We’re at the home stretch for the end of the year. At this point, there’s not much time to complete the remaining tasks. December always goes quickly with the holiday season in the second half of the month.
Since the last update in October, I’ve been busy with a lot of dog boarding. It’s my top job now. Often, when I have a meet and greet with a new dog owner, they say that I have their dream job. It’s got a lot of advantages, but it does have negatives too. There’s a lot of wear and tear on the house, and I’m effectively “on call” 24 hours a day.
Setting goals is useless if you don’t review them and check your progress.
So let’s check in on where I am now. As I write this, it is November 23rd. (I’m publishing it later than I’d like, but the data is from November 23rd.) About 90% of the year is over. So, I should be at about 90% of all the goals below.
Here’s my updated spreadsheet:
Make $70K of income
I’ve made $86,414 this year with about a month to go. The gains are all on the dog boarding side. Blogging and my part-time customer service gig have been almost exactly what I had expected.
Save Money for Wife’s Retirement
We took a step back in the Wife’s Retirement account. We’ve hired a painter to paint the house’s interior and fix all the nicks from the dogs. We are also getting new carpeting upstairs. So we dipped into reserves to write checks for deposits for that.
We did take a few steps forward with this, though:
- We bought I-Bonds
My wife bought $5,000, and I bought $10,000. We got the 9.62% interest rate for a bit. My wife probably could have purchased another $5,000, but her busy pharmacy life doesn’t always allow optimizing every financial move. TreasuryDirect.gov’s website is terrible and doesn’t make it very easy.
This is a $15,000 that I didn’t count because it isn’t cash. However, it effectively serves much of the same purpose.
- Moved money to high interest Savings
My wife had a lot of cash from previous years’ savings earning only 0.1% interest in a local bank – over $50,000. We like to have money at a local bank. However, we don’t need that much hanging around. We opened a couple of accounts at Ally, now paying 3% interest. There was a bank bonus too. Essentially, we’ll make $1500 more in interest than we would at our local bank.
- Condo Sale and Cash Cushion
We sold a condo and have invested that money. A lot of it is in conservative high-dividend ETFs and bonds. We left some in cash and put that in an Ally account too. When I made this goal, we didn’t know we would sell the condo, but now we’ve got more cash and investments that pay us cash.
As this goal is written up, it looks like a failure. However, in spirit, I think we are doing much, much better in preparing for my wife’s retirement.
I’m at only 8% of my goal to get to 50,000 page views on KidWealth.com. That’s not good enough. It’s hard to predict when something may go viral, which usually brings an initial rush and then a trickle of repeat visitors. So far, nothing has gone the slightest bit viral, so it’s slow going.
However, traffic has been growing an average of 11.6% a month. If I continue that growth for the next year, I’d be “on pace” to have only 20,000 page views – less than half of this goal. I’m just pleased to see growth.
My other goal was to have 75 articles published by the end of the year. That’s roughly 1.5 a week. I’ve published 61 articles, or 81% of the goal. I won’t reach this goal, but I may get 90% there. I had to make many adjustments because the dog business was going so well.
Content Audit/Article Refresh
I’ve made no progress in refreshing articles for Lazy Man and Money. Writing articles for two blogs is a lot of work. It hard to carve out the time to go back and refresh old articles. I thought I could do this as part of my regular writing, but it isn’t working so far. If the dog boarding business slows down, I can revisit this.
This is a failure. I may keep it around for next year. I think there are a lot of benefits if I can do this.
Look into Dog Training
Earlier in the year, I looked very briefly into dog training. There are a hodge-podge group of certifications. It’s hard to find out which ones are useful. On further review, there’s not a lot of dog training I could do with the other stuff I have going on.
I found that there’s a dog and cat CPR class online through the Red Cross. That’s low-lying fruit. I think I could do it in a couple of hours. I just don’t have the time for it now.
I went in the wrong direction and have gained a few pounds. At least my body fat % is much better than it was in the last report. I’m running out of time to put it all together. Thanksgiving wasn’t helpful, and Christmas won’t be helpful, either. We’re currently cleaning out the pantry, and I’m finding that I’m trying to eat down a lot of food.
Next year, I’ll add a goal where I spend a week doing 15 things from my extreme Lazy Man diet article each week.
I’m over the number of drinks I was aiming for, but I’ve almost completely cut our wine and mixed drinks, except for rare occasions where there is nothing else. Light beer is a lot better.
Make a Bucket List
I didn’t make any progress on this.
Programming with Python
Even though I bought Python Programming for Beginners: A Kid’s Guide to Coding Fundamentals (affiliate link) several months ago, I haven’t opened it. I purposely bought a book aimed at kids to share with them.
I hoped my son’s Lego robotics would use Python, but they chose Scratch instead.
My wife is making great progress on this. We had a mouse in the basement that ate through some stuff and pooped on other stuff. It’s much easier to throw out the stuff you thought you liked when they are chewed and pooped on.
I’m not helping nearly enough. I need to sell some stuff, but I never seem to have the time to do it. I did try to sell a few large items on Nextdoor, such as some wooden pallets. So far, no luck. I may have to give them away. It’s a shame because many people would pay $100+ for them from the vendor (and I’m selling much less than that.)
Next year, I’ll make it a more concrete goal by trying to list 30-50 items and selling half.
Travel Four Times
In March, we completed our Puerto Rico trip. My kids and wife loved it, but I thought it was only okay. After we returned, we learned that our kids’ school was switching languages from French to Spanish. Maybe we’ll go back again.
We made our annual staycation-ish trip to Block Island for a few days in June. Soon after, we spent several days in New Hampshire. I wanted to go to a Jack Johnson concert. It’s a place we often vacation, so we did other stuff there, like Santa’s Village and Funspot. (If you are from MA or NH, you know.)
In August, we went on a Disney cruise – our most extensive travel ever. We were gone for 17 days to Denmark, Scotland, Iceland, Norway, and England. I had wanted to go to our Aruba timeshare in November, but it made sense to stick around a bit. We sold the week off and will use the money to pay the maintenance and have a little money left over.
We are looking to plan for 2023, but our dog is almost 14 now. It’s hard to know what his health might be like in four or eight months away.
The kids are close to finishing the fall semester. They got excellent reports at the parents’/teachers’ conference in November. We had one kid who had a lot of fall activities and one kid who had only a few. It’s going to switch a bit in the winter. It would be nice if it were consistent, but we don’t control the scheduling of the activities.
Kids’ YouTube Channel
The tripod I bought on Amazon’s second Prime Day is great, but it’s not getting used. We’re getting the room painted in January and can set up a better background for videos.
I brought my DJI Mavic Mini to Block Island but never got it in the air. So far, I’ve only got it to hover in my living room for a few seconds. That took about an hour of learning how to set it up and about regulations and things like that.
I haven’t done anything with it since then. I thought about bringing it to Europe, but I’m glad I didn’t. I wouldn’t have gotten to use it much.
Now the weather is getting too cold, so I guess I’ll have to look into it in the spring.
My recently 10-year-old is in the local Lego robotics group, and he flip-flops on whether he likes it. The other kids travel 30 miles or more to be a part of it, so he’s not going to make any lasting friendships. They are also REALLY into Legos; my son doesn’t match their enthusiasm. They qualified for the state finals, and the competition was fun. We’ll see where it goes.
The 8-year-old loved his week of robotics camp. We signed up for Lego robotics for him too, but his age group isn’t starting until January. He loves Legos and building, so I don’t have many concerns about whether he’ll like it.
I will count this as both kids having done 20 hours of coding. When I was ten, I would have done that in a weekend. Nonetheless, this completes the year’s goal.
We had great success with the camps this year. The 10-year-old loved theater camp, and we’ll do that again. The 8-year-old loved sailing camp and discovered surfing. Surfing camps are challenging because they spring up months after you need to commit to the other camps.
We failed at getting the younger kid into cooking camp. We had to cancel it for the Disney cruise. Those are two sentences I never thought I’d type back to back. We’re in a good place with camp ideas for 2023.
I certainly dropped the ball on many items, but I knew it was an aggressive list. To do so well on income, keep Kid Wealth close to the goal, and travel so much, it has to be a win.
I see myself doing one more update with the final numbers after the end of the year. I’m not sure I’ll check off any new boxes, though. December will go by fast with holiday festivities.