Blogging, Finance, Retirement planning

Kitchen sink 2017 and a look ahead

Taking off 2 years

I left my last full time job at the end of January 2016.  So, I’m coming up on the two year anniversary of that. The stock market was getting beat up with a drop in oil prices and a few other things.

Frankly, I was a little caught off guard by that small correction.   However, since leaving that last full time job our net worth has increased by roughly $138K, on a single income.

Am I still super-frugal? Yes.  Am I beating myself up about it? No. See my popular post about “Sometimes you need to spend $100 on lunch“.  That’s just me now.  Balance and Moderation.

I’m using the lessons of the last 2 years to not get caught off guard with any wild swings in the stock market.  Markets don’t ever continue in one direction forever.  A correction is coming and I’m anxious to see how the personal finance blogging community handles it.

Blog victories

When I started this blog, I was I torn between topics and strategies. After dicking around for almost a full year, I finally got serious. I started to think like a smart person again.  Taking 6 months off of alcohol and hiring a life coach helped get the ball rolling. The biggest lesson learned is that the numbers are in DIRECT proportion of effort.  I don’t know why I was kidding myself that it was any different. (Maybe because I invented the internet). In reality and truth that works for me, because one of my motivations for taking a break from the traditional workforce was the lack of merit based advanced.

In summary, if I’m going to “leave it all on the field” for someone else’s financial gain, I need to be fairly compensated. I think that’s a reasonable request, and I think those efforts can pay off on personal projects as well.  The key is creating a structure that keeps you focused and on track.  I haven’t fully nailed that down, but I will be sharing a lot of posts toward that effort in the early months of the new year.

Since re-branding the focus of the blog my new twitter account has grown by almost 500 legitimate followers in a few weeks. Most of that has been a “follow and follow back” strategy, but it has revealed a much more focused audience than I was achieving before.  I used to look down on those strategies, but they are very valid and legitimate, as long as you’re being authentic in what you’re broadcasting.  I a much better “participant” in social media than I was previously.

Regarding visitor stats, December was a better month than November, though only slightly. I’m going to focus on continuing to build traffic and a following, along with building practical skills that I can use in the workplace of the future. I’m already feeling much more confident about my abilities in this space.  That’s a lot different than “farming out” the work to others and documenting that process is going to become a bigger focus of this blog.

Blog stats

 

 

Health

In March, I’ll turn 53 and to quote Yogi Berra, “If I had of known that I would live this long, I would’ve taken better care of myself.”

In January of 2017 I had a little health scare that really opened my eyes to making sure the “keys to the castle” are fully shared and accessible to your partner.

I capped off the year with a post about figuring out how to choose a “financial steward” that you can trust.  Whatever your situation, make sure you have a plan in place.  Seriously, think about it.  Personally my goal is to spend my last dollar on the day that I die (assuming I post decease my wife of course). Otherwise, I want to make sure my wishes are crystal clear after I’m gone.

Goals for 2018

All of this is not a “woe is me” story.  (At least not when I’m living in reality)

The bottom line is that we’re responsible for our own happiness.  Toward that end, here’s my short list of goals for 2018

  1. Home Equity Line of Credit of at least $50K
  2. Lose 25 pounds and get in shape
  3. Eat Better
  4. Social Security online account set up. (See my post question why my statements stopped.)
  5. 1K blog page views per month
  6. Google AdWords certification
  7. Visit a country I haven’t visited before
  8. Explore more of the city I love
  9. Make at least $500 from my blogging efforts
  10. Figure out which side hustles work best for me.

I don’t think any of this is biting off more than I can chew, in fact, I think it’s fairly conservative.

I have a new weekly planner that I received from Amazon for review. Here is my affiliate link to it, and full disclosure, I might get a few cents if you actually buy one.

I don’t usually go the “Physical planner” route, but I’m going to give this a serious try.

All in all 2017 was a transition year, or building year.  I just love when sports teams use those types of metaphors. However they don’t give ticket price discounts when they admit that.

Since I am the “Head coach” and the “CEO of my life” and “Chief cook and bottle washer” of my life, I’m going to make sure 2018 is a great year.  I hope it is for you too.

I would love to hear any of your own goals for 2018.  Drop me a note or leave a comment.  If I can help you, I’d be happy to.

 

  • Mrs Whymances

    I love the idea of a finance blog for 50+. This is the first I’ve seen in the space. It’s unfortunate but I think lots don’t have financials figured out by then, let alone by 30. It’s never too late and sometimes seeing it from a peer is encouraging.

    I took an 8 month sabbatical a few years ago and it was the best thing I’ve ever done. Traded full time job ‘security’ for time off then consulting. I was concerned I’d be bored but quite the opposite.

    My goals are much more conservative:
    Do the uber frugal month through frugalwoods this month
    Improve blog writing style
    Increase my contract rate by $5-10/hr.

    I’m curious to see where your goals bring you this year!

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Validation is always nice. I truly felt that most of the younger blogs were covering ground that I’ve already pioneered. If you read one of my earlier posts “taking a year off”, you’ll understand what that first year was like. Just as Sam over at Financial Samurai describes, it’s taken about 2 full years, just to ease into this as a concept. (and I don’t think I’m done with the work world yet) Your goals sound great! I’ll be following along! Here’s the link to that early post. http://www.financeafter50.com/taking-a-year-off/