2012 Personal Finance New Year’s Resolutions- Mid Year Review

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It's always nice to take a trip down memory lane to see what sort of ambitious goals you had at the beginning of the year.  Since I like to do PF related resolutions (because IMO they are 50x easier to adhere to than personal/ physical activity related resolutions), I only shared my PF related resolutions for 2012.  I may or may not have even created personal resolution but this cannot be confirmed. 😉

Here's my attempt at being accountable to January 2012!  I've copied and pasted my resolutions for your viewing pleasure below.

  • Contribute $5000 to the TFSA– I plan to sell some of my Canadian non-registered stocks in order to put money into my Tax Free Trading Account.  With the remaining amount, I may use my RRSP tax refund (provided I got one lol) to top it up to the $5000, for a total of approximately $20,000 total contribution in the account.

DONE!

new year's list reviewI have fully funded the TFSA but didn't end up using the RRSP tax refund because I didn't actually end up getting one (boo-urns I know).  The downside to this was that because I am an impatient girl, I ended up spending the money I contributed int he TFSA to buy in March, when the general stock market was 10% higher than they are now.  Next year I'll need to remember to buy in May or June instead.

  • Max out RRSP allowed contributions- I set out $200 a month automatically to an RRSP TD e-series and top up the rest before the year ends.  Next year will be the first year where I have to start repaying my Home Buyers Plan withdrawal.  I believe I will be paying back into my RRSP at a rate of $150 a month.  The remaining $50 contributed per month can be used towards offsetting taxes.

DOING!

I'm still contributing the $200 a month automatically.  This year is the first year for the HBP payback- however since my income is so low because I'm a starving student, I believe I'll be in the lowest tax bracket and if I don't pay back the 1/15th of the HBP this year it might turn out advantageous for me to do so because of my low income.  If we remember that the RRSP is a tax deferral mechanism (you will get taxed somehow when you withdraw, and it makes sense to withdraw when your income is low).  If I don't pay back the 1/15th that means I can't use the RRSP to deduct my taxes, but this again should be fine with me since one should wait until the income is high/ marginal tax rate is high to use the RRSP for deductions.  I need to call CRA to double check this is doable.

The other option would be to aggressively pay off my HBP so that when I am no longer a student, I will have more RRSP deduction room.  I should try and do some calculations comparing and contrasting these two options.

  • $5000 baseline for Emergency Fund:  I would like to save $3300 before year end for my emergency fund, in case I need to repair my car, or pay for a veterinary bill since I don't have any pet insurance, and other unplanned necessities.

DONE

Well, kinda.  I say kinda because I didn't put very much effort into it.  The transfer of ownership of this blog sort of funded this.

  • Save up $3600 total for Travel Fund- I plan to climb the highest peak in Africa in 2013  and will need some cashola for that (not to mention get in shape)…I will try and set aside $100 a month for this travel fund (automatically). I have an ING savings account for that.  This should be doable as long as I keep the $100 a month contribution to this account.  It currently sits at $2600.

ALMOST DONE

I'm almost there on this one.  I'm at $3300. 

  • Pay down the Mortgage extra $200/month- We just started this before the end of the year.  If it were completely up to me, I would be paying this down very aggressively and sacrificing many things for this.  However, my boyfriend lives in the same roof as me and I need to make sure he's on board with the aggressive pay down plan, and he wasn't.  I'll need to work on him … 🙂

FAIL

This worked out well in the first few months of 2012 but then it sort of fell apart when boyfriend wanted to start saving money up for his part-time schooling.  I will definitely pay this down aggressively (with him or without him I guess!) when I cease being a student.

  • Slowly change most of my equities into dividend paying equities– Organize DRIPs for more investments if possible, and also arrange for a TD e-series fund for a TFSA account (though this means I would have to apply for a mutual fund TFSA account, which can be a pain in the behind).

MEH…

Didn't do the TFSA TD e-series account because dividend investing was just too attractive for me (good idea or bad, who knows).  I also didn't do the DRIPs because it seems more fun to be able to buy different companies with that money and diversify, or value invest and buy the same shares when they seem like they are at a rock bottom price.  I guess it's the sense of control I want.. so I guess my values/ resolutions have chanced since beginning of 2012.

  • Write down what I spend my money on daily– I’ve been terrible at remembering to do this last year- though I think I was pretty good at it up until September. I need to continue to remember to do this in order to keep track of my spending.  Let's just say December was a bit of a gong show in terms of trying to keep track of my spending, what with Christmas presents and all.

FAIL

I was really good at this in the beginning of the year and then somehow it just sort of all fell apart.  I'm terrible at budgets.  To me, as long as I'm making my “paying myself first” payments and more, I'm good.  It's not excuse of course, and I should get on track with writing things down again.

Readers, how have you been doing with your PF resolutions from the beginning of the year?

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Young is a writer and former owner of Young and Thrifty and the main "twitter' behind Young and Thrifty's twitter account. She lives in Vancouver, BC and enjoys long walks on the beach, spending time with her anxious dog, and finding good deals. If you like what you read, consider signing up for email updates.

13 Comments

  1. Michelle on June 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Looks like you’re doing great! I don’t keep track of what I spend my money on daily, but that would definitely be an eye opener.



  2. Lance@MoneyLife&More on June 26, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    I didn’t have any financial goals this year but did get a new job, start a blog and got started improving my townhouse! Sounds like your goals are.going well. Keep up the great work!



  3. Leigh on June 27, 2012 at 1:33 am

    Looks like you’ve actually done quite a few of these for it only being halfway through the year!

    I think I’ve been doing well at my personal finance goals for the year so far. I’ve been putting aside the right amount each month to max out my 401(k) in December and hitting and exceeding my savings goals (thanks to my awesome raise!). I’ll be posting about this a bit on Friday if you are curious 🙂



  4. mycancukbuck on June 27, 2012 at 7:47 am

    I think you’re doing fairly well. Frankly. I haven’t gotten as far as I’d have liked. I’m still making all the contributions I had planned, but I haven’t gotten anywhere with moving my portfolio..



  5. Joe Walsh on June 27, 2012 at 8:44 am

    Hey, without any goals, there is nothing to improve upon and nothing to measure against.

    I think compared to the average, you are doing exceptionally well and will likely continue to get better at it and reap the rewards over time if you stick with it.

    If more of us could do something similar there would not be any deficits or debt burdens



  6. My Own Advisor on June 27, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Well done overall.

    Contributing $200 to pay your RRSP is not an easy feat on a student’s income.

    I like the idea of changing your equities to dividend-paying equities…of course, I am biased 🙂

    Mark



  7. young on June 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Oh I highly recommend it- at least for a short while. Doing that initially (what, like 10 years ago?) as a teenager helped me realize how much money I was wasting.



  8. young on June 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    @Lance- That sounds amazing! Home improvement projects are always fun. My BF and I have a summer plan to paint the stairs but haven’t even bought paint yet lol.



  9. young on June 27, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    @Leigh- Oh yes please- for sure I’ll check it out Friday. You are rocking your nw updates girl!



  10. young on June 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm

    @MCB- Were you moving your portfolio from non-reg to TFSA as well? Transferring shares in kind is actually much easier than I had thought. I was procrastinating doing this before because it seemed really complicated but it really only involved a few clicks. And writing down what you did so that you can report the tax implications.



  11. young on June 27, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    @Joe- yeah you’re right. I think that without goals, humans don’t do very well. It’s always nice to look into the future even though we’re supposed to focus on the present and be grateful to be where we are!



  12. young on June 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    @MOA- You know what, to heck with the ETF’s (sorry Teacher Man) I ended up spending my $1500 cash in my TFSA on more dividend paying equities lol. With big dividend increases that are consistent, how can I say no, really?

    I would like to increase my dividend portfolio/ payment per month now that I actually figured out how to find the info and export it into an excel spreadhseet. I made $80 in dividends last month! I know you’re at like $600 per month, so I think I might have a new focus 😉 I like dividend income because it really truly is passive income.



  13. Teacher Man on June 28, 2012 at 7:46 am

    As long as you read guys like MOA and TFB you can’t really go wrong with dividend investing either Young. You’ll do just fine if you don’t panic on market crashes (which you obviously don’t). Just know that there is no arguing with the fact that you are missing out on some capital appreciation when you only invest in mature properties.



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