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April Update – 2012 Personal Finance and Investing Goals

With Stanley Cup playoff hockey around the corner, I’m inspired to share Bobby Orr’s “The Goal”.    Looking at this photo gives me inspiration.

Months ago, my wife and I were inspired.  Looking ahead into 2012, we figured we could pay down more debt, save more and invest more.   Here’s a look at our personal finance and investing goals for 2012:

• Goal # 1 – Pay off our LOC by end of February ($2,000).

• Goal # 2 – Starting in March 2012 (after the LOC is paid off) put $300/month as lump-sum payments on the mortgage for the rest of the calendar year ($3,000).

• Goal # 3 – Maximize both TFSAs before end of year ($10,000 in contributions).

• Goal # 4 – Grow our emergency fund by $3,000 (to $5,000) by the end of this year.

• Goal # 5 – Optimize RRSPs ($5,000 in contributions).

• Goal # 6 – Save $3,000 for a great trip in the fall/winter.

Here’s our update:

Goal # 1 – Pay off our LOC by end of February ($2,000).

Done!  As of early February, a few weeks ahead of schedule, we slayed this financial dragon!

• Goal # 2 – Starting in March 2012 (after the LOC is paid off) put $300/month as lump-sum payments on the mortgage for the rest of the calendar year ($3,000).

Work in progress.  Earlier this month, now that our line of credit (LOC) is paid off, we updated our preauthorized payments with our mortgage lender and put part of the money we were using for the LOC to the mortgage.  The $300 per month extra mortgage payments started late last month and we’re on track to nail this goal by the end of the year.  Some other money that was going to the LOC is now building up our emergency fund (Goal # 4).

• Goal # 3 – Maximize both TFSAs before end of year ($10,000 in contributions).

50% complete.  I took a stock unregistered and moved it into my TFSA, maximizing my contribution for this year.   For my wife we’re trying to contribute what we can this year in cash to maximize her contribution.  We’ve got about $4,500 more in contribution room to go.  We hope to put a bit of money every month into the TFSA but we’re also trying to strike a balance between this goal and many others.

• Goal # 4 – Grow our emergency fund by $3,000 (to $5,000) by the end of this year.

Work in progress.  This one is important to us and you might have read a recent blogpost about it.  This goal is on autopilot since we’ve set up automatic transfers from our everyday chequing account to our emergency fund each month.  It’s going to take us some time and we’ll need to watch our spending throughout the year but by the end of this year, we should be very close to hitting this milestone.

• Goal # 5 – Optimize RRSPs ($5,000 in contributions).

Work in progress.  This is another goal we’ve tried to make automatic by building it into our monthly expenses.  Just like an Enbridge gas bill or Rogers cable bill, we make paying/contributing to our RRSPs a monthly expense.  You might recall from reading my previous blogposts I’m not enamoured with the RRSP as much as the TFSA.  We do our best to maximize our TFSAs and optimize our RRSPs.  This approach might not work for everyone but I feel it makes the most sense for us.

• Goal # 6 – Save $3,000 for a great trip in the fall/winter.

Work in progress.  Life is for the living and while saving for tomorrow is all well and good, it’s not that much fun!  So, we want to have some fun – for us that means travelling to a country or countries we’ve never been before.  We’ve got our eyes set on some countries in Central America for the winter of 2012/2013 and if we save what we should, we’ll be there.

Everyone has priorities and goals and I’m sure many people are executing on them better than we are.  We’re still learning how to be more effective with our hard-earned monies but no doubt this goal-setting and goal-monitoring activity via this blog is a great enabler.   There’s always room for improvement but through the first three months of this year we’re very happy about our progress.  I look forward to sharing more financial milestones with you later this year.

How are your 2012 personal finance and investing goals coming along?

Got some comments about our goals?

Share your thoughts in a comment!

Filed in: Goals & Planning

19 Responses to "April Update – 2012 Personal Finance and Investing Goals"

  1. Good job on slaying that LOC, we are still focused on the mortgage which will be renewed next year. hopefully, our monthly payment will drop by 50% as a result of our lump sum payments in the past 4 years!

  2. Suzie says:

    Hi,

    I’m curious to know how you invest your TSFA money?

    Based on what I am reading in your blog, you & your wife are very focused and organized on reaching your financial goals. Do you spend any money on entertainment? If yes, what do you do?

    Looking forward to your response,
    —Suzie

    P.S. I love reading your blog. Your writing style (to the point, not verbose) and the content are a hit with me.

    • Hey Suzie,

      Thanks for the comment and the kind words.

      We invest in our TFSA money in primarily Canadian dividend-paying stocks and broad-market ETFs. As much as possible, we reinvest all dividends paid to buy more free shares every month or quarter.

      We are trying to be more focused, and so far in 2012, we are off to a good start. If you think I’m organized, geez, you should meet my wife!

      We absolutely spend money on entertainment. We are off to Toronto to visit some great friends soon and we’ll be partying. We don’t splurge too often but when we do, we make the most of it.

      I hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

  3. MoneyCone says:

    Very nice progress Mark! And congrats on paying off your line of credit!

  4. Hey, you cheated on #3 :) Aren’t you supposed to save the money and not move it around? Looks like some accounting shenanigans :)

    I am still short 20K for the spouse TFSA but I am being aggressive and I want to match it this year. Lots of belt tightening.

    I like your plan. Did you both sign at the bottom to seal the deal? I should do that with my wife.

    For me, my TFSA is done, RRSP is automated, RESP is automated but small, ESPP is automated and I do the occasional OCP with Computershare and Canadian Stock Transfer. No emergency fund – you know where I stand there :)

    • Hey now, I didn’t say how I would make my contribution! I wish I could have new money for the entire TFSA contribution, but it simply can’t be done without making some major sacrifices. We need to live :)

      Overall the plan works for us.

      As for your plan, it sounds very solid. Having the RRSP, RESP and ESPP automated is very impressive. Ya, I know where you stand with the emergency fund. ;)

  5. Way to go, Mark! I transferred some shares into my TFSA as a contribution this year as well, so don’t worry about what PIE says! I timed it just right to get in with very minimal gains to worry about at tax time next year.

    Life is too short to scrimp and save all the time. Instead of totally focusing on paying off debt this year, I’ll be headed down to the Bahamas in a few weeks getting drunk on girly drinks and lazing on the beach!

  6. @My Own Advisor
    Just teasing :) It makes a lot of sense to funnel out to the TFSA. Aside from my Transfer Agents investments, I don’t really have anything I can move. Not much non-registered happening just yet…

  7. If you ask me, you are kicking some butt! Way to go!! Keep it up. We are working on upping our TFSA contribution this year too and paying off more of the mortgage.

  8. sleepydad says:

    Great progress! I also think its great to make automatic transfers. Its great to work on Autopilot!

  9. Don’t feel bad Mark, I cheated last year too lol! I like this idea- much more practical and makes common sense.

    I moved my nonregistered into my TFSAs.

    Dividend Ninja suggested moving your TFSA into your RRSP in the future if you need to contribute- it’s like cheating x 3!

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