2024 Financial Samurai Goals: One Last Year Of Intense Focus

Happy new year everyone! For 2024, my theme of the year is, “One last year of intense focus.” This marks my 15th year running Financial Samurai, coinciding with both my children starting full-time school in September.

Fatigue has set in, reminiscent of 2011 when I pondered leaving investment banking for good. That burnout prompted a much-needed change of pace. Ironically, a day job is much easier than being a stay-at-home parent!

Perhaps it's a mid-life crisis at 46, where I sense my body slowing down, and time is slipping away faster than ever. The urgency to maximize the remaining years of robust health is palpable. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep this pace, hence my theme.

In light of this, I've organized my goals into five categories: Health, Wealth, Family, Financial Samurai, and the X-Factor. Despite the weariness, I approach these goals with optimism, aiming to achieve 70% of them.

Health Goals

I'm feeling the effects of age more now. As a result, I've got to increase my effort in staying in shape.

1) Stay the same weight

I've given up on losing weight. At my age, I'd like to end the year the same weight. That weight is 168 – 171 pounds at 5'10”.

I've weighed between 162 – 175 pounds since 1999. As a result, this stability has helped me save money on clothes. However, I’ve anchored too many years on the elusive 162 pounds to my frustration. Time to let it go.

2) Play tennis and pickleball three times a week without getting injured

I hate working out, but I love playing sports. If I can play tennis and pickleball three times a week combined while maintaining my moderate eating habits, I should be able to stay the same weight. Warming up for a good 10 minutes before playing is a must.

3) Take one mental health break a month.

I took one day off in 2023 from doing anything productive, which includes childcare. That was a beautiful quiet day where I rejuvenated. In 2024, my goal is to take 12 days off, one day a month. During these days I will not open a laptop and will be alone for at least 22 hours.

Wealth Goals

I dislike volatility. However, I can't stop investing in risk assets since I'm always optimistic about the future.

1) Increase net worth by 10%.

Given I expect the real estate market to rebound and the stock market to inch higher in 2024, there should be a solid tailwind for my net worth. Since retiring in 2012, my target net worth growth rate has been 5% – 10% a year.

I expect CPI to fall below 3% and mortgage rates to fall below 6% for the national 30-year fixed average. As a result, I'm overweight real estate as it plays catchup to other risk assets. I will continue to dollar cost average into private real estate funds diversified across the Sunbelt.

2) Replenish my stock exposure to 20% of net worth

After paying cash for my house with the sale of stocks and bonds, my public stock exposure is down to only about 15% of my net worth. My ideal stock market weighting as a percentage of net worth is between 25% – 35%.

As a result, 65% of my cash flow will go towards buying the S&P 500 index and other individual stocks. Unfortunately, with such a huge run in the S&P 500 in 2023, the upside for 2024 seems to be limited.

3) Boost passive income by $40,000.

Also due to the purchase of my house, my passive income has taken a big hit. As a result, my other main financial focus is to boost passive income because I’m technically no longer financially independent. It’s been a great 12-year run but now it’s over and it’s time to grind again.

A $40,000 boost to passive income requires a $1,000,000 boost in capital or a repositioning of capital using the 4% rule. I'm hopeful this can happen through market gains, savings, and consulting. Or I can just sell or rent out my old house. But I'm liking the idea of keeping it as a wellness center too.

4) Invest another $50,000 in funds that invest in artificial intelligence

AI represents the future and will likely boost economic productivity while displacing millions of jobs. As such, I aim to invest in AI companies to hedge against a difficult labor market for my children.

The OpenAI CEO controversy demonstrated that the firm prioritizes profits over their original non-profit mission to benefit humanity. Same with the New York Times copyright lawsuit against OpenAI. This shows that the only way to safeguard one's interests is to invest directly.

If you want to invest in private AI companies, check out the Innovation Fund by Fundrise. It is an open-ended venture capital fund with a $10 minimum that has roughly 35% of its fund invested in AI companies.

5) Back to a frugal mindset

After six months of indulgent spending, I'm shifting gears from decumulation to accumulation again. The goal now is to build up funds and regain that feeling of financial abundance. I'm reverting to a frugal mindset reminiscent of the 13 years post-college.

This entails a return to saving 60-70% of my income, steering clear of unnecessary purchases, opting for a do-it-yourself approach over hiring services, cutting back on takeout and dining out, and no extravagant vacations. It's a conscious shift back to a more disciplined and mindful approach to personal finances.

Family Goals

Family is the most important thing. It's the one thing I can't afford to screw up.

1) Cherish the remaining time I have with my daughter

I have until September 2024 before my daughter begins attending school full-time. During the two days she's not in school, my focus will be on engaging in as many activities as possible with her. At the age of four, she's entering an important phase where memories start to take hold. It's a crucial time for me to demonstrate that I am a dedicated to her.

One of my primary goals during this period is to guide my daughter to become a proficient swimmer by her 5th birthday. While she already swims, she faces challenges in coming up for air and timing her breath correctly without swallowing water. Addressing these aspects will be a significant part of our activities.

Additionally, by December 2024, my aim is to teach her how to ride a bike. These endeavors represent not just milestones but valuable opportunities to bond and create lasting memories together.

2) See my parents and sister twice.

I'm planning on flying my parents, sister, and boyfriend over in March after my father's surgery. Then I plan to take my family to Hawaii this summer, their first trip and flight ever. As a result, I will see my parents twice, whether they like it or not.

3) Be a dependable Mandarin, physical education, and personal finance teacher

I love teaching, so I feel blessed to have children to nurture. My son turns seven in April, when I will begin educating him more about personal finance. He will do chores around the house and rentals to earn wages, then learn to save and invest so he doesn't end up financially dependent as an adult.

I will also provide daily Mandarin lessons for at least 15 minutes to both kids. My goal is speaking Mandarin 70% of the time with them, up from 20% last year. We'll enjoy great Mandarin videos and books together. Giving them fluency in a second language will be a gift they appreciate later in life.

Additionally, I aim to be a motivational P.E. teacher. Once swimming and biking mastery is achieved, we'll move on to pickleball and soccer. Selfishly, my dream is getting them hooked on pickleball or tennis so we can play for hours as they mature.

Financial Samurai Goals

My ultimate goal is to keep Financial Samurai running for the next 20 years, until 2043. In 20 years, my children should be old enough to know what they want to do for a living. If not, they've got career insurance.

1) Publish between two-to-three times a week

Most weeks will consist of either three posts and no newsletter or two posts and a newsletter. But some weeks will only consist of a couple of posts or one post and one newsletter.

No longer will I be writing newsletters on weekends so I can rest and spend more time with my family. Writing a newsletter on a Saturday night for Sunday morning publication is no fun! It hurts my relationship with my wife as well.

If I'm inspired to write more than three times a week, I will. But I'm not going to force myself after 15 years and 2,300+ articles any more. I also plan to shorten my average article length to 1,200 words.

The new posts will talk about current events, fascinating debates, ways to build wealth, and so much more.

2) Produce 36 podcasts

I ended up producing 65 podcasts in 2023, partly because I was excited about being able to interview people. But each podcast takes 3-4 hours to record, edit, and produce. With little-to-no financial reward, I had best spend my time elsewhere.

36 podcasts for the year is still three podcasts a month on average. A good cadence that gives me a week off. I'm also going to go back to doing more solo podcasts because they are quicker to produce. You can subscribe on Apple or Spotify.

3) Guest post six times

I am not proactive in guest posting on large media outlets, even though I have connections. But I've found that guest posting on CNBC or sharing stories with the WSJ is the quickest way to boost new readership. Therefore, I will reach out to my connections once a month and see what happens.

I also enjoy giving podcast interviews. As a result, my attempt is to go on twelve podcasts this year. It's nice to let them do the editing and deal with the technical issues. Technical problems is one of the biggest reasons for reducing my joy in interviewing others.

X-Factor Goals

I believe everybody should have or work on an x-factor to keep them engaged and motivated. You never know what they might turn into.

1) Publish my second book with Portfolio Penguin

I will finish my first draft of my completed manuscript by March 30, 2024. I'll then spend the next three month polishing it. Then my publisher should be able to release the book sometime in 2H 2024.

My goal is to write a shorter, punchier personal finance book that appeals to even more people. Buy This Not That is extremely comprehensive, actionable, and useful book. However, at ~110,000 words long, it may be too intimidating for most people to read or want to read.

I will enjoy the writing and marketing process of the second book more and not worry about it making any national bestseller list. This is the power of already being a bestselling author and having a guaranteed two-book deal. I will create a new book because I enjoy the creating, not for the extrinsic rewards.

My biggest motivator is going to a local bookstore when my book comes out and playing treasure hunt with my kids!

Buy This Not That Book Reviews

2) Help my wife get a job

I care too deeply for my wife to let her remain a stay-at-home mom after our daughter begins school full-time in September. As a result, I will help her in finding a fulfilling job or consulting role to give greater depth to her career.

I've spoken to several stay-at-home mothers who faced divorce or the tragic loss of a spouse, suddenly bearing sole responsibility for providing. Such financial dependence places loved ones in a precarious position.

I will rest easier once my wife can reliably generate income to support our family, independent of FS, in case anything were to happen to me. A job will also give her increased structure during a major life transition that brings extra free time. Employment will also set a good example for our daughter, who can see how juggling motherhood and a career is possible now that her memories are forming.

Having engineered my own layoff and severance three years earlier than her, I understand firsthand the challenges of suddenly having 40 open hours a day to fill.

Although, my wife insists she has plenty of things to occupy the time. She is after all a highly valuable asset to FS, juggling everything from copyediting, research, customer service and updates of the ebook, writing, backend and operations management, and podcast editing.

She may initially resist at finding new employment after being away since 2015, but I'm confident she'll come around especially if she can find something part-time to go alongside her work on FS.

3) Write a lullaby for my daughter

While listening to “Long December” by the Counting Crows recently, I wondered why Adam Duritz and other artists seem to stop writing songs at a certain point. Then I remembered that back in 2017, I wrote a lullaby called “Cutie Baby” for my son, and have wanted to compose one for my daughter too but just haven't gotten around to it.

I am committed to writing a new lullaby for my daughter. The plan is to use one of my 12 wellness days to sit quietly, away from everyday distractions, and create something new.

A Samurai Lullaby Sheet Music - Cutie Baby

2024 Will Be The Last Tough Year

Juggling writing a new book, maintaining Financial Samurai, being a stay-at-home dad, and potentially returning to work in the third quarter will be draining. However, conquering this year's obstacles could make subsequent years much more manageable.

2024 will mark my final year of above-average self-discipline, as I hit a 15-year online writing milestone and a 7.5-year stay-at-home dad milestone. Once I have replenished enough liquidity reserves to feel financially secure again, my family should be set. At that point, it will be time to return to more normal living.

I wish everyone a delightful and prosperous 2024!

Reader Questions And Suggestions

What are some of your goals for 2024? Don't be shy to share!

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65 thoughts on “2024 Financial Samurai Goals: One Last Year Of Intense Focus”

  1. Hey Sam-
    Thanks for voicing your thoughts and feelings about being a father! My generation had to just white knuckle our way through it in stoic silence and it made things so much harder than it needed to be. My “kids” are 29 and 27 now and I really wish I would have spent more time with them and would have been more present during that time instead of always thinking about work but I was the breadwinner and that pressure to provide is so visceral.

    Unfortunately, it’s so easy to get caught up in the competition with other parents to get your kid into the best schools, and to make enough money to be able to afford them. What I have found at this stage in life is that it really doesn’t matter – after your kids have a few years of work experience no one will care about their education, it’s only what they can produce and all of that doesn’t even matter when compared to the geo specific job market.

    What does matter a great deal in a young adult’s life is decision making – being able to consistently make the best choice in a timely manner based on imperfect information. That skill and/or instinct primarily comes from their parents. So if I had the choice to stay home with my kids and put them in regular schools vs work full time so they could go ivy league, I’d stay home. 1000%.

    Now staying home is often boring and seems like such a waste of time, but then 20 years later they come back and say “Remember when you said to nicely but firmly stand up for myself? Well, my employer tried to back out of the raise they promised me so I nicely gave my two weeks notice and they gave me the raise an hour later.” Now, I got lucky here. I just happened to be there when they were young and facing bullies for the first time, but I wonder how many of these fantastic teaching moments did I miss? Probably a whole bunch of them.

    You aren’t going to see things like this coming in the early days of parenting, but your wisdom and support will soak in eventually and their lives will be immeasurably improved by consistent good decision making – so much more so than the little boost a super expensive education can provide.

    Sorry for the unsolicited advice, as I was listening to one of your podcasts and I could hear the stress in your voice – it totally brought me back to when I was a young father. I just wanted to tell you it’s going to be ok.

    Best of luck to you!


  2. Hi Sam, from what I gather you sold stocks to buy your forever home. I’m wondering if you paid all cash as it’s difficult to get financing without a W-2. I think selling $5 million worth of stock would generate a tax liability of about 20% long term capital gains, 3.8% NIIT and 13.3% CA state tax, for a total of 37.1% or ~$1.8 million in taxes. Holy smokes, worth it? I’d have a tough time pulling the trigger…

    1. They sounds about right for $5 million. But if you have capital losses, sold Treasury bonds in the mix, and $20 million, for example, it’s not so bad.

      What are some of your goals? And did you buy a forever home?

      1. I haven’t bought a forever home yet but own four properties in the Bay Area. Looking for a forever home now. My real estate and stock holdings have total cost basis close to zero, so I’d be looking at that 37.1% tax rate. Capital losses are negligible with this unbelievable decade plus bull run. I think you wrote in another article that the gains would be taxed eventually… true, unless you never sell and leave the gains to your heirs or donate to charity. ;-D

        1. If you have a cost basis of close to zero, I would recommend enjoying your investments more. You’ve invested for a long time and there’s not much value in seeing the net worth keep on increasing after you have enough. But that’s just me.

          Did you retire early as well? How do you consider spending on your children and partner, if you have a family? That’s the juggle and balance I’m trying to conduct.

          1. I’ve sold plenty over the years, I early retired 15 years ago. I’m concerned I’m already spoiling family too much, so am not looking to increase spending on experiences, etc. The only big purchase left in the future would be that forever home and possibly long-term care facilities when the time comes :-D

            Close to zero cost basis is from pre-IPO stock, buy and hold of Magnificent Seven from years ago, and rental real estate purchased during Great Recession.

  3. In regards to your wife returning to work, I do understand your concerns but I can’t help thinking they are a bit extreme. In the worst case scenario where you are no longer here, I would imagine that she can sell some of your homes, down-size her life, and live off of your term life insurance and passive income until the children become adults. If she needed to work, then it could be a low stress job for extra income and health insurance. From my perspective, if my husband wasn’t here, I know I wouldn’t want to live the exact same life I did when he was here. I would want to focus on my children, keep it simple, and do the best to survive. You are assuming she would want to keep up the same lifestyle but she might not because it’s hard to do it alone. Even if I had all the money, I’d still want to move close to family for help.

    1. I love this feedback ” but I can’t help thinking they are a bit extreme.”

      As a worker all my life, I’ve never felt like work was considered extreme. I’ve always considered work to be a privilege, where someone can keep productive, contribute to society, feel good, and make some money.

      What is the downside of my wife working after both kids are in school full time? It seems normal to me. What are some other things about my wife that you think I’m assuming, given we chat all the time?

      Please provide some background. Do you not work and have kids in school full-time? If so, how long have you not worked and what would you do if your husband were to pass? Thanks

      1. Your intentions are very well-meant. I’m commenting because I can provide a different perspective.

        There’s no real downside to your wife working full time except that she might not want to. And it’s not about working that is the “extreme” part. I work, have kids in school full-time and my husband stays at home. He hasn’t worked for over a decade and I’m not concerned if I were the one to pass because he’s smart, enterprising, and is a hard worker. That’s why I married him. I’m 100% sure he will be able to care for the kids financially. But he probably can’t raise them alone. Which means he will need help from family and/or will remarry.

        Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that you don’t know your wife’s assumptions. What I meant to say was that until we are in the situation, there’s a lot of assumptions that may or may not change in the face of actuality. If I were to lose my husband, and I had enough money to take care of my family, I would be worried about loneliness, depression, loss of my best friend, planning my future without my partner, self-care, retirement, my identity as a widow, where would I live, who would I live with, etc. etc. – any number of things that are larger than money and working. I speak from experience, having witnessed my mom lose her beloved spouse (my dear father) at a young age of 45. She’s 65 now and did fine financially, but she’s a mess otherwise. It’s not to say everyone will be like her but it’s a real concern and maybe these are the things that money can’t solve for.

        1. Thanks for your perspective. Sometimes, you have to do the things you don’t want to do to provide for your family and survive. Nothing is really given in the real world, and those who’ve been taken care of need to know this sooner or later because bad things happen all the time.

          I believe your husband is smart because he hasn’t had to work a day job in over a decade! What does he do with his time with your kids in school full time and you working?

          I have tried to follow many male FIRE bloggers who say they are retired, but have working spouses earn income and provide healthcare, but I haven’t been able to succeed. My wife wants to enjoy early retirement life just like me. So the only way for her to do consulting or go back to work is if I do consulting or go back to work.

          Can you share how he was able to convince you to keep working for over a decade while having children? Did you not want to retire early or stop working as well? I know so many moms who have felt conflict and wanted to be at home for the first five or six years of their child’s life, but couldn’t. Thanks

          Here are some relevant posts:

          How Convince Your Spouse To Work Longer So You Can Retire Earlier

          How I Convinced My Wife To Keep Working After I Retired Early

  4. Sam, thanks for sharing your goals with us! You have provided so much value to me personally over the years.

    I want to focus on your #1 goal of the elusive 162 lbs. It is within reach!!

    For background, I played NCAA D1 soccer and weighed 155-158 lbs at 5’8 during that period (2006-2009). Nutrition wasn’t evidently not a focus due to multiple factors, although it should have been. Fast forward through life, my weight has ranged from 152 lbs at the low-end to 178 lbs at the high-end, during the birth of my first daughter + grinding. Last year I completed my first Ironman 70.3 with 0 triathlon experience at 160 lbs. Again, nutrition not being a focus since I was training 10-15 hrs/week. Having lived in multiple countries, I love all sorts of foods that contain fat, protein and carbs.

    Since I am planning to complete longer distance events, such as a Full Ironman and others, nutrition HAS to be a key focus. Recently I ran into the work by Prof. Tim Noakes, who went a full 180 from promoting a high carb diet for endurance (common knowledge) to a low carb high fat (LCHF) diet. He refers to it as BANTING. Nearly 30 days post-Ironman, I weigh 152 lbs and feel lighter and stronger than ever. My current goal is to reach AND SUSTAIN 140 lbs at 10% body fat because what is the point of losing weight if you also lose muscle? This is obviously a highly personal weight/body fat ratio objective given my lifestyle.

    With how healthy and active you are, I strongly suggest looking into banting so you can not just reach 162 but shatter it. A bonus for me has been that my energy levels are off the chart relative to the prior “all you can eat” approach.

    Disclaimer: I am not qualified to give nutritional advice since it is not my expertise. I can only share my limited experience in hopes to bring some value to you and others.

    1. Sounds good! Will look into Banting. I just ate a peanut butter jelly sandwich after eating some Indian food, so that combo probably should get cut out.

      I always appreciate it when readers share their insights. thanks.

  5. Im shocked to hear you don’t make any money from creating podcasts…especially after making 65 in one year! Is podcasting just very difficult to make money off of? But great goals over all! You’ll no doubt find plenty of success this year

  6. Linda Kelley

    Love reading your insights, but I have a concern about home insurance and rental insurance that has gone thru the roof. I tend to think that what I have read and I am experiencing right now trying to insure my home and my five rental properties – is writing on the wall that will further damage the future housing market. The talk of 100-year mortgages here in the US whispers of what we were told about home ownership in China that was really only 90 years leases. At least, most my properties are paid off so the thought has crossed my mind of taking the thousands of dollars that insurance costs me annually and investing it myself…..basically becoming self-insured. Some research to do. I still have the esp that the stock market could completely go away in my lifetime (and I am going on 68 yrs old) so trying to determine where I want to put my retirement monies. Sadly, I am learning that social security and Medicare both are not as clear as presented. Experiencing paying most of my social security back to the government and Medicare is significantly inefficient and I am a healthy person with no prescription drugs! Best of luck on your second book publication.

  7. Finance Ronin

    Is “hero” too strong of a word for insisting your wife get a job for your peace of mind? Haha. I have the opposite problem. My wife continued working her corporate job for the last 10 years while I dabbled in early/semi-retirement. To be clear, these last 10 years since I left my corporate job have blessed us with a faster increase in net worth than before I left my job. At this point, our investment returns far outpace my wife’s compensation.

    I cannot get her to quit her job, but she has stopped aspiring to climb the corporate ladder. While a steady paycheck and benefits does offer peace of mind, identifying and pursuing one’s life goals should take priority. Maybe instead of focusing on a “job” for your wife, help her identify what she wants to do with your her life which would also set a great example for your kids. We’re a few years older than you, so my wife is somewhat stuck in her routine and her scarcity mindset is hard to change, but I continue to prod her (and myself) every now and then.

    I especially enjoy your decumulation articles because I realized in my mid-40s that we have more money than we can ever spend (I still don’t think my wife quite believes me) given our frugal natures. Since I don’t want to spoil my kids, after my kids get through college, I will be starting a foundation to give away our money—unless you provide better ideas to spend our money.

    Are you refocused on accumulation because you just spent a ton of money on a new house? To me that is simply reallocating your net worth. I can’t imagine your net worth went down last year, so why the renewed focus on accumulation?

    If you do respond to my post, can you let me know whether there is a way for me to be notified via email of responses vs me continually checking to see whether anyone has responded?

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. What does your wife do for a living? Is she really that passionate about it to keep working after financial independence? Or is there a fear about letting go?

      My goal is to boost back liquidity for security purposes.

      Unfortunately, my comment system doesn’t have email notification. And I can’t seem to find one that works that does.

      1. Finance Ronin

        My wife is a director at an HMO. It’s not a passion job but it is her identity and security blanket. I was also once “somebody” but I am okay with being “nobody”. Letting go is hard for some people. But her job pays all the bills including the kids’ private high school tuitions, so I’m thankful.

        Our path was was very similar to Mr. RB40 minus the blog and with more real estate. After 10 years of growing our net worth without a paycheck, I feel like I’m ready to move on to my next thing (but it won’t be a job).

        I love that you have so many goals to fill your days. Most people continue doing the same thing because they don’t know what else to do or are too afraid to pursue their goals.

        I totally get the liquidity thing. Hopefully your timing is better than mine. I hoarded more cash (both % and $) in 2023 than I ever had in my entire life. The spread between a 5% CD and a 24% S&P 500 return is not chump change.

        1. I don’t think we should underestimate the security of having a working with in retirement/semi-retirement. There is a nice feeling knowing that one’s wife’s income will pay for all the bills and provide for healthcare

          My wife wants to work on FS-related stuff. I think it’s smarter to diversify and get a role that directly earns money with structure. She needs more structure, like some people need personal trainers to work out.

  8. In retrospect, would you sell the stocks to purchase a new home when you were already in a comfortable home? I appreciate all the perspectives you give and have tried to incorporate them as much as I know how. one thing I worry about is over “engineering” all this at the cost of mental strain. Perhaps it wouldn’t seem like that to me if I was a fianance major or something, but just curious if simplifying your approach would be less stressful as one enters middle age.

  9. Hey Sam, I just listened to your latest podcast that had this title plus 2024 predictions. I am curious as to why you think the Fed will cut the Fed Funds rate 4 times at 0.25% each? I know the market has baked this in as it’s the prediction everyone is hoping for but why would JP cut rates even a single time when the economy is as strong as it is? Unemployment just showed at 3.7%, non-farm payrolls skyrocketed and crushed expectations, wages came in higher, GDP is strong, homes are still being built and bought, there is no reason to cut rates at all except for a Political play. The Chairman cuts rates when the economy needs to be stimulated and there are no negative signals in the economy right now, until half of America starts defaulting on their massive amounts of credit card debt or student loan payments LOL! They continue to show good stats to make this “soft landing” and avoid a recession but cutting rates comes with a recession and hard landing, why would we do both?

    1. Because you have to cut before the economy falls apart, not during. Then it’s too late.

      Inflation is at 3% and the Fed Funds rate is at 5.25%-5.5%. Even if inflation doesn’t go down further, that’s a 2.25-2.5% real rate, which is restrictive.

      Thanks for listening and if you could leave a review, that would be great!

      1. Interesting, that is also hard to anticipate but I guess that is the job of the Fed. I hope they don’t get it wrong…

  10. “A job will also give her increased structure during a major life transition that brings extra free time. Employment will also set a good example for our daughter, who can see how juggling motherhood and a career is possible now that her memories are forming.”

    Yikes! This sounds like a good resolution if you want to create a massive rift in your marriage.

    Everything you’ve written above could be said about you. What sort of example are you setting for your son if you force your wife to get a job to support the family because you think she’s going to have extra free time? Not sure why FS is enough for you but all her backend work doesn’t count as enough for her.

    If you die, it sounds like she has enough skills to do just fine. It’s not like she’s never worked before.

    Motherhood doesn’t end when your kids go to school, and being a working mom is no picnic. Something — work or family — always gets the short end of the stick. Manipulating your partner into getting a job when they don’t want one or need one seems like a good way to ensure that she’ll put “Find a divorce lawyer” on her list of New Year’s resolutions.

    *Sources: Personal experience as a widow and working mother plus countless conversations with other mothers over a 25-year period.

    1. This is great judgement about me that I need. Thank you. And also thank you for sharing your background as well. Sorry about your husband’s passing. Did both you and your husband work your entire career while having children? And were you considering getting a divorce?

      As a working mother, what are the reasons why you are against my wife going back to work once the kids are in school? Unless you hate your job and your career and feel bad not spending enough time with your kids, wouldn’t work be a net positive for financial independence and being a role model for children?

      The example I want to set for my son is the importance of financial independence. To know that no matter what bad thing happens in life, he and my daughter will always be able to take there of themselves and their loved ones.

      Can you share more about the angst you’ve had with mothers over a 25-year period as to how being a working mother was a detriment to their lives? I’d love to know more about this perspective in preparation for a return to work.

      I totally get how difficult it is being a stay-at-home parent. I’ve been one since 2017. Exhausting!

      Please don’t take offense, but do you resent your husband a little because he did not make enough money and/or have enough life insurance to let you not have to continue working? I’m trying to better understand your viewpoint.

      Thanks! I may have an episode about the #TradWife movement with a mom of three.

      Related posts:

      Financial Dependence Is The Worst

      If You Love Your Spouse, You’d Make Them Financially Independent

    2. Mary, I’m sorry your husband died and you have to work for a living. It seems like you are taking out your frustration and anger on Sam, who is trying to anticipate his wife NOT falling into your situation if something were to happen.

      I’m a mom and think depending on the husband for money is dangerous. I’d much rather know I can make my own money and be financially independent if something were to happen.

      My sister didn’t work for 13 years and then got a divorce. Guess what? She could only get a minimum wage job and her alimony ran out after 5 years and had to downgrade apartments. If she had kept doing some part-time consulting, she would have been in a much better place.

      I’d channel your frustrations to a close friend, relative, or therapist.

    3. Sorry Mary for your loss. It sounds like you are hurting and taking it out on Sam. I would reflect on your comment to see if this is what you’d say to someone in person. It is very disrespectful.

      Getting a divorce by encouraging your wife to work after the kids go to school is absurd. It’s a completely normal thing to get back into the workforce, be productive and earn money to take care of your family.

    4. I feel like more is being read into my reply than is there. I read Sam’s resolution as “My wife doesn’t want to work, but I am going to convince her otherwise.” Did I get it wrong? To me, that is highly disrespectful, and I am a bit shocked that no one except Will seemed to bat an eyelash at it.

      Jennifer, I never depended on my husband for money.

      Claudine, many women do go back to work after their kids go to school, but it does not sound like Mrs. FS wants to. Forcing your wife to enter the workforce when you’re a millionaire and there is no financial need sounds like a recipe for divorce — or at least resentment — IMHO. Do you think husbands should make wives work outside the home if they don’t want to?

      For Sam’s questions:

      “Did both you and your husband work your entire career while having children? And were you considering getting a divorce?”

      I have always enjoyed working and was/am the main breadwinner in our house. My husband worked as well. Our work arrangements never caused marital strife because we both wanted to work.

      “As a working mother, what are the reasons why you are against my wife going back to work once the kids are in school? Unless you hate your job and your career and feel bad not spending enough time with your kids, wouldn’t work be a net positive for financial independence and being a role model for children?”

      I have zero issues with your wife going back to work, but it should be her decision, not yours. And while there are many positive things about working, you miss out on a lot of family life when you work outside the home. I guess I’m not sure why working on FS doesn’t count for her being a role model of a working mom for your daughter. It sounds like she is doing real work for your website. Why don’t you consider that a job? Is it because you don’t pay her?

      “Can you share more about the angst you’ve had with mothers over a 25-year period as to how being a working mother was a detriment to their lives? I’d love to know more about this perspective in preparation for a return to work.”

      I have never met a working mother who felt they were able to give 100% to both their home and work life. I spent 13 years in an office working alongside incredible women who had meaningful high-level jobs, and we all wanted to be there. Still, our lunches were full of conversations that included “I have to miss this,” “I wish I could do that,” and “I was too tired to do X.” We knew that was the trade-off for our careers, and we chose that for ourselves. For the past 14 years, I’ve been self-employed and worked from home and still don’t have enough hours in the day for everything.

      I am all for mothers having careers, but it doesn’t sound like your wife is making that choice for herself. If she wants to be home to get the kids off to school in the morning and greet them at the door in the afternoon, why can’t she do that? Or are you thinking she’ll get a job as a clerk or something menial that won’t be too physically or mentally taxing?

      “Please don’t take offense, but do you resent your husband a little because he did not make enough money and/or have enough life insurance to let you not have to continue working?”

      Nope. Not at all because I was already working, and I enjoy working. Actually, if we are talking about his death from a dollars and cents standpoint, his life insurance policy and the kids’ Social Security survivors benefits outweigh what he was bringing home in income.

      I appreciate everyone’s condolences. My husband died more than decade ago. It was painful, but I don’t feel any anger or frustration about his passing now.

      If my response sounded angry or frustrated, it was all on Mrs. FS’s behalf. Maybe she doesn’t need my anger or frustration, but there are red flags all over that section of the article.

      1. Thanks for the answers and color. Curious, when you hear us talking on our podcast (Apple, Spotify), does she sound unhappy, trapped, or manipulated?

        It’s good for me to gain judgement from others and perspective. Because maybe I am being unreasonable and manipulative and I don’t know about it. Sometimes conversations/words can better convey meaning.

        Regarding you and the many women who lament not spending more time at home, why more of them quit or do something part time so they could spend more time at home, especially if they have working spouses?

        I’m gonna stand by my believe that Financial dependence is not wise compared to financial independence. Anything can, and will happen, such as a death of a spouse.

        I think you’ll enjoy this post as well: You’ll always regret sacrificing love for money

        1. Might take some long thoughtful conversations with wife what she wants to do 3 yrs., 5yrs. and 10 yrs. from now? And how you think overall family financial goals will fit in, given economic realities in same time frame.

          There may be certain hesitations/fears she may have not spent much time thinking through. It might obviously, change what needs to be done by yourself if she is away from home working.

  11. Will from Buffalo

    Just playing devil’s advocate here:

    1) Financial goals 2 and 3 seem very dependant on factors out of your control. I would find a way to define them in ways where the outcome is solely on you and not the market. You could do everything right and still miss the goal. Not a good measure of your performance.

    2) I understand wanting to increase your liquid net worth for a sense of stability. Very logical. Also you mention you feel time slipping and feel yourself getting older. You then go on to say you’ll tighten up your spending and not do lavish trips. I agree with eating out less and doing less take out….no one ever remembers the take out they had 5 years ago….but I VERY much disagree with you pulling back on travel. Lets call a spade a spade….you are wealthy and you are mortal. You will pass one day and your wealth will be of limited consequence. You can ALWAYS cut back in old age, when you physical health is more limited anyway. You only have so many years of being able to be a jet setter or getting a rush from lavish luxuries. Old people mostly don’t care as much about luxury. They just don’t. How many 70+ people do you know rocking designer clothes or in Lambo’s despite having the most money they ever will? Those things are enjoyed by people in their 50’s far more frequently. Also you mention your daughter being old enough to have lasting memories now. Now is NOT the time to throttle travel or quality of travel in my opinion. Everything else….sure, pull back some. But I think you may be over correcting.

    3.) On the over correcting note. Why not consider making it a goal to maintain this year vs. going into accumlation mode from decumalation. Because ending the year exactly where you started it is a small needle to thread, say something like I would like to be no more than +4% or -2%. If the markets give you excess, enjoy a little excessively with loved ones.

    4.) Lastly, I understand your motivation for encouraging your wife to work, it is honorable and selfless but may not be fully thought out. From how you describe it, it is a bigger priority for you than her. Isn’t the whole point of financial freedom getting more control of your time? How is your desire for how she uses her time that much different from a boss telling her what to do with her time? I am sure this feels a bit on the offensive (I apologize, not my intention and I do not at all mean to put you in defense mode) but I would simply lay out my worries for her well being IF you pass early and let her decide. No need to encourage anything.

    Personally, my father passed when I was just 7. My mother was a stay at home mom after. Actually left her job and focused on us, which made us poor but well cared for. You mentioned early in the post that working a day job was easier than being a stay at home parent. How difficult would being a stay at home parent for her be if you passed? I would imagine more than twice as hard because her breaks would be fewer and father in-between. And on top of being a single mother of 2 if you pass, you would like her to juggle a career? Don’t get me wrong, many single parents do it (and should get awards, it is truly amazing) but if you have the means to not juggle a career and raising 2 kids alone, why would you opt for the career? Why would she opt have even less time for your kids after her spouse and her kids father passed? It would be illogical from a parent standpoint. If you financially HAD to (as many do) I get it. Would you kids grow up “better” with much less parental time and energy but more household income and seeing mom juggle it all? Thats a hard projection to make.

    What is she decided it would be best to stay home after you passed away (at that point you have no say, you are gone) and you got to enjoy less time with her (and your entire family together) while you are alive because you valued her working more than she did. Wouldn’t that be a real waste.

    Perhaps you can make a game plan to consume less and reallocate resources in the event of you passing. Less private school and fancy cars or move to a lower cost of living city with similar amenities (I believe you often mention staying in SF for your career and proximity to AI tech start ups…but that may not apply to your family in the event you go early).

    As people (myself included), we often over correct. My unsolicited advice, focus on what is actually in your control, make plans for unlikely scenarios but you don’t have to make massive shifts. Reconsider pulling back expresses 60-70% for 1 year and maybe considering pulling back 20-30% for a couple years. Express your mortality concerns to your wife and let HER make the backbones of the plan of what to do if you pass. You will have no say if it happens anyway.

    1. Thanks for the recommendations! Will take them to heart.

      I think those financial goals are within my control because I just have to decide whether to sell our house or rent it out. And then I can use the proceeds to invest in AI or and build my passive income or both.

      The beauty of the financial journey is that it ebbs and flows. I will happily over correct and save more money this year to feel more financially secure with more liquidity. To me, it is an enjoyable challenge that makes me feel more alive.

      I think traveling with young children is overrated since most don’t remember much before three years old or five years old. There are so many wonderful places to travel to within a four hour driving distance from San Francisco, so that is what we are going to do. People come from all over to visit this area.

      I think it is so empowering to encourage your partner to earn independently and always know they can be independent if they want to be. It is easier to juggle a career if I pass if she has a career.

      Sorry to hear about your father. I hope that by me being a stay at home dad for almost 7 years, my son will look back and appreciate all this time together if I were to pass prematurely as well.

      Enough about me, how about you? What are some goals you have for this year?

      1. Will from Buffalo

        Haha I always go a bit overboard on new years goals. I usually lay out 80+ over 8 categories like (career, wealth management, family time, marriage, raising kids, health, habits and personal wants). In 2023 I completed 63 of 103. I have 92 written out for 2024 and will likely add a few over the year. So my biggeat aim is to complete more than 65% of them this year.

        My kiddos are also 6.5 and 4.

        More notable goals this year are to take my kids to 2 outdoor concerts to share my enjoyment for live music, teach my 6.5 year old to ride a bike without training wheels, take 2x the road trips this years (last year was 4….i totally hear you about air travel with small kids…its rough), bring in 6 new consulting clients, start a blog, have 2 nights with no kids (preferably get a nice hotel room and take my wife out), go camping 2 nights with buddies for me time away, enroll my 4 year old in a 2nd after school activity, read 3 more books than last year, increase our retirement savings rate with the added income from new clients, i write life lessons to my kids…so add 12 entries and write a small update to 6 past entries (something I started when I was in my early twenties that do out out of fear of passing early…very cool to look back at an entry you wrote at 25 and update with a 40 year olds perspective). Lots more but those are my favorites so far.

        1. 92 is a lot of goals! I have more than the ones listed here I guess. But definitely not more than 25.

          I look forward to reading your blog. You can add my upcoming book to your list.

  12. Hi Sam –

    Excellent thoughts and article.

    A couple of questions regarding public risk assets:

    * Does it bother you at all (sleep test) that you are investing in only the S&P 500, REITs, Individual Technology Stocks, and Muni Tax Exempt Bonds?

    * Do you feel you are missing out (FOMO) by not investing in other assets classes (international, commodities, etc)?

    Best Wishes!

  13. I’m a 51 yo 4.5 tennis player. I’m a frugal guy but since hitting 50 I’ve splurged on personal training, physical therapy and sports massages. My wife reminds me it’s nice to have money but good health is more important.

  14. Really enjoy reading your articles, and great work!
    This is my very 1st time to have wealth goal after inspired by your thoughts — increase NW by 6%, boost passive income by US$20,000 with repositioning of existing capital, and finally invest US$20,000 worth of AI stock (don’t want taking too much uncertainly as a retiree). Let Money Work Hard!

  15. I plan to stay on autopilot + superfund my youngest child’s 529 plan so I can retire at the end of 2024. This is the last big financial goal I need to accomplish. I still need to decide whether to retire, but it’s the only thing standing in my way mentally. Regarding your comments on helping your wife find work, I’m the opposite – the older my kids get, the more they want and need me around to do pickups, help with homework, travel to sports competitions, etc. A nanny was fine when they were young, but I’m getting serious pushback now and longing to be more present.

  16. So you convinced or had your wife agree with you that you both should retire early, and now you have changed your mind and are demanding that your wife go back to work when she doesn’t want to? Wow. Just wow. Kids in school still take a lot of work, a lot of attention, coordinating, volunteering if you can, and finally some time to do errands and cleaning and working out and doctors appointments for yourself without also juggling the childcare at the same time. Why does she suddenly have to be able to support herself with an active, versus passive, income? Sounds like you are planning on divorcing her and don’t recognize or appreciate her contributions to the life you decided on and built together.

    1. Thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it. And I appreciate my wife for all she does. I need to tell her so more often.

      My fear is that one day I might no longer be around. She will also have a void to fill once both kids go to school full time. It is out of love that I want her to be financially independent.

      By doing some consulting or having a full-time job she enjoys, this helps bring her more safety and purpose, while it also let’s me die easier knowing she’ll be OK if something were to happen to me.

      When you’re used to one way of living, it can be hard to change. But change is a part of life.

      In case you are feeling down about your current situation, try to talk to your partner about it. I know it can be scary to try to find a job again and face so much rejection. But I say it’s worth it. You are worth it.

      If you’d like to share your situation, you are in a safe place. Thanks.

    2. As a fellow stay at home mom, I feel your pain and worry about not feeling like you’re doing enough.

      The fear of not having your own money or a way to earn due to outdated skills and connections is concerning. The best thing you can do is try to do some consulting and rekindle those connections before you need them.

  17. Buddhist Slacker

    Who else loves Sam’s Cutie Baby song? Sam I think you’re onto something there. Kid stuff is super popular. I really love it. It’s so catchy and sweet. Maybe you should try YouTube instead podcasting. Can you draw cartoons?

    I have 3 goals for 2024:

    1. Finish a super rough first, version 0, proof of concept draft of a nonfiction book I’m working on.

    2. Be okay with everything that’s going to into the crapper because I’m working on my book instead of doing other things.

    3. Except for my job. I must continue to do well at my job.

  18. Calvin Sibley

    For health goals #3 you wrote “Take one mental health break a month.” What do you plan on doing on this day? Will you be with your wife or spend the these days alone. Will you get a babysitter to help with your kid when you’re away? Interesting idea, I have a one year old and the thought of taking an entire day off from work and childcare seems like a fantasy right now.

    1. I’ve got a retreat where I can spend time writing, relaxing, meditating, reading, and resting.

      First 2 years of a child’s life is all consuming. By year 7, you’ll be able to negotiate some breaks. Just depends how much care you provide before the break.

  19. I learned how to play pickleball alongside my (now 10) son a few years ago. He had shown very little interest in sports up to that point. It has been ridiculously satisfying seeing him get better at dinks, drives, and drops to the point where he crushes other unsuspecting adults. It has been a bonding opportunity, a chance for both of us to grow emotional and socially, and a gateway into other fitness/sports. He is not quite as addicted as I am but it’s never that hard to get him to head over to the neighborhood courts with me. I truly hope that your son takes to it the way mine did.

    1. Wonderful to hear! I’ve got two chances between my daughter and son, so I’m hopeful yet least one will dig it.

      I played 1.5 hours this morning in a new park close by. I’m thrilled!

  20. Great article:

    Mine include
    – Increase NW by 8%.
    – Save 18,000/month. As I map retirement soon (2-4 years) that is our projected expenses per month during retirement, so I like the idea of every month I work I am saving at least a month of additional retirement.
    – Maintain weight 185-190.
    – Stretch at least 20 minutes each day.
    – Scotland golf trip with friends in September.
    – Play tennis and soccer twice a month and golf 3 times a week. Reduce golf Handicap to 5.
    – Add 5 rare single malt scotches to my collection.
    – Begin getting certified to train guide dogs.

  21. Thanks for sharing an extensive New Year resolution list for 2024.

    I increased my net worth by 20.1% in 2023 and hope to match your goal of 10% in 2024. It’s not a bad idea to go long on bonds given we’ll likely experience some easing of interest rates in 2024. Perhaps not a bad idea to revisit the 60/40 classic formula in the coming year.

    For AI and quantum computing exposure I use Defiance Quantum ETF (QTM).

    Good luck Sam and all in 2024

  22. “I will see my parents twice, whether they like it or not.”

    That sounds… ominous. It’s also the setup for a future AITA story on Reddit.

  23. What a great list!

    I guess my question is, what do you see in 2025 and the years beyond that will require your intense focus this year? If everything goes well, what do you project that you start in 2025 that you are not doing now?

    I ask because those longer range goals often require building a foundation ahead of time, even non work items like hobbies, etc.

    Wishing you the best in 2024!


    1. Oh, it’s due to liquidity and school. After building back up liquidity, there will be no need to grind as much. And after both kids are in school full-time, the parenting hours go down during the day so there is more freedom.

      How about you? What are some of your goals for 2024?

      1. I am retired, so my goals are a bit different. Here are a few:

        Health–lose seven more lbs. I am down 11. Also, continue to work on my gym goals and increase my strength.

        Wealth– increase my net worth by at least 5%. Complete one or both goals to 1) pay off one of my rentals this year and 2) purchase or have the capacity to purchase a second home in Europe outright.

        Continue to invest in AI and explore a few new avenues to do that.

        Personal–travel to France. Also, travel to see my grandkids and mom at least four times this year.

        Professional/Volunteer Trust Fund Job–I work with a nonprofit that works to prevent homelessness. I want to develop the organization to the point where it has more capacity in-house so that it is not as vulnerable to losing specific Board members. That will free up my time, too.

        Interests–increase my painting output. I also have two unpublished books that need to be edited, changed, and updated for possible publishing (self or otherwise).

        Social–In the last month, three old friends contacted me. I will follow up and make keeping in contact a priority.

  24. Great goals, Sam. As a long time reader and infrequent poster, your articles always give me pause and new insight. Thank you.

    Having paid off my 3rd single family home last month, I now find my passive rental income providing the coverage of my 2.5% mortgage and all of my home utilities. This leads me to my goals of 2024:

    Allocate my “living expense costs” and additional income to savings (4500/ check) $9000 monthly. Bump this savings number to $13,000/ mo once my office building is paid off in September of 2024 (current outstanding balance 25k). Savings funds currently split between my credit union and an Edward Jones CDs earning 5.25%+. Continue to max my Simple IRA (One more year and then I get to bump up to the age 50 catch up provisions). Fund my daughters Roth IRAs as they work part time through Highschool and college. Work out daily: 3 miles cardio, pushups, sit ups and barbells. Take 4 vacations (one per quarter). Look for additional real estate opportunities (SFH or possibly an apartment). Finish 2024 with a 3.5 mil NW.

  25. I like how you categorize your goals and have a great variety of resolutions. I would guess most people just set one or two goals and usually one of those is the classic lose more weight aspiration. So you definitely push yourself toward many more and greater things each year than the vast majority of people. I like your goals on net worth, mental health retreats, increasing passive income, spending more time with your daughter, and writing another book. That alone is a lot!

    I usually flip flop between years of having too many goals, fail miserably from a lack of focus, and then having too few the next year in hopes of a higher success rate. Cycle repeat.

    This year my goals list is getting way too long but I’m still hopeful I’ll have a good year. Ironically one of those goals is to improve my focus. Improving efficiency is another but I still need to figure out some specific ways to do that. Focus and efficiency go together though. One simple tactic is for me to work without music on. As much as I love to do that, my brain can’t handle it like I used to in my 20s and 30s. Such is the side effect of aging and degradation in the part of our brain that can handle distractions and multitasking. But enough with my ramblings.

    Happy new year!

    1. Grumpy Old Man

      In regards to the music, I find myself in the same predicament. If I’m listening to anything that I used to listen to when I was younger, I’m distracted by the lyrics and/or any memories associated with the music.
      Please forgive and remove if recommendations aren’t allowed, but try searching YouTube or Spotify for PGN Music. All types of music (Christmas, Tavern, Jazz, EDM, LoFi, Sea Shanties, etc.) with no lyrics.

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