Writing Down Some Short-Term Goals

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Watching the Olympics has been both inspiring, entertaining, and also taking up a lot of free time. I can’t believe the amount of dedication these people have towards their goals. I am trying to go back to setting regular monthly goals, and writing them down always helps.

A rough list:

  • Visit a live foreclosure auction at county courthouse, just for the experience.
  • Buy a term life insurance policy.
  • Learn more about long-term disability insurance.
  • Read one financial book per week, and take notes.
  • Learn more about financial analysis of potential rental property.
  • Investigate solar water heater credits, and get quotes from contractors. Also look into solar fan for roof/attic.
  • Have a series of dinner conversations about finances with wife. Teach her the details of managing all household finances if I am incapacitated. (Show her where I stashed all the money in all these bank accounts…)
  • Help parents firm up outlook for retirement based on current assets. Help them complete rollovers of 401k/IRAs to Vanguard.
  • Plan international travel somewhere. Currently thinking of hiking the Inca trail in Peru.
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  1. Jeff Davis says

    You might consider including the planning of international travel in that dinner conversation. That way you counterbalance such a heavy topic with a fun one.

  2. On the solar attic fan:


    If you have pre-existing attic gables vent and excellent soffit vents:


    I’m thinking about doing the same thing with my attic. I have a gable vents in both of my attics and would like to add solar fans to each one.

    Also, for the DIYer… a video on how to install a solar attic fan.


  3. You should definitely make sure you have long term disability. I almost think that it is more important to have than life insurance. Did I just say that? Don’t tell my boss.

    Why do I think long term disability may be more important than life insurance? If you die or are disabled your income is gone so that’s a wash. The difference is if you are dead you don’t create any expenses for your family anymore. If you are disabled you still have living expenses and your health care may cost more depending on your disability. Also your spouse may not be able to work if you have a disability that requires constant care.

  4. I hope you do the rental property analysis soon as I am considering the same thing. When we move I’m trying to decide if we should rent the place or sell it. Rent might not cover mortgage+condo fees+property taxes at first but in a couple of years it would. In DC so should be easy to find tenants. Would probably use a property mgmt company. Lots of factors so it’d help to see how you’d analyze it. Like the blog.

  5. I attended a “courthouse steps” foreclosure auction last year when I was considering getting more heavily into real estate investment. It was a great experience, but if your county auctions are anything like mine I think your dinner-table conversations about finances will be more exciting. There were several houses up for auction but only 2 or 3 serious bidders, and the pace and energy level of the proceedings were more like deciding what to fix for dinner on a Tuesday night than what I’d imagined. In many ways it was reassuring in its lack of excitement.

  6. Seriously, you do need a vacation and more than one ASAP.

    I don’t know how old your wife is, but you will probably want to consider trying soon if she is 30 or close to it.

  7. The Olympics have been inspiring, haven’t they? They have made me want to become more active in team sports in the community. I think reading one financial book a week is a very ambitious goal. Next month, please tell us if you were about to accomplish everything.

  8. I’m not sure if you are an only child, but I would be very careful rolling your parents funds over to Vanguard. Vanguard is excellent for accumulating wealth, but not very good at distributing it. You may want to check out this article in Forbes:


  9. Have you been thinking about buying more real estate as rental properties in the near future? It’s something I’ve thought about and would be interested in doing, but as I’m buying my own first personal residence in October I am a ways away from purchasing rental property.

  10. I was also thinking of telling my husband how to handle everything if something should happen to me. But I really think the easiest way is to get a little notebook (I was thinking a red book for some reason), and write down all of your accounts, from the mortgage to the utilities, to the bank accounts, retirement accounts, web addresses, everything. You can leave nice, clear instructions in this book. Then just let your wife know where the book is being kept and she can figure it out on her own, if it comes to that, right? I’m only saying that because when I tell my husband we should go over this stuff, he seems very un-enthused. A book is probably better.

  11. FYI-
    My ex-girlfriend and I did a weekend paper route (not too glorious a gig, but it worked with our schedules as full-time students and restaurant servers) for 6 months and used the $3,000 in earnings to FULLY fund 3 1/2 weeks in Peru and Bolivia, including airfare. That was in August 2005, and our airfare was about $1350 total.
    We traveled “on a shoestring”, but we did go with a great outfitter to do the Inca Trail to Macchu Pichu, and we did establish and uphold the standard that we would only stay in hotels/hostels in which we had our own private bathrooms.
    South America can be a very affordable travel option!

  12. Oh, and perhaps I should add that the trip had nothing to do with the end of our relationship. Ha – just in case you were worried.

  13. Nice list. Couple other travel ideas.

    Kilimanjaro is a nice hike and a little less remote.

    Arroyo Rock is fun visit with plenty to hike and even some nice resorts despite its remoteness.

    Angkor Wat or Angkor Thom (if your jungle inclined). I would go to Pattaya (Thailand) and hit the temples across the border from there.

    Pattaya (Thailand) and Perth Australia are probably my two favorite locations out of 100 contries visited.

  14. ni hao ma?

  15. I did A LOT of research into disability insurance and almost bought a policy. I mean, I had it down to the company and was speaking regularly with the person. Only buy the best quality from the best place otherwise you don’t know if they will come through for you. The biggest thing I learned was that the fact that I make almost all of my money through computer-related activity (I have a home-office and do computer consulting) that I would have to be practically comatose to not be able to work. This made the idea of disability insurance unattractive for my personal situation. But I didn’t realize this until the very end. They don’t pay you if you earn an income, no matter how disabeled you are I guess.

  16. Have you read the book Getting Things Done? I really like the system for achieving small goals. It makes you write everything you’ve considered doing down, and if you really want to do it, you come up with a “next action”. Your to-do list then becomes next actions, not whole projects, so the project slowly becomes doable. It’s great, except for the fact that having *everything* written down is a bit daunting to look at sometimes.

  17. Jeff – Good idea 🙂

    Tom – Thanks for the links. A friend has a solar fan and it really helps keep things cooler.

    Michael – I agree. We have group disability through work, but it might be nice to have a portable policy.

    Brian – That’s what I heard as well, but I think that’s a good thing. I want less competition. 😀

    Start-Up – I am more interested in learning more about the rental market in general. Are there good deals, are they getting better with prices going down, or are rents going down as well.

    mimi – Agreed, I do have a secure file with a list of accounts as well.

    Michael and RJ – Sounds like a blast! Yes, hopefully Peru or Thailand will be slightly easier on the wallet. Now to carve out some time!

    Eric – Wo hen hao.

    Gretchen – Yes, that is definitely a concern. There are more expensive policies which are “same occupation” or have more restrictive clauses which allow you to work as long as it is not in the same occupation. OTOH, I guess it is good that all I need is a computer to keep working.

    Susannah – GTD has been collecting dust on my bookshelf for a while. I should read it, although like you mention I don’t know if I’m the super-organized type. I’m just going for “better-organized than my previous slob self” right now!

  18. Another Personal Finance Blog says

    We gotta get that life insurance, too. Especially now that our daughter is almost one! We got some quotes from our insurance agent. Have you priced any out?

  19. Sir Jeffrey says

    Just having returned from travelling overland to Angkor from Thailand, I have to say, they’re an awfully impressive set of ruins. That said, a ticket to Bangkok or Siem Reap will set you back handily. If you’re itching for ancient civilization, Tikal in Guatemala has some incredibly impressive stuff, and a plane ticket to Guatemala City/A bus to Flores wouldn’t sting your wallet nearly as much as Peru or SE Asia.

    Then again, I do Maya archaeology, so I’m probably a bit biased…


  20. Make Money says

    Impressive list, a book at a week, I would like to research some better heating, just had roof insulated so getting half way there – a holiday is always a good break and will help you with your long term goals.

  21. great post. nice, short and sweet. thanks for the post

  22. How do you manage to read a book every week?

    I just can’t seem to be able find a time that I will motivated enough to pick up a book to read. I thought I am doing pretty good already because I found out I am motivated to LISTEN to books while commuting to work everyday. That helped me to listen 2 or max 3 books each month. I am really amazed at being able to be motivated to read a book each week. How much time do you need to spend to read? and when do you read? how do you cope with motivational problem like too lazy to read?


  23. I usually read a little right before I go to bed. How much I read mainly depends on how sleepy I am and how good the book is. I also read at Starbucks occasionally on weekends for a few hours at a time. I just like the smell of cafes. 🙂

    A book per week is pretty aggressive though, I agree. I should really try books on tape.

  24. Ernie Ayres says

    Since you’ve been reading 7 Habits, I’d recommend reading David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” if you’re getting back to your goal planning. His approach is different than Dr. Covey’s and I find it works better for me. I am a procrastinator though! 🙂

    I’d also recommend “Focal Point” by Brian Tracy…same ideas as far as goal setting.

    Thanks for such a great blog!

  25. auntie_green says

    There is also a company – website is http://www.audible.com – you can download books onto your iPod. If you are going to try to do a marathon, you could listed while you train (marathon as from your bucket list post a few weeks ago)

  26. Beginner in savings.. says

    When planning for international travel, do you use any specific credit card inorder to maximize the benefits. I know there are many Credit cards from respective airlline providers but a comon card like Amex,visa,mastercard which would give some cashback or earn us skymiles. Am planning my trip to Asia and was wondering if I could stack it up with some US skymiles since the travel would be more than 20000 miles.
    Pls do throw some light on this. Would really appreciate it.

  27. I can vouch for the Inca Trail. Absolute best trip of my life. Most physically exhausting task I’ve ever done. I’m young and fit and carried my own pack. It will be pretty intense if you carry your own packs, but I’ve never seen better 360 degree views anywhere. In my opinion, the trail is the only right way to see Machu Picchu!

  28. Hi,

    You have a very interesting blog, congratulations. I assume you have a full time job, so where do you find the time to find the information to post? How long does it take you a day to keep the blog? Just curious how you do it…

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