My 2023 Financial Goals

My 2023 Financial Goals

It’s safe to say that 2022 did not go according to plan. On a macro level we had stubbornly high inflation, rapidly rising interest rates, and falling stock and bond prices. Personally, we managed to execute our revenge travel plans with a week in Maui, three-and-a-half weeks in Italy, three-and-a-half weeks in the U.K, and eight nights in Paris. And, in the midst of all of this, we decided to build a new house.

I like to set financial goals before the start of each year so we can map out our spending and savings strategy and make sure we’re aligned with our longer-term vision. But plans can change and so it’s important to be flexible and course correct as needed.

At this time last year I fully intended tackle five goals:

  1. Finish catching up on my wife’s unused TFSA room ($37,500)
  2. Max out my annual TFSA room ($6,000)
  3. Invest excess profits in the corporate investing account (~$48,000)
  4. Max out RESP contributions ($5,000) 
  5. Add an extra $6,500 into our travel budget

The year started off well enough. I contributed the $6,000 annual maximum to my TFSA and we added another $10,000 to my wife’s TFSA. We contributed $8,000 to our corporate investing account.

Then we went to visit a show home in a new community nearby our house. One thing led to another and we ended up signing a purchase agreement to buy a lot and build a new house. 

Our course correction from there meant pausing contributions to my wife’s TFSA and in fact we ended up draining our TFSAs to use for the initial deposit and subsequent draw. 

We also adjusted our expected contributions to the corporate investing account, from $48,000 down to $36,000, to build up a bigger cash reserve just in case.

Outside of that major change in plans, we managed to travel through most of April and July and still exceeded our business revenue expectations for the year. We also maxed out the kids’ RESP contributions for the year.

2023 Financial Goals

We don’t have a possession date for our new house yet but we’re targeting March 1st. We’ll also need to put our existing house up for sale (definitely not renting it out!) soon and try to thread the needle of selling it shortly after moving into our new house.

Whenever you’re going through a major life change, whether it’s buying a new house, going on parental leave, having a child, or even retiring, it’s okay to give yourself a grace period to adjust to your new situation. That might mean pausing automatic savings contributions for 3-6 months to make sure you’re still on solid financial footing.

On the other hand, as a planner I like dealing with certainty when it comes to my own finances. Unfortunately, we don’t have much certainty heading into 2023.

We don’t have a possession date. We don’t know when (or if) our existing house will sell, or for how much. We don’t know how much we’ll end up putting down on the new mortgage. We don’t know what the new interest rate will be on the new mortgage. We don’t know (exactly) how much we’ll end up spending on extras such as window coverings, landscaping, a new couch and TV, moving costs, and any “upgrades” over and above our housing allowances.

We also don’t know if we’ll travel next year. With the move and the extra expenses, it might be nice (and economical) to stay home for a year and enjoy our new surroundings.

Finally, we don’t know how much we’ll be able to save and invest next year.

With all of that in mind, here are our very simplified 2023 financial goals:

  1. Move into our new house 
  2. Sell our existing house
  3. Set aside ~$50,000 from the house sale proceeds for window coverings, landscaping, and other “extras”
  4. New house is completely furnished, windows covered, yard landscaped in 2023. No “someday, maybes”
  5. Remaining proceeds from house sale go towards the new mortgage
  6. Max out RESP contributions ($5,000)
  7. Contribute $6,500 each to our TFSAs (late 2023)
  8. Invest excess profits in the corporate investing account (~$36,000)
  9. Maintain work-life balance – no increase in business revenue expectations
  10. Use accumulated travel points towards a one-week all-inclusive holiday somewhere sunny

Everything flows from the first two goals. We need to be in our new house and to sell our existing house before we can achieve any other personal goals. Everything else will remain on hold until we have certainty around the timing and financial implications of this move.

Final Thoughts

The past year has been unusual in a lot of ways. Next year will be much of the same until we settle into our new reality. For us, it’s the start of a new chapter in our lives.

We’ll get our feet under us again and make a plan for the next 10 years of our life. That will include paying down the new mortgage, filling up our TFSAs again, and building up our corporate investments. It will definitely include more travel.

A transition period like this is a great time to re-evaluate your annual financial goals and make sure they align with your long term vision. Know that it’s okay to pause your regular savings while you adjust to your new situation, or if you need to fund a one-time expense. 

Assess the impact. What will the change mean for your long-term goals? You might need to work a year or two longer, or reduce your spending assumptions in retirement. Maybe it won’t impact your goals at all.

Readers: what are your financial goals for 2023? Any big changes from this year to next year?

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  1. Patrick on December 7, 2022 at 4:03 pm

    Always enjoy the content Robb. Hope you hit your goals in 2023!

    My goals:
    -Max my TFSA and RRSP
    -Contribute to my spouses TFSA
    -2500 in the RESP
    -Complete basic home renovations (20,000), we bought our first home a year ago.
    -Expand our emergency fund

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:09 am

      Hi Patrick, same to you – thanks for sharing!

  2. Kev on December 7, 2022 at 4:27 pm

    Great post! Thanks Robb. Best of luck in 2023.

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:10 am

      Thanks Kev, all the best in 2023!

  3. Heather Anderson on December 7, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    We moved to a different city. Our house in Lethbridge sold in one day….we executed our plan of emptying the house of clutter to show off its assets. We were fortunate to purchase a estate property so a move in date was NA. We have refurnished as we didn’t pay to move old and too big furniture. Window coverings $$ was a shock to me…but do love what we picked. 2023 will bring a one car family and investing our savings. My TSFA needs a build up. I am also looking into investing in a GIC ladder to ensure I have something available to me. Good luck in your house build and move.

    • Robb on December 11, 2022 at 7:14 am

      Hi Heather, thanks for sharing. That’s quite the year of change!

      All the best to you and your family!

  4. Brenda on December 7, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    2023 goals for myself and my spouse:
    – Max out TFSAs and RRSPs.
    – Max out FHSAs if they become available.
    – Add to the corporate investment account.
    – Add to taxable investment accounts.
    – Maintain or improve upon work/life balance
    – Fly to at least one travel destination and use accumulated travel points on premium economy or business class flights

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:16 am

      Hi Brenda, these sound like terrific goals. The new FHSA is going to be a great way to save for a home. I’ll have a post on it soon if/when we get a launch date in 2023.

  5. Andrew C on December 7, 2022 at 5:27 pm

    Hey Robb, sounds like you’re continuing to make great financial investments but point redemptions for all inclusive vacations usually represent terrible value for all those hard earned points. Just surprised by this decision.

    • Robb Engen on December 7, 2022 at 6:47 pm

      Hey Andrew, normally I agree but in this case I’m talking about WestJet Dollars which I’m having a hard time spending. I’ve found some decent WestJet Vacation packages that will allow us to use WJD on both flights and accommodations.

  6. Mark on December 7, 2022 at 6:10 pm

    For me some recurring goals and a big new goal

    1) max out annual TFSA & RRSP in Q1
    2) increase savings in Q1 to build cash reserves
    3) retire in Q2!!
    4) use accumulated points to spend a few weeks in France
    4) live off my dividend income

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:17 am

      Hi Mark, thanks for sharing. Even though your goals seem to be in chronological order I feel like retirement deserves the number one spot. Best of luck!

  7. Jane on December 7, 2022 at 6:49 pm


    One goal is to figure out which credit cards to own to maximize either cash or travel points.

    We are in the Deaccumulation stage so not sure what goals to have other than to spend , something which is challenging to me after so, so many years of saving. Guess it’s a nice problem to have.

    We have some minor Reno’s to do which should stay below $20,000 and will do a little travel in 2023 as well.

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:21 am

      Hi Jane, it can be tricky to find the right card for travel points because so much depends on where you shop and what type of travel program will meet your needs.

      In general, American Express cards offer the best rewards, but if you shop at Costco or No Frills, for example, they don’t accept Amex so it can be hard to accumulate points.

      Check out the Credit Card Genius site to find options that can be tailored to your spending.

      And, yes, one of the most difficult aspects of retirement is turning off the savings taps and turning on the spending taps. Best of luck!

  8. Doug Greenwood on December 8, 2022 at 9:08 am

    Always appreciate your complete candor and transparency Robb. Many thanks and best of luck for the New Year.

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:22 am

      Hi Doug, thanks for the kind words. It means a lot!

  9. Pam on December 8, 2022 at 1:15 pm

    My goals for 2023
    Max out mortgage pre-payment (keep me on track to be mortgage free before the renewal date)
    Max out RRSP/TFSA
    Invest in my non-registered account (30k)
    Work travel will probably scratch my travel bug (DRC and Kazahkstan on the books for 2023)

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:24 am

      Hi Pam, thanks for sharing your goals for 2023. Simple, straightforward, and another year closer to financial freedom. And, yes, work travel is back but don’t forget to escape somewhere warm for a week if you can!

      • Pam on December 13, 2022 at 11:41 am

        Week in Mexico first week of January and that is all hammock and swimming time. But getting to travel to places I would never travel for work is a pretty cool perk of my job. DRC and Khazastan would be nowhere on my personal list but I am excited to see places like this as work travel for me is pretty safe even in extreme locations.

  10. Richard Delcorde on December 8, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    Sold our house in the city of Ottawa and bought a house in the shadow of a small town ( Kemptville 40 min drive back to our dentists ,mechanic ,family and hairdresser in Ottawa ) . No Mortgage to worry about interest rates .car is still very good for an other 5 to 8 yrs . Selling our older (2014 ) Triumph Motorbikes and purchasing newer ones to travel on . Reno in new to us house ( 1978 ) $50 K for windows all around and new kitchen cabinetry and counter space . 2022 was a busy year for travel , the isle of Man for TT races , car rental to tour Scotland where my wife was born and then we moved in here . Topping up unused TFSA for both of us . Retirement is good

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:26 am

      Hi Richard, sounds like a great year! We’re in love with Scotland and hope to go back in 2024.

      Any travel plans for next year?

  11. AnotherLoonie on December 9, 2022 at 10:18 pm

    “New house is completely furnished, windows covered, yard landscaped in 2023”

    Now THAT’s an ambitious goal. We’ve lived in our house for 3 years now and still haven’t fully furnished it.

    You’re increasing your travel budget next year. Mind sharing how much you spent on travel in 2022? Must get expensive with kids and all.

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:35 am

      @AnotherLoonie – Ambitious, yes, but we already have furniture – just might upgrade a sectional and my wife’s eyeing a frame tv for the living room.

      Landscaping is more out of necessity as we’ll have a walk-out that we plan to use regularly.

      One of our goals with the move was to not have any “some-day, maybe” projects so it will be as move-in ready and liveable as it can be for a new house.

      And, no the increase in travel spending was a goal for this year and I think we probably spent about $30k on travel for the year. Mostly in accommodations as the flights were all booked on Aeroplan points. It was a big year with four trips!

      We don’t have any travel plans in 2023, figuring we’ll need that money for the new house and frankly we need a break after a busy year. I do have a pile of WestJet Dollars, though, and would love to get away for a week to someplace sunny using WestJet Vacations so we only have to pay fees and taxes.

      • AnotherLoonie on December 12, 2022 at 9:52 pm

        Amazing. $30k is travel is quite the sum. But definitely worth the cost, I bet, for a family with children.

        Best of luck on your home in the new year. Not having any ‘some-day maybe’ projects is a really good goal when moving into a new home.

  12. My Own Advisor on December 10, 2022 at 9:25 am

    Great stuff, Robb. Seems balanced as usual!

    My/our 2023 goals are boring but aligned with what we need, I think 🙂

    1. Max out x2 TFSAs (ready for 2023 already, save another $13k for 2024).
    2. Max out x2 RRSPs.
    3. Grow our cash wedge/modest emergency fund to $50k to start semi-retirement with.

    That will be a great year if we can do that. Got $$ saved for a few trips already too!

    All my best,

    • Robb Engen on December 11, 2022 at 7:37 am

      Hi Mark, thanks for sharing your goals. It must be getting exciting to start this new semi-retirement chapter. I bet it’s so close you can taste it!

      All the best!

  13. KC on December 12, 2022 at 9:26 am

    1. Continue to save my future car payments for a new car while we do research for a new one. We have a LO and my Mazda 3 cannot fit a passenger comfortably with the car seat behind it. However, we’ll still keep it for work commute for one of us who’s not taking the LO to daycare as it’s still going strong and doesn’t cost us much as it’s been fully paid off for 6 years now. My car is 10 years old and only requires regular maintenance.

    2. Focus on maximizing annual mortgage prepayment ahead of mortgage renewal in 2025 using bonuses and unexpected rebates/windfalls.

    3. Start to build up savings in our TFSA’s using the savings from Canada-Wide Early Learning & Child Care (CWELCC) System. We found out that our daycare will be reduced by 52.7% starting on Jan 1st so we’ll take advantage of the savings there.

    4. Continue maxing out the work matching RRSP plan for both of us.

    5. Take 1 trip this summer for a camping trip somewhere.

  14. Kyahgirl on December 14, 2022 at 11:40 am

    Hi Rob, thanks for sharing your goals. Exciting times!

    Most of my financial goals revolve around setting up some ETFS for our current savings defining an end date to my husband’s job.

    We are good savers but haven’t really made concrete de accumulation plans so that has to become a priority for this year. My ultimate goal is to made a solid enough plan that will convince my husband that we can pull the trigger on this retirement thing and he can stop driving himself crazy with a job he no longer loves!

    All the best in 2023.

  15. Monty on January 3, 2023 at 11:25 am

    2023 plans

    – Max TFSA for me and wife — Done
    – 5000 RESP for kids — Done
    – MAX RRSP for myself — payroll will take care of this.
    – 40k non-registered account. — payroll will take care of this.

    So the only thing I need to plan out is I have a big cash reserve saved for the rate rise last year that will get utilized this year:
    OptionA: Buy a rental property if the market corrects further.
    OptionB: Put some money into a non-registered ETF fund for long-term growth and Mortgage prepayment on the primary residence.

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