Way 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. We’re a little more than 30% of the way through the year, and I’m just getting to my first update. Let’s chalk that up as my first failure of the year.
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: $26,820 (Goal: $90,000)
I made $98,000 in 2022 – much of it due to exploding demand for my dog boarding business. It felt like everything went perfectly. I wanted to give myself a little room to take it a bit easier this year.
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 shop, and cook. I also shuttle the kids to/from school and after-school activities.
Now you know why I may fail on some of the goals below.
So far, I’m just a percent or two below my goal. I consider that a big win. Blogging hasn’t gone well this year, and home renovations limited a little of the dog boarding business. Business usually picks up in the summer, so there’s a chance that I can do more here.
Wife Retirement Savings: -$800 (Goal $30,000)
My wife is looking to save another $30,000 in her squirreled-away account to reach $100,000 in liquid savings. She could definitely retire now but would like that extra security blanket.
So she’s saved about -$800, so that’s not going too well. We had a bunch of surprise expenses where we had to stress test our money. Also, we spent heavily on those home renovations… which prevented me from bringing in money. Finally, we prepaid a good portion of the $5400 in summer camp costs this year.
The good news is that these numbers are through the end of March (the last of the numbers I have) and don’t factor in April. It’s been a good income month for me, so I’m taking care of much of the family expenses. She should be able to put a large part of her check 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, I need to finish last year’s taxes. Optimistically, I think this could be done in June. That may be the best-case scenario, though.
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’ve also been putting this off because that friend has had a few rough months with health. Maybe in a month, we’ll be able to move forward.
Kid Wealth: 3,120 Page Views, 7 articles (Goal 50,000 PV, 75 articles)
Last year, I had five thousand page views, and I’m on pace for double that this year. 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. Now a month has gone by, and I think it’s just best to cut my losses on it.
If you happen to be good with Pinterest and want to earn some extra money, contact me. I can’t pay much because it’s not designed to make money. I’d need someone who would consider it mostly a labor of love, a way to learn and build a portfolio, and lastly, a way to make an extra couple hundred dollars a month. The time commitment would be limited.
I’ve some ideas for a few new articles, so hopefully, I’ll finish the year with at least 40. I don’t think there’s a chance of getting to my original goal of 75 articles.
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 need to have a website so people can book outside of the Rover system. That way, I don’t have to give up that 15% fee. That could mean as much as $10,000 a year for me.
Lose Weight: 187 lbs, 25.7% body fat (Goal: 175lbs 24%)
I got close to the goal last year, but I couldn’t keep at it.
With the three jobs and everything else going on, I don’t have a lot of time to do extra exercise. I used to walk my dog a lot, but since he passed last month, I just don’t get out as much. I need to turn that around.
I’m eating relatively healthy – at least relatively for me compared to the past. I’m just eating too much. I should be able to bring this down if I focus on it a bit more. That’s one reason why it’s important for me to post these updates more often. I had lost focus on it.
Health Wins: 50 (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.
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 50 number is an estimate. It’s almost all veggie bowls and walking when we were on vacation at theme parks.
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’m looking forward to my next couple of visits coming up in June.
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.
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 have a ton of sports books that I’ve been gifted over the years. I’m not limiting this to only sports books, though. I can’t remember the last adult book (to differentiate it from kid books that I read for Kid Wealth) that I finished. It might be my possible ADHD that makes it so difficult for me to concentrate on a book.
I continue to pick up a book, read a few chapters, and put it down for three weeks.
I bought myself a drone last Christmas (16 months ago), and I haven’t done anything other than get it to hover in the living room. I want to spend more time learning how to fly, but I also want to do it with my kids. We are also boarding a few dogs at any given time – so it’s hard to just leave them to go fly a drone.
Finally, the weather is getting good enough to do this.
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.
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.
Clean and Organize House
The painters and flooring people finished their work on our house in late January. It felt awesome – for about the first two weeks. The awesome feeling fades as it starts to become just a normal house.
We made a little progress with declutter until our Earth Day Freecycle Event. I picked up a few things to keep, but we got stuck with everyone else’s junk to trash or donate. We can only throw out so much trash per week. The place we found to donate will take nearly anything, but it’s 20 minutes away, so we can only haul so much at a time.
At some point, we’ll get rid of everyone else’s junk, and the event helped us get rid of much of our awesome stuff we didn’t want anymore. We’re moving backward in the short term, but it should be a good step forward in the long term.
When I made this goal, it was up in the air because our dog was fourteen years old. Now we don’t have to worry about that – sad :(.
We always try to do an annual staycation at Block Island. This year we booked some dates, but my wife’s work may pull her leave for a mandatory meeting. It would be hard to reschedule because I’ve already got at least one dog booked for about 75% of the summer.
In late August, we’ll take some time off and go to New York City, Hershey Park, and maybe the Cartoon Network Hotel. We do Hershey almost every year but missed last year to go on a big Disney Cruise. We haven’t booked any of this yet. I’m going to start planning some days in a spreadsheet.
We booked our Aruba timeshare over Thanksgiving – when the kids have a break from school. The flights seem to be $1,500+ per person, though. Ouch! Maybe it’s best to just sell our week this year and make a pile of money boarding dogs with holiday rates. Instead of paying $6,000 in flights, we’d make about $6,000.
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.
Usually, we have three trips. It was looking like we might do five. Now, it’s looking like three trips again if we can’t sort out Block Island and Aruba. If we save money by not doing Aruba, I think we’ll end up doing a fancy European Cruise the following March.
The kids are keeping busy so far this year. We seem to be doing something after school every day, whether it’s karate, Cub Scouts, Lego Robotics, or baseball. We finished Lego Robotics, but we’ve just started with baseball with our youngest.
We accomplished another year of skiing/snowboarding lessons in the winter. They know enough now that we can just go skiing someplace. I’ll be the one that needs lessons as I have only been skiing once, and that was over ten years ago.
YouTube Channel (20 videos)
The kids made five videos, and they have a total of thirty-six 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.
I work with them to figure out how we can make the videos better. Today in the car, I explained why some YouTube videos get way more views than other videos. It was a very, very high-level explanation of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is fun for me too.
My nine-year-old has his first baseball game tomorrow. I don’t know if he’s ever been in a batter’s box. They had two practices, and he missed one because he was sick. In the other one, they just practiced fielding and running the bases. This will be… interesting.
My ten-year-old has decided he’s not athletic, though he’s about a 10-months away from 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 a lot of time outside.
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 would be great for him.
He has picked it up a little bit but hasn’t really stuck with it. I think he forgets about it. I forgot about it, too, until this update.
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 is adding an after-school programming class. It’s just for grades 1-3, so only my nine-year-old qualifies. It’s stupid Scratch, which annoys me to no end. They’ve been doing some form of Scratch-like programming with a bunch of toys for years. Kids should be learning Python in the second grade.
We booked all the summer camps. Now we just need to execute in getting the kids to them. Cooking, art, animal care, theater, stagecraft, and sailing are on the docket.
That’s a big list of things. I know we won’t get to all of it. My hobbies, health, and Kid Wealth need a lot of work in particular.
I don’t want to get caught up in the negatives. There’s a lot that’s going really well. Financially we are doing well. The kids are awesome all around. Traffic to Kid Wealth has doubled. I even got a little of the content audit done for the first time in two years of having it on the list.