Developing A Daily Schedule To Achieve Goals

January 14, 2009

Recently, Kevin over at No Debt Plan posted about his daily schedule and if it was appropriate for what he wanted to achieve. His excellent post got me thinking about whether or not a more structured daily schedule would allow me to better achieve my goals for 2009.

Current Daily Schedule

Currently, I don’t have a very structured daily schedule. My employer doesn’t seem to mind what hours I work so long as I get my work completed. In fact, I have a coworker who routinely arrives at 1:30 pm.

Throughout the past year I have arrived as early as 7:00 am and as late as 10:00 am. Knowing that I can show up whenever I want usually leads to a lot of snoozing on my alarm clock and lots of wasted time in bed. I’m hoping laying out a strict schedule will allow me to put an end to this wasted time.

Other than work, I tutor 4 hours every Monday and Wednesday night (at least for the rest of the school year). Most days I like to find time for exercise. Depending on the season, I swim, bike, run or lift weights either immediately after I get home from work or sometime after dinner. The rest of my evenings consist of blogging, watching TV and playing video games.

Proposed Schedule

The following is my proposed daily schedule and the reasons behind each activity.

  • Wake up around 6:15 and swim – I’m trying to swim as much as possible to increase my cardiovascular fitness and lose 10 pounds. Ideally I will be able to lose some weight before the end of January when I will start running very very low mileage in preparation for an 8k. I’m planning on swimming to start my day to provide me with extra energy for the day. Also, my only other option for swimming is from 9-10 pm, which really breaks up my evenings.
  • Arrive at work at 9:00 am –Between swimming and leaving for work I will have to shower and eat breakfast. I’m hoping that I will have at least 30 minutes to work on my blog post for the day as well. I currently don’t eat much of a breakfast, just a granola bar of something similar. Having a consistent and semi-substantial breakfast should help me maintain a suitable level of fitness for exercising. Arriving at work at a consistent time should enhance my co-worker’s opinions of my professionalism.
  • Leave work at either 4:30 or 6:00 pm –On days that I tutor I have to leave at 4:30, but on days I don’t tutor I will leave at 6:00. On Mondays and Wednesdays I will work less than 8 hours a day and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday I will work more than 8 hours a day.
  • Personal time after work/tutoring – During this personal time I will complete any blog work that isn’t finished prior to going to work. Otherwise, I will play my video games, watch my TV shows or work to advance towards completing my 2009 goals.
  • Get in bed as close to 10:00 pm as possible – Ideally I will be in bed at 10:00 pm. I have a hard time getting myself to bed. I usually decide that working on my blog more, or reading a book, or some other random task is more important than sleep. For some reason I am delusional and believe I can continuously work with very little sleep. Hopefully, this daily schedule will allow me to accomplish everything that I want to and at the same time sleep enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Potential Future Modifications

This daily schedule may or may not apply when I begin running more mileage. At first I will start running on weekends only, however, eventually I will have to run during the week. I have yet to decide how my schedule will work when I start running more since I’m usually way too tight in the mornings to run.

Also, I’m hoping to start tutoring on my own, which will have a less defined tutoring schedule. This will allow for a little more freedom, and might be done on weekends only. Or I might be tutoring an hour here and an hour there during the week. Either way, I will have to take that into account later in the year.

Conclusion

I will try to provide updates every now and then with how strictly I’m adhering to my schedule. The hardest part about following through with this schedule will most likely be getting out of bed so early every morning, but I imagine it will get easier the more I do it. I’m looking forward to this schedule since I’m very motivated to get in shape. Now that I have my schedule defined, all I have to do is follow through. As the great Peyton Manning says “It’s on like Donkey Kong!!”

If you like what you have read please consider signing up for automatic updates via e-mail or RSS

mr_1_468x60

Advertisements

Personal Finance, Alternative Income And General Goals For 2009

January 12, 2009

I recently posted a round up of my 2008 financial goals. Due to poor planning I only accomplished one of my goals. The one goal I did accomplish (completing my condo down payment) was major. I did not lay out a plan prior to selecting my goals and therefore did not accomplish them satisfactorily. I have put a lot more thought into my goals for 2009 and feel confident that I can accomplish them with a lot of hard work. I’ve also decided to extend my goals beyond just personal finances for 2009, so without further ado…

Personal Finance Goals

  • Fully fund 2008 Individual 401k ($0/$10,427.33) – I have not funded any of my individual 401k for 2008, but I have until the tax filing deadline, April 15th, to fund the account. I currently have nearly $9,000 in cash and $6,100 in stock (Target and US Growth Mutual Fund) that I am willing to transfer into retirement accounts to tax sheltered. Originally, I was not planning on using these funds for this purpose as they are depressed and it’s not wise to sell funds when the value is low. I would be buying funds that are equally battered in my retirement accounts, so I would not be losing value.
  • Fully fund 2008 Roth IRA ($0/$5,000) – See above. I hope to be able to fully fund this retirement account as well before the tax filing deadline, however, the individual 401k is my first priority.
  • Fully fund 2009 Individual 401k ($0/$??????) – I will not know how much I can invest in this account for 2009 until I tabulate all of my 2009 self-employed income, which may come from tutoring or this website. I hope to put everything I make away as was the plan in 2008. I believe this is possible as I do not need this income for any of my monthly expenses.
  • Fully fund 2009 Roth IRA ($0/$5,000) – Even if I am unable to fund this account until after the tax filing deadline, I should still be able to fully fund it by the end of the year. I will have 8 months to fund this account, which translates into $625 a month. After generously estimating my monthly expenses I should have that amount to invest. When estimating income I didn’t include tutoring income and I did not assume an annual raise as this economy makes that uncertain at this point in time.

Alternative Income Goals

  • Turn blogging into a source of income – I’ve been blogging for over 5 months now. The knowledge I ‘ve gained since I started has been invaluable, and I hope that I have provided others with knowledge as well, but I would like to make some sort of income off of this blog to make my total income less dependant on one source. I don’t know how to make a quantitative goal, so I will be rather conservative in this goal by saying that I want to earn enough to pay for the expenses of running a blog (hopefully this includes a new laptop!).
  • Increase monthly page views and subscribers – I haven’t been blogging long enough to notice much of a trend in terms of my page views or subscribers. It’s very difficult to project quantitatively for this goal as well. My high month for page views was December with 2,119, but I would love to get over 10,000 a month. I currently have 17 subscribers. I think a goal of at least 100 subscribers would be attainable yet challenging. In order to accomplish this goal I will try to participate in more carnivals, host a carnival and try to associate more with other personal finance bloggers.
  • Replace tutoring income through a company with my own personal clients – I currently tutor as a contractor through a tutoring company. The company requires keeping the same hours all the way through the school year. Also, they pay about half of what I can expect to earn on an hourly basis if I find the clients on my own. I hope to earn more money and gain more flexibility with my work hours by tutoring on my own. The tutoring company is about 30 minutes from my condo, so I should be able to tutor kids closer to my condo. In order to accomplish this goal I have to quit the tutoring company after this school year and tap my contacts in the school system. I also want to start a website for my tutoring services and begin advertising at local grocery stores. I previously blogged about expanding my tutoring and outlined a good path for doing so.

General Goals

  • Travel to two cities I’ve never been to – I really want to start traveling more. Saving for my condo down payment prevented me from traveling last year. I wanted to include this as a goal because sometimes I try to be too frugal and save too much and forget to prioritize traveling like I want to. Ideally I would make it to Europe, but a Europe trip is probably a few years away. I will probably focus on US traveling by visiting buddies from college. If I can squeeze an package deal to Mexico towards the end of the year, that would be AWESOME!
  • Get in shape – As a competitive runner all the way through college, I never had to worry about staying in shape. Now that I don’t competitively run, it’s harder to stay in shape. I want to get back to running more, but I keep hurting myself before I get all the way back into shape. I want to try being in shape before I start running seriously again. To do this I have to lose 10 pounds, increase my flexibility, increase my leg strength and improve my balance. To accomplish these goals I will be trying to swim more regularly, bike when it gets warmer and lift and stretch regularly. To make this easier I will be trying to come up with a regular schedule in the next week or two. The ultimate goal would be to run a sub 16:00 5k by the end of the year, but that might be ambitious as it would require speed work, which is hard to do training alone.

Conclusion

I have put significant thought into these goals. I plan on updating my progress monthly and updating my goals page when goals are completed. I’m very motivated to accomplish all of these goals and think it is realistic, yet still challenging. If you have any advice feel free to leave it in the comments and good luck to all of you in accomplishing your 2009 goals.

If you like what you have read please consider signing up for automatic updates via e-mail or RSS

mr_1_468x60


2008 Financial Goals, A Year End Review

January 9, 2009

As 2008 came to a close, I began to think about how I did in accomplishing my 2008 goals and how that would effect my 2009 goals. I only accomplished one of my goals, mostly because I didn’t really come up with an action plan to accomplish my goals. I will use 2008’s goal setting experience to better set and accomplish my goals for 2009.

Set up and fully fund a solo 401k ($0/$10,427.33)

I set up a Vanguard Individual 401k on December 26th, which was before the December 31st deadline. Since I beat the deadline, I will be able to fund my 401k until April 15th, the tax filing deadline. It was a pretty painful experience because I had to set up an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and send in proof by the deadline.

Every month I’ve been increasing the maximum value that I can invest for the 2008 tax year as I continued to make more money tutoring. This is the first month that I used a contribution calculator as I’m not able to invest 100% of what I earn, I have to take out certain self-employed taxes. The maximum contribution value is still not finalized, however, as I will modify my net income with the miles traveled for tutoring.

I have not invested anything in my account yet because I was waiting to finish paying off my furniture, TV and buy Christmas gifts. I have some cash left over and will begin investing, hopefully by the end of the month.

Fully fund my Roth IRA ($0/$5,000)

I have decided to fund my solo 401k before my Roth IRA for tax sheltering purposes. If I don’t put all of my self-employed income into a solo 401k, then I will have to pay taxes on both sides of the Medicare and Social Security.

I will most likely not be able to invest in my Roth IRA for the 2008 tax year. I’m not disappointed that I probably won’t be able to fully fund this account. I made the decision to prioritize my condo down payment for this year. It was an extraordinary effort to come up with 20% in such a short period of time.

Save for a 3-month emergency fund ($0/$7,762)

My 3-month emergency fund reflects monthly payments for my mortgage, property taxes, car payment, assessments, car insurance, cell phone, cable, internet, electric bill, gas and food.

For my 2009 goals I might re-prioritize and modify my emergency fund. I’m thinking about dropping my goal down to $1,000 as a true emergency fund. After reaching that goal and saving for my retirement funds, I will try to push it to a 3-month emergency fund, which is designed as insurance against losing my job.

Wrap-Up

Now that my 2008 goals are in the books, I will start finalizing my 2009 goals. Fortunately, I am still able to carry over some of my failed 2008 goals until the tax filing deadline. Overall, I’m very happy with my ability to come up with the down payment. I will put more time into my 2009 goals and try to outline a plan for my goals so that they are more realistic. I will also put out goals for my blogging and other personal issues such as my health and career.

If you like what you have read please consider signing up for automatic updates via e-mail or RSS

mr_1_468x60


Financial Goals As Of December 1, 2008

December 2, 2008

Since closing on my condo in early October, I was hoping to be able to shift all of my savings towards socking away money into retirement funds and building up a 3-month emergency fund. Unfortunately, I did not think I would be spending this much money on my condo. I also have Christmas shopping to take care of in the near future. I have already paid off my bedroom set and my new TV will be paid off by the end of December. I also have my dining set and coffee table on a 0% credit card that will be paid off in 4 months and I have yet to pay for the light fixtures in my condo. All of these things will need to be paid before I can put money into my retirement funds. I am still optimistic that I will be able to contribute to my retirement funds for 2008 by the income tax deadline. A list of my goals and the most recent update of my financial goals can be found at my goals page.

Set up and fully fund a solo 401k ($0/$10,516)

I have yet to set up a solo 401k for my self-employed income. Of the available options for a solo 401k, I have decided to open a Vanguard Individual 401k. I have until December 31, 2008 to set up my solo 401k and still fund it for tax year 2008. I will be opening this account ASAP and have already downloaded the necessary forms.

My goal for the solo 401k was increased this month as I received more self-employed income, which increases my maximum contribution.

Fully fund my Roth IRA ($0/$5,000)

I am hoping to be able to fully fund my Roth IRA by the 2008 income tax due date. I have decided to fund my solo 401k before my Roth IRA for tax sheltering purposes. If I don’t put all of my self-employed income into a solo 401k, then I will have to pay taxes on both sides of the Medicare and Social Security.

Save for an 3-month emergency fund ($0/$7,762)

My 3-month emergency fund reflects monthly payments for my mortgage, property taxes, car payment, assessments, car insurance, cell phone, cable, internet, electric bill, gas and food.

Wrap-Up

As soon as I have my Christmas shopping completed, my condo obligations fulfilled and have opened my Vanguard Individual 401k, I will focus my savings efforts towards my retirement accounts. One important consideration when goal planning is the first time home buyer tax credit that I will receive when I file my income tax return.

If you like what you have read please consider signing up for automatic updates via e-mail or RSS

mr_1_468x60


Financial Goals Update As Of November 1, 2008

November 5, 2008

I closed on my condo on October 3, which has allowed me to completely shift my savings focus towards socking away the maximum into my two retirement funds and building up a 3-month emergency fund. I already began opening savings accounts as the vehicles to help me achieve my financial goals. A list of my goals and the most recent update of my financial goals can be found at my goals page.

Set up and fully fund a solo 401k ($0/$9,492)

I have yet to set up a solo 401k for my self-employed income. I have done some research on my available options for a solo 401k. I will be requesting information from Fidelity and T. Rowe Price about setting up a solo 401k, however, I am still hoping Vanguard will offer a solo 401k by the end of the year. I have until December 31, 2008 to set up my solo 401k and still fund it for tax year 2008. For the same reason, I believe Vanguard will be pushing hard to initiate a solo 401k account by the end of the year.

My goal for the solo 401k was increased this month as I received more self-employed income, which increases my maximum contribution.

Fully fund my Roth IRA ($0/$5,000)

I am hoping to be able to fully fund my Roth IRA by the 2008 income tax due date. I have decided to fund my solo 401k before my Roth IRA for tax sheltering purposes. If I don’t put all of my self-employed income into a solo 401k, then I will have to pay taxes on both sides of the Medicare and Social Security.

Save for an 3-month emergency fund ($0/$7,762)

I finally got around to calculating an “exact” value for my monthly expenses. I put exact in quotations as I still have not received an electrical bill. Also, I estimated my gas and food expenses, which seem to vary greatly, although I imagine that if I lost my job, I would spend less money on gas and food. My monthly expenses included the following expenses: mortgage, property tax, car payment, assessments, car insurance, cell phone, cable and internet, electric bill, gas and food.

Wrap-Up

My savings efforts have shifted almost completely towards retirement savings. I do have money saved for retirement accounts, however, I have yet to invest any money in a retirement account for 2008, as I am still waiting it out with the hopes of opening a Vanguard individual 401k. I am in the process of opening savings accounts to store retirement funds until I set up my individual 401k. One important consideration when goal planning is the first time home buyer tax credit that I will receive when I file my income tax return. I also have a few more purchases to make for my condo, but it is almost completely furnished.

If you like what you have read please consider signing up for automatic updates via e-mail or RSS


Financial Goals Update as of October 1, 2008

October 7, 2008

The beginning of October marked a major milestone with my personal finances. I closed on my first home, which inevitably makes my personal finances much more complicated. Fortunately, I don’t have to make my first mortgage payment until December 1st, because I have some major financial planning to do this month. My goals have been dominated recently by saving for my down payment. Now that my down payment is successfully out of the way, I will be shifting my attention towards saving for retirement accounts. A list of my goals and the most recent update of my financial goals can be found at my goals page.

Set up and fully fund a solo 401k ($0/$8,532)

I have yet to set up a solo 401k for my self-employed income. I have done some research on my available options for a solo 401k. I will be requesting information from Fidelity and T. Rowe Price about setting up a solo 401k, however, I am still hoping Vanguard will offer a solo 401k by the end of the year. I have until December 31, 2008 to set up my solo 401k and still fund it for tax year 2008. For the same reason, I believe Vanguard will be pushing hard to initiate a solo 401k account by the end of the year.

My goal for the solo 401k was increased this month as I received more self-employed income, which increases my maximum contribution.

Fully fund my Roth IRA ($0/$5,000)

I am hoping to be able to fully fund my Roth IRA by the 2008 income tax due date. I have decided to fund my solo 401k before my Roth IRA for tax sheltering purposes. If I don’t put all of my self-employed income into a solo 401k, then I will have to pay taxes on both sides of the Medicare and Social Security.

Save for an 3-month emergency fund ($0/$6,000)

I decided to change my emergency fund from a 6 monther to a 3 monther. After I save up a 3 month emergency fund, I will decide whether or not I want to extend the emergency fund to 6 months based on my job security. Now that I have closed on my condo, I have an exact value for my mortgage payment, property taxes and assessments. After getting my first electric and cable bills, I will be able to come up with a more exact value. For now I will use $6,000 for planning purposes as I feel I can live off of $2,000 a month if I were to lose my job.

Wrap-Up

Now that I am a home owner I will focus my attention towards saving for my 2008 retirement contributions. I have until the income tax due date to fund my retirement accounts for 2008. One important consideration when goal planning is the first time home buyer tax credit that I will receive when I file my income tax return. I also have a few minor goals that I have not set goals for yet, but might in the future. I still have to furnish certain parts of my condo. Also, I want to do some domestic traveling in 2009 with a possibility of a trip to Mexico.


Financial Goals Update as of September 1, 2008

September 3, 2008

This is the second installment of my monthly attempt at goal planning. The main point of updating my goals once a month is to keep myself accountable. I’m hoping that if I write about my goals monthly, I will stay on track with the reverse of out of sight out of mind. A list of my goals and the most recent update of my financial goals can be found at my goals page.

Finish saving for 20% down payment on condo ($59,056.76/$59,056.76)

As of the beginning of September I am finished saving for my condo down payment, three month assessment slush fund and closing costs and a full month early. Woot!! The final selling price of my condo was determined during August, which allows me to calculate an exact value for my 20% down payment. The three month assessment slush fund was already known, however, my closing costs are still not finalized. I was given a range as to what my closing costs could be and to determine the goal for my down payment I took the high end of the range.

The target number increased from August 1st to September 1st due to confusion on my part. I was credited with a full year of assessments by the builder as an incentive to purchase my condo. I assumed this credit would be applied to the selling price of the condo, however, it will be applied to my down payment/closing costs. This slightly increased my down payment, but greatly increased my savings available for my goal.

Set up and fully fund a solo 401k ($0/$7,836)

I have yet to set up a solo 401k for my self-employed income. I have done some research on my available options for a solo 401k. I will be requesting information from Fidelity and T. Rowe Price about setting up a solo 401k, however, I am still hoping Vanguard will offer a solo 401k by the end of the year. I have until December 31, 2008 to set up my solo 401k and still fund it for tax year 2008. For the same reason, I believe Vanguard will be pushing hard to initiate a solo 401k account by the end of the year.

My goal for the solo 401k was increased this month as I received more self-employed income, which increases my maximum contribution.

Fully fund my Roth IRA ($0/$5,000)

I am hoping to be able to fully fund my Roth IRA by the 2008 income tax due date. I have decided to fund my solo 401k before my Roth IRA for tax sheltering purposes. If I don’t put all of my self-employed income into a solo 401k, then I will have to pay taxes on both sides of the Medicare and Social Security.

Save for an 3-month emergency fund ($0/$TBD)

I decided to change my emergency fund from a 6 monther to a 3 monther. After I save up a 3 month emergency fund, I will decide whether or not I want to extend the emergency fund to 6 months based on my job security. I don’t know what the exact value of the emergency fund will be because my mortgage payment and property taxes have not been determined yet. I have to factor in assessments and utilities as well. I will come up with an exact value in the next month or two.

Wrap-Up

I’m extremely happy to have reached my down payment goal. It’s a huge relief to know that I have the money for my down payment and that I don’t have to use my Target stock, although Target is beginning to rebound. I will start saving for my solo 401k after I have purchased everything that I consider a necessity for my condo. Although I may reward myself with a few things that I want after saving so hardcore for the past 10-months.