2013 Goals

Okay, it’s time to state a few goals that we hope to reach in 2013. Our savings goals are in the box below. We plan on saving over $100,000 by maxing out all of our retirement, educational and health savings accounts. Since I will turn 50 this year, I am now eligible for the catch-up contributions to my various retirement accounts. Consequently, I will be able to add an extra $1,000 to my IRA and $5,500 to both my 457 and 403b accounts; this will result in an extra $12,000 to my retirement savings. Getting older is not all bad.

2013 Savings Goals
Health Savings
Total Retirement and Health Savings
Educational Savings
Coverdale ESA
529 Plan
Total Educational Savings
Grand Total

Our spending goal this year is to live on $51,750. That number is based on our “free money” plus the 10% federal income tax bracket. Our free money is $33,900 and the 10% federal income tax bracket (for a married couple) tops out at $17,850. That means that we can earn up to $51,750 before we hit the 15% tax bracket. This means on $51,750 of income we would pay $1,785 of federal income tax ($17,850 * 10%). That is an effective federal income tax rate of 3.5% ($1,785 / $51,750); we can live with that! You can expect a future post on how we determine our “free money” as we do our yearly tax planning.

2013 Spending Goals
Free Money
10% Federal
Income Tax Bracket
Our Spending

Limit for 2013

2013 Federal Income Tax Due
  & Effective Income Tax Rate
Federal Income Tax Due:
($17,850 * 10%)
Effective Federal Income Tax Rate:

($1,785 / $51,750)

Our debt goals are pretty simple: avoid more debt and continue reducing current debt. To that end, we will continue paying an extra $150 a month on our mortgage while also paying $500 a month on our credit card debt. Since our 0% credit card will expire in April, we are looking for a new 0% card that will have a free balance transfer. We will park any surplus money in our HELOC account to keep the balance as low as possible. While we do not like having this level of debt, we believe our savings come first. That said, if we get the chance to nuke the credit card debt, it will be slain in 2013.

2013 Debt Goals
January 1st, 2014
$150 Monthly Prepayment
$59,768 (at 5.875%)
Park surplus money here
$35,000 (at 2.9% currently)
Credit Cards
$500 Monthly Payment
$2,000 (at 0%)
Total Projected Debt at End of 2013


Our health goals for 2013 are:
  1. To continue adhering to our No-Low-Slow Carb diet. I started this dietary change in 2011 and feel so much better. I lost 35 pounds, my energy increased, my post-meal “sleepies” disappeared, and my exercise routine became much easier to do. Since I do most of the cooking, Mrs. Better Half also follows the diet (more or less) and has experienced the same health benefits.
  2. After an overindulgent Christmas season, my weight started creeping up on me. As I write the post, I weigh 245 lbs.…that is about 10 lbs over my ideal weight. My goal this year is to keep my weight between 230 to 235 lbs.
  3. This year I want to perfect my Minimalist Workout Routine. It consists of abdominal exercises, basic Pilates, T-bar swings and a few targeted slow-count lifts with free weights. I perform this routine twice a week and it usually takes less than 35 minutes to do.
  4. My last goal is to keep on running. A good week for me is three to five runs per week; each run is at least 30 minutes long with one 1-hour run per week. This year I would like to run one half-marathon and one 25K run in 2013.
My professional goals for 2013 are:
  1. To better my future job prospects, I plan on adding three certification areas to my teaching certificate: biology, middle school reading and middle school math. You never know when these certification areas might come in handy and land you a job.
  2. This year I would like to work on developing The Millionaire Educator website. Currently, I have no clue what I am doing and I do not post enough. Well, that is going to change. I plan on writing at least one post per week, so I should have 52 or more posts next January. I also need to learn about other blogging and website options. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.
  3. I have two book ideas that I have been working on…off and on. I really need to get these things written this year. The first book I need to write is:  The Millionaire Educator: How to Build Wealth on a Teacher’s Salary. The second book I want to write is:  How to Hack a College Degree in One Year for Under $5,000. What do you think about those book titles? Would want to buy such a book?
My personal development goals are:
  1. To continue using Memrise to build on my Chinese, French and German language skills. I am currently working my way through the first 1,000 words in each of the languages. I think I can get through the French and German courses this year. I am not so sure about the Chinese course, but what the heck. Time to grip it and rip it!
  2. Over the last three months I have completed 17 hours of FEMA independent study courses; my goal is to complete 30 hours. I am completing these courses in the event that I need some college credits to renew my teaching certificate. I also take the courses to illustrate how individuals can use them to pickup general elective credits for whatever reason they might need them.
  3. I want to pass the CLEP Humanities test this year! These six semester credit hours can be used to renew my teaching certificate.

Those are the main goals that we hope to achieve this year. Some are very ambitious, but we are going to pursue them nonetheless.  Are we crazy?  Send me a comment or email and let me hear about your grand goals for 2013.

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Banking:  We have used USAA for our checking and savings accounts since 1997.  We also have checking and savings accounts at three credit unions:   AlliantElements Financial, and Navy Federal.  Finally, we have an online checking account with Simple.
Health Savings Account:  We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.
Phone Options:  My wife loves her $10 a month plan at Republic Wireless (new plans now start at $15 a month).  I had the same plan and liked it too, but unfortunately I broke my phone in Mexico.  I currently use a WiFi-enabled phone at a cost of $0 a month thanks to three Google apps: Voice, Hangouts, and Hangouts Dialer.  We also have a Skype subscription with its own number for unlimited U.S. calls ($80 a year).
Travel Rewards:  If you'd like to learn how to get "free" flights and hotel rooms, take the free course at Travel Miles 101.  When we slow travel, we use Airbnb to find low-cost, month-long rentals.  Whenever possible, we try to use Uber instead of taxis.
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  1. Solid goals. I think the book on building wealth as an educator would be handed out at 1st year teacher orientations! One thing: why not refi the high interest mortgage? Or pay it off completely?

  2. Thanks for the comment Headed Home. I agree that I need to get on the stick and refi my mortgage. I also need to slay some credit card debt. I am going to explore my options this year. Good luck on reaching your goals in 2013.

  3. Tracee

    Just found your site via the USA Today article about early retirement. I am a likeminded teacher in my 20s, and I enjoyed reading your blog. I likewise canceled my cable last year (digital antenna + AppleTV +Netflix + Hulu), and I’m saving up as much money as I can now while compound interest is all in my favor.

    Keep up the blog -it’s great to read about other teachers saving money wisely. We normally have to keep our mouths shut while others are lavishly spending the limited dollars they don’t have, so it’s nice to have a space to brag about and discuss the non-glamorous spreadsheets and our exciting ten dollar savings.

  4. Hello Tracee,
    We just moved for a new job in south Georgia, and once again, no cable for us! We’re going to give Amazon Prime a try this year to see what we think. As for now, we have no cable, digital rabbit ears, a Roku, Netflix and Prime…it certainly works for us. Plus, we don’t miss the cable bill.

    Thanks for reading.

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