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Thinking about 2011 Goals

December 13, 2010

I may have mentioned (with enthusiasm!) that T is graduating next year and will be getting some sort of non-graduate student job.  Yay T!   This throws a whole bunch of question marks into planning for the year.

Here are a few things we don’t know right now:

  • We don’t know what month he’s going to graduate in.
  • We don’t know if he’ll find a job here or if we’ll move to another area, or even another country.
  • We don’t know for sure that I’ll stay at my job (even if we stay here!)
  • We don’t even know which type of job he will take (industry vs. academia), which means we don’t know what his salary range would be (industry will be higher)
  • We don’t know if we’ll become a two car family (hopefully not, but it is possible)
  • We don’t know if we’ll replace my 10 year old car (hopefully, but it isn’t for sure)

I’m trying to look on the bright side and realize that the unpredictability is exciting, freeing, and fun.  But setting specific financial goals?  Man, that’s going to be hard!  I think I’ll just settle on setting priorties and see how the year goes.

We should have a lot of these questions answered by June or so, but… we don’t know that for sure!

What do you do when you have so much unknown in a single year?  Set short term goals?  Set longer term goals that you aren’t sure about?  Maye every year a big unknown, and the only difference is that this year, I know what I don’t know!

12 Comments leave one →
  1. December 13, 2010 9:09 am

    I think uncertainty is exciting! I’m looking towards some major changes in 2011 as well, so I can only say good luck to you and T. 🙂

    • SP permalink*
      December 14, 2010 12:34 pm

      It is so exciting! But I just can’t seem to make very “SMART” goals!

      Excited to hear about your major changes in 2001 – good luck to you too!

  2. December 13, 2010 2:27 pm

    I understand your pain trying to set goals with a year of uncertainty. That is the same problem I’m in right now, as my husband and I moved overseas so I could start a graduate degree three months ago. There was little hope of us budgeting or planning goals until we got here and lived a bit. It probably is a better idea to prioritize like you mentioned. Since we’re overseas for only a year, we decided to prioritize travel this year.

  3. Stephanie permalink
    December 13, 2010 4:55 pm

    Wow, your life sounds exactly like mine. It also sounds like your husband is in the sciences. My husband will graduate sometime in 2012 (hopefully not 2013!!) and we will probably be moving. He will probably go for a job in academia, even though industry would be higher.

    Even if we were to stay here I would probably change jobs, since I will be able to find a higher salary someplace else by that time.

    • December 17, 2010 10:50 pm

      Yes, sciences! staying here really limits academic positions, since you typically don’t want to do a post-doc where you went to school… and even post-docs are temporary. It’s a lot of uncertainty, but I’m trying to embrace it.

      I totally relate to not knowing the graduating date! T’s was a step function: About 2 years. About 1.5 years. then all the sudden, 6 months (maybe, or maybe 9)!

  4. December 13, 2010 8:04 pm

    I say you just do not make goals that will get broken. Keep it simple: stay within your means, save as much as you can, but do not put numbers on it, you know? Just be excited with everything that’s coming up!

    • SP permalink*
      December 14, 2010 12:35 pm

      That’s a good suggestion. Last year had a lot of question marks too, and my numbers were WAY off, like no chance in the world of meeting them.

      I am excited, but it is also a bit out of my comfort zone!

  5. December 14, 2010 10:40 pm

    Hey, just came across the blog and love it!

    During years of uncertainty, I imagine I’d be focused on long-term goals. I think that short-term goals (while exciting) should be used as stepping stones towards the more significant goals. After all, don’t we complete big goals in steps?

    Even if your long-term goals are cloudy and uncertain, maybe try making your best guess at a general direction, laying out the short-term goals to get there.

    • December 17, 2010 10:55 pm

      Hey, thanks for stopping by!

      Honestly, I don’t have much for specific very long term goals. Maybe I should spend 2011 thinking about them?

  6. December 16, 2010 11:17 am


    My advice is just to pretend that nothing will change. Pretend it’s just your income as usual and don’t make changes until you know more.

    • December 17, 2010 10:53 pm

      True… I think for finance stuff, I’ll just make Jan-June goals. I also had some trips tentatively planned for fall, but if we don’t live here, they won’t work. But you are right to just assume nothing is changing and start there.

      On the other hand, I want to mentally be open to possibilities, and prevent myself from clinging to the familiar!

  7. December 17, 2010 6:57 pm

    I think you should refrain from specifics. Too many unknowns, and because some of those unknowns may lead to expenses I would sock away whatever you can until you know. The more in your savings the better – in case of a move and another car? Or whatever unexpected combinations appear. Yay for the light at the end of the tunnel coming into view for T!

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