Living One Dream and Focusing on The Next

Happy New Year! I have two posts to share today. I’m living one dream (read on) and focusing on the next ones (via my 2018 Goals).

Living One Dream and Focusing on the Next
You can too!

I’m excited to share that Chris and Jaime from Keep Thrifty featured my family’s story in their “dream” series. Their pointed questions really brought out the details around the decision for Mrs. WFP to become a stay at home mom. Please check it out. The rest of this post can wait until you’re finished reading it.

 

How We Made The Move From Double to Single Income


At the end of that story you can see how I have my sights on two dreams today:

  • To achieve financial independence (FI)
  • To help others with their finances

I guess neither of these are surprising to you – I’ve been talking about FI for months and I write a blog about personal finance to help others.

I read the post “How I Figured Out What I Want To Do With My Life (And How You Can Too!)” over at the Frugalwoods a little while ago. It got me thinking. The post asked you to write down your ideal life and your dream life. After I did, I had a glaring realization: when I reach financial independence, I don’t want to stop working. I want to help individuals with their finances as a second career.

Then the question became, why wait?

The first reason to wait is my Financial Independence (FI) goal. I earn enough today to support a family of four in a high cost of living area while still saving. I doubt I can replace that income anytime soon if I change careers. Working for someone doing financial planning could be a great career. Unfortunately, I’d probably take a large step backward in income in the short term. So I’m not making a full-time move today.

I don’t want to continue to delay this goal much longer.

I’ve always enjoyed working on my own finances and helping friends and family. The satisfaction I receive from helping someone is addicting. Imagine looking over an excel spreadsheet with a financial overview and realizing with a few easy changes, your friend can save thousands of dollars a year. Even better, they would not have to take on more risk because it’s a different tax or investment strategy. That feeling was the impetus for starting this blog and I’ve decided to aggressively seek more of it in 2018.

WinningPersonalFinance
Nailed It!

I’m a strategist at heart. Here’s my secret: my endgame for this site is to use it to offer some personal finance coaching once I reach FI. Now I’m going to try and accelerate those goals a bit. I know, big dreams, right?

Without any further ado, here are my 2018 goals:

Personal

  • As you will see below, I have large career ambitions. They are all secondary. I will put my wife, our boys and our life first. It’s easy to get distracted by the noise, work, side-hustles, hobbies and other stuff. My number one goal and highest priority is to spend as much time as possible with my family and to make it quality time. For example, I definitely need to keep my phone in my pocket more during family time. Twitter can be distracting.

If you don’t already, you can follow me on Twitter @WinningPFin.

Financial & Savings

  • Max out My 401(k) for $18,500 – This one is directly in my control. The amount will be automatically deducted from my paycheck so I don’t have to even think about it anymore!
  • Max out a Roth IRA for Mrs. WPF and I for $5,500 each / $11,000 total.
  • Max out My HSA contribution for $6,900.

These accounts are fantastic wealth building tools as they help minimize your tax bill and keep money in your pocket.

Winning Personal Finance Goals

  • Save $8K in taxable accounts.

Just because I’ve maxed out the tax advantaged accounts doesn’t mean I should stop saving. While the money in a taxable account does not receive tax benefits, I can easily access it any time. That flexibility has real value.

  • Net Worth Goal: I don’t believe in a net worth goal. At this point, my net worth is more dependent on the markets than anything else. I can save all the amounts above and have my net worth decrease from a downturn. Since the markets are not controllable, I’m going to pass on this goal.

Health

  • Exercise 2x a week (it’s not a high bar, I just have to do it).
  • Run one half marathon at under 2 hours and 11 minutes (this is very doable if I force myself to train just a little).

Money is nice but it’s worthless if we are not healthy enough to enjoy it. I’ve been slacking in the fitness department since my first son was born. That needs to end now.

Blogging

  • Provide value to my readers, as measured by your feedback. If I’ve helped you in some way, please let me know. My primary purpose is not the money – although making a little at some point would be nice to show something for my effort.
  • Average 10K page views per month in 2018. For reference, December 2017 was by far my best month. I came in under 2.7K, still a long way to go, but something I think is attainable.
  • Create and launch bonus content for subscribers to my email list.

SUBSCRIBE TODAY AND BE THE FIRST TO RECEIVE IT!!!

  • Grow my Twitter following to 4K subscribers. It’s currently ~1,200 as of this drafting in mid December. Twitter has been my primary marketing platform in 2017 and has worked out well. I tweet out a lot of great personal finance information. You won’t regret a follow.

Again, my username is @WinningPFin and you can follow me here.

  • My marketing via Pinterest has been, well…a #PinterestFail. I’d like to set up a marketing strategy around Pinterest and have it match or exceed the number of monthly referrals I receive from Twitter by the end of 2018. I’ve heard that it can happen!

My Pinterest page is here; I’d really appreciate a follow.

I also have my own group board (here), If you want to share personal finance pins, let me know and I’ll add you as a contributor.

  • Facebook has not really been part of my marketing strategy yet. It’s difficult to get traction to a business page without paid advertising. On the other hand, the best marketing is word of mouth. My goal is to earn 100 shares from you (my audience) on your personal or group Facebook pages. If you love, like or hate something you read here, I’d greatly appreciate you sharing it with your network. Thanks in advance. The more we talk about personal finance, the better we will get at it.

Winning Personal Finance 2018 Goals

Set Up a Coaching Business

  • I want to offer financial life coaching by the end of 2018. As I may have mentioned just a few times, I really love helping others improve their financial lives. I believe all successful business are started around providing value for clients. I can do so for you. The fact that I expect to enjoy it at the same time is a bonus. It will be a Win/Win!

If you would like to be the first to know when I start coaching, send me a note through my contact page or sign up here:

Signing up for this list will give you the first opportunity to fill one of my limited coaching spaces. It’s separate from my email list and will only be used for coaching opportunities. Getting on this list will give you an exclusive opportunity to sign up at the lowest price once I launch. No commitment is required.

Education

  • I blog about personal finance, so I obviously know everything some stuff! I’m really excited to learn more. I’m planning to further my financial education this year. This is the first step toward eventually becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). That goal will take a few years due to experience requirements.

Accountability

  • I’m going to check in on these goals quarterly. There is nothing like telling millions thousands tens of people on the internet about your goals. This should be the pressure I need to stick to them.

Wish me some luck on these lofty goals. It’s going to take some hard work and dedication to achieve them.

What are your goals?

27 thoughts on “Living One Dream and Focusing on The Next”

  1. Nice post, Jason. It’s good to see the balanced view of your various goals.

    As we can all get balanced dividends across multiple areas of our lives, it’s important to look beyond the $$ as you pointed out.

    On your half marathon goal, I’m not sure if you’ve done one before, but I recently shared with Carl @ 1500days the plan I used for my first one a few years ago.

    I’d recommend you consider checking out Hal Higdon’s training programs. In particular, his novice half plan: http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51131/Half-Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program

    But you can adjust or pick the other plans as best for you.

    I used Hal’s plans for the first time in 2011 when training for a full marathon (which sucked, and I’ll never do again), but then for the various half marathons I’ve done since.

    Overall, take it and slow and easy. Just like balanced dividends: slow n’ steady, gettin’ dividend heavy.

    Good luck in 2018! – Mike

    1. Thanks Mike. I ran two full marathons before my first was born. I actually used that training plan for my first half too! Probably the same year you did. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen off the running wagon the past four years. It’s time to get back in. For the sake of my marriage, I’m focusing on a half and not a full. A full is a full time commitment.

  2. It’s easy to be overly focused on the FI goal. So I really appreciated this line:
    Money is nice but it’s worthless if we are not healthy enough to enjoy it.

    Great reminder!

    1. Glad you liked it Sarah. FI is a great goal but it’s not everything. My order is Health > Money > Time. Time and money are useless without health. Having free time is no fun when you can’t afford food or lodging. I’m shooting for all three.

  3. As a reader who slightly early retired I really believe that escaping the cubicle/9 to 5 is not enough to provide significance in your life. You have to have a way to actively help others to be truly happy. It might be part time work or side gigs or non paid charitable work or blogging or life coaching or being a CFP but just leisure or even just travel will eventually stop being fun without some purpose. It is awesome you and so many others have figured that out while you are young and are already taking steps to plan for your future in ways more important than just financially!

    1. Based on your guest post I read the other day, I think you have it all figured out. Glad to hear you think I’m on the right path.

  4. Awesome post Mike!

    I know how difficult it can be to keep the phone down when you’re around your loved ones, especially with your blog constantly alerting you. I wish you luck in this goal!

    I find myself resembling you quite a bit. My biggest passion is not only my own families personal finances, but helping others with their finances. I think I may actually enjoy helping others with their finances more than I do my own!

    I look forward to hearing how 2018 goes for you and your family!

    1. Hey it’s Jason. The trick to the cell phone thing is to keep it in another room when your having that quality time. If it’s in my pocket, I’m probably distracted.

      It seems like a bunch of us have these same goals. I’m not as original as I thought 😂.

  5. Hey just read your guest post. Wow…definitely have a lot in common dealing with similar struggles. We share the same two dreams also. As for FI, it would be hard to reach early FIRE if we were to go down to a single income, especially if we stay in the NYC area. When my wife and I had our first son, the plan was for her to stay home for a year (she was a lowly paid daycare teacher) so it wasn’t worth it to go back to work and pay for daycare. However, she got a better paying job in a unrelated field. Now with 2 boys, I could definitely see how having a parent at home would relieve a big burden time-wise. I think we would be fine on one income but we’ll just put early FIRE aside which is okay…but there are other reasons/pressures maybe that would make the choice difficult. That’s a discussion we’re currently having and will continue to have.
    As for the CFP, I actually looked into it years ago and considered taking an online class at Boston University or Kaplan, but I think for the designation you had to work in the industry or something. I may look into that again in the future.

  6. Congrats on being featured with Keep Thrifty! I really enjoy their posts. Your goals and accomplishments are similar to mine! I maxed all my stuff out at the end of the year and although I have no marathon plans since I hung up my shoes a while back, just keep it up with the workouts to build up the muscles. You are getting the hang of Pinterest so keep going! It’s my goal to overhaul our pins too and utilize tailwind and the tribes more. Mr. DS is the Twitter guy – he loves it there. I’m thinking about setting up and Fbook group soon. Keep it up and you’ll have a great year!

    1. Thanks Mrs. DF. The Keep Thrifty Blog is awesome. I could not believe how well their questions pulled that story out of me. I’d love to get my wife to take over the Pinterest stuff. No dice yet.

  7. This is great! Love the whole picture approach so that you are not focusing too heavily on any one area of life at the expense of the others. Good luck on the goals! Glad you were able to figure out what you really wanted to do and plan steps to make it happen!

  8. Damnnnn, you got more Twitter followers than me! Clearly, I’m lacking in that department.

    I admire how you guys are living on one income. If the time comes for me, I’m not sure what I would do. I make more than daycare for sure, but all the shuttling back and forth to pick up my kid has never sat well with me.

    If you are still in the NYC area, have you ever thought about volunteering for financial literacy workshops? I know they have them here, and could be a low-risk way to not only help people, but also ensure you really want that CFP certification. Just a thought!

    1. Don’t feel bad, I’ve spent way too much time on Twitter.

      The financial literacy workshops are a great idea. Do you have any specifics? I do work in NY so I could do something in the mornings or evenings.

  9. I gave myself some Net Worth goals for 2018 but I think your point about the markets is a strong one and the focus should be on the amount of savings instead of net worth, to keep things within my control. Great article!

    1. Thanks Cam. I like to keep my goals under my control. If I set net worth targets I’d set myself up for an eventual loss. And, well…I’m all about Winning here!

  10. Some ambitious goals for sure! I’ve looked some into getting a Certified Financial Planner certificate as well. What would be your main goal in going for that one? I’m curious to learn what areas my internet-heavy education has lacked, and potentially be able to better help people pursue their financial dreams.

    1. I’ve been reading about the importance of retiring to something. I’m hoping to be FI well before standard retirement age with lots of energy and brain power left to do good. I’ve always wanted to be a financial advisor. As I was about to start my career, I learned that many of these positions were very sales focused with no fiduciary responsibility. That’s not what I was interested in and I took my career in a different direction.

      I’m a money nerd. I’m very well versed about any financial decision I’ve had to make and a few others. On the other hand, I have so much left to learn. I think the certification will help validate my reputation for my “retirement business.” Right now I’m just an unknown guy on the internet. I think learning the “book” from a group with a strong reputation like the CFP Board will fill in the gaps of my current knowledge.

  11. I get joy from helping family and friends with their budgets and financial plans, too. I know they think I’m nuts!

    I love how ambitious you are with your blogging goals for the year. I made mine more modest, but you give me encouragement to push those boundaries.

    1. I guess I was in an optimistic mood when I wrote those goals. Upon review, they do seem a little crazy. I like that though. If I strive for big wins and get 90% there I’ll miss the goal but still have success. I’m not giving up yet though. 4K Twitter followers here I come!!!

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