My Money Goals

*Updated May 2010*

Back in October I posted a goals for September 2010 post. I included five financial goals I had set for myself and this is the third update I’ve given on these goals.

Goal #1: Save 40% of my monthly income

September ’09: 28% saved

December ’09: 49% saved

May ’10: 46% saved

I’m really happy with this number and if I end up leaving Japan in July 2011 with 46% of my paycheck saved, I’ll be thrilled. To give you an idea of my income, my monthly paychecks are around ¥262,000 ($2,921) and I’ve saved around ¥122,000 ($1,360) per month.

I’d like to stay around 45% over the next year. I won’t have any start-up costs, but Corinne and I are planning on visiting home this summer and going somewhere warm for Christmas vacation. The start-up costs and trip costs will hopefully cancel each other out and keep my savings around 45%.

Living with Corinne has allowed us both to save some money on rent, utilities, and internet by splitting bills but we also got a car so she could go to work. We both love the car, but the expenses probably cancel out the savings of the bills and then some.

Goal #2: Pay 20% of my student loan to my mom

September ’09: 3% paid

December ’09: 6% paid

May ’10: 13% paid

The loan is for $17,000, but I’m incredibly lucky and it has 0% interest. For the past 8 months I’ve been transferring $250 to my mom’s account from that bank that shall remained nameless and that’s been able to go off without any hiccups.

Since I had to change banks I’ve had some trouble since I can’t link to an outside account that’s not mine with my new bank (review of that bank coming soon). I’ll probably end up paying her through PayPal and paying every other month to make it easy on both of us. Paypal’s outstanding if anyone hasn’t had a chance to use their service.

If I remain on this loan schedule I should be able to pay 20% of the loan when I reach my September goal.

Goal #3: Loan $100 to entrepreneurs on Kiva every 3 months

September ’09: 1 loan complete

December ’09: 2 loans complete

May ’10: 3 loans complete

Once again, I can’t say enough about Kiva.org which allows users to loan money to entrepreneurs around the world. Here’s my Lender Page which currently has 12 loans to entrepreneurs in countries like Cambodia, Ecuador, and Mongolia.

Please take some time and open a Kiva account today. It’s important to enjoy your money, but it’s also important to use your money for good.

Goal #4: Increase my net worth by 25% by March 2010

September ’09: 10%

December ’09: 3%

May ’10: 8% increase (failed)

Goal failures are helpful. They show you that you’re setting your goals high enough so a little failure is alright.

This is also an example of a poor goal in my mind. My net worth fluctuates too much from month to month due to my Roth IRA so setting a net worth goal is rather pointless since it’s out of my hands. For my next set of goals I’d create a cash savings goal so I can track my savings easier. Overall, no harm done. My cash savings are going up nicely from month to month,

Goal #5: Open a taxable investing account

September: Researched, but no

December: Researched, but no

May: Went with Lending Club instead

I currently have a Roth IRA through Vanguard and I had stock holdings with Zecco until February when I realized my investing mistakes. I came to the conclusion that since my immediate future (2-5 years) is so uncertain, I didn’t want to tie up any money in stocks. I’ll probably need to buy a car and have a bunch of moving expenses when I leave Japan so it’s better to keep that money near.

This is my first year with a full-time job so I have some extra cash. This is where Lending Club comes in. I purchased “notes” which are loans to other people who need loans for a variety of reasons. The notes are 3 years, but I can sell notes to other investors at any time. So far, I’ve received a great return (13%). I’ll write more about this soon, but here’s my Lending Club update from March if you want to see how it works and what I have over there.

I’ll continue to put money into Lending Club while I’m in Japan and look more into stocks when I get back home and figure out that situation (someday).