2017 was a great year for me financially. I set and broke most every financial goal I set in 2017. I only had four goals.
- Live on 40% of my income, Check lived on 38%
- Save $11k in my 401k, Check
- Earn an extra $4k from a side hustle, CRUSHED IT! earned nearly $25k
- Pay $16k extra on the home mortgage, CRUSHED IT! paid down $20k
I cannot complain about how everything lined up and worked out last year. I’ve was blessed in 2017 and earned more money than I ever have in a given year. I successfully fulfilled my goals, and then some. While I was financially locked in last year, I can’t help but think that I was perhaps a bit too focused on one aspect of life. This year, I hope to remain financially focused, but a bit more relaxed.
2018 Financial Goals
I like keeping things simple and uncomplicated. As you know, I have no consumer debt and my main focus is paying off my home as soon as possible. My financial goals for 2018 remain nearly identical for 2017. My wife will be working this year, I got a good pay increase, and I’m projecting a decent increase in income from the “Trump” tax breaks. I’ve tweaked our goals for 2018:
- Live on 35% of our income
- Save $11k in my 401k (my main focus is paying of my home)
- Earn an extra $15k from my side hustle (adjusted since my wife is working)
- Pay $25k extra on the home mortgage (my pay, wife’s pay, and side hustle)
2017 Lessons Learned
Probably the biggest lesson that I learned from 2017 is that there are only so many hours in a day that you can work your ass off. This comes at a price. I’ve read that trading money for time is not optimal. I have to admit I agree yet I didn’t realize that until this year. Admitted, 2017 allowed me to re-baseline my workload, focus, time management, and discipline. These are all things I needed to do. 2017 also opened my eyes to what is possible. Here is a list of my misses and realizations from 2017:
- I wasn’t able to be a soccer coach for my daughter’s soccer team
- Lost time to connect with friends and family
- I wasn’t able to focus on publishing articles in my career field
- I wasn’t able to focus on writing a book and building a class for my career field
- I’m not actively exploring things that interest me (e.g. art, home projects, and gardening to name a few)
- There are only so many hours in a day, therefore as a worker, only some much extra you can earn
- Entrepreneurship is probably the most optimal way to trade time for money
2018 It’s All About Balance
As I continue to pursue financial independence, I’m coming to realization that life’s all about connections and experiences. Sure, it’s great to focus on money, work side hustles, watch the numbers, and be fanatical about being FI. I get that the more focused you are, the faster you’ll get there. I also get, from our friends in the minimalist community, that less is more. That the more stuff you own, the more it owns you. These are great lessons to learn and I appreciate that my wife and I have gained this wisdom.
Smell the Motha-F*cken Roses
The wisdom I’ve gained is great, but hell, you have to smell the motha-fucken roses too. I’m not talking about buying stuff, thought that is nice too. I’m talking more about experiences. I did my best last year to smell the “proverbial” roses last year but to be honest, I needed to do it a bit more often. Admittedly, I needed to learn how to grind harder and set a new normal for myself. But I’ll be 40 this year, and while reflecting on my goals this year I realized I need to do some bucket list shit before I get too old. So this year, I’m setting some goals to have more fun:
- Take a drawing and a painting class – If I wasn’t an engineer, I’d be an artist. Time to start building these skills.
- Learn to surf – I was an Army brat so I spent sometime growing up on Oahu. Since I was knee high to a grasshopper, I’ve always wanted to learn how to surf. I start learning this year!
- To a class on hang-gliding – Again, because I was an Army brat, I lived in Monterey, California. They had a beach where hang-gliders would go and take off from a 30′ launcher over the bay. I always wanted to do that. It looked bad-ass. I will take one class this year!
- Coach one of my daughter’s soccer team – I was working so much last year that I didn’t get a chance to do this. I will make it a point to experience this in 2018.
- Publish at least one work-based article
- Complete at least one class in my career field
- Do more DIY projects around the house
That doesn’t mean I’ll stop grinding to earn money. After a year of grinding, I’ve realized that there is more time in the day than I realized. I need to optimize that time. 2017 has allowed me to build in a side hustle work habit. In 2018, I’m looking to grow and build skills in other areas of my life. I wish the same for you!