Yes, I’m a glutton for punishment. I realize that making goals for 2021 is some weird, perverse exercise after 2020. Nonetheless, I feel motivated with the new year, so I might as well take advantage of it. Also, unlike at the start of 2020, I know a little of what to expect in 2021. There will always be surprises, but hopefully, we’ll be able to navigate them well.
The other reason why it’s good to make goals for 2021 is that you already have a built-in excuse. That might not help you accomplish your goals, but I know I won’t feel bad when 2022 comes around if I don’t accomplish all these.
Make $60K of income
Last year I wanted to make $75,000 in income. COVID had other plans. I came in at around $50,000, but each month is trending worse and worse. I will need to turn things around just to make the $50,000 again, so $60K is a stretch.
I need to focus more on providing valuable services to people and working within the windows of childcare that I have. This is going to be a challenge, but that’s precisely the point.
Save Money for Wife’s Retirement
This is complicated and worth a separate article all by itself.
We’re trying to save $100K for my wife to feel comfortable with retiring. The hope is to do this in just a couple of years.
She will get a nice pension and I can usually make the aforementioned income. However, some of my income has been lost since COVID and I’m not sure it’s coming back. We also have a lot of short-term expenses with some 15-year mortgages in their final trimester and private school. The 100K would give us at least a two-year cushion where she wouldn’t have to think about working.
We are starting the year with it about 25% completed. If we combine other emergency funds and accounts we might be further along.
I have many things that I would to like to do with this website. Essentially, I need to roll over many of my 2020 goals to 2021.
However, I have one other thing to add. You have to promise not to tell anyone now, but I’m working on a new personal finance website. Lazy Man and Money isn’t going away. My personal finance interests have evolved beyond passive income, so a spin-off makes sense.
I gained a “Pandemic 15” and got very close to a big number on the scale that I don’t want to reach. We’ve been doing a lot of cooking and comfort eating. My wife and I are challenging each other (her idea) to lose weight. We have a post on the fridge where post our daily weigh-ins.
I’m going to try to lose those 15 pounds by following my extreme Lazy Man Diet. The diet is too extreme to stick to long-term, but I should be able to manage a majority of it four or five days a week.
I’ll need to add more exercise than walking my dog… especially weight training and cardio.
Make a Bucket List
I need to come up with some things that I want to do and experience.
Many personal finance bloggers with money travel the world. I know that I don’t like the act of traveling. Being in a new place is good. Getting to the new place is bad. Everything about an airplane is designed to make you uncomfortable. That’s literally the plan with coach seating. Some may say that we splurge for the good seating, but the spending necessary for that creates great internal conflict for me. It doesn’t get any better when you are at the destination, because then I have to deal with things like limited internet access… or paying outrageous prices for convenience.
Recently, I’ve settled on the idea of having a fancy house. I don’t know where it would be or how we’d get it, but I like the idea of a hot tub, indoor pool, and at least 3 monkey butlers.
As part of this, I’ll explore making a dream board. That will get me to the dangerously close place of scrapbooking. Now I’m starting to understand why I always put this off.
Travel to Eurpoe
Remember back in the bucket list where I mentioned that I don’t like traveling? Well, my wife likes being in a new place more than the pain of traveling.
She’s mapping out a 3-week trip to Greece, Germany, and Venice, Italy. The timing of this is very specific for this summer too because the Greek leg is a pharmacy cruise. It seems we might be able to manage it for around $10,000 through a combination of military discounts and points.
We have numerous hurdles on this one. I don’t want to leave our dog with just anyone for that long. There’s also this thing called COVID which seems to like it could be a barrier to traveling through 3 countries, especially including a cruise ship. Coming back, I wouldn’t want to have to quarantine, because that may be up to 2 weeks of figuring out how to get food delivered (we go to the grocery store now) and stuff like that. My wife would go back to working from home, but I wouldn’t be able to send the kids to camp. The dynamic of my wife needed uninterrupted time for military work at home and me having to keep the kids in activities so they don’t kill each other simply doesn’t work.
Finish the Basement
Since last summer, I’ve had a goal of finishing our basement to create more room for the family. Having a buffer of the main floor between our kids would be extremely helpful even without a pandemic. There’s a lot of decluttering work to do before we can hire a work crew – we’ve been storing baby and kid stuff for 8 years now… and had a lot of stuff before that. I think we are about 60% through the clutter. There’s a lot of extra stuff like food overflow.
I need to work on real skills this year. I have a problem with this since I don’t have a big block of time for deep learning. I’m basically putting out small fires all day, except for when I’m wasting time on social media or news sites. In short, I need to manage my time better and be more disciplined.
As for some of the skills I’d like to learn, I’ll go with Canva (for blogging), Pinterest, film making/editing, and AI. My degree in computational linguistics is over 20 years old now. I feel like I should be able to refresh those skills and see if there are good jobs involving computers and language processing nowadays. (Yes, this is sarcasm.)
It’s hard to come up with plans for the kids. Their interests are always changing. The things we can do during COVID keep changing as well. We’ll have to play it by ear. That said, I think we can try a few things:
I’m not sure if a YouTube channel is right for a 7 and 8-year-old. I think it is worth a try… as long as we manage expectations. There are some useful skills that we can explore with this. The kids (and their dad) can learn filmmaking. I can help them learn how to organize and outline their thoughts.
The boys fight each other quite a bit (as you might imagine given their age). I hope (perhaps naively) that they’ll be able to connect on their shared interest of Pokemon.
I got the kids a small drone for around $25. It’s enough to keep them interested and teach them the basics. I have a more advanced $70 one that I got on Black Friday last year, that we can move on to.
I don’t know where it will go, but maybe we can work our way to a side-hustle in drone videography?
(This may be a not-so-elaborate plan to justify buying myself a fancy, expensive drone.)
Riding Bikes and Outdoor Stuff
I’m terrible with getting the kids outside in physical activity. I need to do better whether it is riding bikes or playing catch with a baseball.
I really need to get these kids started in computer programming. I wish it was like when I was a kid, where the computer was an endless source of amazement. With YouTube and Alexa, it’s hard to get kids excited in making a computer print “Hello World” infinite times.
We had to cancel many specialty camps for the kids last year – the first year they were old enough to do them. Hopefully, they can do Lego, cooking, animal shelter, theater, sailing camps. If that’s not possible, we can at least do Lego and cooking at home. We were able to save a lot of money last year, so that’s a silver lining.
Some of these goals conflict with others. It’s hard to do specialty summer camps when you are on a cruise ship in Greece. It’s hard to save money when you are doing extensive travel and home improvements. The kids have only so many hours in the day and I like some of them to be free to do whatever silliness they want. Yet, I have so many things here that I want to do with them.
We’ll have to figure out how to prioritize things in this ever-changing world. But that’s what life is all about, right? With the goals that conflict, we’ll simply have to accept that there are no right or wrong decisions. Each has its own merits and as long as we are moving forward with something, we’re doing well.
Thanks for the post. I see a lot of people posting about goals and I just can’t set them for some reason. I guess there’s just too many unknows, I’m overwhelmed with life and the lockdown? Not sure, need to figure out how to break out of the fog.
Lazy Man says
Yes, there are so many unknowns that setting goals seems ridiculous. I feel weird about it, but I want to throw some things out there. I need to have *something* to move forward to.
If there’s some kind of silver lining, you could literally make a goal of inventing a time machine and destroying the bat soup (or whatever it was) and everyone would approve. Also, no one is holding anyone accountable because you have to be a pretty bad human to judge anyone during this.
Financial Samurai says
Thanks for sharing. Making goals seems totally logical. I think most people do no?
Regarding income, I didn’t realize you were not working. With your experience, wouldn’t it be fairly easy to get a $60,000 job or did some consulting? Sorry, I’m out of the loop here.
I think this year could really be one of the most profitable and best years of our lives!
My goals are in the URL.
Lazy Man says
I pivoted to self-employment around 2007.
With my wife in the military and her demanding schedule, my focus is mostly on the kids. So I would need to add a job that is understanding that they are #2 priority (and part-time) with my other work that brings in around $50K+. There aren’t a lot of tech companies in Rhode Island, and my programming skills have atrophied significantly, so it isn’t easy.
There will certainly be a lot of opportunities in 2021, but those opportunities will not be available to most people.
Financial Samurai says
Cool. You and Joe are heroes for being able to convince your wives to work so long after early retirement!
I’ve tried so many times and failed. I even have a post on how to convince your wife to work longer so you can retire earlier, and I still failed! Lol
I’m wondering though, does life get really good and easy after the kids go to kindergarten/school full time? I’ve got another 4 years to go of FT fatherhood before my youngest goes to school FT.
Note: can’t respond directly to your comment. No threading.
Putting out small fires all day – That’s the story of my life. I couldn’t focus at all in 2020.
Hopefully, I can improve this year. Good luck with your income goal. I made about $40k last year. It’s pretty sad, but really not too bad for 10-20 hours/week.
European Dividend Growth Investor says
I think you’re doing pretty well! Don’t be too hard on yourself regarding rolling over your 2020 goals, because we have probably the worst year in a decade behind us.
Thanks for sharing and wish you all the best for a rocking 202`1!
I look forward to seeing how your goals turn out. Seems like quite a few.
If you’re looking for a cool platform for teaching kids how to code (depending on their age), you might checkout the Circuit Playground Express from Adafruit. You can code in C++ (Arduino flavored) or python. And with blinking lights, sound, accelerometers, etc., it can be a lot more fun than just “Hello world”-type coding. Using the Crickit from Adafruit, my son and I built a marble maze that you can control using the accelerometer. He had a lot of fun showing it off.
Lazy Man says
I haven’t heard of the Circuit Playground Express. I’ll check it out.