Am I Halfway to My 2017 Financial Goals?

Photo credit: Tim Allston, CC BY 2.0.

It’s Halfway Month at The Billfold—and anywhere else that uses the Gregorian calendar—so it’s probably time for me to check in with my 2017 financial goals and see whether I’m halfway to achieving them.

Resolved: 2017

At the beginning of 2017, I set myself a small handful of goals. I knew that this year would have a little more uncertainty than last year, so I kept my goals modest:

  • $60,000 in freelance earnings, with a stretch goal of $70,000.
  • $6,000 added to my savings.
  • $5,500 added to my Roth IRA.

Halfway through the first half of the year I read Thomas J. Anderson’s The Value of Debt in Building Wealth and started following his formula to build wealth, which at this point in my life means saving 15 percent of my income until I’m 40.

‘The Value of Debt in Building Wealth’ Could Change Your Financial Life

This means that I’ve saved $3,227.50 so far, which represents 10 percent of my income in January through March and 15 percent of my income in April through June.

Whoa. I’m halfway there.

I currently have $6,114.32 in my savings account, but that’s going to change significantly in the next two months; by next Monday I’ll get $7,400 in freelance checks and my savings account balance will grow to $7,224.32, and by the end of August I should have $8,440.13 in savings plus a $3,000 “emergency fund/savings buffer” in my checking account that I can spend down during low cashflow months and refill during higher ones.

Would Putting “Savings” In My Checking Account Solve My Cash Flow Problem?

So, essentially, I’ll have a little over $12,000 saved.

The question is whether I’ll also get $5,500 for my Roth IRA by the end of the year.

The way The Value of Debt’s math works is that you aren’t supposed to put your 15 percent savings account money into something like a Roth IRA; it stays in savings, and if I wanted to fund my Roth IRA I would need to do an extra budget line item for that.

As of June 30, I’ve received $31,541.12 in freelance payments, so I’m a little over halfway towards my goal of earning $60,000—and there’s a strong possibility that I’ll earn $70,000, especially if you count book sales.

But I’ve also been keeping a very tight budget for a while because most of my discretionary money has been going towards publishing and promoting my novel.

So I’m not sure if there will be $5,500 extra in my checking account at the end of the year to put into a Roth IRA (and no, the $3,000 buffer doesn’t count).

What would I have to do to get that $5,500? I could save an extra $916.67 each month for the rest of the year… no, I can’t actually do that. I have roughly $500 in unallocated dollars for the whole summer—and it’s more like $300 now—not an extra $916 that I could set aside every month.

I could also earn more, but right now I have increased my workload to the point where I can’t really take on anything else. My income has increased as well, but all of my extra money is going towards stuff like “paying back that $3,000 buffer.”

But I’m not giving up hope yet! Maybe in September I’ll spend less and save more, LOL. (Or maybe I’ll buy that sofa that I’ve been telling myself I’ll buy before the end of 2017.) If it doesn’t happen, that’s fine—but we’ve got almost six months ahead of us, and I’m halfway to most of my goals so far.

This story is part of The Billfold’s Halfway Series.

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