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Although I want to keep my personal finance resolutions as aggressive as they were last year, I know that this is not feasible and it will most likely only serve to punish me and make me feel bad come end of 2012.

Therefore, because I like baby steps (and achieving these baby steps makes me feel better about myself, thus making me want to try harder to achieve more), I’m going to try and make my financial resolutions realistic, given my recent move to working at 50% of my previous income and going to graduate school.

Without further delay, here are my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions.  I’m looking forward to reviewing them in June and again in December to see how I do.  Nothing compares to blogging for the world to see in order to keep yourself accountable.

2012 Personal Finance New Year’s Resolutions

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • $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.
  • 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.
  • 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 … 🙂
  • 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).
  • 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.

Readers, what are some of your 2012 Personal Finance Resolutions?

Article comments


Those are awesome goals for 2012. Very nice allocation of your savings funds. I know I want to save as well. I want to be able to buy a house in cash by my 31st birthday (I’m 27 now), so my goal for 2012 on that is to save over 50% of my take home pay. I did it in 2011 and know I can do it again this year. Yay for goals!

young says:

@Kraig- That’s a great goal! And amazing you’re saving 50% of your take home 🙂

CC says:

I still like Quicken. I have tried Mint.com, which is by the same company Intuit, so there’s a lot of similarity. I think Quicken’s more for ‘advanced user’, like a small business owner who needs to look after a higher granularity of expenses. But yes for the most part Mint.com app is sufficient for average consumer I find.

young says:

@CC- Yup, Mint.com was bought by Intuit but I still find Mint.com more “pleasing to the eye” than quicken. I agree that Quicken is more advanced. It’s very detailed… a little bit too detailed. My eyes were getting crossed trying to concentrate on each little detail and find the spot where I could input the specific data I wanted to.

Nice goals. Some of my financial goals for 2012 are to pay off the evil credit card (we’re so close), save an additional $1,000 in our Emergency fund, increase our 401k contributions and add more to our Roth IRA. 🙂

young says:

@Jen- Those sound like very SMART goals (emphasis on super achievable). Good luck!

Fiscal Phoenix says:

Excellent goals. How exciting to go to Africa! How long will you be on the trip? How many days does it take to climb to the peak? Looking forward to watching your progress.

young says:

@Fiscal Phoenix- Not sure how long, I think perhaps aim for a 4-6 week adventure. It only takes about 5-8 days to climb to the peak. Perhaps I’ll do a day by day account of it when I get back. Thanks for the inspiration.

Writing down your daily expenditures is going to be brutally difficult, but good luck!

It’s easier to just throw $2,400 into your principal mortgage than $200/month imo. Perhaps try that!

young says:

@Financial Samurai- I think it’s hard because I have to force mY BF to automatically save. He wouldn’t do it otherwise. Asking for a lump sum like that would probably give him a heart attack, and I’d probably have to pry it out of his fingers in his sleep.

JoeTaxpayer says:

Not tired of these yet. I’m still working on the article to share mine.
Nice set of financial goals here, any personal ones you care to share?

young says:

@JoeTaxpayer- Thanks for the validation 😉 I WAS going to share my personal ones but I wasn’t sure if people were tired of seeing like 4 posts on resolutions. The major personal one is exercise (which is probably on 99.9% of other people’s lists).

popthoughts says:

Admirable goals for working part time and going to school! Best of luck!

young says:

@popthoughts- Thanks popthoughts! Does admirable mean likely unattainable? 🙂 I’m trying my hardest not to stress myself out achieving these goals lol.

Mat says:

Creating a TD e-series TFSA account is easy! Or at least, no more difficult than creating an equivalent RRSP account. I’ve had mine setup for over a year now, though I too am starting to be lured by the prospect of straight up buying dividend stocks.

young says:

@Mat- Ughh tell me about it! I’ll have to go into a TD branch though to set it up and I’ll need to contribute to it… I promise next year I will start a TD eseries. I have already spent about 2/5 of my TFSA room for this year and I intend to buy some other stocks for it.

Great list. I am excited about your travel fund. Great idea. We also have one of these. We are big travelers so we like to make sure we save money to do so. We are headed to Africa next month.

young says:

@Miss T- Where in Africa are you going? That’s exciting! Are you going on a safari?

Great 2012 goals! It sounds like you are “firing on all cylinders” and not setting yourself up for “failure.” These are very practical and helpful. For example, I love your travel fund attentiveness. Sometimes, the desire for a vacation drives people into debt, so it’s good that you are consistently planning for it even though the trip will be in 2013. The African climb sounds wonderful!!!

young says:

@Roshawn- Yeah, I like how I’m doing it this way too. It makes me feel less guilty when the time comes to plunk $3600 on a trip because I know I’ve saved up slowly for it. It’s a nice goal to have, that’s for sure 🙂 To be honest, I do feel a litle guilty that I”m not paying into my mortgage with that $100 month I’m saving, but heck, I have to live a LITTLE lol.

Leigh says:

$200/month is more than baby steps on pre-paying the mortgage! Boys seem to take patience at these things sometimes – so much so that I’m glad I’m single at the moment 😉

Sounds like a good start to your 2012 finance resolutions! Maxing out your TFSA is always a good plan. Personally, I think it sounds way less complicated than the RRSP…

Good luck with writing down your spending every day! It’s hard. One of the ways I help with that is to pretty much never use cash.

As for my 2012 PF Resolutions, they’re mostly paying back my savings buckets, maxing out my 401(k) and IRA again this year (woo $500 more allowable room in the 401(k) for 2012!) and figuring out this mortgage thing. My mom thinks I’m crazy that I’m not scared of taking out a $250,000 mortgage LOL!

young says:

@Leigh- Haha, yeah, sometimes I wish I were single too- no compromising needed! It’s been baby steps for sure. I have BF trained (lol) to turn down the thermostat when he leaves for work now, but that took a lot of convincing and persuading. I’m hoping we can increase it to more than $200 a month but we’ll see…!

Yeah, the TFSA does seem way less complicated than the RRSP. But if you withdraw and redeposit within the same year, the over-contribution charges are NOT a breeze, that’s for sure.

Well, Leigh you make a bucketload of money so I think that a $250K mortgage is like a drop in the bucket for you 😉 Sounds like you have a great 2012 resolution list too!

Watchdog says:

Excellent resolutions for 2012. I wish everyone would maximize their TFSA every year. By investing those contributions in dividend stocks you can really make a lot of money.

After year 3 I had just over $14,000 in contributions and by Jan 2012 my TFSA was worth over $21,000 through capital gains and dividends. By reinvesting the dividends with each $5000 contribution, the compounding effect is amazing.

All the best in 2012!

young says:

@Watchdog- Yeah, as long as the government allows us to keep the TFSA like 50 years from now, I’m set 😉

Excellent to hear that your TFSA is doing amazing! Did you buy all stocks? It’s nice to not have to pay the capital gain taxes. Some people think that its risky to put stuff in TFSA because you can’t claim capital losses, but really, if you don’t claim capital gains, doesn’t it just balance out? 🙂

CC says:

Great resolutions! On keeping track of spending daily, Quicken is a great tool that I use because with things paid by credit card you can track everything graphically! Or if you have a smartphone, there’s a great selection of apps out there now that you can choose from for recording, including my gas money too. Very easy to use and again you can see your expenses graphically (I’m a visual learner so it’s great I find) Anyway, FYI.

young says:

@CC- I love Mint.com and I use that to see my expenses. But I haven’t run into anything that tracks expenses by graph- are there any you recommend? I tried Quicken but seriously, I found it to be a pain in the butt (mainly becuase I”m on a mac and I’ll have to switch to windows interface to use it). I have a review coming up and I bet I’m going to piss off a lot of Quicken fans lol.

AB says:

Love the blog! Great resolutions for 2012, and I hope you can meet and exceed them all (except for TFSA and RRSP contributions ofcourse!). Good luck!

young says:

@AB- Thanks for visiting! I hope I can achieve/ meet these goals too (and then more).

Kelsey says:

I love these New Year’s Resolutions! I’m burnt out on the “lose 10 pounds” pitch. These goals are inspiring and motivational.

Good luck on your mountain climb in Africa! I’d love to travel Europe, so I’ll definitely be setting up a finance goal for travel. In fact, I’m aiming for goals with 3, 4, and 7!

Another finance goal of mine will be to pay off my student debt by as much as my savings will allow.

young says:

@Kelsey- LOL thanks for the RT btw. Yeah, the losing weight thing- I’m sorta giving up on posting about that. My goal is to not look like a cow next to the bride (I’m a bridesmaid) and I only have T-28 days for that, so I’ve sorta given up on achieving that in a time sensitive manner.

Finance goals for travels are so great because you can travel without a weight on your shoulder knowing you saved up money over time for that trip 🙂

Ron says:

I wish you lots of luck. I know that between going to school + working + living it can be rather difficult to be fiscally responsible.

young says:

@Ron- You can say that again 🙂 Sometimes I feel like I’m on some sort of ascetic journey to be fiscally responsible, and I need to remind myself to live a little.

Vicky says:

Those are some pretty impressive saving targets! Can’t wait to follow your progress throughout the year; I am especially interested in your progress on arranging the TD e-series fund(s) for your TFSA.

I have also recently posted my 2012 resolutions.

young says:

@Vickey- I already have an RRSP through the TD eseries.
However, I might have already blown that TD eseries fund TFSA resolution because I am drawn to the dividend paying stocks…! (Like a moth to a flame).

So You Think You Can Save says:

Between all the retirement contributions and extra payments, that’s a heck of a lot of increases into your overall net worth. I love it! Can’t wait to see the progress updates throughout the year.

young says:

@So You Think you Can Save- Awe thanks for the encouragement. I was feeling a little beat up because it was “only” an 11% increase. I’m a greedy little pig arent i?