Just as Couple Money and others have done, I think it's an excellent idea to spend some time thinking about what our financial goals are and should be in the new year. Below are some of my own.
1) Max Out my 401(k) - As I've mentioned before, the company that I work for has a very generous 401(k) plan: they match every dollar up to the federal limit (in 2011 it was $16,500, and in 2012 it will be $17,000). Unfortunately, I have been unable to contribute to the plan thus far as the company knows that the retirement plan is very generous, and so they only offer it to employees that have been with the company for at least six months. Luckily for me, since my position started in July, I will be able to enroll in the 401(k) retirement plan in the middle of January.
If and when I max out my contributions in 2012 (market forces notwithstanding), I will have a cool $34,000 to show for it. If I stay for three years, I'll have $102,000, and, if I stay my entire career full-time at this company, by the end of 2041, I'll have $1,020,000. That's not too shabby. It's also worth noting that $34,000 is more than 50% of my personal gross income (not counting whatever bonus I receive).
2) Pay Off my Student Loans - As I can't seemto shut up about, I graduated in May with an M.A. in Drama. I was able to pay most of my tuition with money I had saved from working, but during my time at school, I took out some federal loans (approximately $3,700). For what it's worth, it's kind of amazing that I ONLY took out that much as my grad school experience was characterized by me commuting back and forth from San Diego to San Francisco (to my readers not in California, these cities are not close).
Anyways, if I were some sort of amazing personal finance blogger, I would have already paid off my loans during the grace period. Nevertheless, I didn't, and the grace period for my student loans ended last month. While I don't hate student loans as much as some in the personal finance community, I think the amount that I have due will be manageable to pay off in the upcoming year, and I will be glad to be rid of them. Plus, if I really do get into a Ph.D. program in the fall, I'd like to have all the education that I've received up to that point already paid off.*
3) Continue to Invest in Lending Club - I've basically only dipped my toes in the waters of Lending Club so far (that is, I've only put in a couple of hundred dollars), but the calm, pleasant currents of rates of return above 7% feel awfully nice between my tootsies.** As I invest more, I will undoubtedly write a review of the site here to talk about what I've learned.
How about you? What are your money plans in the new year? Let me know in the comments.
*I realize that if I do go back to school, I could defer the loans, but that's not a route I want to take.
**7% is based on my choosing pretty conservative notes, but I wanted to choose people with the "safest" credit to start out with.