Always Be Grinding! Financial Samurai 2017 Goals And Outlook

Financial Samurai 2017 Goals and Outlook

Always be grinding! Happy New Year Everyone!

Hopefully all of you survived and are ready to rock it in 2017! I spent a lot of time over the holidays thinking about why I failed at so many things, and the consistent answer I came up with was that I wasn't grinding hard enough.

Why did I gain 5 lbs instead of lose 5 lbs? Answer: Because I didn't grind hard enough at the gym and give a crap about the way I looked. I worked out maybe twice a month on average and didn't watch the quality of food I ingested.

Why did I lose all my tennis league matches? Answer: Because I didn't grind hard enough on the court. I wasn't practicing my serve and volleys as much as I should. Instead, I was just playing fun matches that did nothing to improve my skills.

Why was my online traffic only marginally up in 2016? Answer: Because I didn't grind my mind hard enough. Instead of writing more posts, introducing new mediums of communication, addressing new topics, and publishing a new ebook, I left things status quo. I told myself in my 2016 review post I was most proud of not quitting. Come on. That's weak! Writing is like a full body massage compared to digging for coal or constructing a house in the middle of a Texas summer.

It's so easy to get soft in America, especially as you get older. As a result, my theme for 2017 is: Always Be Grinding. ABG baby!

Related: Perpetual Failure Is The Reason Why I Continue To Save So Much

Things Feel Different Now

I haven't been this excited since I first got a job out of college when the sky was the limit. For the past 10 years or so, I've been questioning what's the point of working so hard if the government is just going to take more from us than what we're able to keep. To finally get some potential tax relief is thrilling!

Everybody should strive to have a higher savings rate than their effective tax rate. Can you imagine saving just 10% of your gross income while paying a 20% effective tax rate? What a joke. Politicians are laughing all the way to the bank for being able to keep the masses enslaved so they can remain in power.

The upside to a corrupt and inefficient government with trillions in unaccounted for tax dollars (see the Dept. of Defense) is that it pushed me towards a life of leisure. I would never have engineered my layoff in 2012 had the correlation between effort and reward stayed intact. I never would have started a lifestyle business either. Since my departure, it's been fantastic paying less in taxes and not having to work for anybody. My stress level has gone way down as well.

But now that the correlation between effort and reward is tightening up, it's time to grind until the window shuts again! Without further ado, here are my goals for 2017. They are divided into three categories: Business, Personal and Personal Financial.

Business Goals

1) Focus on growth by broadening the audience. I've received plenty of feedback that I need to write more for the mass market. Even though my advice holds true whether you have $1,000,000 to invest or $1,000 to invest, readers have told me they can't get their heads around larger numbers. As a result, some readers will tune out and that's bad for growth.

It's not my fault the median home price in San Francisco is ~$1.1M. I just write about my first-hand experiences to keep things authentic. Personal finance is too important to be left up to pontification. But I acutely realize the way to mega millions is to relate to as many people as possible. Further, I don't want to write about things I'm not interested in or am not going through.

Therefore, going forward, I've decided to add my best friend, Sydney from Untemplater, on as a regular contributor. She'll focus on broader personal finance topics, family finances, women's finances and be my podcast partner in our little Dojo Talk podcasts. I'm confident there is a great need for expansion in these categories on Financial Samurai.

Sydney is great because she's living the dream as a business owner and freelancer ever since she engineered her layoff with a severance package back in January 2015. I was her coach. Here's her severance negotiation story, which I'm so proud of! Sydney also grew up in a low income household and will draw from her experiences to bring a new flavor to FS.

2) Publish a new ebook by July 18, 2017. Despite the rise in interest rates, it still takes a gargantuan amount of money to generate $1,000 a month in passive income – we're talking $300,000 in capital at a 4% gross yield. I was so focused on building a large municipal bond portfolio after the sell-off in November and December that I forgot I could easily write a new ebook and earn $1,000 a month with no downside!

Therefore, I've decided to publish a unique book on real estate investing. It's going to be one of the most entertaining and thorough books about real estate on the market. It'll be an actionable book that anyone from beginning investors to experienced investors can use to help create wealth, build passive income and avoid extremely bad mistakes. I promise to write in my usual no BS style.

Interest Rates and Passive Income

3) Focus on three business partnerships. I've got about 10 business partnerships with Financial Samurai right now. It's very easy to get spread too thin as the main writer and business development guy. Instead, I need to identify three things I'm most passionate about and tilt my writing towards these three topics to build a deeper portfolio of articles. Then I need to identify the three best products that match these topics to create incredible business synergies.

I'm currently most excited about entrepreneurship, real estate crowdsourcing and family finances.

After eight years, I've got so much to share about being an entrepreneur and earning side income. The upside is unlimited when you work for yourself. So many people believe they can't do anything because they don't have an idea or don't believe in their abilities. The truth is that nobody has everything figured out in the beginning. They just start, learn and pivot as they go.

Real estate crowdsourcing is the perfect solution for real estate enthusiasts like me who don't want to buy another physical property for a while. Dealing with tenants and maintenance issues as I get older is very counterproductive to living a good retirement life. However, real estate has been instrumental in achieving financial freedom (~50% of my passive non-online income) and I want to continue investing wisely in various projects around America for hopefully higher returns.

Finally, talking about important family financial issues will be topic du jour for 2017 now that I'm hitting middle age. I've already tested the waters with posts such as, Is Private Grade School Worth It? and Scraping By On $200,000 A Year to a warm reception. Now I plan to go deeper. Sydney is really going to be of great help in this endeavor.

4) Send two to four e-mails a month. I've been paying $150 a month to send out only one newsletter a month for the past couple of years. What an underutilization of resources. What's held me back from sending more e-mails is believing I have to write meaty e-mails to add value. Instead, I plan to write shorter, punchier e-mails to connect with all my newsletter subscribers. There's like 30,000 or so of you. All I've got to do is get into a routine, come up with a consistent topic, and not worry too much about trying to impress.

Personal Financial Goals

1) Create a million bucks of wealth. Last year my goal was to growth my net worth by $500,000 because I had a neutral-to-bearish outlook. Given I'm now bullish on my business, it's only logical to shoot higher. In a strong business environment, valuations for businesses start expanding like magic. If I can grow earnings and expand valuation multiples, then growing wealth becomes much easier.

The equity you own in your business is one of the biggest reasons why everybody should start their own business. Not only can you make money every month from your business, you might also have the option to sell your business based on a multiple of revenue or earnings one day. As an employee, you can only sell your talents to the highest bidder. As a result, you'll always be stuck having to trade your time for money.

I already spoke to the CFO and CMO of one publicly traded company and one private company about a potential acquisition. As a result, I've got an idea of the valuation of my company. Now all I need to do is grow my brand, traffic numbers, search rankings, and revenue and I'll be set!

Value Creation Scenario

Potential acquirer: We'll offer you $6,000,000 for Financial Samurai based on a 8X operating profit plus a $500,000 earn out if you stay for two years.

Me: Given my operating profit is growing by 25% a year for the next two years at least, and the S&P 500 is trading at a 18X operating profit multiple, let's split the difference. I'll sell for $9,750,000, based on a 13X operating profit multiple, and will stay on for two years at $200,000 a year to make sure everything transitions smoothly.

Potential acquirer: You've got yourself a deal.

See how easy it is to create some wealth? All you've got to do is create something of value. I don't plan to ever sell my company, but for the right price, I will and then I'll start a new company. That's the American dream.

Related: The First Million Might Be The Easiest

2) Invest at least $20,000 a month without fail. The $20,000 a month doesn't have to be in the stock market. It can be in bonds, real estate crowdsourcing, private equity, private debt, or paying down a mortgage. I actually did a deep dive analysis of my investing habits for 2016, which I'll share with you guys in an upcoming post. It's pretty eye-opening how much we think we invest versus how much we actually invest. By investing $20,000 a month minimum, I should be able to grow my net worth by at least $240,000 this year.

3) Start earning $20,000 a month in passive/semi-passive income by year end. My passive income is currently averaging about $17,600 a month over the past six months. To increase my passive income by $2,400 a month, I've got to publish my real estate book by year end, market it well and update my severance negotiation book for 2017. My products will be my main passive income growth driver once again.

The other growth driver will hopefully be the redeployment of roughly $400,000 into higher returning investments compared to the ~4% return that money was getting in a CD and a LIBOR+ private investment. Instead of earning $16,000 a year from the $400,000 investment, I could feasibly earn $32,000 a year, or $2,667 a month total ($1,333 extra) via an 8% returning investment. Hence, my focus on higher income producing investments for this year. Thank you bond sell-off!

Real estate versus stock market returns since 2001
RE outperforming since 2001, and roughly inline with the S&P 500 since 2011 at ~12% annual return

4) Spend like I'll be dead within 10 years. I've been frugal my whole life. It's one of the main reasons why I was able to hit the eject button at 34. But, I'll be 40 in 2017 so it's time to live it up for the second half of my life. You don't have to be as stealth in middle age because people are more accepting of those who've spent 20+ years working. If they aren't, then they're just being jealous idiots who weren't willing to work hard for a long enough time themselves.

I will buy my mid-life crisis car that costs $60,000 – $80,000. I will pay an extra $100 for Economy Plus seats to Hawaii each way (still can't afford first class comfortably). I will buy the latest version TV instead of buying the previous version to save $300. I will pony up $400 more for 1 TB of hard drive space for my new laptop. I will pay $6.25/hour for parking after driving around the block once. I will turn the heat on full blast when it gets to below 60 degrees. I will always pay up for convenience gosh darn it!

Every time I buy something, I feel guilty for not using that money to invest because I've been an investing addict since sophomore year in college. I also grew up middle class working summer jobs at McDonald's and moving furniture. My upbringing is probably the reason why I felt so comfortable giving over 500 Uber rides so far as a financially independent adult. I'm not too proud to do whatever it takes to support my family.

Therefore, to counteract my spending guilt, I plan to always invest the $20,000+ a month first before splurging on anything.

5) Don't chase the stock market. Although I'm bullish on my business, I'm lukewarm on the stock market and the economy. The higher rates go, the more consumers get squeezed. The period between 2009 – 2016 was a great time to focus on growth stocks. For 2017, now that equity valuations are stretch and the bond market has finally sold off some, I think it's a great time to focus on income.

Instead of having a majority of my public investments in stocks in 2016 (~70%), I'm rebalancing to 40% stocks and 60% bonds (80% municipal bonds). Besides stretched valuations and more attractive income yields, I think there will be roadblocks on Capital Hill to pass what everything Trump has promised.

With 40% exposure to stocks, I'll still be able to participate reasonably well in any further exuberance. Further, I'm already highly leveraged to the tech industry through my SF real estate holdings and corporate consulting business.

I just feel way too lucky with my investments now after a +10% unexpected return in 2016. To now be able to get a ~4.5% gross yield on the fixed income portion to cover two mortgages that cost 2.5% and 2.375% is nuts!

Stock Market Valuation 2017

Related: The Proper Asset Allocation Of Stocks And Bonds By Age

Personal Goals

“When you're coasting, you're going downhill.” – Unknown

1) Scare myself out of my comfort zone. I haven't been personally challenged in a long time. With a portfolio of over 1,300 posts on Financial Samurai, I know with decent confidence that if I write 152 new posts a year, I should be able to grow traffic and revenue by ~10% a year if I do nothing else. But writing 2-4X a week is an easy goal to achieve.

Once I turn 40 this summer, I think it'll be fun to challenge myself with more live events. I'll first start with my Dojo Talk podcasts with Sydney to improve my speaking skills. Then I'll move onto bigger audiences if I have the opportunity. I'll be the moderator for a panel of crowdsource company CEOs in San Francisco with an audience of ~100 – 200 people sometime in February. That should be fun. I'll post the details here once I know more.

The other thing I'm considering is being a more public figure starting in 2H2017. By July 1, I'll have collected the final severance payment from five years ago. Further, I'll have hit my five-year goal of seeing whether my writing can stand on its own without my promotion. Now that it has, to be able to combine a public persona with my writing could be a very powerful combination.

2) Really make a difference in 12 people's lives. At the end of the day, the best feeling in the world is when a reader sends a private e-mail or writes a comment that says how much a particular article or the site in general has helped them achieve their dreams. Being online for almost eight years has enabled me to read people's stories on how they've changed over time.

Without positive reader feedback, it's harder to keep going at my pace long term because I also occasionally get haterade from random folks who are upset with their lives. Instead of choosing to see what's possible, they adopt a welfare mentality and lash out.

If enough haterade piles up, it makes me want to just take a break and relax since I'm not getting paid by readers to write anything. With most of my traffic coming from organic search, and most of my online income passive as a result, there's no need to write much of anything anymore.

Here's a comment a newish reader left that gave me a power up.

Friendly Financial Samurai Comment
I salute you brother as well. Fight on!

3) Start a family. It's about time we start a family. My wife and I feel we've done everything we've wanted to do as adults. We've both engineered our layoffs. We don't have the itch to travel too much anymore after visiting over 60 countries. We have no desire to climb anybody else's corporate ladder, but our own. After two years, our house is finally remodeled to the way we want. We have a digital business that allows us to be present for our child. Finally, we've developed a steady stream of passive income that should support a family of up to four comfortably in expensive San Francisco or Honolulu.

With so much responsibility in raising a child, it's only natural to plan as thoroughly as possible before becoming parents. I commend those of you who had the courage to have children earlier on and make things work. I've seen so many things go wrong with a relationship after having children, it's made me nervous.

If we do successfully start a family, my number one goal will shift towards not dying before 69. I'd like to live until my child officially becomes an adult. Now where are my veggies and vitamins?

Related: Personal Goals For 2021. I plan to earn as much as possible and then re-retire by 2022!

125 thoughts on “Always Be Grinding! Financial Samurai 2017 Goals And Outlook”

  1. Hi Sam,

    As someone who closely follows the website selling industry, I can tell you that your valuation of FS is way off. You’d be lucky to get a 4x multiple. Just look at what other websites doing similar numbers revenue-wise are going for. You might well be able to get 3x. 2x, no problem. 8x is unheard of in the industry, and this includes much bigger sites than yours.

    Furthermore, most website investors wouldn’t touch FS because it’s too closely connected to you. It’s pretty much your personal blog. Without you, what is the future of FS? Hire a bunch of PF bloggers to replace you? Sure, but it wouldn’t be the same, and over time the blog’s traffic and revenue would diminish. People are mainly here for you. I certainly wouldn’t visit if you left, and I imagine the majority of your readers feel the same way. They come here to read your thoughts and for updates on your story, not anyone else’s.

    1. Thanks for dashing my dreams Chuck! :)

      I actually got an offer above a 6X multiple that I turned down. I use these multiples as EXAMPLES of how to create wealth, and the power of owning your own business. When you own your own web business, you not only can make tremendous cash flow since fixed costs are low and operating margins are high, you can also sell the equity in your business as well.

      I can share with you some examples of how workout arrangements work if you wish to explain why XYZ companies have offered to buy FS and other similar sites.

      Have you started a business or sold your own website before? If so, I’d love to know about your experience and check out your website to. And if not, why don’t you start your own website already?


  2. Compose Your Investments

    Congrats on setting some solid, achievable goals! I think you’ll truly enjoy making a difference in the 12 peoples’ lives — it’s a huge part of why I started my website. Good luck starting a family as well, because nothing beats being a Dad!!!

    Since you asked, my goals for the year is to take my fledgling website up to 1,000 subscribers by year’s end. On a personal note, I hope to break a 6-minute mile and at the same time get in better shape.

    Thanks again for the great content, motivation, and advice — best wishes to you in 2017!


  3. Hi Financial Samurai! Would you consider doing a brief write-up of Realtyshares (briefly how it works + your experience with it)? I’m asking because as I browse the site, it asks for registration, etc. in order to get more information. I’d love to read a little more about it before I jump in there and sign on the cyber-dotted line!
    Dan Villarreal
    Taipei, Taiwan
    (US citizen expat)

    1. Sure. Here’s my RealtyShares review and a post where I crowdsourced knowledge of a particular commercial real estate investment I ended up buying in Conshy, Pennsylvania.

      Even if you sign the cyber-dotted line, there’s no cost to just look and get educated on the various deals around the country. I’d spend time looking at each deal and cycling through the information tabs. The more you learn, the more comfortable you will get. It does give me comfort that only 5% of all proposed deals land on RealtyShares’ platform. Then it’s up to the individual to analyze even further.

  4. Fiscally Free

    Good luck starting a family! It might be a little tough if your wife is your age. Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while. There are lots of things doctors can do to help if it comes to that.

    1. Thanks! I know it’s not easy to succeed as one gets older. They say it takes 7 months on average to conceive, and even then, there are plenty of things that can go wrong after. I have a awesome guest post on IVF and Chinese Medicine for those interested in going that route who are older.

      One of the keys I’ve realized is to NEVER ask a woman or man why they don’t have children, or when do they plan to have children etc. Plenty of people are trying, and not succeeding. We should be sensitive to this situation.

  5. Great goals, definitely inspiring as usual. When you think about how much money is generally required to generate high levels of passive income, it’s eye opening to realize how people can start businesses with little capital (blogs, for example) and make a high rate of return. Put the time in up front, reap some rewards later

  6. I have to disagree with the “plan as thoroughly as possible before becoming parents” mentality. This mentality is not only impractical, but also unhealthy in my opinion. I can understand wanting to only provide the best to one’s offspring, but within reason though.

    As a parent myself, the nature of child rearing appears chaotic and unpredictable. One can try his/her best to act with a pre-determined principles, best intentions and well-thought-out plan; but one must be flexible and OK with constantly changing plans as the days unfold.

    I had (still can choose to do so) the luxury of staying home with my child to give him my undivided attention. I was even working from home part-time at night so that I would not lose connection to the outside world completely — but I had to look for a job with more commitment after a while. I loved every minute spent with my son — but I needed more stimulation and so did my son.

    In my opinion, the mental stimulation and personal grown of my current job provides me, and the social and learning benefits my son receives from his daycare outweighs the inconvenience and the inflexibility of a work schedule by a sizable margin.

    Well, enough said, I am sure you will find out what parenting is all about very soon… :)

    1. Good perspective, thanks. When I talk about planning, I’m more focused on financial planning so that money won’t be an issue, or less of an issue once a child is born. The less we can worry about money, the happier we will be.

      Plan for the best, but expect chaos.

      1. I completely agree about the financial planning part of thinking. Given how much you earn and save, I feel you’d have been financially ready years ago already, lol.

        Having kids help us hone our time, temperament, finance, and resource management skills to a large extent. I think once I get good at the family operation, I will be ready to go FI/ER, utilize the skills for business operation and start my own gig. :)

  7. Hi Sam,
    I came across your website (recommended by WallStreetPlayboys, another fantastic site) and I have to say it’s absolutely mind boggling how a resource like this is freely available to anyone with an Internet connection. I have a question: as a 19 year old, what would be the best way of setting myself up for a great 10 year period (financially)? I’ve toyed with the idea investing in an index fund. I’m also in the process of setting up a business (and app)

  8. Hi Sam,

    I absolutely love the blog and have been a avid reader for 6 months. I’m curious to know which real estate crowdfunding conferences you plan to participate in or have looked at attending? I’m in the real estate development industry professionally and a landlord myself and would like to understand the topic better. Just hoping to pick up on any research you’ve already done!

    -Evan the Landlord

    1. Howdy Evan, thanks for writing and reading. I don’t plan to go to any real estate crowdsourcing investment conferences, but I am hosting a real estate crowdsourcing and business crowdsourcing panel in San Francisco in February if you are interested in attending. Companies like circle up will be there. It’s pretty cool being in San Francisco and being in the heart of all this fin Tech innovation.

      1. Got it. Wish I was closer to San Fran to make that happen. Best of luck in 2017, and don’t stop writing!

  9. FIRECracker

    “When you’re green, your growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.”

    –Ray Kroc

    Keep growing, keep hustling!

    I’m with you on the whole “become a public figure and get better at public speaking” goal. Unlike normal people, for some reason public speaking energizes rather than scares me! That’s why I’m super excited about the talks I’ll be doing this year (one which is coming in 2 weeks!)

    Starting a family is also something that’s also been stirring at the back of my mind now that I love what I do (unlike when I hated my job and couldn’t imagine being forced to do it for the next few decades because of kids). My biggest worry is that they will suck up all my time and cause friction between my hubby and I. I think the key is taking time for yourself, time out as a couple, and not letting your kid(s) take over your whole life. My biggest worry is that I’ll lose myself and then freak out once they leave the nest. I’ve seen it happen to other people, I won’t let it happen to me.

    Happy new year and have fun accomplishing all your goals!

  10. Trying to get ahead

    My spouse and I are DINKs. We spend about 4.3% of our annual gross income on our house. We recently bought a pied-a-terre, which costs about 12% of our gross (or 6% if you back out the mortgage principal and tax deductions). Lifestyle-wise, we enjoy it, but is this crazy from a financial perspective? I know most people spend more on their primary residence than we do on two combined, but that doesn’t make it right. Our goal is financial freedom but we also want to live a good life and not wait to be 80 to enjoy life. Thoughts?

  11. Akash Patel

    These are some awesome goals, I’m especially interested in that e-book you plan to write (as I am currently trying my hardest to real about real estate).

    Also, I think I’m going to copy your goal of “leaving the stock market alone”. I’m going to be honest, I was really tempted to join in the high market lately after seeing everything go up 10%.

  12. So excited to hear you’re finally thinking about starting a family! I think it will actually help you become even more productive – you suddenly have to work hard to find the time, so when you do, you make it count!

    1. Interesting theory Robert! I’m thinking a child will make me want to give everything up and just spend time with him/her because what’s more important than your own children?

      Will be asking you for advice! Hope your new one is doing well!

  13. Hi Sam!

    I too didn’t realize you were married until relatively recently. I’ve been reading for a little while (12 months?), and also wondered about your desire for kids.

    Children are absolutely fantastic, but man are they expensive (especially in high cost areas). When my children were both in daycare together, I was out over $50k a year just in childcare (that doesn’t get into activities, insurance, diapers, food, plane tickets, etc). We just returned from a week of skiing at Whistler, and ski school was $200 a day (Canadian) plus tips (I tipped $20 each day) for my 6 y/o.

    My daughter was born a few months after my 30th birthday, and my son was born right after I turned 34 (I’m about to turn 37). We’re considering a 3rd, but know it will put a dent in our lifestyle, finances, and short term happiness.

    What made you wait until 40? Is your wife younger? Since I’m asking personal questions, and you pointed out equal footing is only fair (above), I’ll throw out 36, married, NW (excluding residence and kids’ college funds) approx $500k, HH income (dual income) approx $300k. The dual career thing is both empowering (adds income security, sense of purpose for both spouses, and HH income) and extremely limiting (I have had to turn down promotions that would require relocations, and neither my wife nor I can work the hours we used to before kids).

    1. Great to hear! Are kids really that expensive though? I see families who don’t look very wealthy with 3-5 kids all the time. Can’t be too bad.

      Regarding all your personal questions, the simply answer is to all is destiny. I enjoy letting destiny figure things out and preparing in the meantime.

  14. I looked at your goals.

    Maybe your new partner should do the mass broad general appeal posts, and you stay doing your numerically adapt posts. You could have a simple (using salary? sure its lacking but do u have a better idea) or complex survey (though how to incentive ur readers to do it all?) to examine the actual breakup % of ur current blog readership. Yes, Manny said she doesn’t understand half of ur posts. Me, I read ur posts as something ez to read, I could easily add 10-15 pts per posts, but ur not my industry.

    Sure a breakup solely on salary maybe erroneous as a %. I dont know the details of, who ur readers are. Cause u got doctors, engineers who don’t know basics in ur financial blog world. So maybe the % would be based on amount of knowledge the readers has. And should you come to the conclusion that the 95% of ur readers are basic, stay at home moms, recent college grads, service industry, sales industry, government workers and 5% are number guys as myself. Well f me, write for them and forget about the remaining 5% cause the numbers and adrevenue doesn’t make sense anymore for you.

    1. Yep, we definitely plan to divide and conquer and write based on what we know. A partner should help me with avoiding burnout as well.

      The Financial Samurai readership is highly motivated and highly educated. Here’s the summary:

      * Age: 76% of you are between the ages of 26 – 45. 11% are under age 26. 13% are over 45.

      * Annual Income: 33% of you make between $100,000 – $200,000 a year. 18% of you make over $200,000 a year, while 17% of you make between $75,000 – $100,000 a year. 3.3% of you make over $500,000 a year, the level which I consider to be the definition of rich. Impressive that 45% of readers make over $100,000 here.

      * Value Of Primary Residence: 39% of you said your apartment or house is worth between $250,000 – $500,000. 28% said your apartment or house is worth between $500,000 – $1,000,000. And 9% of you said your apartment or house is worth more than $1,000,000. Most homeowners have refinanced at least one over the past 10 years to take advantage of record low interest rates. Check out LendingTree for some of the lowest rates where banks compete for your business by letting you know their best rates.

      * Retirement Savings: About 19% of you have saved over $1 million dollars for retirement, excluding the value of your primary residence. Another 18% of you have saved between $500,000 – $1 million dollars. While 38% of you have saved between $100,000 – $500,000. Roughly 35% of you consider using a low cost digital wealth advisor like Wealthfront to manage a portion of your after-tax retirement investments.

      * Social Class: 67% believe you are considered in the Mass Affluent Class followed by 20% who believe you are Middle Class.

      * Education: 62% of you went to public university while 29% of you went to private school with grants or scholarships worth at least $4,000 a year. Roughly half of public university attendees got grants or scholarships worth at least $2,000 a year.

      * Debt Levels: 52% of you have $0 consumer debt outstanding. While 22% of you have less than $10,000 in consumer debt outstanding. 36% of you have total debt outstanding (mortgages, credit cards, student loans, etc) of between $150,000 – $500,000. 15.5% of you have no debt of any kind.

      * Net Worth: 35% of you have a net worth of between $300,000 – $1 million. 23% of you have a net worth over $1 million. 80% meticulously track their net worth with free tools like Personal Capital at least once every six months. Leveraging the internet to grow your net worth is a no-brainer.

      * 401k/IRA Savings: 21% of you have between $100,000 – $200,000 in your 401k or IRA. 25% of you have between $201,000 – $500,000. 17.5% have over $500,000.

      * Ideal Income For Happiness: 14% say you need to make $101,000 – $150,000 a year to feel “very happy.” 22% say $151,000 – $250,000. While 52% of you need to make over $250,000 a year to feel very happy.

      * Savings Discipline: 15% of you save between 11% – 20% of your after tax income each month. 18% save between 21% – 30%. 28% save between 31% – 50%. While 23% of you save over 50% of your after tax savings.

      * Career Risk: 53% of you say you’d prefer the stability of a full-time job over the flexibility of being a contractor.

      * Retirement Safety: Roughly 40% of you have a significant pension that will cover a large part of your living expenses in retirement. While 13% of you also have a pension, but nothing worth writing home about.


      The Financial Samurai community is doing very well compared to the average American who has a $52,000 household income, a median retirement account of under $100,000, and a pitiful savings rate of under 5%.

      What stands out most about the community is how aggressively we save. Roughly 70% of us save over 21% of our after-tax income every month. The other surprising stat is that 52% of us think we need $250,000 or more to feel very happy. It looks like I’ve got a lot of work to do to convince y’all that trying to earn much more than $250,000 will likely not lead to any more happiness.

      If you are below some of the financial survey results, I suggest sticking around because we tend to evolve into the people we associate with most. And if you’re ahead of these financial results, then please continue to share your strategies for building wealth with the community!

      For those who haven’t filled out the survey questions before, below is a list of the 40 most popular survey questions. From start to finish, it should take no more than five minutes to answer them all. As soon as you answer one of the questions, the result appears. Over time, I’ll continue to add new polls to this post.

      – See more at:

  15. Hi Sam,

    You will not be disappointed spending extra money to heat your house. I grew up in a cold house. We were never allowed to touch the thermostat. Same went for my wife’s upbringing. I waited far to long in life to turn that damn heater up. When I finally did it was amazing!

    It’s 8 degrees outside right now and my house is a cozy 73 degrees.

    I’m completely serious about this comment. Best money I spend every month!

    Thanks, Bill

    1. It’s crazy how we’re UNWILLING to turn up the thermostat just to save some money yeah? Perhaps the reason why I love California and Hawaii so much is because I was too frugal to turn up the thermostat! As a result, I ended up buying some expensive property that have done well over the past 14 years. Irony!

      I’m blasting my heater all the time now for an extra $100-$150 a month. WELL WORTH IT! Now I wish I bought the fancier furnace with the two stroke setting for better air flow. There’s a $20,000 Trane furnace that constantly cleans the air too. Maybe one day!

  16. Gold Medal Finance

    Wow massively ambitious goals! Very best of luck in hitting them – love how specific you were on a lot of them, in my experience this will help a lot.

    Looking forward to seeing how you get on with them. If you hit half you’ll have had a great year :)

  17. I can’t imagine you don’t get enough positive shares to motivate you to carry on, but I’ll add to the good reviews because I find your posts increasingly valuable as every year passes since stumbling on them in November 2014. You have provided a great range of topics with a writing style that I have always found enjoyable to read through. If you had a membership, I’d pay for access to a private community to get access to more focused discussions, occasional feedback and educational materials as a way to further support the great advice I have picked up from you along the way.

    1. Thanks Krista! I need all the positive motivation I can get because I find myself naturally drawn to just couch around. It’s the path of least resistance to do nothing.

      A writer needs to be read. So thanks for reading and sharing my work!

  18. Curious- do you keep those goals in annual format or break them down to monthly or weekly Sam? This year is do or die for me-freelance my way out of debt, start working toward income of maximum happiness.

    1. Each goal has different time frames e.g. book goal is by July 15, 2015.

      I like to just write a new years goal and revisit at the end of the year. But I may just do a mid-year update to ensure I’m not falling off the wagon.

      Do or die is great! B/c you will generally live.

  19. Sam Sam Sam, we have to talk about your newfound spending habits.

    Actually, you’ve got a good reason to want to ease up on the extreme frugality, but I don’t think spending money simply to spend it is a good idea. What’s YOUR idea of “living it up”? Is a fancy expensive car something that will make you happy, or is it something you are doing because you’re getting older and you are “supposed” to have?

    Remember that part of the reason you achieved your wealth is your frugal nature; your preference to invest your money rather than wasting it. Don’t get so caught up on spending that you start putting you’re current state of financial freedom at risk. There are plenty of people out there with huge salaries that are still somehow broke. Don’t slowly start becoming one of them!

    All your other goals are on point. Good luck in achieving them. But your goal to spend MORE is one that, well, I’m not so sure I want to see you succeed at.

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

    1. I believe all these things will make me happier than the cost:

      Mid-life crisis car
      Economy plus seats to Hawaii
      Latest version TV instead of buying the previous version to save
      Paying for parking for convenience
      Blasting the heat

      But I like to take baby steps though. For example, going from 14 year old Moose to brand new Honda Fit for $20,000 was a baby step. And it felt great!

      So I’ll be spending more money slowly so it doesn’t feel too painful, and so I don’t risk my financial freedom status.


  20. Hi Sam,

    Great goals here. I’m happy to learn that Sydney from Untemplater will be a regular here I really like her blog and writing style. My favorite of your goals is to make a difference in 12 peoples lives. You have so much to offer and I’m sure you’ll work wonders here. Best of luck to you in 2017

  21. I’m one of your newer 2016 lurkers/readers. I enjoy your writing and edgier approach to wealth accumulation and life.

    I had a good 2016 (sold a live in flip house, maxed retirement accounts and paid off all debt) but feel lost in 2017 unless I explore ways to generate income outside my job. For now I will be chugging away at maxing retirement contributions and trying to find a reasonable deal on a new home in a market awash with overpriced listings.

    Look fwd to your 2017 updates.

    1. Welcome new lurking reader! I think I’m going to write a little more edgey going forward. I miss the good ‘ol days of being more irreverent.

      The main group of people who are feeling the most pumped in 2017 are business owners. Check it out!

  22. Hi Sam,

    Great goals for 2017, especially on splurging and buying a fancy car (if you generally like cars, it’s worth it)! Let us know how you like that. In terms of passive income streams, which types do you recommend for people who already have a full time day job?

  23. Best of luck achieving your goals in 2017 Sam! Looking forward to seeing how you can grow this site. It’s been one of my favorites for years now. I’m always impressed with your content.

  24. Another inspiring post Sam! Thanks for laying out everything you hope and expect to happen in 2017. I look forward to following along. I have a feeling you’ll end up in Hawaii someday soon, even if you have those two kids.

    1. I’m determined to be in Hawaii in five years time :) I will make it happen because it’s just a choice I need to make. After spending 2 years remodeling here and there, it would be a shame to then just sell the house or rent it out. Gotta enjoy the fruits of our labor!

      Best of luck to you in 2017!

  25. My goals for 2017 are to pay off some debts and continue developing my skill and business. I think I can increase my income by 40% over last year. I am worried about the economy, but think I’m finally positioned to take advantage of my worry.

  26. Great Post as usual Sam. Your posts have been very inspirational. I first came across your blog in early 2011 when my net worth was about 250k. Since then I increased my net worth to around $2.3M. My income from passive investment (rentals) is at around 25k, which I would like to bring to around 100k in 5 years or less. I also started a part time gig which now pays more than my salary. I am not sure if you meet your fans, but I would like to meet you personally and thank you (I live in the bay area). For someone who grew up dirt poor in India, I feel like I am living the dream. Thank you making a difference in my life!

      1. Pretty much what you recommend in your blog. We were already quite good at saving, but we were not investing. Bought 4 properties from 2011 to 2014 in south bay and east bay. Started maxing out on our 401ks. Wife got a job that matches 100% of her 401k contribution. I started a part time gig that doubled our income. The increased income was fully utilized either as down payment for properties or invested in stocks. Obviously, the market has been really good last few years, so the growth has been spectacular!

        1. Sunil, mind sharing which companies do 100% match in the bay area? Google does only 50% and I am now planning to look for a new job.

          Sam – I have enjoyed your articles and it is the only blog which does not focus on saving $5 lattes. Hope your site does not get diluted with focus on family finances. Also would love to buy you a steak dinner. Enjoyed your election bet with WSP

          1. GE digital in San Ramon. They match 8% of your salary. So if you get 200k, they contribute 16k to your 401k. If you work in south bay, Netflix is the company to work for. My jaws dropped when I heard the salary for a senior developer!!

            1. What’s the jaw dropping salaries for a Netflix senior developer nowadays? $500,000? I love Netflix! I could have bought the stock at $10 back in 2006 when Reed Hastings spoke at my MBA commencement. So sad I didn’t.

  27. Very ambitious goals, but I think you hit most of them by the end of the year!

    How much do you sleep each night? It’s amazing that you’re able to hustle through such voluminous content and depth in the writing. I like the spending goals that you have. Would be interesting to see which mid-life crisis car you’ll be getting. ;-)

    1. Realistically, I sleep about 6 hours a night on average. It doesn’t seem to matter when I go to bed, it’s always about 6 hours later e.g. 10pm pass out, 4am wake up, midnight pass out, 6am wake up. But I’m usually always awake before 6:30am, which is when the stock market opens.

      If the average person sleeps 7 hours a night, then over a course of 10 years, that’s an extra 3,650 hours I get to produce. Hence, life is easier! How many hours do you sleep?

      I know which mid-life car I’ll be getting and plan to have a fun reveal in April :)

  28. Yours is actually one of the only blogs where I will look at the huge numbers and not go all cross-eyed. Can’t wait to hear more about the podcast and ebook. And thanks for lighting a fire under my butt, too. As much as blogging is 100% a hobby for me, I can and should take it more seriously. Maybe I’ll finally pick a new theme this week ;)

    1. Great! You’ve always got such a positive attitude. I didn’t pick a new theme for 3 years and things went fine. Think about new ways to deliver and produce content on your site. I think that’s probably going to create the biggest benefit. GL!

  29. Ive read FS regularly for several years since before you engineered your layoff and definitely have been inspired to create passive income streams and work harder and negotiate better in my career.
    However, I admit lately I have started to tune out. You are in an entirely different level than me. This is no fault of your own of course, but it just means I am having difficulty relating. Your financial goals are on a different plane than my current struggles.
    I think its a great idea to hire another writer that can relate better to avereage people like me.

    1. Awesome! That’s a long time reading then Roberts. Let me know what are some of the actionable steps you’ve taken since you started reading and also what specific topics you’d like me to address this year to help relate better.

      Also, if you could critique this post, Abolish Welfare Mentality: Janitor Makes $271,000, I’d appreciate it. The idea was to highlight a regular job to relate to as many people as possible, then highlight the massive income upside with aggressive hustle.

      Thx for the feedback!

      1. Since I’ve been reading FS, I have:
        purchased a rental property
        tracked my NW in Mint and my investments in PC
        Set and met goals for NW increase
        Demonstrated a stronger work ethic at my job and got a bigger bonus

        I have never had a problem with debt and knew all the basic personal finance material prior to reading you. What attracted me were the ideas on passive income and how I compare to my peers.

        The hurdle that I have is getting started with the side hustle. I am married with kids so time and commitment is an issue, but I also admittedly waste time. There does seem to be a mental roadblock of where to start.

        My favorite post so far is this one:

        That woke me up to the fact that I often consume more information than I use (as I regularly use my tablet). I am still an avid reader, but also trying to do more. I think I need more of a kick in this direction.

        I’ll review the above post in a new reply.

      2. It’s a good post to show how just about anyone can make a large income if they dedicate their time and energy.
        I like how you itemized the traits needed to be rich.

        The critique is that working a bunch of overtime is not sustainable over the long term like the janitor did.
        Family obligations and shadow work (working on the house, chores, etc.) subtract from available hours. The cost of an unhappy marriage and bad home life would exceed the potential benefit of working crazy hours.
        I guess this means that my number one goal in life is to not necessarily be rich, but to lead a happy, balanced life. Money is part of that goal, but I am unwilling to sacrifice all else.

        I think the last part of believing in yourself is the real kicker. This is where I struggle to get started. I tend to experience paralysis through over-analysis. In evaluating risk, sometimes I can think of more reasons not to do something than to do.

        I noticed that half of your commenters have their own website. I am curious about their experiences. Did FS help them to get started? Are they successful, did they fail? Are they married with kids? How many hours do they work? Do they like their lives?
        I have found that big goals seem easier when I meet people that have accomplished them.

        1. Thanks for sharing your critique! It’s true, such outsized earnings does take a lot of effort. And if it takes so much effort that it starts hurting your happiness and family life, then it’s got to stop. Related: The Ideal Balance Between Active And Passive Income

          Financial Samurai is a happiness blog. Money and creating more wealth is only for creating or maintaining your happiness and improving the happiness of others. Happiness will always be what matters most.

          The question you and other readers have to ask yourselves is this: If you’re happy already, who cares about the money?

          And if you do care about the money, do you care enough to make some sacrifices? And if you don’t care enough about making some sacrifices, then who cares about the money?

          My point being is that everything is rational. We only change if we feel uncomfortable or want something bad enough. If we don’t change, all is actually good because it means we are happy with what we have. This is one of the keys to enlightenment! Related: The Joy Of Living Within Your Means

          A lot of commenters are bloggers b/c that’s what bloggers do. They get to know other bloggers, network, leave links, and enjoy reading articles in similar niches. No different from any other field.

          Anybody who TRIES is a success to me. Anybody who doesn’t bother to try, but still is unsatisfied is a failure.

          1. Thanks for the reply and the perspective.
            I am pretty content with my life and standard of living. Of course when I see other people do better I start getting discontent because I am an innately competitive person :-)

            The main reason I would want more money is so I could leave the work force earlier. Even then I would still probably end up working part time because I like what I do.

            The question I have to face is do I continue on the active income path and retire in about 20-25 years? Or do I hustle for the next 10 years and shoot for FIRE and/or a higher standard of living?

            A healthy balance of passive/active income (thanks for the link) seems to be the way to go for me. Still, I am drawn to the unlimited upside potential of a side-hustle. I have a decision to make.

            Thanks for your insightful posts. This is still my favorite financial blog.

  30. Hi Sam, I’m really like your site. What real estate crowdsourcing opportunities produce income at passive rates? I know active management does but I don’t think the E-REIT’s like Fundrise do.

  31. I swear I’ve never heard you mention that you have a wife! I know this is a FIRE/business blog; however, we are curious about the man behind the curtain! Would love to hear a little about your personal life every once in a while.

    1. Then you haven’t been reading carefully enough over the years Dan! You first. Tell me all about where you are from, your marital status, income, net worth. Gotta have an equal playing field! :)

  32. Great list of goals Sam! I need to get you that list of Kindergarten assessments so that you can get prepping some ideas now that thinking about a family is in the plan ;) My biggest plan for 2017 is leaving full-time work. Just ran the numbers again – have the confidence now. Just need to say “no” and after the day I had today (having to read and interpret court papers as a dad was screaming at me on the phone…) – it won’t be as hard as I think! Excited to see the changes and the synergy with Sydney too!

    1. Ah yes, the Kindergarten assessments. No rush! I have about 4-5 years lol. Seriously, no rush. But when you do, I will make a post out of it and link back to you.

      “No” is great! I’ve got about 17,000 unread e-mails now after I created my FAQ auto-responder. Auto “No’s”! Feels awesome!

  33. Bora Ozguven

    I don’t understand why some people give haterade to your articles. I think that you are doing a great job giving us new ideas plus they can always stop reading of they don’t want to.

    Have a good year Sam ;)

  34. “Therefore, I’ve decided to publish a unique book on real estate investing. It’s going to be one of the most entertaining and thorough books about real estate on the market. It’ll be an actionable book that anyone from beginning investors to experienced investors can use to help create wealth, build passive income and avoid extremely bad mistakes.” – Great idea! However, I hope it’s not just related to crowdsourcing, but also acquiring physical proprty as well.

    “I’m currently most excited about entrepreneurship, real estate crowdsourcing and family finances.” – Same here.

    “Is Private Grade School Worth It? and Scraping By On $200,000 A Year to a warm reception.” – Two of the most most relatable articles you have written IMHO. The 1 Million Dollar Mortgage article is the one that originally caught my attention though because, like you, I feel that living in the nicest home possible (in the best location) should be one of the perks of grinding.

  35. Sam:

    With respect to the bond portion of your portfolio, do you invest in individual bonds or bond funds? As you know, bond funds decline as interest rates increase and we certainly seem to be at the beginning of an increasing rate environment.

    If so, how do you access these individual bonds? Does one have to be an “accredited” investor? I know Fidelity offers some, but seems extremely limited in their offerings.

    Finally, good luck on the starting a family goal. Doesn’t always happen exactly when you want but the “practice” isn’t too shabby either :).

  36. You can really feel that the post is soaked with your positive energy, really empowering. The beauty of setting goals, is that by setting them you won’t reach them until you change habits. Many of the goals should not end once they are reached, but will probably change your life for the better, especially the personal goals.

    Been reading the blog for a time now, but really love the goals you have set for yourself. Even if you not meet them, by the end of the year you will feel a lot better because you grinded your ass off instead of not quitting.

    Best of luck!

  37. Hi Sam,

    I love reading your posts, and subscribe to your blog via RSS Feed. I have one question which I have been unable to find if you have ever discussed.

    Question: I currently max out my ROTH 401k (18,000), and receive $9,000 in employer match (traditional 401k). I have the option with my employer to save an additional $20,000 per year in after-tax savings. This is convertible to ROTH via in-plan conversions. I know you are not in love with ROTH, but would you max this out as well? There is no match on the additional $20k.

    1. Hi JaGo,

      It depends on how much liquidity/cash flow you have. There was a point where I was saving an additional $10,000 – $20,000 automatically in my 401k after hitting the max b/c I liked the investments (some unique funds only available to institutions and investors), and was making good money. I knew I’d be able to easily sell/withdraw what I contributed over the maximum if needed.

      Just make sure you understand the withdrawal feasibility and process.

      Related: Should I Roll Over My 401k Into An IRA?


  38. Nice Sam! You beat yourself up over 2016 a little bit too much I think– I was sincere in my last note that you did very well with your 2016 goals!

    I’ve discovered that I can do three really difficult things at once. That’s it. To me, something really difficult is an activity that is outside of my norm. The keys seems to me to change my norms, but sometimes it really is hard– hence, the rule of three!

    Good luck! This is a superb list of goals.

    1. Howdy Mike! I can’t change if I don’t do a little self beating. It’s all good though.

      I agree w/ you on not being able to do more than 3 things at once. It’s probably why I highlighted the three failures in the beginning.

      Porsche Macan Turbo here I come! You’d approve, right?


  39. Keep the great posts coming! Thank you! I’ve learned a ton from you over the years and even re-oriented how I do my own annual goals using your format. My financial motivation is much higher thanks to you Sam. Keep going and ignore the haters! They are a small minority.

    1. Thanks Chris. All good. There’s this law of 1%. No matter what, you will have at least 1% of folks who disagree or really dislike you. If you have 1,000 visitors a month, then perhaps 10 folks will never approve.

  40. Your goals are awesome. I think it’s a great idea to push it hard in 2017. Once you have a kid, it is going to be a lot harder to put a lot of time into your businesses. Well, your wife is retired too so it might not be that tough. Good luck in 2017!

    1. Yeah, we’re hoping that with both of us not having to commute to a day job, child raising will become easier. It’s been all part of the greater plan. The timing isn’t perfect, but the plan seems to be working out so that we can be the most present parents possible until our child starts hating us as a teenager :)

  41. Great post. I’ve been wanting to save more each year and I’ve been on track to saving 30k a year (some of it pre-tax) but taken more than the man is going to be hard. I need to make more. Appealing to the masses sounds like a Great idea since you’re already exploited your niche here for Bay Area people.

    1. Rob, the way you are really going to save more is to make more. I’d try grinding another 10 hours a week on a side-hustle. For example, after studying/working an extra 20 hours a week on my MBA part-time at Berkeley, I was left with a void 3 years later. I replaced that void basically with FS in 2009.

      Your mileage may vary, but get out of the normal 40 hour a week mindset and hustle harder while younger. You won’t regret trying when older!

  42. I’m definitely trying to improve people’s life. Thats a great goal. Also America has to get its saving rate up or we have a questionable future as a nation. Keep spreading the message.

  43. Happy New Year Sam! Around the end of last year I kinda felt some pessimism in your posts for a short time, but reading your 2017 goals makes me feel you’re seeing the future quite bright. That’s good to see! Most importantly best wishes for starting a family. That’s gonna be the most rewarding (none financial) investment of your life!
    Regarding your questions, I have also made my yearly plan (we’re having some differences in the number of digits :) ). The biggest one is buying my first rental property, so hurry up with that book! :) In terms of the economy I’m expecting this year we’ll see parity in EUR/USD, bond yields in US will continue to rise over 3% and European stocks will outperform US ones.

  44. Wendy (FSO like your folks)

    I understand wanting to broaden your audience, but I hope you’ll keep the focus primarily on “beyond the basics” topics. Blogs that tell you to spend less than you earn, pay down debt, have an emergency fund, and max out your 401(k) are a dime a dozen. Quality writing about more advanced personal finance issues, however, is relatively rare and provides welcome inspiration for those of us who are a bit farther down the path to financial freedom.

    1. My first topic will be: 10 Ways To Save $10 On Soap!

      I think it will be a lot of fun :)

      Remember, even if you garner 100% of the top 10%, you still lose to someone who garners 12% of the bottom 90%.

      Talking about basic personal finances does not preclude me from writing about my usual personal finance topics. That’s the beauty of having your own website. You can load the train with as much as you want!

  45. robert clayton

    IGreat article! Motivator to come up with goals for 2017. Here are some of mine.

    1. Reduce the amount of stuff I have. I want to evaluate all of my clothes and personal belonging to significantly reduce what I have before the end of this year. I just started with t-shirts and got rid of 12 without trying. The minimum goal will be to reduce my clothing by 25%.

    2. Increase my safety net. I took a sizable portion of my liquid assets to buy a house, and now it is time to refill. My goal is 6 months of net-salary by the end of 2017. The final goal will be a years worth of salary, but that could take several years.

    3. Invest more. I am looking for additional places to save for my retirement. I have maxed out the 401K. Would like to figure out somewhere to put $500 a month to diversify, and generate long term growth.

    Keep writing and ignore the haters! I always find you articles to be interesting and thought provoking.

  46. Hi Sam,

    Nice article. However, im disappointed.. if you have soo much work why not start hiring people to help you? Making the business run itself will allow you the freedom to go do more meaningful work.

    Can you also help readers with the following topics:

    – Annuities
    – All Season Investment strategy
    – Dollar Cost Averaging
    – Rebalancing
    – Insurance, both life and private pensions
    – financial Advisor vs Financial Fiduciaries

    Thank You,

    1. Thanks for the feedback article. Sorry to disappoint! I will do my best to grind harder in 2017 to make this site better.

      That’s a great idea to allow the business to run itself. What type of business do you run where you’ve allowed it to run automatically? I’ve got Sydney on board to focus on more general financial topics, women’s finances, and family finances. I’ll look to hire more people this year as well, especially after the tax cut. Any suggestions on how many people and who in particular to hire?

      What are some meaningful work items you think I should pursue for 2017 and beyond?

      For your desired topics, please check out:

      A Better Way To Dollar Cost Average

      Investment Strategies For Retirement Based Off Modern Portfolio Theory

      How Often Should I Rebalance My Investments?

      How Much Life Insurance Do I Really Need?

      How Do I Calculate The Value Of My Pension

      Questions To Ask Before Hiring A Financial Advisor

      The Best Way To Maximize My Financial Advisor

      Use Rule 72(t) To Withdraw Money Penalty Free From An IRA

      Thanks for reading and let me know how I can help you further. Check out the Search box on the top right hand corner for any other articles you are looking for.


      1. Stubborn Old Guy

        Great set of year end, New Years posts.

        Figuring out how to staff the blog would be interesting to walk through.

        Would publishing three books a year with 200 posts increase your valuation by enough to justify it? Would a staff give the buyer warm fuzzies that the business isn’t just a one man show? How would it look?

        Thinking in part for myself: Maybe you create the ideas, they do some research, you trim and select the topics. Then add personal content and have someone build graphics or tools to go with it. I think my New Years resolution will be to find ways to delegate bigger parts – it would be interesting to see how that could work with a blog.

      1. It’s no problem. I try and provide as much valuable as possible and figure out how to always improve. My hope is that he responds with specifics so I can get better. It’s part of the grind!

  47. Action Economics

    The new book sounds like a great idea. How long did it take you to write and publish your severance book? 6 months to write and publish a book seems extremely ambitious!

    Good luck on your new adventure of parenthood. I’m sure having a little guy running around the house will also bring inspiration for hundreds of articles and new subjects to tackle for the blog.

    1. Took 13 years of experience analyzing over 50 rounds of layoffs, but less than 6 months to write, edit, and publish my financial freedom book.

      I think it will be the same with real estate!

      Family finances will be great. I love the interplay between relationships, money, and family.

  48. Always interesting to read your thoughts. 8% returns sounds great but what options are there for those that aren’t accredited investors. I’ve thought of starting a blog but seems hard to have a voice in the crowded internet unless you have some type of expertise. Ive looked at online business and websites for sale and the multiple is 2-3x annual profit which is a lot better that any stock investment. Do you really get offers for 8x, seems really high? I think online business multiples will keep going up so that is my focus now.

    1. Brian,

      I’m definitely a BUYER of online properties that are stable and are willing to sell for only 2-3X annual profit. I’d start SMALL, see if you can optimize, and go from there.

      A 3 year payback period, and then a 33% EVERY YEAR on a business you buy for only 3X annual profit will blow away 99% of public and private investments around.

      The internet has always been crowded.

      Related: How To Start Your Own Profitable Site



  49. Hi Sam, I have followed you blog for a while. After reading this post I am energized!! I am going to make 2017 the best year yet. My goals include: eliminating my full service broker and increasing my passive income stream. I have read a lot about real estate crowd funding with the intention of investing but I am hesitant to invest.I am not sure how to evaluate the offerings.With that said I am excited about your posts. Have GREAT NEW YEAR! I will be following.

  50. Great post! I think your goals are inspirational. I am in the process of developing a personal financial goals and determine the amount of money that is really necessary to make me happy.

    I really smiled when reading #3 “Start a family”. You stated that you should thoroughly plan before you have children. There are so many variables that you cannot control having children. Children will put a strain on a marriage. Raising healthy well-adjusted children is not based on financial wealth.

    I especially like # 4 “Spend like I will be dead in 10 years”. When I turned 40 years old ( which was a while ago) I told my mother that my life is half over if I am lucky, if I am not so lucky it is more than half over. People are living longer. Longevity however is still a game of chance. I would also like to mention that the quality of life is greatly diminished if you are alive and suffering with dementia. I try to live life like it’s golden.

    For 2017,1) I plan on giving more money to charities. I am developing a list of several organizations that I would like to support which share my ideas. 2) I plan to increase and max out my 457b plan. I have already maxed out my 401K. 3) Contribute to my adult children’s IRA 4) I plan to visit more friends and relatives around the country.

    1. Excellent goals and thanks for sharing! Hopefully with my focus on family financial topics, you’ll be able to part with lots of your wisdom! I always LOVE hearing from readers who’ve been there. It’s the best way to learn.

      I eagerly anticipate all the ups and downs of parenthood and more that comes with it. Having a blog to write about my experiences will be a lot of fun, and cathartic when times inevitably get difficult as well.


  51. Well, nothing like shooting low, huh? ;)

    If you do half of this it will be impressive!

    Let me know if I can help in any way. If not, I’ll certainly be reading and cheering from the sideline.

  52. Awesome goals for the year! I feel the same way about you on Always Be Grinding! I’m going to grind harder in 2017 to try to create new revenue streams.

    Thanks for sharing your goals!

  53. Sam, I’m looking forward to your grinding in 2017 and seeing what is to come. I’m particularly interested in real estate crowdsourcing myself and will be anxious to see what you produce.

    As for me, 2017 will be the first full year of the blog so I will be grinding as well. I’m hoping that the new President doesn’t trigger a major world war and that the economy keeps humming along.

    Congrats on deciding to start a family, of all of your accomplishments, I’m sure it will be one of the most satisfying – Happy new year!

    1. Man, World War III would be GREAT for my newly created bond portfolio though! But all the lives lost.. not so great, so scratch that.

      Best of luck to you in 2017 as well. I’ve got my ear on the ground with the real estate crowdsourcing industry b/c I’m meeting with all the players, actually moderating a panel in February, and have all my alerts up regarding fund raising, etc.

      It’s game over for coastal city property price moment for now. Time to invest in the heartland of America!


    I am very much looking forward to your real estate e-book. These are great goals for 2017 – its is going to be an exciting year! This is the first year I have made concrete goals, and I am pretty excited about it. There’s no better feeling than meeting and/or exceeding your goals. I’ve set multiple financial goals, but my main goal is to grow my blog. I started it a couple months ago and have been enjoying it immensely; however, it needs some significant improvements. I print out my goals and stick them to the fridge so I have a reminder in case I start to get lost.

    Good luck in 2017!

    1. Good stuff! Check out reader Sunil below. He went from $250K net worth to $2.4M in five years time b/c he set goals and took advantage of the bull market. Amazing!

      I sense similar amazingness for you in your future. It’s so obvious to me now who are the folks who decide to hustle and who are the folks who will regret their lack of hustle five years from now.


  55. The Green Swan

    Great goals for 2017! I like your new found excitement, we should all take a note from your book there. Speaking of books, we all look forward to seeing what you create in 2017. I think “spending like you’ll be dead in 10 years” is an interesting one. I think it’s great to shift your spending mindset a bit seeing that you have build a great retirement nest egg. I’m a believer in habits and since you have lived a frugal life already, you won’t be able to unleash all together and get yourself in trouble. Meaning, you might say you’ll spend like you’ll be dead soon, but you’ll still be very reasonable. Good plan!

  56. Nice list of goals. I’m really interested to see how stepping more into the spotlight will work out for you. Untempleter is also a great addition to the site. I like her stuff as well.

    Our situation in 2017 is all about adjustment. We made some major changes at the end of 2016 that have yet to settle. I’m also not sure we are done making changes. As such our goal is to grind to find a new equilibrium in life.

  57. Go Finance Yourself!

    I’m really excited for 2017 as well. Both from a business and personal standpoint, a relief from taxes is much welcomed. I’m looking to continue to diversify my investments through real estate and P2P lending in 2017, but still feel bullish on the stock market for next year. We may not see double-digit returns again in 2017, but I still think it will be a positive year for stocks.

    A few of my goals for 2017 are to write over 100 posts for my blog, invest $45,000 during the year, and get my golf handicap down to single digits (12.4 today).

    Thanks for sharing your goals, Sam. I selfishly hope that you continue to run Financial Samurai for years to come and don’t sell. Your blog is the one I look forward to reading the most each week!

    1. I used to really like P2P lending, until I saw the defaults pile up. The returns are still in the 7%-7.5% range, which is great. But I personally cannot stand it when individuals welch on their debt.

      But with real estate crowdsourcing, also a form of P2P lending, at least there’s a physical asset that can be sold to recover some of your money. With P2P lending through Prosper and LC, borrowers can just bounce with no collateral left behind!

      100 posts a year will be great. Go do it! I got down to a 9.6 handi, and it felt great. BUT, the fun of golf dissipated b/c I was now expected to get on in regulation every hole. Each bogey was a major pain. The best handicap sweet spot is 12-16. So much fun!

      1. Go Finance Yourself!

        I’ve been invested in P2P lending through LC for a little over 4 months now. I haven’t had any default yet, but know it’s just a matter of time because of some of the riskier loans I invested in. It still won’t be a big part of my portfolio even after I double my investment this year – less than 3%. So it’s still an experiment for me. We’ll see how it turns out.

        I’m a fan of real estate crowdsourcing as I’m not big on becoming a landlord at this point in my life. I’ve thought about buying rental properties in the past, but the added stress of finding a good tenant, collecting rent, and the possibility of evicting a bad tenant outweighs the benefit for me at this point. I’m still new to real estate crowdsourcing. Like P2P, it’s a very small part of my portfolio that I’m using to test it out.

        I’ve been at the 12-16 handicap range for a long time now. I’ve just never put in the work to get it lower. Busy with life and all the other excuses. This year I’m determined to break through and will be setting up a practice plan. My club is literally 300 yards from my office so no excuses!

  58. Apathy Ends

    Good set Sam!

    I haven’t posted my goals yet but they are not as ambitious on the saving/investing front this year (baby coming in March will definitely change our finances up). We will have to focus more on new income streams and see if we can bump our rates up at the same pace as last year.

    Good luck in 2017!

  59. Erik @ The Mastermind Within

    Hey Sam,

    I hope welcoming aboard Baby Sam brings you the most joy in the world!

    When I read the title, I knew I would enjoy the post. I believe hard work, luck, and determination are important factors when trying to succeed.

    It is currently 5:12 AM and I made sure to wake up early so that I could read others’ blog posts and make comments. Since I have a relatively new blog, I want to build up traffic. By posting on very successful blogs like yours, I can build some traffic more effectively! After commenting on others’ blogs, I’ll be off to the gym to work on my personal health goals!

    For me, my personal goals include consistently getting into the gym, reading 75 books in 2017, and growing my new blog.

    Sam, you’ve been influential to me through the past 5 years and I’m ecstatic you are fired up to make 2017 the best year of your life!

    Hope you have an enjoyable day, Erik

    1. Brian Robben

      What’s up Erik? Cool to see you on here because I read Financial Samurai too, isn’t he great?

      1. Erik @ The Mastermind Within

        He is definitely a very knowledgeable and determined individual! Certainly a role model of mine :)

    2. Nice job hustling Erik! I used to do the same and read and comment on all my favorite sites as early as possible back in 2009-2011.

      If you can keep up a 5am wake up schedule and work for 1-2 hours on your side hustle before going to work, I am very confident you are going to surprise yourself in 2-3 years on your progress.

      Fight on!

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