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Boredom in the Third Stage

November 4, 2010

Get Rich Slowly recently had 2 terrific articles on the challenge of staying motivated after paying off debt and getting on solid ground financially. Here’s the guest post about scoring points with your savings, and here is JD’s follow up post.

I commented on the first entry that when we are paying off debt, it is easy to see progress and compute a definite end point. It’s just a matter of plugging your balance, payment and interest rate into a financial calculator and looking at the amortization schedule it prints.

But when the additional funds are being used for savings, sometimes the goal is so long-term it is hard to see much progress. Perhaps this is one reason so few people save anything for retirement? In our case, the savings is so automated (including automatic transfers to 401(k) and Roth IRAs) and ingrained, if we fail to review and celebrate our progress monthly or even quarterly it is easy to forget.

In J.D.’s post, he gives a few good suggestions on what to do post-debt – set goals, increase income and find balance. My wife and I have set goals. Where we have failed, and what has caused the boredom in my opinion, is not reviewing those goals on a regular basis to track our progress.

Action Plan

To get motivated and excited about our progress again, I’ve come up with a list of goals.

  • Review our saving, spending, net worth and cash flow each quarter (each month if possible)
  • Develop a spreadsheet to track our dividend stocks investments (Roth IRAs) vs. the First Trust Dividend Leaders ETF (benchmark). I’d like to share the spreadsheet here if I can figure out how.
  • In 2011, fully fund our Health Savings Account to our deductible of $5,000
  • In 2011, contribute $10,000 total to our retirement accounts – $2,000 to my 401(k) to gain the full employer match and $4,000 to each Roth IRA.
  • Replenish our emergency fund we tapped to pay for our new HVAC system in September.

To boost our income, I am also setting these goals:

  • to build and sell at least one piece of furniture in 2011
  • to build my accounting/tax revenue to $10,000 (currently about $3,000)
  • Make $300 or more from selling some of our excess “stuff”

I’ll update this post as necessary and might even give it a separate page on the blog for quick reference.


From → Challenges, Goals

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