It’s about time, I know. I remember last February, I ran into someone I see every month or so, and he wished me a Happy New Year. I responded in kind, but thought to myself that it was already February, time to move on. Since it’s still mid-January, I’m thinking it’s not too late to share my 2012 goals.
- Run 1000 miles. Again. In 2011, I came up short, just over 900. This year, I need to be more consistent, once behind, it’s really tough to keep up, and the time off at year end isn’t time to run at all, so I need to end November well ahead of pace.
- I still need to drop a few pounds. I ended last year about five less than I started, and this year would like to drop the last ten. The running isn’t enough. I need to stay away from the buffets, and when away from home avoid the temptation of all the sweets. Jane 2.0 has reprimanded for my eating habits, skipping breakfast and lunch and heading into dinner with a huge appetite isn’t a good habit to be in. I’m also avoiding processed flour. Cutting down on bread, pasta, and potato. Budweiser has a beer aimed at the low-carb crowd, Select 55, named for its 55 calories. No sweets, but I can have beer when I like.
- I’ve been contracted for another year of writing for TurboTax, which has taught me a bit about writing. It’s interesting to have some topics you know so well that you have to cut down on how long the article goes, and then others that are so narrow focused a bit more effort has to go into the how and why it’s important to the reader. It’s also a motivator to have a topic and a deadline compared to here, where the topics are more varied and deadlines don’t exist.
- My daughter and I are still are struggling with AnotherFineMeal.com as both of our schedules were busy this year. We put up 6 posts, and agree that in 2012 we’d like to work toward a regular posting schedule there.
- The Basement. In November of 2010, the first batch of drywall (70 sheets) was dropped off. As I got into the summer of ’11, I realized I was coming up short and I changed from wanting to put in a drop ceiling to finishing it off with drywall. So another 50 sheets were ordered. I’m now within a few weeks of being done with that and will sub out the plastering. We’ll hire guys to put the floor in and this project will be behind me. It was a long project, and will add close to $40,000 to the house’s value and tax assessment. I’ll post a few before and after pictures once this is completed.
- Finances – I’ve shifted gears. Last year I stated I’d like the mortgage paid by the summer of 17, when my daughter would start college. Instead, with rates as low as they are, we are refinancing to a fixed 15 yr mortgage at 3.5%. For some time, we’ve been saving 20% of our income, funding college savings, and prepaying the mortgage. We’ve managed to budget to such a low fraction of our income, it’s time to loosen up a bit. I still plan to pay the new mortgage at a faster pace, but now to be paid by 2021, when our daughter graduates. For the next five years, we just need to monitor college costs and add a bit to cover any increases. In other words, we have four year’s worth of college cost now set aside, at today’s rates. This decision came after a lot of time looking at the numbers, and reading articles with titles like “can you be saving too much?” I also saw a neighbor’s house for sale, a couple who both work, and have three kids. I found out they are downsizing to pull out money to use for college. We are close enough to our goals that such a downsize could let us retire. Instead, we’d like to keep working, but not worry about the extra trip or for that matter, some of the charities we’d like to better support.
- Retirement – not this year of course, but I do need to plan. Specifically, I want to be sure that each year, I am shifting out asset allocation a bit so that we are at the allocation we want at retirement. The disaster of the 2008 downturn didn’t hit those with a decent allocation quite as badly as those who were fully invested in US stocks, which is closer to how we are today.
- Last (I promise) – Declutter. No, I don’t have my gas, electric and phone bills in a file cabinet spanning decades, those get glanced at, paid, and shredded. I do, however, have too many brokerage account statements going back almost 30 years. This is the year I plan to start downloading PDFs of these statements, and discontinuing the mailings each month. My broker had access to download 10 years back, so for the accounts I need to keep cost data, I’ll download and shred. This year, the paper has to go.
Well, that’s it. Eight goals for the new year. How did you do with your goals in 2011? Do you write them down, or just think of a few, but never really do them? How many stay on the list year after year?