For the past couple of years I have listed out my goals and objectives for the upcoming year. One of my favorite things about running a personal finance blog is that I can actually go back, and see a glimpse of what was happening in my life at that time. For example, my 2010 Goals and Objectives discusses trying to get rid of my auto loan and smaller law school debt. It seems like a lifetime ago that I made those final payments). I could imagine running a more personal blog could be very satisfying in a much more robust way, but I am positive I wouldn’t keep up with it (and I am not convinced I am interesting enough to have other’s read it).
“Resolutions” don’t work for me, they never have. What does work for me is setting up very specific goals and I either succeed or fail (with some gradation of course). For the past couple years I have broken down my goals and objectives in categories which make it easier for me to say what I failed/succeeded with:
- Personal Life
- Professional Life
- Blogging World
- Online Income World
- Financial Goals
I started Crossfit mid-last year, and I am hoping to compete in my first team competition in 2014. I don’t have ideas of grandeur; I just want to complete the work out given to my team. I am signed up already with 2 guys I don’t know, so just need to make sure no one backs out! Speaking of “health” goals I would like to figure out a way to manage my time a bit better to make sure I get at least 7 hours of sleep a night versus the 6 I am currently averaging.
The Wife and I are going to be working hard on having another child. It is weird to think about it, but I started this blog 2 years before my son was born and he just turned 3 on December 1. A few weeks after we closed on our home in January of 2013 we found out that The Wife had suffered another miscarriage (I wrote about the first miscarriage, but not the second). So we are going the old fashion route for another month or so, and then we are bringing in the big guns. I’ll admit I don’t know exactly what that entails but I am sure it includes doctors and tests.
Lastly, The Wife bought me the first level of Rosetta Stone for Greek. A goal is to complete it and see how it goes from there.
I break this into two parts:
I had an excellent management meeting with the entire senior staff a few weeks back. It felt amazing to just be simply told that you are appreciated. I don’t mention my job here all that often but I love where I work and the people I work for/with. It is intellectually and personally satisfying. My only complaint is that I believe my base pay is a under market. I started to apply elsewhere just so I could get a feel for salary which confirmed my suspicions. I have zero interest in leaving my place of employment, I love my job. Notwithstanding, my goal for 2014 is to have a conversation with the partners about my base pay. My fear is that they see the conversation as an ultimatum when it is not. Going to need nerves of steel when I book that meeting lol.
I have talked about it for years, but I think this is the year I get my CFP. Since I am a licensed attorney I can look into just self studying and taking the test (I am not required to take any classes).
Every year for the past 2 years I have talked about my law practice website. I know it won’t get me clients, but there is no reason that every professional shouldn’t have one. The worst part about failing in this goal is that I know how easy it really is! My goal is to have this up and running by the end of January. If I read this post in December 2014 and it is not done – then future Evan – you owe The Wife $200+ Shoes. There now I will at least feel pain if it isn’t done.
As far as any other goals, I just keep taking clients as they are referred.
My blog has taken a hit in both direct traffic and income. A blog can be up and running for $5 to $10 a month and I am paying about a $100 a month. That is not to say that this blog isn’t profitable; it is beyond profitable, but the income and traffic level just don’t justify spending that much a month when I know the reader wouldn’t notice at all. My goal is to bring down my costs. Again, while I am profitable I just don’t need services I am not using. I am hoping to read this back in December and think it was nuts that I wrote and implemented the goal b/c I am crashing servers left and right with traffic but that is likely not to be happening. I also would like to check up my meta information for every post I created.
Other than back-end stuff I think I am good with just continuing my usually 2 or 3 posts a week with a few guest posts sprinkled in there.
Online Income World
I feel pretty lost here currently.
I have a great side business with a partner, but it has consistently decreased in revenue and income over the past few quarters. It is still ridiculously profitable, but decreasing revenue is freaking frustrating. I’d happily throw money at it, but I don’t believe it to be a “money” problem. If I am going to give myself a goal here it is to proactively email advertisers on a more often and regimented basis.
As far as other sites. I just don’t know. As I explained in my review of 2013 goals and objectives PregnancyPool seemed to get legs and then it died. I had teamed up with an amazing programmer named Jesse, however he received an opportunity that he couldn’t pass up mid-project. I was left with my original site down and code that I would take me 6 months to just reverse engineer to even begin to have a damn clue on what’s going on.
I am very frustrated with this part of my life. If there was a part of my life to be frustrated with I guess it best to be this side category lol.
Financial Goals for 2014
Buying our new home left me without a “savings” goal so to keep myself focused I started doing goals in chunks of $5,000. My goal is to complete 3 $5,000 goals. The $5,000 will be defined when created. For example my final $5,000 goal in 2013 was $750 to house repair fund, $750 to whole life policies, $1,500 to dividend fund, $1,000 to future investment property, $500 to son’s 529 and $500 to traditional IRA. This does not mean I am “only” saving $15,000 since I have automatic contributions to my 401(k) as well as a few other items I don’t count in my net worth, but rather, provides a higher goal to keep my ADD in check.
At some point in 2014 I also want to review the following for inefficiencies:
- Home Owner’s and Auto Insurance – My firm hired a P&C expert who has offered to do all the work for me!
- Cell Phone Plan – I am out of contract in April and The Wife in September. Currently, we are on a Sprint family plan but something in my gut is telling me there are more efficient options. I am thinking either a no-contract option/MNVO or combining our plan with another couple for a more efficiently used family plan.
- I have got to switch from oil to gas in our new home. Oil costs are nuts!
I’d also like to actually analyze cash flow expenditures to see where money is leaking out. If I had to guess eating out and boozing are the major leaks. Without knowing actual money spent it seems disingenuous at best to say “cut back.” Only after analyzing the numbers can I add a specific cut back goal.