Poll: What is Your Current Most Important Financial Goal?

I thought this week we’ll take a look at what people are currently focused on when it comes to their finances. It will be interesting to see how people at different stages in life will be focused on different goals.

For example, our primary goal right now is paying off debt. Between student loans, credit cards, and car payments, it can definitely be a drain on the monthly budget. Of course that doesn’t mean saving for retirement or building an emergency fund is put on the back burner, but accelerating the debt payments so that we can be debt-free (except for the mortgage) in just a couple years is where most of the effort is going. Once that goal is reached, we will shift toward accelerating retirement savings, and probably moving into a new house.

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Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.

17 comments
Creative Investor
Creative Investor

I think financial priorities should be in the following order: 1) Paying off high-interest debt; 2) Building an emergency fund; 3) Paying off other debt; 4) Saving for other purposes (such as buying a house). Saving for retirement should be concurrent with other goals after you're done with #1.

I actually had a pretty interesting post on the related subject: Cashing Out Into An Early Retirement

MoneyNing
MoneyNing

Buying a home and then the mortgage will force me to vote for paying off debt :)

Webomatica
Webomatica

Socking away as much cash as possible as both an emergency fund and a downpayment on a home (probably 1 or 2 years from now which is about when I believe the real estate market will bottom out).

Retirement is automatic, only debt is student loans which we're ahead on payments - a little worrisome but the interest rate is low.

Steve Austin
Steve Austin

other: develop a dividend-income portfolio of stocks so that I'll pay no taxes next year (only income will be in IRAs, and dividends taxed at 0% for AGI in the 15% tax bracket)

Anitra
Anitra

In our case, our goal of paying off debt is part of buying a home. We just bought our home in May with only 5% down, and we are now aggressively paying off our second mortgage, which covers another 15% of the purchase price. Our goal is to have that paid off by January 2009.

Other than the house, our only debt is student loans, all with a lower interest rate than our mortgage.

Beth
Beth

I listed Emergency fund as my top goal, but it's working hand-in-hand with saving to buy a house (two different accounts). But the emergency fund is slightly more important to me right now.

Asset Manager
Asset Manager

I have a new feature on the blog 'Hedge Fund Manager Toy of the Week' This week it is a fighter jet for the business executive... OK a little more frivalous than your serious posts... but one can dream....

wayne
wayne

Improving my cash flow. My mortgage (+taxes) consume 1/2 of my take home pay. Literally 1/2! And I live in a 130k house. 30year mtg, 6.5 int rate. 1300/month!

Crys
Crys

It really depends, as I have goals for different stages in my life.

My immediate Goals are to 1. Pay off my car by 2009 (a year early) and 2. Pay off all my fathers debts.

But in that process, my goal is to build my $5k emergency fund (and continue to build it beyond that so my next car is paid in cash) and also to save for retirement. I have my 401k and Roth IRA, but when it comes to investing I am completely lost.

Harrison
Harrison

I have dream to buy a new house for my family and also for myself as a work at home office. :)

xshanex
xshanex

I'm an "other" as my financial and personal priority is to move cross-country for family reasons. I am investing a lot of time and money into that pursuit. Have been spending a lot of time out there both with family and interviewing for positions so travel has been an expense. Also have been saving and preparing for the physical move so that I am in a strong financial position when I do move rather than strarting from scratch or at a weak point which would throw off my retirement and investing goals. Paying off debt and creating a "moving fund" have been priorities

No real debt here other than a low interest truck payment, using a 401k and Roth IRA for retirement.

Money Socket
Money Socket

My condo here in California is on the market, I'm hoping to get it sold asap so I can move to TX, buy a home and have money left over to invest in higher ROI assets. I can't make any move until it sells, I feel like my money is in jail! It just sits there and rather than earning me money, I have to keep paying the mortgage and HOA. Hopefully I can sell it by this year.

PinoyTech
PinoyTech

I have been paying off debt and investing as much as I can. I chose saving up for retirement because it's the ultimate reason for saving and paying off debt (So you won't have to pay for it when you're older).

rstlne
rstlne

Saving for retirement is the only financial goal I have left. I have a specific number in mind. When my net worth hits that number, I'll retire and move to a location where real estate is cheaper.

Patrick
Patrick

I selected "other," so I will explain. I want to get into a good MBA program. Some people say this wouldn't be a financial goal, but it most definitely is. I have to consider how much it will cost, expected ROI, and many other factors (such as financing, etc.). I have some money saved, as well as the GI Bill. While that won't pay for it all, right now I can focus my energies on getting accepted and sort out the financial details later.

I also consider it a financial goal because it will have a direct reflection on my career, which has a direct reflection on my earning power. I hope I make it!

ryan
ryan

i voted other, so here i explain. saving for another investment property. all of my debt is paid, and all the other little cubes (EF, ROTH) are all full for the year.

Lauren
Lauren

I'm currently balancing myself between paying off immediate debt (credit card) and agressively building a savings fund that will act as a buffer for me as I enter the Peace Corps in a few months.