2017 Goals for the Swans

2017 Goals

2017 Goals for the Swans

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.

Let’s begin!

Financial Goals

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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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!

  1. 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.


  1. 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?

  1. 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.

  1. 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







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58 Comments on "2017 Goals for the Swans"

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FIREin' London

Hi JW,

Good luck for the goals and 2017! Look forward to hearing if you do make the move to London, I am sure there are a number of people over here who would love to meet up!

Congratulations on setting the goals wider than just financial, health is an important factor as well, and something I myself neglect too much!

Hope the Christmas break was good for you all!
FIREin’ London


Great 2017 goals! I also need to amp up the health and fitness side of things, although I’m on the first floor of the building at work so taking the stairs doesn’t cut it. I did set a goal to walk at lunch a minimum of three times a week-with the weather and my work schedule being what they are, I think that’s realistic. I try not to set many goals around investment performance because they’re far out of my control. Here’s to a great 2017!

Nice goals JW! I am currently on a 20th floor and had gotten out of the habit of taking the stairs down everyday, I need to add that back to the routine. It’s a start, right? We have similar plans for fitness in getting out of the bad habits the past few months. Being in a walking boot for a month before the holidays really hosed me with the workout routine. I am able to swim once a week and went for my first 2 mile jog since getting out of the boot, and this morning the achilles tendon seems okay, so hopefully that will help with getting active again. I’m also registered for an Olympic triathlon in 65 days, so now more workouts have… Read more »
Matt @ Optimize Your Life

Solid goals. I like the focus on a smaller set of key goals rather than the long litany of goals that a lot of people set at the new year. I definitely need to follow your lead on some health and fitness goals. I think that has been my biggest weakness in 2016. (I could certainly use a lot of work on improving my blog as well).

Best of luck and happy New Year!

Fervent Finance

Great goals for 2017. My financial goals for 2017 are the same as 2016. Max out all tax advantaged accounts and then funnel the rest into my after-tax brokerage account. My income was fairly high for me in 2016 so as long as I save as much as I did in 2017, I’ll be happy.

Physician on FIRE

Best of luck with all of your goals. A move to London might complicate some of them, and might be less than ideal with a new baby arriving. On the other hand, the dollar is looking great relative to the pound, so it won’t be nearly as expensive as it would be at any time in recent history.


Fritz @ TheRetirementManifesto

Great goals, Swans! I’ve never written mine, but you’re motivating me to do the same. Im on the 20th floor at work, and have NEVER walked it. Time to change that, it appears! You’re courageous to consider changing your theme, will be interested in watching that one! Nice work on your blog in 2016, I’m glad we’ve connected this year!

Jim @ Route To Retire

Best of luck on the goals! Curious how the market will play out in 2017 (aren’t we all?!!). I feel like it’s bloated right now to give us another 8%, but it seems like it refuses to correct. Hopefully it drops though so we can all buy low for the time being.

I like the goal of not drinking when you’re working the next day – I’ve been working on that for the past few months. It’s sometimes a small challenge when you want that after work beer, but nothing you can’t get past.

Have a great New Year!!

— Jim

Brian @ Debt Discipline

Good luck tackling these goals in 2017. Fitness is an area I need to address in 2017. I do usually take my dog for daily walks, but that is not enough. Our other big area of focus is sending two children to college and avoid debt while doing so.


Come on, only 2 different recipes a month….one a week would be a bit more of a challenge.

We used to tease our kids (from aged 4), that Saturday evening would always be different… It might be (meat) fondue, anything, really, depending on the available ingredients….. They enjoyed the challenge, and would also enjoy changing the theme, to veg only v no beef etc…

It made them think about what they were eating,With 24-48hr mm warning,….


Happy New Year! Those are very ambitious goals! I think the main thing is to keep the momentum going throughout the year. Good luck with the health goals because it’s going to be tough with a baby. 🙂


I take the stairs at work all the time. This is less impressive than it sounds if you consider that I sit on the 3rd floor. But I’m moving to the 4th floor in January, so maybe just slightly more impressive?

Those are some solid goals you’ve set there. All the best for 2017! What with the new baby and a big potential move, it promises to be an exciting year for you.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

This is a great list of goals for the new year!

I like the new recipe goal a lot. We tend to make the same meal over and over again, and one of our goals for the new year is to make more new meals and add some variety to our lives!

Amber tree

That sounds like a great plan for 2017.

Some tough challenges as well, while having a second baby…! All the best with your goals.

London is on my list to show to the kids…I like the city a lot for its architecture and diversity in international food. We had a friend that lived there years ao. One of the best memories is a biking tour along the Thames…

Excellent goals: ambitious but not too optimistic. In terms of my planning: Oh my, I’m still trying to tie up the loose ends of 2016 and I haven’t made any explicit 2017 plans yet. I try to get my 10,000 steps every weekday. That will stay the same. Moneywise the goal is the $x,yyy,zzz target in the spring of 2018. That’s been in place for a long time, and with my usual savings rate and 6-7% capital market return, it should happen. Cross my fingers! Drinking on weekdays? I would have agreed with that until recently but then did some research for a yesterday’s post on booze, cigarettes and debt (https://earlyretirementnow.com/2016/12/28/seven-reasons-in-defense-of-debt-and-leverage/) and realized that alcohol in moderation is good for my health. So, no change… Read more »

Nice goals, hope all of them will be ticked by the end of 2017. And you know what? I will join you in the walk up to the office challenge. My office is on the 8th floor so I have really no excuse 🙂

Freedom 40 Guy

Great goals. Love the idea about taking the stairs up to work every day. I think I’d be doing some huffing and puffing for at least the first few weeks. I recently started doing 20 push-ups using the trigger of every time I change my clothes. First thing in the morning – 20 push-ups. Home from work and change out of the suit – 20 push-ups. Go to bed 20 push-ups. It’s not a ton, but I’m noticing a difference already.


Love your goal ideas! Taking the stairs is smart and an easy way to add a few steps each day! (It always surprises me how people fight to park close to our YMCA when they are there to work out!!) We are stuck in a food rut too – guess it’s easier that way. Maybe we should all share a new recipe once a month! We are going to really limit the alcohol too – to just when we are with friends. It’s way too easy to drink a glass of wine each day – but my doctor reminded me of the calories related to that as well. Here’s to a wonderful 2017!

Financial Samurai

Big bucks on the $1.2M investable assets goal! I like it. I’m thinking of my own 2017 goals as well after doing a deep dive analysis of how I invested money in 2016.

I’m hoping for the best again, but I have great doubts! haha.


Mustard Seed Money

Sounds like you are setting some awesome goals. I have to admit if you figure out how to speed up your website, you’ll have to pass on your tips. I have been reading and have had some difficulty completely understanding what I need to do 🙂

Hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

Mr. Grumby

Best of luck with your goals. Like you, Mrs. Grumby and I are pretty consistent with our finances, but your comments about exercise have remotivated me. Thanks!

Penny @ She Picks Up Pennies

Those numbers make me lightheaded! 🙂 So excited for see what 2017 brings for you. I always try to take the stairs, though I don’t know that I’ve ever had a reason to do more than 10 flights. I guess that suburbia for you. I really like how you prioritize health and I love Lucy’s idea of trying new recipes!

Mr. Need2Save

It sounds like you have some very reasonable and achievable goals for 2017. I’m a bit more conservative on our expected investment growth, but it sounds like you will be able to meet your $200k goal for 2017.

I’m an active runner and I also use my bike trainer during the winter as well. It’s amazing how much of a sweat you can work up pedaling while watching a 30 minute show! I second Chief Mom Officer’s recommendation of a brief walk during lunch time at work. It’s a simple way to get in some extra steps and take a mental break from your work day.

Good luck in 2017!

Jon @ Be Net Worthy

Great goals JW! If you’re looking for ideas, you may want to consider some couple goals as well. We had our 20th anniversary the other day and we found that couple goals were helpful. Scheduling things like date-nights, etc… go a long way once the kiddos come into the picture.

I hope you share any back-end tips on speeding up the site, I know that I could use some!

Here’s to a great 2017!


Happy New Year! I’ve combined my blogging and fitness goals by writing most of my blog posts when I’m on the treadmill. I walk at a decent clip, but not so fast that I can’t peck out sentences while I’m doing it. In fact, I’m doing it now 🙂


Happy new year. I love your list and your optimism that the stock market will return 8% a year in the longer term outlook. I am pessimist, I set my excel sheet to assume a 3% gain every year. I hope to be pleasantly surprised if/when I hit $1mm before I turn 50 in 3.5 years. Best of luck with your potential move to London. What a great opportunity for your family. Love the blog. I signed up for the emails so I don’t miss any of your updates.


[…] Let’s address the elephant in the room quickly. You may have noticed contributions tail-off in 2017 compared to 2016. There is a two part answer to why this will happen. First, we are expecting our second baby in early April! Yay! But as far as my investments are concerned…bummer! That means Lucy and I will incur significant labor and delivery charges as well as added daycare expenses. Yikes! Secondly, and quite simply, I’m being conservative regarding my take-home pay, and specifically, the bonus I expect in a couple months. So in 2017 I will be happy if we contribute $115K. […]

Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com
Leo T. Ly @ isaved5k.com

Getting healthy physically and financially are great goals, especially for a couple. Sometimes it’s quite difficult for a couple to be able to exercise together and kudos to you for being able to find some common ground.

My goal this year is to learn how to do some internet marketing and get some more readers for my blog. There is not much excitement if there is no one to interact with. Since you are a blogging vet, I can definitely use some advice for a rookie.


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