Saturday, December 29, 2007

My New Year's Resolutions For 2008

I try to keep my New Year's resolutions short, simple and achievable. I also start working on them before the end of the previous year, to give myself a running start at the beginning of the new year. Here are my four resolutions for 2008:

  • Healthier lifestyle. My big goal is to lose 10% of my weight, and achieve the weight I had as a freshman in college. I will attempt to do this via increased exercise and better diet. The main challenge will be to triple the amount of exercise each week.

    For a head start, I've already cut back on coffee (caffeine) and alcoholic beverages. I'm getting at least eight hours sleep most nights, with seven hours being the minimum. And I've started doing yoga.

  • Implement tax strategies to maximize income as a retiree. Since retiring in my forties in October, 2007, I've been learning several ways retirees can maximize income by reducing taxes owed. Specifically, as a retiree, I am now in a lower tax bracket, resulting a significant tax savings when implementing these ideas after retiring. The strategies range from minimizing the long term capital gains federal tax to doing Roth IRA conversions. I will target to implement five tax strategies that will reduce my tax liability by 10% or more.

    To get started, I completed a basic tax course in November, 2007.

  • Execute contingency plans for creating retirement income. As I've written before, a big risk for my retirement income is a negative stock market return in the first few years. We plan to mitigate the risk by having three years of income in CDs and bonds, taking some part time jobs and possibly starting a small business. Our contingency goal is to earn 20-40% of our retirement income needs during the first three years.

    As a head start, we have already purchased the CDs and bonds, and I have started a part time seasonal financial services job. In addition, I am testing a "dream job" business opportunity that has a very low start up cost.

  • Have fun. I have never been able to "work hard and play hard." For me, it usually has been "work hard and work hard," as my job evolved to 24 by 7. I was never able to achieve the holy grail of work/life balance. However, now that I am retired, it is much easier to plan fun. Part time work, by definition, has limited hours, typically less that 20. Thus, while I will work hard for those 20 hours and sleep for 56 hours, I will easily have good part of the other 92 hours to play.

    We've already have a head start for 2008 with memberships to the zoo, aquarium, amusement park, and local museums. In addition, we've started planning our 2008 and 2009 major vacations.

  • Franklin Covey just released a survey that shows 35% of respondents break their New Year's resolutions by the end of January. In addition, only 23% don't ever break them. I hope to be among the 23% at the end of 2008:-)

    For more on Reflections and Musings, check back every Saturday for a new segment.

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    This is not financial or health advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2007 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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