It’s hard to believe, but in just 15 days, it will be 2009. I have started thinking about my financial goals for the coming year.
Last year, I set some pretty aggressive goals, and I managed to accomplish most of them. I fully-funded my 403(b) retirement account, my 2008 Roth IRA, and my wife fully-funded her pension plan. We are still working to fund my wife’s 2008 Roth IRA and ESAs for our kids.
In April, my wife gave birth to our third child, a beautiful baby girl. My wife is an educator, and she did not work during the months of April, May, or June. Her income for 2008 was much lower than it was in 2007, due to the time off, so it was much harder to meet out 2008 goals than I had at first anticipated. Of course, having the new baby also means that we’ll be able to claim an additional dependent, so our tax bill for 2008 should be lower than it was in 2007.
Due to the different timetables for when contributions can be made, it’s hard to create financial goals based on a calendar year. For instance, all contributions to my 403(b), which are made pre-tax by my employer, must be made between January and December. Contributions to a Roth IRA or Education Savings Account, on the other hand, can be made from January 1st of one year until April 15th of the next year. Some of my 2008 goals will be rolled-over into 2009. Those goals, including funding ESAs for our kids and my wife’s 2008 Roth IRA must be accomplished by April 15th, 2009.
I haven’t created my official goals for 2009, but here’s a preliminary list of things about which I’m thinking.
I know that I want to fully-fund my 403(b) and it’s mandatory that my wife fully-fund her pension plan.
I need to fully-fund my 2009 Roth IRA.
My wife needs to fully-fund her 2008 Roth IRA and her 2009 Roth IRA.
I also have a SEP-IRA, for income earned from blogging. I’ll make contributions to it, so that I can reduce our taxable income.
I have three kids, ages 9, 4, and eight months.
I would love to be able to fully-fund ESAs for all three of them, for the years 2008 and 2009. At $2000 per child, per year, that’s $12,000.
One of my long term goals is to pay cash for a new house. I’m not sure how this goal will fit in with my other goals, but it’s something I’m definitely thinking about. In fact, I have given some thought to reducing my retirement contributions, for a brief time, in order to bolster my long term non-retirement savings. We shall see.
I’m going to sit down with my wife, and we’ll discuss our plans for 2009. Once we have decided what we want to do, I’ll let you know. When I right my “official” Goals for 2009 post, I’ll include contribution limits and some specific figures.