How was your Fourth of July? We’re officially at the halfway point of the year. This is a great time to look back at those New Year’s Resolutions. You remember those, right?
Back in January, I made some New Year’s Resolutions and Goals for 2023. My plan was to give updates eight times a year – twice a quarter. This is my second update, so it looks like we’re going quarterly instead. We’re already off to a bumpy start – let’s see if it gets better.
Here’s my updated goal spreadsheet. It may be useful to refer back to this as you read the explanations below.
Lazy Man’s 2023 Goals and Resolutions
Income: $46,209.42 (Goal: $90,000)
I made $98,000 in 2022 – much of it due to exploding demand for my dog boarding business. Everything went perfectly. I set the goal at $90,000 to give myself some wiggle room.
In addition to boarding dogs, I have this blog that makes some money. I also run customer relationship management for a small Silicon Valley tech startup.
It can be a lot, but most of the work is flexible and not too challenging. It gives me a lot of other time to do dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, and cook. I also shuttle the kids to/from school and after-school activities. Of course, my wife does a lot of this stuff too, but her work isn’t as flexible.
The math is easy at the halfway point. I’m on pace for a little more than $92,000. That’s perfect. Blogging isn’t doing too well, but the dog boarding business is going great.
Wife Retirement Savings: $20,000 (Goal $30,000)
My wife started the year looking to save another $30,000 to reach $100,000 to feel comfortable retiring. She could have retired for a few years now, but she wanted that extra security blanket.
Well, she got the big military promotion and is now looking to work at least three more years – maybe six. She says the work gets a lot easier with the promotion, so why not? It’s more money, and she likes the work, so I’m not going to argue. We were taking it year-to-year before, so it’s an upgrade to have the likelihood of a long-term plan.
We had a bunch of unexpected and extra expenses this year. I wasn’t sure if we could save this money. However, the dog boarding business has done so well lately that we’ve been able to mostly live off of it. My wife’s been able to deposit a few big checks into savings.
I’ve been trying to create an estate plan for a long time. The big stumbling block is that the lawyers want our money situation in their format (every account, every share, etc.), and putting that on paper is very tedious.
I may need to give up and just give them a spreadsheet or some account totals. I could always print out my holdings via Empower or NewRetirement.
Before I get started on this, we need to finish our taxes for 2022. In my last report, I wrote, “Optimistically, I think [the taxes] could be done in June. That may be the best-case scenario, though.”
We spent a couple of days on taxes, and we’re just about ready to submit them to our tax people. Our taxes are complicated with two corporations, military stuff, and rental properties. We simplify them a little bit each year.
We became very good friends with a great insurance agent about a year and a half ago. We should have done an insurance review with her before now.
We have most of our insurance with USAA, and my wife has access to that. I think I can only see one car insurance when I log in. We have a lot of different types of insurance, and we effectively have a significant financial “presence” in four states. Not all companies service each state.
I need my wife’s help with this one. She traveled for much of May and the start of June. We’re looking to catch up on this soon.
Kid Wealth: 6,055 Page Views, 9 articles (Goal 50,000 PV, 75 articles)
Last year, I had 4,200 page views, and I’m on pace to TRIPLE that this year. However, that’s still quite a ways below fifty thousand page views. I would need something to go a little viral to get that many.
I haven’t been very motivated to work on Kid Wealth. I tried to hire someone on Upwork to help with Pinterest. I got fifty applications, and I spent hour after hour reviewing applications. By the time I picked the person and had started to onboard her, we had to go away on vacation. She had enough information to get started but didn’t do anything. She probably thinks I dropped the ball on it. I may have, but I hired her to take control of it. It doesn’t matter who is at fault – it’s not getting done.
I have quite a few ideas for articles. I really hope to get back to it soon. I’m a little more focused on dog boarding at the moment.
Content Audit: 1 Article (Goal: 15 Articles)
A content audit is a review and refresh of older articles on a website. Lazy Man and Money has over 2700 articles over 17 years of publishing. That’s a LOT of outdated articles.
For a couple of years, I wanted to go through some of my old articles and update them to make them more relevant for today. It takes some time to do the additional research and rewrite them.
I was able to create one article that was in the spirit of a content audit. I wrote about how to save money at McDonald’s, which incorporated some ideas that were “blasts from the past.” In other words, I included tips from older articles that don’t work nowadays from a historical perspective. I’m not sure if that part is useful, but I put all the current, relevant stuff at the beginning, so readers can get that information first.
Dog Boarding Website
I get most of my dog boarding business through Rover.com.
Rover takes a 15% commission, and it’s well-deserved when they bring me business. However, I’ve started getting more business through local connections. I have also learned that they charge dog owners an 11% fee. (When I was a dog owner, we were grandfathered in and didn’t have to pay this.)
In the end, Rover is getting 26% for their management fee. I need to have a website so people who come from local connections can book outside of the Rover system. That way, I can keep Rover’s 15% fee. (Customers will still save by avoiding Rover’s 11% fee.) That could mean as much as $10,000 a year for me.
Lose Weight: 191 lbs, 25.4% body fat (Goal: 175lbs 24%)
This is trending in the wrong direction. I’m usually doing a lot better than these numbers. I think I’ve been catching up from the last vacation (see below).
With three jobs and everything else going on, I don’t have a lot of time to do extra exercise. I used to walk our dog a lot, but since he passed earlier this year, I just don’t get out as much. I could walk the dogs we board, but I never know how they are going to be on a leash. People are often surprised that I don’t walk dogs much. The dogs we board get a ton of exercise in the backyard playing with each other.
Health Wins: 120 (Goal: 360)
I wrote an Extreme Lazy Man’s Diet a couple of years ago. It’s really difficult to keep up with it consistently. However, picking one or two items a day isn’t bad.
My big “health win” is to start the day with a salad bowl of raw baby carrots and broccoli. I make it and put it on the counter. Then I pick at it over the next few hours as I’m doing stuff around the house. Aside from that, I’ve been trying to follow these healthy eating tips.
I haven’t been keeping track of my health wins which is a problem. If I track it, I’m sure I’ll grow the number. My 120 number is an estimate.
I completed this one already this year. I needed to find a new dentist. Sounds easy, but it wasn’t. I’ve had a string of bad dentist situations.
Fortunately, I’ve found a great dentist, and I’ve been a few times already. I’ve got a couple more visits this month.
ADHD diagnosis: No Progress
I think I have ADHD. There’s a family history, and I feel like I have all the signs. Getting tested is difficult between dealing with insurance and doctor referrals.
I’ve made no progress on this. I told my primary care doctor about this, and she said that the health care system is terrible – especially in dealing with insurance.
Then she said I should get a colonoscopy. I said that I was fine with that. The colonoscopy department called twice when I wasn’t available to schedule a call. I was a jerk to the second person calling because I said that I’ve been trying to get ADHD testing for years. I shouldn’t have been a jerk, but I’m frustrated with the healthcare system.
I really don’t mind the colonoscopy. However, I can’t understand why they are putting so much more energy into a newly determined age guideline (colonoscopy) rather than something that is highly likely (ADHD).
My goal was to come up with hobbies. Lately, it seems all my hobbies have largely been related to work or parenting. Kid Wealth is a perfect example of a hobby (it might make $5 a month). I need to come up with some other stuff.
Below are my ideas. Unless noted, I’ve made zero progress on them.
Read Three “Fun” Books
I simply can’t seem to carve out time to read a book. If I had more time, I would write articles for Kid Wealth. This goal isn’t looking good.
I took the kids to fly a drone! Actual progress! We went for about an hour. It was my first time taking the DJI Mavic Mini in the air.
The kids switched off on a $15 off-brand drone for a bit.
When I felt comfortable with it, I eased each of the kids into trying it for a bit. The DJI Mavic Mini is supposed to be 16+, but parent supervision goes a long way.
When I published my goal for this earlier this year, I only wrote, “I want to,” before I must have gotten distracted by a shiny object. I published it just like that. I’d like to learn how to play a song.
I have made no progress in this at all. I haven’t even picked up a guitar.
Program in Python
Last year, I had this goal and didn’t make much progress. I want to create a “toy” app. It doesn’t have to be useful, but just something that gets me back to being the software engineer that I used to be.
I’ve made no progress in Python programming. After my last update, I brought the book with me on a trip and never opened it.
Clean and Organize House
The painters and flooring people finished their work on our house in late January. We made good progress decluttering until our Earth Day Freecycle Event.
My wife traveled a lot in May, and I surprised her by doing a massive cleaning of the garage. It’s a big project, and I’d say it’s now about 50% done.
This has been a great year in cleaning and organizing the house. There’s always more to do, but it’s a big difference from the start of the year.
In March, we went on a big Southern California trip. We did Hollywood, Legoland, Disneyland, and Phoenix.
We always try to do an annual staycation at Block Island. This year we booked late and only got a couple of days. It was a good getaway, but it could have been longer. At least we’re only 6-7 weeks away from…
In late August, we’ll take some time off and go to New York City, American Dream, Hershey Park, and the Cartoon Network Hotel.
We booked our Aruba timeshare over Thanksgiving – when the kids have a break from school. The flights looked very expensive, but they are getting better. We’ll dig into this in a week or so.
The personal finance convention, FinCon, is in New Orleans in October. My wife and I love New Orleans. I’m happy to pull the kids out of school for a few days to go. There’s a lot of culture there. It will be a great field trip.
My wife is also planning a weekend in D.C. in October. Sounds like fun. We’ll add it and see where it goes.
Usually, we have 3-4 trips. It is looking like we’ll do five – maybe more.
With summer being here, the kids are living their best lives. They get to wake up at 8 AM instead of 6:30. That means they can stay up late. It’s great for them, but not so great for me. I have to shift my productivity time from the evening to the morning. It works well enough because the birds wake me up a 4:30. Don’t they know that we live on an island – not a farm?!?!
YouTube Channel (20 videos)
The kids made six videos, and they each have about ten views.
The goal isn’t to become YouTube stars. I view it as an extension of their school drama class. I want the kids to be comfortable in front of a camera, learn how to edit videos, and be able to present their ideas. If all that fails, they are being creative, which is always a great learning experience.
My nine-year-old (youngest) liked his baseball season and is signing on for the fall season. He was objectively terrible at the start because he had no idea how anything worked. However, he worked hard and improved a lot. He got good at drawing walks, which helped the team a lot. Now that the weather is nice, he’s taking surfing lessons and have a couple of them in already.
My ten-year-old has decided he’s not athletic, though he’s about a year away from being a black belt in karate. I want to work with him more this summer, practicing various sports. Some of his camps end early, so we should be able to get some time outside.
They finished another season of skiing/snowboarding lessons in the winter. They’re good enough now to go without lessons. I’m the one that needs lessons now.
My nine-year-old loves art. I spotted a deal on a Samsung S7 Tablet last year. It came with a great digital pen. I think learning how to use art software will be great for him.
I was watching a video on the S7 in our inflatable hot tub, and it ended up falling in. Many phones are rated to be waterproof, but I learned the hard way that tablets are not. RIP to my old S7. I bought a Samsung S6 Lite that was on sale and found the Android Sketchbook app. My son has had a lot of fun with that.
Lego Robotics was light on computer programming. My ten-year-old wasn’t too excited to go each week, but he sure liked it when his team won at the end. My nine-year-old didn’t have much programming at his lower-level version.
Fortunately, the kids’ school added an after-school programming class. It’s just for grades 1-3, so only my nine-year-old qualified. It was Scratch instead of Python, as I was hoping.
I asked if I could watch the class, and the school agreed. They hired a company to do distance learning, and it was a disaster. I had to jump around through all six kids’ computers and keep them moving in the right direction. The school ended up asking me to come back for every class. I guess they hadn’t planned on having an active adult helping the kids in the room.
We had two really good students, and luckily my son was one of them. At times, I had him and the other student help the rest of their friends catch up.
I’m going to consider this done for now. I can’t seem to find another path to get them computer programming skills right now.
Both kids are in theater camp. My 10-year-old is acting, and my 9-year-old is doing stage crew. They love it! It’s well worth the high cost of summer camp.
Up next are cooking, art, animal care, and sailing. We’ve done these all in the past, and they’ve all been successful.
We added a week of “rackets camp,” where they learn tennis, pickleball, and squash.
It seems like a mixed bag at this point. I feel like we’re making good progress on the kids, some of the stuff money, and organizational stuff.
Much of the time I seem to be dealing with a different drama each day. One day it’s the air conditioner that’s broken. The next day it’s something else. When that’s not an issue, we usually find something interesting to do around town. We went on a whale watch recently. It was on one kids’ bucket list, so we just booked it and went.