I am a big goal setter. I love setting goals and achieving goals. I set goals in most areas of my life, including my finances.
This past year (2010), my gross earnings were down 62% from when I was a pastor. The only way I am able to make this work financially has been through lifestyle changes and tapping into significant savings. My giving, as a percentage of my income, was 16% of my gross income (up 3% from last year). Here were my goals/predictions from last 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).
I was accurate in my predictions and achieved my goals.
My financial goals for the coming year include:
- Increase my giving by 1% as a percentage of my income (this is my goal every year).
- Increase my income by 50% this coming year (and 50% again the following year).
- Remain debt free (except for student loans).
- Maintain my current emergency fund and stop draining savings.
- Within 2 years… establish a car fund and be able to replace my current vehicle without any debt (that is, pay cash). My current vehicle is running well, but has 140,000 miles on it.
- Within 3 years… restore my income to 2009 levels.
- Within 3 years… pay off all my student loans and remain debt free for life after that.
The truth is that financial health is only one area to focus on — and not the most important. But how we handle our finances does reveal a lot about our spiritual health. Plus, I love to give and want to give more. So I take the stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to me very seriously. By writing these goals down — and sharing them publicly — I believe I increase the likelihood of achieving them.
I feel good about how I have handles my finances these last two years. I have done less well with goals relating to personal health and excercise. Last year I lost a fair amount of weight; this year I have regained all of the weight I lost. That is discouraging. But not giving up … time for a new plan and new approach.
HOW ARE YOU DOING ON YOUR GOALS?