My 2012 Income Goal: failed, but had a good time anyway

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With only one month left at 2012, I have a pretty good idea of where I’ll stand financially when all is said and done. Instead of waiting until the bitter end, I thought I’d reveal now my income goal and how very close I came to success.

In 2012, I set out to gross $70,000

To date, I’ve brought in just over $58K of that, or about 83% of my goal. I expect to earn another $5,000-$6,000 in December, bringing my final total to $64K, or about 91% of my goal. In short, I won’t make it. But I’m cool with that.

After all, it wasn’t a BIG failure. I did pretty good.

If I hadn’t gone without a paycheque in July to accommodate a pay schedule change at work, I would have reached 95% of my goal this year . Oh well! At least that won’t be happening in 2013. The bulk of my income came from my full-time salary, with some extra income from freelance writing and this blog. Very little came from passive income, which is the main source I want to increase over the coming years.

For 2013, my personal income goal is $90,000

Originally I would have liked to set it at $100,000 but I’m not totally sure I’m at the six-figure mark just yet. I thought about setting it at $70,000 again, but my average income for the past 3 months has been about $6,000. This means that for the last little while, I’ve been living and spending like someone making $72,000 (maybe you noticed when I was buying iPhones and TVs and hanging out in Vancouver?).

Setting my goal back at $70,000 for another year is too low, because I expect my income to increase in 2013 for a few reasons:

  • I will get another raise at work.
  • I have more money invested now than I did at the beginning of 2012, which will generate more passive income for 2013.
  • I’m pretty greedy.

As for upping it another $20K for 2013, I realize that’s pretty ambitious and no, I don’t have a plan — but if I fail, hopefully I fail with distinction like I did here.

I set goals by choosing whatever seems just out of reach.Ā 

Because if you choose something that is already within your grasp, it’s not a goal, it’s just a to-do item.

I’ll be honest, grossing $6,000+ per month is weird. It feels both like more and like less than I thought it would. I feel the perks of my income all the time, and then at other times all I feel is its limits. I worry that there isn’t a sum that I’ll live happily with, and then at other times I’m sure it’s just around the corner ($90,000?).

I’ve started assembling some spending and earning plans for 2013, but I still don’t have the personality of an ardent budgeting machine, as befits a personal finance blogger. Actually, as time passes I sort of kind of care less and less about personal finance. Don’t get me wrong, I will always love money, but as the vice-grip of debt loosens, so does the motivation to worry about every dollar that passes through my fingers.

I won’t be meticulously tracking my income in 2013 on the blog the way I did this year — it’s just too much to update every time I get paid. Same goes for Net Worth, which is failure number 2 for this year (though that one is not entirely my fault, since stocks were tanking recently).


About Author

Student debt killer, super saver, and stock market addict. BSc. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta, MBA in Finance from the University of Calgary, and PhD from the school of life in being a badass. Currently residing in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but hooked on travelling.


  1. John S @ Frugal Rules on

    I agree, hitting 91% is not bad at all. I agree as well that goals that are just out of reach are the best as they push you to work for it.

  2. mochiandmacarons on

    Why not set a goal where you make income other than at your job?

    Take the income at your job for granted, and then anything extra above that, is your goal.. like $10,000 or something.

    • hahaha that’s a good idea. I definitely have some passive income and freelance goals that might be worth focusing on all by themselves.

    • haha I think you could get the same lifestyle on considerably less income where you live =\ Almost everything is expensive in Canada (food, cellphones, housing)

      Believe it or not, this salary is actually below the average household income in my province. It looks big in the PF community because I think many bloggers live in the US, but where I am it’s pretty average (or below average)

      • Oh no, it would be average here too. I had to run the numbers. But I’d be light-years better off than I am now. Guess I have to find a way to make it happen.

        I think I could learn a few things by reading your blog. You’re really an inspiration to me.

        • Thanks <3

          The only advice I have is make money more important than anything else lol. When it's all you want, you're usually working on something to get you more of it.

  3. I’m with the first two, 91% is nothing to scoff at by any means! Besides, there’s no telling what will actually happen in the next month or so. $90,000 gross for 2013 is an aggressive goal, but who says that’s a bad thing? If shooting for 90 puts you at 80, that’s still higher than it would have been otherwise. Congratulations on making it as far as you did!

  4. Well, at least this puts the credit card choice and personal birthday gift into perspective. Congratulations on setting high goals and achieving great things!
    On the other hand, I wonder how much this blog is even relevant to me now. I’ve been a loyal reader for a long time, so I know you worked your way up to this…but make sure you stay humble so you can keep us less-accomplished readers around šŸ˜‰

    • LOL yeah, it’s been quite a few changes since my graduate student stipend! The whole budding writing career has been a very unexpected perk, and I’m still largely undecided how much I want to pursue it. I really like where I’m at and I feel very lucky but between you and I, expect me to make considerably less money, fall back into even bigger student debt, and essentially start all over before I even turn 30…..

      I definitely feel I’m a little too extravagant to fit with PF community sometimes. It’d be in my best interest to reign it in and be more responsible lol

  5. Very well done. The important thing is hat you’re making more every year šŸ˜€ I’ve read a study that said relative to salary, people’s happiness factor stops increasing once their income reaches $70K. Maybe those people just don’t know where to spend the extra money ^_^ Being greedy is the catalyst to reaching your income goals. Nothing wrong with that šŸ˜‰ $90K for next year would be awesome. I think I might go for the same goal!

    • haha that’s why I picked $70,000 — I thought it would make me happy.

      I think I need more to be happy though šŸ˜‰

      You better set the same goal since we’re still in the first-to-$100K race!

  6. To your point about it seeming like a lot and a little at the same time, the effect of tax makes the gross numbers seem like a lot more. (Ahem, I am all for our taxes, this is purely an exercise in mathematics.) While you are grossing many times more, chances are you’re only taking ~4 times more than you used to. Many of my friends work full time for min wage, or very close to it. While I gross a ton more and am nearly in the top tax bracket it’s not heaps and heaps more; when you’re not earning so much, you get to take more of it home. That’s rambling, sorry, I hope it makes sense!

    • No, I agree that’s exactly it. I paid just over 20% to taxes then an additional 12% to retirement (mandatory at work, I would never contribute that much on my own) so immediately 1/3 of my income is missing =\ another big chunk went to my student loans and then my annual living expenses are probably around $20,000 total which leaves a much smaller amount for actual disposable income. Granted, it’s still more than I’ve ever had but I always thought if I just made $40,000 or $50,000 I’d have all the money I need, but there’s still things I say no to because I can’t afford it. It’s really bizarre.

      Maybe next year will be better because I don’t have to pay so much towards my student loans.

  7. Hi,
    I’m new and just came across your blog and am just curious as to your student loan payment plan. Having made +5k per month (before tax of course) for the year should allow for sizable payments should it not? Not being critical just curious. Will finish reading the rest of your blog to see if there are some answers for me in there as well.

    • Hi Kendrick — no, absolutely. Killing my student loan on this income would actually be really easy. For awhile I was paying $1,000/mo to get rid of my federal loan, because it had an interest rate of 5.5%. Once it was gone, I reduced my payments because my remaining loan has an interest rate of only 3%. I’ve been opting to invest more money in stocks (I typically buy dividend payers that pay >3%) rather than eliminating my student loan debt quickly.

      I’ll probably get on it in the New Year, but honestly because the interest rate is so low, I don’t feel hurried any more.

  8. Oh my. You actually make a bit less than I thought you did (yay me for presuming correctly!). I think that you should aim for $100k just to make it a round number and, even if it’s really really hard, you can be all “yeah, I make 6-figures, no biggie” by *this time next year*!

    • LOL thanks friend.

      $100K is really, really hard. It’s $10,000 more than my goal which means another $830/mo — that’s a lot! Maybe if MAG overtakes the whole internet….

  9. on

    You’re not doing to bad at all! You’re already making more than the average household in America, and you’re young enough that you’ve got a long ways to go. To think that you could be over $100K is pretty awesome. I remember the first time I did that, it was pretty surreal!