Now that you’ve been through your year-end financial checklist, it’s time to look ahead to next year and set some financial goals.

For some, a new year is a good opportunity to establish better habits, such as paying off credit card debt or creating (and sticking to) a budget, while for others a new year simply means more contribution room for building up their TFSAs, RRSPs, and RESPs.

Tracking your progress

I’ve used this blog as a way to set financial goals and hold myself accountable to achieve them. While it hasn’t been perfect, writing down and publishing my goals here each year has helped me get closer to financial independence.

But you don’t need a blog to help track your progress. Insurance giant Standard Life is set to launch a new mobile app called Goalkeeper that aims to do just that – turn your dreams into reality by setting dollar-figure goals (with deadlines) and helping you achieve them by making small changes to your spending habits.

  • Be one of the first 500 people to sign up for the app and you’ll be entered for a chance to win $500.

My financial goals for 2015 are fairly straightforward.

Repay half of our line of credit – We took out a home equity line of credit this year to develop our basement. The renovation cost $32,500 and we plan on paying that off over two years. I’ve budgeted $1,425 per month to put back onto the line of credit, which will get us to that halfway point (including interest) by the end of the year.

Switch from dividend stocks to ETFs – I’ve explained the decision to switch my RRSP from Canadian dividend stocks to an ETF – specifically Vanguard’s All World ex-Canada Index ETF (VXC). Now it’s time to implement the strategy. That means selling 23 individual stocks and purchasing units of the Vanguard ETF, which I plan to do in stages throughout the year.

Relax about the little things – I can be a bit of a miser when it comes to spending on (what I consider to be) frivolous items. But I’ve learned that what’s frivolous to me might be important to others (like my wife) and so I can’t get upset about her spending $50 on a home décor item when I’m just as likely to blow $50 on a few cases of beer.

Related: What’s busting your budget?

We’ve added ‘home décor’ to the monthly budget – an amount that we both agreed would meet our needs without derailing our other financial goals.

Finish the four-course CFP program – Next week I’ll write the second exam of the four-part online CFP certification program. By this time next year I hope to have completed all four courses, after which I’ll have to write the first of two CFP examinations – Financial Planning Examination Level 1 – administered by the Financial Planning Standards Council.

Final thoughts

There’s not much to get excited about when it comes to next year’s goals, so I’ll need to have the patience to look at what’s ahead over the next 12-24 months.  The fact is, we took on some debt and now we need to repay it.  Simple as that.

Two years from now our line of credit and car loan will be paid off, freeing up $2,250 per month with which to save. That $27,000 per year will go a long way towards catching up on TFSA contributions, and re-building our savings.

RelatedHow automation and habit combine to produce amazing results

Finally, the CFP certification will open up new doors for my fee-only financial planning business, which should continue to grow as the industry adopts new disclosure requirements around costs, performance, and conflict of interest.

What financial goals do you hope to achieve next year?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

13 Comments

  1. My Own Advisor on December 7, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    “…so I can’t get upset about her spending $50 on a home décor item when I’m just as likely to blow $50 on a few cases of beer.”

    Sounds like my house 🙂

    I haven’t given too much thought for 2015 yet but these things come to mind:

    -max out TFSAs ($11k).
    -optimize RRSPs (a few $k each).
    -continue to kill mortgage debt via lump sum payments.

    We hope to avoid taking on more debt via a bathroom reno sometime in 2015, we’ll see, there is only so much income we can save.

    Good goals Robb, very balanced.
    Mark

    • Echo on December 8, 2014 at 7:52 am

      Thanks Mark. Learning to relax about the little things is something I’ve been working on for a long time. Starting to get it, finally 🙂

  2. Barry @ Moneywehave on December 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Personally I don’t tend to set many goals. All my savings are automatic, so technically I’m always meeting my goals. Assuming I don’t blow some of that savings of course.

    I guess one goal I do have is to try and create content that people are interested in on a regular basis. Hopefully pick up some more freelance work at the same time.

    • Echo on December 8, 2014 at 7:54 am

      Hi Barry, so you probably fall into the “a new year simply means more contribution room for building up their TFSAs, RRSPs, and RESPs” camp. Nothing drastic, just stick with the plan and you’re all set.

      • Barry @ Moneywehave on December 8, 2014 at 5:34 pm

        Yes, exactly.

        Come January I deposit the maximum into my TFSA and rebalance immediately. I wait until tax season to take care of my RRSP.

  3. Tom on December 8, 2014 at 5:44 am

    I have three main goals for 2015, which don’t officially kick off on January 1 but rather, April 1. We’re fortunate enough to spend the winter months in Florida so, before we head home, I have to have the rental deposit ready. Then, once I get home from Florida, I set about systematically buying US dollars to get the full amount of the three months’ rent saved for next winter.
    Next on my list is paying off or putting a big dent in the amount owing on my car which is on my secure L of C!
    After that, repaying and trying to top up our TFSAs which took a bit of an hit this year as we had two weddings in our family and I had only saved enough to pay (our share) for one and so had to withdraw funds to pay for the other!
    Retiring mortgage free has certainly been a blessing for us and, I here must acknowledge the inheritance my wife received from her parents upon their deaths. Without that, I suspect our senior years might have been somewhat different indeed. As well such things as also being able to top up our RRSPs again, from my wife’s inheitance, as well as setting up TFSAs, Income Splitting at tax time, and some casual work for both of us. Most importantly, enjoying relatively good health is truly a gift for which we are grateful.
    (I know we really are the lucky ones—the boomers who get slogged so much in the press.)

  4. Mrs. Frugalwoods on December 8, 2014 at 6:17 am

    We haven’t ironed out our precise 2015 goals yet, but, I think it’ll largely be staying the course. 2014 was a good year for us in terms of getting our savings rate up to 65%-85% every month and I think we’ll just work to maintain that in 2015. We’ll also continue to max out our 401Ks. I think we’ll probably create a few non-financially related goals as well. And, of course, always good to run the numbers at the end of the year and see where everything stands!

  5. RBull on December 8, 2014 at 6:26 am

    Being recently retired our 2015 goals are very simple.

    We will operate our household and keep travel expenses within our established budget. I have built a simple spreadsheet and input and monitor this monthly. We may adjust our discretionary spending if market returns do not meet our plans, although we hope this is conservative at 3.5%. We enjoy looking for ways to save money on basic things so we can spend more on the fun things.

    We will maintain our investment asset allocations according to our established guidelines, and transfer money to top up our TFSA’s as allowed. We plan to re balance within the first month of the year.

    We will stay active and fit, eat healthy and enjoy our new found freedom. I exercise approx 5 1/2 – 6 hours per week, and do all of the physical work on the home & large property; and my wife exercises about 3 hours per week. We eat very well and enjoy the bounty from our garden through the year by freezing everything we can. We have a travel and an activity bucket list.

    I’m having a lot of fun with all of this and I know my wife is in heaven with her retirement. Good luck to all on your goals for this year and in 2015.

  6. AnnieA on December 8, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Nothing new here either. Topping up the TFSA and RRSP and maybe doing some more travel.

  7. Robert on December 8, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    I don’t find year end to be the logical time for all of my planning but the following probably fits the discussion

    1.Suspend purchase of US securities. I draw the line at an exchange rate of .89 vs USD and that looks to be in the rear view in 2015. Anything I might spend on that will become some sort of cash deposit since I think my level of it is to low.

    2. Apply for CPP sometime after February – I hit 62 in March and it may start around then. I’d like them to see my 2013 CPP taxes first.

    3. Start hitting my RSP for living expenses since I sure don’t like the withdrawal rates I will be pushed into later on. I also want to defer withdrawals from my company in the next 3 years as much as possible to defer CPP taxes, and RRSP withdrawals help with that.

    4. Move more stuff into TFSA in January. Probably a transfer in kind.

    5. Spend at least 5 weeks of winter in the south of Spain – it saves on heating and electricity in my house :).

    6. Spend at least $2,000 on tools for my new job – stone sculpting.

  8. Tawcan on December 10, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    Haven’t ironed out our 2015 goals yet but I will sit down in the next month or so and figure them out. The big plan is to continue max out RRSP and TFSA and have some money leftover to contribute in regular accounts.

  9. KC on December 10, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I’m looking forward to finally paying off the debt in June 2015 after which I will aggressive bump my emergency fund (in TFSA) to $5K, boost personal savings fund to $2,000 and put away $10K for future house (in separate TFSA). This will be the first time in a few years that I will finally be back in the black. I can’t wait!

  10. Daniel @ Save With Dan on December 13, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Hi, there!
    My main goal for the first months of 2015 is to start seriously looking into savings and investment options. Living in Canada for 2 years and with life a bit more stable, it’s more than time to do that!

Leave a Comment