Happy 2016 from the Winning Williams! We had an incredible 2015 and we hope that you did as well!
For some, the New Year is a time to reflect on what they want to change about their lives and take action steps towards those goals. If you want to take control of your personal finances in 2016 we applaud your effort and we want to help!
2016 Financial Goals
We have developed a very robust and downright bad-ass budget and expense tracking sheet using excel. We still utilize it so that we can continue to focus on whether our spending aligns with our personal priorities.
We have developed a list of financial goals that you can use to help you become financially independent and debt-free. If you are just starting out, start with the first. Perhaps you have already mastered the first goals listed and will try a later option. These simple steps can lead you to a more rewarding 2016!
- Total spending for the year– We track every single cent that we spend. Parking fees- tracked. Contribution to a gift pool for a coworker- tracked. One-off expenditures and regular monthly expenses are all tracked in our sheet. This gives us an idea as to where our money is going and lets us review on a quarterly and annual basis where we need to either pull back spending or realign our priorities to match.
Do this for yourself, we are only 18 hours into the New Year. Track everything that you spend and you will start to see some patterns and some areas where you can curb your discretionary spending to focus on your overall financial goals.
- Budget– If you haven’t already read most of our posts, we highly recommend having a budget. When you are starting out it is important to maintain and update this frequently to establish the habit. Once you have developed a habit of updating and checking against your budget, you can start to better plan for the payments that you know that you will have to make in the future. Knowing what you are going to spend on your housing, transportation, food and utilities will give you a better picture of what, if any, income is left to spend on other items.
- Get Out Of Debt– For many years we saw this as the most important goal. After we invested in our 401k, we diverted every cent that was not going to our monthly expenses into paying off our debt and just before New Years Eve in 2012 we did just that! All student loans (Mrs Winning Williams) and the mortgage on the house (Mr. Winning Williams) were paid in full. This was an amazing feeling to know that what we had been paying monthly towards these bills would now be extra money to put… well we didn’t know where to put it. It look us some time to figure out what we wanted. Should we just keep saving or plan lots of trips? What was the end goal of all of our saving? Then we realized that we could retire early, and a new big goal was set. To get there we would need to improve on our spending and focus on increasing our net worth.
- Increase Your Net Worth– This is where we are today on the saving spectrum. We look each quarter at what we have added to our net worth in terms of online savings accounts, mutual funds, brokerage accounts, tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and most recently our HSAs. Based on the 4% Rule we know that we need to reach a threshold level of savings so that we have enough to live on based on our annual rate of spending.
We wish you luck as you work towards your New Year’s Resolutions and we will be happy to answer questions to help you become Debt-Free in 2016!