Goals by age

You know how people say “life happens while you’re making plans”? Well, as I was drafting this post I figured my introduction would be something along the lines of “making plans makes life happen ACTUALLY”. I love planning, and quite literally have everything month of the next five years of my life planned (I know, I know).

Turns out life has a way of laughing in your face after all. This morning, I found out I was accepted into a Master’s program I’ve been obsessing over for years, with a 75% scholarship! So, this draft had to be revised. Ha. Here goes nothing. Here’s my financial hopes/dreams/wishes/goals for the next five years of my life. Enjoy. Italic means I’ve achieved the goal (I’ll be 30 this Fall).

By 30 years old:

  • Get married in NYC without going into debt (harder than it sounds)
  • Have $50k in retirement funds with 17% (24% with match) of my salary going to my 403b account
  • Start a Master’s program (max loan: $20k) (revised: no loan needed! WOOOO)
  • Build up to a $12k emergency fund to cover six months of expenses
  • Save enough in travel fund for: bachelorette party in Palm Springs, California; honeymoon in Italy (Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast); 30th birthday trip to New Orleans
  • $72k salary

By 31 years old:

  • Have $75k in retirement funds with 19% (26% with match) of my salary going to my 403b account
  • Move to 1.5 or 2 bedroom apartment (max. $2300/month)
  • Save enough in travel fund for: safari in Tanzania (country #39) and gorilla trekking in Rwanda (country #40) with my parents and husband; 31st birthday trip to Iceland
  • Build up to a $15k emergency fund to cover six months of expenses with increased rent
  • $100k net worth: $75k retirement + $15k emergency fund + $10k in other savings (besides travel fund)
  • $80k salary and “senior” position

By 32 years old:

  • Have $25k saved for house down payment
  • Save enough in travel fund for: 2 new countries
  • Start saving $200/month for child’s education (obviously TBD as I currently don’t have children)

By 33 years old:

  • Pay off Master’s degree loan (revised: BYEEE PROSPECT OF FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOAN!!)
  • Have $40k saved for house down payment
  • Save enough in travel fund for: 1 new country

By 34 years old:

  • Have $60k saved for down payment
  • Max out contributions to retirement account
  • $100k salary
  • Save enough in travel fund for: 2 new countries

By 35 years old:

  • Buy first house (with with 4-5 bedrooms)
  • Continue maxing out contributions to retirement account

There it is! These are my base goals and I hope to surpass them. I’m a goal-oriented person, and I’ve always found that having my goals written down has made it easier to remember/reach them. Hold me accountable, Internet!

Getting to $100k by 30 years old

Until I was about 25 years old, I didn’t think much about finances. However, I had always been a saver, and I spent years saving for a four-month round-the-world trip after graduating from University. I spent about $10,000 on that trip, and I don’t regret a moment. I went to University in Canada and gained a scholarship that covered my tuition, so I was able to graduate without any debt which was a HUGE factor in being able to travel at all. By the end of that trip I was broke but happy.

Bathing a disabled elephant at Elephant Nature Park in Thailand

When I returned to Canada (where I grew up), I interned for a while and felt stuck so I applied for a year-long volunteer position in West Africa. In an overwhelmingly quick process, I was accepted for the position. My year in Ghana was incredible, despite living with ten other volunteers in a house without a working oven and sporadic running water. I was making just enough money to get by, and that was plenty for me at 23 years old.

Ghana beach days, how I miss thee

It wasn’t until I began a full-time position with access to a retirement account that I really began to think about money and my future goals. When that happened, I become obsessed and read everything I possibly could about financial planning. Four years later, that hasn’t changed, and now I’m setting out to reach $100,000 in savings at 30 years old (eek so soon!).

I’m a very goal-oriented person, and a ton of my goals have the time limit of “by 30”. That includes:

  • Visit 40 countries
  • Contribute more than 15% of my pay to retirement
  • Reach a net worth of $100k
  • Get married in New York without going into debt

I’m on the right path for most of those goals, though the $100k net worth will be a challenge. Five years ago my bank account was in the red, and ever since then I’ve worked at non-profit organizations.

My retirement account is currently hovering around $37k, with 15% of my pay contributed twice a month plus a 7% employer match. This year I finally reached $12k in my emergency fund, which would cover six months of expenses.

I’ll be posting monthly updates on my route to $100k, though if you do the math with the above you’ll notice it will definitely be a challenge. Hopefully this site will keep me accountable!

What are your goals by 30/40/50/60 years old? Let me know in the comments!

You should have multiple savings accounts

Not long ago, I had one savings account that was my emergency fund/travel fund/everything else fund all at one time. How wrong I was!

Multiple savings accounts allow you to track your progress and define your goals. See my progress on multiple savings goals (as seen in the “Goals” area of Mint) below:


As you can see, Mint shows where you’re behind in red and let me tell you- this pressure works! Each of these categories is a separate savings account (“real estate” is an Acorns investment account).

An added pressure point is the fact that each of these accounts has a minimum of $100, so willy nilly spending or transfers can have costly consequences.

If all of these goals were combined in a single savings account, the end goal amount would be unclear and therefore uninspiring. Also, when I’m in a pinch now and have to transfer some money from savings to my checking account (which I try not to do very often), I can think about which goal I can wait a little longer for.

Do you have multiple savings accounts? Why or why not?