Every year I set some personal goals for myself — some are successful, some are not. But I think it is a good discipline.
2009 was a crazy (aka hellish) year for me — and most of my goals went right out the window. However, I did lose 20 pounds in 2009 (and 30 to date), so that is a good thing. I also achieved some significant financial goals this past year.
I just finished my taxes and that is when I usually evaluate how I did in terms of personal financial stewardship.
Personally, I only look at four metrics for my finances: Income, Giving, Saving & Debt.
In 2009, my income dropped by over 30% (which was not one of my goals).
But I managed to almost eliminate all consumer debt (I paid off my last credit card in January) and am now debt free with the exception of student loans — and plan to stay that way.
In terms of savings, I am not in great shape. I pretty much used my entire emergency fund to get through the year, but now am rebuilding it.
In terms of giving… my actual cash donations (tithes, offerings and missions support) was 13% of my gross income and 16% of my net income. My goal is to increase my giving by 1% a year and this year I met that goal.
My goals/projections for the coming year:
- I expect my income to drop another 20-25% this year. (Sad, but true).
- My goal is to increase my giving by another 1% this year.
- My goal is to remain debt free (except for student loans).
- My goal is to rebuild a 6-month emergency fund. (I can do this now that my credit cards are paid off by applying my “debt snowball” to my emergency fund. And given my new income level, I need a smaller emergency fund, lol).
Why do I tell you all this?
When I was a pastor I was always very open and transparent about my finances. I think that is important. Also, as a big fan of Dave Ramsey, I like to share the success I am experiencing following his Financial Peace Principals. I hope it encourages others to keep at it! Finally, I hope it challenges and encourages you to be intentional about your financial goals and your personal giving.
I could list for you all the goals that I failed to achieve last year — but that is another post.
(By the way, another goal I reached was “to cook more in the coming year” — that one I achieved in spades, lol).
DO YOU SET GOALS?
DO YOU WRITE THEM DOWN?
DO YOU EVER EVALUATE HOW YOU ARE DOING ON THEM?