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2016 New Year Goals and Resolutions

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2016 New Year Goals and Resolutions

Happy Holidays! I know it is a few days early for 2016 New Year goals, but that’s how it is in the blogging world. You have to get it out there early or else the post will get lost in the crowd. Actually, I’m still wrapping up my 2015 goals. I did pretty well on most of them, but I had a big failure, too. I’ll give an update next week once 2015 is over and I can tally up my scores.

Anyway, did you do well with your New Year goals last year? Here are some tips if you have been struggling with them.

  1. Set achievable goals – Don’t shoot for the moon unless you already have a rocket ship. You’ll just discourage yourself and give up.
  2. Make the goals specific and measurable – Your goals needs to be very specific. Don’t set general goals like lose weight and save more. A better goal would be lose 10 pounds. You also need to figure out a way to get there. How will you lose 10 lbs?
  3. Write them down and track your progress – Write down your goals and put them where you will see them. Personally, I put my goals here on Retire by 40 and update the status every month. It’s been working well for the most part.

OK, now that we got that out of the way. I hope you will set some good goals and join me this year. Here are my 2016 New Year goals.

Non Financial Goals

Improve Fitness

If you’ve been following Retire by 40, you know I have problem keeping up with my fitness goals since I quit my engineering career in 2012. I used to go to the gym almost every workday at lunch. It helped me decompress and stay fit. Since I quit working full time, going to the gym consistently has been very difficult. My weight has been the same, but my fitness level is deteriorating and I’m getting a little doughy.

Last year, my goal was to go to the gym 120 times. That didn’t work because it was hard to track and I didn’t make it to the gym often enough. This year, I got a fitness tracker (Vivofit) for Christmas to help me get fit. I will use January to calibrate and then set a moderate fitness goal accordingly. It will probably be something along the line of walking 7,000 steps per day or something like that.

Control my triglyceride level

My triglyceride level is getting out of control again. I have hypertriglyceridemia, which means my triglyceride level is too high. It’s been under control for the past 10 years, but I had a physical recently and my triglyceride level is almost 200. That’s very high. I need to get that down to under 150.

I haven’t been watching my diet as closely and I think it’s catching up to me. RB40Jr always want to buy snack food and I’ve been eating them too. We need to cut down on the junk food and eat more vegetarian and seafood. I’ll try to eat healthier and get my blood check again in June. If it’s still too high, I’d probably have to increase the dosage of my medication.

Try 6 new great restaurants

Portland is a great foodie city and there are so many good restaurants here. We eat out about once per week, but we usually go to a local ethnic restaurant. The price is affordable and RB40Jr doesn’t have to behave that well. My goal from 2015 was to try 6 new restaurants and we did. However, I think only 3 would qualify as great.

For 2016, I’m upping the bar to 6 great restaurants. It will take a little more research, but we should be able to find them with Portland’s awesome food scene.

Take an extended trip to Thailand

In 2015, we took a 2 week trip to Costa Rica. It was a lot of fun to travel internationally again and we plan to take more trips in the coming years. For 2016, I want to take a trip to Thailand to visit my dad and our extended family. The trip will be at least 3 weeks long and we’ll try to coincide it with the Loy Kratong festival in November. I want to go for 6 weeks, but we probably can’t do it because Mrs. RB40 doesn’t have that much time off.

Attend a conference

I’m an introvert and I’m not very comfortable in new settings. I’ll push myself next year and attend one conference. I think FinCon will be in San Diego so that will be perfect. We can go visit family in CA and I can attend the conference for a couple of days.

Visit a national park

Let’s add a fun one to keep life interesting. RB40Jr hasn’t been to a national park yet so it should be fun. We have quite a few state parks here in Oregon, but only one national park.

Start a non-finance website

This one is a stretch goal. RB40Jr will start kindergarten next school year so I should have a little extra time for a side project. Starting a website in a different field will be challenging, but I should learn a lot in the process.

Cross an item off my Christmas Bucket List

I didn’t make any progress in 2015 so I need to cross at least one item off next year.

Financial Goals

Invest $50,000 in our tax advantaged accounts

We have been doing this one for a few years and it has been great. It’s just about the right difficulty for us. Here is a post on how we saved $50,000 per year in our tax-advantaged accounts.

Increase Dividend to $11,500

This year, we collected about $10,500 in dividend. I would like to increase that to $11,500 in 2016. We’ll need to add some new money to meet this goal.

Surpass $50,000 in Jr’s 529 account

This was our goal in 2015, but we didn’t meet it due to the market gyration. Currently we have about $46,000 in RB40Jr’s 529. We’ll contribute $4,800 in 2016 and hope that will do the trick. This goal is highly dependent on how the stock market performs next year. I think we’re done with front-loading this account. Now that I found out the student loan forgiveness programs, I’m hesitant to save extra.

Increase passive income to $38,000 per year

In 2015, our total passive income was about $33,000. I need to grow that to $63,000 by 2020 so Mrs. RB40 can retire. You can see the detail in – My 5 year plan to grow our passive income.

Accumulate $25,000 in cash by November

We’re very low on cash at the moment. We only have about $6,000 in the bank. There were a few big bills over the last two months and our liquidity is drained. We really need to beef it up to $15,000 as soon as possible and get it to $25,000 by November. We’ll have to be ready for the big property tax bill.

Net worth increase by 3x risk free rate

Sam at Financial Samurai suggested this in – Suggested Net Worth Growth Targets By Age. This makes much more sense than shooting for a flat 8% like I was doing previously.

The 10 year government bond yield is at 2.20% today so 3x would be about 6.5%. If we could grow our net worth at this pace for the next 5 years, we would be worth enough for Mrs. RB40 to retire without a lot of worries. I’m working on our annual net worth update so don’t forget to check back next week.

Try timing the market

2016 probably won’t be a good year for stock. I’ll try to time the market and buy at the low points. At the end of the year, I’ll compare timing the market to dollar cost averaging and see how we did. Studies have shown that market timing doesn’t work all that well so this will be an interest to see.

Happy New Year!

Whew, that’s a lot of goals for 2016. Usually, I don’t like to set too many goals, but these financial goals are mostly automated. The non financial goals are always more challenging for me, especially the fitness goal. I’m optimistic for 2016, though. It should be a great year.

Can you share some of your New Year goals and resolutions? Happy New Year!

Image credit: by rob.rudloff

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{ 36 comments… add one }

  • Pennypincher December 21, 2015, 12:47 am

    That is so funny about getting a little “doughy”! Remember the holiday eating season doesn’t end until Superbowl Sunday.
    I remember finding restaurants that were noisy so the kid doesn’t have to behave so much as well-like Taco Bell. Nice and noisy.
    As Consuelo Mack on Wealth Track says each week-make it a productive and profitable one.
    Happy holidays, healthy New Year, RB40s!

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:11 am

      We usually go to a Chinese or other Asian restaurants. They don’t seem to mind the kid being noisy and walking around a bit.
      Happy holidays!

  • Ernie Zelinski December 21, 2015, 1:23 am

    My main publishing goal for 2016 is to finally publish my inspirational fable “Look Ma, Life’s Easy” in print. I first wrote this book about 10 years ago and shortly after sold foreign rights to Russian, French, Spanish, Korean, and Chinese publishers. Even though this book has been published in 5 foreign languages, it still hasn’t been published in English. I really don’t have an excuse since the book has earned me over $18,000 in pretax profits. I also have a companion book to “Look Ma, Life’s Easy” called “Life’s Secret Handbook: Reminders for Adventurous Souls Who Want to Make a Big Difference” which I also want to publish in ebook and print editions. These two projects are not so much financial projects as pet projects so that I have more books to give to people (I have now given away over 13,000 copies of my books).

    Insofar as travel goals I have already booked and paid for two trips to Vancouver, two trips to Toronto, and two trips to London, England. (The trips to Toronto and London are in Executive Class because I am doing business on these trips). I hope to add San Diego, Montreal, Istanbul, and Prague to the travel list, although just one trip to each of these.

    I also intend to drink a lot of good wine in 2016. Recently I purchased a bottle of Australian “Mollydooker Carnival of Love” Shiraz which cost $110. If it’s as good as some people say it is, I will have to purchase a few more bottles for my next celebration relating to my books. In 2016, I intend to reach the milestone of having my “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” sell over 300,000 copies. For the record this book was rejected by over 35 British and American publishers in 2003. So I had to self-publish. To have it sell much better than any retirement book any of these 35 publishers have ever brought out is a reason to celebrate.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:14 am

      I’ll look forward to those books. They sound like inspirational books.
      Have a great time on your travel. I’d love to visit Istanbul and Prague someday.
      Good luck on your goals! Congratulation on your success with “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free.” It’s a great read.

  • Michael @ Financially Alert December 21, 2015, 3:45 am

    Great job on getting a head start with your 2016 goals Joe!

    You should definitely come out to FinCon in San Diego this coming year. I’d love to meet up and show you some delicious spots to eat out this way. 🙂

    Happy holidays to you and the family.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:14 am

      Great! See you in San Diego. Happy Holidays!

  • Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor December 21, 2015, 5:08 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to Thailand. That’s great you’ll be able to visit your family.

    Also, I like that you have a 5-year-plan for your passive income with specific amounts set. I’m sure that keeps you motivated.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:15 am

      The passive income will be tough, but I think we can do it if we sacrifice a bit over the next few years. It will be worth it.
      I’m looking forward to visiting families in Thailand. We haven’t been there in 6 years.

  • Sam Dogen December 21, 2015, 5:21 am

    Maybe I’ll see you in Chiang Mai? It’s on my hit list! If not, I plan to go to San Diego. Finally! It is on the West Coast!

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:16 am

      You should go to Chiang Mai during Loy Kratong. It’s a fun festival and I think it’s a bit cooler then. See you soon!

  • Kim @ Needing the Dough December 21, 2015, 6:14 am

    These look like great goals! I’m taking a more focused approach this year.
    My financial goal is to pay off our debt – all of it. We’re currently sitting a little under $29000, so it’s going to be a big push to reach this goal, hence why I’m only looking at one finance goal in 2016.
    My non-financial goals are to better my health and increase the amount of time I actually spend reading books. I do a lot of other reading but I feel like my book reading has been slacking.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:18 am

      Good luck with paying off your debt. $29,000 is a lot of money. Keep at it.

  • Mike H. December 21, 2015, 8:04 am

    Great goals, especially the non-financial ones.

    2016 will be a weird financial year for me, so I’ll just share a couple of my Q1 financial goals that challenged me.

    1. Fully pay off one debt. This one challenged me, not because of the dollar figures involved, but because it forced me to change how I think about paying off debts. Normally, I pick the debt with the highest interest rate and pay that off first, but this time I’m focusing on my car loan – which has a decent interest rate – because the monthly payment is higher than my other debts, and I found that the cash flow will be more important (when I moved to a new job in a big city, I took a net pay cut for the sake of my happiness and sanity, but it means that money’s tight).

    2. Create a tracking tool for all of my dividend income. This one is tough because I have seven different investment accounts (including my retirement portfolios), and tying them all together apples-to-apples has proven difficult in the past. That leads me to #3.

    3. Analyze three investment accounts (for me, it’ll be Betterment, Motif, and American Century) and figure out if they’re really worth it. That’s based on fees, risk, potential tax implications if closed, returns, and my goals for those pots of money (e.g., if I close Betterment, where will my emergency fund reside?). My guess is that Betterment will be on the chopping block, but who knows…

    Interested in everyone else’s goals – I learn best by hearing the possibilities and thinking about strategies that I might not have previously known about (or have previously rejected and might need to revisit).

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 9:20 am

      Good luck on your goals!
      Have you tried Personal Capital? It’s helpful because you can see all your accounts on one site. I use it along with my trusty Excel spreadsheet to track our net worth and passive income.

      • Mike H. December 21, 2015, 1:27 pm

        Yep, and I highly recommend it. The challenge for the tool that I’m thinking of is differentiating between the types of dividends I receive:

        1) DRIP’d taxable
        2) DRIP’d non-taxable
        3) Non-DRIP’d taxable
        4) Non-DRIP’d non-taxable

        Yes, I receive some of all of the above. The key is to track which ones are available at any given moment (Dividend Empire does this extremely well), which taxable accounts are producing dividends efficiently, and whether any other investment would do better. Fun stuff!

  • freebird December 21, 2015, 9:23 am

    I guess I’m not very goal-oriented so New Year resolutions don’t mean much to me. Not that I’m drifting around aimlessly, my approach is to set a general direction, work at it gradually until it becomes habit, and then learn to accept whatever comes out. Sometimes I don’t actually do anything about things for a long time, and I’m OK with that too.

    Maybe my biggest deficit is chronic low spending. That served me well in the accumulation phase, my high savings rate made up for many investing mishaps along the way. But now it’s well beyond the point of necessity so maybe time to loosen up. Over the past two years I’ve gone to restaurants and shows more than I did during my previous two decades, and I’m spending way more time on shopping and buying clothes that I’ll probably never wear. But I haven’t noticed any improvement in my life from the splurge, so I don’t understand why people seem to like doing this so much. I could be doing it wrong, so next year maybe I’ll try again on some electronic gadgets or a sports car.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 7:35 pm

      I used to do that before I started blogging. It works for me, but it’s better since I started making and tracking goals.
      I assume the chronic low spending is sarcasm. 🙂 I don’t think we’ll notice much improvement in our quality of life with more splurges either. You just get use to it. A splurge once in a long while is nice, though.

  • Stockbeard December 21, 2015, 11:13 am

    I think my goal for 2016 will be to reach my “FU” threshold, where I have enough money that my side gig + my nest cover our expenses. This is a goals that can be achieved many ways, either by saving more, or cranking up my side gig… maybe a bit of both…

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 8:13 pm

      Good luck in 2016! I think a bit of both would do the trick. 🙂

  • Justin December 21, 2015, 1:51 pm

    You’re very ambitious!

    I don’t have a lot of goals (and never do!). 2016 should be the year Mrs. Root of Good quits work for good (probably in the first part of the year). We might spend the summer in Europe but there’s a lot of stuff going on with kids’ school and a few other things that might keep us at home this summer.

    Financially, we’re doing perfectly fine and I’ll be happy with another flat year in the stock market.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 8:14 pm

      Good luck to Mrs. RoG. Europe would be awesome. School conflicts sound tough. I don’t know if you can take a kid out of school that long here. I need to check with the school.

  • MrTako @ Mr Tako Escapes December 21, 2015, 3:42 pm

    Great set of goals for the year Joe! Thinking about your goals, which ones require you to step outside your comfort-zone the most?

    I’m curious about the non-financial website goal. Did you have anything in mind planned? Any particular niche? In the past you’ve mentioned ‘other sites’ you own. I would like know more about this.

    • retirebyforty December 21, 2015, 8:19 pm

      Definitely the conference one. I still have a hard time mingling with new people. It’s not a lot of fun for me.
      I started Midlife Finance and ran it for a couple of years. I outsourced the writing and scheduling. It made a little money, but then sponsored post dried out in 2015. I sold it for a small amount earlier this year.
      I’m thinking about starting an invention site or maybe a review site. I’m not sure if that will work out, but it will teach me some new things.

  • Chuck December 21, 2015, 8:00 pm

    Nice list of goals. I’ll be expanding mine a bit for 2016 as well since we only started with 3 in 2015. Our financial goals could be mostly left to automation, but I think with a little extra effort and attention then I can make a little extra progress.

    I’m also very keen to set some personal goals for the year that help me get back into the state of being I was in before I became a ‘professional’ and lost track of enjoying life as much.

  • Jo December 22, 2015, 6:05 am

    My goals for next year:
    To add one good friend to my close circle so we can enjoy a beer once a week or two.
    To do something good for people that are less lucky in this crazy world.
    To spend more quality time with my wife and kids.
    To develop my own android application.

    • retirebyforty December 22, 2015, 8:59 pm

      Those are great goals! Good luck!

  • Anna December 22, 2015, 10:02 am

    I recently discovered your blog and am addicted. As a young couple trying to figure out finances, this has been great inspiration and motivation. I feel like we have made some common mistakes, but are quickly trying to correct our financial course and become more educated.
    Setting specific goals for me has also been what really does the trick. It’s a lot of work, and progress can be slow. But seeing items get crossed off the list is rewarding.
    I feel like as a young professional/married couple, we don’t hear enough about retirement and savings, and how much work it is to be prepared. Looking forward to keeping up with your blog. Happy New Year and Happy Holidays to you and your family.

    • retirebyforty December 22, 2015, 9:01 pm

      Thank you for following Retire by 40! It’s great that you are starting young. You can make some mistakes and still have time to fix them. We all made mistakes. 🙂
      Keep saving and investing. The earlier you start, the better off you’ll be. Good luck!

  • DrunkMillions December 22, 2015, 10:40 am

    Good luck in 2016 Joe! My goals:
    Post at least once a week on my blog
    Invest ~25% of my income
    Invest in a house

    Keep up the good work and looking forward to watching your year progress.

    • retirebyforty December 22, 2015, 9:01 pm

      Good luck with your goals. Blogging once a week should be doable. You just need to be consistent.

  • connie munoz December 31, 2015, 6:58 am

    I need advice for 2016, so we owe 94,000 on our home, 3.3% interest. we currently have 160,000 in our money market savings account, earning only about $50.00 interest a month. I know please don’t say invest this 160,00 I don’t feel comfortable with that. We plan on retiring early at 55 and moving to mexico. money in our savings and the sale of our house is the money we will live on till our tsp and 457 are eligible. I quit my job and my husband makes 104,000 a year. right now our mortgage payment is 444 a month, insurance and taxes not included. we refinanced to a 30, 3 years ago to get or payments lower since I was quiting my job. so with the interest we make off the 160,00 a month and what the interest to the bank a month on our loan, it would still leave us at 200 a month on interest to the loan. With capital gains being at 15%, our house is currently worth 220,000, So would a wise decision be to pay off the mortgage and save on the interest every month, and then get hit with the capital gains tax, and also make our savings down to 60,000 and the rest of our cushion to move to mexico in 3 and half years is the sale of our house minus capital gains. So what would be the smartest move, pay off the mortgage or just keep the money in savings…..HELP, what would you all do????

    • retirebyforty December 31, 2015, 10:05 am

      In your situation, I would just keep it in the saving account. The time line is just 3 and a half year and the interest is quite low already. Maybe you can get a bit more interest by moving the $160k to CD or something that gives a little more yield. Maybe municipal bonds?

      • connie munoz January 1, 2016, 5:54 am

        Thank you joe….when I put it out there about leaving my job, took your advise and it was the best advice ever, im taking care of me and no more stress…and still putting money in the bank…..now on to 2016 and health and wealth…

  • Mohammad Ashori January 1, 2016, 12:48 am

    I think the exercise goal is great, I’m sure this year you’ll hit it! I never was able to keep up with working out in a gym… just couldn’t motivate myself to go.
    When I was living in San Diego I surfed a lot so I was getting a lot of exercise without needing to go to the gym.
    And now that I’m in Portland I really enjoy Planet Granite which is a rock climbing gym. It gives me a great upper body workout and now that I’m getting better I’m really starting to work out my core. I think they give me a guest pass every month, you’re welcome to tag along.
    Thanks for your posts, they are wonderful.

    • retirebyforty January 3, 2016, 7:44 am

      Thanks! Planet Granite sounds good. I will check it out when my kid is old enough to do it. Have a great 2016!

  • Julie January 14, 2016, 6:18 am

    Thanks for posting your goals – they have been an inspiration to me and my husband for a couple of years now. Most of our friends don’t make resolutions because they say they fail within a few days. Prior to reading your blog, we felt the same way. Now we think of them as goals rather than resolutions, so we are giving ourselves specific targets and a deadline (Dec 31), which are helpful in pushing us to do things we want to do but won’t do unless we are very intentional about it. We also follow the three tips you spelled out at the beginning of this article – we set measurable, achievable, stretch goals and write them down, then track them. Similar to you, we set financial and non-financial goals. The only difference is that we don’t like to set financial goals that depend on the market – we resolve to invest XX in certain accounts and pay down XX on our house, but we don’t set specific net worth or account balance goals because we don’t know what the market will do. Regardless, your goals inspired us to save more, work out more, learn more, reduce clutter and try more new things last year. We hit our specific targets in some but not all of those areas, but either way, we did more than we would have otherwise because we set stretch goals. I’m looking forward to seeing how much you and we accomplish in 2016!

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