We like to take a quick look at our finances a few times per year, to see how we’re progressing to plan or if our plan needs to change. 2015 was another good year, namely because we kept our jobs. Our organization continues to go through re-structuring and re-organization and I suspect the trend will continue for the foreseeable future. Our savings rate would be next to nothing without decent jobs and sustained employment.
It’s hard to believe 2015 is coming to an end. Time flies when you’re having fun (and living through a bath renovation). Hopefully the completion of this project will be our Christmas wish!
Back to the subject of the day, like I tend to do every year, I reflect on the year that was. I also spend time over the holidays to chat with my wife about what our plans are for the next calendar year – she’s more of a planner than me, so that’s an easy conversation and one she initiates often. We’re far from perfect executors of our plans but we do feel writing down our goals and keeping tabs on those makes for some realistic expectations.
Here’s a recap of our 2015 financial goals:
- Maximize our TFSA contributions.
- Put $300 lump sum payments on our mortgage every month.
- Save $5,000 for home improvements.
- Do not incur any new debt.
Here’s what we accomplished on the 2015 financial front:
Maximize our TFSA contributions.
We filled up our TFSAs earlier this year and we also took advantage of the extra contribution room when the Conservatives raised the account limit to $10,000 per person. The Liberals recently rolled-back the TFSA contribution limit to $5,500 for 2016 but that’s still plenty of coin to save and invest with going-forward. You’ll have to wait until 2016 to see where we list the TFSA as a financial priority, but it will be there.
Put $300 lump sum payments on our mortgage every month.
Our mortgage was due for renewal this year and we recently switched lenders this month. We now hold a variable mortgage rate under 2% with 20/20 prepayment privileges thanks to our star mortgage broker.
Although we still own a six-figure mortgage, thanks to lump sum payments over the last year, our mortgage payments are lower this mortgage term. This means even in this uber-low interest rate environment more coin will be going on the mortgage principal in 2016.
Save $5,000 for home improvements.
Although we focused on contributions to our TFSAs and mortgage debt this year, in that order, we managed to put the pedal down and save money this fall for our aforementioned bathroom renovation. The year was not a complete success with our financial goals as you’ll read about in the next goal.
Do not incur any new debt.
I dislike debt and owing people money but the only way we could have pulled this renovation off, without tapping our TFSA investments, is if we borrowed funds – and so we did. Luckily we timed this reno well and took advantage of rolling-over some of the outstanding home equity line of credit debt, discharging that debt at about 3% interest and putting that debt with the new re-financed home mortgage under 2%. The borrowed money that we didn’t save up in cash for the home reno will be paid off within 4 months and we’ll have a new bathroom to use (sooner than that).
Note: Keen readers of this site might wonder why we have not included RRSP contributions as a goal in 2015. That’s because those contributions have been on autopilot since 2014; which makes paying ourselves first just like a bill payment to Us Inc.
Overall, a good year for us. We saved, we invested, we updated our home and well, we spent money on some very memorable experiences (like going to Scotland for two weeks). I’m looking forward to some more time to reflect over the holidays and ring-in the New Year with family.
I hope whatever your holidays plans are, are enjoyable as well. I look forward to sharing our plans in 2016 and I hope you continue to follow along.
Got any comments for our saving and investing goals accomplished in 2015?