Make-A-Goal Experiment Follow Up

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Three months ago on November 16th, I started a Make-A-Goal Experiment. I wanted to encourage people to set a six-month goal for themselves, and follow through with tracking it for six months. I even promised a prize for those that checked in half-way through and at the end of 6-months. I was happy to see that over 100 people shared their goals. I believe that simply writing down a specific goal will increase the chance of it happening.

I forgot to remind those 100 people about the half-way mark, so I am extending the halfway deadline to February 23rd. Leave a comment either here or in the original post with the same e-mail address (will not be public) to count. It doesn’t matter what your progress is, as long as you measure it. The prize is going to be a chance at a free iPod Shuffle, so I encourage you to leave a status check. Thanks to the six people who were really on the ball and already submitted updates! Right now you have a 17% chance at a free iPod 🙂

As for myself, the goal was to save reach $50,000 in cash. That meant an increase of approximately $11,610 above my November net worth update (11/8). As of my February net worth update (2/5), I have increased it by $4,602 so far. That’s 40% progress, which is actually better than it looks because we paid over $7,000 in taxes for our Traditional-to-Roth IRA conversion back in December. I am still hopeful that we can reach the $50k mark by May 16th.

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  1. My goal was in increase my student loan payment by $100/month and increase my car payment by $50/month. Since then I switched to Vonage and cancelled my fiance’s cell phone saving us about $65/month. Other small cost cuts have enabled me to reach my goal this month. This past week I made a $75 payment to my student loan and will do so each paycheck. I decided that from an emotional perspective, paying off the student loan was a greater priority so the entire $150 is going there.

  2. Goal was to save 10K for a wedding. I’m at 4,000

  3. My 6 mo goal was to add $1000 to my RothIRA–I’m at $100 + my $431 tax return, so a little over half way.

  4. My goal was to increase my net worth by 10,000 in 6 months. So far, my net worth has increased by 6900. So far, so good.

  5. Doh, I’m a geek. I actually came here yesterday looking to submit an update because I’d written it in my calendar to do so, but didn’t see how to submit the update. I’m glad you added something today 🙂

    My goal is to net $12,000 from my main business during the six months. I’m at $3494, so I have a ways to go.

  6. My six month goal was to pay of my $7200 car loan. I’m only down to $5000 but with some bonuses and tax refunds coming soon, I still hope to make it.

  7. My goals were to pay off my student loans and car loan, and to be able to quit my part time (2nd job). I paid off a $2000 car loan, and a $2,000 student loan, but still have a $1,500 student loan to pay off.

  8. My goals were to have $2500 in my Roth IRA ($1300 increase) and another $600 in savings. I’m at $2350 in the Roth and about halfway to my savings goal, so not too bad.

  9. Status update

    My goals were:
    1) Raise my emergency savings account to $10k
    I am doing pretty well with this one. I have raised my emergency savings
    account from $4k to $7k. Only $3k to go at the hafway mark.
    2) Find a new job
    I actually have an interview coming up for a new job but it pays $25k
    less than my current job. I may actually drop this goal because I’m
    thinking about keeping my current job and going to business school.
    3) Save $6k cash or dental work
    I have a $5k CD that comes due in April. I’d prefer to save the cash
    and let the CD go on another 6 month cycle, but it’s more likely
    between this and saving money for my emergency fund I will have to
    take the money from the CD when it matures.

  10. Great job everyone! I’m excited that people are keeping track.

  11. My goal was to raise my emergency savings account to $2500. Back in November it was sitting just below $800, and currently it’s at $1420. Still a lot of work ahead but the bonus at work should be coming in March to boost it up a bit more.

  12. My goal was to save $7500. I’ve already saved $5100. I think I might be able to exceed that.

  13. My goal was to save $6000 to replace my roof and increase my emergency fund. I have been tracking my daily spending with receipts and a basic budget book to see exactly how much i have been spending. I now have saved about $3000, which is half of the goal. I have also gone to having $100 cash each week to spend on incidentals, gas, and food. That really helps rein in the discretionary spending, but still need to get better about the occasional “splurge” with the debit card. Doing okay but still have room to improve!

  14. LordOfTheManor says

    Original Goals:
    1) Increase net worth by 10%?.approx 16k (typo in the original said only $15k..oops!)
    2) For 2007 set up auto equal monthly contributions to max out my ROTH IRA

    Current Situation:
    1) Well I’m amazed that this goal is well on its way. At the time of the original post my net worth was right around $160k mark. As of today it’s at $171k, so that just leaves another $5k to go which shouldn’t be an issue and will hopefully be surpassed in another 6 weeks or so (barring a stock market collapse)
    New stretch goal would be to get this to $184k, ie a 15% increase from the original base. That might be a little tougher

    2) I have set up automatic contributions although rather than for every month of the year it skips the two months around the holidays (always a little more expensive at that time of year!)
    That also makes it easy for me to keep track of as now it is 10 equal contributions of $400
    So the goal to max out the 2007 contribution amount to a ROTH IRA via automatic contributions is complete.

  15. My goal was to max out a Roth IRA for 2006 with $4000 and save another $2000. I’m exactly halfway there (although my income will take a hit as I leave my current job in the near future) – I opened up my Roth IRA with $3000 with Vanguard just a few days ago!

  16. My goals were vague and lame when I posted the comment … at the time I had no idea what my goals were until the new year hit and I realized I didn’t want to stay at my crappy job anymore.

    But the original goal was to fund half of my 2007 Roth … haven’t started because I’m reading about asset allocation.

    But going back to school to increase my language fluency and job skills … accomplished that and more. I’m back in school one night a week … and as for building up job skills … this wasn’t what I listed when I posted the comment, but I’ve made a list of places I’m calling this week for job interviews. My new goal is to leave my job in mid June, max out the 401k matching contribution, take the vacation payout and then start a new gig at a financial publication doing some kind of writing, even if I’m starting at the bottom again, at least I’d be writing more instead of staring at a computer and being a glorified monkey person.

    I saved $400 for a vacation to Austin and I won’t even need all of it since my airfare and festival costs are covered. Plenty of free food will be available at the event so I won’t have to worry about eating out so much. I put $200 of that Austin fund into my high-yield savings account at HSBC.

    And I’ve increased the amount I buy for my side business … being more aggressive and holding onto more I could possibly handle .. but it’s worked out great so far.

  17. Here are the results?..
    1.) Pay off $3000 in high interest credit card debt.
    $900 paid off?. Another $600 (hopefully $1000) by end of the month?.should be able to get this one?
    2.) Pay for major part of my own wedding $20K out of which I need to get more $9K?(I know a lot will say dont do it.. but then family emotions ha ha? other $11K is coming out of my 401K as a loan.
    Got $9K?decent tax refund helps.. got the goal of $20K for the wedding.. just 10K out of the 401K..saved some on tickets.. so I think I should be able to save some more..
    3.) Save additional $2000 in ING savings acct.
    This one is a bit of a challenge? just got $695?(Goal 3 making this harder)
    4.) Lend atleast $500 in micro loans at @10%+ interest.
    $225 at an average of 20%? hopefully will get the rest going depending on how some of these loans perform
    Best of luck people.. see you around in another 3 months?.

  18. goals/progress

    1. new job either entering my field or doubling my salary: more progress than the previous year or so, but nothing near an offer. have a couple of warm leads that meet either one or both criteria.

    2. to buy a four unit apartment building: I have an offer out on one right now that has a chance in hell of working out. looks very profitable if the bank accepts the offer.

    still striving for a better life.

  19. Grad Student says

    Goal: $10000 savings (starting from ~$5000)
    Current status: $8098.76 – so not too bad

  20. Kenneth Petr says

    My current status is $15,000 in cash for a house down payment and $11,000 in my emergency fund.

    My 6-month goal is to have $30,000 in 100% cash for a house down payment and $15,000 in my emergency fund.

    I have reached my goal for the down payment on a house, but have not yet reached the $15,000 in emergency funds. I currently have $5,000 and am hopeful I will be able to reach my goal.

  21. $2 a day!

  22. My goal was to pay off the last $3200 of my student loans.

    I’m down to $307!

  23. My goal was to pay off $10k in debt over 6 months. We’ve currently hit $4900, so we’re a little behind, but I’m still feeling pretty good!!

  24. The only goal I’ve been able to meet so far is paying down my debt. I wanted to pay a total of $900 a month toward credit cards and a loan from my mother and I have done this steadily so far.

    What I haven’t done: put $300 into savings or earn $300 extra a month playing music.

    And another downfall: I bought a new car, adding a nice little car payment to my monthly expenses (a necessity, unfortunately).

  25. My goal was to pay down our credit card debt by $6000. So far I’ve banked $3920, and so I’m more than half-way there.

    Our goals have changed slightly as well. We recently found out that my fiance will be getting a bonus in some time in the next couple weeks and I’m expecting a settlement for a lawsuit that’s about 2 years old. So with that good fortune, our new goal is to save an additional $3281.66 by the end of June which, with current savings and bonuses mentioned above, would pay off our $8000 credit card debt and our $5200 car loan.

    If we’re able to accomplish our goal, we’ll be debt free by June 30, and able to save about $5000 extra by the end of the year for our BIG GOAL of buying a condo in Southern California.

  26. Hi There!

    My goal is to pay down half of my $17K credit card debt. So far, it has been slow going but I managed to transfer part of the balance to a low interest rate credit card and begin making regular (on time ;’ ) monthly payments. I just keep thinking slow and steady and I will get there.

    Thanks for your help!!!

  27. My goal was to pay off my unsubsidized student loan which was about $7200 at the time… now I’m down to $6100 (woohoo! haha).

    A few things have gotten in the way a bit.

    1. new girlfriend.
    2. upcoming move to the east coast. I’m trying to generate as much cash as possible for the relocation in May/June.
    3. Freelance projects lagging. Customers are taking time to get me the elements I need for their projects as well as delaying on payment.

    But, I did just receive a promotion/raise at my fulltime job on Friday and while I don’t think I can drop $2000 on a loan repayment every month, I will certainly get a lot closer to paying it off than I am right now.

  28. My goal was to pay down ALL (2 credit cards w/ 4000 bal on them), goal accomplished. Used income tax return to put money into my mom and little brother and sister’s mutual fund accounts.

  29. Goal: $1,500 for Emergency Fund
    Progress: $1,250 and I just increased my bi-weekly savings and have my federal tax refund to be added to this account, so this goal should be accomplished before June

  30. My goals were to pay off $4000 of credit card debt, add $1000 to my ?rainy day fund? and find a new job making 20% more than I do now.

    As of today, I have paid off $1500 of my debt, added $900 to my emergency savings, and I am still looking for a new job.

  31. create $500 a month income from my blog by June, by December $1000

  32. Wife’s car loan is currently down to $2300. It looks like we’re going to pay the rest off with my bonus.

  33. My goal was to earn my keep with my girlfriend. She’s a real “Go Getter”. She paid off my debt and pays for the mortage that houses me and her. To earn my keep means getting paid more. I’m currently working full time at my college job, but I’m taking licensing tests and I’m on my way to becoming a financial services representative.

  34. Currently have $25K savings towards my house fund. I also fully funded my yearly roth IRA contribution for the first time ever.

  35. My goal is to purchase a foreclosure this year. So far, I have been to about 50 foreclosure auctions, and have found one foreclosure that made sense for me to purchase. Unfortunately, the sale was cancelled a week before the auction. That property was about a month ago. Since then, I have another property I am tracking, that I’m willing to put a bid on. It comes up March 6th, and hopefully I can purchase that one.

  36. from January 26th, 2007 at 8:51 am:

    ‘My financial and personal life goal is to get a new job. I have been ?underemployed? for too long and I need to muster up the confidence to get out there and change my life! Great site Jon.’

    Well it’s been nearly 1 month (although a short one!) since my previous post declaring that my goal is to get a new job. Unfortunately, I must report that I have not achieved that goal yet.

    I am currently a substitute teacher and I need to learn new things to become competitive in the job market. I’m not sure if this is the best strategy, but I decided to learn web development skills. My goal is to eventually use those skills to help me get a new job.

    During the past month, I applied to ATS for a Java boot camp program. If get the opportunity to attend, I need to prove myself during the boot camp month in order to be offered a job there.

    I also attended a Microsoft conference for fun. It turned out to be a good networking opportunity and I met someone that I may be able to do freelance work for when my skills are up to par.

    I also may be developing 2 web sites for 2 business owners that I know, I probably won’t get paid much, but it will be good to build my portfolio. Furthermore, I just launched my own blog website about investing in stocks [finally] and I believe that I will afford me a good learning opportunity as well as allow me to test out my writing and teaching skills. It’s in its early stages so far, but if you have time please check it out and let me know what you think. I am dedicated to improving my portfolio management strategies.

    I have many ideas that I wish to pursue. May 16th is marked in my calender and I hope to tackle a few milestones by then. Thanks for running the experiment Jon.

  37. My 6 month goal was to land a job making 80% or better of what I left at (I?m unemployed).

    I am happy to report that I landed a great job making even better $$ than before. Not only that, I rolled my crummy 401k into a self directed IRA and beat the pants off my old funds day in and day out!

    Happy happy joy joy…

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