I’m usually nervous about setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-oriented) in my financial life. I do have some goals, like getting to my next e-fund goal of $5000, putting at least $2000 in my Roth IRA this year (I’m on track to surpass that one), and paying off my credit cards. However, I’m hesitant to put a time limit on reaching them out of fear that I won’t get there within the specified time frame. For example, I’m currently putting $100 a month in my e-fund. My balance is $1100, so it will take 39 months to get to $5000. That should be fairly easy, right? But in my mind, I’m thinking, What if I have an actual emergency and have to take money out? Then I won’t get there on time! OMG, the world will end!
I’ve decided it’s time to quit whining, making excuses, and hiding in the corner. I want some real goals, darn it! I need to push myself a little – right now, all my goals are easy to reach because they’re automated. I’m not really pushing myself to go outside the little savings comfort zone I’ve created. I’m over it – I need to do more to keep proving to myself that I can.
Here goes nothing:
- I will have an e-fund balance of $5000 by July 2013. That’s about a year sooner than I should reach it based on my current savings. To get there, I will continue my current plan, but will include extra money (Christmas, second job earnings) to put myself ahead.
- I will save $1500 for a vacation by July 2012 (shooting for an October vacation). This will require $100 a month, which will come from my second job earnings.
- I will finish paying off my credit cards by December 2011. (This one is kind of a freebie. Leave me alone.)
- I will contribute $3000 to my Roth IRA in 2011 instead of the $2000 goal I previously set. I’ll need to contribute $75 more each month.
- I will max out my Roth in 2012. This will require about $200 per paycheck.
Okay, I have to admit I’m freaking out a little. Five goals might be a little much for me at this point, but as I said, I need to keep reaching. I’ll be changing my progress bars to note the target dates for these goals, and I’ll keep everyone updated. Time to take a break before I chicken out!