Hello everyone! Welcome back to The Green Swan. Today it is time to talk goals and aspirations for 2017. I don’t typically make a list of goals at the beginning of the year or New Year resolutions, but there were a few things on my mind that I wanted to strive to do better this year. And on top of that I have joined the great personal finance blogging community with great regular readers that will hold me accountable. So time to put my goals and aspirations out there today with the plan to post quarterly updates to track progress.
I like to think we are pretty disciplined on the financial front. We keep a tight lid on our expenses and besides having kids in recent years, our annual expense budget hasn’t varied much. I don’t anticipate it will again this year either, unless of course we end up moving to London. That is obviously a huge wildcard for us this year.
So for financial goals I am going to stick solely with goals on the net worth side.
- Increase our investment portfolio to $1.2 Million
First and foremost, my goal is to increase our investment portfolio from approximately $1 million today to $1.2 million by year end. I make a goal like this every year, although I recognize it is largely reliant on the stock market performance. Each year I put an 8% growth estimate on our all equity investment portfolio as that’s my long-term expectation for the stock market. While each year this will vary wildly, my long term expectation for the market is and always has been an 8% return. I think this is justifiable as I explained in my Invest to Win post. So no better place to start when making my annual goal!
- Contribute $115K to our investments
The other major factor to reaching the previous goal is my contributions, which is much more in my control. It can be hard estimating this exactly year in and year out, partly due to variations in large expenses like solar panels, a new car, and factoring in kid costs including daycare for our second kid due in early April.
Also, the other big wildcard this year for us is the potential move to London. But for now, all we can assume is that any such move would result in a cost of living adjustment or a net raise for us and therefore our estimated contributions shouldn’t vary much.
In the coming weeks I am planning a more detailed post on my longer term investment goals, so stay tuned!
JW’s Personal Goals
I need to set some personal goals as well! Life isn’t all about money, right? There are definitely things on my list for 2017 (and beyond…) to help me be well rounded (well not round physically…).
Health and Fitness
My health and fitness has not been its best lately and 2016 has not been my best year! I blame the blog…in all seriousness…it has been a fairly big time commitment and has distracted me from my normal workout routine. However, it is more than just that. I’ve developed some bad personal habits and no better time than now to get those back on track.
- Take the steps at work at least 3 days a every day of the week!
I need to get back into a regular workout routine, but there are more passive ways I can get some exercise. Saying that I don’t have time to work out is a lame excuse. There are numerous ways I can sneak some exercise into my normal routine and one of the best options will be taking the stairs at work. I’m on the 14th floor (technically the 13th floor since that number is skipped in the count…). I expect taking the stairs will get my heart rate up!
Edit: While drafting this post, my motivation on this goal received a swift kick in the rear with Mr. Money Mustache’s recent post on Staying Fit with no Gym in Sight. I shared my thoughts on how I could do better in the comment section of the post and MMM challenged me to NEVER take the elevator again! He said anything under 40 flights should be stairs…no elevator needed. So…needless to say I’m crossing out the 3 days a week and changing it to every day of the week. What’s a goal if it isn’t challenging?! Challenge accepted MMM!
- Bike or do Insanity videos 3 days a week
Biking is another way I can sneak in an exercise regularly. Instead of lounging on the couch after the little one goes down and watching TV, I need to do better and make it a habit to jump on the bike in the evening (and watch the TV…). Lucy and I typically bike together and we have stationary bikes in our workout room (trainer mounts for our outdoor bikes). It is an easy and convenient way to get some cardio, and Lucy and I can still stay up to speed on the latest shows we are watching. Plus, given we have a little one we can’t leave alone in the home, this gives us a nice at-home exercise!
Another alternative is starting back up the Insanity DVD workout series we bought years ago. This is another exercise routine we can mix in for variety.
But don’t worry, this isn’t our only exercise. We both do a decent amount of walking for our 9-5 gigs and spend plenty of time on the weekends chasing around our kiddo who is a little ball of energy!
- Keep beer and alcohol consumption to evenings when I don’t work the next day.
This is another area of health and wellness that I can and must do better with. Far too often I’m cracking beers during the middle of the work-week.
As I mentioned in my post on Chasing Paper, my work life balance ebbs and flows. The busy weeks can be stressful and those times especially I’m known to have a beer or glass of bourbon to unwind after work. This isn’t good for my health and neither is it good for being a role model for the kiddos if they grow up seeing me regularly crack beers.
So it is important to me to take a step in the right direction here. No beer or alcohol during the work-week and in general I will limit my consumption.
- Push boundaries and get outside my comfort zone.
I think it is important for personal growth and development to continue to step outside our comfort zones and challenge ourselves. While I continue to be challenged in my current role at work and have received promotions as recently as last year, it is nearing the time to make a more dramatic step outside my comfort zone. That could potentially be with a move to the bank’s global offices as mentioned above, but if that doesn’t end up working out then I may need to start thinking of alternatives.
2. Improve The Green Swan blog performance.
There are a number of things I can do on the back end of The Green Swan to help improve its performance and your experience. I haven’t prioritized many of these items, such as page speed, and instead I have more simply focused on networking with readers and other bloggers and writing content. The time has come to make the blog more professional though. 2017 is the year you will notice a faster load time and perhaps a new look and feel to the blog. I’ve been thinking for a while now about changing the “theme” to the blog which is the visual outlay of the content and webpages.
Lucy’s Personal Goals
Health and Fitness
Now it’s Lucy’s turn… Similar to JW, I don’t normally set goals at the New Year or rely on resolutions. However, why not put something in writing, share it with the web and see how well I do?
- Workout 3 times a week
I’m piggybacking off JW’s goal here which will only help us both. We all know working out is more fun with a partner and when you have someone else sticking to a schedule you’re more prone to as well. Seeing that I’m 6 months pregnant, I will not be partaking in the Insanity videos, but the biking has been great for me. I also purchased some pregnancy Pilates DVDs so I’ll break that out to help strengthen my core. Continuing this goal post-baby will be important too.
- Try 2 new recipes a month
This might sound like an easy goal to accomplish, but let me explain. With our work schedules we only cook on the weekends. Usually I try to make a larger meal Saturday or Sunday so that we will have leftovers throughout the week. Otherwise mid-week we’re making something quick like grilled cheese or a peanut butter sandwich (come on, we have a 2.5 year old!). I can always rely on Pinterest to help me find new recipes so I’m going to strive to make sure and come up with two new ones each month. I’m open to suggestions or favorites of yours too!
What goals are you making for the New Year? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for taking a look!
The Green Swan