All right, now that it’s June it’s time to check in on my progress against my annual goals. New to the site? You can find out more about my annual goal-setting process here in my annual report. Since it’s a new month, this is the point where many PF bloggers will either calculate or share their net worth. My net worth calculation is a quarterly process, so I don’t get to find out what it is until July.
As an aside- I used to calculate net worth monthly, but have found going to quarterly to help me with both obsession (I used to constantly think about what kind of change I’m going to see) and with market changes. I’ve been an investor through both the Great Recession and the tech crash of 2001, so market dips don’t scare me. I’ve been there-done that-got the t-shirt. In fact, I’ve had the dubious pleasure of being able to see my net worth go down by 20-30% in a few months back in 2009. I prefer to ignore the noise and “stay the course” as Mr. Larimore of Bogleheads fame would say. If you find yourself getting too caught up in market movements, I’d highly recommend giving this a try.
So without further ado, lets check in on my successes (and failures) of the month. And yes, there’s both!
2017 May Check In
Oldest – On Track – My oldest son continued to attend Scout meetings, went on a campout to teach younger scouts how to cook, and continued his Merit Badge workshop to earn two Eagle required badges. To become a Star scout, he needs to earn four Eagle required badges and serve for four months in a position of responsibility in his troop. He already meets all the other requirements.
He currently attends an arts middle school, and will be starting high school in the fall. He’ll be going to the full time program at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, which is in the old Colt building in Hartford. He’ll be concentrating in the visual arts (drawing, sculpture, photography, etc.). Over the summer he’s taking a course in 3D computer modeling and animation at a local college. It’ll be fun!
Middle – On Track – Shrek the Musical is done last month, and this month was the final band concert and chorus! Only a few more weeks left until school is done, then he’s headed into fifth grade. His last year in elementary school (sniff).
Youngest – On Track – Can count to 10 pretty consistently now, and occasionally beyond. He’s obsessed with reading books now – he’ll shove them out you and beg you to read every day. Current favorites? “Brown Bear, Brown Bear”, a Thomas book. a book about counting bugs, and a Thomas the Tank Engine book. He has tons of hand-me-down books from his older brothers, and sometimes he’ll just sit in his room and look through them. Alphabet is about the same as it was last month.
Leadership Development Program – On Track – This will run through the end of the year. The intern I interviewed ended up not taking the position in my area, which was honestly a bit of a relief after she blew off our first interview and confessed her long term career goal is to be a teacher. Nothing against teachers, but if that’s your goal, why are you working for a Fortune 100 company? I have a new hire joining the team next month and need to get on prepping for her onboarding. This month (June) I have a week long course over in PA as part of this program.
Current Project – On Track – I’m managing about $10 million worth of IT development work right now, which is about twice the size of my prior programs. I’ve been told by some of my peers that it’s running “like a well oiled machine”, and I continue to aspire to issue avoidance rather than constantly fighting fires. I already had to rescue this program once, when I first took it over – I don’t want to do it again. Had a few issues this morning as we entered our first round of integrated testing (fellow IT friends will know what that is) but nothing insurmountable. We enter the next big round in just about a month, and I expect that one to be much more eventful.
Agile Transformation – On Track – Not much progress here this month, but things are moving along.
Blogging – On Track – OK, I said this last month, but holy wow, was this an amazing month. Last month I had my best month yet!
To date, I’ve had nearly 10k visitors (over 27K views now!), with 1,880 Twitter followers, 197 Pinterest, 209 Instagram , 56 Facebook, and 170 direct blog followers on WordPress/e-mail – an overall increase of nearly 500 in just the past month.
A sincere thanks to each and every one of you who’ve connected with me on social media and have followed the blog! I can’t express just how great it’s been to connect with all of you. In May the increase in my followers was – thanks again if we’re connected! And if not, thanks for reading – stay in touch with me on your favorite social media through the links above.
One note about the traffic – my blog is a total secret from everyone in my life except my husband. So none of this traffic comes from my personal Facebook page, or my LinkedIn profile, or any of my personal social media.
I’ve also met my goal of posting four times per week, still getting in the habit and getting practice writing. I was featured in quite a bit this month-thanks to everyone who is sharing my content and enjoying my articles!
- Big Features: My feature on the Stacking Benjamins podcast launched in May – here’s the episode! Also I had a guest post over on Budgets Are Sexy – a huge opportunity from a blog I’ve been a fan of for years! Thanks J!
- Guest posts: Other than my post on BAS, I had two other Mother’s Day guest posts – over at Dad, Dollars and Debts on bad Mother’s Day gifts, and at Spillar Spot on getting back to the real meaning of Mother’s Day. My interview over on Our Financial Path was also published this month. Check them out!
- Features on Other Blogs: I made sure to keep a record of all my features so I wouldn’t forget any. If I did forget any, be sure to let me know so I can add it in! My College Compact article seems to be frequently featured – I really liked that one and may expand on it in the future.
- Money Matters Daily – Living on Lentils
- Dad, Dollars, Debts Hump Day
- Keep Thrifty – Kids allowance round up
- Steward and slave – Don’t unlock your paycheck
- ESI Money – Star Money Articles of the week
- Get Richer Quicker – Camp FIRE May 14th
- Dad Dollars Debts – Finance books for recent grads – I was one of the voters over on the Rockstar Finance Forum. Not a member? Stop by and join the conversation!
One New Recipe Per Month – Done for May! – I baked quite a bit, as usual. For a new recipie I actually created one for triple chocolate cookies. There’s cocoa and melted chocolate in the dough, in addition to chocolate chips. Delicious!
One new art project – Done for May!– I had an hour of downtime at work waiting for my computer to be backed up so it could be replaced. Without my computer, I can’t work. So I used my downtime to make a cool drawing of a dragon.
Read Four New Books Per Month – Almost! I got burnt out on personal finance basic books after reading three this month – The Automatic Millionaire, Smart Couples Finish Rich, and Personal Finance in your 20’s and 30’s. Three out of four’s not bad.
Create a New Section of Garden/Re-Do One Room in the House – Finished the garden! I got a bunch of plants for Mothers Day and planted the new section in the garden. It’s doing nicely, and all my perennials are growing nicely. Now I need to get going on redoing a room. I’ve been distracted by refinishing my great-grandfathers childhood rocking chair – scraping away at least 100 years of paint.
Determine FI Goal & Plan to Get There – Nothing this month. According to my current plan (assuming no emergencies hit that require adjustment) I will be mortgage free just before I turn 40. While the mortgage payoff and college (details below) are my short-term and mid-term goals, my longer-term goal is FI. Maybe next month I’ll be able to get more concrete? Again…
Save 60% Toward Mortgage Payoff – DONE – on to stretch goal – My stretch goal here is 70%, and I’m still directing about 13% of my after-tax income to this goal. I want to have this mortgage gone before I’m 40, well before my oldest heads off to college in order to free up cash flow for school and give me more financial freedom and options. Want to learn more about why it’s important to me to pay off a 2.75% mortgage early? Check out my story here. Right now I’m still at slightly over 65% of payoff amount saved, slowing creeping toward the goal.
Save for College – 70% for oldest; 50% for middle, 20% for youngest – On Track – Continued automatic college savings draft for all three boys this month, and continued setting aside some extra for the oldest since he’s off to high school in August (feeling old now). As of Q1, I was sitting at 58% funding for oldest; 42% for middle; and 11% for youngest. This was an aggressive goal, but if I hit my mortgage stretch goal I’ll redirect more funds here.
Spring Road Trip – Complete in April! – Check out more about our trip here.
Day Trip – Done for May! – We took a fun trip to the beach before Memorial Day weekend, when it was only $9. Not only did we visit the beach, but we also got to go to a free nature center at the beach. Tons of fun! Although no swimming – the water in CT in May is still ice cold.
Camping – On Hold – Still on track for summer.
Continued Health Improvement/No Surgeries – Still On Track – Knock on wood!
One Long Family Hike Per Month – Fail! – Nothing this month. Ugh. On to next month.
Walk At Lunch Three Times Per Week – A bit better – I managed to walk a few times at work this month, but I’m still looking to do better. I walked a lot on some weekends, and more at work. Continued progress!
How Are You Doing?
Interestingly, over 40% of you may have already given up on your resolutions or goals for the new year. If that’s you, don’t worry about it – recommit. People who make resolutions or goals are 10 times more likely to achieve them than people who don’t. If you want this to be you, you can’t give up just because you may have had a day, week, or even several weeks (or months!) where you went off track. Instead of giving up, use this time to reflect. Are you on progress to achieve what you set out to? Did you have some major fails? The past is in the past-the only thing you can change is your future. So go ahead and make it a great one!
What are your 2017 goals? Have you done a check-in to make sure you’re on the right track, and to either recommit or re-plan if you’re not? Let me know in the comments!
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