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2013 New Year’s Resolution – Wrap Up


Oh wow, 2013 is pretty much over. Do you remember your 2013 New Year’s resolutions? If you don’t, I recommend starting a blog and make those goals public. It’s a great way to keep accountable to yourself and your readers.

2013 went quite well, but I had way too many goals this year. Next year I’ll concentrate on just a few big goals. Having too many goals isn’t good because I can’t keep track of them all. Life is just too hectic these days. At least I accomplished most of what I really wanted to do this year. Let’s take a look.

RB40 Jr.

Our goal for 2013 is for him to make a friend.

Well, he pulled it all together at the last minute. He started a new preschool in November and he is enjoying the company of many friends now. It didn’t look good for a while there because it didn’t work out at the first smaller preschool, but I guess he just needed a couple more months to mature. Great job, little guy!

Financial Goals

  • Contribute $11,000 to Roth IRADone in Q1.
  • Increase Mrs. RB40’s 401(k) contribution to $17,500 – Done in Q1.
  • Contribute $10,000 to Baby RB40’s 529. Done in Q2.
  • Generate $18,000 of passive incomeFail. We are not going to meet this goal in 2013. December isn’t quite over yet, but we are way short of the finish line. We made about $10,000 in passive income this year. The rentals only generated about $1,000 this year. I’m hopeful for next year, but I still need to lower my expectations. $12,000 of passive income in 2014 is probably more within reach.
  • Generate $18,000 online. Done in Q3. Thank you! Subscribe to our newsletter to see how we did it.
  • Stretch Goal – contribute $5,000 to a solo 401(k). Done in Q4! I contributed $17,500 to my solo 401(k) so far. I will contribute an additional $7,500 this month. This is the employer’s contribution portion.
  • Put together a will. Done in Q4! I did it with LegalZoom. My will is rather straightforward so it was pretty easy.
  • Buy life insurance – Done in Q4! I shopped around a little bit and finally got a reasonable offer from MetLife.

Personal goals

  1. 2013 No Spend Challenge: Clothing. Done! I got a new pair of tennis shoes from the Adidas employee store (50% off!) They’re still in the box and I’m saving them for when my shoes are worn out. Other than that, I haven’t purchased anything new in 2013. A lot of my clothes are worn down and I’m ready to buy some new stuff in 2014.
  2. Take a trip. Done. We went to visit Santa Barbara, the Bay Area, and Palm Springs this year. Done!
  3. Avoid a midlife crisis! I haven’t done anything crazy yet this year so I think we are good here. No new sports car in the driveway. 🙁 Done!
  4.  Enjoy being a stay at home dad. Life is a lot better now that he is going to preschool for a couple of days. We also go to the gym a few times a week and that really helped out too. Done!
  5. Come up with a sustainable exercise program and do it – WIP. I couldn’t keep up with my exercise program, so I joined a gym instead. It’s been going well so far, but I think we’ll have to see how it goes in 2014.
  6. Go to a convention. Done. I went to the World Domination Summit. It was such an inspiring experience that I got a ticket for Mrs. RB40 for next year’s conference.
  7. Join Toastmasters. Fail. I think I’m going to give up on this goal for now. I’m just not enthused about it. Maybe when RB40 Jr. is in school fulltime.
  8. Go camping at the beach in the summer. Done! We went to Cape Lookout. It was a lot of fun and RB40 Jr. had a blast.
  9. Go for a short hike in the Columbia George. Done! We went to see the waterfalls a couple of times over the summer.
  10. Get a Zoo membership. Pass. We have been to the zoo 4 times this year. There are free days and discount days so we don’t really want to get a membership at this time.
  11. Go to 10 local festivals in 2013. Pass. We went to a bunch of festivals this summer, but I don’t think we hit 10. This goal doesn’t really need to be here.
  12. Picnic at an Oregon winery. Done. We went wine tasting a couple of times this year.
  13. Go to 10 free musical/tourist destinations/theatrical performances. Pass. We went to a bunch of free events this year. It’s probably around 10, but I lost count because there were so many. Not a big deal.
  14. Have a drink with blogger friends in Oregon and California. Done! I met up with bloggers and readers in Seattle, San Jose, and San Francisco so far.
  15.  Try a new beer – Done! This one was a freebie. I tried a bunch of new beer this year. Maybe a new beer every month? 🙂

Blog Goals

Close, but no cookie. We did it! My main goal for 2013 is to hit 100,000 page views per month at some point. Unfortunately, we didn’t quite make it in 2013. Here are our stats for the past few months.

  • September – 96,590 pageviews
  • October – 96,918 pageviews
  • November – 92,150 pageviews
  • December – 101,962 pageviews. We had a great December and crossed over the line on New Year’s Eve!

September and October are our best chance of breaking the 100,000 pageviews/month boundary, but we didn’t make it this year. I’m sure we will get there in 2014.

It’s a wrap

2013 is pretty much done and I’m getting this article out a bit early. There are only a few weeks left and unless you’re done with your resolutions, you probably won’t make it. I’m quite happy with my list this year. It was a little bit rambling, but I got most of it done. Next year, I’ll have 5 or 6 big goals so it will be much easier to keep track.

Anyway, having a written list of goals is extremely useful. It gave me a chance to follow up on them and refocus every quarter. If I didn’t have a list, I probably would have forgotten many of these goals by now. That’s one of the reasons why maintaining a blog is great for self motivation.

What about you? Did you make any New Year’s resolutions in 2013? How are you doing so far? 

Photo credit: flickr dmje

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 38 comments… add one }
  • Moneycone December 9, 2013, 4:33 am

    I’ve been following your blog since you started (well almost!) and I’m glad your personal goals are as successful! Great going Joe and wish you the very best for year 2014!

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 1:20 pm

      Thanks for the compliment. I really appreciate your support over the years.

      • theFIREstarter December 10, 2013, 11:30 pm

        Excellent idea to make your goals / resolutions public on the blog!

        I must do this for 2014, I’ve got some pretty “out-there” ideas as well so should make it a fun year 🙂

  • Fast Weekly December 9, 2013, 4:52 am

    Congrats Joe. Even the goals you didn’t hit were nothing to sneeze at.

  • [email protected] December 9, 2013, 5:04 am

    Great job on not having a midlife crisis! =)

    I didn’t make any resolutions to speak of last year. 2014 is the year we transition from vegetarian to vegan and I am looking forward to that. I’m just ready to get the holidays over and move on with it! =)

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 1:21 pm

      Oh wow, vegan. We’ll try to eat more vegetarian next year, but we can’t give up meat yet…

  • The Warrior December 9, 2013, 5:40 am

    As a reader for only 4-5 months, I didn’t realize how dominant you guys were in the financial category just in the first and second quarters of the year. Great job getting those financial goals down so early.

    I think focusing on a few big goals, as you mentioned, will definitely help you focus. I’m going to try and do the same. The fewer focused goals I have, the better I usually do.

    Looking forward to seeing what you have planned for 2014!

    The Warrior

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 1:22 pm

      I’m looking forward to 2014 too. It should be even better than 2013.

  • Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial December 9, 2013, 5:57 am

    Wow! I know you didn’t hit EVERY goal on your list, but all the things you did accomplish are really impressive! Congratulations on having so much success in 2013 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 1:22 pm

      Thanks! It’s a great year because it’s my first full year without a full time job. Now we know we can do it.

  • dojo December 9, 2013, 7:29 am

    I had very few resolutions for 2013 and it looks like I was able to make it. Hope 2014 will be at least as good as this year was and we’d be fine.

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 1:23 pm

      Great job! Good luck in 2014.

  • Justin @ RootofGood December 9, 2013, 8:24 am

    Wow, you are so much more ambitious than me! My 2013 resolutions were something like “don’t break any bones”, “don’t father any more children”, “make some more money”, and “don’t lose all the money in our investment portfolios”. I’m 4 out of 4 so far, but the wintry icey season is almost upon us in North Carolina. So I’m not quite ready to plant the victory flag quite yet.

    But seriously, congrats. Looks like you are hitting your financial and quality of life targets! Here’s to an even better 2014!

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 1:23 pm

      Great job in 2013!
      Don’t father any more children is a great goal. I’ll put that on my list too. 🙂

  • Nick December 9, 2013, 8:35 am

    Looks like you rocked it! And $10,000 in passive income is nothing to shake a stick at! (do people still shake sticks?)


    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 5:37 pm

      I think just old folks shake sticks. 🙂 Thanks.

      • Nick December 10, 2013, 12:39 pm

        I think you’re right…

  • Moon December 9, 2013, 9:38 am

    Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting a lot of goals. The more you set (as long as they are a little challenging but not unrealistic), the more you will achieve even you fell short on certian areas. I posted 8 in the comments back in your 2013 resolution goal:

    1. Pay off Student Loan – Done in September.
    2. Max out Roth IRAs – Not done yet since we still have the Dec contribution to be made, but definitely will be done for both me and hubby
    3. Increase hubby’s TSP to 13% – Fail – we actually lowered it to 5% but will ramp back up to 10% starting next year – there is a reason for that as you know we ‘added’ another goal, which is to acquire a rental property. It should be ready to be rented out by the end of this month!
    4. Increase emergency fund by 25% – Done
    5. Make a donation to charity each month – Done. We sponsored a child in Romenia thru the World Vision. We also signed up to donate $200 a month (starting this month) to my husband’s college so they can provide schlorship to engineering students.
    6. Increase my Roth 401K to 15% – Fail. Again, we lowered it to 6% this year to save up for the downpayment for the rental. But now its already back up to 10%. My goal will definitely be 15% by the end of next year.
    7. Put in plantation shutter – Fail. Not sure if that will be done next year either.
    8. Travel to Boston and Australia – Fail/Pass. Didn’t make it to Boston but we did book our Australia trip in February. Will be visiting Cairns (Great Barrier Reef) and Sydney for 2 weeks.
    9. This is a new one – we diversified our portfolio by getting a rental property! Hopefully things will go well for this investment.

    Even I didn’t achieve every goal (clearly there are some trade off from buying a rental vs lowering 401K contribution temporary), I still consider this is a good year and I did pretty good. I need to start thinking about our goals for 2014.

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 5:39 pm

      Great job with the rental property.
      You guys are doing very well so far.
      Next year will be much easier. Good luck!
      Have fun in Oz!

  • [email protected]&More December 9, 2013, 10:57 am

    You did amazing this year! We didn’t make any resolutions but we did make substantial progress paying down my wife’sstudent loan debt. Hopefully it will disappear in 2014!

  • Bryce @ Save and Conquer December 9, 2013, 11:32 am

    It looks like you hit all your important goals. Congratulations. We didn’t have any resolutions for 2013. We just kept plugging along, saving and investing for retirement, and entertained ourselves fairly inexpensively. Still, there was some lifestyle creep that my wife and I will probably have to work out in the coming year.

  • Martin December 9, 2013, 2:42 pm

    Joe. I’m here to call you out. I want to see you join toastmasters.

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 5:39 pm

      I have been meaning to join for several years now. It’s just too low priority and it will never get done. I’ll just remove it from my list….

  • Done by Forty December 9, 2013, 3:54 pm

    Man, your post just makes me feel lazy. 🙂

    I’m glad you’ve hit so many of your goals. That’s a great example you’re setting for your readers.

  • Dividend Mantra December 9, 2013, 5:03 pm


    That was a heck of a list there. You put together some pretty challenging goals and nailed almost all of them. That’s awesome!

    Beyond just the financial stuff you’ve got a happy, healthy family. Hard to ask for much more than that.

    I had 4 goals for 2013, and I’m fairly confident I’m going to go 4-for-4. 🙂

    Keep up the great work.

    Best wishes!

    • retirebyforty December 9, 2013, 5:40 pm

      Thanks! 2013 was better than expected. It was very smooth and we didn’t hit any big bumps. Hopefully, we’ll do even better next year. Good luck to you as well.

  • Green Money Stream December 9, 2013, 6:16 pm

    Wow! That’s one long list. What an impressive job in hitting most of your goals. I didn’t have resolutions for 2013, but I’m thinking I should for the coming year.

    I do need to put together a will, my husband and I have been talking about it. I see you used LegalZoom, I should probably give them a try. Well there is one goal for the new year already!

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2013, 9:14 pm

      You definitely need a will if you have kids. It’s pretty easy too. I just put it off so long because I’m so cheap…

      • Sandy December 16, 2013, 8:49 pm

        At 58, I we never found “the time” to have a will, we were working, we were raising our family, we were taking care of parents, and on and on. Husband was terminally ill in 2013, we had a will made out a month before he passed. Here’s what I know. It is IMPERATIVE that you have Pay on Death or Transfer on death on all assets. Most assets will automatically transfer to surviving spouse..but CYA. BUT any Pay On Death or Transfer on Death will trump any will. If you divorce, remember to change these, as you ex would receive compensation instead of you new spouse (thank you, we were married 33 years, and there was never an ex-spouse in our situation) These will avoid probate court, a will does not. I feel somewhat out of place on a RB40 site at my age, but feel strongly about passing this information on that I’ve learned the hard way. Every one needs 1. Living Will and a will, 2. Medical Power of Attorney (who will make medical decision should you become unable to), 3. Durable power of Attorney(financial decisions), choose your medical and durable power of attorney wisely, as legally they can make ALL your decisions when you are unable, and you just may not be what you would choose. We made each other powers of attorney for both medical and durable, our will states a backup (one of our children, by name) makes the decision. Did you know life insurance payouts are NOT taxable? This is big. I will double my life insurance within a year, our two children and charity of my choice will be listed as beneficiaries. I will also be purchasing a LongTermDisability policy for nursing home should I ever need it. This is a whole subject in itself, as I’m living it with my parents now. Life is good, make the best of it, live it, love it.

  • mike December 9, 2013, 6:21 pm

    Hi Joe:

    I think you did a great job with your goals this year. thanks for sharing it with the rest of us. I thought the goals you set were very meaningful, realistic, and balance. Way to go!

    Even though you fell short on some of your goals, there is always next year. I’m still impressed with the online income. I think for the year you will be about 24k or so?

    i like reading your blog and the way you’ve setup your plan and goals. It just seems A LOT more attainable then some of these other bloggers out there that tell you their year goal is to save one million while make $25k a year by doing these other things…
    — Its ridiculous.


    • retirebyforty December 10, 2013, 9:16 pm

      I made a little over $30k online this year.
      My goals are mostly within reach. I guess I need to make some stretch goals too, but nothing that’s impossible.

  • Little House December 10, 2013, 7:13 am

    You had an awesome 2013! I have to say you met most of your goals and that’s really impressive. I can’t say I did quite so well. 😉

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2013, 9:16 pm

      Thanks! I’m sure you’ll do better in 2013. 😉

  • Fig @ Figuring Money Out December 10, 2013, 9:19 am

    You did pretty good I’d say! That’s an awesome amount of stuff done in 2013.

    I honestly don’t even remember my original 2013 goals. My life is now so different than when the year first started that none of those goals really even apply. I’ll have to make new goals for 2014 and see what sticks next year. 🙂

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2013, 9:17 pm

      Yeah, if you don’t write it down, you’ll never remember it. Good luck in 2014.

  • Michelle December 10, 2013, 7:48 pm

    You basically kicked butt in 2013!!! Btw, I’m an only child and my parents also had to put me in preschool at 2 so that I could be socialized and make friends. I turned out ok! Your little dude will be just fine. You and your wife are doing a wonderful job with him.

    • retirebyforty December 10, 2013, 9:21 pm

      Thanks! I should set some stretch goals next year so it will be more challenging. Most of my goals are more maintenance goals. I’m sure our kid will be fine too. He is just so clingy sometime… 🙂

  • EL @ Moneywatch101 December 11, 2013, 11:03 am

    Great job on the goals and resolutions. The effort you placed to achieve them, shows as you completed so many of them. Good luck in 2014.

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