As per the annual tradition since I’ve started Million Dollar Journey, it’s time to declare some financial goals for the New Year.  As I’ve written before, I believe that setting realistic goals are important in making progress towards desired, bigger picture milestones.  For me, one of my bigger picture financial goals is to be a millionaire (in net worth) by the year I turn 35.  Setting these baby step financial goals help me stay the course.

As last years financial goals were somewhat of a success, I’m inclined to set similar type goals for 2010.

  1. Pay off Mortgage – With about $25,000 remaining on my mortgage balance, it’s well within striking distance to being paid off.  It will be quite the personal achievement to have the mortgage paid off in less than 3 years.  Providing things go as planned, we want to be mortgage free in 2010!
  2. Maximize TFSA’s – I was pretty slack with the TFSA’s in 2009, but I plan to change that in 2010.  I plan to make good use of the $15,000 remaining in contribution room.  My goal is to fully fund 2 TFSA accounts in 2010.  As of this post, I only have 1 TFSA which was recently opened with Questrade.
  3. Optimize RRSP’s – With higher reported income for 2009, there should be plenty of RRSP contribution room available for 2010.  However, with 2010 T4 income being questionable, I may only contribute enough to optimize taxation.  However, I may simply max out my contribution but carry forward the RRSP deduction should 2010 prove to be a low income T4 year.
  4. Generate More Passive Income – After selling my rental properties, passive income has taken a major hit.  The only remaining source of passive income is via Canadian dividend stocks in my leveraged portfolio.  If stocks become attractively priced in 2010, I will become more aggressive in purchasing dividend equities.
  5. Consolidate Accounts – I have way too many accounts at various institutions.  For example, I have 3 non-registered trading accounts with 3 different institutions.  In 2010, my goal is to consolidate some of these accounts and simplify our finances.
  6. Blog Goals – Grow readership to 15,000 subscribers. As this site has become a large part of my life, I plan to put even more energy towards growing the readership. 15k subscribers is quite the jump from 8k at the beginning of 2009, but a nice round number to work towards.

If you would like some ideas for financial goals, check out Kathryn’s post listing 8 financial resolution ideas for 2010.

Care to share your financial goals for 2010? Feel free to use this thread as your personal finance goal diary.  Big or small goals, it will help keep me motivated (and hopefully you) in knowing that readers are working towards achieving their financial goals as well.

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Wow, congrats on being close to paying off your mortgage. That is one heck of an accomplishment.

Getting your mortgage paid off in three years is truly inspiring!

My main financial goal for 2010 is to stay on track with paying our mortgage off in the first five year term. So far, so good.

To help with this goal I need to generate more business income and I am finding a new way every week to reduce expenses.

with 2010 T4 income being questionable

Can we assume baby #2 is on the way? :)

If there is a baby on the way, you might want to think about RESP or some kind of savings plan there too!

I’d like to have your readership, but can’t figure out how to get over the plateau I am currently at. Maybe I’ll get over 1000 RSS readers this year, we’ll see.

I don’t have the nerve to post my goals, but I’ll leave a link to some advice on your resolutions

Coming up with ‘new’ goals is our primary road block right now!

When we first married the list of ‘things to do’ was as long as your arm (finish school–and pay off the loans, start our own businesses, build a house) and then those goals evolved into ‘pay off house, put aside $ for kids’ education, invest for retirement.’

Aside from ‘continuing to invest for retirement’ (we’re 39)…now what?


I enjoyed this feature in 2009.

1. Stay on budget for wedding & honeymoon expenses;
2. Contribute an extra $10,000 towards mortgage. (This will likely be in the later half of the year after fully recovering from purchasing a new home);
3. Start contributing to TFSA again in Q3. (I fell off the horse on this one in 2009);
4. Create a will;
5. Motivated by FT and Kathryn, I have started tracking my net worth. My goal is to increase my net worth by 30% in 2009.

I don’t know the answer to this one because I still have a mortgage….

If you pay off the mortgage (and effectively do not have one with the bank) can you still have a HELOC? I know the answer is yes, but…every time my mortgage is due I get the bank to do an assessment (for free) which generally increases the ‘value’ of the home, thus raising my credit limit on my HELOC.

Is there any benefit to keeping a small mortgage for this reason?

I would like to max out my Roth IRA in 2010 and save for a big vacation.

Wish I could accelerate my mortgage payments so it was paid off within 3 years!!!!! Congratulations! That must feel incredible!! 17 years and counting here…


I’m in a similar boat. SM mortgage that could be paid off this year (we owe $37k). The original amortization was for 50 months which means we would still have about 20 months left.

Here is what I haven’t found out yet but I will – if I discharge the mortgage early, does that give BMO (I have a Readiline mortgage) the opportunity to raise the HELOC rate? We’ve already seen unilateral moves by banks during this crisis where people who used to be paying P – X for their LOC were told that they had to accept P, or even P + 1 or 2 just like that.

Considering my HELOC balance is larger than any mortgage I’ve ever had, that is not a result I’d like to see.

Please post what you find out and I’ll do the same.


P.S. Have you, or will you, divulge the impact that this site has on your cash flow? It would be interesting to know if this is 5% of your income (now that rental income is eliminated) or 10% and costs are 1% or 2%, etc.

The phrase “kids in the pipeline” is giving me strange mental images.

Ugh canucktuary – making a will has been on my financial goals list since around 2004. That and putting my husband’s name on the house title. I confidently predict that I will fail at these again in 2010! My financial goal for 2010 right now is to have enough to take 9 months off work and finance some of the fun/educational stuff I will do in that period. There’s a reasonable chance I’ll pull the trigger on that one early though …..

IDK why don’t you start saving for a fantastic holiday – a luxe trip to Italy or one of Adventure Canada’s voyages or something.

Excellent, this means I can cross off my goal posted in my previous post already! (The goal was to write down my financial goals)

1. Track My Spending – From a young age I have always automated my finances and am very frugal so I never worry about this one but I am sure there are some leaks I can find. I have setup a GnuCash profile already and plan to spend a couple of hours on the last Sunday of each month to review and update my accounts.

2. Learn More About Investing – I do invest but admittedly do not know nearly as much as I should in order to make positive returns. I need to review my current investments and find out more about DRIPs and Stock analysis so that I can reroute monthly savings to investments that earn higher returns (2% GICs are a joke).

3. Get a Pre-Approval – I have been looking for houses on again off again for quite some time but never got pre-approved because of the credit hit. I plan to get a pre-approval so that I can really focus on finally buying a place (Vancouver ain’t gettin’ any cheaper it appears). *If anyone knows about how to “renew” Pre-Approvals without incurring a 2nd credit hit, please let me know!*

4. Donate Some Money – I have always wanted to setup a small scholarship since I relied on them entirely to get through post-secondary. It looks quite challenging so I might be able to but at least I should donate some money to start towards that path.

Three years would be quite an achievement! I hope you are successful. For me I continue to rent as by the time I had an opportunity to buy UK housing was over priced and remains so.

With your goal to generate more pasive income. I can’t help but feel you might get some of those attractive prices in 2010.

Wow! Impressive progress and goals.

Here is where I’m feeling torn. If we have extra money, do I pay back the HBP sooner or pay down the mortgage faster? Is it better to pay myself back first assuming I can make more in RRSPs than I pay in interest on the mortgage or should we pay down the mortgage faster and keep paying ourselves back the minimum for the HBP? Or do we take any extra, split it in two and do both?

I was wondering how you are able to put $15,000 in a TFSA I thought you can only add $5,000/year?

I’ll trade you some help toward achieving your goal #6 in return for some help planning my financial goals. ;)

My client doesn’t have a sexy website (yet), however you’ll find them if you google ‘photography’. Just sayin.

My financial goals:

1. Pay off car loan (20K).
2. Pay for home repairs and renos (brickwork, new patio)
3. Draw up plan for paying off mortgage by 2015 and make enough extra payments to keep plan on track. Ultimate goal is paying off the mortgage before I turn 40 (2016).

Mortgage owing – 187K. Mortgage is up for renewal in December 2010, hopefully the BoC will keep its promise to keep rates low until my negotiating window opens in August. Ideally I can get into a position to request a 60 month amortization on renewal, but it’ll take some work.

Financial Goals for 2010

1. Open a self directed account
2. Diversify portfolio
3. Grow investment portfolio by 50% (contributions & growth)
4. Double RESP contributions
5. Create plan to payoff mortgage in 10 yrs (knocking 7 yrs off)

My mortgage is up in Aug 2010 and I am leaning towards a variable rate. If the rates start to go up I’ll lock in and hopefully the principal I’ve paid off will out weigh the increased interest rate.

Life happens so hopefully I can keep on top of these important goals.
P.S. great blog

Great goals Frugal!! Wow, a paid-off house. I can only wish….with about $200,000 left on our mortgage.

Alas, last year, I didn’t set many clear financial goals for us. This year, we’re going to, and that unto itself is a goal :)

Here are the others, in no order of importance:

1) Put at least $20,000 down as lump-sum payments on our mortgage.
2) Max TFSAs in newly opened brokerage accounts.
3) “Get-out” of high-MER funds (into lower-cost index ETFs).
4) Optimize RRSP to avoid paying additional income tax come tax-time.
5) Contribute to CDN-dividend paying stocks such as banks, pipelines and energy companies (and DRIP them).
6) Save money and take a well-deserved vacation in 2010.

Good luck with your goals everyone!

I realy enjoy the open discussion. All of your contributions are appreciated.

My goals are:

1. To maximize my employer matched RRSP/DPSP. They match 100% up to $2500. I contribute 5% of my income to this Manulife’s Canadian Equity Fund (RRSP). My income is around $67,000 so I get ~$1000 tax deduction on top of the $2500 matching contribution. That feels like a 105% return.

2. To maximize contributions to my three childrens’ RESPs. $7500 investment gives me $1500 return immediately. (20%) Invested in RBC’s Canadian Dividend Fund.

3. In 2009 I refinanced our revenue property to make it cash neutral. Use rental property line of credit to purchase our second rental property. We are considering Reno, Nevada, where the recreational opportunities are amazing and property values are deeply discounted. the City is a college town (UNR) so rental income is assured.

4. To renew my mortgage at a five year locked in rate lower than 4%. I’m currently at 4.5% at the end of a five year term.TAKE NOTE: I plan to extend my ammortization out as long as possible to allow me to have cash flow to continue to maximize my other investments.

While interest rates are this low, I can’t understand why I would pay off my mortgage when I can get way better returns from simply contributing to my RRSPs. We have no high interest short term debt, no car payments. In five years I will review my options and allocate funds accordingly. But right now, I want to max out these opportunities for a chance to build a nice nest egg. We are a one income family and are contributing yearly more than $15,000 to investments, not including the rental property (which I wouldn’t mind some advice on how to determine its return).

Any advice?

Kathryn, I think under normal circumstances paying of the mortgage and paying back hbp are probably equally good. You can’t calculate which is better because you don’t know what the future rrsp returns are going to be and you also don’t know what the future interest rates (after your current mortgage expires) will be.

I just pay the minimum hbp and then make extra payments on my mortgage. My reasoning for this is that the mortgage is “riskier” debt because interest rates can go up (along with payments) whereas the hbp payments are fixed no matter what.

However, the reality is that unless you have an outsized mortgage – either way is just fine.

Keeping to my financial goals is so much easier when there is a fat juicy carrot at the end of the year to keep me motivated. This year I achieved many of my financial goals and my reward was a trip to Australia to visit my friend who just moved there.

I’ve saved up for it so it will be a guilt free purchase. Plus I’ll be staying with with my friend to keep the cost low.

Every time I thought I’d fall of the money wagon I reminded myself of how great the trip would be. It really works.

Shrimps on the barbie!

Ugh canucktuary – making a will has been on my financial goals list since around 2004. That and putting my husband’s name on the house title. I confidently predict that I will fail at these again in 2010! My financial goal for 2010 right now is to have enough to take 9 months off work and finance some of the fun/educational stuff I will do in that period. T

I don’t think I would consider just having the direct mortgage paid off on your house as having you house “paid off and free and clear” as long as that HELOC is outstanding. That means that your house is the collatoral incase you stop paying on the HELOC. They will foreclose on your home. You might want to reconsider your definition of “paying off” your house.

Financial goals… where do you start?

Is it best to do a little of everything? RRSP, RESP, pay off the mortgage, emergency fund, etc etc etc…

Or do you focus on only one thing?

Last year we worked off our non-real-estate-debt (car loan, credit cards, etc)… so finding our new focus is at hand.

Any suggestions?

My goal this year was to pay off all my debt – and now I’m proud to say that – I listen to your guy’s suggestions and used all the cash laying around in my bank account and paid off the entire amount on my car :)

Could you please clarify how you got $15,000 of the TFSA contribution room? I though the TFSA was introduced on January 2, 2009. So, 2009 ($5K) + 2010 ($5K) = $10K max, no?

While doing a variety of things is probably optimal (ie will result in the most gains), I would say its better to do a few small things very well, and be ok in the others. I say this because trying to do alot of things very well can be overwhelming.
In my mind the priority list is:
1. Pay off High interest consumer debt
2. Emergency Fund
3a. Invest (RRSP (ETFs), TFSA (ETFs), and Eligible CDN dividend stocks)
3b. Fun Money (Live Life!)
3c. Charity (Do some of each, 3a,3b,3c concurrently)
4. RESP — Kids can pay for their own school, none of our parents did, why should we pay? They can work and get scholarships like the rest of us did. Oh and they can skip the designer jeans and expensive laptops and learn what sacrifice for eventual gain means.

Did i miss anything?

How did you manage to pay off your mortgage in 3 years?


Thanks for the insight…

High interest consumer debt… done!

Emergency Fund… working on it..

We (my wife and I) put money away into RRSP, some non-registered accounts, RESPs, and a vacation fund so this seems to cover your points 3 and 4.

Where does paying the mortgage off come in? (I don’t consider it high-interest consumer debt).

I was interested to see your comments on education costs. Given the costs of today’s post-secondary education it is very difficult to have someone “work their way through school”. Thus they have two choices… a large student debt or parents who have helped along the way. I think I’d rather help a little than give a new graduate a shiny new diploma attached to 5 to 10 years of debt. I plan to educate my kids on money along the way so that they can appreciate that yes I am helping, that yes they have to put something in as well and that yes education is worth it.

As a parent of young kids (at least 10 years before they go to university) these are my current thoughts. I’ll ask the collective intelligence of experienced parents what they think…

Similar Goals. Comments/Questions on goal #1 and #4……

Still waivering over paying down mortgage vs bulking up my stock portfolio. Currently have a $150k mortgage on a $400k home. Have about $75k in non-reg investments (stocks, etc). I’m yielding about 9-10% in dividends on the non-reg stuff. Much of these dividends will almost certainly be slashed over the next year or two. My mortgage is a 5 year fixed term at 3.94% and is due in November of 2010. Should I liquidate my non-reg stuff and attack the mortgage? I’ve done ok in terms of capital appreciation as well on the stocks (purchased almost all of it when the market was down).

I really hate having a mortgage, but I really love having the passive income.

As of this past weekend, my wife and I are embarking on a 4 year plan. I read an article about retiring to places south of the border and my wife and I are excited about retiring well, and early, to South America.

Although we have enough assets to permanently leave Canada and retire, we have 2 daughters (1 each from previous marriages) that have yet to hit university. Once the oldest is through and the youngest in her 2nd year, we should be comfortable that they are independent enough to look after their own interests.

It’s amazing to us that we could sell our home in the Toronto area, and use that along with our Smith Manoeuvre portfolio to purchase not just a home on the beach but also one higher up towards mountains. And, we can easily live off our a portion of our dividends from the RRSP’s and SM portfolio without any worry of depleting them.

To make this happen, we will:

1 – Eliminate any capital improvements to the house and refrain from significant purchases (e.g. furniture, electronics, car). My wife laughed at electronics – I quickly underlined SIGNIFICANT. That doesn’t mean I’ll stop altogether!

2 – Pay off mortgage by 2011

3 – Continue to maximize RRSP contributions.

4 – Start paying down SM HELOC after mortgage is eliminated.

5 – I don’t know that there is any point putting money into the TFSA now that we will leave Canada in 4 years. We are going to seek an accountant with expertise in taxation as it relates to those retiring outside of Canada.

I did learn that we would still be eligible for about 75% of our OAS. Our CPP would be significantly reduced because we would be retiring so early. We both would only have about 25 decent working years to count for our contributions.

We haven’t informed the children yet as we don’t want them worrying unnecessarily… we will wait until they are older…. or when they really tick us off.

4 –

Hey Everyone and FT,
I have re-stumbled upon your site once again!

First time was a couple years ago when trying to make money online, that failed miserably but I learned a lot. This site is AMAZING and offers probably thousands of hours of reading. Many articles I have read more than once as I love to learn about finances and investing.

As of last year I have studied much and learned much about preparing myself for the rest of my life, and helping everyone I know to do the same.

My goals are as follows:

1. Purchase a condo this year. This will be used to rent out as I continue to pay rent in an aparentment. I live in Vancouver, so it has been very hard to save money to purchase a home, but it is becoming more possible every day.

2. Accumulate 20% for a downpayment to avoid Mortgage Insurance.. Due to the new drop from the 25% requirement to avoid CMHC Mortgage Insurance, I sill soon be able to afford this! I am reading up on the SM, and plan to buy the book to familiarize myself with it 100%. I hope I am able to use this method.
Although my main problem as of today, is my TDS ratio is too high; despite saving 60%+ of my monthly income.

3. Achieve 100k status at age 25. Considering 4 years ago I started my first job, I knew at that point I would save as much as I could. Starting with high interest savings accounts and GIC’s, I soon learned that I had to pay tax on the measely 100-200$ I received a year as interest, I realized this would not accomplish my goal of being financially independant any time soon!

4. Having a new property in vancouver that I am able to rent out, will cover much of the cost associated with the residence itself. Meaning I can still save ontop of that and invest in other ways such as diversifying my portfolio inside a TFSA since my limit is now $10,000.

5. $1Million by age 35 is my goal! And I know it is realistic if I stay focused.

How To Make money with affiliate programs Today. Affiliate marketing is the easier and probably the most effective method to make money from the internet. It is basically, a kind of selling technique where potential buyers from your website are directed to the websites of sellers. For every click, the website owner gets a small commission.

Time for a mid year review of my goals. FT, how are you doing on yours?

1. Under budget on wedding by $2,500, over budget on honeymoon by $1,500. Net – under budget by $1,000
2. Still plan to contribute $10,000 to mortgage in the next six months.
3. Maxed out TFSA in Q2 – 1 quarter ahead of schedule!
4. Will – On my to do list still.
5. 30% growth in net worth. On track.