2012 Financial and Life Goals

2012 is already here, and I’m a little behind on our financial and life goals.  I’m a little uncertain about what I should aim for, as we’re going to have a brand new baby and will have to adjust to the new expenses and life with a child.  My goals this year will be attainable (I hope!) and I am crossing my fingers for the best year ever.  It certainly will be interesting and a lot different than past years!  Here are some of the goals I’d like for us to accomplish:

1. Set up a savings account for the baby. The baby has not even been born yet and already has a stash of money.  I’m going to open a custodian savings account for the benefit of the baby.  I will also have to research 529 plans in case that’s the way we want to go.  I’m thinking it would be easier just to open the UTMA (Uniform Transfer to Minors) account and wait until the money accumulates and then go from there.  We’ll see.

2.  Figure out life insurance. I had life insurance through my employer, but I’m not too sure what’s happening with it since I’m leaving the bank.  That’s something that we really need to address, especially with the new baby coming.

3. Change beneficiaries. I’ve got various family members listed as beneficiaries on our retirement plans and life insurance, but I would like to change it to the baby.

4. Make more money blogging/working from home.  I’d like to be able to contribute financially to our household as much as I can.  In addition to blogging and writing, I can shoot photography if I have time.  Of course, this all depends on the baby, as that’s my first priority.  I’d like to stay at home for at least the first three years of the baby’s life, and it would be awesome if I could make enough money freelancing to do so.

5. Stay debt free.  This was on last year’s goals as well, but I think it’s important enough to stay on this year’s.  I will have to say, if there was a good reason that we needed to borrow money, I probably would do it.  I don’t think debt is the worst thing in the world as long as you’re responsible and borrow money for the right reasons.  Mr. Money’s not going to get the 2012 Mustang he wanted for instance, but if we needed to take out a loan, it wouldn’t be the end of the world.  I’m going to do my best to avoid it, though!

6. Finish up all house projects that need to be done.  We need to repaint the cement on our porches, paint the shed, figure out what to do with the dining room flooring, and redo our master bath.  I’m going to do as much as I can to make the house look really good this year.  We’ve done a lot, but I feel like there’s still so much more to do.  These projects shouldn’t cost a ton of money.

7. Learn to relax and not worry so darn much.  One of my best friends gave me some great advice when it comes to money.  What’s the point of having a ton of cash in the bank if you are miserable?  I’m not going to worry about saving every penny where I can like I used to.  I want to be happy.

What are your 2012 goals?

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Verizon iPhone or AT&T iPhone?

Right now my cell phone is a five year old pink Motorola Razr. I bought it new five years ago and it’s served me well. However, the battery life is awful and sometimes it will tell me I am roaming when I go to answer it. So annoying! I’ve been considering buying an iPhone, but the monthly cost has been deterring me. Right now, I pay $38 a month for my cell phone bill. That includes all the taxes and fees, so I’m super happy with that! I get a 20% discount off my bill since my employer participates in a special program. I only use my cell phone for talking on the phone, and no text messaging or internet. I do have an iPod touch that I use at home to play games, but that’s about it.

My husband recently got a new iPhone from his employer and they also pay the bill for him, which is nice. I’ve played around with his phone and I really like its features, especially the texting and the fact that you can get on the internet from pretty much everywhere. On the other hand, that’s also a downfall because I feel if I had an iPhone I’d probably always be tethered to it and getting online to waste time. I don’t know if I can justify buying a brand new phone for that reason.

I’ve considered going with Verizon’s iPhone since I currently am a customer and have been for almost 10 years. I don’t have problems with my service, and the representatives are always great when I call. I’ve also considered switching to AT&T and trying out their service since you can talk on the phone and be on the internet at the same time and with Verizon you can’t.

Part of me really wants a cool new phone and to be brought into this century. But the other part of me is trying to figure out how necessary it is and if it’s worth the extra monthly cost. I’m estimating a new phone plus new plan to run about $100 a month. We are saving money each month because I’m not paying for my husband’s cell phone any more. That is nice.

I guess my decision comes down to this: can I really justify spending extra money each month for my new iPhone? It is something I can afford, but is it that important that I actually commit to a two year contract of paying for the phone service? And do I switch from Verizon to AT&T so that I can be able to talk on the phone and surf the net at the same time? I guess if I’m going to upgrade my cell phone, I want to be able to take advantage of all the features available. I don’t want to go with Verizon and then regret not being able to talk and surf at the same time.

Do you have an iPhone or smart phone? What cell phone provider and phone do you recommend?

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Share Your Salary

The other day I asked the question: “How much money do you make?“.  That post got a lot of responses from many people who were comfortable sharing how much their annual salaries are.  I think overall more people were comfortable sharing their finances with other people than not.  I thought it would be fun for anyone that wanted to share their salary to do so here.  I’m going to allow anonymous comments so that no one has to be public with their money if they don’t want to be.  And for the people that don’t feel comfortable with everyone knowing their business, they can comment anonymously and share without revealing their identity.

I’ll have to approve comments manually, so if you do comment with anonymous it most likely will go into moderation and I’ll be sure to approve it as soon as I can.  If you want to play along, please comment with:

-Your annual base salary.
-What state or area of the country you live in.
-Your job title or position and a short description if it’s unclear.

I think it will be neat to see how salaries vary from positions and areas of the country.  I know that some salaries may sound high or low at first, so please keep in mind that someone who makes $70,000 and lives in Washington DC may experience the same standard of living as someone who makes $45,000 and lives in Indianapolis.  Obviously these are numbers that I pulled out of my head and aren’t completely accurate, so don’t hold me to them.

Let the fun and games begin!

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