2015 will be all about savings. The main, most important, major mid-term goal, is to save for a down payment. Every other decision I make has to be weighted against that. Since I live in one of the highest cost-of-living areas in the country, this is no small thing. The median price in Los Angeles county was $441,610 in January 2015, and it keeps rising. OK, LA county includes super posh neighborhoods and cities, like Malibu, Beverly Hills or Santa Monica. But according to Trulia, my zip code’s median price is right there.Even a one-bedroom condo would set me back at least $300,000.
That’s a $60,000 down payment, people. And that’s not taking closing costs into account.
But hey, I’ve always found the best excuses not to save for anything long-term, which is why I’m in this situation now, and if I don’t start, I will never have anything. If I find it impossible to buy even when I have a good chunk of money to put down, then, well, at least I’ll have good savings.
Aside from that, there is the retirement savings category. I have no choice but to max that out.
So here’s the run-down of my goals for 2015.
- Max-out retirement/tax-advantaged accounts. That includes my 401(k), my HSA, and my Roth IRA. I’m not calling this goal “retirement” because, obviously, a HSA is no such thing, and my Roth IRA is currently doubling up as a down payment/emergency fund/maybe retirement account.
- Save $25,500 towards the down payment. I started the year with $4,500, so the ultimate goal is to have $30,000 by the end of the year.
- Short-term expenses for the year. I know I said the down payment is the top priority, but I also know that I can’t sustain the aggressive saving if I don’t also give myself some things to look forward to in the meantime. So this year’s big-ticket items are : Lasik ($3,400 – done, paid with the HSA, best money spent EVER), new laptop ($1,800 (I know) – done) and a vacation back home after the summer ($3,000 – haven’t been back in 3.5 years, I need my fix).
- Get my training back on track. I have slacked a lot in the gym department since last fall, not helped by some health issues that are now over. No more excuses, I’m getting my ass back in the weight room. No other goal than that. Just go and do it, and keep at it. Specific numbers will wait until next year.
- Learn Ruby. I’ve been an amateur web developer for years, and I have a few web sites in mind, but I’m reaching limits with my current skills. I need to learn Ruby On Rails.
- Read at least 2 books on investing. I’ve started reading The Boglehead’s Guide To Investing, and while the subject fascinates me, I find it hard to get into the book. Kinda like going back to school.
- Go home. See above. This will be the first time I go back to France since I left in 2012. I’ve been putting it off because of the tickets cost and utter lack of vacation days, but this year will be the year 🙂
- Be good at my new job. I’ve been given a very good and very scary opportunity at work (I would call it a promotion if it had come with an actual raise and new HR position, but of course it didn’t). I have a lot of things to learn, and a lot more weight on my shoulders than I ever had. I’m excited, and a little scared. But I know I can do it.
- Read a book. This new position entails working on the future IT architecture of my company, and a new “product”. I got a very good book on the subject. I just need to read it, eh.