Financial Samurai Goals And Resolutions for 2011

Dear Readers,

The list is long, and the funny thing is, I have another 5 goals to achieve which I’ve left off the official list.  There’s just so much I want to do in 2011 that it’s important to write things down so I can revisit them every month to evaluate my progress.  I’ll be bookmarking this post and checking back regularly for sure.

I’m under no illusion that I’ll be able to achieve everything on the list, but I will certainly try.  A lot of the goals and resolutions below are doable if I adjust my lifestyle accordingly.  In fact, practically everything on the list is something I really want to do, hence maybe I will be able to achieve them all!

GOALS AND RESOLUTIONS FOR 2011

BLOGGING / INTERNET

* Maintain and grow Yakezie.com into one of the largest networks on the web. By the end of the year, we aim to generate $100,000 a month in revenue for all Members.  Stretch goal, but a possibility for sure.  We will host at least 6 Scholarships and award at least 18 Yakezie Scholarship winners.  Yakezie.com will also build out its Lifestyle Vertical with 10 new Lifestyle Members and plenty of content.

* Make you believe that I blog full-time. In other words, readers of Financial Samurai will be treated to consistent (2-4 posts), quality content every week of the year.  Readers will forget that I work 55-60 hours a week running another business because the quality of the site will remain high.  Comments and e-mails will be responded to, guest posts will be welcomed, product reviews and giveaways will be conducted.  Like eating the most scrumptious chocolate cake, you’ll develop an urge to keep coming back for more without gaining any weight.

* Fly just under the radar. It’s very tempting to brag about financial achievements with a personal finance blog after a certain point, and that’s something I don’t want to do.  I realize times are still tough for many, and I find it inappropriate to share specific financial successes without the proper balance of financial failures.  There are a host of other PF bloggers who publish their net worth progress regularly.  Check them out and encourage them.

I don’t want credit for anything that comes out of Yakezie.com either.  The site is for the Members and I’m careful not to impose my style and voice on the Network because I have a very strong personality that’s not suited for everyone.  I want readers of Financial Samurai to read the content for what it is and to have no preconceived prejudices if possible.  If Yakezie.com or Financial Samurai gets picked up by larger media outlet, great, thank you!  However, I don’t plan on seeking attention.  Everything I do will be guided by one word: fun.  If the interview or project or whatever isn’t fun, I just won’t do it.

Offline, I want people to see me as just another regular person who looks less senior than his job title would indicate and is very financially mediocre.  You know the scene in The Matrix where the ship is trying to avoid the attention of the Sentinels?  My goal is similar to that – to disappear while being present.  11-year old Moose, worth $3,000 will help me stay invisible.

* Read a book on better writing. I flow write, which is to say that I just write everything down that goes through my head and then go back and edit for punctuation and grammar.  However, in the entire year that I’ve been writing, not once have I picked up a book on how to improve my writing.  Since this is a blog and not a New York Times article, I’m not so worried about beautiful writing.  Furthermore, I don’t have an Editor to make anything pop.  That said, I would like to incorporate a couple new writing techniques for 2011.

PERSONAL FINANCES

* Take more financial risks. I’ve never been much of a financial risk taker partially because I’m easily satisfied with whatever I make, and partially because I’m too chicken to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Although things have recovered, it was disconcerting to observe so much wealth destruction in 2008.  The pain of losing $100,000 is at least 2X the pleasure of making $100,000.  I haven’t decided whether to open up a new trading account to punt the market with, or buy another vacation or rental property.  Maybe I could turn $100,000 into a million bucks and surpass one of my goals from last year?  Or maybe I’ll lose $50,000 of it and become an alcoholic for a week.  I’m looking to invest in another private company, so if you know of any promising ones out there who need capital, let me know.

* Get rid of excess and maintain living expenses. I’m keenly aware of lifestyle inflation.  This is the problem with hanging out with wealthier people.  I’m joining an expensive tennis club and now I’m getting pitched to join this resorts vacation program which costs $130,000 and “only” $10,000 a year for 10 days in any one of their “400 multi-million dollar residences” around the world.  That’s the cheap package!  If I want 30 days of usage a year, it costs $300,000 and $30,000 a year to join.  At least they give you 70% equity.  Ummm, no. Stop spending money like Snoop Dogg and simplify life.  Break free from things and reduce, reduce, reduce.

One of the greatest challenges will be to remain frugal, but not cheap with friends who are wealthy.  The strategy I’ve come up with is to simply spend money on them so they have nothing to say about the way I live.  Coffee, lunch, tennis balls, golf balls, dinner whatever… they’re all on me rich buddy.  Please, just don’t call me cheap.

* Save at least 60% of my gross income after maxing out my 401K. This goal will be on my list every year until I retire.  Everything is pretty much automated as I save one paycheck and 90%+ of my year end bonus if I receive one.  If for one instance I feel that saving this amount crimps my lifestyle, I will allow myself to spend more by saving only 50%.  Thankfully, good personal finance is quite basic and logical, which is why I try and write about all the fun things around personal finances instead.  Hope you guys feel the same way about personal finance, so we can address some more interesting topics this year.

LIFESTYLE

* Dress better. I dress very simply because I love to feel warm and comfortable.  I used to always equate fancy clothes with being cold and uncomfortable.  As I looked into tailored clothes more closely, I discovered a whole host of beautiful materials which keeps one warm and looking sharp at the same time.  Several months ago, I went to a tailor and added a couple of well knit blazers, two suits, and seven dress shirts to my wardrobe, yet I’ve hardly worn any of the items except for the shirts!  I haven’t even put on one of the suits yet to my dismay.  The entire ensemble wasn’t cheap and I’m not planning on letting that money go to waste.  I’m just too casual in the way I dress, which may be borderline inappropriate.  The goal is to dress well and come across as someone who doesn’t have much if that’s possible.  Every week, I will wear my blazers at least once and wear each suite at least twice a month.

* Take guitar and/or singing lessons at least once. I will find some good references and get some lessons by golly!  After some encouraging comments from readers, I proceeded to record a couple more songs that day, when I only recorded 3 other songs all year: Landslide and First Day of My Life.  Each song took at least 2 hours to get right and record because of so many strumming/finger picking and singing mess-ups.  However, it is immensely gratifying to practice like crazy to record a final product which you find good enough.  Guitar is an outlet that allows me to smile, cry, and do something completely different from the day-to-day norm.  Guitar also helps me cope with boredom when it’s raining and I can’t go out and play.  As a matter of fact, blogging also acts as the same way this winter!  Aim to record 5 songs.

* Enter at least four tennis tournaments with the goal of winning one. Part of the reason why I failed to achieve my tennis tournament win goal is because I only entered two of them!  Like dating, winning a tournament is also a numbers game.  The more I enter, the more chances I have to win.  In order for me to win, I need to stay healthy and fit.  As such, I will stretch at least twice a week, do yoga once a week at home for 20 minutes, stay under 165 pounds, and lift weights at least twice a month.  I hate working out with a passion, but I love to play sports and stretch, so that’s what I’m tilting my physical routine towards.

* Trend towards vegetarianism. The diversity of food I eat is mind boggling and often times unhealthy.  Just last week I had Korean BBQ, Peruvian Ceb(v)iche, dry-aged prime rib, Singaporean Chili crab, Toro Sashimi, In N’ Out Burger, Burrito Mojada, Roti Prata, Shabu Shabu and Indian Mee Goreng!  A lot of the diversity is because I love all types of food and I live in a city which allows for such pleasures.  Furthermore, I often take clients out for meals and try to keep things flavorful, which often means unhealthy.  As a result, I plan on making one day a week on average an all vegetarian day.

* Rediscover golf. When the downturn hit, I decided to give up golf and just focus on tennis.  I couldn’t break a 10 handicap (got down to 10.1 and ricocheted higher) and I felt golf just took too long and was too expensive.  It’s a shame because all of 2007 and most of 2008 I was enthralled with the game.  I got some second hand Mizuno MP-50 irons that just felt so buttery.  I found my driving swing again, and could regularly smack it at least 260 yard on a flat hole.  Most importantly, my father has also rediscovered golf in retirement, so I’d love to spent my free time on the course with him.

* Remember my dreams. There once was a time where I would dream frequently and remember many of them.  I’d fly across the city, go on crazy adventures, and meet interesting people.  Perhaps one of the downsides of getting up early and quickly is that the “kick” happens too quickly.  It’s in those snoozing waking hours where one seems to remember most of their dreams, and I simply don’t snooze at all because I wake up automatically by 6:15am.  We sleep about 1/4th to 1/3rd of our lives.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could be awake in our dreams?  If you haven’t watched the movie Inception, please go watch it twice.  It’s now my favorite movie.  I’ll be doing a lot of research on increasing my unconscious memories.

* Take all six weeks of vacation. 2010 was the first year I did and boy did it feel great!  I’m also glad to see the world didn’t fall apart while I was away, which is a silly notion I used to have.  I plan on continuing my path of visiting one or two new foreign countries a year so I can visit 60 before I die.  I’m shooting to travel to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Peru (went as a kid and don’t remember), Australia, New Zealand, Greece, or the Galapagos Islands this year.  If you have any thoughts on where I should go, or recommendations of what I should do, please let me know!

* See my parents four times instead of the usual one or two times a year. My parents are globetrotters and they are hard to track down sometimes.  We will use Skype more often and check in at least once every two weeks.  One of the reasons why I started this site is so that my parents can check in on me, any time, wherever they are.  They can read some of my thoughts, and comment whenever they want and I will respond.  Mom and dad, if you are reading this, come visit me at least twice a year please.  Thanks!  There is no other resolution more important than this one.

GOOD LUCK

I’ve made sure that everything on my list is measurable in some sort of way so that in one year, I can look back and see whether I succeeded or failed.  I’ve already booked a trip to see my parents this February and I’m excited to get going on every single one of my goals.  Feel free to share your goals and resolutions for 2011 as well!

Best of health and best of fortitude,

Sam – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”

Follow on Twitter @FinancialSamura and subscribe to our RSS or E-mail feed.

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

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Comments

  1. Get Happy Life says

    You have a list with high goals, Sam! However, this wasn’t a boring list of goals that nobody cares about! I especially liked the part where you compare yourself to the ship in The Matrix – seems that that movie left a timeless remark on many people.

    Good luck and I hope you will achieve your goals

  2. Tim @ Faith and Finance says

    Great goals Sam! You’ve encouraged me to copy a goal of yours – seeing my family more than 1-2 times a year. We’re about 8 hours away from them, so it’s a long drive, but I should plan more trips this year.

    Your other goals look great too! Keep up the awesome work on your own blog and with the Yakezie!

  3. Everyday Tips says

    I like the goals, and I am sure your parents will like them too! My brother lives out in California, and I would love to see him 4 times a year, and I am sure my mom would too!

    So you did join the club- I was wondering… (There may have been an update I missed.) It will be interesting to see if hanging with the ‘upper crust’ makes it harder to keep to some of your goals.

    I love casual clothes! Since I work entirely from home, I tend to prefer the ‘comfortable’ look myself.

    I think you will accomplish whatever you put your mind to. Have fun!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Yeah, I ended up getting the 7 or ao recommendation letters they required somehow even though I know only 6 Members and 5 well. My name has been on the blackball board for 27 days and I have 3 more days until I get through and go in for an interview with my sponsor! It’s like trying to get into Harvard or something!

      I wast sure whether a dedicated post was merited since it’s kinda an extravagant thing that doesnt pertain to most. Tennis alone is a very niche sport. Donno, maybe I will!

      • Everyday Tips says

        See, I think it would be really interesting to detail the entire process and such as it is an aspect of life I am totally unfamiliar with. (Of course, if you don’t get in then that will merit a big old post!!!)

  4. Chris Parsons says

    “I’m under no illusion that I’ll be able to achieve everything on the list, but I will certainly try. ”

    Why set goals that you don’t believe you will achieve? You are setting yourself up for failure, in my opinion.

    I encourage you to join me and the Small Biz Big Dreams Anti-New Years Resolution

    • Financial Samurai says

      Because I believe people who aren’t willing to make resolutions are afraid to fail. I’m not afraid to fail over and over again just so that I can succeed.

      If you never had any goals then why bother living? Look deep in yourself why you hate resolutions and forgive yourself, then love yourself.

      Your anti-goals post lists a ton of goals though, so I guess I’m confused with what the heck you’re talking about. Get beyond 0$ net worth because you’re wrong, most people have much more than that.

  5. Mark says

    Really enjoyed the list, and it helped me refine my own goals for 2011 as well. The points about dressing better, playing more golf and tennis, traveling and eating healthier really hit home. Keep up the good work in 2011!

  6. retirebyforty says

    Wow, what a great list of goals! I’m sure you will hit most of these since you’re a relentless machine. :)
    I don’t think you’ll be able to fly under the radar though, you’re getting too famous.
    I just wrote about my 2014 goals, pretty modest by your standard though. I’ll write another post about 2011 resolution next week. Have a great 2011!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Wow, 2014 goals, I like it and had a read. Guess that’s when you are turning 40! Balls to the wall and nuts to the wire as they say! Your goals sound very achievable.

      My question to you is, once you get there, will you really quit?

      • retirebyforty says

        I’ll definitely quit the corporate job, but I won’t completely quit working.
        I will have more time to look for opportunities and other enjoyable pursuits. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate all comments. I just posted a link at ERE and I’m waiting to hear their scathing remarks!

  7. DoNotWait says

    Wow, that’s a lot of goals! But I love you gave yourself very diversified ones. It is a complete list to me and I wish you to achieve them. And you brought back good memories with the Matrix! I was so looking forward to all of them and enjoyed all of them (although I think the first one has always been the best). “Remember my dreams” is my favorite one. Being close to your dreams will certainly help you achieve your goals… and dreams! We all need to dream, don’t we? ;-)

    • Financial Samurai says

      I like that… being close to your dreams helps you achieve your goals. Indeed! I’m so glad they came out with the movie Inception. It’s been a while since a movie has been so good, on so many levels.

      • DoNotWait says

        I watched it last week and loved it. But that was not the hubby’s point of view who fell asleep on it. DiCaprio is really the one who makes it all though. The only thing I didn’t like as much was the fact that the young Ariadne got so good so fast and understands it all. Otherwise, one of the best movie in the last decade for sure!

  8. krantcents says

    Those are ambitious goals! If you don’t reach, you don’t know! I am not quite ready to reveal my goals, but they are equally ambitious. For me, travel satisfies my curiosity about people and places. I try to take a major trip every other year. This is an off year, but we managed to visit Vancouver and soon we are going to New Orleans. In 2009, we went to Northern Europe/Russia.

  9. Jeff @ Sustainable Life Blog says

    Wow sam, that’s quite the list of goals. It would be nice to get that much vacation time and be able to fly like that, but I noticed that you work quite hard, so you should do stuff like that (if you want).
    Even if you dont reach all your goals, it wont really matter, trying and coming close will suit you just fine as well.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Thanks Jeff. I’m really thankful that I can take 6 weeks off a year, and I plan to utilize them FULLY with the vacations I have planned. I’ve finally realize that the more vacation I take up to 6 weeks, the BETTER I am at work! It’s a win win!

      Hope to read some of your goals for 2011. Cheers

  10. NoTrustFund says

    I have a question about saving 60% of gross income. Are you saying that by saving one paycheck and your bonus, that equates to 60% of gross? 60% to saving + 30% or so to taxes leaves only 20%. So do you live on just 20% of your annual income after saving in your 401k?

    • Financial Samurai says

      Good question.

      I either dump a portion of my year end bonus to max out my 401k, or max it out over the year. It depends on my outlook, and since I don’t think we’ll be going gangbusters in 2011, I’ll probably spread out the contributions.

      I plan to save 60% of what’s left after the 16.5k contribution. The X factor is my bonus, which can range from 0 to multiples of salary. Let’s do an example:

      Total gross income example: $136,500 (100k base, 36.5k bonus) After contributing 16.5k to 401k, the gross bi-weekly paychecks are $5,000 each. Save one bi-weekly paycheck each year = $60,000 gross, which equals exactly 50%. Hence, I need to save 10% more of my gross income to get to 60%, which is saving another $12,000 gross from the $60,000 left.

      I use gross instead of net bc taxes are always changing. So yes, the savings at the end will be smaller by my tax rate amount. Gross is more Apples to apples bc we may have different deductions and tax rates.

      Let’s say total gross goes to $350,000 (100k base 250k bonus), I will still max out the 401k, which means I need to find a way to save 60% of $334,500, or $200,700 of gross income and live off the remaining $133,800.

      Hope that makes sense. These are jus examples for illustrative purposes.

  11. Aloysa says

    You will be a very busy man trying to achieve your goals. :-) My favorite is “remember my dreams.” I wish you all the best in achieving your goals. It won’t be easy but somehow I know you will do just great. :-)

    • Financial Samurai says

      Hi Aloysa, thanks. I really want to figure out and practice remember my dreams again. Step 1 is going to bed thinking about remembering my dreams. Step 2 is to have a pencil and paper on my bedside table to immediately record them. Should be fun! Hope to read about your goals!

      • Kellen says

        I always found that I had a ton of dreams during times where I had way too much time to sleep. Or when I had a lot of stuff going on, like starting a new job.

        It’s always fun to use supposed dream symbolism to “interpret” your dreams, especially if you don’t take it too seriously!

        • Financial Samurai says

          Hmmm…. OK, maybe once a week, I will try and sleep in and see if I can dream more. I donno… I’ve always got tons of stuff going on, and I don’t remember many of my dreams anymore.

          Gonna do dream research this weekend!

  12. Gordie says

    Awesome set of goals there, except the golf. I hate golf. Lol!

    I think you’ll probably achieve 80-90% of your goals while making inroads into the other ones. Good luck with all that in 2011.

  13. Jesse says

    Awesome goals, and so affirmatively written; there is no doubt in you at all!

    I’m doing some similar goals. I’ve got a couple pro voice lessons scheduled for this month and have my piano lessons scheduled for later in the year. It’s gonna be a musical 2011! :)

    • Financial Samurai says

      Oh, I got some doubts alright, but what the heck! Just gotta go for it! That’s awesome you are working on your music as well. Can you do me a favor and record your songs and piano playing and put them up on your blog? I love music!

      • Jesse says

        you always seem to have such a level head on your shoulders, I can’t read anything but confidence from your writing :)

        I’m launching a videoblog specifically for my piano playing Jan 1st. I’ve got a lot of work before it’s ready but I’m very excited about putting it all out there all on its own site. I’ll keep ya posted!

  14. Investor Junkie says

    60% savings AFTER retirement account?? Damn, we know who doesn’t have children. I couldn’t do that even if I wanted to. We are approx. 22% this year, down from 33% last year. I was scratching my head why until I realized… Oh yea we have another mouth to feed this year and who now goes to day care.

    • Everyday Tips says

      Junkie – Couldn’t agree with you more about the kids affecting savings! If it was just my husband and I, yikes, we could probably retire well before the age of 50. But, they have been worth every penny.

      • Investor Junkie says

        Worth every penny.. TBD in my case. I have other stuff going on in my life that makes me question the reason for even having children. I also sometimes wonder if I would be happer without children as I’m not sure I understand the purpose other than procreation and our innate biological desire.

    • Financial Samurai says

      I might have some children I don’t know about… wuh? lol. I have a really happy pet bunny, so that counts right? How many children do you have again? 3 for the minivan?

      They estimate that it costs around $35,000 a year to raise a child from 0 in SF b/c the public schools are so bad. So, if it takes that in after tax income, yes… it will definitely be harder to save 60% after 16.5K 401K contribution. But, it can be done, and I think other people can do it as well depending on their salary level.

      I’d like to read/hear more of your thoughts on children. I don’t think any parent publicly will say that their kids AREN’T worth every penny…….

      • Investor Junkie says

        Yes 3.. Daycare costs us $25k/year for the three and that’s cheap. Normally it would be around $34k for this area of the country. Then there is diapers, food, toys, furniture, accessories (like car seats) and then having to buy things like cars (ie minivan and housing) to fit them all. So while anything is possible, I’m not sure 60% is realistic unless we as a family made over $400k/year. The child tax credits don’t make up for the expenses. The dependent care account max of $5k annually, while helps, it is somewhat is a joke! That wouldn’t cover one child, let alone 3 for day care expenses.

        Also then the savings for college, which we are already doing via 529 and other means.
        I also could easily retire before I’m 50 if I had no children.

        • Financial Samurai says

          Gotcha. Can you run through your thought process of having 3 instead of 2? I figure many have 2 not 1 because of companionship for the kids. But, I’m not quite sure about 3 instead of two, since so many things fir for 4 i.e. table for 4, boy/girl, car for 4, etc.

          Also, perhaps it takes having kids to realize how easy and comfortable it is to save for retirement and retire early for some? But of course, once you have kid, you can’t go back since it’s a 22 year responsibility for most yeah?

        • Investor Junkie says

          22 years? For many now it’s 30 year :-) How many children live a home until their 30 now? Fortunately we have 3 boys, which helps some and IMHO are easier/cheaper than girls in some ways. 2 children which was the original plan for us would have made things easier, but not sure of the 60% savings goal with 2.

          But hey they are supposed to help you when you get old right??

  15. SPENDaholic says

    Sam,

    Just wanted to say that you have really been an inspiration to me, but it’s too bad I’ve only discovered this site just recently. Seeing all your resolutions has forced me to come up with 3 of my own:

    1. Stop procrastinating
    2. Work on temper
    3. Save 65% of my income

    I have no debt, contribute 10% to my 401k and have been saving 50% of my income, but have always felt like I’ve been saving enough. Seeing you go for 60% after retirement account gives me even more motivation to catch up.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Howdy mate. Good to hear that you’re pumped up for 2011 and have made some goals! #1 is a killer good one to work on b/c if you ain’t doing nothing, you ain’t achieving anything. #2 definitely good, and #3… well, it depends on where you are in your career. It’s great to save, but if you are just starting off your career, it might be better to spend more since a dollar when you are making less is worth much more than when you are older and making more.

      Cheers

      • SPENDaholic says

        Sam,

        What do you mean when you say, “a dollar when you are making less is worth much more than when you are older and making more…?”

        Can you please explain in a reply or a post? Interesting concept.

        • Financial Samurai says

          I should probably write a post about it. Have been meaning to.

          Let’s say you are 25 and make $35,000 a year after taxes. You need to spend about $25,000 a year to a very basic lifestyle, leaving you with only $10,000 left.

          You can save $10,000 and live super frugally, or you can spend it all and have some phenomenal experiences when you are young instead. You can save $10,000 much more easily when you are making $100,000 a year, $150,000 a year and more, which represents a smaller portion of your overall income.

  16. Buck says

    Hi Sam,

    Impressive list. I better get cracking on mine. Like how you post it up so you can measure and be accountable for your progress or lack there of. I’m sure you’ll get there. Matrix and Inception, classics. I have to watch Inception again as I saw it on a plane ride. Small monitor with bad sound. It actually felt, like a dream… :)

  17. eemusings says

    I love your goals. And am slightly overwhelmed by the sheer number! I find I always need to focus on just a few things if I’m to accomplish them.

    I don’t know why, but getting down strumming patterns is always really difficult for me. I think I may have a rather crap sense of rhythm.

    • Financial Samurai says

      You play too? If so, definitely record something and put it up!

      The goals seem like a lot, but many of them are just lifestyle changes, for example: Vegetarianism, dressing better, taking all vacations, rediscovering golf, and playing more tennis tournaments are pretty straightforward.

      I signed up for MeatlessMonday.com today and have had no problem in not eating meat today. I booked a week off in February, which so happens to also allow me to meet my other goal of seeing my parents.

      The other stuff… well, I’ll have to be a little more active such as growing Yakezie.com and taking more financial risk. Cheers

      • eemusings says

        Yah, I have secret dreams of becoming a wicked shredder, but will be happy just getting back to where i was three years ago before I stopped playing. Doesn’t really help that I have tiny hands and fingers.

        Might do – have seen a couple of bloggers post videos of them playing recently and am tempted to do the same except my voice is most definitely average.

  18. Charlie says

    Awesome resolutions! I made a TON for myself so I’m trying to get a few of them done this last week of 2010. It’s always a motivating time of year to cross things off a to do list. I like your goals about vegetarianism and simplifying. I always have some organization and donation goals on my list. I should probably make one of mine to watch less tv but it’s one of my guilty pleasures and I almost always multitask on the computer as I watch. Here’s to a fantastic 2011!

    • Financial Samurai says

      I LOVE crossing things off the list! We’ve got 12 months, which means once can easily do something once a month if it’s a more static/action goal. Most of my goals are lifestyle related though and simply just tweakable.

      TV is cheap, and if you find pleasure in that, do that since you multi-task!

  19. Oldfangled says

    For your writing goals, you might try reading Stephen King’s _On Writing_. It’s part biography, part writing manual. It applies best to fiction writing, but I found a lot of good ideas for my own non-fiction writing as well. I’m also planning to read Anne Lamott’s _Bird by Bird_ as I’ve heard that’s a good book about writing. And of course, Strunk & White’s _The Elements of Style_ is classic.

    One key to good writing — read authors whose style you like and want to emulate.

    Hubby and I are HOPING to pay off all our consumer debt in 2011, but we’ve had some setbacks so I don’t know if we’ll quite make it. That’s our biggest goal, though.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Thank you for the list of writing books! I’ve skimmed through Strunk & White’s book, and I actually do enjoy reading Stephen King’s novels. I remember my father telling me I wrote a lot of fiction like Stephen King growing up, which was a semi-compliment.

      Don’t hope, do regarding your consumer debt! Cheers

      • Oldfangled says

        We ARE doing, but have had some setbacks including a partial loss of income and a business expense we thought we could put off but which has become more urgent, plus the need for a new furnace at home. Our plan called for us to be out of debt by the end of October…
        but now we’re not sure. Might be the beginning of 2012 before we get it knocked out.

  20. Financial Samurai says

    @Investor Junkie
    “22 years? For many now it’s 30 year :-) How many children live a home until their 30 now? Fortunately we have 3 boys, which helps some and IMHO are easier/cheaper than girls in some ways. 2 children which was the original plan for us would have made things easier, but not sure of the 60% savings goal with 2.

    But hey they are supposed to help you when you get old right??”

    My kids would DEFINITELY be outta the house by 18-19, and not coming back after college. Sorry to say, but I would have to kick their asses and tell him/her to find a couple other buddies to shack up with and work for minimum wage and build some pain. The mansion will be off limits to them!

    Yes, hopefully when you are in your late 60s and 70s and beyond, the boys will come back and take care of you! Although, there’s no guarantee…. vs. the guarantee that you will have to take care of them now! For the love of children.

  21. Kellen says

    Overwhelming list!

    So, let me see if I understand this – you don’t want to be ostentatious, basically? (Like owning nice clothes but not looking like you’re trying to show off?) That seems like a unique, but awesome approach :).

    I’m still working on my goals for 2011, I have a lot of things I want to accomplish, but I think having as many goals as you list here would overwhelm me! I like that you listed goals for all different aspects of your life though :)

    • Financial Samurai says

      Yep, don’t want to be ostentatious offline or online. If I can just utilize the clothes and things I have more, and just stay in shape, that will be good enough. I have a tendency to share too much personal triumph, so I’m gonna cut that out and go the other way. Stealth mode!

      The list seems like a lot, but half of them are just lifestyle adjustments, so I don’t think they will be a big deal. Goodluck!

  22. Doctor S says

    The most comprehensive goals and resolution list on the web I have seen yet. I love how you categorized it all. Love your goal of reading about being a better writer. I think reading is the secret to writing, not only reading about writing, but just reading in general. One of my goals is attacking the 12 books in 12 months idea. I haven’t read a book willingly from front to back since grade school, so no better time to start than now!

    Love the goal of Get rid of excess and maintain living expenses, I think this is huge especially when it comes to our own mindset. I am a big believer as of late in getting rid of stuff that we do not need in our lives. When we concentrate on this aspect, we find things that we can live without. HUGE!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Hey Doc! Good to hear from you man. Reading is definitely a great resolution, as one can pick up on the writing styles of expert writers. 12 books in 12 months sounds like a good goal.

      Read Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and Slaughter House V by Vonnegut!

  23. Miss T @ Prairie EcoThrifter says

    Great list of goals Sam. If you can accomplish all of these you should definitely applaud yourself. I liked the one about getting rid of excess. We are currently on the same mission for 2011. I also liked the one about eating vegetarian. We have made this transition and we can definitely vouch for the health benefits as well as the money savings. if you need any vegetarian recipes to try let me know, I can pass on a few.

    I really appreciate your honesty and openness in this post. It makes every reader feel like we know the real you, just like a friend. Wishing you the best of luck.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Thanks Miss T! Sure, please send over several of your most yummy vegetarian dishes over! I failed miserably at cooking in 2010, so will definitely need some cooking help :)

      I’ll be hosting some great book giveaways to get rid of excess, so perhaps you or others may be interested. Then again, that’s more clutter for y’all. Maybe I pack a box up with $150 worth of books that coats $15 to ship and each person takes turn reading em, and shipping it along. Collaborative consumption!

      Cheers

  24. Money Reasons says

    Wow, great goals Sam!

    I’m going to go a different route this year, and try more of a holistic approach toward my goals in 2011.

    I find that if I think about something I no longer like (workouts) from different angles, I can convert an negative to a positive. For example, I use to hate to drive on long vacation drives. But now I drive at night so the kids sleep through the trip, while I listen to an exciting audio-book. That way, I don’t start to nod off as I did in prior years (very dangerous). Now the driving time for the trip is now one of my favorite parts of the vacation… who would have guessed!

    Wow, I know we have some similar taste in music and movies, but really you are on an entirely different plain of existence that I am by an even greater amount than I imagined…

    Thanks for sharing your life through your blogging this past year, I’m starting to realize that perhaps I’ve been a little complacent with my own life. I don’t have a driven peer group to motivate me onward and upward. I don’t know if I can make much of a change in my life now… but I bet I can for my kids!

    Thanks for opening the door and showing us around!

    Best to you too, and here’s to a great 2011!!!

    • Financial Samurai says

      That’s awesome about night driving and allowing your kids to sleep while you have some you time to listen to your favorite audiobooks! Genius! Glad you don’t get sleepy either and that you look forward to driving at night b/c of those books!

      Not sure what you mean by different plain of existence, as we’re all on the same plane imo. That is wonderful you’ve got your kids to work on making their lives the best possible!

      Cheers, Sam

      • Money Reasons says

        By plain, I mean level. Many of the topics and life examples you bring to the table via your blog, I’ve never experienced or even heard of before!

        Some of the topics are eye openers! I think it’s good for people to hear stories like the one about your friend that wants to be a photographer, but is trapped (sort of) by golden handcuffs, etc.

        Just saying thanks for sharing!

  25. BeatingTheIndex says

    The more detailed your list is, the easier it is to measure success at the end of the year. You’ve got THE list Sam. I don’t know why I never got into this level of detail on my end, maybe because i focus on high level goals. I should reconsider as one accomplishes more when the goals are within 1 year time frame. All the best for 2011, I hope you will hit the overwhelming majority of your goals!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Big picture is DEFINITELY important, b/c that trends into a way of life. However, I think once you get the big picture stuff down, then you can drill down to the details b/c you’re beginning to live the lifestyle you want!

      Cheers mate and good luck with yours too!

  26. Invest It Wisely says

    Good luck on your resolutions, Sam. I think it’s very honorable of you to inspire us while being considerate not to come across as bragging. I think it’s the best strategy. Those who truly have, have no need to flaunt.

    As for my own personal resolutions…

    * I like the dream resolution! I’ve had varying success with this, and maybe if I put more effort and concentration into this, I’ll be able to achieve a stable lucid dream. Other than that…
    * I’d like to diversify myself personally, perhaps pick up a music instrument as well and start doing more various outdoor activities, since I do enjoy them a lot whenever I do them.
    * My girlfriend loves pop culture, me not so much, but I’ll try to understand that world a bit more.
    * I’ve never been successful with waking up early unless forced to, but now with the blogging there’s extra motivation to do so:
    * I want to keep building up the blog and make Invest It Wisely a site where people enjoy participating and coming back. To do so, I’ll have to be a bit more serious about writing instead of just writing whenever I feel like it.

    Hope you have a great New Year’s!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Thanks Kevin! I think the more comments and e-mails you get that relates to your blog, the more you’ll naturally want to get up ASAP b/c you’re so excited to read what your readers and others are saying. Same goes for Twitter I think.

      I think you’ll enjoy music! It’s a natural extension of left brain and writing. Whatever the case may be good luck and thanks for all your support this year! Best, Sam

  27. Adam says

    Nice goals!

    With regards to remembering your dreams – check out books on lucid dreaming. Go for the most serious one you can find (not a popular pop-psychology one) and get stuck in. Taking marginally more control of your dreams can help improve creativity and problem solving abilities. It can also mean having consistently amazing dreams where you can fly – or whatever takes your fancy!

    Some great thinkers in history are thought to have used their dreams to work on entire musical pieces and conceptualise a range of things. The discrepancy between real/awake time and dream time is huge. Some people can work for what seems like hours in a dream and it can be merely a few minutes!

    I haven’t experienced any of this yet because it needs to be worked on a lot to come into effect. But it’s a cool and interesting thing to have as a resolution!

    Happy New Year!
    Adam

    • Financial Samurai says

      Adam, thanks for the tips on dreaming! I will research lucid dreaming thoroughly this weekend as it’s supposed to rain.

      It really would be amazing to create while dreaming and remember everything! Cheers, Sam

  28. Squirrelers says

    Impressed by how you made these goals so specific, seeming to follow a SMART approach to goals setting. Great stuff, and you’re hitting different areas of life here.

    Have to say, I’m typically quite the goal oriented person, but this year I’ve been procrastinating my goals for the new year. But I can’t, and your post has given my that reminder and extra push. So thanks for that!

  29. MD says

    Sam everything I get to your blog I’m at least 20 comments in. I’m thankful if any of my posts ever hit 20 comments. One of resolutions will definitely revolve around the fact that my blog needs to become more interactive.

    I really enjoyed the personal touch to your list. As you plan on traveling a lot this year and as do I, maybe we could meet for a beer at some random destination in the world lol.

    • Financial Samurai says

      That’s because I’m not one of your go to blogs you read, but that’s OK! I’m working on it.

      All ya gotta do is respond to your comments. And after you do for a while, then you’ll get a reputation for being a blogger who interacts. Pretty easy!

      Maybe we’ll have a beer in Peru! You’ll have to tell me about all your travel goals and such. Cheers, Sam

      • MD says

        I respond to all comments! I just need to write posts that are conducive to more comments.

        I come here all of the time. I just don’t surf blogs on a daily basis. I need to make it a daily habit to surf my fave blogs.

  30. Forest says

    Sam that is a hell of a list but I have no doubts you will get them all.

    Yakezie will push itself and your guidance (and your strong personality) is really appreciated by us members.

    I enjoyed it when you put your song out as it showed a side of you that you wasn’t 100% confident on but you threw it out there anyway and did a great job.

    Need any help on the vegetarianism just ask :).

    • Financial Samurai says

      I definitely don’t want to let my personality get in the way, but I do want to let my determination guide the team forward.

      I appreciate all you’ve done as the Yakezie Forum Leader! Will send you a shoutout in the Monday, Jan 3 Yakezie post.

      Regarding vegetarianism, curious to know your thoughts on this. If vegetarianism is considered healthy, how come you still see a lot of unhealthy vegetarians?

      • Forest says

        Hey no problem, the forum is not hard work at all, it takes a bit of time to keep up with reading but everyone behaves themselves for the most part so it makes my job easy.

        Vegetarianism is no more or less healthy, I don’t think. You can choose on a meat or non-meat diet to eat like crap or eat really healthy.

        The biggest issue with being vegetarian is carbs and getting complete protein, it’s very easy to overeat carbs but if you watch your meals and work in a mix of proteins in you can get just as balanced a diet as a meat diet plus you can get yourself away from the disgusting trade of mass farming. Of course you can choose to go organic free range too (like I do with eggs). I think it’s the consumption of meat that makes a diet unhealthy it’s the way it’s consumed (in burgers, fried with lots of oil etc etc) and the same goes for a veggie diet.

        A vegetarian diet doesn’t exactly make me morally superior either as the farming of fruits and veg is just as terrible an industry as the animal one with workers almost being worked as slaves in some large companies, terrible problems with corporations like Monsanto taking over every crop and more!

  31. Len Penzo says

    Those are some pretty lofty goals, Sam. Do you record your music at a professional studio or at home? You can save a lot of dough by doing it all at home.

    All the best,

    Len
    Len Penzo dot Com

    • Financial Samurai says

      Howdy my fellow musician. I record everything in the high tech studio called my 2nd bedroom using GarageBand for Mac and a Snowball microphone! Fun and free. Landslide’s sound game out well, but the other one I donno, kinda distant and crackly.

  32. Kay Lynn @ Bucksome Boomer says

    Your Yakezie goals definitely support my blog goals. We’ll rock 2011!

    You must be in the tech field if you list dressing better as a goal. I know my company tends to dress very casual (jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, etc.) unless we have customers in the building.

    Good luck on all these wide-ranging goals. I can’t wait to see how you progress!

  33. angelvalerie says

    Interesting goals… all the best with them!
    Thailand, Vietnam…South-East Asia… definitely don’t retire without visiting these places and spending some time with the people and culture! :)

  34. Amber says

    Hey, great goals, Sam! I’d love to hear more about your trending towards being a vegetarian. I’ve heard people feel great once they make the switch, but I’d be too concerned about not getting enough protein. Good luck!

    As far as a great writing book, check out On Writing Well. It was recently recommended to me by one of my freelance editors and it is GREAT! I highly recommend it.

    Here’s to a great 2011!

  35. Beverly Prellwitz says

    You may have not intended to do so, but I think you have managed to express the state of mind that a lot of people are in. The sense of wanting to help, but not knowing how or where, is something a lot of us are going through.

  36. Ernest says

    Hi Sam

    I always like following your blog as it brings this light and enlightenment in my life.

    Great goals you have for 2012. For sure which I will borrow especially on investmetns and savings which I was badly at in 2011. As for tennis and Golf we are at it together.

    As for the places to visit you may want to think of Masaai Mara in Kenya if you into wildlife. Cheers mate!!

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