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Happy New Year readers! With a new year comes new goals of course, and for many people these include personal finance goals. On average, according to the Wall Street Journal, 75% of people (this was an American poll) make a new year's resolution related to personal finance. Most people aim to save more money (which is not specific enough of a new year's resolution, by the way), but personal finance geeks like me, on the other hand, break it down into detail, of course.
Before we review resolutions, lets review successful resolution-making. Resolutions according to Wikipedia is a promise that you make to yourself at the beginning of the year to start doing something good or stop doing something bad. The new years gives us a fresh start.
Here are my personal finance resolutions for 2014:
Maximize The TFSA
This year, for 2014, the TFSA contribution limit is $5500. My current TFSA portfolio which is comprised entirely of my Questrade Do It Yourself TFSA portfolio is hovering at around $37,000. With the contribution, my portfolio will be $43,000. I need to figure out what to buy in my TFSA. I may likely buy more Fortis (FTS.TO) and other blue chip dividend paying stocks. The maximum allowable TFSA amount that can be contributed, if one were not to have contributed at all, is $31,000 for 2014 I believe. It would definitely be tempting to withdraw from my TFSA, tax free, at the end of 2013 and recontribute it in 2014- just because it would be entirely tax free. Though I guess it all evens out in the wash since what I recontribute back would be after tax money.
Maximize the RRSP
I've reduced my contributions back to $200 per month to my TD RRSP e-series account. I usually do this until I know how much contribution room I have- which I usually receive after I receive my Notice of Assessment. I have reduced RRSP room because of my pension contributions. I would like to buy more USD equities in my RRSP and will discuss this goal in a next few goals lol.
Increase my Net Worth to $380,000
Or the net worth goal will be $350,000 without including my pension which is around $30,000. This goal may change depending on whether or not I buy a car. If I buy a car, I would spend a maximum of $25,000 on it, so that will affect my net worth amount since I likely wouldn't include it in a net worth update (or maybe I should). This might be a lofty goal but we'll see. I do have a few big trips planned this year that will likely reduce my net worth by at least $6500 for the year (I have budgeted for these trips in my ING Direct Savings account but just haven't used the money yet). Increasing my net worth to that amount would mean saving/earning/not frivolously spending $2000 per month. It would be exciting to try and reach this goal by keeping accountable through my net worth updates.
Possibly Get A New Car
Although this isn't a need right now, it would be nice to possibly get a new car (and new meaning new-old, I am going to try my best to not buy new just for the chemical-laced new car smell), something that has low km's and is a hatchback or some sort of small SUV. Something that is fuel efficient. I guess this isn't really a personal finance goal since I am spending money versus saving it, but I thought I would update you on my new-old car pondering anyway.
Get Some Blue Chip US Dividends In My Portfolio
Right now, I only own US Dividend stocks through Exchange Traded Funds and through my TD E-series mutual funds account. I don't own any individual US company dividend paying stocks. I used to have Best Buy and then got rid of it, though that didn't pay any dividends either. I also used to own Johnson and Johnson and I got rid of it many years ago. Oh, and I also used to own Visa when I bought it for $67.46 and sold it at around $88.00 but now it's well over $200. That wasn't a dividend stock but I just wanted to share my 20/20 hindsight of course. I would like to get a few US dividend paying stocks that are huge players in the market, something such as CISCO or McDonalds or even a pharmaceutical company.
What are your thoughts on my goals? Are they specific, attainable, measurable, and time-sensitive?
Since I am writing about my personal finance new years resolutions for 2014, I thought you might also appreciate my personal new years resolutions. Sharing this might help make me more accountable for my personal new years resolutions goals too- especially since I seriously find that personal new years resolutions are more difficult to adhere to than financial ones, for some reason or another.
Here Are The Few Key Things That You Need In A Good Resolution:
Basically, they have to be specific and there has to be a timeline for it.
Here are my 2014 personal new years resolutions, and believe me, they are personal! A lot of them are continuation from last years. So if you don't want to read it and think it's probably too much information from me, just skip this post lol:
Run & Exercise
I started running in 2013 and it has been fantastic. The Nike App has been super helpful in getting me to go for a run. I started off by running only about 3km 2-3 times a week, or 30 minutes 2-3 times per week. Now I go for a 10km run on a weekly basis and two shorter runs or one shorter run and one session of yoga. I used to not see the value in physical health, but now, when I go 3 days without exercising, I can feel my joints ache, my mood get crabby, and fatigue. The endorphins are definitely getting me hooked on running.
My goal is to continue with this, at least 90-120 minutes of running per week, and more because my goal is to run my first ever half marathon in May! It's something I have always wanted to do and now that I am the ripe old age of 30 ;), I think it is a good time to do it!
Meditation has been so helpful for me. I went on a meditation retreat in 2013 and it was so invigorating. I was very good at meditating on a daily basis for most of 2013 and then after August it fell by the wayside. I hope to pick it up again, and am going to do it for 10 minutes on a daily basis. I know that 10 minutes doesn't seem like a lot (the average for people is 30 minutes a day) but we have got to start somewhere I guess! I am trying to find an optimal time to do it- I am often too sleepy late at night and also in the morning. I think I might try to do it when I get home from work.
Meditation has been proven to improve concentration, reduce anxiety, reduce stress, and increase compassion. An article on Lifehacker talks about how on MRI, your brain appears drastically different before and after a few weeks of consistent meditation.
If you want to get started too, there's a free app from a former Buddhist monk (he's British) called Headspace. He makes it easy for the average joe to start meditation.
Alright, this goes in the TMI category. I've been better at it, but I think I do it like 3-4 times a week. I should do it daily- no excuses! Maybe I need a reminder on my mirror….
Spend More Quality Time With Family And Friends
Because I was so busy with school and everything, I have felt really guilty about the lack of time I have spent with family and friends. I hope to spend more time with family and am going on a trip with my mom in 2014. The last time we went on a trip together was 2009. Not sure where we are going yet but it will be just a week or so.
I hope to spend more time with my good friends too, on a weekly basis.
There you have it folks… hope I keep my resolutions for 2014!
If you're interested, here's a great Forbes article on five resolutions you won't keep and five you will.
Readers, what are your new years resolutions for 2014?
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