So I don’t think I’ve told you this, but at the start of the year, we set some goals for ourselves as a family. A wide range of goals, but here I’m just going to focus on the financial ones as they’re the most relevant. The goals were:
- Increase our mortgage payments
- Teach Mrs. R2A all the finances
- Top up Mrs. R2A’s KiwiSaver by $1043 for the 2018/19 year
- Increase Sharesies balance to $2500
- Make wills
So how did we do? Read on to find out…
Increase our mortgage payments
We didn’t specify by how much, which a good goal should if you buy into the SMART goal method (which I do). Goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Obviously all our goals were time-bound as they were goals for 2019. Increasing our mortgage payments was realistic as at the end of 2018 when we set all our goals, Mrs. R2A was on maternity leave so we knew our income would increase again when she returned to work. So the goal was also achievable.
The only thing it wasn’t was measurable and that was because we weren’t sure what hours Mrs. R2A would be doing when she returned to work so it was simply an unknown. In the end we did increase the payments quite a bit (though we later had to back-pedal when she rightly decided to stay home after all), so goal achieved, for part of the year anyway.
Teach Mrs. R2A all the finances
If there’s one person in a couple who thrives on doing budgeting and finance and all that, I don’t see the harm in letting them run with it. But the other person at least needs to know where the bodies are buried, so to speak. It would be a real pain to Mrs. R2A if something happened to me and she didn’t know how to access our Sharesies account, for example.
Now at the end of the day, nothing is impossible. Should anything happen, she could call Sharesies, explain the situation and they’d probably have some procedure involving her having to provide some kind of proof/documentation and eventually she’d get the funds. Businesses have to expect these things to happen, right?
But what a hassle! It’s so much easier if she just knows the password and how to use the platform. And that’s just one example. We started on this goal but didn’t get far. The good news is that at least a number of passwords are written down somewhere she knows where to find them, so that’s progress. But goal not achieved. We should have set aside more time. I need to get her involved more in making the investments in the first place so she becomes familiar with the processes involved. Goal not achieved.
Top up Mrs. R2A’s KiwiSaver by $1043 for the 2018/19 year
It’s important to make sure you put at least $1043 in your KiwiSaver each year so you get the full amount of free government money. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s an unbeatable return-on-investment! And with the KiwiSaver year being July-June and Mrs. R2A being on maternity leave for most of that period, some serious topping up was needed to hit the right figure. I’m happy to say we achieved this goal 🙂
Increase Sharesies balance to $2500
As evidenced by our net worth updates, we achieved this goal as well, plus a bit of icing on the top. It turned out to be more than achievable, we probably could have set our sights a little higher!
We did start looking into this one. We discovered that online wills exist and we could get something going for around $300+. Not as bad as we thought it might be. But in the end we didn’t have the $300 for the same reason we didn’t keep our mortgage payments sky-high: employment changes. We have a little bit of leeway here because we know if anything happens to us, we have family who have the best interests of our kids at heart and would do the right thing by them. But that’s not a plan for all eventualities and as our net worth grows, we really need to get this done soon. Goal not achieved.
Interestingly, the most expensive goals were achieved, while the cheaper/free ones were left to flounder. My thought is that while contributing to Sharesies and KiwiSaver did involve more money, it was also correspondingly simpler. Things like making wills and teaching someone to invest/withdraw funds take a lot of time and energy. Still, we will be keeping those goals around. With that in mind, here are our goals for 2020. I’ll let you know this time next year how we go on them:
- Increase mortgage payments by $100 per fortnight from May
- Teach Mrs. R2A all the finances
- Top up Mrs. R2A’s KiwiSaver by $1043 for the 2019/20 year
- Increase Sharesies balance to $4500
- Make wills
The mortgage payment goal is considerably more specific and measurable this year, which is good. It’s based around the fact that May is when we’ll be back from our Philippines trip, so a good time to start redirecting funds before the wanderlust kicks in again.
The KiwiSaver goal has obviously been underway for the past six months and is already well on-track. And the Sharesies goal is again easily achievable. It was a compromise figure based on some discussion, but I think we can easily exceed it and to be honest, I’ll be disappointed if we don’t. Here’s hoping that by this time next year, we’ve got wills in place and Mrs. R2A is on top of all our financial processes!
How about you? Any goals you’re willing to share? Or ways you get yourself to stick to them? Please leave a comment.
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