2017 in Review: Financial Goals

Happy New Year!

As is the trend in the blogging world, the start of a new year is when we review the year before and make new plans or goals for the new year.  I am no different.  I reviewed my personal/miscellaneous goals already, but it is now time to review my financial goals for 2017.  I’ve been reviewing these every month all year long, so none of these results should come as a complete shock, but it is always good to review and reflect.

#1 – Emergency Fund

It finally happened… After a good run of not pulling from the emergency fund, we got one of the final large bills from the renovations and it took us a little over budget, so I had to borrow some money from the emergency fund along with some leftovers in our travel fund to cover it.

However, I didn’t touch the pet emergency fund, so that increased by an okay amount to get us closer to the $5000 goal.

Human Emergency Fund = $5400 (-$4600)

Pet Emergency Fund = $4090 (+$370) 

So, what does that mean for our final result for 2017?  Well… a failure I guess… But… At the beginning of the year, the total balance of our emergency funds was $6200.  The total balance now is $9490, so technically we are doing better than we were a year ago… (by $3290) and, another note on the plus side, we didn’t have to go further in to debt for our renovations!

#2 – Planned Spending

As I mentioned in my last financial update, it is really hard to keep track of these planned spending goals because it is money that is saved to be spent… And the spending doesn’t always happen all at once…  The easiest way I’ve found for me to track these is to look at the planned spending totals in my YNAB reports and then add in what is left in the “fund”…

  1. Travel #1: $3650 / $3000
    >> We spent more than we had planned…
  2. Income Tax: $0 / $400
    >> Turns out we both got a refund this year!
  3. More Home Renos: $20,000 / $35,000
    >> As I mentioned above, the planned renovations came in over budget, so we didn’t really “save” this money…  I’m also not 100% sure that this number is accurate… Like I said, it’s hard to track… We had $110,000 from our mortgage refinancing, and my total renovation expenses are sitting at $130,000… So… That means that over the year we have added $20,000 to the renovation budget at some point?  That makes sense, right?
  4. Other Travel: $4800 / $5000
    >> In my last update I had this labeled as “Done”, but this is now down from the “done” value because I borrowed a bit that was leftover in the fund to pay for renovations… But I guess since we didn’t need the money for travel, I can still call this goal completed?
  5. Other Savings (aka Baby Fund): $10,000 / $16,000
    >> I didn’t touch this one for the renovations because I know we will need it down the road…
  6. *Education Fund: $10,000 / $7500
    *The education fund wasn’t a part of the original financial goals for 2017, but we added it back in the October update.
    >> We didn’t really save up for these expenses, we just sort of kept paying them as they came in… Which is great that we can “cash float” this sort of thing, but that’s probably why we didn’t get the renovation fund topped up enough to cover everything…

So, if I were to summarize that messy mess of goals and notes… 3 of the original goals are completed and successful (I’m counting not having to pay income tax as a success)…  2 of the original goals are still a work in progress (aka failures)… and the 1 goal that I added in later in the year was “successful” because we just kept stealing money from other things to pay for it… I’ll go with 4 out of 6 successful here then.  That’s a 66% success rate.  Good enough!

#3 – Net Worth

Ouch!  That’s a big jump down from December to January… But, it pretty much matches up with the goal, which is good predicting on my part, I guess…  As I mentioned already, we got one of the big final bills for our home renovations, so that took a huge chunk of our cash savings away.

2017 Year End Net Worth

Net Worth: The goal was a decrease of 32%.  The final tally actually gives us a decrease of 33%, so a little more of a decrease than I wanted, but the renovations are so worth it.  I can’t wait to give you guys another update!

RRSP: The goal was an increase of 15%.  We managed an increase of 11%, so that’s pretty good.  I knew that making the full 15% would take some extra saving that we didn’t do, so I’m not surprised, and I’m just happy that we did get an increase that was double digits!

(RRSP = Registered Retirement Savings Plan – a Canadian tax deferred retirement savings vessel)

TFSA: The goal was an increase of 155%, which sounds crazy, but remember that small numbers can increase in percentage quickly… But… We did not meet the goal.  We got stuck at a 45% increase.  One of the things I was thinking of doing was to move our emergency fund to a TFSA account, which would help increase the TFSA total, but since we have ended up using some of the emergency fund, it was probably a good idea not to move it there.

(TFSA = Tax Free Savings Account – a Canadian tax sheltered savings vessel)

Cash: The goal was a decrease of 82% because of all the renovation spending.  I’m not totally sure that I did good math when I made this goal, because with the savings goals that I had, the numbers don’t really make sense… In any case, we have had a decrease of 75%, so not quite the 82% expected, but I am very happy with that.  Not meeting this goal is actually better for us.

Taxable Investments: The goal was an increase of 16%.  We are actually up 19%, so this goal has been met and surpassed.  I’d like to say it was because of something we did, but it is totally out of our control, and based completely on market returns and values.  I’m not going to complain though.  If these investments just sit here and grow, that is exactly what we want them to do.

#4 – Monthly Spending below $8000

We all knew it was coming.  December is traditionally one of our most spendy months of the year, so it should come as no shock to anyone that we went over the $8000 spending goal.  It came in as the 3rd most expensive month (behind June and July).  The big expenses were the usual: mortgage and food & drink.  But there was also the giant gift buying expenses.  We didn’t go crazy on gifts for Christmas, but we did buy (or help buy) some bigger gifts that took up a lot of the gift spending.

(For those just tuning in, for this monthly spending goal, I don’t count any of the “planned spending”, just the regular month-to-month spending, like mortgage, utilities, groceries, medical expenses, etc.)

2017 Year End Spending

For an annual total, we managed to stay below or at the $8000 mark for 5 of the 12 months, and went over for 7 of the 12 months… So, not a passing mark…

And if you wanted to know what the average monthly spending worked out to be, it was about $8900 (which is above the 2016 average of $8400).  So my average was $900 over budget, which means that for the year we went over by $10,800.  That’s quite a bit… That could have kept our emergency fund fully stocked… But no point dwelling on the past.  The money is gone.  Onward.

Have you done a review of your financial goals for 2017?  Where to you stand?

Stay tuned later this week for my financial goals for the coming year!



2 thoughts on “2017 in Review: Financial Goals

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