I had some pretty big goals for 2013—financially and otherwise. But by taking time at the beginning of the year to figure out where I wanted to be at the end of 2013, I achieved them.
In addition to paying off nearly $21,000 of student loans from my undergraduate degree, I also quit my job of 2 years, moved, and went back to school for an MBA. Talk about a year of big changes for in money and lifestyle!
Here’s what I accomplished, as well as my plans for 2014.
Built A $20,000 Stock Portfolio
This was an ambitious undertaking, but I ended 2013 with just over $20,000 invested in stocks. I wish I could take credit for all of it, but a lot of my gains can be attributed to market recovery rather than diligent savings.
Nevertheless, sending a few hundred dollars every month to my brokerage account really paid off. Managing a larger portfolio is intimidating (sometimes I still can’t believe it’s my money), but I’m looking forward to making it grow even more.
Since more invested also means more to lose, I plan to act a bit cautious as an investor in 2014. I’m putting my MBA finance classes to good use when it comes to researching companies to add to my portfolio and feel increasingly confident about evaluating investments. If investing is on your to-do list this year, check out this beginners’ guide I wrote.
Went Back To School
I had been planning to pursue an MBA for a few years, but the timing was finally right in 2013. With my employer making cuts by freezing raises and laying employees off, my career was at risk of stagnating. Furthermore, since I managed to pay off my undergraduate debt and build up some savings, finances were no longer a limiting factor to furthering my education.
I love my program, and I’m learning a lot. So, despite the huge price tag, the MBA is a perfect fit for me. I’m looking forward to working hard in school over the next year—by the end of 2014, I’ll be three-quarters of the way to graduation! If you’re trying to determine whether to continue your education in 2014, try out this grad school salary estimator.
I’m on a limited budget now that I’m a student again, so my savings strategy is not an aggressive one. I haven’t stopped entirely, but my bank accounts are still draining faster than they’re filling up, which isn’t easy to watch.
For 2014, I’ll be stopping my retirement contributions because I’m expecting my income will be too modest to justify the tax break. Since I’ve already built up sizeable retirement assets, I feel OK hitting the pause button for a year, as the accounts will still grow with interest and dividends.
Instead, I will focus on keeping up contributions to my brokerage account and building my emergency fund. One of my big financial goals is to have a $10,000 emergency fund should I ever find myself unemployed or in need of cash in pinch, so I’m hoping to be more than halfway toward this goal by the end of 2014.
I feel in control of my money, but there’s still room for improvement. Here’s to a prosperous 2014!
What are your financial goals for 2014? Share them in the comments to motivate yourself!