Wow, the year is almost over. We are going away for Thanksgiving and December will fly by as it always does. I should have looked at my goals and New Year’s Resolutions before now. No more procrastinating!
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 third update. I have only been able to keep to a quarterly schedule. This isn’t going well already.
At this point we’ve finished 83% of the year, so to be on track, I should have 83% of goals complete.
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: $71,077.97 (Goal: $90,000)
My income comes in three sources: boarding dogs, this blog, and customer service gig for a small Silicon Valley tech startup. The main variables are the blog and dog boarding. Each of those are still somewhat predictable.
Managing all three can be a lot, but most of the work is flexible and not too challenging. I joke that a 14-year-old could probably do all three jobs – if they weren’t in school. 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 military work isn’t nearly as flexible.
I’m on target for $85,529.56. That’s not too far from the goal. However, I had already reduced my goal from the $98,000 I earned last year. We’re taking fewer dogs and doing more travel and overnights where I’m not available. Also, the blog continues its downward trend.
I’m probably going to start a small website development company. Hopefully, I could make another 10-20,000 from that.
Wife Retirement Savings: $23,000 (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. Then she got the big military promotion and now may work another 3 years.
We had a bunch of unexpected and extra expenses this year. We also spent a lot of money to upgrade the house.
One of my other goals is to get more comfortable spending money, so I view this as a good thing.
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 got the contact information of another local lawyer who listened to my pain points and said that they often work with less information. Hopefully that moves the needle.
I got our home insurance to our insurance agent and she’s looking it over. She gave it a quick look and it seems like it’s mostly okay, but pointed out a couple of issues.
We’re going to work through our insurance, policy by policy.
Kid Wealth: 11,706 views, 16 articles (Goal 50,000 PV, 75 articles)
Last year, Kid Wealth had 4,200 page views. We’re on pace for 14,000 this year. I’ll take that growth! It’s well below my target of 50,000. It’s hard to project growth because one article can go viral and do thousands of page views in a single day.
I went to FinCon last month and I came up with a bunch of ideas and connections. While I was away, I fell behind on a bunch of “life stuff”. I haven’t had time to implement a lot of what I had hoped to.
I started a Patreon for Kid Wealth. I’ve spent several thousand dollars on the website. It purposely has no advertising and doesn’t sell a product. I’m looking for people to support me at $1/month. I haven’t gotten anyone to do it yet. In fairness, I’ve only written 16 articles this year, so I can understand any hesitancy people might have. It’s still a fun experiment.
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 several years now, I’ve wanted to go through some of my old articles and update them to make them more relevant for today.
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 as they bring me business. However, I’ve started getting more business through local connections. Rover also charges dog owners an 11% fee. Overall, Rover gets 26% for their management fee.
If I have my own website, local connections can book outside of the Rover system. That way, I can keep the 15% fee from Rover. Customers will still save Rover’s 11% fee. That could give me $7,500 a year.
Lose Weight: 186 lbs, 24% body fat (Goal: 175lbs 24%)
For the past two months, I’ve eaten very, very well – perhaps the best in my whole life. I lost 10 pounds in the first two weeks, but then hit a plateau. I will need to add more exercise. My wife is in a running club and I may start doing that with her.
Health Wins: Estimated 210 (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 as difficult.
Often, one of my my big “health wins” 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. I also make a huge pitcher of water and try to finish it before I have a meal.
The result is that I only eat about two meals a day. One of those meals, I try to make a omelet with chicken breast, pinto beans, and a little salsa. The idea is to go heavy on protein and fiber and light on carbs.
I found that it’s nearly impossible to keep track of each health win. I’ve estimated it for now. Next year, I’ll have to just grade my whole week on a scale of 1 to 5. I’ll aim to get to around 200, which would be averaging around 4 points a week. I think that system will be easier.
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.
Unfortunately, they cancelled a couple of appointments on me in July and couldn’t reschedule them until January. At least they’ve been able to keep up with regular cleaning.
ADHD diagnosis: No Progress
I’ve made bare minimum 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.
Last update I wrote:
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).
The lab is still chasing me down to get a colonoscopy. They’ve called a couple more times and sent a letter about how it’s bad that I have rejected it. Unfortunately, they don’t understand the issue and there’s no number where I could explain it. They only care about scheduling the test, performing the test, and getting their check from the insurance company.
Maybe ADHD providers need to be more active in getting insurance companies to give them checks
My goal is 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 that covers both. (It might make $3 a month without that Patreon.) 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 haven’t carved out the time to read any books. I did get about 40 pages into one and 10 pages into another.
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 only flew the drone for one day so for are this year. 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.
If my son brings home his ukulele from school, maybe I can use his materials and learn that.
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.
I’m approaching the kids’ school about adding some computer programing to the curriculum. They seem receptive to the idea. If it doesn’t get into the core curriculum, maybe I can have an after school club.
Clean and Organize House
The painters and flooring people finished their work on our house in late January. My wife traveled a lot in May, and I surprised her by doing a massive cleaning of the garage. Unfortunately the mess has crept back as we have stuff with just no home.
We made a lot of progress simplifying our living room. I keep on promising more details on that. Hopefully, I can get that article out in a week or two. It might be part of an obligatory gift guide article.
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.
We completed our trip to New York City, American Dream, Hershey Park, and the Cartoon Network Hotel. We all tried a wind tunnel. There are almost none in New England, so it made sense to include this stop on the trip.
My wife planned a weekend in D.C. over Columbus Day weekend to run the Army 10-miler. We all went. It wasn’t enough time to see much in D.C., but we did catch the pandas before their need to be returned to China
The personal finance convention, FinCon, was in New Orleans a couple of weeks later. I wanted the whole family to go, but my wife correctly pointed out that it was more suitable for adults. I greatly enjoyed four days off all parent duties.
We booked our Aruba timeshare over Thanksgiving. We ended up getting some good rates on flights and cashing in miles. We used to go all the time, but with COVID, we haven’t been since 2019.
Usually, we have 3-4 trips in a year. We’ll fall right in line and consider this a successful year.
The kids are back in school. We have the first meeting with their teachers about their performance next week. With the Thanksgiving holiday and Winter break coming soon, the rest of the year will fly by.
YouTube Channel (20 videos)
The kids haven’t made any YouTube videos lately.
I still tease them from time to time that the kid Ryan Kaji was making millions when he was 7. Obviously his parents helped out a lot. I help out a lot too, but I push them to learn on their own through trial and error and researching online.
The goal of nudging them to make YouTube videos is to learn the technology and get used to being in front of a camera.
The kids have had successful fall baseball seasons. I measure success by them showing up, trying, and having fun. There are a lot of kids that have been playing baseball since they were five or younger. My kids started late on that.
It’s the second baseball season this year for my nine-year-old. He’s also had a few surfing lessons this year. He loves that. They both are doing quite well in karate. My eleven-year-old is about a year away from his black belt.
They are good enough with skiing and snowboarding that we didn’t sign them up for lessons this year. We’ll have to find a place to go test their skills.
My nine-year-old hasn’t picked up the Samsung tablet in quite a long time. He’s mostly sticking to Lego building for now.
My eleven-year-old expressed interest in making 3-D renderings, so introduced him and his brother to TinkerCAD. It’s only been a few days, but they’ve had a lot of fun with it. I was able to get one eBook from the library and they’ve used YouTube to learn more.
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 earlier this year. He’s now in the next level, but it’s still light on the computer programming.
Fortunately, the kids’ school added an after-school programming class at the end of the last school year. 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. They hadn’t planned on needing an active adult helping the kids in the room.
The after school program person left, so that program got scrapped.
Next week, I’m meeting with the school’s new curriculum director to see how computer science can be incorporated into the core curriculum. The director seems to be excited by it. I have to have all my ducks in a row, so I’ve been brushing up on the state recommendations and such.
The kids completed theater, cooking, animation, sailing, and rackets (tennis, pickleball, and squash) camp. One kid did the animation and sailing and the other kid did Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. They both liked the rackets camp, but the older one had more natural talent at squash. We’ll have to think about moving that into the sports category for him.
All these camps are expensive, but they are learning some life skills that they aren’t learning in other places. They do Cub Scouts too which helps in that area. I almost forgot to add that in.
There are so many things here that I completely failed at. I don’t mind it at all! I knew that I had created a very large list and that some things would be complete failures.
With a list this long, it doesn’t allow for life things to come into play. For example, I belong to a local business networking group (Business Networking International – BNI). We meet once a week for 90-minutes to share stories and grow our business connections.
The dues kept on going up and up. It used to be $400 a year and it had jumped to over a $1000. A lot of people left and the group was dying. We decided to cut ties with BNI and do our own version. We reset the dues to $400 and the money stays with us. The rest of the group doesn’t know much about technology, so I built everything which took a lot of time. The group has doubled in size since we made the change.
So when I reflect on how I’ve failed at some things, I realize that I had a huge success there.