In order to keep myself accountable, I will continue to perform a monthly check-up on my published goals for 2019. Now that February has come and gone, it is time for the next review. Here is where I stand, for better or for worse.
- 1. Keep Weight under 235 (see above for incremental goals):
I broke this goal down in the first few months of the year to make it slightly more achievable. My goal was to get my weight down to 240 by end of January, then down further to under 235 by end of February. From that point, it is my goal to maintain that weight level for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I have failed in this goal so far. I was close to hitting the January milestone but have not come close in February. In fact, I have slipped slightly. As of this morning I tipped the scales at 243. I continue to exercise regularly and drink plenty of water. However, my eating habits have slipped tremendously. I have blamed this on the number of snacks and junk food available at the office but to be perfectly honest, those things have always been present. I have just done a poor job with the willpower to say no to these items. I need to buckle down further and get back to the habits that allowed me to drop almost 50 pounds previously.
- 2. Max my 401K contributions:
Based on my current withdrawal percentage, I am on track to max out my 401K again this year. The allowable amount was increased in 2019 to $19,000 from last year’s $18,500. Even with this increase, my percentage will max this out at some point in the 4th quarter of 2019.
- 3. Fully Fund Wife’s ROTH IRA (Stretch Goal: Fully Fund my ROTH IRA as well):
The primary goal of maxing out my wife’s ROTH IRA has been completed. In January I met with my financial planner and we discussed and then executed this move. The reason we moved forward with my wife’s and not mine is because we are unsure if we are eligible to contribute to ROTH accounts. Since my wife only has a ROTH account and not a traditional IRA, we are able to fund a newly set up traditional IRA for her and then do what is called a back-door ROTH conversion. Since I have a traditional IRA as well as a ROTH, a similar move would be more complicated since we would only be able to move a portion of the traditional monies over in the back-door conversion and if that needed to be reversed for any reason, it could get quite complicated. I am meeting with my accountant this week to review taxes for 2018 and one thing I will be anxious to learn is whether I can contribute to the ROTH.
- 4. Read at least 24 Books & Listen to at least 24 audio books:
This goal is very much ahead of schedule. In the first 2 months of the year I have read 8 books and listened to 9 audio books. I have found my interest in reading to be increased lately and have found myself grabbing a book in the evenings rather than reaching for the TV remote. If this pace can continue, I will shatter my stated reading/listening goals. I think a big reason for the increased interest in reading is simply that I have found things I am quite interested in. This has come in the form of both Fiction and Non-Fiction books. On the Fiction front, I was recommended a new series of books by a friend and constant reader, Pete (shout out Pete!). I gave the series a shot and really liked the first book. I quickly read the second book in the series and I currently have the third book checked out of the library and will begin that as soon as I complete the book I am reading. As for Non-Fiction, two bloggers that I enjoy have recently released books. I was bombarded with information on each since they went on what seemed like EVERY podcast I listen to promoting their books. Regardless, I gave each a try and found them to be very interesting and quick reads. The first was Financial Freedom by Grant Sabatier, author of the blog https://millennialmoney.com/blog/ and the second is Work Optional by Tanja Hester, author of https://ournextlife.com/. I have enjoyed each of these and found the writers to be very approachable and easy-to-read.
- 5. Re-read “The Millionaire Fastlane” by MJ DeMarco & “Set for Life” by Scott Trench:
I have still not picked up either of these books for a re-read yet. I have each sitting on my night stand and will work them into the mix soon.
- 6. Get Vanguard Taxable Investment Account over $55k
At present, my Vanguard account has a total value of $48,479.39. I continue with my automatic bi-weekly investments. Additionally, I have been using various apps to make a little extra money on the side. I discuss this in more detail below, but I mention it here because I have set each up to pay out in PayPal gift cards. Once I receive the award, I transfer the money from PayPal into my checking account and then immediately send that money to my taxable investment account. This adds a little extra to my investment account each month on top of the regular transfers. Based on the current balance, I feel confident that I will hit my goal.
- 7. Pay Credit Cards in full each month:
Thus far, I have paid all credit cards in full each month of 2019.
- 8. Get HELOC Balance under $30K:
The current balance on my HELOC is: $30,176.39. I am super close to meeting my goal and we are only two months into the year. Perhaps my target was not very aggressive, but it was based on the previous pace that I was paying this debt down. However, by tracking this as a 2019 goal, I have put more focus on this item, and I have been able to “find” extra money to pay on this account. This goal list has had a strong impact in this area in more than one way. By tracking my goals so closely, I have put focus on my credit card spending. I have been able to keep that in check as of late. Since fewer of my dollars were going to pay off credit card debt each month, I have been able to divert those extra dollars to paying extra on my HELOC. I will continue to attack this debt and my even go as far as revising this debt goal to keep myself pushing on this.
- 9. Continue to Blog weekly:
So far, I have maintained a weekly publishing schedule. Last month, I mentioned possibly writing more often. I continue to consider this option. This post is an example of a few items that I had committed to produce monthly. Since I have been writing posts about my media consumption monthly along with updates on my goals and finances, that does leave much time for other types of posts in a weekly publishing schedule. My work and family schedules are quite busy so I am unsure if I can commit to a more frequent publishing schedule, but it is something that I am considering. Let me know if you would like to see more posts.
- 10. Earn additional $100 per month in income through various side hustles:
Last month I mentioned my use of the website Swagbucks.com. Mentioning it here led me to double down on my efforts to fully utilize this site. I also learned through a friend that there are other similar sites. I have since tried a few and found one that I have enjoyed. It is called MyPoints.com. I find I am able to use this in the same way as SwagBucks. I open each of these up and can review videos, etc. while I watch television or do other mindless tasks. It can be time consuming if it is something that you sit and focus on but by doing it in the background while doing other tasks, I find that it is quite easy to accumulate points. As I mentioned above, I have set up these sites to pay out in PayPal gift cards which I then send to my investment account.
For February, I was able to make a total of $338.72 from various sources, including the above. Here is a breakdown of the ways I was able to do this.
- Swagbucks.com: $50
- MyPoints.com: $25
- Sell Books at Half Price Books: $6.40
- Sell Used Items: $50
- Fantasy Football winnings: $207.32