Mel’s Recap of 2013

It’s that time of the year again! To look back and review my 2013 accomplishments. You can read about the goals I’ve set for myself for 2013 in detail here.

1. Max out my 401k. The maximum contribution limit for 2013 was $17,500. Though I did not reach that goal, I double my contributions from the previous year. I’m satisfied with my contributed amount for 2013 and I think it is a good goal to keep annually until I retire.

2. Redo my 401k portfolio. Truthfully I haven’t given each fund that I allocate to much thought, but I did pull myself away from stable value or money market funds that had returns barely above inflation. I revisited all my funds every 2-3 months and am glad to report that I had a 2013 return of 13%. Continue reading

Mel’s 2013 Financial Resolutions

The list of 2012 goals wasn’t very long, but I’m glad that they were achieved. (You can check my recap here.) So now what are my financial goals for 2013 or rather my financial resolutions? Everybody should set some goals for themselves, writing it down is especially satisfying when you can brag about accomplishing them. 🙂

1. Max out my 401k. I know, how can a personal finance blogger not be maxing out her 401k?! That’s PF taboo right there. But truth is I’ve never maxed it out. Ever since I started working I’ve only been contributing about 50 percent (about $6k) annually. My thought process was that as long as I can get the max out of my employer’s contribution, I’m set, which I have been able to achieve. But as a responsible PF blogger, let’s make sure I don’t let this continue.

2. Redo my 401k portfolio. Along with my contribution, I’ve hardly ever look at my allocations. This year I want to take a closer look and make sure my portfolio meets my needs. I’ve kept a very conservative portfolio with most of my Continue reading

Mel’s Recap of 2012

New year new beginning, hopefully everyone had a great 2012 and may 2013 be even better.

Now’s the time to look back and see how you’ve done. Here is a recap of my financial goals that were set earlier in the year.

more blog posts
I’m glad to see that this blog has been populated with more posts, but I still don’t think that’s enough. Hoping to see more on a biweekly basis at least.

CD ladder
I’m proud to say that I have a CD ladder system in progress right now. I’ve detailed my tactical approach here before. Right now I have 6 CDs opened with my first one to mature next month! Rates are still very low and I’m thinking that 1% interest looks so much juicier than ever before. I’m looking to get another 3 going to complete the whole cycle. Look forward to my post on my ladder updates.

I think 2012 was a financially boring year for me. Compared to 2011, my net worth increased roughly about the same, at around 20%. I didn’t go on any grand vacations, only a few short weekend road trips. There were no major purchases this year. My family did, however, hire professional contractors to renovate our basement, kitchen, and bathroom, which I chipped in for. And I renovated and refurnished my bedroom at the end of the year on our own. All products from Ikea, maybe I’ll have a post on those purchases.

How did you do in 2012? Let us know!

Longer Short Term Goals

Recently, I’ve realized I have no idea what my financial goals are. And I mean lifetime/long term goals. Achieving a CD ladder is great but I need to know what I am working towards (especially now when I’m having some issues at work and feel like I’m not getting any satisfaction in terms of a career.) And being a personal finance blogger (even if I’m an amateur), I need to set some goals! But what could they be?

First off, what kind of lifestyle do I want 5, 10, 20 years down the line? Of course driving luxury cars (or be driven in one), buying $3000 outfits and vacaying at some luxury resort whenever I wish! Who wouldn’t?! Unfortunately that isn’t realistic for everyone and definitely not for me. My ideal lifestyle will more likely be no 9-5 job, at least one international vacation annually and a few domestic trips, and the ability to shop without worrying about the price tag (within reason of course). A comfortable stress-free living style. And no, sitting at home and doing nothing is not what I aspire to do, but I’d much rather do some free lancing and have the option to become a work-at-home mom one day than be glued to a 9-5 job.

But how do I make sure there’s a steady income in the household and keep up with a comfortable living? Having a spouse/partner that can provide for the household would be great, but, sadly, also not very realistic. Many people see owning rental property as the Continue reading

Mel’s Financial Goals for 2012

With the hype of New Year’s Resolutions still lingering, I want to set some goals for myself as well.

As a short term goal, I would like to start a CD ladder. Most of my savings are in a high interest savings account right now, but the interest in those accounts are not like it used to be a few years back. In the short term, it is doubtful that banks would be offering anything higher, but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to make the most out of my savings. So in the within the next months, I should have a better plan. Stay tuned!

An ongoing goal for this year would be to keep up with this blog. The purpose of this blog originally was to keep each of us inline, at least, financially. Hopefully this would set me towards a direction of what I want.


As an interim achievement, while researching and detailing facts of the Benefits at a Glance for Credit Cards post, I realize my Amex Blue card was part of their older program. The new Amex Blue Cash Everyday card had better benefits with cashback in different categories. =)  I’m saving already!

Tracy’s Financial Goals for 2011 – Final Status

In 2011, I had a list of financial goals that I wanted to complete. Here is what happened with those goals in 2011:

  1. Track my expenses in a meaningful way – I started off tracking my expenses using the Android app Financisco but I was still having a hard time understanding what was going on and wasn’t sure where all my money was going. I then switched to YNAB and have been using it for the past year. I started off with just recording my expenses and it took a few months of tinkering with my account settings and my category settings before I fully understood what was working. Now I am following a budget and I am definitely feeling more secure with my money and I am able to see exactly how much money I am saving for each particular goal.
  2. Learn more about my 401k – While I did understand the 401k concept a bit more, I have failed on this goal and haven’t spent that much time analyzing my portfolio. I have only logged into my account a few times this year. I will definitely be picking up this goal again for 2012.
  3. Buy life insurance – I did purchase my life insurance package. Here is a post on what process I went through to decide which life insurance to purchase and here is another post on the process I went through to get approved for the life insurance.
  4. Start a finance blog – I did not post much last year but I will definitely work harder on this for 2012!!

Tracy’s Financial Goals for 2011

For my first post I’d like to list some items I’d like to strive for this. year.

  1. Track my expenses in a meaningful way – I want to see where my money goes and see how my spending for specific categories change on a month by month basis as well as on a yearly basis. I hope this will show me where I can cut down on expenses and also allow me to see more clearly  how any cuts in spending will affect my monthly cashflow.
  2. Learn more about my 401k – I don’t think I can max out my contributions but I’d like to spend some time learning more about it such as what the max yearly contribution is, calculate how much more I’d need to contribute to max out my contribution amount, what is happening with my contributions, and figure out my portfolio makeup (in terms of stocks, companies, etc). Also, perhaps I can start attempting to learn how this money can be withdrawn after or before my retirement age. I currently have only a general idea on these topics and don’t feel confident in any of that knowledge. My goal is to change that.
  3. Buy life insurance – Sometime last year I was a victim (lightly put) of a hard sell for a life insurance policy by my bank. I had gone in for a money order to only leave one hour later with a large envelope listing out how much my policy will net me (well, not me … ). I had stubbornly refused and even felt bad because the guy who was pitching the sale to me was very nice about it and had tried to connect with me. He even claimed that he was one day older than me. I must say claim because I could hardly tell if he was. He did look my age but more than likely he was just trying to charm me into signing up (it almost worked – he wasn’t exactly bad looking either). Anyway, after that event I began having a strong desire to get life insurance but I had to refuse at the time because I was totally unprepared. Yet a year later, after ignoring his calls for a few weeks (I felt really bad! I did!), the envelope is still unread and I’m still just as clueless about life insurance.
  4. Start a finance blog – CHECK!