Wednesday, August 16, 2017

How to stay motivated, & the $100K goal

As I've mentioned before, I've struggled a bit with my motivation to keep churning away at work, after the sale of our rental house. However, I've set a timeline that works best with our family finances, as well as my particular work situation. (Q4 is our craziest time of the year, and I'd prefer not to leave my team stranded at such a critical juncture. Despite really dreading another Q4. :-( )

I will try to limit travel as much as feasible, but it looks like I have a minimum of two international trips left before I wrap up.

With that, I'm trying to stay focused & motivated. By working these last few months (or, 162 days. . . but who's counting?), I can save up extra money that will cover some of our expenses, and help us transition from a very high income/dual earner family to just M working. (My longer term goals are fuzzy, but will likely involve working part-time, for substantially less). This last $100K will preserve more of our savings, and allow me more flexibility in my longer term work decisions, which definitely feels like a big win.

As such, to keep my eye on the prize & maintain motivated, my goal is to save $100K between now & the end of January, 2018. Why that amount? Three reasons -  1) it's a nice round number, 2) appears to be in scope assuming no other major financial outlays, and 3) allows me to cover a variety of upcoming expenses in the months ahead.

I won't get into the nitty gritty of where the money will come from (long story short - a combination of savings from my salary, my stock option vests, and my 2017 bonus - which is paid out in January of 2018). I did think it would be helpful to outline where that $100K will go:

  • $5,000 will go into our travel fund to pay for the remainder of our trip to Hawaii in October. We've paid for our airfare, airfare for my parents to our house to watch the kiddos, & a hotel deposit so far. 
  • $62,000 will go to state taxes, for the capital gains on the sale of our rental house. Sigh. By paying in 2017, it reduces our federal taxes owed in 2018. (Or, that's what our accountant said, so I'm just going with it).
  • $33,000 will go towards our property taxes on our current home. It's unclear when we will get this bill (the assessor's office predicts 9 months from purchase, which would put us in November). And, this is an estimate, as they were unable to accurately predict our property taxes. Our county has a bizarre calculation, but it's anchored in the purchase price, so this feels accurate.
So, a bunch of money spent on taxes, and a tiny amount spent on a fun vacation. At least I'm building in a little fun in there. :-) 

I'll provide regular updates, and need to keep our money in check for the remaining few months in order to achieve this goal. I want to ensure I don't stray off of our budget in the upcoming months, as every dollar will count when I leave my job!

What about you? Any big goals you are currently using to motivate yourself to keep your eye on the prize? 


  1. Oh goodness I have to reset our big goals after this heckuva year.

    Money goals: long term I know I want us to be in the position to retire in X years. X because numbers keep bouncing around in my head and I'm not ready to commit to a number just yet. I'm just committing as much to savings and investing as I can while I figure out what I want to set that X at.

    Travel plans that are far off: I want to roll up 300K airline miles, minimum, so that we can afford a nice international vacation, and a nice domestic one. We won't take it for a while until the house is sorted out but I like plenty of lead time to figure it out.

    I'd be really interested to know why paying the 2017 state taxes will reduce your 2018 federal taxes! Did you not qualify for the cap gains exemption? (Did you live in the house 2 of the past 5 years?) But now you have me wondering if we'll still owe CA state taxes even if we are exempt federally.

    1. Love your travel & retirement goals! Both very fun things to plan for. :-)

      On the state taxes, it's estimated payment, and by showing you've already paid, it reduces federal at time of payment? Unsure - that's the rough advice from our accountant.

      Oh, and we had to pay capital gains on the entire sale. We moved 4 years ago. It was super poor planning/lack of understanding on our party. Originally, we were told that we could do a partial reduction (1 year of ownership, etc), but apparently that's a no go, hence our giant tax bill. If only I could go back & do it again!

      TO be fair, the market has changed & increased quite a bit as well. I'm trying to tell myself it's a wash, although obviously it's not.

  2. Good luck to you. Every family's circumstances are different, but we all face the same struggles though, don't we? How to save, how to spend, how to just live life. I have more modest savings goals, and more modest means to get there, but having a plan juts the same is important to all of us. Good luck!

    1. You are absolutely correct! A big goal might be $10K, or a $100K, or building an emergency fund of the first $100. But yes, we are all alike in working on things like a plan, prioritizing hard things, and sacrificing. That's why I love the blogging space - goals of every shape & size, but usually anchored by many of the same tradeoffs.