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Personal Finance Goals for 2008

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Last year marked the first time in my life in which I set goals for myself and I surprised even myself with how much I was able to get accomplished in 2007. This year will be much bigger, especially since we’re getting married in the end of February, and so we have to make sure our goals are correspondingly bigger, right? Double everything! Okay just kidding, doubling everything is a little ridiculous but I’ve pulled the goal posts out a little farther this year and added a few more “checkboxes” to the list, as opposed to sliding scales. I’ll will try to check in on them every quarter, so if I forget someone get on me about it. :)

  • Philanthropy (Money): This year we would like to donate a minimum of $5,000 with a stretch goal of $10,000. In fact, I’m tempted to go the route of setting up a charitable gift fund that Flexo eloquently explained. Of the monies donated, I think the bulk will still go to health related causes with a few to the arts & sciences. Exactly $0 will go towards political contributions. What we will need to do is sit down and think about our charitable giving, so we can maximize the effectiveness of our funds.
  • Philanthropy (Time): The flip side to charitable giving in terms of dollars is charitable giving in terms of time. Giving a few bucks to your favorite cause is great, giving a few hours (if they can use it) is far more difficult and may be more valuable to the cause if they can handle it. If not, donating a bit of your time anywhere (like the local library or Habitat for Humanity) is something to consider. This year I want to donate at least 52 hours of community service with 150 hours as a stretch goal.
  • Maximize 401(k) Contributions: We both did this last year, we hope to keep pace and do it again this year. No stretch goals here.
  • Develop a Financial Users Manual: This is a great idea I stole from Five Cent Nickel’s 2008 goals and that is to develop a user’s manual to our finances. Currently I remember everything in my head and that’s possible because we have a pretty simple personal finance system in place. It would be ideal to have that written down somewhere and saved in a safe place so if I do forget, there’s someplace to go. If I am unavailable, my fiancee can find the information easily.
  • Revisit Insurance: Review and establish the necessary insurance protections we’ll need moving forward.
  • Setting Up Scholarships at High Schools: I wanted to do this with my own high school last year but they never got back to me, so instead I’ll pick the high school around here that my kid would go to if I had kids. (Maybe I’ll give Ward Melville High School a call this year to see if they’re still at all interested). We’ll investigate this same for my fiancee’s high school again this year.

That’s it, those are my 2008 goals – what do you think? Anything I’m not seeing?

{ 4 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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4 Responses to “Personal Finance Goals for 2008”

  1. Tim says:

    won’t setting up scholarships be considered your charitable donations and philanthropy time? You are in fact giving money away, and you could ensure that your scholarship trust allows you to interview scholarship candidates.

  2. Dave says:

    Tell me more about your “Financial Users Manual”. What format will this take? What will you include?

  3. jim says:

    Tim: I gave that some thought and decided that the scholarship money would count and I would like to interview/review applications, but I wouldn’t consider that time to be philanthropic time though.

    Dave: It would be basically a guide to all of our finances, basically exactly what a thief would want if they were to take over our financial lives (hence the “in a safe place” part).

  4. Flexo says:

    I already have copies of Jim’s Financial Users Manual and I will be selling them to highest bidders… :-)


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