The Winner of the December Call to Action!

The Winner of the December Call to Action!

liaLast month marked the season of giving—and LearnVest got in on the action.

Not only did we suggest clever presents for your family and friends, but we also came up with gifts to give yourself—like those that promote financial security.

And so our December Call to Action question: What financial gifts are on your wish list for next year—and how will they set you up for a brighter 2015?

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When we solicited responses, we asked you to send us the images that represent the gifts you’re giving yourself. And we loved looking through all the beautiful photos you submitted—from the picture of a university that motivates one woman to save for an MBA to the droolworthy photos of home-cooked meals that encourage another woman to eat out less. Thank you to everyone who shared!

And congratulations to this month’s winner, who will receive $100 to help her achieve her financial goals: Zunera Lia Mirza, a public health specialist in Atlanta.

Below, behold the images that inspire Zunera to save money for a trip to Japan—and her explanation of how she’s making her dreams a reality:

lia's photo 2“My husband and I bought a house and got married in August and, despite setting a budget, we ended up wiping out a lot of our savings. Now that we’re finally back on track, we’re saving heavily toward several goals. Specifically, we’re setting aside money for emergencies, housing improvements, retirement and travel.

That last goal is most exciting for me. I’ve been globetrotting since 1983, and it’s through traveling that I have learned so much about myself and the world around me. I’d love to share these moments with my husband.

This goal is especially important since we’re both so busy: I work full-time at the Centers for Disease Control and he’s a Ph.D. student. We didn’t even have time to go on a honeymoon! Setting aside time to travel and disconnect from our daily reality would be bliss.

lia's photo 1The first place on our list is Miyajima, an island in Japan. We’re hoping to visit in October to see the autumn leaves. Years ago I crashed a wedding at sunset in Miyajima (that’s where I took these photos). Like the couple in the picture, I hope to view the world side-by-side with my partner.

It will take a lot of patience to keep working toward this goal. To make things easier, we’ve set up automatic transfers, so that funds from our primary checking accounts go directly into our four savings accounts.

Every month since July, we’ve allocated almost $400 toward travel. Once the holidays are over, we’ll start setting aside even more money for this goal. By August 2015, we expect to have at least $5,500: enough money for airfare, lodging, train fare and meals.”

Thanks for sharing, Zunera!

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