It has been one of my goals for the past several years, in one form or another, to get my financial house in order. I was doing pretty well for a while, but have been set back some recently by unemployment and bad shopping decisions. While the situation is certainly not dire, and I am making progress, I know I'm not quite in the shape I ought to be. Because of this, I read with interest when Louisa at The Really Good Life posted her progress towards 20 Financial Milestones to Reach in Your 20s (ish). Louisa's milestone list came from Gen Y Wealth, and I decided I'd see how I stack up against it as well.
# 1 - Finance a dream vacation...in cash
Done. Mark and I paid cash for our London trip last fall
# 2 - Pay off your student loans
Not even close. I still have $27,892 to pay on my student loans. My current expected full repayment date is March 14, 2026.
# 3 - Automate paying your credit card bill in full
Nope. But I do plan to do this as soon as my current balance is gone (end of March/beginning of April).
# 4 - Get rid of all bad debt
Nope. I have a couple thousand dollars in CC debt currently, as well as a car loan. The car loan is a conscious decision--it's at .9% interest, so paying cash didn't make sense.
# 5 - Build an adequate emergency fund
We do not have a six month expense emergency fund. Right now, we have about 3, maybe 4 months. But we're working on this and plan to be well above the six month mark by the end of 2011.
# 6 - Make your first, and last, investment mistake
I haven't made any investments, mistakes or not. I don't really plan to, honestly. My retirement fund is in some age-indexed thing I don't understand, and beyond that I stick with simple savings.
# 7 - Develop a statement of cash flows
I've done this, more than once. I am going to need to do it again soon, as circumstances have changed since the last round.
# 8 & 9 Max out a Roth IRA & Contribute to your 401(k)
This is a goal in progress. I have an IRA, but did not max out contribution in 2010 (though I did in 2009). I will begin contributing the maximum matched amount (6% of my income, I think) to my new 401(k) as soon as I am eligible (in April).
# 10 - Get a degree or certification that increases your earning power
Done. I am considering a new certification to increase my earning potential even more, but have not yet decided whether or not it will be worth the time investment.
# 11 - Take a career risk
Every new job feels like a risk, doesn't it? I'm not sure I've done anything seriously risky, though. I guess I'm pretty adverse to this type of risk.
# 12 - Negotiate something
Done and blogged about!
# 13 - Earn your first side grand
# 14 - Start a sub-savings account for an upcoming financial goal
I have done this a few times, though I don't have one active currently.
# 15 - Set a target retirement date
Done (my IRA is tied to it).
# 16 - Monitor your credit
Done regularly and semi-obsessively.
# 17 - Say no to a financial salesman
Done for both insurance and car add-ons.
# 18 - Give just enough to make it hurt
In process? I'm giving, and I'm giving more and more regularly than ever before, but I'm not sure it hurts.
2 Overachiever milestones:
# 19 - Invest $1 for every $1 you spend
Good God. Not remotely close.
# 20 - Start a 529 College Savings Plan
I don't quite see the good in this, since I don't have kids and have no plans to ever pay tuition again (I will go back to school when and if someone else foots the bill).
So how'd I do?
In progress/partially done: 6
Not done: 5
Could be worse, I guess. If nothing else, I'm moving in the right direction.