My #1 financial goal each year is to max out my 401(k). It’s the one thing I strive for more than any others, no matter what’s going on w/ the world. Some years it’s easy and I bask in my glory, and other times I want to carve my eyeballs out with a rusty spoon. If I can complete just that one goal each year though, poppa J is happy :)
He knows that socking away $16,500 every year (or whatever the current limits are) will bode well in the future and allow him to sip long island iced teas on the beach some day! Plus, the fear of working himself to death is just too much to bear in his old age.
Regardless of what it is though, I believe everyone should have a major financial goal to complete each year. Whether it’s saving up $5k in an emergency fund, wiping away an entire credit card, or just taking a new financial course every year. Whatever it is, strive for it and make it happen no matter what it takes. You’ll be amazed at what you can actually pull off when you push yourself.
In fact, I had to cut down my average 401k contribution to 1% for a while due to some accounting issues that were outside of my control. Because of this, my total contributions thus far is hovering around $3,700 instead of the $8.5k it should be at now that ’09 is halfway over (scary!). You know what that means? If I still want to reach my goal of hitting $16.5k, I have to bump up my contributions like crazy to catch up! And let me tell you, it’s a lot more fun having 30% taken out than 90% which it’s currently at (we’re talking a drop from $1740 every 2 weeks to $69 and change!). Wha???
The point is, willpower’s a beast when put to good use. Focus your energy into a specific goal and make it happen. If you accomplish more? Great! But at least have that major win in your pocket. Saving and investing isn’t hard in itself, it’s just a matter of doing something about it. So get that game plan in action and tell us what you’re working on! What is YOUR #1 financial goal this year?