A year in Review: 2016 Financial Goals

By | 2016-12-29

Whoa! Its almost the end of 2016! That means we need to check in and see if we gloriously passed or miserably failed with the Financial Goals we set last year.

If you haven’t seen this done before, we publish our goals to hold our self accountable and periodically check in on our progress. We are currently working on goals for 2017 and will share them early next year (in addition to financial goals we are going to set some personal goals as well).

I highly recommend thinking about what you want to accomplish every year and THEN put a plan together to actually make it happen! The benefits have been impressive and it definetely helps with habit formation.

2016 Financial Goals – Pass of Fail?

2016 Goals: Investing


This is one area we failed to meet our goal in 2015,  goals for 2016 are:

  • Wife – 12% contribution rate by end of year (2% increase)
  • Me – 11% contribution rate by end of year (3% increase)

Goal: Passed!

Mrs. AE is rocking 13% and I bumped mine up to 16% after getting a raise a few months back. We have kicked lifestyle inflation to the curb this year and put all of our raises to work for us. 

Roth IRA

Increase combined contribution to $5,500 in 2016

This is a $500 increase over the original goal I set back at the start of 2014. We are currently putting $150 every paycheck ($3900 a year), need to increase it by $63 a paycheck to hit our goal. If we hit this goal it will be a combination of increased regular contributions and a few bulk payments when we come into extra money (bonus, tax return, ESPP sale)

Goal: Passed!

Our combined contribution in 2016 was $9,530, over $4,000 higher than our goal. As I predicted, the jump came primarily from ESPP sales and a small bonus. We actually had a tax bill vs a tax return in 2015 though.

Emergency Fund

Continue putting $125 a paycheck into our emergency fund

This will increase our emergency fund by $3,250 in 2016 – putting the total over $10,000. In our 2015 goal post I thought 12K was enough for our emergency fund, but I want to bump it up slightly due to additional expenses with our new house.

Goal: Passed!

We put $125 into our Emergency Fund every paycheck until December and hit our goal of $10,000. I dropped our emergency fund goal from 12 – 10K earlier in the year after developing an Emergency Plan.

2016 Goals: Debt Reduction

Student Loans

Increase monthly payments by 10% (roughly $100 a month) and make 2 extra $500 principal payments by end of year

This should knock another 7-8 months off the duration of my student loan repayment plan – the sooner these are paid off – the sooner we can invest another $1000 a month and increase our savings rate drastically.

Goal: Passed!

We made a TON of progress on my student loans this year. I don’t have the final number yet, but we have easily paid off an extra $5K in Principal. Will have the exact figure in my year end Net Worth review.

Debt Management

This will be on my list every year – Do not pay ANY interest on my credit card – Do not take on any additional debt (outside of 1 existing car payment, student loans and mortgage)

Goal: Passed!

We didn’t take on any new debt in 2016! And also reduced our interest rate on our mortgage via a refinance!

2016 Financial Goals: Income


Increase our combined salary by 10%

This may seem like a lofty goal, but we both work for a growing company with consistent opportunities for promotions. We also have average 4% for our yearly raise each year so we will only need to make up around 6% through promotions. This goal fuels many of our other goals, I calculate the difference in our take home pay and invest at least half of the increase since we are used to living on less.

Goal: Passed!

Our combined salary grew by over 12% in 2016. Even more impressive is Mrs. AE raking in an extra $7,500 in overtime pay on top of the 12%. It helped us cover an unexpected tax bill, get Lasik for her and buy a water softener.

Develop a Passive Income Stream (Stretch Goal)

This blog is my first attempt at developing a passive income stream, I don’t think I will have enough traffic at the end of 2016 to meet this goal but I hope to turn a corner next year. Other ways I plan on generating passive income – add to my dividend stock positions and flip a house to rent under my family LLC.

Goal: Fail

While I did do a ton of work on this site, it is not a significant generator of income yet. And is DEFINETELY not passive. I didn’t add to my REIT stock positions either. Will need to re-think this going into 2017.

Flip a house (Family LLC)

We were recently approved by a local bank to purchase an investment property under our family LLC. We are looking right now and I will post about our experiences as this process unwinds. I want to flip at least 1 house in 2016 and start targeting a second one.

Goal: Fail

We looked for a few months earlier in the year and realized we needed more capital to get this started. The market is hot around the Twin Cities, to much competition. We are looking at a few other options to generate income for our LLC in the mean time. Hope to have more updates in the next 3-4 months.

Random Goals

Do 3 projects that increase our homes value (myself)

Goal: Fail

I did some landscaping in 2017, but didn’t quite finish it up. I did build a few things that saved us some cash, but they did not directly increase our homes value. The hours dedicated to this site definetely had something to do with this one.

Review insurance policies – make sure we are still getting competitive rates

Goal: Passed!

We went through our auto and home insurance and found out we were getting very competitive rates with all the bundling discounts. Whoop! Don’t need to look at this for another year!

Review Life Insurance needs – I haven’t reviewed how much life insurance my wife and I should have in a few years and I expect we are under insured – this may be a post worthy topic depending on what I find

Goal: Passed!

With the baby coming in March, we have both increased our insurance policies through our employer. I think we are adequately insured right now, but will revisit in late 2017.

Identify new financial opportunities – off the top of my head – P2P lending, CDs, Dividend Growth Investing– I will definitely write about my findings

Goal: Fail

I didn’t look to far into new investment opportunities. We are focussed on maxing the tax advantaged accounts for the next few years. Back burner for now – but will keep my eyes open for anything super interesting.

Overal Grade: Pass!

Even though we didn’t hit em all, we are still super excited about the progress we made this year. The wins in our 401k/Roth/Debt Reduction far outweigh everything else on the list. We feel secure with a fully stocked emergency fund and are looking forward to finalizing our 2017 goals!

Do you set Financial Goals? If so how did they turn out?

27 thoughts on “A year in Review: 2016 Financial Goals

  1. [email protected]

    Great work on hitting so many goals this year AE & Mrs. AE! You’re in a great position to kick off a strong 2017. You’re really rocking the 401k contributions-way to kick lifestyle inflation to the curb!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Liz! Trying to make sure we don’t have a tax bill this year by offsetting all of our salary increases – appreciate the comment

  2. G
    Graham @ Reverse The Crush

    Looks like green for the most part. Congratulations on passing most of your goals!
    This Friday will mark 4 weeks since I’ve been back to work which means it’s a good time to reevaluate my financial goals too. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Hope you are enjoying the new job Graham

      Thank you!

  3. Matt @ Optimize Your Life

    Congrats on a great 2016! And best of luck with the big changes coming in March! I’m interested to see what your 2017 goals will be given that you will have a new addition to the family.

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Matt – That is one big question mark on 2017, not sure what to expect on that front.

  4. [email protected]

    Great work Mr. & Mrs. AE! Your lives will change forever this spring – how exciting! Can’t wait to see what happens. It will definitely impact your time too…. just keep that in mind. You can do it though – just keep “first things first”!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Vicki!

      We are getting really excited, and a little nervous. But I know we are up to the task and will find a balance (both with time and money)

      Appreciate the comment!

  5. Fervent Finance

    Congrats on a great 2016! All the savings goals become much easier if you’re consistently increasing your income.

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thank you – definetely, we knew we had to hit our income goal to fund the rest of them and it worked out this year.

  6. The Green Swan

    Solid work by both of you! A big congrats on the successful 2016! The increases to your salaries is fantastic and not letting lifestyle inflation sneak in shows great discipline. Your retirement accounts will thank you for the added boost in time!

    Thanks for the update and here’s to just as great of a year in 2017! And I can’t wait to hear when the baby finally arrives!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thank you Mr Swan – Will definetely let everyone know when the baby comes (as long as you do the same)

      I don’t think we will hit the same salary increase in 2017, but that doesn’t mean we wont give it a shot.

  7. Physician on FIRE

    That’s a lot of green, AE. Nicely done.

    Perhaps you can turn some of those reds to green in ’17.
    I made a rhyme!


    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      You did make a rhyme!
      I hope we can make some progress on our Family LLC in 2017, we need to figure something out sooner than later.

      Thanks PoF!

  8. Brian @ Debt Discipline

    Looks like a overall good year. Congrats! The passive income is tricky, balancing F/T work, blog, etc. It’s still a work in progress for me too. Happy 2017!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Brian – Hopefully we can figure it out over the next few years, but it is definetely tricky to balance everything

  9. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    Great work on the 2016 goals! It’s awesome that you surpassed many of your goals. I’m certain you’ll kill it in 2017 and it will be a great year! Keep in mind, you’ll have that lovely child tax credit in 2017 too! Looking forward to reading about the arrival of the baby!

    We are looking for a buy and hold and are finding the same thing you did. We’re going to continue to search, but demand is high in our area and with prices and interest rates on the rise, I’m not sure it’s going to work out (though I’m still hopeful).

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Amanda – Wahoo! Tax Credit sounds great to me!

      Good luck on the property front, make sure to write about it if you track something down

  10. Financial Samurai

    That’s pretty cool you have a family LLC to flip a house. Is this done for liability and expense reasons?

    Congrats on a 12% increase in gross income.!


    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Liability, expense and time as we plan to have everyone pitch in on the repairs/up-grades (we are a DIY family)

      Thanks Sam!

  11. Joe

    Great job on your goals! I’m sure you’ll be able to do a flip soon. I’m too afraid to do that kind of thing in Portland. It feels like the market is so high and you never know when it’s going to turn. Happy New Year!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Joe!

      Finding the peak is definetely a risk when you are only going to own property short term – we will have to be careful or switch our plan to a rental unit.

  12. Mrs. BITA

    Those are a butt load of passes. Well done! And even the fails have value – you can just roll them into your goal list for 2017 – that much less work to do to come up with 2017 goals, yay!

    Wishing you a happy and prosperous 2017!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Mrs. BITA – some of them will definetely be adjusted and rolled over into 2017!

      You to!

  13. Financial Panther

    Awesome work AE! If you’re looking for new financial opportunities, lets go make some food deliveries on our bikes! Or maybe we wait until summer to do that…

  14. Sanjib Saha

    I failed miserably in following my last year goals. I think I did not take them seriously. I hesitated to take actions. As a result, those resolutions were never accomplished. However, I am ready to give my best shot this year, and do whatever needed to fulfill my 2017 goals. And I will keep a track on it this time.

  15. Derek Hopper

    Nice job AE. I’m new around these parts, but congrats. I don’t think those failures are bad either. Goals wouldn’t be any fun if they were always so easy.

    I like how you talked about knocking off 7-8 months on your student loans. I had basically decided to make minimum payments on our loans (since the interest rates are low) and instead max out the tax advantaged accounts.

    However, you may have changed my mind. Like you said, paying an extra $100 or $200 there will shave off time and help us pay them off faster.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *