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Financial Accomplishments and Failures from 2008

By Erik Folgate

Before we start looking ahead to the new year, reflection on the past year is always a good exercise when evaluating your financial goals for the coming new year. Don’t dwell on the past, rather reflect on your accomplishments and failures and learn from them. Here is a list of some of our accomplishments and failures from 2008.


  1. We more than doubled our income. My wife graduated from physician assistant school, and she accepted her first job. I left my job to move to Orlando where she accepted the position, but even with the money I make from blogging, we have doubled our income from 2007.
  2. We bought a house at a price well below market value. The area we are in is a sought-after area near downtown Orlando, and we don’t anticipate the value of the property to go down much more than the price we bought at. This was a major investment for us, and we plan on living here for the long-term, so it will definitely be a tool to help us build financial wealth in the future.
  3. We stuck to our normal budgeting system with our envelope system and cash flow budgeting plan.
  4. Failures

  5. We only reduced our debt by about 10% and I wanted to reduce it by 25 percent.
  6. I quit my day job, and I underestimated how tough it would be to find another one in the current economic climate.
  7. My 401(k) lost about 40% of its value. There wasn’t much I could do about this one. I could have thrown it all into a more conservative mutual fund, but I don’t believe in trying to time the market.
  8. I have definitely learned that buying a house takes a lot of money, and it’s not over when you move in. Then, you have various home improvements and alterations that you want to make which add up. I believe this purchase contributed to us getting off track with our debt reduction. I am going to look to diversify my retirement account portfolio a little more so that my aggressive approach does not take such a big hit if we suffer from another stock market blow in the future.

    So, what were your accomplishments and failures? How have you learned from them? Comment below and let’s get this discussion started.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

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  • http://www.mightybargainhunter.com mbhunter

    Reducing your debt by 10% is still great. Keep it up!

  • ekrabs

    Congrats! Sounds like you guys are making progress, especially on the earnings front.

    I’m glad that you’ve left your 401(k) alone. Too many people time the market, whether they even realize it or not, and they’re hurting themselves in the end. My own 401(k) dropped as much as 40% to 45% at one point, but it’s picked up substantially in December. That would not have been possible if I pulled out then.

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