2009 in Review

I checked out my list of 2009 Goals a few weeks ago to get ready to report on my accomplishments and progress.  I had forgotten about some of them!

Financially, this was a good year.  Personally, it was a year of big changes and some major milestones.  I didn’t accomplish a lot of the smaller things I wanted to, but ultimately, I think that’s OK.  I don’t think I could have predicted the whirlwind of activity that absorbed much of the middle of the year.

2009 Goals


1. Max out my Roth IRA.
I shoved in the last $2000 a few weeks ago, but I have a confession to make about my Roth.

At the beginning of 2008 (January & February), I put in the whole $5K into my Fidelity account.  By the end of the year, my account was down by more than that much. 

This year, I put in a couple lump sums, but never invested them because I didn’t know if I could handle losing more.  I let the fear get the better of me, and as such, my Roth has not rebounded the way my 401K has, since I didn’t invest while the market was down.

Next year, I’ll just add in a certain amount per month, no matter how scary the market seems.  Emotional decisions are never good ones.

2. Save an additional $10,000.
I was able to put more than double this into savings, according to my current budget numbers.  Barring any excessive overspending in December, I’m on track to put $20K into cash savings (including a car fund).  This doesn’t take into account that I spent around $7,000 out of my wedding fund, but that fund came out of last years savings.  I don’t know how you’re supposed to track those sorts of “earmarked” funds. 

3. Earn the full match on my 401K contributions.
I actually came within $150 of maxing this out.  I did consider scaling my contribution back, but a lot of people here convinced me not to.  This was definitely the right decision: with Chad not working and thus not contributing to his own retirement savings, I was saving for 2.

4. Have directed savings sub-accounts.
Done.  I’m trying to decide how happy I am with the results.  It was nice that I didn’t see my savings shrink when I had large, planned expenditures, but now I have leftovers and have to ask hard questions about what I’m allowed to do with the money (you mean I can’t just spend it on clothes and shoes?).  Not to mention that ING now has a sub-account titled “Wedding” and I don’t know how to get rid of it or change its name.  With no other wedding in sight, it seems a little silly.

5. Have at least 6 no-spending-money-on-new-clothes/shoes/jewelry months.
I failed this so hard.  I only did 3.

6. Visit the tailor during my no-shopping months in order to transform some of my clothes to something I might wear more often.
Failed this too. 

7. Switch over to paperless for all my bills.
Done.  This was super-hard since…. I pretty much went online and clicked a few buttons.  Here’s to setting difficult goals!

Non-financial goals after the jump…


1. Try to update the blog at least twice a week.
Fail.  I averaged around 1.6 times per week.  There is a good excuse – my posting was really low in May through October, which roughly correlates to the times when I was graduating, moving, starting a new job, getting married, and traveling on my honeymoon.  Plus one month to get back into the swing of blogging regularly.

Truthfully, when I checked this list out a week or two ago, I discovered I could make the goal if I posted every day for the rest of the year.  I decided that I wouldn’t try.  I’d rather have 1 good post per week than 7 just-crank-it-out-so-I-can-meet-my-quotas posts.  (Not that my posts have been spectacular or anything, but you know…)

2. Have a weekly/monthly post on my blog with a specific theme.
Yeah, not so much.  I had a few months where I regularly did the “How To Spend Your Clothing Budget” posts, but I’m not sure I liked them in practice.  If I decide to do a regular lifestyle/fashion-related post next year, I think I’ll focus on concepts, not just talking about shopping.  When I read fashion blogs, I hate the posts that just highlight cute stuff, because all that does is make me want to shop.  And, dear readers, I don’t want to do that to you!


1. Finish grad school with a GPA above 3.6.
Yay!  I managed to do this, and I think I may have even finished out with a 3.7 or a 3.8 cumulative. I can’t remember, although I remember it being a pretty big deal at the time.


1. Find a new job!
Done!  If you remember, I got three job offers: two were lateral and one came with a promotion and raise.  I apparently made enough of an impression during my interview for one of the lateral jobs (and had interacted with some people on the team before, so they could testify to my awesomeness) that the job I really wanted matched the promotion and raise.  It was definitely the right choice because I love my new job. 

2. … but don’t suck so hard at my current one.
Sort of?  I managed to be slightly less unpleasant, at least.


1. Get my passport.
Done!  This was an easy one.

2. Travel locally.
I didn’t manage to do many of the things on my list, partially due to money constraints and partially out of laziness.  We did manage to make it to Catalina again (twice!), and we made a bunch of trips to see friends in San Diego, but I still never drove very far along PCH or saw the redwoods or anything.

I guess we’ll have to do those things the old-fashioned way: as tourists.

3. Tone my shoulders and arms.
Not really.  I know this made people mad in my wedding post, but I really was displeased by my arms.  This was kind of a silly goal, though.  After having to worry about school and moving and a new job (2 months traveling & in a hotel, we ate out almost every day), I should be happy I didn’t gain 30lbs before the wedding!

4. Shop consciously.
I have done a better job of this.  I rarely walk into my closet and feel like I have nothing to wear. (This might be due to the insane amounts I spent on clothes this year, or just because my closet is a good 4 times bigger than my closet in Los Angeles.)


Stay tuned for 2010 Goals!


7 Responses

  1. Dang, girlie! You had an extremely busy yet successful 2009. And re: your Roth IRA, I guess this is why dollar cost averaging is the way we mortals need to invest since it takes the emotion out of investing. But on the bright side, you didn’t lose your investments. 😀

  2. Good work!!! (I was wondering the same thing about earmarked fund. “Save x!” seems misleading when I’m spending Y on wedding or whatever.

  3. PS – you can definitely rename accounts in ING, though I’m not 100% sure how off the top of my head.

  4. Echoing SP, you can for sure rename a subaccount at ING. You can also transfer everything from one subaccount to another and they will ask you if you’d like to close the subaccount that you are transferring everything out of. I’ve done it a few times and it’s a piece of cake.

    • Second this. Was actually going to comment to say the exact same thing. Changing the name will be under “Account Options” when have that account page open.

      I’ve also had to take all the money out of one account, and was asked if I wanted to close the account. So that is another way to get rid of it.

    • That’s awesome – I was thinking that it would be silly to not have that ability, but now I realize that I’d never even checked!

  5. I was wondering if I should invest $5K all at once in my Roth next year or deposit equal monthly sums….you just convinced me to go with the equal monthly sums option. 🙂 At least your 401K rebounded! 😉

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