I write this post with a fantastic glass of scotch (fine, I am on number 3) given to me by an appreciative colleague, after coming back from PA for Christmas Eve/day with The Wife, my kids, nieces and nephews, and in laws, followed up with skiing with my son, and knowing I’ll be doing my family’s Christmas celebrations on Saturday with my parents, brothers and one of their kids. I know it is going to sound cliche, and even a bit cheesy when I read it next year but 2019 really felt like a blessed year, especially after some dark, angry times during it.
2019 included taking my kids to Disney, which I bitched about, endlessly, but when I really take a step back have to admit to myself was an unbelievable trip. My kids may have been the prefect age. My Daughter was 5 and in love with the princesses. Each and every one. Then when she ran with Rey! I was smiling ear to ear. At the same time my son was ready to hit up any and every one of the bigger rides that we could. We try to go on at least one vacation a year (we just booked Jamaica) but I am positive I’ll never get this time back.
It wasn’t too long after that trip that we found a house we wanted to buy, but didn’t find a buyer that was going to work for us. I then became a landlord for the first time. Just like Disney, at the time the stress associated with the transaction almost broke me mentally, and I am not the kind of guy who freaks out with stress, but as I sit here I am pretty happy with the outcome. I got two new partners who I am close with, which I hope will be a long term venture, and at almost the same time I was provided with a very generous bonus from my bosses which provided validity to my worth to them while pulling me out of a liquidity crunch.
I didn’t give a quick recap of 2019 randomly (especially since I have never done it before in one of these posts (and there are 10 or 11 of them), rather, I did it to give me my overarching theme for the year,
Trust and have patience with the process
I try to provide myself with an annual theme as I come up with my goals and objectives for the next year. It is just something I can look back to see if I grew as a person while meeting my goals. Sometimes I hit it and sometimes I just don’t.
My Goals and Objectives
For as long as I can remember, I never understood the idea of “new year’s resolutions” they just seem like far fetched goals that no one actually hits. Rather, when I first started blogging I came across the idea of SMART goals, which are specific goals that are actionable, defined and measurable. For the past 5 or 10 years I have partitioned my life into the following areas:
- Professional Life
- Blogging World
- Online Income World
- Financial Goals
- Personal Life
Professional Life 2019 Goals
This is broken down into two parts: my career and my law practice.
I said it last year, and probably multiple (hundred) times before that, but I really like my job. Notwithstanding, it is very frustrating that I am in the same position I was in last year, the year before that (and the last 10 years before that). There is no real room for positional growth. The powers that be pay me very well, and to be honest, there are just so many things more important than money. 2008 Evan would never even imagine saying such a thing, and 2003 Evan may have actually hit someone, but with 2 kids at home that are still pumped to see me every day, I’d rather make less money and see them for dinner 90% of the time. While my title is likely to never change my importance to the organiziation can, and as such, I have two actionable goals I’d like to work on:
- Create a Quarterly Sales Tool/Idea for the financial planners in my office. I started this last year hitting 2 of the 4 quarters. Now it is going to be 4 for 4!
- Build a deeper relationship with those brokers/detached agents who actually bring in a good amount of the business. My office is a very 80/20 place where 80% of the business is done by 20% of the people, I think it is only beneficial to everyone to deepen the relationship with those that actually bring the profits to the organization.
My Law Practice
My small little practice has helped a lot of people over the years, and I think it can continue to do so, but my goal for this year is to be more organized. I want to build processes to reach out to old clients as well as new prospects. To get specific:
- Build a database of all contacts for those clients I have done work with in the past and simply ask if they would like to discuss their estate plan.
Trust the process that reaching out to people works. It just does.
I built this blog talking about my financial situation, along with trending personal finance and estate planning topics. Over the course of the past 10 or 11 years, I have veered away from that just providing updates to my situation. For 2020 I’d like to get back to the process that built this site with two goals:
- Get back to commenting on other sites. Part of this world is reaching out to others to get ideas, inspiration and just be part of a community. If I have to (and I do) I want to visit 3 to 5 sites a month diving deep into their recent content to learn about what they are up to.
- Write about more than just net worth updates and dividend screens! Get back to talking about my day to day money growth and woes.
Online Income World
Last year I wrote,
In addition to this personal finance blog, I own a bunch of other sites that I don’t discuss often here. After speaking with my business partner we decided our joint goal for 2019 was to expand our mini-business. Once a quarter, at the end of each quarter we are going to contact dying/dead personal finance blogs and see if we can purchase them (buy low).
We picked up a site or two, but didn’t expand in a way that I think we can. This year I came up with a bit more specific goal (that he agreed to):
- Spend 2 hours per week working on the business and hold each other accountable to that expectation. Those 2 hours could be spent in a number of ways, but they should be recorded weekly.
Last year I shared 5 very specific goals. Some I met and some I didn’t. For 2020 I have only one goal and it has to do with trusting the old school/boring process – attack the debt. Right now, I am sitting on a sizable mortgage, some law school debt, some margin debt, the revolving consumer debt and debt on the rental property (old home). Some of this needs to go!
- After updating my net worth for January 2020 I have decided my goal this year is to kill off $50,000 of debt. I am not sure I’ll hit the goal but I am excited to try.
The most important thing in my life is time with my family. Everything else can be made up or caught up with, but at some point, in the very near future, my kids are likely going to avoid time with me! It is natural, I get it, but it is going to hurt. As such, if I have a goal it is to continue to put them at number 1 most of the time. I don’t know another breadwinner that is home as much as me, which is great, so my goal is to keep up those dinners, keep up going to those games, practices, etc.