank accounts each and every day. This helps you become more mindful of where you stand with your money and will guide your purchasing decisions.

Are you working on your health? Make sure you are drinking tons of water and getting a little bit of exercise in everyday. You may not see change immediately,¬†but when you make health a habit, that’s when the change really begins.

Whatever you are working on, whether it’s your finances or your health, you need to realize that one sudden move won’t change it all overnight. It won’t be perfect – personal growth¬†rarely ever is. But when you make consistent actions every day toward your goal, you will get there. It will seem slow, but I assure you that day to day actions, no matter how small they are by themselves, will surely build toward your goal and it¬†will get you there.

The Trade was a perfect example of how the Warriors gracefully dealt with difficult, yet necessary growth. The boos are long gone and the work that is being put in has been rewarded. Even if we don’t win the championship this year¬†*knocks on wood again*, the Warriors team and organization are still great role models for how we should handle our own personal growth.

Which one do you struggle with the most – silencing empty doubts or taking consistent actions daily?


Perfect is a Myth

Perfect is a Myth

Something’s been on my mind lately.

A lot of people, myself included, like to talk about all the changes they want to make in their life. Perhaps they want to get out of debt, start a new side-hustle, or even just dive into a new hobby. Or maybe there are more personal changes someone wants to make. Maybe they want to be more assertive, gossip less, or even just have a more positive outlook on life.

It’s easy to talk about the things you want to do, the qualities we want to acquire. It’s much harder to actually, you know, get up and¬†do them.

Now, I’m not the perfect person to talk about this. I’ve been complacent about many things lately. And maybe that’s why I’m blogging about this.

perfect is a myth

I’ve noticed several things within my circle of people. Either they are constantly¬†talking about¬†what they want to do or they are actually¬†putting in the work.

Now, the ones who are talking about what they want to achieve may actually have a lot of knowledge about this new endeavor. They’ve probably done the research, looked up tons of articles and books on the subject, and they’ve acquired a lot of¬†book knowledge on¬†The Perfect way to successfully accomplish these things. But usually, that’s where it ends. The actions of change? Nowhere to be found.

On the other hand, there are those who are taking clear, solid actions toward their goals. They are not on The Perfect path and they are far from where they want to be, but each day they are taking actions. Taking an hour a day to actually focus on some actions, perfect or not, is better than all the book knowledge on the subject. These people choose imperfect, yet consistent actions over The Perfect action and they learn as they fail. These are the people I want to be more like.

It’s one thing to know a lot about something, like weight loss or personal finance. But it’s another thing to actually¬†live out what you know.

Personally, it bugs me whenever someone talks a lot about their knowledge of something but has nothing to show for it. When they constantly talk about The Perfect way to reach financial independence, or The Perfect method of losing weight but haven’t done a single thing towards their goals.¬†Yeah, I get that you know a lot about weight loss/personal finance/starting a business, but what are¬†you¬†doing about it?

I guess what I’m trying to say is this – don’t get caught up in launching The Perfect business, diving into¬†The Perfect healthy lifestyle, or being Perfect when starting a new hobby. Reading articles and books on these new things isn’t a bad thing, just don’t let it stop there! Strive for small changes each and every day. Experience is a far better teacher than articles/books are. Perfect is a myth that holds us back from real, tangible actions that lead to¬†real change.

Don’t be afraid of the imperfect. Fail fast, learn faster.

What changes do you want to make in your life? What actions have you taken?