2016 Review and 2017 Plans

Since this year is almost over it is time to reflect on how this year went and look ahead to what I would like to accomplish in 2017.  Before writing this post  I had to read last year’s post to see what my goals for this year were. That was a pretty good indication that I did not achieve this year’s goals.

I don’t feel like I accomplished much this year which is exactly how I felt last year. And that was probably true for at least a couple more years before that. I definitely feel that I’m in a bit of a rut. Looking back at my “goals” posts I see a lot of goals being set, but they are hardly ever being achieved. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again since it is still true, I have to start working towards my goals and not just writing about them.

The only goals I set for this year were to run a 23:59 or faster 5k and to be able to do a pull-up. Those goals were carryovers from the year before. I didn’t make any progress on those goals and only worked towards them for a little bit of the year. Although those goals are both things I’d like to accomplish they aren’t things I really want to do right now so I’m not going to make them goals again this year. I might make them goals again if things change.

My priority goals for 2017 will be the two goals I set last July of losing 50 pounds and completing the Appalachian Trail before I turn 50. I won’t be able to start hiking the trail again until after my tax job ends in April. I should be able to finish the A.T. in a little less than two months of hiking. I can start losing weight right now and I have some ideas on how to do that. I’ll share those once I have actually put them into effect.

The title of this post talks about my 2017 plans rather than goals since my goals for this year aren’t yet detailed enough to really be called goals. I am also trying to plan what I will do with the year. The first half of the year is all planned out. I’ll work the tax job until midway through April and then hike the A.T. until about halfway through June. After that my plans are a little murky.

I have three different plans of what I might do for the second half of 2017 and beyond. I’ll provide a brief overview of these possible plans now and possibly write a more detailed examination of them later. The first plan is to work the tax job in the spring and then travel the rest of the year. I can travel pretty cheap making it possible for me to  live off my tax job income and other random bits of income. I’ve always wanted to travel extensively and I feel like I’m running out of time to do so. However, I wouldn’t be able to save much money or pay off my student loan debt under this plan. There would be other drawbacks to this plan as well. If I write a blog post about this plan I’ll include a more complete list of pros and cons.

A second plan is to find a job with the government or a non-profit. After ten years of working I’d be eligible to have my student loan debt forgiven. I’d also be able to put a large chunk of money into savings. If I got a job with the state of Missouri I’d be vested in the state pension after ten years. The big drawback is I’d have to work at the job for ten years. I haven’t come remotely close to working a job that long. Also, I would be 60 years old by the time I got my ten years in. I always thought I would be retired before that age. Working ten years and getting six figures of debt and qualifying for a pension is a pretty good deal though.  Another thing to consider is that there is a chance that the loan forgiveness rules could change before I’m eligible to get my student loan debt forgiven. Although I don’t love this plan it is a pretty sensible and achievable plan.

A third plan is to find a relatively high-paying job that would allow me to pay off my student loan debt in the next three to five years. I estimate that I’d need to make at least $60,000 a year in order to pay off my student loans in this time frame. A big problem with this plan is I don’t think I’d be able to find a job paying me $60k a year. The seasonal/temporary jobs I’ve had the past few years would pay about $40-$45k a year if they were full year jobs. The extra $15-$20k seems like a pretty big jump. My spotty employment history and poor interview skills would also contribute to making getting a high-paying job an extremely difficult task.  That being said, a $60k salary isn’t really that high for an attorney/J.D. so it shouldn’t be impossible to find a high-paying job. I just don’t have any idea how to do it. A drawback to this plan is that after three to five years of paying off my debt I would be at zero. I’d still have to work a few more years or figure out another way to make money before I’d be able to retire.

Those are the three possible plans I have for my future right now. I’m not sure which one I’ll pick and it is possible that things will change and I won’t do any of them. What are your thoughts on these possible plans?

4 thoughts on “2016 Review and 2017 Plans

  1. Debt is so stressful, isn’t it! The government job would likely have easy hours, lots of time off and as you mentioned, incredible benefits with loan forgiveness and a pension. What type of government work would you do?

    On the other hand, you only live once. If you can afford to travel the second half of the year, it would be pretty awesome to see the world!

    • Jon- I’ve applied for the public defender’s office a couple of times and not been hired. I”ll probably try them again and look for some other positions as well. I might have to apply for a non-legal job to get hired.

      It is tempting to push back the job search a bit to do some traveling. I should have been traveling already, but it is better late than never.

  2. I think it sounds like the loan repayment program is a great idea! My husband did one, but his only required a two-year work commitment. It’s a great option, though. The job actually paid more than he typically made, so that salary combined with the huge amount of student loan debt forgiveness was amazing. We were able to pay off more debt with the high salary – all at the same time. It’s been several years, but I can look back on our financial history and say that was one of the best decisions we made. We even made a move to make it happen, but it was worth it! Also, his repayment program paid his loan off at the first when he signed up, so it saved lots in accrued interest. The deal was, if the two-year commitment wasn’t kept, they would pro-rate what amount he still owed – so it wasn’t an all or nothing arrangement for the time commitment.

    • Amanda – It is actually a loan forgiveness program rather than a loan repayment program. After 10 years the loan is forgiven. If I don’t work 10 years then I still have the whole loan to pay plus all the accumulated interest. On the plus side, I don’t have to stay at the exact same job for 10 years. Any job for the government or a non-profit would qualify. My main concern is the forgiveness program being eliminated before I’m able to use it.

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