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.
- Set achievable goals – Don’t shoot for the moon unless you already have a rocket ship. You’ll just discourage yourself and give up.
- 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?
- 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
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.
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