This was a big step for me today. I have a tendency to refrain from planning out my financial future because I'm too worried about having the money that I need on a daily basis. I've always saved for the future, but I don't typically feel like its ever enough or that the saving would ever end. The fact of the matter is, there should be measurable goals that we work towards as a family.
My 7 Essential Savings Goals
At the moment, I only have around $500 per month to devote to savings, but I know this won't be the case forever. I've got extra work becoming available starting in September, and DH's business has started to pick up, so he's able to contribute a few hundred dollars a month to our financial freedom.
- EMERGENCY FUND - I set our emergency fund goal at $2,000. My thought process was that this would cover tires for both cars and a month's worth of rent at the same time.
- 6-MONTH JOBLESS FUND - Sometime around 4 am a few weeks ago, I happened to catch the Suzi Orman show. She suggests upwards of a 9-month fund, but that isn't really realistic to me. We are a 2-income household with a lot of family support in the event of an emergency. To cover 6 months of essential spending, we would need roughly $15,000.
- HSA - Ideally, I would like to see at least $25,000 in a Health Savings Account. This would help with any surprise medical bills that I--or my little "dare devil"--might accrue.
- 529 PLAN - Obviously, DH and I will want to be prepared with Wee-One is old enough to go to college. Like his father and I, Wee One will be asked to live at home, work part-time, and attend a local university, which will definitely help with the overall cost. In addition, we invest in a small personal account for him on a regular basis, and his grandparents have set up a custodial account as well. We settled on $25,000 as a reasonable goal.
- NEW CAR FUND - Another $20,000. We are not specifically saving for a new car since both of ours are running beautifully and just had tune-ups, but we want to have a large lump sum set aside for major necessary purchases (i.e. new car, air conditioner, family emergency, appliances, etc...).
- HOUSE FUND - Now, this is where it gets personal for us. This would be a good place for anyone to store their down-payment savings, but we have decided to go another route if possible. We want to buy a foreclosure property outright. No mortgage, just standard bills. Considering that a 2 BR/1BA, 900 sq. ft. home on 1 acre in this area goes for around $110,000, we feel that $90,000 should be able to purchase a reasonable foreclosure and allow us some wiggle room to fix problems or customize as needed.
- RETIREMENT - The most important piece of future planning in anyone's savings portfolio, but easily the most daunting. I highly recommend reading Retire On Less Than You Think by Fred Brock. It's a wonderful read, and gives great perspective about how to prepare for retirement logically--as opposed to catastrophically. I'm aiming for $500,000.
Cute, But How Is This Going to Work?
So good of you to ask, I asked myself the same question the instant I finished the Savings Plan. I'm restarting with my Emergency Fund. Like I said, I have $500 each month (approximately) to put towards savings. I am going to split this and put $400 towards my Emergency Fund, and $100 towards my 6-Month Jobless Fund. I generally do prefer to work on more than one thing at a time and have a little bit of that Dave Ramsey "snowball effect." It should take 7 more weeks to finish filling up the Emergency Fun, and then I get to deposit the full $500 into the 6-Month Jobless Fund. In October, I will begin depositing $25/month into each of HSA, 529 Plan, and New Car Fund accounts. It's not much but I will still be able to feel like progress is being made.
As more funds become available in October, I will immediately begin depositing $150/month into my local Credit Union Roth IRA. Why a Credit Union? So I can never lose the original investment. Why a Roth IRA? So I won't be taxed on what I withdraw from the account during retirement. As the other savings goals are met, I will end up deposit their full amount into the IRA, roughly $750/month. Of course, this is assuming that my income is fixed.
The last component of my savings is the House Fund. It's easily the most daunting because we so desperately want to find somewhere to call home. Everything else we bring in goes here....Who knows? Maybe this blog will take off...
Thanks again for "listening" to my pontificating and supporting me on this journey. As always, I welcome criticism and suggestion, from anyone.