2024 Financial Goals
2024 starts my first mortgage-free year in a long time, and in planning ahead it frees up some serious wiggle room to explore with lifestyle design and turning attention to building up my taxable investments to kick off the road to financial independence in earnest.
2024 Saving/Spending Targets
✅ Emergency Fund: $0
Maintain minimum $20k Emergency Fund
✅ Retirement Contributions: $84.3K
+$23K: Pre-tax 401k Contribution
+$7K: Roth IRA Contribution (via Traditional IRA Backdoor Rollover)
+$34.5K: Roth 401k Contribution (via After-Tax Mega Backdoor Conversion)
+$11.5K: Employer Match
+$8.3k: Pre-tax HSA Contribution
✅ Taxable Investments: $200K (estimated RSUs, diversified)
🔴 Fixed Expenses: $25K
Primary Utilities (monthly): $400 (electric, gas, water, internet, HOA)
Secondary Utilities (monthly): $200 (electric, internet)
Cell Phone (monthly): $35
Auto Insurance (annual): $2K
Home Insurance (annual): $2K
Primary Property Taxes (annual): $10K
Secondary Property Taxes (annual): $100
🔴 Renovations and Repairs: $5K
🔴 Discretionary Spending: $42K
Food/Dining and Cleaning Services: $20K
Pet Care: $12K
Monthly Daycare (2x/week): $4.2K
Weekly Boarding (1x/week): $3.6K
Vacation/Boarding (30 days): $2.1K
Pet Insurance: $1.3K
🟣 Health and Fitness: $5K
🟣 Charitable Gifts & Annual Family Vacation: $10K 🟣 Personal Vacations: $10K
Total Savings and Investments: $284.3K
Total Spending: $100K
Overall Total: $384.3K
*Spending overall and sub-categories are over-estimated, and savings/investment targets under-estimated.
Reflection and 2024 Vision
Last year, my health suffered for months at a time, and my mental health deteriorated to the point where I nearly rage-quit my job when an opportunity to receive a few months of severance pay came my way. For nearly the entire year, I gave up on making any proactive mid-week plans (whether it was social or exercise-related) because I never knew whether I'd be able to commit to them, and I spent most of my springtime vacation in angst wondering if my partners would establish a narrative that would lead to my termination. Looking back with some distance, I am extremely grateful and fortunate that I still have my job today and that my work environment improved in fairly dramatic ways. With the end of year stock market boost and mortgage paid off, I was able to end the year with a relaxing holiday vacation gift to my loved ones.
I have really enjoyed listening to Ramit Sethi's "I will teach you to be rich" podcast, and his philosophy of living a rich life through conscious spending. This year, one of my goals is to spend more to buy back time and enable my health. This includes spending more on group exercise classes, pet care, and establishing more frequent in-office visits to enable better sleep hygiene and work-life balance. In addition to more frequent and regular exercise, I would like to cook nutritious meals at home more frequently and introduce vegetarian mainstays 2-3x/week. Finally, I already pre-booked two major international vacations for the year, and a handful of domestic trips.
It surprised me that even after being intentional about spending more, my annual total spending estimates still tallied to about $100k, which makes me realize that some of the micro-decisions I was fretting about (e.g. should I or should I not put my dog in boarding one night a week?) was overall less material to the annual budget than my mental perception. If these spending decisions truly do help improve my health and wellness, then it pays for itself by making my current working life more fulfilling and delaying early retirement.
I've earmarked a few grand for renovations and repairs to either the primary or secondary home, but do not have any major plans in mind for renovations and hope to take this year to recover from the huge property investments in 2023.
Similar to previous years, I'll front-load my retirement contributions so that I am not under a strict budget in the later part of the year and can freely spend on vacations, etc. With that said, I plan to intentionally spend down some of my emergency funds in the first few months to get a true handle over how much I'm spending. I also feel less worried about spending levels on a day-to-day basis as long as they are within my annual budget.
My parents will require financial assistance from me at some point, and a lot of predicates on my dad's health and ability to keep working. I'd like to race to become financially independent ASAP to be in a prepared state to support them when the time comes, while at the same time recognizing that life does not always go according to plan. That said, while my parents still have their health I would like to gift them true memorable experiences through travel -- hence budgeting for an annual family vacation.
When my dad is no longer able to work, here are a few milestones I have sketched out:
Dad not working but still able to drive: supplement parents' spending ($40k/year)
Dad not working or driving:
M1: Find apartment to test waters of living near my neighborhood
M2: Purchase retirement home for parents using the Family Opportunity Mortgage
If I have the luxury of planning, then minimally achieve CoastFI but ideally FI first. Proposing and following through on this type of decision will make my parents dependent on me (adding increased risks in case of job insecurity, and more), and I need to be absolutely sure of my financial ability in perpetuity before pulling the trigger.
When I started this blog, I was feeling really low about my career and personal life and wondering when it could all be 'over' and finally live my life. I'd review my investment milestones and feel absolutely stuck and imprisoned by the notion of having to work more than even a handful of years before achieving financial independence. I now feel differently about retirement and hope to work until the age of 55, and focus on my health and building a meaningful life in the years leading up to that.