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General Goals

Our general financial goal is to achieve financial independence, but it isn’t a singular focus.  Retiring early is more fuzzy – I would like the option, but it is far enough away that it is easier to focus on our careers.  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 prepaid the mortgage with extra cash to help with risk reduction – but it is less of a priority right now.

We’re trying to build our charitable and political giving habits.  We reduced fixed costs to prepare for having a child by finally paying off my low interest student loan and recasting the mortgage.  We don’t directly save for her college, but we intend to help with it.

2019 Goals

Monetarily, our priorities are mostly unchanged from my thoughts on the bottom of this post, except we’re going to skip the mega-backdoor ROTH IRA and go directly to maxing out 403bs.  This is primarily because I cannot stand to give up any tax breaks, and secondarily because I feel relatively unconcerned about paying for baby’s college.  This means our money savings will go like this in 2019:

  • Max 457bs and mandatory pre-tax savings
  • Max out two Roth IRAs, via backdoor.  We did finally move  the <$2k that T had in a rollover IRA.  That makes this straightforward without worrying about the pro-rata rules.
  • Max out 403bs / 401ks
  • Consider a small pre-payment to the mortgage (or mega backdoor Roth IRA)

Other money related goals/tasks:

  • Get our crap together on estate planning, etc.
  • Review life insurance and disability coverage. I’m quite sure we need to sign T up for additional disability insurance through work.
  • Open a 529 for baby, although this is just for gifts to her rather than our primary place where we will save for her education. I expect very modest gifts, on the order of a couple hundred (or less) total per year, if anything. Still, we should have a designated place for it.
  • Review asset allocation across all accounts.
  • Give to charity and political campaigns. As in 2017, my target is a measly $100 each month (and lump sums to catch up for missed months). Considering our blessings, this is a very small amount, but a step in the right direction.

Non-money tasks

  • Re-evaluate emergency kit and “go bag”.  I put some effort into this a couple of years ago, so we wouldn’t be totally screwed in the case of a big earthquake.  We are a bit less prepared for a wildfire, especially an evacuation via foot, which is likely the quickest way to safety.  This is applicable to work and home.
  • Prep for 24-48 hour power outages this summer. The utility company notified us it is likely they will preemptively shut off power during times of high fire risk.  I’m glad they are being proactive, but it will be annoying to live with. Among other annoyances, this puts my stash of frozen milk for my baby at risk.  We are setting up the inexpensive chest freezer my dad left in our garage for storage in hopes this will help.
  • Work with manager on a promotion/raise. I’m pretty happy with my position and salary, honestly.  But we talked about this last year (he brought it up) and I brought it up again more recently. We agreed to wait on the outcome of a few things, but I don’t want to let it drop.
  • I’d like to have other work-related goals, but I just don’t know what is going to happen in terms of projects. My near term goal is to make it in this job until at least February of next year in order to vest in some benefits.  But that’s a pretty lame goal, and I hope I can do much much better than “survive”.
  • Consider installing a safe at home, bolted to the closet floor. After our house was burglarized, we installed a simple alarm system. The police said it would really only serve to limit the duration of time a burglar would spend in our home, and allow for them to potentially be caught due to the camera. We don’t really have valuables, aside from our computers, which are often not left home alone. We don’t keep cash at home. So, a safe is… maybe unnecessary? But I want to make a final decision on this item.
  • Get quotes for a roof replacement, and (maybe) execute a new roof. I have cash set aside for this project, but we are waiting on the tenure decision.  Also, we need to consider a whole house attic fan and solar as part of this decision.

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