The new year tends to inspire a renewed motivation within us to be proactive and take control of our lives. So many of us make a new year resolution with the greatest intentions. Sometimes we achieve these goals. Sometimes we get to the end of the year and forget what it was we said we’d do.
Last year I wrote my goals down to ensure that I remembered and actioned them.
Last year’s resolutions
The financial goals I set for 2018 were:
- Pay off high-interest debt – including both the $10k credit card debt and $3k credit card debt.
- Transition to saving 33% of our incomes.
Throughout the year, we made progress on these resolutions. In June, we paid off the car loan and in September we paid off the credit card.
We did not achieve our goal of transitioning to saving 33% of our net incomes. We did, however, come very close to achieving this goal. As I mentioned recently, throughout the year, we increased our overall savings rate to 30%.
Additionally, we established a modest emergency fund, continued to cut our expenses where possible and almost doubled our net wealth throughout the year.
Resolutions for 2019
For 2019, I have multiple finance, knowledge, kindness and health goals that I have set for myself. These are:
Grow our emergency fund to 3 months of expenses
As I outlined recently, in 2018 we established a modest emergency account. This account is separate to any of our other accounts and is only to be used in emergencies, such as a plumbing disaster, broken down car or unexpected medical bill.
This year, we aim to increase this emergency fund to cover 3 months worth of expenses. This would mean that we would be easily able to cover unexpected expenses such as the car breaking down, or an insurance excess payment.
However, what it would also do is provide some element of freedom, and stress release, should one of us lose our job or become unwell.
Ultimately, an emergency account provides choices in stressful situations… And that affords freedom.
Read at least one book per month
I have never been a reader. I suppose I have never had the patience to sit for long enough to read a book if I haven’t had to for school or university.
Growing up, books were not an influence in my life. My family were not readers. In fact, I don’t know if my parents even own any books as I cannot recall ever seeing books in their house.
After seven years of university, I had had enough of reading. After graduating, I would have been glad if I never had to see another book again… I was intellectually saturated, and mentally exhausted.
However, I have now been graduated for as long as I was at university; and I am now enjoying reading more and more. The last six months alone, I have read more books than I had for the entire 6.5 years previously.
In 2019, I want to keep this trend alive. As such, it is my aim to read/listen to at least one book per month; preferably more.
Get more involved with charities
When I graduated from high school, I received my years’ Charity Award. I had spent sports days volunteering at nursing homes; weekends door knocking for campaigns such as The Red Shield Appeal; had accumulated 12 blood donations in the last 3 years of school; etc etc.
I continued this involvement throughout my years at University and volunteered for numerous non-profits in my holidays and on weekends. However, once I moved to the city and started working full-time, I stopped the vast majority of my charity work.
Like most people, I became busy and let my hobbies and charity work go by the wayside. However, this past year I’ve volunteered for a few causes and really enjoyed it… There really is nothing quite like knowing you’re doing something tangible to help those less fortunate.
So, this year, I intend to get out and about more, helping out causes close to my heart.
Drink less alcohol
As a homebrewer, it’s not surprising that I like a few beers. Consequently, drinking less alcohol is a goal I set for myself every year…. Usually with great failure!
However, in October of this year I decided it was really time to make a change. So, I decided it was time to cut back my alcohol consumption to no more than 3 drinks per day, 3 days per week. This means that I would have four alcohol free days per week and consume no more than 9 drinks.
Special occassions such as Christmas and New Years will be an exception to this rule. But, for normal weeks, I intend to stick to my no more than 3 on 3 rule.
Do more muscle strengthening exercise
As I’ve discussed previously, I run 5-6 kilometres each week day. In addition, I walk my dog twice a day in summer and once a day in winter, resulting in 1-1.5 hours of cardio per week day.
However, I do no muscle work, at all. As muscle mass is hugely important for strength, movement and metabolism, this is not ideal at all.
Therefore, this year, I aim to change this by introducing regular muscle work. In order to make it measurable, my aim is to do at least 15 minutes of muscle work, 3 days a week and 15 minutes of stretching work 2 days a week. This could consist of yoga, weights or other strengthening/stretching exercises that are easy to incorporate into my daily routine.
This year I have 5 New Year resolutions, which are spread across all four of my wealth maximisation principles.
I’ll post updates throughout the year on my progress, successes and failures!