MAX OUT Financial Resolutions for 2018

Ever since I joined finances with Mrs MORE, my financial life has taken a different trajectory. It’s partly due to us combining finances and making sure she’s taking advantage of her employer 401k/403b program. But it’s also due to a commitment to paying ourselves first. Since our marriage in March of 2016, we’ve started and maxed out our HSA, Maxed out Mr MORE’s 401k, dropped significantly more into Mrs MORE’s retirement account and have nearly reached our emergency fund goals. Here’s what we plan to do in 2018 to continue that success:

  1. Max out our retirement accounts ~$77,000: Mrs MORE just started a new job at a prestigious university. As a result we once again have access to another retirement plan. Yay! This means Mrs MORE is happy to part with $18,500. Kidding. She feels like she’s poor after contributing to our aggressive savings plan. Oh well… 😉 In addition to maxing out my 401k, I’m also going to max out my after-tax retirement account which allows me to put in an extra 8% of my pay. With my upcoming bonus, I plan to max out our Roth IRA’s for 2017 at $11,000. Depending on bonuses, raises, and matches, that should put our retirement contributions at $77,000 for 2018. This will exceed our total contributions of $52,840 in 2017 by ~$14,000. Not bad!
  2. Max out HSA/FSA $7,400: 2017 was the first year we had an HSA and the first year we maxed it out at $6750. Due to expected medical costs and use of our HSA dollars, I didn’t included it in our net worth. However, last month I started transitioning some of the cash balance to investments and will begin including that amount in our net worth. As of this writing, the invested balance has about $850. And as we build out emergency fund, we will decrease our reliance on the HSA dollars and use our regular checking/savings to cover medical costs. Related to our HSA, we also put $500 in an FSA to cover dentist and optometrist costs. The reason we put $500 is because that’s the max amount you can roll to the subsequent year should you not use it, otherwise you lose it!
  3. Increase our Life Insurance~$500,000 face: As we building our assets, it’s important to protect our lives in case one of us moves to the next life earlier than expected. Last year, I added an extra $250,000 in coverage of term life. I did this for several reasons: I hadn’t significantly increase my lift insurance since being married; I was making considerably more vs the prior years; and we plan on having a kid or kids soon. I also jacked up my group coverage a couple hundred thousand. My wife thinks life insurance isn’t really that important. She has coverage but not nearly the recommended amount. But that didn’t stop me from me from buying 200% more for her!
  4. Transition emergency fund dollars to brokerage/etf/mf ~$10,000: Now that we’re close to hitting our emergency fund goals of $10K, I will transition 50-75% of our monthly savings to a brokerage account. This will keep our emergency fund growing to account for expected (e.g., remodeling the bathroom) and unexpected (medical costs) expenses. Additionally, the brokerage account will serve as a mid to long term savings that can pay for a new house/child/car/college/early retirement.
  5. Debt $12,000: Continue to pay down ~$1,000/mo in debt installments that include our mortgage, cars and my student loan. We will continue to avoid new debt and  maintain no credit card balance, allowing us to invest more or spend more.
  6. Contributions to Non-profits $TBD: While I’m trying to build an empire here, the Mrs wants to give it away. I’m over-exaggerating here, but she’s right. We should give more, especially considering how fortunate/blessed we are.
  7. Begin to better balance our dollars: While the savings amount ($94,400) and rate (47%) are admirable, I’m somewhat neglected the balance of these dollars. What I mean by this, is the tax treatment – tax free, tax deferred, taxable – and the time horizon – short, mid, and long term accounts. From a tax treatment perspective ~97% of our dollars are in retirement accounts or home equity – money that we won’t access for years. From a time horizon perspective, it’s only slightly better, with our money allocated 3% short term, 3% mid term, and 94% long term. I’ve yet to come up with a great solve for this, and maybe it’s okay to have these accounts lopsided – i just have to think through the logic and rationale for the right balance for our needs.
  8. More Travel/Experience Dollars!: The misses and I love traveling, concerts and experiences (e.g., comedians, theater). While some might curtail spending in this category, I’m hoping we can increase. After all, a life without fun sucks!

(The lovely Mrs MORE in Vegas)

These resolutions will help us continue on the path to financial independence and early retirement while still having fun.

What are you 2018 resolutions? See any gaps, holes in ours?