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Archive for the ‘money’ Category

Let’s Talk Money

I have been saving like a mad fiend during the pandemic. There wasn’t really anything else to do. I have loosened my purse strings a little the past two weekends, but I want that to be exception. I need to remember that spending money is not a solution when I am lonely or sad. That had been my crutch when I was married. Man, did I spend some money on a whole lot of stupid stuff.

I am preparing to pay off my car which will reduce my savings but increase my monthly cash flow. I can replace the money in my savings in about the same time I would have paid off the car loan. My savings can take the hit. I prefer to have the cash flow and zero debt.

It will be the first time in my adult life that I don’t owe anyone a single penny. No car payment, all bills paid on time. Savings for retirement, my HSA and emergency fund all accumulating nicely. I have been saving over 25% of my income. Yes, it’s a tad aggressive, but I needed that catch-up. Once my son is done with school and his stipend ends, I will increase my disposable income. I got a modest 2% raise this month which I applied towards my 401K. I am thrilled to have any type of increase during these crazy times and I say a word of thanks for this job each and every day.

When that car is paid off, I will have paid off over $50,000 of debt in the past year. Yes, $50,000 between the IRS, credit cards and the car loan. Wow. Yes, half of that was my dad’s most generous Christmas gift. In my mind, it doesn’t matter so much where it came from. What matters is that I took responsibility for my situation and did what I needed to do to make it right.

My credit score is now over 800 for the first time in my life. I never dreamed getting it up there so quickly. Yes, it will take a hit when the car is paid off, but I don’t give a rat’s ass. I pay off my credit card in full each month and use it only as a convenience and to keep it active. Sometimes I make two payments in a month so it doesn’t get away from me.

I will have a little more disposable income with the car loan paid off because I won’t send the entire payment amount off to savings. I am in the midst of renewing my apartment lease. They foolishly asked for a 6% increase. Yeah, ask all you want, but that’s not reasonable in today’s economy. I have already countered. They have no idea of my negotiating skills, but they are about to find out.

Life is good. I am feeling peaceful. The next big audacious undertaking is to get the weight loss program back underway. I can do this. I just need to make better choices. At the end of the day perhaps that has been my biggest lesson over the past several years — make better choices….

Birthday Reflections

My best writing and thinking takes place early in the morning with a cup of coffee for company.  I wrote all of this while on vacation and am just getting around to transcribing and editing my handwritten notes.

I had a lazy day on the couch during my vacation.  I simply vegged either in front of the TV or on the front porch with a book in my lap.  I think it was because my mind was examining some big questions and needed the time and space.  Here are some of the topics I examined:

  • The repercussions of being single with limited nearby friends during a pandemic.  This issue has resolved itself somewhat.  Friends, family and coworkers have stepped up to volunteer assistance should I need it.  I am blessed and thankful.
  • Now that cases are escalating exponentially, working in the office, even with a mask is a bit fraught to say the least.  No shit, Sherlock.  I wrote this BEFORE I realized I might have been exposed and before Florida hit over 15K cases in a single day.
  • Vacations for the next few years will be limited for many reasons.  I do not see myself flying anywhere unless there is a damn good reason.  Rats because I yearn to travel.
  • What and where will retirement look like for me?  That is always a question for me.  I like to plan and this is the biggest unknown for me.  My pragmatic side hates the uncertainty of this.  I just need to accept that I have limited control over this.  I need to identify what I can control and focus on those things.  A topic for another post.
  • Can I handle a decade of my boss who can be a handful on occasion?  This is looking like it will be my last full-time job if all goes well.  I believe the answer is yes.  Everyone has their moments of questioning their employment.  Will the company navigate this recession successfully and without major layoffs?  Too soon to say….

I wrote all of this as I sat outside on the front porch of my parents’ mountain home.  It was a beautiful morning.  I listened to the birds and watched the chipmunks scurry around the yard.  I turned 56 this year.  I am pensive because I am on the downhill slide to 60.  LOL.

I have a decade of full-time work left in me, hopefully.  A decade to save and plan my retirement.  A decade to make a home in my new community so I can decide if I stay or leave during my golden years.

I am happy having my free time be for just me.  I am happy to be doing little to no compromising these days.  It is a first in my life.  I have spent a lifetime compromising and letting loved ones’ needs come before my own. 

Birthdays are a great time for reflection.  50 years ago I was a young girl living about 2 hours from this mountain home.  My parents were in the midst of splitting up.  My mom had a breakdown and was hospitalized for a few days.  My dad was having an affair with his now current wife of almost 50 years. It was 1970 and all the adults in my life were acting in self-centered ways to the detriment of me and my older brother.  My mom was a borderline personality.  She claimed their psychiatrist labeled my dad a sociopath.  Let’s not get hung up on labels and let’s just generalize it and call them both selfish.

The result of selfish parents, for me, was to counter balance with over-giving.  I have always given too much.  Too much time doing for others, too much time putting others before me, too much time for futile causes, too much money for others rather than saving for myself, too much, too much.

Now I am learning to value myself and my time.  I am learning the value of no and boundaries.  It is a bit uncomfortable to express those boundaries, but each time I flex that muscle, it becomes stronger and easier.  I look forward to it becoming more effortless and less guilt and anxiety producing.  When I first wrote out the previous sentence, I wrote it as a limiting belief “I am never going to think…”.  As I transcribed my handwritten notes, I recognized the limiting belief.  That is a minor victory!

I feel safe these days.  I feel like I have navigated my little lifeboat into a tiny, safe harbor while a storm of catastrophic proportions rages around me.  I feel small when looking at the vastness of chaos all around me. I know this single year of 2020 is a turning point in history, yet I will carry on having normal days of work and home.  I am very fortunate.

I also feel incredibly fortunate to have my little boat safely anchored.  I now longer strive to have trappings of success like expensive clothes, car and a fancier home. Minimal suits me far better. I am happy in my cozy oasis of an apartment.  I may decide to redecorate.  I need to do something with my grandmother’s dining room set.  I think I will get it refinished.  Maybe change the seat covers even though she needlepointed them all.  Perhaps I will frame them instead or just store them for the kids. Fewer belongings mean fewer ties and responsibilities.

I have led an incredibly interesting life compared to many.  Yes, I know many others who are even more interesting and that’s fine. I am no longer competing.  I am content to realize I will always have a story, an experience, an understanding for almost any conversation.  That is an accomplishment.  I also have learned to be a good listener and appreciate the stories and experiences of others.

I have kids who are simply amazing.  I listened, on vacation, to my son’s friend tell him how amazing my son is for living in Asia for a year.  What an accomplishment that few people have achieved.  My son felt and looked rejuvenated and recharged from this vacation.  He needed it as much, if not more, than me.

My daughter is in a league of her own.  Finding her soul mate has made her journey easier.  Their communication with each other is light years ahead of my relationship communication.  She is still wrestling with conforming to society norms.  I continue to encourage her to follow her heart without guilt.  What do I mean by that?

For example, she has discovered she doesn’t like to teach.  I get it.  Her patience is a precious commodity.  She feels guilty because her residency program has encouraged her to teach others, but it is not in her DNA.  I asked her how many doctors of her specialty teach and she responded less than 20%. I replied that her mentors knew from the beginning that the odds were against them for her to teach.  I said she shouldn’t sweat it. 

Perspective – perhaps that is my best gift to friends and family.  I offer gentle perspective when appropriate.  Blunt, but I also hold back at times.  It is a nuanced diplomacy that I have been blessed with.

There you have it.  Maggie’s morning reflections on a porch swing with delicious coffee….

Photo by Jeb Buchman on Unsplash

Spending Fast

My primary financial goal right now is to save.  Save as much as I can.  Hoard it. I am not increasing my 401k.  I am simply stashing as much as possible into savings.  I am doing a minor amount in an SP 500 Index fund because I do think dollar cost averaging could benefit me in the long run.

I have spent too many hours looking at porn and need to stop.  Wait – porn? Yes, Zillow.  Real estate porn.  That is a rabbit hole of wasted time.  I need to delete the app. I am not buying anything any time soon, so I need to stop.  All I need to do right now is save and wrap up my Will, etc.

Saving is not easy for an over-buyer like me.  I prefer to spend. I have line items within my savings earmarked for things like my car fund (repairs and future new car), travel fund (that’s not being used anytime soon), emergency (#1 priority).  You get the point.  I need to save.  I need to be prepared.  For what?  Life.  It has a way of forcing you to spend money when you least expect it.

I keep telling myself that I don’t need anything, and I don’t.  Then I go out and buy a steam mop and cordless vacuum.  I could replace a pair of shoes or two.  However I am fine. My pantry is full, my apartment is furnished, my closet full of clothes spanning three sizes so no matter what I will have clothes to wear.

I use to shop to try to fill the emptiness I felt in my marriage.  Often I would shop when I was feeling blue.  It didn’t really help. I ended up filling my house with crap.

When I separated, I wanted all new stuff so I shopped some more.  I bought new kitchen things, furniture, linens.  That felt pretty damn good, but I went over my budget.  I should have saved that money.

Now I catch myself wanting to shop from boredom.  No bueno. My apartment is small.  I don’t need anything (except shoes – I can always find a place for shoes). I need to save. With 30 million unemployed people, I need to be very careful.  Careful with my job and careful with my money.  Both are key to my survival.

I doubled my monthly savings rate two months ago.  It is ambitious for me, but so far doable. My savings is on auto withdrawal and sent to my USAA account.  I like it there – just far enough away to be a bit inconvenient to use.

The only debt I have is my car.  I use one credit card for things like take-out and groceries, but it is paid off every month.  The only other discretionary expense is my son’s monthly stipend.  That will last another 12-18 months probably.

He will be finishing grad school at a horrible time.  It will be interesting to see what happens.  His field of studies is very specialized, so perhaps he will surf through this tsunami.  Time will tell. The good news is he is a frugal guy, so I know that he already has a plan and savings.

I quickly ran through my April spending.  Hmm, I ran at a minor deficit overall.  When I poked into it, I discovered $300 of discretionary spending.  Not great, but not devastating.  Not too bad considering I was panic buying:  citrus for everyone, wipes for Taz, face masks for my son and me, rice cooker and pots for the Hunter (Easter gift), clothes for me.  Occasionally my Love Language shifts to gifts.  Easy cowgirl, rein it back in.

I just bought a cordless vacuum and steam mop.  I can’t seem to get my floors clean enough, so I am trying something new.  I consider that a long-term investment.  Let’s see how that works out. I also keep buying kitchen crap.  It needs to stop.  Seriously.  Time for a spending fast.  I just bought an ample supply of wine, cleaning products, toilet paper.  The only thing I will need for the 30-45 days are perishables (veggies, fruit, etc.).

Yep, 30-day spending fast, minimum.  Starting today.   I need to be smart with my money.  Step one is to stop spending.  Period.  I will report back weekly to keep myself accountable.

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Here & Now

What’s missing? That is the feeling that has been rattling around in the back of my mind.  It didn’t materialize until I put pen to paper.  What is missing these days?

The answer for me is social occasions.  Forming new friendships with women in my new town.  That was my top 2020 goal and now a formidable one.

I am not lonely, but I do want to broaden my social circles.  My Zoom Toastmasters helps.  I did a pleasant Zoom Meetup with a women’s group.  We had 5 on the call and it was nice.  I had been seeing the Hunter every weekend. I talk to my kids frequently and check in with my dad and BFF weekly.  Plus I have an office of friendly coworkers for idle chitchat and lunch. I cannot complain.

However, I am looking 10 years out to my retirement.  Holy shit, I only have about 10-14 years to go.  Crap, I am getting old.  What is my retirement going to look like?  Will I move close to Taz to help her with the grandkids?  My dad advocates for that.  I am happy to help.  I would love to do something like help run the marketing for her medical practice or help oversee the management side of things.  That would keep me busy, but that is the future.  What is here and now?

Here and now is no Meetups, no clubs, no concerts, no festivals, no beach, etc.  Here and now is a brilliantly beautiful day with cool air wafting on my bare legs.  Birds chirping, traffic humming past.  Here and now is a delicious cup of coffee.

Instead of searching for the missing, let me have a moment of pure gratitude.  I am so grateful for everything I have:

  • My kids – they are wonderful, accomplished and a source of joy, not grief or angst.
  • My cozy apartment – it’s cute, perfect for me.  It has nice, upgraded appliances,  granite countertops, a nice balcony with a pleasant view.  My apartment is filled with decor and furniture I selected.  It is a trifle eclectic, but very comfortable and I like it.
  • My job and steady paycheck – something I will never take for granted.
  • My health – I am strong, healthy with absolutely no issues other than my weight.  My thyroid may be a bit wonky, but I am taking no medications and feel great.
  • Friends and family – I have people in my life who love me and who I love in return. No drama – what a blessing.

I am so incredibly lucky and blessed.  My only debt is my car, which is very manageable and soon to be paid off.  This time last year I was in such a panic.  I had over $40K of debt and little income.  I was praying night & day that I would get this job because there was nothing else in sight.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  All I know is that today is a blessing and I am happy with all that I have.  I need to remain present and not fret about the future.  I am missing nothing, not a damn thing.

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Home, Sweet Home

I have another big project rattling around in the back of my head.  Do I buy a townhouse/condo?  Yes, an HOA or condo association can be fraught with peril, however, I also personally do not want too much maintenance.

I was reluctant to purchase a home after my divorce for several reasons:

  • Since 2013, when I was divorced, I thought the South Florida real estate market was too high.  Too frothy.  I had the money back in 2013 to buy, but the prices were too much of a stretch for me.
  • Plus I really wanted flexibility.  I still value my flexibility, and I did move quite a bit since 2013.

Now I am thinking about retirement and going through the thought process of having my housings costs stabilized and reduced by the time I retire.  If I can pay off the home and only have the HOA, real estate taxes, insurance and routine maintenance, that could keep my overhead fairly constant.  I do recognize that all of those costs aren’t fixed and one big unknown is the HOA/condo fees.

The age, type of real estate and demographic of the neighbors are all key factors in determining a suitable property. If the majority of the community are snowbirds, that would not be ideal for me.  Part-timers could potentially be far more resistant to adequate reserves and maintenance.  If common areas include clubhouses and golf courses, are there enough homes to spread the burden of these facilities?

What would be my ideal home?

  • One-story – no stairs.  If a condo, there must be an elevator if the unit is not on the ground floor.  I don’t want any mobility issues if this is my retirement home.
  • 2 bedrooms minimum.  Maybe 3 if the price is right which would give me room for a decent gym.
  • Nice open floorplan with a good kitchen.
  • I don’t want a postage sized kitchen or tiny bathroom.
  • Speaking of bathrooms, I find the big ones with the huge tubs and shower to be a waste of space.  Give me a good shower and no tub.
  • A garage would be fantastic.  Just a 1-car.
  • I really want a little bunker so if a hurricane is coming, I can bring my outdoor stuff inside, stick my car in the garage, close my shutters and leave.  When I am older, I don’t need to be in the aftermath of a storm.  Yes, I may need help checking it afterwards, but that can be arranged.
  • Speaking of hurricanes, I don’t want to be too close to the beach.  It looks appealing, but the aftermath of storm surge is awful.
  • I want a view — a lake, nature, whatever, but not a parking lot.
  • Some nice amenities like a pool and gym.  The gym isn’t necessary but would be nice.  Walking paths are important.  I love a morning walk.
  • Nice neighbors and activities

I am willing to renovate.  I have no fear of construction and have the experience both personally and professionally to handle a substantial amount.  Swing those hammers.

My thought process is to continue saving every penny possible so I am ready if the opportunity arises.  I think home prices will begin dropping over the summer as this new normal settles down on us.  If they don’t, that is fine.  I don’t mind having a robust rainy day fund.

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Wait a minute – there are stairs!  Photo by Adrien Aletti on Unsplash

 

Wait, What?!

My dad had his house for sale. He and my stepmom moved into an assisted living situation. The house had been on the market for months which had my dad so frustrated.

I was concerned they had it listed during the throes of downsizing and de-cluttering. He put a pretty penny into it to freshen it up.   Money I wasn’t convinced was going to make much of a difference.  No luck. He called me grumbling about the situation.

I was concerned enough to call a girlfriend who put me in touch with a realtor who specialized in that area. She secret-shopped it and recommended a 6% price cut. I knew my dad was not going to be happy hearing that.

I was trying to figure out how to discuss this with him. During a phone call two weeks later he pipes up that the darn house is under contract with only a tiny price reduction. Say what?!

It got me thinking about “experts”. Who was right?  Yes, the easy way would have been to drop the price as the realtor suggested, but it ended up not being necessary.  Of course, his closing ended up being a bit fraught, but the durn thing closed at the price he wanted.  It closed at a price/SF that is higher than comparable properties.  Interesting, right?  It has features that the realtor thought would be a negative and ended up as positives for this buyer.

As the old saying goes, never assume because it makes an ass of u and me.  Hmmmm, something to think about…..

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It’s Over

I am done with the Tax Man.  He is completely paid off and even returned a $500 over-payment which I promptly put towards my last credit card.  I will be debt free within 60 days if not sooner.  Wow.

I ran my budget numbers.  Until my stipend to my son is completed (mid-year 2021) and I pay off the final credit card, I am still on a strict budget.  However, the end is near.  I just transferred some money to my online savings account.  I am dropping money in it every month now to pay for some once-a-year payments (insurances mostly) along with slowly building up my emergency funds.  I feel safe.  What a feeling — I am not use to that.

How do you celebrate not owing Uncle Sam anymore?  Without spending – LOL.  I think a nice dinner at home with a lovely glass of wine will do nicely as I rent another Oscar-nominated movie.  Last night I watched “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”.  Thoroughly enjoyed it.  I think “Parasite” is up next.

Thank you, dear Karma, for leading me to this new chapter.  I am truly grateful.

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Photo by Anastasiia Rozumna on Unsplash

My Bucket List

I started my travel bucket list and wanted to blog about it, so I don’t forget 🙂  Here we go in no particular order:

  1. Alaska:  A small ship cruise combined with a train.  I want to see it all.  I have wanted to see Alaska for many, many years.
  2. Napa Valley:  Good food, good wine and add in something along the Pacific Coast Highway.  A trip filled with beauty, relaxation, maybe some spa time?
  3. Italy:  Ah, Italy.  You have been on my bucket list for longer than Alaska.  Venice is a must.  The Amalfi coast, Puglia, Milan, Florence, Rome, Tuscany.  This may need to be two trips.  Walking through Tuscany, exploring Amalfi and Puglia.  I am enthralled with a long, leisurely exploration of that country.
  4. Greek Isles:  another small boat cruise through that beautiful area of the Mediterranean.
  5. France:  Provenance, Versailles.  I have explored Paris, but to wander its streets again would be lovely.
  6. Costa Rica:  the country fascinates me.
  7. Hawaii:  Not the touristy stuff, the cool nature stuff.
  8. Vancouver Island:  Butchart Gardens and just exploring that area of the Pacific Northwest.  I have been to Seattle and Vancouver, but I want to explore more.
  9. Take the train across Canada.  That has always fascinated me.
  10. Take the train across the US Rockies.
  11. Go to a cool, picturesque mountain/winter town for a snow holiday.  European, Canadian — something that looks right out of a postcard.
  12. Thailand – maybe, the beauty is amazing.
  13. Iguazu Falls in Brazil – I have been to Brazil three times and never made it to the falls.  I have really wanted to see them.
  14. Maine in the summer or a Fall cruise (I enjoy small cruises).

Now that I sit down to write this, my list isn’t impossible.  I started sputtering out after #10.  Maybe I will add to this.  Places like England and Ireland interest me, but the list above gets me headed in the right direction.

My idea is that my first big trip for this reset of my life would either be Italy or Alaska.  Budget:  $10,000.  Yes, I can probably do the trip for less, but I think a travel savings account of $10,000 would give me the comfort level to take off.

Not only is the money missing, but I need to build up my vacation time (PLA) at work.  I am usually a “use it up” type, but I would like to carry a little over (10-15 hours) for “just in case”.

I have plotted out some blocks of PLA time for this year, but I am going to keep my activities simple and frugal.  I want to keep my life simple in general so I can continue my good, frugal habits.  Travel is the exception of that rule.

Part of my fun with travel is the planning.  I will enjoy that, but first, let me finish my adulting.

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Photo by WanderLabs on Unsplash

Adulting

I was thinking about a Bucket List of places to see before I can no longer get up and go.  Before I jump into that fun list of places, I need to focus on saving for retirement.

I have a decent low 6-figure 401k balance, but I need to double it (or more) to feel secure.  I don’t want to rely on my kids.  This plays into my bucket list travel plans.  It falls down to three questions:

  1. Will I be able (or want) to stay at this job for roughly a decade?
  2. How much do I need to sock away to hit my retirement savings goal?
  3. Will that leave me enough to live nicely today and still save for some big trips?

Answer to all of the above questions:  I don’t know.  That’s the short answer  However, nobody knows much of anything.  The retirement calculators are a pile of crap for the most part.  Actually, let’s have a bitch session about retirement calculators.  Here’s what happened:

Step 1:  I wanted to see what would be my Social Security benefit.  I went up on Fidelity’s Social Security calculator and than the actual Social Security website.  Both were within a 10% range of each other.  OK, cool.

Step 2:  I went to Fidelity’s and then my 401k provider’s retirement calculators.  Both sites estimated my Social Security benefit being HALF of what the previous calculators provided.  HALF.

The cynical side of me says that the investment companies do this on purpose.  Think about it:  the more you invest with them, the bigger their fees.  Thus, why not use fear and extremely conservative estimates of Social Security to get more money out of people.  I know many people will debate the viability of Social Security, but let’s not digress.

I then wanted just a straight investment calculator, so I hit Dave Ramsey’s investment calculator.  Bingo.  I put in a conservative 8% and 10% return.  OK, conservative for me because I am a gambler/high risk investor.  This calculator shows that I will hit my target in 11 years.

To offset my high risk nature, I have my retirement fund in an S&P Index Fund (70% or so) and then the balance is in an Index US Bond fund.  I will keep that going for another five to seven years.  I am not too worried about the stock index fund because one thing I rely on is time.  Time still remains on my side.

When investment/retirement advisers recommend reining back the risk as you approach retirement, I ask, “Why?”  My retirement will be approximately 20 years or so.  Am I really going to plod along in the slow lane for 20 years?  I am not saying to jump into the most aggressive fund available, but I think a growth strategy works until maybe Age 75 or so.

This all digressed from my original thought of Bucket Lists, but don’t worry.  I’ll do that in another post.  This retirement savings question has to come first because it plays into my travel plans.  In my retirement, what happens to my healthcare costs?  What about assisted living?  Dementia runs rampant on my mom’s side of the family.  I need to be ready for that.

But shit, if I have high odds of ending up drooling in a memory unit, let me go make some damn good memories to forget!

I came up with some rules for financing my Bucket List:

  1. Trip must be paid in full with cash that has been saved specifically for this.  No credit cards, no robbing emergency funds or savings for other things.
  2. That travel cash has to be sitting in the bank before the first reservation is made.

How am I going to get there? First I have to get my financial house back on a firm foundation by completing the following:

  1.  Pay off the balance of my debt.  I have a little remaining with the IRS and my last credit card.  That should be paid off by May at the latest.
  2. Fund my emergency savings.  I want to get it to $15,000.  Currently it has $5,000.  This savings is specifically for my “Oh shit, I lost my job” situations.  Depending upon Maggie & Co proceeds, I think this will be funded by the end of the year.
  3. Have another $5,000 emergency “Shit Happens” savings for things like unexpected car repairs, broken phones, medical expenses not covered by my HSA or insurance.  Just a modest savings to cushion me from Murphy’s Law.  This would give me a total savings of $20,000 before tapping into anything else like my whole life insurance or retirement funds.  I think this also can be funded by the end of 2020.
  4. Complete my obligation to my son to pay him a modest monthly stipend while he is in grad school.  This should end in about 18 months.
  5. Boost my 401k contribution by 2% by mid-year.

Am I delaying my gratification too much?  I don’t think so.  I need to do some serious adulting.  Once again, it is very clear that 2020 is my catch-up year.  A year full of small steps and changes.  Nothing radical, just a steady habit of conservative, frugal choices to set my ship on a clear course to calm waters.

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Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

20 for 2020

I have been talking about my 20 for 2020 which comes from my girl, Gretchen Rubin.  I could not bring myself to do a 19 for 2019 because my head simply wasn’t in a place for it.  2020, new year, new decade, is a different story.  Here it is, in no particular order:

  1. Organize the 5 boxes of photos and photo albums.  An albatross of family memories I need to get cleaned up.
  2. Vision Board Party – I will be able to cross this one off by the end of January.
  3. Get both my general physical and gyn check-up.  Ugh, but it must be done.
  4. Flu shot – 2x.  I just got the first and I will get the second in the Fall.
  5. Pay off debt.  Thanks to my dad, this is almost 100% complete.  I hope to knock out even the car payment in 2020.
  6. Save $3000 in my emergency fund.  I want to have a more robust EF, but this will almost double what I already have set aside.
  7. Go to 3 live music events.  I love live music and whether it is a big concert or something small, I need more of this in my life.  Bonus points if it is outside.
  8. Connect with my Cousin Heloise.  I have a cousin (our grandparents were siblings, so however that works out) and she lives right in my backyard.  I have her phone number, now I just need to make the call.
  9. Try one new social event each month for 6 months.  This is part of my effort to work on my relationships (i.e. make some new friends up here).
  10. Go the beach for the day –  6 times,  I love the beach and I really need to make more time for it.
  11. Plan a special trip.  I don’t know if I will take it, but I want to start thinking about where, when, etc. logistics of a bucket list trip.
  12. Embrace YNAB and use it weekly.  Ugh, this may be one I  struggle with.
  13. Try two new sport/fitness activities.
  14. Ride the Palm Beach bike path.  I better hop on this before summer creeps up on me.
  15. Go visit my dad in his new assisted living digs.
  16. Visit a particular state park nearby on the ocean.
  17. Try 3 new beaches so I can find “my” beach.  Yes, it ties into going to the beach 6 times (#10), but I want to experiment.  Thus, it gets it’s own #.
  18. Have a spa day.  I love a good massage and it has been too long since my last spa day with facials, wraps, massage and the like.  I want a big indulgent spa day.
  19. VOTE!  I want to be an informed voter, so I need to understand local politics and the candidates better.
  20. Embrace my bullet journal.  First I have to start the damn thing, then I want to use it regularly.

What is interesting as I read over these none are specific to weight loss which is a big push for me this year.  Few are tied to exercise goals, another focus area.  Most embrace my “relationship” theme.

There you have it.  Big things and small things, but all of them are SMART (specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-based).  Yes, I know the A can often mean attainable, but to me that is too much like realistic, so I swap it for action.  Anyway, I will be writing throughout 2020 as I cross these off my list.

Have you made any goals for 2020?  Please share!

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Photo by Denise Karis on Unsplash

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