2017 Financial Goals

2017 Financial Goals

As I’ve thought about how to direct our money in 2017, I’ve gotten so overwhelmed. I’m really horrible at multitasking when it comes to goals. I want to just get rid of my mortgage so that I can direct all money toward investments. But I also know if I just throw all money toward the mortgage, I’ll regret not adding more to investments along the way. The stock market seems really inflated to me right now, so I will continue to throw money at my mortgage for now, but if the market tanks later in the year, I will redirect more towards “on sale” investments.

I’m also terrible at hiding my own money before I see it. It was easy to up Mr. T’s 401k contributions, because they take that money out automatically. My paycheck is a physical check I get in the mail and it varies greatly. Last year, I ranged from $0 (vacation pay periods, I make no money… the plight of an hourly employee) to $1608 (if there is more work to do, I get more money… the awesomeness of being an hourly employee). So, it’s hard to plan monthly savings goals around my income. I haven’t figured out the best way to handle this yet. (Thoughts?)

We can’t do it all. I really, really want to be the people that blast down their mortgage balance while simultaneously maxing out 2 Roth IRAs, Mr. T’s 401, and my solo 401k (I don’t even have one of these yet!). But the truth is: we’re not those people. YET. For now, I have to focus on just a few things.

Based on those thoughts….

2017 Financial Goals

  • Earn $25,000 – Last year, I managed to earn just under $21,000 just by working more (again, bonus of being an hourly employee). This year, I plan to ramp up my freelance work (writing, research, SEO). Overall, the goal is $25,000 total as a mix of my “real job” as a part-time behavioral economics researcher and freelance work. (A reminder that we live primarily on my husband’s income which is around $70k, but because he takes out taxes to make up for my self-employment and we’ve maxed out his 401k, my paycheck usually goes to paying the mortgage each month.)
  • Mortgage Balance below $30,000 – Pretty direct. But again, if markets are on sale later in the year, I may redirect. But getting the mortgage balance below $30,000 by the end of the year keeps us on track to pay off the balance by the end of 2018 (the plan for now).
  • Max out Mr. T’s 401k – This is set up already and if nothing changes, he should automatically max it out this year for the first time! Yay for automatic payments!
  • Put $5500 into My Roth IRA – Again, ideally this would happen before April so all $5500 would max out my Roth IRA for 2016, but I can’t guarantee I can do it all by then… so anything after April 15 will go towards 2017’s contribution amounts.
  • $2500 in other investments – This brings the investments in my name to an even $8,000 for the year. I’m not allocating this quite yet, but I want my total investment goal for 2017 to be $8,000 added to accounts in my name (since Mr. T has his 401k). Maybe I’ll get around to opening a Solo 401k. Maybe I’ll contribute to 2017 Roth IRA. The suspense is killing you, amiright? 🙂
  • $200,000 Investment Balance by the end of the year – Since this is a goal I have very little control over (it being market-based and all), I am not “working toward” it, but it would be awesome to hit another big number this year, and it was awesome hitting our market-based goal last year, so I’ll be tracking our progress toward this crazy amount.

What are your financial goals for 2017? Thoughts on mine?


December 2016 Plan Update


2017 Non-Financial Life Goals


  1. Very reasonable list of goals. Kind of off topic but your mortgage remaining number raised a question. What’s the cost of living like in Alaska. I have no frame of reference to where your income puts you or how far it goes.

    • MaggieBanks

      The cost of living is high here, but we have a very low tax liability (no sales or income taxes). My income is a drop in the bucket… but my husband makes about 70k, so our combined income is closing in on 100k. We’re probably close to the cost of living of Seattle area or DC area…? A big, high cost city that isn’t CA or NYC. 🙂

  2. I feel ya…we can’t do it all either. In fact, I’ve been trying to blast through our debt for about 10 years now, and we’re still not done. And while doing this I’ve seriously neglected our long-term savings. So now I just do a little of everything – I save for short-term, I save for long-term, and I pay off debt. I might have another 10 years of paying off debt, but I keep telling myself that I’m still setting myself up for financial success! Good luck on your 2017 goals!

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s always good to celebrate forward progress, but it does often feel so slow! 🙂

  3. I think those are some really solid goals! Having that mortgage so close to paid off will be awesome. Can’t wait to see you crush it.

  4. These are great goals! I’m sure you can achieve them all.
    For me, I haven’t really sat down and set a financial goal. I am still trying to get back on track after not having a full time job for over 2 years. That really put me/us behind. My focus is to pay down my credit card, as it has the highest interest rate, but I think I need to actually come up with a plan! Otherwise I’m just going to keep saying I want to pay it down, but not actually pay it at all.

    • MaggieBanks

      Any progress forward is worth celebrating! Everyone has to start somewhere… and it snowballs to greatness from there!

  5. I know it’s not always the best thing to do, but I am a fan of no mortgage and low expenses. Mr. MMM and I are feverishly working towards paying off our rental property and then turning our attention to our home. We hope to have this done in the next few years. Like you, Mr. MMM has a variable income. He can make nothing one year and 6 figures the next. Fortunately, last year he had a nice year, so we used that to pay debts off and complete a home renovation. We basically live off of my reliable, W-2 job and put any money he makes into investments/debt repayment. Because of his variability, I feel like our “goals” are more like “wishes” ha! I really wish he has another good year so we can knock out our rental mortgage! You made great strides in 2016 and I look forward to seeing what you guys accomplish this year!

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks! I wish we could make it easy like live entirely on his and use mine for variable savings goals… but because we’ve prioritized maxing out his 401k and because he withholds a lot for taxes to make up for my self-employment tax rates, we use more than he brings home.

  6. I think those are great, attainable goals. Crazy how low your mortgage balance is already – great job! My financial goals are pretty plain vanilla – max 401k, Roth IRA, HSA, and funnel whatever is left into brokerage account. Hoping I can keep my expenses fairly consistent with last year, if so I should be right on track. Have a great 2017!

    • MaggieBanks

      Well done FF! I am very happy with our mortgage balance progress as well. And I’m very excited to crush it so I’m not as spread out on where our money is going! Then I can have more “plain vanilla” goals like you. 🙂

  7. Sounds like some good goals. I like the $200K investment balance! That’s a juicy figure 🙂

    Is the $25,000 income goal total income or additional income?

    My big goal for 2017 is to NOT GIVE UP the dream by always grinding.


    • MaggieBanks

      The $25k is MY income goal… I work very little because I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids… so, I’m not looking to work more than I already do until the kids are all in school.

  8. You can do it! Race ya to $200k!! (That’s my goal too!)

    • MaggieBanks

      Yay Gwen! You’re on! Also… ours is very market-based… there’s no way we can save that much this year… soooo… my highly uncompetitive nature is already backing me out of this being a competition…. 🙂

      • (don’t feel bad mine is too!)

      • TheRetirementManifesto

        I’m seeing a wager here. $1 entry fee. Who wins the race to $200k, Maggie or Fiery?! Great post, Maggie. Love seeing folks’ goals, yours are solid. I’m not going to say who I’m betting my $1 on…..smiles.

  9. You’ve got some great goals in the works for 2017!

    I have the same problem of a highly variable (and paper) paycheck. One strategy I use is to estimate my annual income then determine the % of that my goals need. I then divide the amount needed by 12 to get a monthly goal $ number. In months were I’m paid little I contribute what I can (sometimes nothing), and months where I’m paid more, I over-contribute to compensate. Each month I know where I should be at, so I can kick the hustle into high gear towards the end of the year if I’ll be short.

    Hope that makes sense and happy goal crushing!

  10. Great list of goals, best of luck with all of them in 2017! That low mortgage balance is really impressive.
    The best tip I’ve seen for budgeting with a variable income is to base your monthly budget on the previous month’s income. So for example, in January you live off December’s income and you base your budget on that amount. Then for February’s budget you would use the income you made in January, etc. I haven’t personally done it, but it seems like it would work well. You might end up holding more cash in certain months, but you could also be much more exact and consistent with your investment contributions/extra mortgage payments.

    • MaggieBanks

      I’ve been thinking about shifting to that for some time… and I may just make it happen. The problem I’m having is taking a month and not paying extra on the mortgage or saving money to get a month ahead… but that’s a pretty good problem to have. 🙂

  11. Solid goals Maggie. A mortgage balance below 30k and investments at 200k sounds like a really good place to be. I’ll be rooting for you!

  12. First of all, I LOVE the picture for this post! I’m not a huge fan of snow, probably because I don’t really have any winter-weather hobbies, but there is just something so pretty about snow clinging to trees.

    This is a great list of goals for 2017. The best part is that you should definitely be able to accomplish all of these things. And then, as Mrs. BITA said, you’ll be in a really great financial situation.

    Here’s to all of us kicking butt in 2017!!!

    • MaggieBanks

      The trees in this picture aren’t actually covered in snow…. it’s hoar frost which is my absolute favorite. it makes the whole world a white winter wonderland! And, as you said… we got this! 2017 bring it on! (also 2017, I’m not taunting you… so please, be kind!)

  13. Great goals! I have no doubt that you will accomplish all the ones that you have control over… I didn’t put any specific goals on our mortgage… I think our mortgage is currently over 10x what yours is… 🙁 But with our low mortgage rate, I want to concentrate on investing first. Once I feel like we have that more under control, then we can focus on the mortgage. Like you I seem to have trouble with multiple goals…

    • MaggieBanks

      Thanks Jena… sorry about your mortgage! We live in a small house and our mortgage wasn’t that large to begin with… but I agree… it’s not worth giving up on investing to put away your mortgage. I’m trying to balance all of this as well. 🙂

  14. Hey, Maggie. Very impressive goals. I hope you won’t have to divert your mortgage pay-down money, but I think you might. The market is overvalued. Will it pop this year? Or will it pop next year or beyond? My financial goal is pretty simple. Have the same net worth at the end of the year as I have now. Since we’re in the draw-down phase of portfolio management, it would be great if the market replenishes what we will take out this year.

    • MaggieBanks

      That sounds like a pretty good goal… hope the market helps you out! 🙂 It must be simultaneously relaxing and frustrating having all of your financial goals market-based these days.

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