Tuesday, April 09, 2013

setting some financial goals

Part of my Becoming Ariela lifestyle revamp has included that of getting my finances straight and I've been investing quite a bit of time recently trying to understand all the different financey stuff (which honestly, hasn't been the easiest thing I've ever done; considering that I struggle with math phobia). Still, because of its importance, I've decided to just get my butt into it and have begun the journey. My learning plan so far has basically been that of downloading a Personal Finance course off iTunesU, and basically following the "homework" from each class.

It's quite interesting really - this change from listening to the radio, to having really productive learning time whilst on my drives between places. The class has made me think a lot about my personal finances, and my latest assignment has been that of calculating my net worth (determining what is my current financial situation) as well as that of setting seven financial goals (one of which has to be non-financial, apparently).

Just yesterday, I went surfing for information on one of my life-goals which I've always wanted to achieve - to purchase a house for my parents. And this is not just any house, but a very specific house which we used to live in when we were kids - to which my father sold away in order to help a friend (yes, tis' the kind-heartedness of my father). You see, this house is really important to me because of the story of it in my family -  to which I know that my dad made a promise which he thought he would have been able to keep (if only his friend didn't run away with the money), which was that he would buy it back for my mother when the investment grew. Since I heard the story from my mum, and still remember the look on her face - which spoke of a tinge of sadness and a slight disappointment - and remembering the slight sadness and disappointment in my dad's eyes too when he reflected on those years, I knew that I HAD to get the house back. 

About a decade ago, I remember looking across the road to the bungalow I spent the first 10 years of my life in, and telling myself "I have to get this house back for my parents" as I sat on the patio of our ex-neighbours' for a Christmas party. At that time, I heard the going price was hovering around 2ish million and somehow, I remember being somewhat not too concerned about 2 million. It just didn't sound like a lot to me...perhaps I just didn't have a very good grasp of the concept of money. Still, that goal stuck and it's something I still want to do - except that yesterday, I found that the going price in that area was now at 5ish million...and some even 9ish million. I think it was knowing exactly how much I would probably have to save to gift this house to my parents, that really gave me the biggest shock to how much I really need to consider my financial plans.

I mean, where in the world am I going to be able to get that kind of money?! And as a present too! :( I was really sad yesterday because it suddenly felt all the more unachievable, but I'm just going to have to find a way! Then there's the possibility that I might (maybe) eventually get married, the cost of a wedding in Singapore is apparently about 35-85K, plus a house perhaps - which is now around 400-500K if I get a basic place... Gosh, I have SO much work to do!

Currently, here are my seven financial goals (including one "non-financial" one as according to my iTunesU professor). I had to adjust one of my goals this year (to pay off my student debt by the end of the year) to in order to take care of those that are more urgent and important now:
  1. Get back to 48kilos by 31 Dec 2013 (this is my non-financial goal) (Short Term)
    • Run every morning between 5am-6am, 6 days a week. 
    • Go for a walk/hike/swim/something sporty on Saturdays.
    • Join a pilates class. Seriously, do it already.
  2. Get educated about finance, insurance and asset management (Short-Mid Term)
    • Finish iTunes U course on personal finance
    • Read a book or two on Insurance and Asset Management 
    • Consider taking up the CFA exam, just for kicks...and so I have a structured learning plan. Going to meet up with my financial adviser and ask her for advice.
  3. Save up for jaw surgery (est. 20K needed in June 2014) (Short Term)
    • Saving at least $1000 per month. 
    • Cut down personal spending to $200 a month (of which $110 already goes to my braces). 
    • Increase income, negotiate contracts.
  4. Increase income (Short-Mid Term)
    • Increase main income stream. Increase main basic salary, or add a sales component.
    • Get a secondary, and maybe tertiary source of income by end of the year - perhaps one of which is a passive one.
    • Invest $100/month in something with a good ROI.
  5. Pay off student debt by end of 2015 (Mid Term)
    • Pay off in $200 installments monthly.
  6. Save up $500K for probable life-events that might happen in the next 5-10 years (marriage, kids, house...) (Mid Term)
    • Need to save $1.7K per month for next 5 years (if I start next year, and not get married till 5 years later...which means I'll be like...old by then). =_=
  7. Purchase house for parents by 2020 (which might then be worth like, 7-8 mio? then) (Long Term)
    • Need to save $10-15K per month for 6 years (if I start next year). OMG, how is this going to happen?! I'm actually even sad that it's over a 6 year period...I mean, how much longer will my parents be able to enjoy that house even if I purchase it?! :( I would love to purchase it sooner.
    • Find out current market price (I shall write a letter to them and hope they respond to me. I don't know how it's going to work, but I will try because it's a dream for me.)
Saw this online, and it really looks
a little like my old place... gonna call
the agent tomorrow and ask.
Looks like next year onwards is going to be a killer year for me if I really want to achieve some of these goals - which looks like I will have to be saving something like $15K per month...which is probably only achievable if I'm earning $20K monthly...which I don't think is really that impossible if I plan ahead and work hard to ensure that the business does well enough to be able to support that. But still... gosh. Are these goals really realistic or achievable?

Lord, give me the wisdom and favour to be able to accomplish my financial goals somehow, and that I can bless my parents in a way that I cannot even imagine achieving!

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