Goals and Plans for 2008

As the end of the year approaches, we inevitably begin to look ahead to 2008 with a keen eye. Since I tend to be the goal-setting type, I’ve been thinking a lot about the goals I want to set for 2008, and I thought it might be informative (and perhaps inspirational) to share them.

My first goal is to eliminate all of my family’s non-mortgage debt. This includes $19,000 of my own student loan debt and $12,000 of my wife’s debt, a total of $31,000 in debt repayment (not including interest payments). Yes, this is my big goal for the year, and it’s going to be a challenge – we will have to buckle down quite hard to make this one happen.

Why make this such a big goal? By doing this, we not only avoid some serious interest paid out, but we eliminate about $500 a month in payments on these debts. $500 in a month is equivalent to what we pay to keep our oldest child in daycare, and thus that $500 a month would enable us to realistically consider a third child or move very strongly towards my leap to being a full time writer.

My second goal is to start up my oft-considered investment plan. I put it on pause for a while in order to get rid of my non-mortgage debts, but I’m hoping by the end of next year to at least be able to take the first steps in the plan. The goal of that investment plan is to save for a dream house in fifteen years or so – if I can dump in money at the rate I’m repaying debt, it may just happen ten or fifteen years down the road.

My third goal is to double the readership of The Simple Dollar. I currently have somewhere around 21,500 subscribers – by the end of 2008, I hope to be at 45,000. I also get about 600,000 visitors a month to the site itself – by the end of 2008, I plan to be at 1.2 million a month.

How will I do this? The biggest method is to keep writing good content for my readers, because that’s the sole reason The Simple Dollar is successful – the continual support of the readership. I have a bunch of great post ideas coming up.

My fourth goal is to pull the trigger on three major writing projects. The first one you know about – it’s the aforementioned cooking blog, which I’m still trying to define before I dig in and start. The second one will be announced in a month or two – it’s an interesting new way of looking at what’s already on The Simple Dollar that will really interest some of you and perhaps make many of you shrug your shoulders. The final one… well, that will just have to wait, won’t it?

My fifth and final goal is to spend more time with my children. The single best moment of my day is when my wife and my children stroll in the door if I’ve beaten them home. My son identifies my truck parked in the driveway, comes in the house, and yells “DAD!” in a loud voice of pure enthusiasm. To me, it’s exciting and enjoyable and a sign that I’m doing something very right, and I can’t wait to do even more with him. This year, I’m going to take off ten individual days and spend five each alone with each of my two kids, doing fun stuff with them.

2008 is coming, and it’s going to be great.

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