By: Revanche

2018: New year, new plans

January 8, 2018

I broke this out of my 2017 year end review because it was too unwieldy. Besides, fresh new goals deserve their own post. Correction – some are goals, some are just habits to build.

At first, I thought my trouble setting goals this year was because I don’t know exactly what I want next for our family and that makes it hard to plan for the next 1-3 years. That’s true. But there’s another aspect to it. I’m instinctively doing something sensible.

Being laser focused on one thing, wealth building, is a good Right Now habit. It’s that habit that gets me to the goal. But it doesn’t prepare me for achieving success in the big picture. Like coming into money when you’ve not had any before and haven’t had time to build good money management habits retirement, whenever it happens, is a huge transition.

On the micro scale, obsessing about money when you’re making it is easy, replacing that obsession when you’re retired and only spending or managing it is likely much harder. On the macro scale, I’m starting to envision the person I want to be in ten years. I want to be someone who has the time and energy to go on adventures, someone who explores the world a bit and then comes back to her books and little gardens at home, who doesn’t have to work for income and can relax with her family at home most days and entertain herself doing volunteer work. I want my family to have the best shot at education and opportunities they can handle, and the confidence and support to go for them.

To become that person, I’ve got to start working on improving our health and fitness (for PiC and me anyway, we’re Old), improving our finances, researching soil pH and garden planning.

Hello 2018!

These three were more like directives to make decisions left over from 2017. I’ll likely spend time on these over the course of the year.

  • Organize our retirement funding for tax and income efficiency.
  • As part of the above, research the backdoor ROTH IRA and decide when would be best for us to do one. I think I’ll need our CPA’s help running some numbers for this.
  • Decide if we’re going to hoard more cash (investing it) or pay down more mortgage, then do it.

{Money Goals}

  1. Max out PiC’s 401(k), my IRA, his IRA, and one parent worth of contributions for JB’s 529. Is it cheating or good planning to have already set aside the funds for JB’s 529? Let’s go with the latter.
  2. Save 35% of our income in addition to the above contributions.
    This is a stretch as expenses go up this year but I’m trying anyway.
  3. Invest at least $50,000.
    I’ve got much of this set aside from the home sale, I have to cash flow the rest of this amount. This may go to our brokerage, but then again the stock market is so high that I’m hesitant. I’m researching other investment options. This isn’t just about willpower and saving, it’s about making myself take the leap of putting this money to work somewhere instead of holding onto the cash like the miserly miser that lives in a small corner of my heart.
  4. Reduce mortgage principal by another $10,000.
    We’ve made huge prepayments in 2017, I won’t set a huge goal here until we see how our new mortgage and the tax plan settles down.
  5. Increase charitable donations by 50%.
    We can do better with donating. I was originally thinking 75% but remembered we also give to people in dire straits that come up during the year and that’s not “charity” but it comes out of the same money pot.
  6. Increase side income from $2000 to $5,000
    This will be tougher this year because I’m not motivated to play the Chase bonus game again which accounted for $1100 in side income but who knows. I might change my mind!
  7. Create a FIRE outline
    I’ve been putting this one off because I know our assets are low in comparison to even our lowest milestone goal for being comfortably retired. I think we need approximately $2M in invested assets, free and clear of real estate liabilities.

{Health & Fitness}

  1. Walk or run an extra mile every day for an average of an additional 365 miles this year.
  2. Put on sunblock before we go out every morning.
    This shouldn’t be difficult to remember considering where we live but we forget constantly. Skin cancer is no joke! I’m carrying sunblock in my bag from now on so that it’s on hand even if we forget to do it before stepping out the door.
  3. Get PiC out for runs at least 3x a week.
    We haven’t done a good enough job of making space in the schedule for him to do this and it’s bad for everyone’s mood when he gets out less.
  4. Read Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s The Odyssey.
    I bought this partly to support the first woman translator of the text and partly because an excerpt showed it to be a really accessible and readable translation, unlike what I slogged through in high school. I don’t love or hate the classics, but I think it’s important to feed my brain which feels like it’s been atrophying.
  5. Sleep train JuggerBaby again.
    Ze has been nightmare-ridden for months and so wants us with zir always at night but we’re working on zir sleeping alone again.
  6. Supplement Seamus’s diet with veggies so he doesn’t think he’s starving.
    He already gets canned sardines for his skin, and it’s done wonders, so doesn’t need extra calories but he needs more bulk because he still thinks he’s hungry. We briefly experimented with a huge treat for him that had green beans, potatoes, butternut squash and venison. The smart money is that he loved the venison part but he gobbled down the rest of the veggies as well, so we can cheaply add some of those to his daily kibble.


  1. No more hard boiled leprosy eggs. I’m baking our eggs from now on.
  2. Bake mini muffins once a month.
    Got a great, and most importantly, super duper easy favorite recipe? PLEASE SHARE.
  3. Mail hand-written letter to one of JuggerBaby’s surrogate grandparents every month.
    Do thank you cards count? I haven’t decided.
  4. Perhaps add to our family.
    We’ll see.

:: What are you working on in 2018? How are you working on becoming the person you want to be ten years from now? Who would that person be?

25 Responses to “2018: New year, new plans”

  1. I’ve been thinking a lot about becoming my better self now rather than post-FIRE. For me, the first step has been to reconnect with my past self, i.e. the me that still had dreams. I’m starting to reconnect with my past self’s creativity, curiosity, and general joie de vivre. That’s meant a lot of reading and hobby-based tinkering. For whatever reason, I have always felt so much calmer and at peace after going through a classic (much more than reading even excellent long form online). Best of luck with the gardening!
    Yet Another PF Blog recently posted…Cooking As A Means To Health, Not FrugalityMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I’m glad you’re also working on this. I really do think it’s important for us to do that so we’re not burnt out husks at the end.

  2. Those sound like good, reasonable goals. I’ve been thinking about sitting down and trying to re-optemize my money so it’s working the hardest for me. I’ve been in a bit of set it and forget it mode. Best of luck for 2018!

  3. Joe says:

    Whoa, that’s a lot of goals. Good luck!
    What’s this about baked eggs? I have to check that out. Sounds more time consuming to me.
    Definitely max out your tax advantaged accounts. That’s a good move every year.

    • Revanche says:

      Thanks! Baked eggs takes more time BUT I should be able to peel them without having the egg stick to the shell and that’s totally worth it to me. I get so irritated when the shell peels away big parts of the egg.

      • Teckelvik says:

        The sticking is a side effect of freshness. After about a week, enough air has leaked through the shell to leave a little gap between the shell and the albumin, so it peels easily. Either age them a week or so before boiling, or embrace the stickiness as proof of freshness.

  4. SP says:

    That’s a great vision for 2018! Yay garden!

    I’m kind of stuck on mine, aside from a general approach for our finances for the first few months. I think our true target is similar for true FI/RE in this area – $2M investable and a paid off house. Such a long road, but I guess the only way to get there is step by step!
    SP recently posted…The FIRE community doesn’t feel like my communityMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      It’s SUCH a long road, esp when we’re contemplating the impact that kid(s) can have on those goals.

      • SP says:

        We’re hoping for kids soon! I’m excited, but also terrified! Well, first i’m terrified that it won’t happen quickly or worse, it won’t happen at all (no reason for the concern, I’m just a worrier!). But second, terrified that it will happen quickly and the fantastic progress we’ve been able to make the past few years will slow WAY down to normal. I guess it is a “problem” that I want, but it will be a big change for sure!
        SP recently posted…2017 Financial ReviewMy Profile

  5. We also need to figure out whether or not a backdoor Roth makes sense. We scheduled a call with my husband’s CPA, and he basically blew us off because he was busy with another client. Then he had the nerve to send us a Christmas card! So, back to the drawing board. And I know what you mean about wanting to invest more, but then not wanting to because prices are high. For now, I’m hoarding cash to pounce when I see things have cooled a little bit. We’ve finally set an EF number and will be investing the rest.

    I’m also looking for a new credit card to sign up for. Any ideas? With the FinCon costs, I’m looking for another travel cash back card–I think I’ve found a BoA one that could do the trick (as I’ve already had Barclays and Capital One Venture).

    Yes to sunscreen! I feel like the damage has been done for me, since I never wore it as a teen, but at least I can try to prevent future damage.

    Also, life goal #4 = !!!

    • Revanche says:

      RUDE! I hope you find a better CPA.

      I think that hoarding cash now is going to be the strategy after all, though I will feel silly about doing that a second year in a row if the market doesn’t crash for a while yet.

      Any sun damage you can prevent starting from now is worthwhile!

      Life goal #4 could be anything – Seamus 2.0, anyone?

  6. Cindy in the South says:

    Fantastic goals!

  7. I’ve been sick all week so not only have I not done any introspecting about 2018, I’ve also fallen down on the 2017 goals that I’d been good about. (In the past 7 days, I did no political action and I did no exercise.)
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Complicating rather than simplifying our finances: Opening another savings accountMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      I think your job right now is getting better! I have to tell myself that all the time when I’m sick. Forcing myself to work on things as normal contributes to feeling bad much longer, at least.

  8. NZ Muse says:

    Yes to sunblock- I’m finally wearing an SPF moisturiser daily, so badly needed!

    Mine is a bit woo and that is around being more mindful, present, trusting my gut, going with the flow, doing what feels right for me and my body and mind. And pay for house projects 😅
    NZ Muse recently posted…A short, sweet, 2017 highlights reelMy Profile

  9. You know better than I do what is good for Seamus to eat–but I can tell you that my dogs loved the mix of chicken, rice, oats, and canned pumpkin that I gave them when they shared a stomach bug in November. (Thankfully, they only had it for a day each–but the food was a hit!) Anyhow, maybe something in there would work for him, too.

    • Revanche says:

      Oh he would absolutely love chicken and rice but I’m leaning toward plant matter for lower calories at the moment. The pumpkin could work!

  10. Matt says:

    What an absolutely amazing list! I have to admit I am a little in awe.

    For me, this year its more about digging into my business and growing it to the point of profitability. It’s really challenging having to rely on credit as you’re trying to grow something.

    The biggest part that I struggle with, in the planning are the items beyond the financial – friends, family, social.
    Matt recently posted…Pressing the reset button!My Profile

  11. Eesh, I feel like such a slack reading those goals — especially because I have zero of my own. At this point, it’s just “survive the year, put aside money.” That’s it. No other plans whatsoever.

    I suppose I should work on that…
    Abigail @ipickuppennies recently posted…How to jump into personal finance (without drowning)My Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Bear in mind that some of these are TEENY. Like sunblock. Which I forgot again this morning. DANGIT!

      But also I spent all of last year and the year before, and the year before THAT, on survival mode, too. So it’s time to get my shoes together.

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