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2016 Financial Savings Priorities Wrap-up

November 29, 2016

I didn’t set explicit goals for the year, but I ranked my financial priorities.  Now that most of the money is in for the year, I can say how I did on them.

Financial Priorities

  1.  Retirement savings:  At minimum, each max out a 401k/403b at $18k  We’ve talked about whether this is enough, because I’m used to saving >20-25% of our income in retirement accounts. Yet, we both have pension accounts building (and pulled from our salaries to do so). Our retirement is on a fine trajectory.
    Result:  Done!  not much to say here.
  2. Set aside 6 months  worth of my take-home pay in baby fund (assuming SDI)
    Result:  Done!  The changed the SDI (short term disability) benefit this year, and I think it is worse now.  I really really hate how this benefit is structured, because it seems to be set up to explicitly minimize any benefit for the most common use of it (maternity) while still charging for it.  I’m so annoyed with the lack of good parental leave options in this country.  We can afford to take care of ourselves, so we will – but it isn’t ideal.  And what about those that can’t?
  3. 25k mortgage prepayment (on top of the 25k that was hanging out in cash earned last year).  I’d like this to be our baseline goal every year, with the option to skip it if we have a bad financial year.
    Result:  Done!  Yay!  
  4. More retirement savings
    Result:  We didn’t do this.  I set aside even more cash instead to build up our buffer in the face of uncertainty, and this is probably the right thing to do.  

My list for 2017 will look similar, although I think I’ll increase our baseline cash reserve fund and bump up retirement for T.  It is mighty tempting to throw all excess dollars at the mortgage, but that really isn’t the most sensible thing to do.  Sticking to $25k/year (until another priority comes along) is a good balance, lets me feel like I’m doing something “big enough” to not try to constantly one-up myself.

2016 Major spending planned:

  • Vacation to Europe this summer: We went to Portugal and Barcelona, and it was really cheap for a Europe trip due to miles/points.  Yay!
  • Dining room table: We are still in limbo here.  We did buy 8 chairs, but have yet to find the table.
  • Patio furniture:  Bought it late in the season, and happy with it.
  • Earthquake retrofitting:  This was underbudget due to tax rebates and such.

The two big things (vacation and retrofitting) were way under budget, which was nice.  I don’t think we spent a lot on any other single thing, but did an average amount of purchasing in regular areas (food, home, etc.).  I haven’t checked up on our goal to keep all spending under $100k in months, so I should also tackle that this month as well and do some sort of overall wrap up.  It is kind of daunting to think about since I’m so far behind.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 29, 2016 8:00 pm

    We failed pretty miserably at spending under $100k, but I would say we are pretty pleased with the results of the excess spending. Remodeling the living room was absolutely worth it to have one we designed together rather than separately and then combined.

    I love that dining table you pointed out! We upgraded ours to one that expands thanks to a relative and we absolutely love it. It’s not in as good of condition as I had thought it would be, which is frustrating, but not the end of the world.

    • December 1, 2016 5:20 pm

      It is looking good for us so far!

      T vetoed my dining table choice, not only due to price (we both didn’t like that) but he claims the finish scratches easily. I honestly don’t care that much, I just want something that better fits our house/life. I would love a relative help up out!

  2. January 5, 2017 3:42 pm

    I didn’t know that SDI changed (for the worse). Thanks, California. In contrast, PiC’s company increased their parental leave benefits so basically he can never leave that job if we wanted more kids. (I don’t know that we do. But in the hypothetical world…)

    Do you have a set number in mind for the baby fund or are you just planning to have income replacement for the amount of time you might want to be out?

    Do you haunt Craiglist for your table? That’s where we got ours 🙂

    • January 5, 2017 6:23 pm

      No, I’m not part of CA SDI, this is just my own SDI – which is ALREADY more crappy than the CA version. It makes me pretty mad, but I will basically get nothing from SDI / PFL.

      Haunt is probably not the right word, but it is the primary place we’ve been looking. We’d probably do better if we actually haunted! I have something kinda particular in mind (round/oval extendable, modernish look) and we haven’t found anything there. We got the chairs on CL.

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