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Goals to Hit Before the End of the Year

goals to finish the year

Like it or not, the last quarter of the year is upon us. I sound like my parents when I say that the older you get, the faster time goes, but it’s true. Even though we’re in the final stretch, there is still time to end 2015 without regrets. Here are possible goals to hit before the end of the year. Contribute to a Health Savings Account If you are eligible for a health savings account, make sure to get it established and funded before the end of the year. The triple tax savings on contributions, growth, and withdrawals is too good to pass up. If used for approved medical spending, HSA contributions might be the only money never subject to income taxes. Make Sure You’ve Taken Advantage of any 401(k) Match If your employer offers a 401(k) match, make sure to contribute enough to get those extra dollars. Even if you’re strapped financially, run the numbers before leaving money on the table. Contributions are pre-tax, so they might cost less than you think. If your employer doesn’t allow for changes in contribution amounts throughout the year or if you truly don’t have a penny to spare, use this as ...

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The Importance of Finishing Strong

finishing the race

Lots of people think getting started is the hardest part of any challenge, and I won’t disagree. Deciding to change, improve, or even cut back can all be difficult projects to initiate. Toxic or healthy, everyone enjoys having a comfort zone, and it’s hard to start any sort of project that throws off the routine. That being said, sometimes finishing strong is as important as getting started. Girls on the Run My daughter and I are doing Girls on the Run this fall. If you aren’t familiar, this program is for elementary school aged girls and offers group sessions about self esteem, determining and sticking to values, and ultimately, like Oprah says, being the best self you can be. After a girl power session, participants choose a daily distance goal and go running. The ultimate end goal is for all runners to complete a 5K  in November. My job is to be a running buddy, meaning I run along with the girls and pass down as much encouragement as possible. There are all kinds of girls in the program. Some are natural runners and others struggle. Regardless, all of them start practice in a mad dash like their tail feathers ...

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Things I Want to Do Before Turning 45

Hiking near Telluride

Unless I get hit by a bus, I plan on living until at least age 90. In fact, most of the life expectancy calculators I’ve tried suggest that I might even live longer! It’s never fun to think about getting older, but at age 41, as I approach the second act of my life, there are a few things I want to do before turning 45. Visit Another Continent As much as we’ve traveled over the past couple of years, I’ve only seen North America and Europe. There are some places on Earth that I could care less about seeing, the Middle East and most of Africa come to mind, but there are also lots of others that I’d love to visit. At the top of the list are Australia and Asia. The further you go, the more money it takes to get there, but I am actively banking points and miles so we can travel inexpensively. Since we took a huge trip this year, we’re sticking to the US next summer and taking the train across the country. That trip is now mostly booked, and I’m concentrating on making another epic trip in 2017 where we can knock off ...

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2015 Goals: Boring, Boring, Boring

visiting all 50 states

I had a really hard time setting goals for the year. I’m not sure if it’s being tired and a little stressed from buying another rental property at the end of last year or if maybe I’m having a mid life indecision. I would not call it a crisis. I feel no need to go buy a convertible or take up with a younger man (do women do that or is it just middle aged men?) I almost skipped this post, but if you don’t put some sort of plan in writing, you run the risk of not accomplishing very much. My Goals Are Boring Last year was a really good year for our family. Jim got his dream job. I didn’t have to manage one employee crisis. We made good money. We lived on less that 50% of our income, and we invested lots. We also got to travel quite a bit. If this year is a repeat, I’ll be happy. Boring I know, but why mess with a good thing? Does this mean I’ve lost the fire? Maybe. I’m not sure. I know that ever since junior high, every year has been a push to be the best, ...

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October Goals Update

Fall color in Telluride Colorado

There have been a few goal posts lately as we’ve entered the last quarter of 2014. It’s always fun to see how others have done toward their goals. As I’m about to put my 40th year on this earth to bed, it’s time to see how I’m doing with my goals. 2014 Goals 1) Set up a solo 401k and contribute 25% of my income.  Pass One of the great benefits of being self employed is that you can open a solo 401k and contribute more than you’d be able to with a traditional employer sponsored plan.  Since one of the worst things about self employment is taxes, it’s nice to be able to offset as much income as possible into a tax deferred account. With a solo 401k, you can contribute the standard $17,500 PLUS 25% of your income up to $52,000 for people under age 50. I wasn’t able to do that much, but should be right on track for investing 25% of my income into my solo plan this year. 2) Max out our family HSA. Pass This year we decided to invest our HSA into Vanguard funds. We don’t plan on touching this money until retirement ...

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