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« Christian Financial Alliance | Main | What We Got for Christmas »

January 03, 2011


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I'm going to stash as much cash as I can.

College for my oldest in September. So FAFSA and scholarship applications for anything and everything.

Home improvement projects. Replacing worn items in our household with better items. Carpeting to wood or laminate floors, garage roof, Siding the garage.

Replacement of our van with something more fuel efficent but still versitile.

Paying down the mortgage.

Start socking away money into dividend stocks to save up money for a car for my son, and then eventually daughter.

Also to save money into different dividend stocks that will hopefully pay my kids allowance for me.

Start saving money to replace our cars (they are getting older).

Start planning and then going on a trip to Hawaii (we would like to take the family and go there this year).

The rest of my goals are similar to some of your goals.

Great goals!

Meet with our financial adviser to review accounts.
Get taxes taken care of early because we expect money back.
Obtain a free credit report.
Raise amount of Roth IRA contributions.
Continue to build emergency fund.
Apply extra funds to mortgage principle.
Find ways to increase our income and margin.

FMF, regarding your charity-related goal, I have a suggestion: As someone who's spent the better part of her career in the non-profit world, I really think you ought to consider joining the board of an organization whose work you admire and are committed to.

You're a perfect candidate in the regard that a: you're looking to consolidate your giving, b: you have tremendous business acumen and insight, which almost all non-profits could use a bit more guidance in regards to, and c: you're well connected.

This might also become a part of your longer-term plan as it relates to semi-early retirement, as you certainly don't strike me as the type who is going to sit on his duff once he reduces his traditional work-load. Rather, you might decide to focus your extra time and energy on working with and supporting whichever non-profit fits your fancy!

Review finances

Add to daughters college fund

Plan home improvements

Vacation planning

Continue to build emergency savings

Michele -

Thanks! Those are great suggestions!

I actually do serve on the board of a non-profit organization (in fact, I'm the board president.) :-) FYI, we had a record year last year despite the economy!!! Yeah!!!!

I do give them a big chunk of money each year (as you might imagine), but the giving I'm looking to really consolidate is the $100 here, $50 there, $25 somewhere else kind. Too many groups to keep track of.

You're spot on regarding early semi-retirement -- I've been thinking of just what you suggested (perhaps a move to work on this charity or another one.) You're very insightful -- and I guess you've been reading along. ;-)

Excellent! I've been reading for a while, but didn't realize you were already serving on a Board. Kudos to you!

My husband and I's financial issues for 2011 are:

1. Shop around/compare quotes for homeowners insurance. We just bought our house last January, so we have very little context here, but our insurance company (who I've been with since I was 16 years old) is raising our premium by nearly $300 this year, which seems insane to me. Time to see if someone else can do better!

2. Decide if we want to purchase term life insurance policies once and for all, and if so, DO IT, before we get any older.

3. Gain more clarity on the issue of whether or not we're going to have children. Doing so would be a monumental financial undertaking, and would also have a significant impact on point #2.

4. Up the ante on our savings from 20% of net, to 25% of gross.

" ...$100 here, $50 there, $25 somewhere else..."

Consolidating your giving makes sense. See

Charity Navigator suggests the following:

Concentrate Your Giving
When it comes to financial investments, diversification is the key to reducing risk. The opposite is true for philanthropic investments. If you've really taken the time to identify a well-run charity that is engaged in a cause that you are passionate about, you should then feel confident in giving it a donation. Spreading your money among multiple organizations not only results in your mail box filling up with more appeals, it also diminishes the possibility of any of those groups bringing about substantive change as each charity is wasting a large percentage of your gift on fundraising and overhead expenses

Build up more of an emergency savings fund. Seems like every year I plan to put more in, then something happens. Last year, my computer died and I had some other expenses, but I still managed to put a little away, and I'd like to put aside at least that much plus more.

Might I also suggest a review of your life insurance?

Contact an independent agent you trust through referral or some method you're comfortable with.

I appreciated this outline of your main financial issues for 2011. I think many people could relate to this list. Perhaps especially the reviewing of investments and the consideration of major purchases.

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