Nancy and I sat down this weekend and discussed some of our finances.  The question, in essence: What do we want to do better or differently in 2015?

In a goal-setting sense, I think getting out of debt is easy.  You know how much you’re in the hole, you know what it will take to get out of that hole, and you know each milestone along the way that will take you there.

I even feel like building an emergency fund or saving for a down payment on a home is also straightforward.  How much are your monthly expenses, multiply that by four or five, and you’ve got a hard number to work towards for your emergency fund.  How much house do you want to buy, and what percentage will you put down?  That gives you a hard number to go after.

When you move beyond your emergency fund and your down payment, things open them up a little bit.  You don’t have goals that are as clearly defined, not as many hard numbers given to you.

Now that we’re completely debt free including the house, we’ve honestly had a bit of a challenge setting and achieving clear financial goals.  When we were fighting to pay down our mortgage, we had a unifying, clear cause and objective.  Now, it’s more open-ended, less clearly defined.  We have wanted to “give more,” “invest as much as we can,” and start saving for a new home, but we haven’t had hard goals.

This weekend, we sat down and changed that.  We had some hard discussions about our lifestyle, our lifestyle with a new child, and how we were going to proceed, and here’s some things that we learned:

– While we haven’t backslidden, we haven’t made as much progress as we probably would have.

– It’s going to help us tremendously to have a hard figure to work towards.  How much do we want to save for a new home in total?  $20,000?  $50,000?  $100,000?

– With the help of a financial advisor, it’s wise to set minimum investment levels you want to commit to for the year.  They can help you see how that would translate in 20, 30, or 40 years.

Here are the goals we set for 2015.  We made these with the consideration that Nancy won’t be working for four months, and we’ll be adapting to life with a little one.  Here they are.

– Have this baby without incurring any debt.

– Save $15,000 for our next home.

– Max out our investments in our Roth IRA’s, $5500 per person for a total of $11,000 this year.

– Save $5500 in our Health Savings Account to cover future healthcare expenses.

– Tithe a full 10%, and then aside from that give more money than we did in 2014.

– Go on some sort of trip (our “babymoon,” TBD).

My point in putting these out here is partially for accountability, and partially to make the point that without goals, you’re not going to get as far as you would.  We designed goals that are attainable, but but these will definitely stretch us.  We’re going to need to work and strategize and discuss and focus if we really want to achieve them.

Even though we’re debt free, we still have places to go.  I believe solid, clear goals will help us get there.

What are some of your financial goals this year?