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General Goals

Our general financial goal is to achieve financial independence, but it isn’t a singular focus.  We strive for financial security while maintaining a modest lifestyle in a high cost area.  We have extra pre-tax retirement savings opportunities compared to many (457b+ 403b+more), and we take full advantage of it. Since we have an expensive home, we prepay the mortgage with extra cash to help with risk reduction.    We’re trying to build our charitable and political giving habits.  We’re hoping to be blessed with a child in the near-ish future, so we’ve reduced fixed costs by finally paying off my low interest student loan and recasting the mortgage.

2018 Goals

I’ve settled on my 2018 goals and plans, although you will notice a lack of specificity in many cases.  I have an approach, but we have the freedom to adapt as needed.


  • Retirement: Take advantage of  all pretax retirement space.  Fund two backdoor Roth IRAs for another $11k.  (This means we have to finish T’s tIRA transfer into his work 403b, although his tIRA has only $1.5k.)
  • Prepay the mortgage with any excess funds after retirement savings.  Estimate of about $15-$20k, excluding any funds allocate from our tax refund.
  • Evaluate life insurance needs.
  • Optimize investments to ensure we are in low fee funds and have appropriate asset allocation for our age.
  • Consider optimizing cash, which is held in a “high interest” savings account.  Part of me feels we “should” invest some amount of this, but there are a few near-term potential needs. I just can’t stomach reducing this generous cushion right now.  However, we could consider moving to Ally CDs or those gov’t bonds (I bonds??) that you buy from Treasury Direct.  I’m not a rate chaser generally, but am willing to make moves as needed.

Personal, Health, Career and Home

  • Develop a yoga practice.  We got a new free TV last month, and moved the old one (temporarily?) to the guest room.  So, I set up my yoga mat and now have my own yoga room! I also will do some studio yoga, but I know I’m unlikely to go frequently – I hate driving 15 minutes to do a workout and studio yoga is expensive.  I want to wait out the January crowds, but I’ll see what I can find for an occasional studio.
  • Have patience as we attempt to grow our family.  I haven’t decided how much I will share here as it happens, and it could take quite a while.  I have no reason to suspect issues, yet it is something I’m really anxious about.  It is scary to have so little control over the process! I have no idea how this one will work (ideas?), but I will make it a goal to TRY.  When I get worried, I look at our cash stash and know that we can use it to attempt medical intervention if needed.
  • Keep pushing in my career.  This is super vague, but there are some unknowns in my career  this year.  There are also some very exciting things coming up!  So, I just have to keep pushing and try to roll with the unpredictable parts.  Most of all, I need to keep focused and not let the unknown pieces worry me too much.
  • Continue home projects, but don’t go overboard.  We still need a glass shower door in the bathroom.  We still aren’t 100% done with the patio project, although we are very very close.  Exterior painting and moderate landscaping is on the agenda this year, but I’d like to keep all of this within the $9k budget allocation I set out.  We can do this all if we DIY it all, but I’m not sure if we really want to DIY the painting.
  • Read 24 books.  This is just a reminder to keep up habits that make me happy.

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