When my husband and I sat down to create a zero-sum budget for December, we did what we always do at the end of the year – we created a list of year-end financial moves to consider, and looked back on our progress. On top of those tasks, we came up with a few money goals for 2017.
Our goals next year aren’t that exciting, but more a continuation of what we worked on this year. In 2017, we plan to max out our retirement plans again and to continue saving for college. And since we paid off one of our rental properties just last month, we’re going to snowball those payments into our second rental. Our hope is that, by the end of 2017, we can pay off our second rental home as well.
In addition to that stretch goal, our main objective is living debt-free while saving as much as we can. That may not sound exciting, but to be honest, it’s all I’ve ever wanted. For me, there’s nothing better than waking up every day knowing I can pay all our bills plus some, and that I don’t owe any money beyond a small sum owed to the bank for my mortgage.
If you want to make financial progress in 2017 but aren’t sure where to start, you’re not alone. While you may be keenly aware of where your money problems lie, that doesn’t mean a solution is always obvious.
And if you don’t really know what your goal should be, that’s okay, too. For inspiration, I reached out to several financial bloggers to find out their money goals and dreams for 2017. Here’s what they said:
‘I want to travel the world.’
“My financial resolution is to take advantage of my strong credit score by hacking some international travel. By using credit card points to cover flights and lodging, I should manage to stick with my long-term savings goals and enjoy a couple of unique vacations.”
— Kate Dore of CashvilleSkyline.com
‘I want to improve my rental business.’
“My financial resolution is to increase passive cash flow from our rental properties. To do this, we plan to raise rents, pay off a couple of mortgages, and find ways to reduce expenses. In 2017, my family will also begin living in Ecuador for a year, so we can use all of the cash flow we can get!”
— Chad Carson of CoachCarson.com
‘I want to earn more money and continue building.’
“My financial resolutions are to network my way into a promotion at the office, increase the profitability of my wife’s side hustle and grow my blog to get to at least break-even.”
— Jon Sharpe of BeNetWorthy.com
‘To put my new raise to work.’
“In December, I started a new job that came with a $17,000 pay raise (pre-tax), so my resolution for 2017 is to change my finances by $20,000. This will mean maintaining my lifestyle despite my raise, and staying focused on my goal!”
— Emilie Burke of BurkeDoes.com
‘I want to build more passive income streams.’
“My financial resolution is to continue to build up streams of passive income to increase our ‘income floor.’ This will enable me and my family the ability to be flexible in how we spend our time, including spending a month or two this summer abroad. With a solid floor in place, we don’t need to be working all the time to support our lifestyle.”
— Jim Wang of WalletHacks.com
‘My goal is getting my estate in order.’
“My biggest financial resolution for 2017 is to complete a ‘death file’. This is the file/instructions for my wife in case something happens to me. It will be a complete list of all our accounts, supporting documentation, most recent statements, my online passwords, and more. It’s a major project and I’ve been putting it off for five years, but I’ll do it this year!”
— John David of ESIMoney.com
‘My goal is getting back on track.’
“For years, we have touted Tracking Your Spending as the first step in getting a handle on your finances. However, it’s easy to say but a lot more difficult to do consistently and we’ve fallen off the wagon. We have really buckled down and are hoping to not only track every penny spent, but also cut back on things that don’t matter and we won’t miss to get us back on track. Just because you’ve hit your financial freedom goal doesn’t mean you get free reign to spend willy-nilly.”
— Mrs. 1500 of 1500days.com
‘I need to make financial moves to protect my wife and our new baby.’
“My goal is to secure life insurance and disability insurance, then finish my estate planning before our first baby comes in April. In my opinion, these three things are far more important than starting a 529 plan.”
— Taylor Schulte, CFP® of StayWealthySanDiego.com
‘Our goal is paying off the rest of our student loans.’
“In 2016 my husband and I paid off my student loan. Our resolutions for 2017 are to pay off his student loan by the summer and have a down payment for our first house saved by Christmas!”
— Jen Smith of SavingwithSpunk.com
‘I want a better work-life balance.’
“For 2017, my goal is to have a better work-life balance. I absolutely love managing Making Sense of Cents, but I would like to be able to break away and go on a month-long hiking or cycling trip without feeling like I need to be on cell phone or laptop the entire time to manage it. I need to learn to let loose!
— Michelle Schroeder-Gardner of MakingSenseofCents.com
‘I want to improve my health.’
“I’m quitting sugar in 2017. Although it might not seem an obvious financial goal, it will save me thousands over my lifetime. Diabetes runs in my family putting me at a high risk of developing the disease later in life, so quitting sugar will help keep me healthy and reduce any future medical expenses.”
— Emma Healey of Money Can Buy Me Happiness
‘My goal is paying off debt and building an emergency fund.’
“My financial resolution is to pay off some large bills from unexpected necessities from 2016. With a payment schedule on target, this should be accomplished by the end of Q1. From there I plan to regularly put money aside for emergency situations, so I don’t rack up any more debt in future years when unpredicted circumstances arise.”
— Lara Schulte of LaraSchulte.com
‘Our goal is optimizing our finances to save time.’
“We had our first child in 2016 and time is more of commodity than ever. I like to manually track our budget but it is taking too long. So, we are updating our budget for 2017 to only track a handful of variable spending categories like groceries, eating out, entertainment, baby expenses, etc. This will hopefully save us some time and still keep us on our path to early retirement.”
— Jon Dulin of MoneySmartGuides
‘My goal is optimizing my retirement savings.’
“My financial resolution for 2017 is to continue diversifying a concentrated position in company stock. Part of this process is automatic and working well (we’re maxing out my husband’s Roth 401k through payroll deductions and handling the cash shortfall with stock sales, resulting in overall diversification within the retirement account). I’m working on developing a more diversified, passive (index) portfolio in another account but I need to be more disciplined in this process.”
— Julie Rains of Investing to Thrive
What Are Your New Year’s Resolutions?
No matter your financial situation, it’s smart to come up with a new set of goals each year. Without any goals, it’s far too easy to let life get in the way of all you hope to accomplish.
If you want 2017 to be your year, ask yourself where you want to be one year from now. Do you want to become debt-free? Do you want to build your retirement savings? Is your goal saving up for a home? Whatever it is, write it down and figure out what it would take to get there.
If debt is a problem, for example, ask yourself what steps you would need to take to pay it down. Do you need to earn more money, for example? Or, is the crux of your issue cutting your spending? If spending is an issue, then your solution could be tracking your spending or using a monthly budget.
If your goal is saving more for retirement, on the other hand, your solution could be as simple as visiting your employer’s HR department and increasing the amount you contribute each month.
Whatever your goal is, ask yourself what steps – or mini-steps – might help you get there. Then, and only then, can you put a plan in place to make it all happen.
- Treating Your Financial Goals as a Part-Time Job
- Setting Attainable and Exciting Financial Goals
- Five Strategies for Handling Slow Progress Toward Your Goals
What are your financial goals for 2017? Do you have any new year’s resolutions in place?