The Important Things We’re Saving For (Our Savings Goals for 2017)

Want to get a peek at our savings goals for 2017?! You’ve come to the right place.

Below I’ll share what we’ve saved for, what we’re saving for this next year, and how we’ll make it happen.

This is year ten (10!) of us tracking our savings goals! Year ten, y’all!

Want to make your own success with saving money? Start tracking your goals like us. It works.

In short, this was a good year for saving. Not great, but definitely good. We continue to live within our means and stash away the difference toward our short, medium, and long-term savings goals – all of which are leading us quickly towards full financial independence.

I’m a huge advocate of paying yourself first as a way to think about achieving your savings goals. And I use the automation/separation approach on the more tactical level.

Savings Goals by Age (10 Years of Data)

I share these goals to hold myself accountable and so that you’ll be encouraged to save yourself. But I also share so that we can see our progress through the years.

You can use the navigation below to go back 10 year (to 2007) to see what all we’ve been saving for this past decade.

FYI, I used to share debt reduction goals as well. Now we just have the mortgage (15 year fixed) and aren’t planning on paying it off quicker…yet (that may change if I decide to pull the trigger on a mortgage accelerator program).

Do you need help figuring out what to save money for? Read how PT saves money and what his goals are for 2017. This will get ideas going for what financial goals you need to have in place.

Our Savings Goals for 2017

1. Maintain Our Emergency Savings

Our emergency savings is around $10k and I’m comfortable with that number. So we will just hold steady unless we have to tap it during the year.

We’ve got some of that in our Capital One Checking account, some in our Digit account, and the majority in our Betterment taxable account.

2. Grow Our Retirement Savings (Roths are the Priority; Switching to the SIMPLE IRA for one business)

Our total retirement savings balance is now above $500k. If we never save another dollar towards retirement, this amount will grow into enough to retire on when we hit 65 (I’m 41 now).

We’d like to be financially independent before that point (likely around the time our kids leave the house – in 14 years when I’m 55), so we will keep pushing this balance up using maximum contributions ($5,500 per person in 2016 & 2017) toward our Roth IRAs.

I’ve set this up as an automated contribution through Vanguard, the mutual fund company that I use. We invest 100% of these contributions in one fund, VFORX.

If we only did this one thing (max our Roths each year) we will have over $1.4M saved by the time I’m 55 assuming a 7% return and 3% inflation rate.

Beyond the Roths, we are opening a SIMPLE IRA (likely by May/June 2017) for FinCon to make excess income contributions to for 2017.

In the past we’ve used a Solo 401k – but in 2017 I’m hiring a full time employee and the Solo 401k isn’t allowed for that type of business.

For my other business, PT Money, I don’t have a full time employee so I can stick with the Solo 401k there.

Like in the past, we’ll use these two accounts (the Solo 401k and the SIMPLE IRA) on an as needed basis to help us defer income taxes into the future.

3. New Short to Medium Term Savings Goals

Okay, we’re doing a couple of things here.

First, we’re opening up 3 new savings accounts we’ve been putting off for some time (1. New Car Fund $15k; 2. New Air Conditioners Fund $15k; and 3. New Floors Fund $15k). Those are pretty self explanatory. We will house them in the Capital One 360 Savings Accounts and fully fund them at the beginning of the year from excess business profits.

Second, we’re reducing the number of smaller savings accounts down to one: property taxes ($7,500 a year – so we automate a savings deposit monthly to reach this total by the end of the year). It’s by far our biggest short term savings goal each year and in an effort to simplify I’m killing off everything else.

Vacations will be spent from points and excess fund in the checking account. The same goes for annual insurance payments, HOA dues, Christmas gifts, etc. I found that none of these expenses ever rose to the level where we couldn’t have covered them with funds in checking.

What about taxes? Well, I’m moving taxes to a business savings account. I read Profit First over the Summer and it’s changed the way I think about running my business finances.

One of the key aspects to the Profits First system is creating multiple business savings accounts for things like taxes. I’ll try to share all of those details in a new post once it’s set up.

4. Doubling Efforts to Save for College

Okay, this is somewhat of a misleading title. We only save $25 a month per kid for college now. So we’ll be moving to $50 a month per kid.

We use Vanguard funds within the Ohio College Advantage 529 College Savings Plan (we’re in Texas so no tax break for using Texas plan).

Right now our three kids have about $14k, 11k, and 3k, respectively in their accounts. At this rate each child will have a year or two of tuition at a state institution covered by these accounts.

We’d like them to take on the responsibility of paying for the majority of their college expenses either through savings, scholarships, or loans.

5. Health Savings (HSA) is On Hold

This is still on hold. We can’t contribute to this fund because we’re on Medishare and don’t technically have health insurance. This hopefully changes with the new Administration and Republican control of the Congress.

Stretch Goals!

If things go really well with my businesses this year we’ll be able to do some extra special saving:

  • Max out our SIMPLE IRAs ($36k for FinCon) and Solo 401Ks ($36k for PT Money). If I do this it means my businesses both made a good chunk of change.
  • Save $25,000 to start a donor advised fund with Vanguard. This would allow us to take the focus of our giving off of the end of year a little bit.

That’s it for me. What about you? What are your savings goals?

Want to see our goals from previous years? Click to the next page.

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Last Edited: January 31, 2017 @ 7:18 amThe content of ptmoney.com is for general information purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. Visitors to ptmoney.com should not act upon the content or information without first seeking appropriate professional advice. In accordance with the latest FTC guidelines, we declare that we have a financial relationship with every company mentioned on this site.
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a CPA, financial writer, podcaster, FinCon Founder, husband, and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Listen to the new podcast, Masters of Money!

Comments

  1. Nice blog post..when it comes to finance we only think of how can we save our expenses but never think upon environment conservation..liked the idea that you have explained.

  2. Thanks for your PT Money Shot!
    ‪#‎NothingButNet‬

    How ’bout that in marketing you, & doing all you do?
    feel free to use it, si vous plait!

    Maybe for a NY resolution starter and/or a plug for my marketing skills on my LinkedIn profile?

    • My goal is to incorporate what you have done, but in a New Month’s Resolution regarding financial education & planning.
      I am woefully ignorant on most things regarding financial management.
      I plan on incorporating one of your principles, then mastering the understanding & practice.
      Furthermore, to enrich and deepen my own understanding, I plan to ask 3 different friends who are specialized in respective fields to fine tune the implementation for me. & to optimize my understanding by teaching what I learn to others, especially my family, to help them, cement my mastery, & to learn from their questions, things that I have not considered before.

      • Is there a previously posted article that you would recommend for the best order to attack the $?

  3. I am just starting out with money goals, so I am keeping it simple for 2016. I would like to continue to not have any debt and begin an emergency fund.

  4. Becky Riggs says:

    For 2016,I am following the reverse 52 week savings challenge, putting my spare change in a coffee can. I was lucky to have a financial plan created for me so I am sticking to that to help me get out of debt.

  5. My debt snowball is almost complete and I will soon have all our medical debt paid off (medical bills and a student loan are the only debt I have). I’m hoping that once the snowball is complete, I can use that money to start contributing to a college savings account for my son. As a single parent, it’s a priority but I haven’t been able to free up monthly money to do it … but this is the year!!!

  6. Our goal is to fully fund a trip to Arizona this fall and to pay for my master’s classes without incurring debt!

  7. Just started the 52 week challenge to save $5000 in an emergency fund!

  8. Penny Price says:

    Our savings goals for 2016 include $1,000 to kids’ college fund (in a MM account), fully funding our Roth’s ($11k in 2016), saving-then-donating $5k to local charities, and otherwise preparing a long-term plan to address our Very Vintage home (which is missing helpful things like insulation and window-weather-stripping). Cheers!

  9. I’m another person who prefers systems over goals but our plan is to invest more in dividend yielding stocks so we can get some stable income during the year. It’s something I started a few years ago, to help smooth out the unpredictability of owning your own business, and I want to do more of that this year.

    • Solid suggestion. I have a desire to get a dividend portfolio going as well. It’s just so hard to pass up that tax deferment. Maybe I’ll start doing a half and half approach.

  10. Our savings goal for 2016 is to start putting money in our savings every month and keeping it there for emergencies. All to often day to day activities have become “emergencies”!

  11. Lindsey thompson says:

    Having just become debt free (but the house) in 2015 we have a goal to contribute monthly to Roth IRAs for each of us, a 529 for our son and save up to buy my husband a new car by the end of the year.heard about you on So Money:)

  12. Our goal for 2016 is to get the irs paid off and start saving for taxes. My husband and I are both self employed and this has been our downfall.

  13. Hey PT – Great post as always. I am also a huge fan of CapOne360 accounts because they make it so easy to have separate savings accounts for these types of things. Similar to your setup, we use separate accounts to set money aside for annual expenses (property tax, insurance, etc) and for more fun activities (road trips). For 2016, we are setting money aside each month to fund some home improvement projects.

  14. I find setting small, short term goals each month to be more successful for me than a master plan for the year. Makes them easier to see through. Just what works best for me.

    Good luck to everyone with their goals in 2016.

  15. Thanks for the giveaway! Our 2016 savings goals are to max out retirement accounts and contribute to a vacation account. Happy New Year!

  16. Wow, that is so awesome that you can comfortably put away that much in savings every month!! Unfortunately, I was not very good with money management until 2007, when I read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. I had over $30k in debt and was renting an apartment. I would have been out of debt within 3-4 years, but a lot of “stuff” got in the way, including a bad marriage and divorce, purchasing my second house when I wasn’t ready, and other things. Fast forward to now, and I am well on my way to being debt free and owning a house again! I have just over $5k in debt, have a nice size 401k savings that I am continuously contributing to, have an emergency savings of about $6k, have a great engineering job, and own my own handmade jewelry business, selling on Etsy. My goals for this year is to get out of debt, and have enough money for a down payment on a house! Very excited!! 🙂

    • Update on my goals for 2017… I didn’t purchase the house yet. I wanted to get completely out of debt (which I did!!), and then save save save!! So now I have almost $30K saved, but I want to save more because I will still need an emergency fund and I will also need to purchase furniture, appliances, etc. plus I know there are closing costs and a bunch of fees when purchasing a house (this will be my third house purchase). I am definitely planning to have at least 20% for the down payment. I’m planning to get the house around July/August 2017. Wish me luck!! 😉

      • This is great, Angela! Congrats on the success so far and good luck purchasing the 3rd house.

        • And hopefully this will be your forever house. Buying and selling houses is a monumental money pit.

          And yeah, congratulations on getting to where you are now.

          Remember, furnishing your house with pre-loved furniture and appliances is a frugal way of staying out of massive debt. So what if it isn’t new, if you buy new and install it in your home it magically is now used, so therefore not new.

          Buying new clothes at a store? Read a comment from a sales assistant that most items have been tried on in the shop between 5 and 7 times before being sold. So technically it is used clothing. Food for thought? Apparently there are people who are shocked at that revelation because they “pride” themselves on never wearing clothes that other people have worn. LOL

  17. Penny Price says:

    Our families’ plan for 2015 lists charitable contributions. I just had a Date Night with the hubby where we talked about how much $$ we’ve allocated for 2015, and we determined which causes we can support. It’s also important that the kiddo sees that giving our time/talent/treasures is part of our regular life.

    I also have a savings goal connected with a small marriage-building trip. Think camping just the hubby and I for 4 nights or so. I have to plan for stuff/food/childcare/PTO and more, but a focus on marriage is a priority we have learned to make.

    It’s not that your 2015 goals are bad….I just wonder if they really reflect the Big Picture? And maybe they do?

    • Penny, thanks for the comment.

      I agree if giving is a wish it should be planned out and part of a budget or saving goal. We do the vast majority of our giving regularly through our Church with automatic withdrawals before we spend on anything else, including savings. So while a part of our monthly budget, they aren’t something we save for gifting later at a different time.

      I love the marriage priority.

  18. Financedin says:

    The majority of people don’t have a 12 month emergency fund. It’s unfortunate but most people find it hard to save money, this is why my favorite tip of yours is automating your savings. Much needed tips to start the new year.

  19. Philip,

    Great post on your savings! Your financial outlook pretty much mirrors what me and my minions are trying to achieve.

    Your Capital One 360 savings accounts is genius and I’m going to steal that idea to help keep a clear picture of how much is in each fund, as opposed to one big emergency fund account.

    Do you use any brokerage accounts to save for the long term? I know they are risky, but could potentially give a higher return than online savings accounts.

    • Ian, my long term savings is my main focus and we use Vanguard target date funds in tax-advantaged accounts. I do have accounts with Sharebuilder ($1.5K) , Betterment ($10K), and Motif Investing ($.5K). The Betterment account is an extension of my emergency savings. More risk, but more return. I’ve also dabbled in $5K-$10K debt and real estate investments, with higher return. But I wouldn’t feel comfortable with all my emergency savings in anything other than FDIC insured products. Thanks for the comment. 🙂

  20. It seems like you’ve got everything covered for this year. These are definitely good points to consider when saving and making sure you don’t have loopholes because you’ll never know. I might just make adjustments to my savings goals this year and take note of your plan.

    Have you ever thought of having a ‘fun’ savings? Other people might find this funny, but I’ve been thinking about having one for this year. This can go to those I-want-this purchases and maybe some little trips here and there. What do you think?

    • Great idea! I think we would probably consider our Travel savings account the fun account. But I didn’t really consider other “I want this” type spending. Definitely should be a part of any regular budget.

  21. Do you save up for a replacement car? That is one of our savings categories. We also save for our donor advised charitable fund. Since we no longer can itemize every year, we bunch schedule A items every few years. Our fund allows us to do that.
    I don’t know what our goals will be since we are considering a move closer to my husband’s job, which will sadly put us back in a mortgage.

    • We are not. But we should probably be putting something aside for that. Even if it’s just a small amount. In the past we’ve replaced our vehicles in the year of a big financial win – bonus, unexpected income, etc. But I know we can’t necessarily count on that forever. Right now we have a 2012 Honda Odyssey we purchased brand new. That will last us another 8-10 years at least. So it’s hard thinking about such a distant purchase.
      I didn’t know about the donor advised charitable fund. I will have to look into that when we lose our home mortgage interest deduction.

      • Au contraire… if you can think about retirement savings and the benefits of saving now for later it isn’t really a paradigm shift to think of saving for a replacement car, or a replacement anything for that matter.

        My strategy is purchase an item. Estimate its lifespan, knock 20% off that time to try and butt cover for worst case scenario and have to replace early. Use that second lifespan time to calculate how much you would need to save in today’s prices for replacement and divide by your pay periods. So if you are paid monthly (OMG how do people DO that?) then divide by twelve. Fortnightly and weekly by the appropriate numbers.

        Works for me…

  22. Excellent post.
    When we used to live in Europe, we had similar goals. Now that we have a child with special needs, everything has fallen apart, but plan to get over this next year. Thanks for kicking my rear end 🙂

  23. Sounds like you have most of the bases covered. I’d say go ahead and get things automated right now. It probably took longer to write this post than it would take to go ahead an automate your savings 🙂

  24. I also have a rental property and never thought of the idea of opening a small business account for it. Must look into that option!!

  25. GaelicWench says:

    I’ve got the 52-week challenge on automatic. My plan with that money is perhaps take a volunteer vacation down under (NSW-Queensland) around Christmas. I just need to remember it’ll be hotter than the hubs of h*ll during that time. I need to pay my way down there and, depending on the non-profit, will get free room and board. There’s a wildlife reserve down there that needs volunteers to work. That would be hard work, but truly rewarding. So, that’s my travel goal for 2014. 
    When I am once again gainfully employed – I am currently going to school FT – through my employer, I’d like to get an HSA account started if they offer it, as well as get back on track for my 401k. My EF is on automated as well…..thankfully, through the VA I qualify for VRAP, so am getting a sizable chunk of money from them to help with school and living expenses. No car loan to worry about, just insurance. 

    One small step at a time…..

  26. Some of these goals are similar to mine.  I have been wondering about pulling my property taxes and home owners insurance out of my escrow and just doing it on my own, since I can at least get interest on the money.  I have a baby coming in the next few weeks, so I have been saving for that for a while.

    • DebtRoundUp,

      Congratulations on the baby! My wife and I just found out we are having twins. A total shock to say the least!

      Is your new baby savings for day to day expenses or college fund? I would be curious to see how you figured on how much to set aside each month.

  27. Those are all great savings goals! What about saving up for vacations? We have a fund that we call a “Travel” fund where we put money in order to have cash to pay for vacations every year. This year we were able to go to Hong Kong and Singapore all thanks to having a plan and putting money into a savings account designated for vacations.