Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My PF Year in Review

I really don't set up goals every year since (if history is any indication) I tend not to achieve them. Ha ha. But I do set up some personal targets that I haven't posted and I was wondering how I did.

Let's start with the bad news:

1. FICO score of 760 - FAIL
I'm a bit bummed by this one. Strike that - - I'm pretty P.O.'d. But one of the comments on this post made me laugh: "Dear Author shtinkykat.blogspot.com ! I apologise, but, in my opinion, you are not right. I am assured." You're absolutely right, Anonymous commenter. I'm daggum not right in the head. That's nothing new.

But going back to my FICO score, another Anon writer chastised me for being brainwashed by Suze Orman, et al. for being overly concerned about my FICO score. It's not that I'm obsessed with my score, but I do kind of see it as a report card or progress report on how I handle my credit. Although I think the scoring system is a bit bogus and arbitrary, I don't think it's irrelevant. After all, I do hope to be able to buy my first home in the next 2 to 4 years. I will continue to monitor my score.

2. Exercise Regularly and Maintain Ideal Weight - FAIL
You may wonder why I put this category in a PF blog. I do so because I believe that future health costs are one of the biggest threats to my financial security in retirement.

funny pictures of cats with captions

In January I was 110 lbs. Now? I'm a 120 lbs. I've been trying to squeeze myself into my skinny jeans for a couple of weeks and it's been painful. I think I can hear my jeans scream when I squat in them. Or maybe I'm just hearing the seams rip. Ugh. Worse yet, I lead such a sedentary life, my coronary and pulmonary health is probably not great. This is something I need to improve in baby steps.

3. EF Balance of $10,300 by 12/31/09 - FAIL but with good reason
As it stands right now, my EF balance is $8,472, or, -$1,828. The reason why I'm short, though, is because I used $2,219 of my EF to pay off my car early. There's been a bit of debate about whether an EF should be tapped to pay for a car, but I feel I made the right decision. This car is the first car I paid for myself and owned outright. It makes me feel great.

4. Investment Account of $10,900 by 12/31/09 - FAIL but also with good reason
In June, I sold 8 shares of my company stock to ensure that I would have enough money to pay off my credit card debt when the 0% promotional rate ended in October. Had I not sold the 8 shares, my investment account would be worth $14,000 today. :-(

Wanna know what really sucks about this? I sold the stock for $250.80/share in June. Do you want to know what it's trading at right now? $399.68/share. Doh! I guess this is why money you need to spend should never be in an investment account because you may be forced to sell at an inopportune time. *Sigh*

Anyhoo, onto the good news!

1. Reduce Debt to $103,282 - SUCCESS
I paid off my car loan and my credit card this year. I also accelerated the process by using some of my EF and selling off some stocks. My current debt load is $96,750.57. It's still a lot, but it feels for the first time, manageable.

2. Contribute $16,000+ to 401k - SUCCESS
I know I should be max-ing out my 401k contributions but I just do it the lazy way where I just instruct my employer to divert a certain % of my pre-tax income to my 401k. I really shouldn't take credit for this since, after all, it didn't involve any will-power or inertia to do this. But I'll take credit anyways. :-D

3. Buy $300 Worth of I-Bonds - SUCCESS
I decided to create a savings bond ladder in late 2008. My goal was to invest $25/month or $300/year and I managed to invest $350.

I guess I could also pat myself on the back re: my net worth. But I'm not sure whether it's something I could really take credit for. After all, last year's sudden drop in my net worth wasn't my fault. This year's rebound certainly wasn't my doing either.

Anyhow, I feel better about my financial situation now than I did on 12/31/08. And that's what counts.


Money Funk said...

See #3 and #4 were definitely for very good reason!

Lately, I have been on this No CC kick and am ready to cut, close, and be done with them. So, I won't need a credit score. The only thing keeping me from going with this whole idea is...eventually I want to buy a house.

Well, I could go on with my pros and cons on this subject, but I am actually more persuaded with not having credit even in the matter of buying a house. But, you have to realize that my husband does not intend to follow my No CC path. So he will still have credit when we buy a house together.

Anyway, what is your reason for needing a high credit score? Is it of importance while paying off your debt? Or is an internal marker to show that you are climbing the ranks and that you debt to income ratio is getting better by the paycheck?

I'm just curious, Shtinkykat, as I continue to explore having credit vs. not having it. I think you had a year well done. Keep it up for next year!

Miss M said...

I love your random anonymous commenters. Mine are usually snarkier.

Congrats on reaching some really big financial milestones, paying off the CC and the car is huge. I like the goals and find them valuable even though I know things are bound to happen that will shift those goals during the year. You at least need some target to aim for, I just wrote my goals for the next year. We'll see how it goes! Happy holidays, hope you have a great new years too.

jpkittie said...

pretty good, pretty good - you are still doing great! You can do it in 2010 ;)

Shtinkykat said...

@ Money Funk: I want a high score for the very reason you do - I eventually want to buy my first home and I want to get the best rate possible. But I guess I also want some kind of validation that my finances are going the right direction. I firmly believe that if you can manage to control your spending, cc usage can be great since you can use someone else's money for 28-30 days without interest. This, of course is assuming you pay off your cc in full every month. I also like the fact that I'm accruing airline miles and other kinds of reward points when I buy groceries, etc.

@ Miss M: I just read your goals. I have great optimism that you'll be successful.

@ JPkittie: Thanks! You can do it too!