We Reached Our Big Money Goal – So What’s Next?

Just pay off your credit card? Better yet, did you finish a complete debt payoff? What are your next month goals? Check out MoneyManifesto.com to find out how to set goals for your money after a big accomplishment. Whether you need to learn investing for beginners or about emergency funds, you'll find an answer.We’re excited to announce that we’ve accomplished our  most recent big money goal!

After funding our six month cash emergency fund, we decided to tackle our next goal of having six months worth of expenses in investments, too.

We officially reached that mark on Monday and, assuming the stock market doesn’t drop drastically in the near future, this goal should stay in our rear view mirror.

If you’re curious as to why we’ve decided to invest another six months of expenses in investments, check out our post that announced the goal initially.

Now that we’ve accomplished our goal, we have to figure out what we’re going to do with the money we were allocating toward our previous goal.

I thought I’d share how we came to our decision so that you have some ideas the next time you complete a major money milestone.

How We Decided On Our Next Money Goals

First, we made a list of all of our big expenses over the next few months. We’ve been putting off big expenses while we secured our financial base, but now that it is secure, it’s time to loosen up a bit.

Our list included things like the following:

  • The new TV we want
  • A dining room table (we don’t have one yet)
  • New light fixtures for our home we bought a year and a half ago
  • A professional camera for Tori’s photography side hustle
  • New to us living room furniture
  • New to us bedroom furniture
  • Furniture for my future blogging office

These items won’t be cheap, but they’re things we have wanted for a long time and have put a lot of thought into. Note, we don’t need any of these things, we’ve lived without them for anywhere from the last few months to years ago.

You can make a similar list of items when you’re looking at what to do with money you’ve freed up from your monthly budget after achieving a big goal. These expenses aren’t big life changers though. Those come next.

Our Life Changing Money Goals

We looked further into the future, as well, and thought of some potential future large events that could cost us a considerable amount of money. They include:

  • Retirement
  • A future child
  • A beachfront vacation/short term rental investment condo

We were already saving for retirement, but it never hurts to kick it up a notch. We haven’t started saving for a future child or a potential beach vacation condo, yet, but that’s about to change.

This section of big life changing events normally costs quite a bit of money. Luckily, we’ve already accomplished many of these types of goals when we paid off over $80,000 of my wife’s student loan debt, bought our first ever home (that’s now our first rental property) and our long-term home that we live in now.

Some more examples that might apply to you include:

Finally, we tried to think of any other financial goals we might have either in the short term or long term that required spending money. We couldn’t think of anything else for us, personally. Now we just had to decide how to split up our now extra money we’ll have available each month.

How We Decided To Allocate Our Extra Money To Our Future Expenses

Figuring out what we want to spend money on was the easy part of this process. Next we had to decide and agree on how much of our money to allocate toward each goal. We broke it down into an easy to follow process which definitely helped things.

The first thing we did was put a timeline on what we wanted to spend our money on. For instance, we’re likely going to be buying that new TV sometime around Black Friday if there’s a great deal. At the same time, we know we won’t be retiring anytime soon.

Our Timeline

We figured that in general, we wanted our big expense items to be purchased within the next 12 months. This let us figure out how much we need to set aside each month to reach our goal of having all of these purchases made.

Next, we looked at our three big life goals. We know retirement is decades away, but it important to save as much as we can early due to the amazing effect compounding has on our future nest egg.

We know a child is in the cards in the next few years, so we’ll have to start saving for that soon, but not necessarily at this instant or aggressively.

Finally, we know that our dream of buying a beachfront condo is at least 10 years away and it wouldn’t be a big deal if we never actually get to purchase the beachfront condo.

Our Methodology Of How We’ll Save

With all of this information, we were able to come up with a methodology about how we want to fund our goals. Since our income is variable every month, we decided to allocate money to our goals based on a percentage basis. If you have a fixed income, like a salary, you can allocate a specific dollar amount per month if that’s easier for you.

All of our extra income will be allocated to our goals as follows.

We’ll allocate 40% of our extra money above our normal budget to our big expense items listed above. Since we want to achieve these goals quickly, we figured 40% of our income will get this done. We can use this money at any time we want to purchase anything on our big expenses list.

We’ll allocate 25% of our extra money toward our retirement. This should allow us to kick our retirement savings into high gear, since we’re already investing a decent amount of our gross income already.

We’ll allocate 25% of our extra money toward increasing our investment emergency fund to weather downturns in the stock market. We figure if we get to 9-10 months of expenses, we should be able to weather almost any future down turn.

Finally, we decided to allocate 10% of our extra money toward investing for a beach front condo. If something else pops up and we need to use this money, like a future child, we wouldn’t be devastated.

You’ll note we didn’t allocate any money for our future child yet. We decided that we’ll start saving for that once we have a better idea of when we want to have our first child and how much it will cost. At that time, we can always reexamine and reallocate our extra money that we earn above our normal budget.

You can use this same process to figure out what your next big money goals are and how you want to allocate your money toward them. If you do, I’d love to hear about what your money goals are and how you decided to fund them.

Let me know in the comments below or send me an email if you prefer.

Photo by: miamism Text added by: Lance Cothern

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About Lance Cothern

Lance Cothern, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, is the founder of Money Manifesto. You can read more about him here or connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Comments

  1. We have a reserve fund for expenses like real estate taxes, Christmas, etc. that are large expenses that come just once or twice a year. We break down the amounts into monthly payments and put that money in the reserve fund to wait until we actually need it. We invest part of that money like you because it is really quite liquid in our chosen investments and we earn more than we would by simply keeping it in money market or CDs. It is such peace of mind knowing when those bills come due, the money is simply sitting there waiting to be used but all the while has earned a little income for us as well.

    • I’m sure you don’t invest in anything that could go down too much, or if you do you have other money you could use to pay the bills. Sounds like you have a good system set up for you!

  2. One of the things to do with a big money goal that is reached is to set a plan so that you don’t have to achieve it again in the future. For example, if your goal is to pay off your credit card debt, then after you get it paid off, make sure that you have a plan so that you don’t get back into credit card debt in the future. It’s like weight loss. How many people out there have lost the same five pounds over and over again?

  3. Congrats on hitting your goal! My husband and I are working towards the big one right now–financial independence. I love goal-oriented saving and frugality because I find it much easier to stay on track when I’m working towards something I really want. Good to have a carrot at the end of the frugal road, I suppose 🙂

  4. One of my favorite ways to save money is debt replacement. Every time I pay off a bill, I use that money to add to savings (usually increasing my 401k contribution) or giving (increasing my tithe). I’ve used this to go from contributing 3% into my 401k to 17%.

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