Making Financial New Year's Resolutions

Six popular personal finance bloggers share their money-related goals for 2008.

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As the New Year begins, I asked some of my favorite personal finance bloggers to share their money-related goals for 2008. I was most inspired by the resolutions related to dreams—saving for a trip to Italy, quitting a day job to work on a passion, or sending a soon-to-be-born son to college. So much personal finance talk relates to problems, such as paying off debt or saving for an emergency fund. Sometimes stepping back and considering the big picture is a welcome break. Here's to a year of turning those dreams into reality.

Boomie at the Wastrel Show: My goal for 2008 is to save up enough money to visit my family in Italy once again. I met most of them for the first time last year and promised to return this year. Because of the falling dollar and rising euro, the same exact trip this year costs $3,500, compared to $2,500 last year. Since I live debt free and do not use credit, it will take me longer to save the money. My revised goal is to see them every 18 months.

Will Chen at Wise Bread: My goals for next year are: 1) always wait one week before making any purchase over $100, 2) direct-deposit 25 percent of my monthly income into a diversified investment portfolio, and 3) quit my day job and work full time at my blogging company to help other people become professional bloggers.

Silicon Valley Blogger at the Digerati Life: [My husband's and my] biggest goal involves making a change in the way we are earning our income. Right now, I am responsible for bringing in most of our income through a stable, corporate job while my husband works on launching a start-up with his partners. By the middle of 2008, our plan is to have us reverse roles, which hinges on our expectation that my husband will find funding for his business venture, subsequently allowing him to bring home a salary. If this pans out, I will leave the corporate life to focus on family matters and raising our young children, as well as to pursue more flexible creative business ventures that I hope will also generate income. We hope that this will help us achieve a better work and life balance, and help us manage our home life better.

Our smaller goals involve improving our financial management efforts, including buying and using personal finance software to better organize and manage our records, simplifying our finances by consolidating accounts and doing rollovers, boosting our insurance in various fronts, and updating and organizing our estate planning documents.

Tricia at Blogging Away Debt: In 2006, we managed to pay off $13,200 in credit card debt. For 2007, we are on target to pay off a total of $6,700 for the year. Our goal for 2008 is to pay at least an additional $10,000 towards our credit card debt. That will leave us about $8,000 to pay off in 2009. Of course, if the opportunity arises, we will definitely pay more than $10,000 in 2008.

Pinyo at Moolanomy: I have two major financial goals: first, to accumulate $1 million in liquid assets by 2017 and, second, to save $250,000 by 2024 for my son's education. These may not sound spectacular, but I believe they are practical and realistic. They are S-M-A-R-T—that is, specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-specific. When we are looking at a big, audacious goal, it can be hard to take the first step, because we simply don't know where to start. The process of transforming goals into actions allows us to break down a big goal into tiny ones that are easier to accomplish.

Recently, I declared another financial goal—to cut my utility expenses by 10 percent by December 2008. This will be a challenge considering the rising costs of gas and electricity in my area. To top it off, my wife will be giving birth to our first son any day now. This means I am trying to cut expenses while adding another person to the household.

And here's something I haven't shared with anyone before. In 2008, my goal is to earn $5,000 from blogging, so that I can use that money to fund my son's 529 college savings plan. I periodically share my progress on my blog.

Boston Gal at Boston Gal's Open Wallet: In 2008, I hope to be able to purchase and install photovoltaic solar panels on my roof (if my roof is situated correctly and my home can benefit from solar power). This may not be the smartest solely financial goal a gal can have, but if I can swing it by paying cash (no financing!) and take advantage of available rebates and other incentives to lower the cost, it might not be the stupidest financial goal either.

I also hope to fully contribute up to the $15,500 limit in my company 401(k) plan in 2008 as well as contribute $5,000 to my Roth IRA if I am eligible to do so. That is a lot of spending and saving planned for the next year—we shall see how it goes!

As for me, I'd like to purchase a new car and trade in my husband's and my old car for a price that is worth more than the $1,000 repairs recently done to it. I'd also like to pay off $10,000 of our student loans, in addition to making our regular monthly payments. My longer-term dream is to become a homeowner, so this year I plan to scope out the market, pick a neighborhood I like, and then consider a purchase in 2009.

Readers, what are your goals?