FPMD 2017 New Year's Resolutions (Plus 2016 Review)

There is no better time to set some new goals for yourself than the beginning of the new year.  Each year, I will share with you 3 New Year's resolutions that deal with money.  Why 3?  Because best things come in threes - the Godfather trilogy, the original Star Wars (episodes IV-VI), Virchow's Triad etc.  And also because I can't keep track of more than 3 things.  In 2016's FPMD New Year's Resolutions - Money Edition, I shared with you what I had planned to achieve in my financial life.  Let's review...

1.  BECOME DEBT FREE (EXCEPT FOR MY 6 FIGURE STUDENT DEBT)

I'm proud to report that I've successfully completed this goal.  The only debt I had going into 2016 were my credit card balances and a hefty student loan.  I have paid off all carried balance on my credit cards as of November 2016.  The credit card balance you see on my Net Worth Update reflects current charges which I pay off before the due date every month.  I hate paying interest, but I do love my points!

2.  MAX OUT MY ROTH IRA CONTRIBUTION ($5,500).

Done!  I moved my Roth IRA to Vanguard in 2016 in an effort to transition out of active investing.  Since then, I've spent no time worrying about which company to invest in or how the current portfolio is performing.  I went from checking tickers on a daily basis to not-at-all.  It has been a liberating experience.

3.  SAVE $1,000 FOR A THANKSGIVING VACATION

Vacation taken!  Although it was a bit earlier than Thanksgiving.  One of my best friends got married in early November 2016... in Hohhot, China!  I also took the opportunity to visit some family.  I saved well over $1,000 for the trip.  Luckily for me, I was able to save significantly thanks to a few travel hacks.

That's 3 out of 3 for 2016.  Not too shabby.  Now I want to share with you 3 financial goals I've set for 2017.  

1.  Pass the CORE exam (Radiology Boards)

Ok, I get that this isn't a typical money resolution.  But it is for me.  Virtually all IR fellowships make board-passage a requirement for starting fellows.  If I fail my boards, the best case scenario is I delay my career until I can pass.  The worst case scenario is where I don't get to become an interventionalist at all.  You know what?  I initially ranked this down at #3, but I'm moving it to #1.  I MUST PASS!

2.  Establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF)

I have to thank my good friend & fellow blogger Physician on Fire (PoF) for turning me onto DAFs.  The cliff notes version is that DAFs are great tax-efficient ways to give to good causes.  For the long version, check out PoF's many posts on the subject:

3.  Start a 457b Plan and contribute the max ($18,000)

I managed to max out my contributions on my Roth IRA ($5,500), Roth 403b ($18,000), and HSA plans ($3,350) in 2016.  Honestly I didn't think I could do it because that's a whole lot of money for someone making $55k.  But now I'm emboldened.  The logical next step would be to sign onto my employer's 457b plan and take advantage of another $18,000 in tax-deferred investments.  If only there was a Roth 457...

Thank you for supporting my little corner on the internet.  Come back next year and we'll check how I did.  Do you have any financial resolutions for 2017?


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Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.