Goals for 2016 and Small Business Saturday
Today I want to take the time to have everyone really think about where and who they are buying from. Despite the fact that I work for a big bank and I heart Nike, I’m actually pretty small business friendly. I refer to the Yankees and Starbucks as the evil empire for example. I support local businesses at almost every opportunity I can get in my everyday life. Here are just a few examples of where I purchase items:
- Family owned grocery store
- Family owned fish market
- Craft Beer bought at local liquor and bar
- Craft beer of choice is actually on my walk home from the train
- When we eat out we prefer our local sushi place about 1 block from our house, also BYOB
- Any meat purchases we prefer to go to a local butcher about a mile away*
- Coffee and studying for the wife and blogging for myself has us at a local coffee shop by our house
- In the Loop on my $20-week budget, I choose a local coffee shop every single time
- Still have money left over from the week? You will find me at a local market who makes my favorite sandwiches or a family owned Italian stop
If you are anything like me you will avoid the big box stores for everyday purchases, I really believe in small businesses and I do my best to make them part of my community and part of my everyday life. Today we went and visited our local coffee shop and purchased gift cards for ourselves:) and scored a $10 bonus for buying $40. Since we like to grab a coffee and an apple turnover this gift certificate will go to good use. Might just try some of the coffee beans and give it a go at the house. I’m happy to support small businesses, every single day, please consider doing the same.
— Even Steven (@EvenStevenMoney) November 28, 2015
GOALS FOR 2016
As we close out the month of November and reach into December and Christmas time, the new year is right around the corner as was reminded by Mom and Dad Money a few weeks ago. I began to get excited, not for Christmas although I am excited to head down to Florida for a week with La Familia, I am a finance nerd so I became really excited for planning out 2016!!!!
In November, I was able to update my benefits making a few calculated decisions for 2016. Here’s a brief recap:
- Canceled my vision insurance
We went through an eye test (included in our regular insurance) and bought our eye glasses in November 2015 so the thought process is that we will not need glasses or an eye check until late 2016 and can manage to hold off until our insurance kicks in as we will include vision insurance for 2017.
- Bought 40 hours of vacation
I receive 3 weeks/15 days of vacation with my 9-5 job however, Mrs. Even Steven receives 22 days. This past year it was not a huge obstacle to get around as Mrs. ESM took an extra trip to Florida to visit La Familia. This year we plan on taking a longer trip to Nicaragua with some friends and knew we would want the extra days.
- Increase my H.S.A. to max contribution–$6,750
Per paycheck (26 paychecks) $259.62 as this amount pales in comparison to what we contributed last year, but if you have read the Madfientist, he will tell you it’s the Ultimate Retirement Account. This has been part of my Early Retirement Blueprint as we plan to have around $25,000 in my H.S.A account as our medical emergency fund.
- Increase 401 (k) to max contribution-$18,000
Oh the biggy daddy of them all, haha! I have been waiting to max this account since I began reading personal finance blogs. This past year I contributed up to the company match while I paid off all of my student loans.
Per paycheck (26 paychecks): $692.31; only thing that bothers me a little with this amount is I am unable to get the exact dollar amount. Our company and I believe the servicer we use only allows a percentage, so unless by some act of the almighty, I will be either a little under or a little over the total amount of $18,000 max contribution for 2016. Part of me wants to contribute $1 over and call in a fit of rage about not being able to update the total to a dollar amount rather than a percentage, in reality I will try to hit that $1 over minus the fit of rage.
- Mrs. Even Steven Max 401 k contribution-$18,000
Not much changing here, last year we increased the contribution to a comfortable amount that will be very close to the full max contribution by the end of the year. Last year we changed this right around the pay increase and bonus in an attempt to get very close to the max, this year with the expected raise and bonus for the entire year, it should be right on the money.
- Pay off Florida Rental…..In Full
Our Financial Independence journey relies heavily on rental income and 2016 is set to have a major milestone. Our expected goal to pay off the FL Rental property was for December 2016, after the mortgage company finally dropped the PMI (we also filed a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaint since they should have dropped it months before), this allowed us to increase the principal payment and based on the projections finish off a month early! We are excited for this moment, much like my student loan repayment this marks a significant point in our journey.
- Roth IRA-Mr. and Mrs. Even Steven–Undecided
As we went through the numbers and our budget updates heading towards 2016, one of our sticking points has been contributing to our Roth IRA. Mrs. ESM is less on board with this as she prefers to see the money in her savings account, she uses the money throughout the year for larger purchases, trips, etc and does not want to make contribute to the Roth IRA to only have to take it out. I don’t think we will contribute immediately in the early part of 2016, but based on our conversation I believe she is 75% on board to contribute the last month of 2016 after the rental is paid in full.
I have a confession to make, I actually borrowed from Mrs. Even Steven to pay off my personal loan. I know what you are thinking, in marriage everything is together. However, in this case, I am borrowing money from her personal savings, since we keep our accounts separate and I will be paying her back throughout 2016. One of my ideas that Mrs. ESM was not to fond of was paying her back by contributing to my own Roth IRA in 2016, at least I tried. Based on my current 9-5 job I think contributing my max 401k and the household H.S.A contributions will make maxing out a Roth IRA the easiest task in the world.
The goals for 2016 include a max contribution to both 401k accounts, H.S.A., and paying off our Florida rental. $41,750 are automatically set up to reach our goals, the Roth IRA is a work in progress. I do not want to leave $11,000 on the table for our future, we make enough money to make this a priority. On the positive side, so many great things have happened in 2015 and 2016 looks all the brighter ahead. I look forward to our Financial Independence Day of May 2020, I can’t wait to share reaching our goals along the way.
*We are on a schedule to buy from Costco 1x every 2 months, anything in between is bought at our local grocery store or meat market