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What Are Your 2009 Financial Goals?

By JLP | December 9, 2008

We’re nearly midway through December already. That means 2009 is just around the corner. In the spirit of the new year, I’d like to ask:

What are your 2009 Financial Goals?

Here are mine in order of importance:

1. MAX OUT my wife’s 401(k). We haven’t maxed out her 401(k) in years. The market’s down so it’s the PERFECT time to get back into the habit. The IRS raised the employee contribution limit to $16,500 for 2009. My wife gets paid twice a month so that means she will be contributing $687.50 per paycheck. Wowza!

On top of that, she’ll also get a generous employer-match of 75% of the first 6%, or 4.50%. The employer-match should easily put her over the $20,000 contribution mark for the year (and maybe even closer to $25,000 if we get profit-sharing).

2. Recommit to our budget. I know, I know,…we should already be doing this. However, I got kind of lazy and complacent and haven’t stuck to our budget. We make decent money so it’s really silly of us not to using our income wisely. We do save money each month but we could do a lot better with some discipline.

3. Continue building up our emergency fund. Our efund is nowhere near where I’d like it to be. So, the third goal for 2009 is to get it to $10,000.

Those are my financial goals. What are yours?

Topics: Budgeting | 41 Comments »


41 Responses to “What Are Your 2009 Financial Goals?”

  1. tom Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    1. Stick to a firm budget
    2. Start E-Fund, savings funds (travel, car, gift, home improvement, etc)
    3. Max out Roth IRA contributions
    4. Consolidate accounts
    5. Get more organized… shred old documents, setup filing system for needed documents

  2. Curt Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    The market is going a lot lowing in 2009. The bottom is yet to come. The US economy has few if any companies that I would invest in. It’s quite possible that the dollar will lose of a lot of value in 2009, so whatever you do – get your money out of dollar based assets.

    Increse your e-fund to 6-months of your living expenses. The layoffs are just getting started.

  3. Bill Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    1. Pay off all Credit Card debt
    2. Pay off one loan I still owe money on
    3. Build my emergency fund
    4. Make a budget and stick to it
    5. Max out my 401(k)

    Would any of you change the order of any of these?

  4. Angie Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    1. Reduce total loan debt by 30k
    2. Stick to budget. (Haven’t been able to do this ever!)
    3. Save and pay for fall 2008 wedding in full.

  5. Denny Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    1. Buy a house that I can’t afford
    2. Max out as many credit cards as I can
    3. Apply for more credit cards
    4. Max out the new credit cards that I get
    5. Open department store cards
    6. Max out the new department store cards
    7. Buy two new cars that I can’t afford
    8. Buy new items for my house that I can’t afford
    9. Stop saving and contributing to my 401K and spend that extra money on things I really don’t need.
    10……Wait for Mr. Obama to fix it all for me! Cuz I know I’m going to be rich now!

  6. Ken Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    Most of my goals have changed due to the economic conditions and lower gas prices, so now I have to come up with new ones. These were my old goals for 2009.

    1) Buy a horse for commute to work.
    2) Buy gold and hold long term.
    3) Purchase a safe and cash checks to secure my dollars at home.

  7. Dawn Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    1. Maintain and grow E-fund
    2. Buy my very first car
    3. Pay school tuition without incurring debt
    4. Make up a new budget
    5. Get at least a 10% raise
    6. Stay out of debt
    7. Don’t relapse into clothes buying addiction

  8. Eric Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Denny,

    You are an idiot for claiming that Obama will fix all that. He won the election, get over it. He couldn’t possibly do worse than our previous President. Plus, he was dealt the worse economy a US President has inherited in years…I’m sure you will try to find a way to blame that on him as well.

    My goals:

    1. Payoff my car (scheduled to be paid off in Jan 09)

    2. Payoff my student loan (schedule to be paid off in June 09)

    3. Help my wife payoff her student loans

    4. Establish a 3 month emergency fund

  9. Moneymonk Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    same things as I been doing

    -max out 401k
    -save
    -increase income (personal and business)
    -read allfinancialmatters

  10. JLP Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Eric,

    Denny’s being sarcastic.

    FYI – Bush wasn’t handed the best scenario either.

  11. Bill Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    My 2009 goals.
    1. Pay off all short term debt (CC/auto loan)
    2. Shift debt payments to brokerage account to invest in index funds.

  12. Bill Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    Funny, I saw this post and thought it was mine for a second. I just wrote a post on my blog with the same title yesterday. Scheduled to post on the 13th though. :P

    Lots of goals for me. Get emergency fund to 6 months of expenses, save $3000 for home repairs, save $3000 for car replacement fund, put 401k at 6% for the match, and a few others.

  13. Stacey Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    @#3 Bill, you might want to move up the priority of your E-fund. The ramblings in the market indicate credit lines may be reduced by the CC companies…hate to see you completely pay down the CC debt, lose employment, have a lower credit line and not enough in the E-fund. Just my 2 cents…also, move up the priority of the budget or it will never happen. Take it from one family who consistently blows their dining out budget (not on expensive meals, just the normal pizzas, Panera, and fast food stuff!) We have been better in recent months out of necessity (2 houses is NO FUN!! Hate the opportunity cost of not scooping up stocks at these prices)

    So…my priorities (besides getting more fit which is always on the list…)
    1. Pay off the zero interest CC debt by the April drop dead date (no problem–auto pays are already scheduled.
    2. Sell our prior house
    3. Increase E-fund
    4. Stay the course w/maxing husband’s 401k and contributing to each son’s 529
    5. Find a sugar daddy
    6. Find a backup sugar daddy.

  14. PT Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 5:57 pm

    1. Fully fund (10k) 2008 Roth IRA for my wife and I by 4/15/09.
    2. Max out my 401k.
    3. Maintain the 10k E-Fund we have.
    4. Pay off student loans (20k).
    5. Start saving for a second house down payment.

  15. Bobbi Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 6:08 pm

    1. pay off credit cards (3) by Dec ’09
    2. pay down car loan
    3. add to emergency fund
    4. learn more about stocks and investing
    5. ladder cd’s.
    6. find Stacy a sugar daddy or two
    :)

  16. Lance Says:
    December 9th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    I’m doing something a bit different and think I’m going the right direction given my circumstances.

    1. Stop my 401k contributions (employer pays 5% of my income no matter what). I know everyone says BUY but I think paying off my house in 4 years instead of 30 is smarter since I’ll have 30 years to invest the savings into other investments.
    2. Pay $1200/mo in addition to my current house payment (pay-off date will be 9/2012 instead of 2036).
    3. I already have a 6 months E-Fund so 2009 is the year we are going to store 6 months supply of food for 4 people.
    4. Find another source of income to take home at least 30% more.
    5. If the 30% extra income happens then invest that into something like IRA/401k and/or Real Estate.

    Lance

  17. Paulette @ SpendTracker USA Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 7:24 am

    1. Recommit to the monthly budget.
    2. Pay off my last credit card
    3. Pay off student loans
    4. I, too, am strongly considering a sugar daddy.

  18. HM Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Not to get too political, but what was bad about the scenario handed to Bush? Or are you talking about 9/11, after he was in office a year? To his credit, no more attacks on his watch.

  19. Joshua Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 8:28 am

    Goals:

    1. Get emergency fund to $6000
    2. Continue contributing to my ROTH IRA
    3. Pay down college loans to half of what they are now
    4. Donate more to charity
    5. Start a savings account exclusively for buying plane tickets to see my parents in New Jersey and General travel.

  20. The One Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 8:49 am

    HM,

    They will talk about the .com bust and how it was all Clinton’s fault. That seems to be what everyone throws out there to support Bush. I may be wrong, though.

    However, I am pretty sure that the majority of policies that Clinton put into place did not directly lead to the bust, whereas the policies of the Bush administration did lead to what we are dealing with now.

    I am sure they will get fired up about this comment and get all bent out of shape but that is just how I see it. If I am wrong, explain it to me and I will reevaluate.

  21. Eric Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:12 am

    The scenario Bush was handed was much better by comparison that what Obama is getting. Any rational person who is not biased can see that.

  22. Eric Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:18 am

    I’m surprised that anyone who is into personal finance could support Bush or the recent Republican leadership. The supposedly “fiscally conservative” party put this country $10 trillion in debt. Sure, lower taxes are great, but lower spending must accompany that. We went from a near balanced budget (maybe even a surplus, I can’t remember exactly) in 2000 to $10 trillion in debt 8 years later–enough said.

  23. Jody Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:40 am

    1. Put in maximum allowable of $5000/year in the new Tax Free Savings Account that starts in Jan 09 (Canada) to be used as my Emergency Fund.
    2. Save an additional $1,000 in regular savings account to be my first stop Emergency Fund.
    3. Continue putting in 10% of gross salary in RRSP (just upped it from 5%).
    4. Continue putting a little extra on mortgage.
    5. Continue being frugal/wise so I can do this.

  24. Steve Braun Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    @ Curt (#2) — There’s one in every bunch.

    @ Political Commenters — Obama is inheriting a much worse situation than Bush in terms of recessions. The current mess was created by government policies (i.e., unwise government interference in the free market) put forth by BOTH political parties. In addition, Bush and the Republican leadership were not fiscally conservative. They allowed the deficit to balloon (even though tax revenues SOARED when TAXES WERE CUT) and created new entitlements that will only further bankrupt the system down the road.

    No matter how you slice it, government interfence in the free market, along with a lack of fiscal restraint, are the reasons we are in the shape we are in today. Obama’s solution of “change” is really more of the same — get the government involved even more and “make work.” His economic recovery policy is taken right out the playbook used by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in Michigan, where we are now enjoying our EIGHTH straight year of recession. She is currently serving on Obama’s economic advisory team! You’re about to see Michigan’s misery spread around the country.

    I’m not defending Bush or Republicans at all, but you’re nuts if you think Obama’s plan is any better.

  25. JLP Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Eric,

    I have never “supported” Bush. Yes, I think he inherited a nation on the verge of a recession as the tech bubble popped. Please don’t forget that the NASDAQ PEAKED in March 2000, which was 9 months BEFORE Bush became president.

    Our leaders did fail us in that they tried to control the uncontrollable. They should have just allowed the market to run its course. For every action there is a reaction…sometimes good, sometimes bad.

    Yes, I am a conservative but please don’t confuse that as staunch support for any one person.

  26. rubin pham Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 10:43 am

    my goal is to save enough money so that i can survive if i lose my job. the amount of cash on hand should equal to a full year salary.
    besides this i plan to skip my vacation to vietnam this year.

  27. Ja Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    1. Contribute max to 401k and health savings account
    2. Save/invest 50% of my take home pay (achieved that for 5 months of 2008)
    3. Continue having multiple streams of income. (Keep main job, keep second job, Grow the side business I just started up)
    4. Eat at home more
    5. Bike more places
    6. Become an urban farmer (grow a garden, plant some fruit trees, raise chickens for eggs)

  28. Tim / MA Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Right now we’re completely debt free with the excption of our house, which we owe 170K on and is worth 425K. So our goals are:

    – Max out 401K / 403B for me and my wife
    – Pay down our mortgage balance to $140K (our goals is to have this paid off in 6 years).
    – Contribute 25K to our taxable nest egg account in Vanguard (index funds).
    – Max out our traditional non-deductables IRAs so we can convert them to Roths in 2010.
    – Contribute 5K to our son’s 529
    – Any other money left over, we split 3 ways: pay down the mortgage, invest in Vanguard, invest in 529.

    Budgets don’t work for us, and I think they fail for 95% of the people out there. Best way for us has been to make it “automatic” (thank you David Bach). Everything is set up for automatic contributions. Anything left over is what we spend or have fun with.

  29. Eric Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 4:10 pm

    Steve,

    Don’t you think Michigan’s economic problems can be traced to falling house prices and the troubles with the Big 3? I honestly don’t know, but its hard to believe that all the blame can be put on the Governor’s policies.

  30. Eric Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    JLP,

    I made the reasonable assumption based on your posts that you were a Republican conservative who supported McCain in the 08 election and probably supported Bush as well. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Yes, the tech bubble did burst in early 2000 and Bush had to deal with that and 9/11 the next year. I do think he did well during the first 2 years. But the huge blunder to go into Iraq and then the tax cuts combined with massive spending that has led us into uncontrollable debt far outweighs the good he did. I think that is all pretty much common sense. And I voted for Bush in 2000 & 2004, but am now a registered independent and I support Obama in the 08 election.

    Obama cannot fix everything himself. He is inheriting a huge mess–much worse than what Bush had in 2000 (at least Bush had a balanced budget in 2000). I actually disagree with Obama and many Democrats positions on bailing out the Big 3. I would prefer them to reorganize in bankruptcy. However, I do think Obama will be a superior leader and help get our country back in the right direction after the previous administration’s failed leadership.

  31. Rob Lewis Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 5:17 pm

    Nothing too exciting, but mine are:

    1. Stay out of overdraft
    2. Don’t go into debt to pay for wedding
    3. Increase my income

    I’ve written a little more about them here: http://money-watch.co.uk/4596/financial-goals-for-2009

  32. Steve Braun Says:
    December 10th, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    @ Eric — Michigan experienced the same booming real estate market as everyone else until the past few years. Our recession began in 2000 and has continued uninterrupted. Yes, the auto industry has had an impact but that’s not the entire story (i.e., there are other states with a heavy automotive base but they aren’t suffering nearly as much.) No, I don’t blame Gov. Granholm for the entire mess.

    But…she’s had six years in office to deal with it and NOTHING has worked or even put a dent in the problem. Her solutions have amounted to a laundry list of “feel good” projects and true voodoo economics — creating “cool cities,” tax increases on small businesses, a $2 billion state-controlled “investment” fund to give selective tax breaks to attract new businesses, paying movie companies to make films in MI, etc. She even once said that when you see an orange barrel along the road that you should think about it as representing a “good paying job” rather than as a traffic nuissance. What an idiot — her idea is that we can create prosperity by filling potholes!

    The point is this — Michigan is not friendly toward business in any respect. Our tax burden, regulatory red-tape, and labor-unfriendly environment cause companies to leave. The proof is in the pudding. You don’t have to bend over backwards to offer incentives to attract new businesses unless your barriers to doing business are onerous to begin with. So while the state gains a few jobs here and there with all sorts of gimmicks, we regularly see large and small employers close up shop and move to another STATE — not Mexico or China. Can you believe we just had a mutual fund company (Utopia) close up operations on its funds because the tax structure in MI puts them at a disadvantage versus funds run in 46 of 50 states? Unbelievable!

    So, the governor didn’t create this mess but she has done nothing to implement any real long-term solutions that are based in reality. Everything is smoke and mirrors. And this is the advice Obama is getting from Granholm. MI will be lucky to see her go to a plum job in Washington so she won’t finish her current term in office, but I weep for the nation.

    On another note, your comment to JLP about tax cuts causing our deficit problems is way off base. The facts are that tax receipts to the federal government have INCREASED since the Bush tax cuts were implemented. The problem has been spending. This is economics 101 — tax increases reduce tax receipts while tax cuts increase tax receipts. You may have noticed in the news lately that even Obama has said he may not implement his tax increases on the “rich” right away because the economy is in such bad shape. What he’s really admitting is that raising taxes (even just on the so-called “rich”) will reduce revenue to the government and dampen any hope of economic recovery — 2 things he can ill afford. You can’t tax your way to prosperity — as we are still painfully learning here in Michigan.

  33. Preston Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 1:32 am

    Your emergency fund goal is $10,000? What about mortgage costs? Is that honestly enough including mortgage in your area?

    Man am I in the wrong market for houses, heh.

    3000/mo * 8 mo = bleh (aka 24000) for me….unfortunately we’ve only managed to hit around 6500 so far…slow process building that up!

  34. Neural forex Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 3:20 am

    The only and most important thing I want to do is to pay off my credit card.

  35. Morningsuccess Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 5:08 am

    Look over our decide and finance what is actually possible.I expect bank to take severe adverse action against almost everyone to reduce the risk of the bank and that means more of us are going to wake up some morning to find massive credit line decreases across the board.


    Saturdaymorningsuccess-financial freedom at home,best financial advice for kids education,financial security,Dream career

  36. SP Says:
    December 11th, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I’m surprised at at 10k emergency fund as well. What is your reasoning behind that number?

    I’m risk adverse, so I like more.

  37. Red Mike Says:
    December 12th, 2008 at 7:49 am

    1. Max out 401K
    2. Max out Roth IRA
    3. Max out wife’s Roth IRA
    4. Add one more month’s of living expense to our emergency fund to get to 1 year.
    5. Continue to invest in our DRIPs each month and build our stock portfolio.
    6. Invest any extra found money into stocks!!
    7. Continue to live debt free.

  38. MKL Says:
    December 12th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    1. Keep on living 100% debt free.
    2. 15% at the minimum towards retirement savings.
    3. Increase and focus on savng for our three children’s 529 plans (especially for our seventh grader).
    4. Get aggressive about selling off clutter and items around our house that are not needed so that…
    5. my son and I can completely fund our attendance at 2010 National Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill in virginia (total price tag for the Council Contingent Troop is looking to be about $3,500 per attendee… I’m taking the cheaper route and working as a Staff member, but it will still cost me about $700 plus airfare round trip from California to DC).
    6. Continue to take advantage of the lower prices of stock Index funds and keep investing as regularly and as evenly as I can.

  39. Slinky Says:
    December 12th, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    Huh….I never really thought about it, but I never make financial goals. I just make plans. I think I like it better that way.

    Do. Or do not. There is no try.

  40. Cat Says:
    December 13th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    @Steve I had to comment on your misleading statement
    “The facts are that tax receipts to the federal government have INCREASED since the Bush tax cuts were implemented.”
    The following explanation was found athttp://www.factcheck.org/taxes/supply-side_spin.html
    “The Congressional Budget Office analyzed data to uncover the causes of revenue growth since 2003 in response to a request from Sen. Kent Conrad, chair of the Senate budget committee. In a letter to Conrad, CBO Director Peter R. Orszag says that overall receipts increased by 1.9 percentage points as a share of GDP and that the increase ‚Äúdisproportionately‚ÄĚ comes from a rise in corporate income tax revenues.

    Orszag attributes two-thirds of the bump in corporate taxes to an increase in corporate profits. The rest he pins to tax policy. For instance, when provisions allowing partial expensing of investment in equipment expired, tax revenue increased. In other words, revenue declined when the provisions were enacted and bumped up again when they expired.

    Orszag says there was growth in capital gains realizations in individual tax receipts, but measures such as lower rates on dividends and an increase in the child tax credit, as well as a drop in job wages, caused a reduction in revenues. The CBO analysis shows that(tax cut)legislation (not counting an impact on capital gains) had a total negative effect on revenue growth.”

  41. mark halsey Says:
    April 14th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Good budgeting requires a solid understanding of your income and expenses. Expense worksheets help to visualize where your money is going, and how to adjust areas that need adjusting. Bottom line, you’d like to have greater Income than Expenses; if you don’t, find ways to accomplish this and stick to your principles.

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