Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 4, 2013
If it feels like I’ve been ignoring this blog for a while you are partly correct. I’ve been mainly doing some relaxing and introspection on my life during my Christmas vacation. I had to deal with an odd feeling that took me a while to narrow down the reason: I’m suffering from choice overload.
With the mortgage finally dead and combined with me going up to full time work again I’m finding myself literally drowning in cash at the end of every month and free time (since I’m no longer working on the school board). The problem I’m finding going forward is I can’t seem to just pick a plan and stick with it. I keep getting new ideas on how to move forward, so I’m finding it really hard to get a specific plan in place for my finances and spare time in 2013. I’m standing in a doorway which can go everywhere and I can’t focus on a destination.
Perhaps the only two things I’m somewhat nailed down is: 1) I will save $4000/month towards my retirement plan. 2) I will organize myself better around getting some writing projects done this year. That’s it. Everyone else for the details is in this huge state of flux. Even work is in a similar boat which is leaving me feeling a little bit more off balance than normal.
It sort of reminds me of the feeling when you finished high school, you have so many choices in front of you that the world really did feel like anything could happen. Which is good except, making a choice gets difficult with that much free choice.
So how do you move forward? Well I’ve decided to start just making some arbitrary decisions to start hacking off some branching of my decision tree. Will they be correct, likely not entirely, but I can’t stay in this state. So with that in mind I’ve made the following guidelines for my finances in 2013:
- Leverage my high 2012 income: My 2012 income will be higher than my 2013 (no school board income), so I’m going to maximize my RRSP contributions for January and February to get a bigger tax refund.
- Top Up TFSA accounts: My wife and I are both sitting on a fair bit of contribution room for our TFSA accounts in 2013. Mine, if I recall correctly, is about $17,500, so I will pour the majority of our savings from March onwards into those accounts.
- Setup Cash Flows to Investment Accounts: Since I know in the future I will be adding a lot of cash to the investment accounts I’m going to start to put put some cash in now. Likely about $100/month for each of us to start, then I can just increase those amounts later on.
So while that isn’t a definitive plan at this point it at least gets me moving along. It’s odd, but I already feel better just having those guidelines in place. So how do you deal with decision paralysis or overload?