Monday, February 19, 2007

Need to set a new financial goal

Now that my finances are in substantially better order than even six months ago, it is time to set yet another new financial goal rather than to succumb to the euphoria of complacent drifting, as enticing as that may be.

A number of questions, issues, and opportunities arise:

  1. Should I be saving more for retirement or am I right on track?
  2. Should I be increasing my non-retirement savings and investments?
  3. Can I loosen my budget and spend a little more money or do I need to tighten it to get used to living even more frugally, with the possibility of early retirement?
  4. Can I begin to travel a bit more?
  5. Should I consider buying a house or condo in a few months, six months, or a year? Should I save more towards that as a possible goal?
  6. Should I get some more formal training in finance?
  7. Should I be considering other educational and training opportunities?
  8. What aspects of my finances can and should I put on auto-pilot, which should I monitor like a hawk, and which need to be re-evaluated only on an annual, semi-annual, or quarterly basis?
  9. Should I try to significantly accelerate paydown of my remaining back taxes?
  10. Can I fund a small stock market account where I can take some significant risks for much higher returns?
  11. Do I have the spare time to do the research needed to properly assess risk for individual stock investments?
  12. What asset allocation models should I be considering?
  13. Can I find a significantly higher yield for my rainy day contingency fund?

By default, I monitor my budget and net worth on a weekly basis, with hawk-like intensity. Whenever I see some extra money accumulate in my main checking account, I either transfer it to my higher-yielding PayPal money market fund (currently a 7-day yield of 5.02%) or less frequently make an additional payment on my IRS installment plan. I'm already regularly paying extra on that installment plan, so PayPal is my main focus.

All of this is well and good, but the simple fact is that I don't have a clear financial goal other than simply "keep on track, more of the same." That actually seems okay at this moment, but I would like to have a more specific goal that I can actually track and monitor and have a sense of progress.

More deep thinking is required. Or maybe a few friendly suggestions.

Maybe I should consider myself fortunate to have this as my main financial problem.

-- Jack Krupansky

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