Just like the rest of you, I have certain goals and adjustments that I make every year.
One of the frustrating things about financial management is that we often have so many choices and we rarely know what is right. Sometimes we just want a point of reference.
Blogs are by design an extremely open and intimate form of communication. Therefore, in order to help you I have decided to tell you what we do with our finances with the hope that you this openness will help give some structure to your own financial goals for 2010.
Ford Family 2010 Financial Goals and Plans
None of these goals should be seen as financial advice. Since each of us have completely different financial situations, our needs and goals will also differ. Nevertheless, I think it’s helpful for you to have a point of comparison for your own financial management.
At the start of this year (2009), my wife and I agreed to give according to the a graduated tithe schedule. You can read about the graduated tithe in detail, but basically it means the more you earn the more you also give. For us, this is not about a legalistic pattern, but about a structure to help us curb our emotions, desires, and lust for more.
Our family has a very basic investing plan.
On a regular basis we have money automatically withdrawn from our savings account and deposited into our various mutual funds. Though I previously owned some stocks, I feel more comfortable with mutual funds.
- 15% of our retirement savings is invested in a high risk strategy called “Sector Rotation”.
- 10% of our retirement savings is subject to my various investing whims.
- 75% is diversified amongst several different mutual fund types.
For my retirement funds we participate in the TD Ameritrade Omnium arrangement that allows me to get unlimited mutual fund trades for $99 per year (note: this program is no longer accepting new applications). For my wife’s funds we work directly with a mutual fund company.
We both have Roth IRA’s. In 2009 we rolled over a couple of Traditional IRA’s.
Each month we contribute $100 to each of our kids’ college fund. We start saving these funds from the day they are born. Each child has a Educational ESA. For our kids’ funds we diversify as much as possible even though the account balances are much smaller.
Daughter #1 – all her funds are invested directly, automatically with a mutual fund company.
Son #1 – all his funds are in a TD Ameritrade account. We purchase no fee transaction mutual funds.
Daughter #2 – we have not officially opened her account. We are still waiting to have a large enough amount for minimum payments and waiting on her social security card. For my younger daughter I am looking into taking advantage of Schwab’s no fee ETFs.
In June of 2006 we paid off our last student loan so we currently have no consumer debt payments. With the help of a church we were able to secure our vehicle with cash, so we have no auto debt.
Each month we budget between 5-10% of our income to use for extra payments on our house. We are on track to have our house paid off soon.
Every month we still keep a budget. We keep every receipt from the week and then my wife and I sit down together to review all of the charges. Honestly, these last six months have been extremely busy (Hmmm. I have a daughter who is 6 months old and a blog that is 6 months old. I wonder if either of those things has contributed to a busy schedule?) so we probably only get to the budget three times a month. We are, however, committed to keeping up with the budget as we think it is the tool that has made the largest contribution to our being debt free.
Our family loves to vacation. Every two years we travel back to North America and along the way we like to try and stop in some fun places. So far as a family we have traveled to Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. Because vacations are important for us as a family we are always saving part of our salary for a vacation fund. In addition, I do a lot of stuff with points and such so we can get free hotels and even some spending money.
Since we have decided as a couple that we will always pay cash for our vehicles, each month we put money into a savings account so we will have money in the bank when it comes time to buy another car.
We already have an emergency fund in place we don’t make any additional contributions to our emergency fund.
Well, that’s our game plan.
Photo by Tim in Sydney.
Do you have a game plan? What are your financial goals for 2010?