Personal Finance

FS Goals For 2022: Financial, Work, And Life

I’ve been waiting to publish my 2022 goals until now because there’s some whacky statistic out there that says most people give up on their goals by January 15. Therefore, by waiting until after January 15, I have circumvented this sad reality! Whoo hoo!

2022 is finally the year to live it up! After a difficult 2020 and 2021, I’m sure most of us are tired. But the good thing is, we didn’t let the pandemic go to waste. We worked hard, took risks, found new jobs, started new hobbies, and discovered what we really want to do. Having goals keeps us focused.

There really is no going back to the way things were. If you are still miserable at your job, in an unhealthy relationship, or dissatisfied with your overall lifestyle, it’s time to change. And change we will!

After sharing my 2021 year in review, here are my financial, work, and life goals for 2022. I’ll be turning 45 this summer, which means I am most likely in the last half of my life. Therefore, I will try not to waste too much time going forward.

I hope you will share some of your goals as well.

Personal Finance Goals For 2022

Although most of what I write is about personal finance, money is only a means to an end. We want money in order to live the life that we want. I need to make enough passive income to cover my desired living expenses so I don’t have to be beholden to anyone.

1) Generate another $300,000+ in passive investment income.

Our family lives on less than $250,000 a year. But by 2023, our budget will probably surpass $250,000 due to a new preschool expense for our daughter and inflation (officially 7% in 2021). If our portfolio can generate another $300,000 a year in 2022, that will be three years in a row of generating this figure.

At this point, I will be 95% sure neither my wife nor I will ever need to go back to work, even after a bear market. Right now, my confidence level is at about 90% that we can remain stay-at-home parents indefinitely.

Below are our estimated passive income streams for 2022. Roughly 65% of our passive income and 50% of our net worth come from real estate. And because I have bullish predictions for real estate in 2022, I feel good about our exposure. I believe there is an 8-10% upside in prices and rents in 2022.

Financial Samurai 2022 Passive Investment Income Streams - Goals For 2022

If the S&P 500 continues to do well, then dividend income should continue to grow. Unfortunately, I’m not too bullish on stocks in 2022. I believe with 35% confidence the S&P 500 could close down for the year. But that still means there’s a 65% chance we’ll have another positive year.

I should start converting some growth stocks into dividend stocks. Financials could outperform this year.

Finally, I’m hoping there will be some passive income surprises, such as more distributions and greater vacation rental income. I’ll write another post on this subject shortly.

2) Grow net worth by 10%.

10% has been my ideal annual net worth growth target since I left work in 2012. It is based on the historical return of the S&P 500. If a 10% annual net worth growth target is achieved, our net worth will double every 7.2 years and beat inflation.

The larger our net worth grows, the more passive income will be generated as well. At this point, ~30% of our net worth is in equities, ~50% is in real estate, ~10% is in alternatives and speculative investments, 8% is in bonds, and 2% is in cash. I’ve excluded my business equity for this calculation.

In other words, our net worth will get crushed in a bear market, but do well in a bull market. But with valuations so high, I’m mentally prepared for a 10% correction.

At the very least, I want to increase our net worth by $250,000 because my $1 million, 10-year term life insurance policy is coming due in January 2023. I just got a new 20-year, $750,000 term policy, so increasing my net worth by $250,000 makes up the difference.

3) Increase spending by 20%.

After a solid three years in the stock market and real estate market, I think it’s wise to spend some of our gains. This way, we’ll at least get something tangible out of our risk-taking, just in case our investments decline in value.

Increasing spending by about 20% feels like enough to improve the quality of our life, but not enough to feel bad about spending more than normal. The percentage increase follows a little less than our ~25% stock gains from 2021. We’re spending our boot and not going to feel guilty.

The only problem is, I’ve got to think hard about how to spend this extra ~$50,000 a year since we have our housing, transportation, food, and education covered. We aren’t into fancy clothes, watches, and jewelry, which is part of the reason why investing usually ends up as the main beneficiary of our savings.

We will probably spend more money on travel and vacation lodging. Revenge spending is absolutely going to be a priority in 2022. So is charitable giving. I will give more to the Pomeroy Center, which helps disabled adults, and the Edgewood Center for children.

Work Goals For 2022

Although I don’t have a day job, I have Financial Samurai. Each article takes hours to write and edit. It is up to me to decide how much to work without burning out. The challenge is usually me trying to say “no” to opportunities because I tend to want to do everything.

1) Limit online work to 20 hours a week.

20 hours a week provides me the maximum amount of joy from work. At 20 hours a week, I could easily work for the next 10 years. A typical day would be two hours of work in the morning before exercise and errands and one or two hours of work in the afternoon or evening.

This may be one of the toughest goals to achieve because there’s always something interesting to write about. Unless my hand is broken, I just can’t help but want to write. There are also an endless number of potential business partners to work with.

However, I’m committing to semi-retirement in 2022 as taxes go up and restrictions ease. The best time to retire is when the government provides the largest safety net, which is happening.

Meanwhile, one of the worst times to retire is during a pandemic when there’s less to do. Therefore, I’m just going to follow my own advice.

2) Lose no more than 25% of online income.

Given I plan to take things down in 2022, I expect my online income to decline. 2021 was a record business year because I tried harder and the economy came back. However, in 2022, I’m going to try 25% less hard on average. Therefore, if I can lose less than 25%, then I will view it as a win.

I may also finally hire some experienced freelance writers to write on Financial Samurai. Different perspectives are always welcome. However, when I tried in the past, I found it took almost as long to edit the post as to write a post. Therefore, finding the right fit will be important.

My plan is to continue investing most of my online income into real estate investments to generate more passive income. It’s also nice to have something to show for my online efforts.

3) Create a successful book launch.

I’m going to be wiped out after finally finishing my book this month. It has taken two years and a dozen edits from three professional editors to complete. In February, we’ll finish up the layout and design. Then in March, the book will be sent off to the printing presses for a June 28, 2022 launch date.

Therefore, from March 1, 2022, through June 28, 2022, I will be actively marketing the book for pre-orders. Pre-orders count towards the first week of sales. Then of course, once the book is officially live, I’ll do some more marketing through July.

To me, a “successful” book launch means at least 3,000 sales during the pre-order period plus the first week the book is live. It’s a daunting task, but I’m willing to try. Succeed or fail, I want to always try my best.

But perhaps a successful book launch is simply my kids bringing the book to show and tell and share what their old man does. That would be cool.

4) Give a TV interview.

After much consideration, I’ve decided to be a little more public in 2022. This is a big one given my desire for privacy and disinterest in self-promotion.

There is also a lot of unpleasantry on the internet which I’ve experienced over the years. The larger you get, the more people come at you, even if you don’t come at anybody. My comment section is sometimes used as a repository from disgruntled folks.

However, after all the incidences of AAPI hate since the pandemic began, I think it’s time to represent. Maybe by representing, there will be more love and understanding for Asian and Asian-American people.

I often think about the world my kids will grow up in. I had some rough incidences growing up in Virginia for high school and college as a minority that I don’t wish my kids to experience. But at least it toughened me up.

After all these years, there is still little diversity in the personal finance world and among non-fiction finance authors in America. It’s just the way things are as people tend to hang out with and support people who look like themselves.

I’ve looked across blogs, TV, YouTube, big media, and podcasts. The same types of people are interviewed or covered over and over again. Therefore, I plan to be the change I want to see in the world.

I know it will be hard for me to break-in based on what I look like and who I am. Further, some of my views are different from the status quo.

For example, a lot of people hate my lower safe withdrawal rate recommendation for the first few years in retirement. I got called a lot of names unfortunately. This is even after I candidly opened up about the negatives of early retirement. But I just share my experiences as honestly as possible so you can make more informed decisions.

With some virtual body armor, I’m going to give publicity a go for eight months and see what happens.

5) Record 25 more podcast episodes.

I’ve enjoyed recording podcasts during the pandemic because it’s fun to deliver a message in a different way. It’s good practice to get my message across in a succinct matter. Further, my archives might be fun for my children to listen to after I’m gone.

The Financial Samurai podcast hit its 100th episode in December 2021. If I record at least one episode every two weeks in 2022, I should be able to hit 25 episodes easily. Further, if I get a sponsor, I may record even more.

You can subscribe to my podcast on Apple, Google, or Spotify. I like getting straight to the point in 8-15-minute-long episodes.

6) Grow newsletter subscribers by 10,000.

For being around since 2009, I’ve got a small newsletter list of about 50,000. This is what happens when you don’t view your website as a business.

Therefore, in 2022, I’m going to focus on growing my newsletter subscriber count by 20%, with the eventual goal of getting to 100,000 subscribers by 2025. My newsletter often talks about real-time financial and life topics versus more evergreen topics with my posts.

You can subscribe to my free weekly newsletter list here. You can also subscribe to my posts here.

7) Generate at least 12 million pageviews.

In 2021, Financial Samurai generated about 14 million pageviews. Pretty neat because most of the traffic came from search engines like Google, which tend to be less biased. Google tries to serve up the best content no matter your race, sex, nationality, beliefs, etc.

For those of you who are not part of the in crowd or feel marginalized, feel great knowing you no longer have to rely as much on gatekeepers to succeed. You mainly need to be good at what you do.

Given I plan to work 25% less in 2022, if there is a 1-for-1 correlation with effort and reward, Financial Samurai’s pageview count will decline to about 10.5 million. However, given there’s a passivity component to blogging, my goal is for pageviews to decline by 14% or less.

The funny thing is, generating 12 million pageviews in one year is about 11 million more pageviews a year than what I ever hoped for when I started in 2009. After all, it’s just me writing 99% of the content. Thanks for your support!

Life Goals For 2022

The most important thing I care about is my family. I am focused on being a better father, husband, and son. The thing I hate is losing my patience. Therefore, I’ve got to be careful not to let work goals negatively impact my family goals.

1) Recalibrate time with my children.

In 2022, my son will turn five, which means he will start remembering most things in his life. Isn’t it funny how all the researchers say the first five years of a child’s life are the most important, yet kids can’t remember much of it?

Given his memory power will increase, I need to get back to maximum fatherhood enthusiasm. To do so requires having more energy and working less. Our daughter is two and deserves just as much time with us as her brother had with us.

However, the problem with trying hard to always be around for your kids is that they sometimes don’t want to be with you! Each rebuff is like a dagger to my heart. Therefore, I also plan to recalibrate time with my children.

Kids this age can’t help themselves. Both my wife and I are always at home. Therefore, there is sometimes an oversupply of attention. And often, I’m second fiddle. But my boy is coming around!

2) Maintain the same body weight.

Although I’m about 10 pounds heavier than I was in 1999, I still fit into the same pants and shirts. Good thing styles were baggier back then!

I’ve found my steady happy weight of between 168 – 171 pounds at 5′ 10″. Sure, I’d love to be 155 pounds again like I was in high school. However, getting to that weight would make me less happy due to a diet change.

Besides my goal of fitting into the same clothes forever, I also want to stay below a 25 BMI, the threshold for being overweight. I know BMI is not the best metric for determining the ideal weight given there are some very muscular people out there. But for me, I know 175+ pounds is too heavy on the tennis court. However, it’s not bad for hitting softball bombs though.

I plan to cut down on sugar intake by 50% and intermittent fast two times a week. I will continue to stop eating before I feel full. Frankly, I just don’t want to die before 65, especially since COVID seems to be more damaging to those who are out of shape.

3) See my parents at least twice.

I’m no longer letting COVID throttle my travel plans to see my parents. They aren’t willing to travel, so I will travel to them. The ideal scenario is if my family goes out to Honolulu in July for a month or two. By then, at least my son will be vaccinated. But there’s my daughter to worry about.

We can rent a separate house and come visit my parents regularly after five days of doing our own thing. The one or two months in Honolulu will also be a test drive for retiring in Hawaii. I think it’s going to be great.

If we don’t go as a family, then I will at least visit my parents once during the summer and again during the winter for 5-7 days at a time. My trip to see them in December 2021 was really wonderful. I sensed the joy in my parents.

4) Be a better communicator.

Good communication is key to a better marriage. The conflicts we’ve had often involve miscommunication. Therefore, I will work on eliminating making assumptions and being more clear.

For example, let’s say it’s 1 p.m. and I haven’t had lunch. I’ve been up since 4 a.m. working, sending our son to school, and dealing with unreliable contractors on a remodeling problem. Instead of assuming my wife will realize that I am tired and grouchy, I will tell her how I’m feeling.

Because I’m generally upbeat and smiling, she might not understand the last thing I want to do, when I finally sit down to eat, is work on some other project. My wife will share a fascinating discovery about herself in an upcoming post this April that has helped us communicate better and me be more empathetic.

Biggest Goal For 2022: Have More Fun!

2022 is going to be better than 2021. We’ve learned so much about ourselves over the past two years. As a result, we’re going to take more action to do more of what we want and less of what we despise.

I’m looking forward to having a lot more fun in 2022. From book-signing events in San Francisco and Honolulu in June and July to maybe attending the U.S. Open in August and September in NYC, I plan to get out of the house more.

I’ve come to realize life is simply more fun when there is some daunting goal to achieve each year. It can be changing careers, relocating across the country, public speaking, getting married, or whatever. It’s that thrill of an unknown outcome despite all the preparation which gets me excited.

Failure is no fun. But not trying is even worse. We’ve made it this far, we might as well keep on going!

Related: Financial Samurai 2020 Year In Review: Didn’t Give Up

Readers, what are some of your goals for 2022? Please share them as I’m always looking for ideas and motivation. Join 50,000+ others and subscribe to my free weekly newsletter. Since 2009, the newsletter has helped people achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later.

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