Financial Goals for 2008

Yesterday, my wife asked me what my financial goals were for the year. It was spurred a bit by doing our taxes, plus the recent rate drops which momentarily had me considering another refinance (they’ve since jumped back up to the point that a refi doesn’t make sense). I had a bunch of them, so I’m going to put them out there so that I am reminded of them later in the year.
1) Do a budget which anticipates known, but inconsistent (not monthly) expenses like curling, baseball, etc. It’s not like it’s a surprise that we need to pay for them, but somehow we always seem to have to scramble for the money when it comes due.
2) Adjust my paycheck withholding again so that we don’t get a giant refund next year. I adjusted a small amount last March, and we are still getting a large refund. I want to stop giving the government my money during the year, only to get it back with no interest in February.
3) Increase my 401(k) contributions. I bumped up by 1% last year, I think I can do another 1-2% again this year. We are also going to look a bit closer at Lisa’s side of the retirement picture, which has been largely neglected since she stopped working. Part of this may involve going to a fee-only financial planner who can help us organize our various accounts.
4) Get adequate life insurance. We finally put together our will last year, and now it’s time to make sure the family is taken care of if something tragic happens. This was brought to bear recently when my co-worker’s brother died unexpectedly. He was 38 and had a wife and 2 kids.
5) Start a 529 plan for Evan. Ellie is enrolled in a prepaid tuition program right now, but Evan’s got nothing.
6) Get rid of debt. We don’t have much, some holiday credit card bills, the minivan payment, mortgage, but I want to aggressively pay off the credit card and minivan.

Update: 7) Thanks for Shane’s reminder: I need to contribute my $50 so he can buy a heifer. This should be part of a larger plan to donate more to charity this year.

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