2013 financial goals

Do you have your financial goals ready for the new year yet? I usually don’t set very specific goals, but in order to track progress and have some motivation and accountability, here is a list of what I plan to achieve next year.


Grow my net worth by 30%

In 2012, my net worth grew by 20%, which is less than the year before, so this year I am feeling ambitious. I don’t feel like tracking my net worth here because it could mean trouble in Guatemala, but if you have been following me for a while, you should be able to make a rough guess. Part of the growth will be paying off at least $20K in debt, as part of the other goals below, and minimum payments on my 2.29% UK mortgage.


5 times more blog income

Blog income was good considering this blog was created in 2012 and many don’t make money at all during the first year. I want to make at least five times more in 2013.


Sell my cattle at the end of March at the earliest

My cattle investment is one of the most lucrative ones I have right now, so I need to hold on to it even though I will need a lot of cash to develop my 90 acres land. I plan on finding other sources of income in order not to touch that one for at least three months.



Get back the price of my land with the development


My little house in Guatemala came with 90 acres (37 ha) of land that I am starting to develop next month. If everything goes as planned, we should make more than that, but I will be happy when the sales allow me to keep the rest of the land at no cost for me.


Pay $10K credit card by June


It is a 0% balance that I do not want to transfer to another 0% deal.


Pay my 7% consumer loan


This is a loan I took to invest, so technically not bad debt, but I don’t like to have it on top of my head. I already took a year off it last summer, and plan to eradicate $9K balance by the end of the year.


Take a trip back to Europe


I am thinking around May, for a month. $2500 with flights.


Take a trip to the US


I used to criticize Guatemalans who only go to Miami for shopping and the malls but now that I can see the lack of quality clothing, household items and tech goods, I understand that a flight to the US is cheaper than having your items shipped and heavily taxed by customs. I plan on buying a laptop, and will have to leave the country for immigration purpose anyway, so just the shipping on the laptop and the visa run to Mexico should offset the flight to Miami.  $1500, with flights and shopping.


In brief

Those goals are quite high. Coming up with $25K to pay off debt and travel, while at the same time putting a lot of money into the development and growing my net worth means only one thing: I need to sell some land, quick!

But people won’t buy until we start developing and I think we will have upfront costs (architect, streets, dig a dwell for water, electric wiring…) of at least $25K each. The good thing is we paid cash for the land, so it is a huge relief not to owe the bank anything, and a security for investors that we won’t go bust.

The plots will be priced at about $15K for 1500 sqm (over 16000 sqft) and we are targeting foreign people wanting to live a simple life under the sun, or retirees coming to spend the winter here. Some friends have showed an interest in buying and holding for future appreciation, as the road is about to be asphalted and the region is developing quickly, plus it is a really nice place. But until I don’t see a signed contract, nothing is sure.




Look at that view! For $15K you get a piece of land, a basic house with two bedrooms can be built for around $30000 meaning a dream holiday home for less than $50K!


1/4 mile to the lake and 30 min to the international airport, supermarkets and conveniences, I think we are pricing very cheap. I will start the marketing early this year too.

What are your financial goals for 2013?




A 30 something French girl embarking on a journey towards Financial Independence. I blog about money, travel, simple and deliberate living, freedom and choices. You can find me on Twitter, Google+, or Reach Financial Independence's Facebook Page

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  1. Nice goals. I want to beef up my emergency/savings accounts so that I have more of a buffer next year. I also would like to create blog income, as of right now I am focusing on getting content up 6x/week consistently and not burning out.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted..How to Give Yourself a Raise Next YearMy Profile

    • that blogging thing really takes up a lot of time! I see many blogs introducing other writers, I guess so the main author can focus on monetizing and promoting more. I am not looking to bring other writers but it may be a solution to avoid burn out.

  2. Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom says:

    Wow, these are some pretty ambitious goals. Your little spot of paradise is envious, but with 3 little kiddos we’re staying put for a few years :) Where are your cows, and how did you get into it?
    Mandy @ MoneyMasterMom recently posted..Should toddlers be using high tech gadgets?My Profile

    • Hi Mandy! My cattle is in a ranch about 2 hours drive from here, the ranch belongs to my BF and he offered to go half way with me on bringing some calves to adult size. You can read more here. I thought about bringing them back to the 90 acres land but I would need to pay another cowboy and have the perimeter secured, so for now they stay in the ranch.

  3. I’d love to pay off the remaining $58K that we have in debt that we took on for investment by the end of 2013. It’s definitely a stretch goal, but it’s within the realm of possibility. =)

    Have you ever been to Miami before? If you need some tips as your trip gets closer, don’t hesitate to drop me a line!
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted..Why We Love Public RecordsMy Profile

  4. So cool you’ve got so much land in Gautemala! Do you own the land or is it leasehold? I may have to come visit! Do you recommend going for vacation? I’m assuming yes!

    Financial Samurai recently posted..The Best Of Financial Samurai 2012My Profile

    • I have a 22000 sqft lakefront property, where the house is, that is leasehold (you can’t own a beach or lakefront property since the 50s). The 90 acres are full ownership since they are a bit further away from the shore, and I will divide them in smaller plots with full ownership as well. Guatemala is a FANTASTIC country for holidays, called the land of the eternal spring, you can go at any time and enjoy a wonderful mild climate, friendly people, delicious food. There is surfing, hiking, active volcanoes, white and black sand beaches, the Mayan highlands, antique ruins, colonial towns… I could go on for days… And beers on me :)

  5. My original $3k goal still stands. Considering I only made ~$700 this year, it is a pretty big jump still. But if I can make it, I can pay off my credit card by the end of the year which will be a fantastic feeling.
    Edward Antrobus recently posted..3 Ways to Get Rid of Your Old Cell PhoneMy Profile

  6. M biggest goal of 2013 is to hopefully sell our condo in Chicago. That all depends on the market. Right now it is just a break even rental property so we are wanting to off load it.

  7. Those goals should keep you busy! How do you market land in Guatemala and who is your target audience?
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Five Businesses for “Retirement”My Profile

    • I am going to target expats and foreign retirees wanting to live under the sun at a relatively low price. My prices are cheaper than anything similar I found in Central America and Mexico. I am thinking about creating a website, and putting ads on expat ad boards, plus local real estate agents. I don’t think many Guatemalans will be interested, it is rare for lower middle class to have a second house and upper middle class is really affluent so they would rather have a piece of land on their own. Maybe immigrants coming back to Guatemala to retire.

  8. Wow, purchasing land and harvesting cattle. Maybe i’m so amazed because I’m from the city but I would love to get into cattle investing. I see it as an alternative investment to stocks!
    Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin recently posted..How I Invest In Municipal BondsMy Profile

    • Breeding cattle is a pretty good investment, you can check details here of how I returned 67% over 15 months. I was lucky not to have any sick animal and I didn’t pay salaries since I went halfway with a ranch owner but even within a more traditional investment, cattle offers solid returns.

  9. Great goals !! Good luck with them !
    Gillian @ Money After Graduation recently posted..Merry Christmas!My Profile

  10. Wow, great goals. These will keep you super busy in 2013.
    My goals are pretty modest for 2013. I just want things to stabilize a bit before making any more big changes.
    Joe @ Midlife Finance recently posted..A Letter To Our ChildrenMy Profile

  11. So wait are you eventually going to sell the house you’re in? Wasn’t sure if I read that right! I’d definitely like to make money from my blog. That is a big goal!
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..Looking Back, Looking Forward Part 3My Profile

    • My house is on a 22000 sqft beachfront plot, and not for sale. It came with 90 acres on the other side of the road, that I want to develop and sell as smaller plots, in order to make back the money and hopefully be left with my land for free!

  12. Awesome! I’m working on my own goals — you’re going to be amazing to watch next year!
    Kathleen, Frugal Portland recently posted..Some Tips On Making Smart Financial DecisionsMy Profile

  13. For some reason, I never noticed how much land you own. Nice work! I have a lot of goals for 2013, but the main one is to contribute more to my early retirement funds!
    My Money Design recently posted..My Stocks with High Dividends Income Report – December 2012My Profile

    • I bought two pieces of land, one beachfront, where I live, and the 90 acres on the other side of the road that I plan on developing, and haven’t talked much about so far. Good luck with your ER funds!

  14. Good luck with your goals! I want to pull off a frugal no hassle wedding, an epic honeymoon and start to make some regular blog income.
    eemusings recently posted..What would your last meal be?My Profile

  15. Great goals Pauline, i’m sure you will be able to achieve all of them if you put your mind to it.
    I think a new goal for me this year will be to donate more to charity.
    Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted..Rescue Pets after Christmas and Help Save a LifeMy Profile

    • Thank you Glen. I was just talking to my neighbor about starting a computer education class yesterday in the village. The kids have to know some computer skills to graduate from school, but the school has no computers and many parents can’t pay the bus fee for them to go study at the next village, so we are looking into buying a couple of old computers and I would volunteer to teach the class. That should be my 2013 charity project, I too want to donate more.

  16. Those are some great goals! Wow I cannot imagine owning 90 acres of land, let alone 90 acres of land that could be developed into a nice little community. I hope it all works out. I would say I would be interest in purchasing a plot, but I would have to talk it over with my wife. Have you considered just developing a couple plots just so you could rent them out?

    • It is a nice project, I am very excited! At the moment, I am only considering selling plots, because the lakefront property will have 2/3 guest rooms to rent. Building a whole house to rent would probably yield quite low, even with nice details and appliances, a two bed house would rent at most for $500 per month. It could be rented short term to tourists for a bit more, but implying more management, like cleaning, changing sheets and finding customers.

  17. Great list. I am sure you will excel and do all of these in 2013. I have faith.

    We are working on better time management – we are just too busy and need to have more down time so to speak. Hopefully we will feel more balanced by the end of the year.
    Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter recently posted..How To Organize A ProjectMy Profile

  18. K.K.@ Living Debt Free Rocks! says:

    You’ve got some great goals to pursue in 2013 Pauline! I look forward to reading how it goes :) I have a post on 2012/2013 goals set to go up next Monday.
    My mother and uncle own a lot of land in Trinidad passed down to them by their now deceased parents. They managed to subdivide and sell off half of the land that was undeveloped, but some people rented their plots decades ago and built their house and their rent is still ridiculously low. By law my mom/uncle can’t evict them or significantly raise their rent. Also it would cost too much to buy them out. So they get to continue enjoying renting the land at dirt cheap prices instead of paying a large sum to purchase the plot until the renters die or decide to leave…which they won’t since the house is theirs…what a legal mess!
    K.K.@ Living Debt Free Rocks! recently posted..Sunday High Fives!My Profile

    • It is the same here is people start invading the land, so we keep a close eye on it. I hope in your mom’s case it is limited to the actual occupants and they can’t have their kids inherit, or she is in for a looong time..

  19. Great goals! And there are quite a few of them. I’ll be posting my own soon, but you should be proud of where you are at right now for sure. If you want to take a trip to the states feel free to emil me privately; I have some house swaps that are extremely affordable. Besides, Guatemala sounds like a cool swap! Happy New Year!
    Tony@YouOnlyDoThisOnce recently posted..Want To Get More Done? Take a Break!My Profile

  20. Good luck with your goals Pauline! Guatemala sounds amazing :)

    Happy New Year!
    Mackenzie recently posted..Link Love: Christmas is Almost Here Edition!My Profile

  21. I don’t know how I missed this post… your development business sounds fantastic… Maybe I will invest in a few years :)
    Savvy Scot recently posted..Seeking Clarity: Your Personal FinancesMy Profile


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