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New Year’s resolutions have become so cliché that the process of making them has become a joke. People settle for mundane goals for the year like “losing weight,” “quitting smoking,” and “getting out of debt.” These are great goals, of course, but most who think about these only when the calendar changes soon forget their plans, continue their lives as before, and lament their failure when they reflect as next year approaches.

Part of the problem is that these goals are not specific enough for anyone to take seriously. Gurus and bloggers are pushing forward the idea that goals need to be “SMART” — specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based — as if it’s a new concept. This is a helpful way to look at your resolutions if you want to approach your life as a project manager. A better approach is to realize that time moves very fast, and with busy lives it’s better to make modest goals and focus on each small step that moves you in the right direction.

New year hatThe most popular New Year’s resolutions are tiresome. It’s no wonder people don’t keep them. Few people can be passionate about losing weight or getting out of debt, and even if they are, it will take a lot of work to change the behaviors (or medical conditions) that caused the circumstances needing improvement. These can be multi-year goals, and if your entire success relies on completion within 365 days (366 in a leap year) you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Here are some different ways at looking at financial resolutions that are not only achievable within the year but are more interesting than what many may typically resolve to do. While there are twelve listed here, you’re more likely suited for success if you focus on just one. The year will be over before you know it, but your resolutions should always be aligned with long-term goals for yourself or your personal mission statement.

1. Spend money on things that are important.

Your spending habits reveal what is important to you. If you spend more money buying video games for yourself than you spend on activities with your significant other, you have decided on some level that you favor your time with a computer game more than the one you love. The higher value each dollar has to you, with the importance of one dollar related to your level of disposable income, the bigger the importance of whatever you choose to spend that dollar on.

Look where your money goes. You may need to track your spending if you’re not sure. You’ve defined what’s important to you by your expenses. Your shelter (rent or mortgage) and food are obviously important and form the basis of your expenses, but beyond that, you can rate how important any activity is to you by comparing your level of spending. If you don’t like what you see, resolve to spend your extra money — after you cover necessary expenses and saving — on the things you want to be important to you.

2. Create something every month.

FoodThe culture in this country is one of consumption. We consume food, media, and resources. In order to consume, we spend money. This year, change your role in society. Become a creator rather than just a consumer. You can create something that other people consume or something that you consume yourself.

  • Cook more often than you prepare frozen meals and dine out.
  • Create your own adventures instead of watching movies and television.
  • Write in a journal rather than reading a best-selling novel.
  • Engage your mind creatively, taking photographs, making art, or performing music.

3. Learn a new skill.

This could be the year you focus on trying new things. The best new skills to learn would be those that are related to your interests and passions. Here are a few examples, but think about the things that make you happy and decide on a skill that enhances your attitude.

  • If you’ve had a favorite vacation destination in mind in a foreign country, start learning the language and culture.
  • If you like running but haven’t taken this type of exercise seriously yet, train yourself for a 5K race.
  • Learn how to play the piano.

Many new skills can take more than a year to learn. Don’t consider your year a failure if you don’t complete your mission to learn something new. Keep taking small steps that move your life in the right direction, and whether you complete your goal within one year is less important.

4. Earn money from your hobby.

Coin CollectionConsumerism Commentary started as a hobby, but after a while, it became apparent that writing could also be a business that generated income. In some cases, though, turning a hobby into a business can turn an enjoyable activity into a chore. Turning your hobby into a business is not the best option for everyone, so this has to be a personal decision. If you like collecting coins, do you want to be a coin dealer? If you’re particularly skilled at photography, do you want to market yourself and compete with professional photographers?

Not everyone wants to start a business, but keeping your activities small can keep the business aspect of your hobby to a minimum. Strike the right balance between hobby and business so you still gain a maximum amount of pleasure and satisfaction from the activities you enjoy.

5. Start a blog to track your finances.

I have first-hand experience about how helpful it has been to publicly track my own finances. This is a great way to maintain focus on any goal. By making your progress public, you are holding yourself accountable for your success. And if your goals are interesting to others, even strangers, they can join you in your quest and offer support — and more often, criticism — when you need it. Draw some inspiration from Naked With Cash as well as how I tracked my finances from 2003 through 2011.

Rather than using a blog to track your success, allow the blog to be your success. Start a website using WordPress or Tumblr and write anonymously about the financial issues in your life. You don’t need to be a great writer, but if you continue, your writing will improve. Don’t be concerned about building an audience or earning money. Writing for its own sake helps clarify financial issues, particularly when you read what you’ve written over a period of time.

Tracking your finances in software like Mint.com or Quicken isn’t always enough. When you look at your finances with the intent of writing about them, your brain performs at least a minimum amount of analysis, and this is a step further than most people take with their finances.

6. Support local businesses.

The 3/50 Project is an initiative that encourages consumers to spend $50 among three local businesses each month. Keeping your money local helps improve the economy in the community where you live, and it helps you build relationships with your neighbors near you and across your town. Similarly, as much as I don’t like the real motivation behind American Express’s Small Business Saturday, many mom-and-pop business do in fact see benefits to encouraging AmEx customers to enter their stores.

Following an initiative can provide extra motivation for achieving a goal, but you can do this without an initiative as well. Supporting local businesses is a possible resolution that most people don’t consider. Usually, people resolve to save money, and that could mean shopping online or visiting big-box or warehouse stores. Spending money in these locations does not help a community thrive — at least, not directly.

The same is true about local community banks and credit unions. By moving your money away from big banks, you are taking a financial action that is more beneficial in the area where you live. This is a simple, achievable resolution for the new year.

7. Sell or give away your stuff.

ClothingThis could be the year you focus on decluttering your life. When I moved into my current apartment a few years ago, I seemed to have so much space available. I fell into the typical habit of expanding the way I live to fit into my new environment. If you look around your living space, you can probably find a number of things you don’t need. Here are just a few suggestions of where to start:

  • Look through your closet and give away the clothes you no longer wear.
  • Sell your old games, electronics, movies, and books on eBay or Amazon.com.
  • Organize your papers and shred old documents you no longer need to keep.

This sounds like a good weekend project rather than a New Year’s resolution, so to make this worthwhile, consider running through this process on the first Sunday of each month. Each time, you’ll find more to eliminate. If unchecked, “stuff” can take over your life. If you have so much it’s burdensome, your possessions can own you rather than the other way around. Reduce and eliminate your dependency on things that take up space.

8. Spend more time with activities that make you happy.

I mentioned above that you can determine what’s most important to you by following the money. The same thing is true about time. If you were to analyze every waking minute of my day, you’d see that I spend most of my time working on my business and most of the rest of that time with my girlfriend. Or that’s what I’d like to believe. I, for one, spend a good portion of time entertaining myself with movies and television. Productivity nerds would fairly criticize me, but I do find value in resting my brain by allowing a local grumpy doctor solve medical mysteries so I don’t need to or by watching a clever con game unfold.

But buy spending my time this way, I’ve traded my enjoyment in creativity, like photography and music, for sitting in front of a television. Decide what’s important to you and schedule time to dedicate to those activities. I’m not a fan of keeping a schedule, but when you can schedule activities you enjoy rather than scheduling corporate meetings, you will end the year happier and more fulfilled.

And the reason we make resolutions at all is because we are unhappy with something in our lives. If we can spend more time on enjoyable activities, we won’t be nearly as unhappy.

9. Volunteer with an organization that matches your values.

Until the government decides to offer a tax deduction for volunteer work, this potential resolution won’t have a direct effect on your finances, but it could inspire you in ways that do affect your money. The first step is creating a mission statement for your life. In fact, defining your mission can be a complete resolution itself for the year, as defining a meaningful mission requires thoughtful self-reflection that goes beyond the confines of a lunch break at work.

Once you have an accounting of your values and life goals, it’s easier to determine what organizations share your view of the world. Spending time with these organizations and the people who share your philosophies can be rewarding. Often, the reward is through personal satisfaction and pride but there can be a financial aspect, as well. You may decide that you want to use your wealth to improve life for a community, or you may decide that you would like to motivate yourself harder to build your own wealth to help you complete your life’s mission.

10. Be happy with what you have.

The drive to want more for ourselves creates motivation to move forward, to earn more money, and to improve our financial habits. When there’s a mission behind this drive, a purpose in life, it makes that motivation more meaningful. Your should also stop wanting for a moment to consider that if you are reading this article, you were most likely lucky to be born in a situation or community where wealth-building, education, and even sanitation are possible. The “pursuit of happiness,” along with life and liberty, concerned the founders of the United States, but happiness is easily within reach.

Resolve to consider all the positive things in your life: your family, your wealth (no matter how bad your financial situation is, it could be worse), your friends. Consider the opportunities you’ve been given that helped you achieve what you have so far as well as the work you’ve put into shaping your life.

11. Don’t settle for low-quality relationships.

Unfortunately, there are often people in your life who bring you down. You don’t want to surround yourself with yes men, but if you look at your extended circle of friends, chances are you have a few with whom spending time makes you feel good and a few who often dampen your mood. While you don’t want to eliminate relationships with people from whom you can receive kind criticism, it is beneficial to reduce time with people who consistently have a negative attitude.

I’ve discovered this over a long period of time. I’ve always held onto friendships, regardless of the quality, because I believed that every close connection was as important as another. Perhaps I grew up, or perhaps I just had less time to spend with people. Perhaps there have been a few events where I had placed faith in a friend and had been disappointed, and another friend advised me I shouldn’t have such “high” expectations for my relationships. There are enough great people in the world not to have to settle for mediocre people in your life. If you feel you are consistently lowering your expectations, it may be time to spend time with others — as long as you are doing as much as possible to be a good person, yourself, in your inter-personal relationships.

This is the age of Facebook. People brag about how many “friends” they have, and it’s more of a thrill of collection than an enjoyment of real connections. Resolve to enhance the quality of your relationships rather than quantity. Although this goes against most “networking” advice for professionals who want to advance their career, it’s an approach for people who want to advance their life.

12. Let go of your grudges.

Just like it will benefit you to reduce your exposure to people with negative attitudes, consider expelling the negative feelings you’re harboring towards others. I don’t believe that positivity in itself brings about wealth — you can’t increase your bank account by just thinking about how nice it would be to have a bigger bank account, regardless of what New Age aficionados tell you — but letting go of thoughts that prevent you from accepting opportunities and greeting the world optimistically will help put you in a better position to take advantage of good things that come your way.

The above resolutions are not specific. You can use them — or better, just one or two — to guide your thoughts and attitude for the coming year, or you can use them to create a basis for measurable targets that come December 31 you can say you reached. Some tie directly into your finances, and others are related laterally. All of them can help you go beyond the typical neglected resolutions like “losing weight” and “saving money.”

Do something worthwhile and meaningful with your self this coming year..

Photos: L. Marie, Ancient Art, LizMarie_AK

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The last time I shared my personal goals and plans with Consumerism Commentary readers was at the very beginning of 2011. I went so far to declare that 2011 would be the year that everything changes, a subtle homage to a television program called Torchwood. Anyway, I was right; in 2011, my life changed, but not as dramatically as one might expect with the events that transpired throughout the year.

My goals for that year focused on my business income, net worth, and investments, as well as savings and charity. After all, this is a site where I discuss financial issues, so the goals I shared included that aspect of my life. I also wrote about my health and hobbies, two important parts of my life, as well. I didn’t share information about my personal relationships, as I thought that might have been a little too personal for this site — and that most Consumerism Commentary readers wouldn’t be interested in hearing about that anyway.

For reference, my net worth at the beginning of 2011 was $538,223 plus the undefined value of Consumerism Commentary at the time. By the end of the year I sold this website, and I’ve avoided being specific about my net worth because the company that purchased the website and business wasn’t interested in publicizing the amount of the sale.

It is now three years later. I’m financially independent, though I continue to work, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Except for investments, I’m leaving much of my nest egg alone. I plan to continue to live off income rather than my savings until I get tired of that approach to living. With that in mind, I can share some of my financial plans — and plans for the non-financial aspects of my life — for this coming year.

1. Grow my consultancy business.

I am offering my time as a private consultant to two types of clients. The first type includes other bloggers who are looking to take their websites to the next level. The ideal client of this type is passionate about a topic, is willing to put a lot of work into their projects, and has all the traits of strong leadership. In order to make myself available, I’m only taking a few clients this year, and I’m highly selective about who I choose to work with. And the choice isn’t about money; I’m not looking to maximize my income from other bloggers, I’m just looking to ensure the people I work with have as much as my availability as possible. You can read more about my blog business coaching and mentoring at lukelandes.com.

This coming year, I also plan to work with at least one corporate client on a formal basis, advising on optimizing their relationships with the broader blogging community through content partnerships and social media.

2. Explore forming a non-profit organization.

At a conference last summer, I accidentally announced that the “next act” of my life involved starting a non-profit organization. I felt obligated to explore that idea after thousands of people heard me make that declaration live, but I didn’t lie. I feel strongly about the importance of non-profit organizations, particularly in the financial industry.

Since the summer, I began exploring what it would take to set up a non-profit organization. Creating an organization from out of nothing is surprisingly easy. But to build the organization into something that does everything I want it to do at a high level of achievement, including fundraising without paying a shady company to handle that side of the business and representing the organization publicly, requires a dedication that can consume the rest of my life on a full-time basis.

What I need to determine this coming year is if the time I have to dedicate to this endeavor is better spent creating a new organization that tackles the issue of financial literacy in a manner not explored by other organization in a search for effectiveness. The other option is to join the board of directors of another organization, keeping me involved in decisions on a different level. I also don’t want to leave behind my passion for the arts, and it would be great to be involved with an arts organization at a deeper level.

3. Determine the best use of my donation to my undergraduate university.

I set aside some money this year that I will contribute to my alma mater. I’ve written about this issue, most recently asking whether colleges and universities are worthwhile charity recipients in the first place. I want to be very careful about how the money I donate is used, particularly because I feel the money should be used to create opportunities for students who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to have them.

A representative from the development department of the university has been in touch with me, and among the two of us and the head of the academic department I’m targeting, we’re going to come up with a plan that makes sense for everyone.

4. Take advantage of investment and business opportunities.

A friend of mine has approached me with an investment opportunity in a spin-off of his current business. The prospects are exciting. It’s not exactly a business I’m passionate about, but it could prove to be a good opportunity, with major shared profits down the road, if the business plan comes to fruition. If the business does not begin picking up speed quickly though, I could lose most of my investment. There’s a lot of risk, but an almost unlimited upside after a few years.

I thankfully have advisers I can turn to when I have opportunities like these. They can help me analyze the business plan and work out the details. Because this is a friend, I’m also concerned about the emotional repercussions of business disagreements. But he and I both have a similar experience when it comes to relationships. Our best working relationships have always been with people who have been friends first, business partners later. Still, I wouldn’t do anything without considering opinions of experts without an emotional attachment.

I’m also working closely with several other bloggers who have been through the same sales process I’ve been through, and we’re planning some new projects for this year. I’m excited about these plans and I’m looking forward to sharing the details with readers and other colleagues once there’s something concrete in place.

5. Continue my personal training and improve my nutrition.

I’ve now had a personal trainer for more than six months. But with a lot of travel and personnel changes at the gym, I often didn’t have the three sessions a week I was looking for. The last few months, my schedule has been more-or-less locked in with a new trainer, and it’s going well. I’m not sure I’ve seen the progress I’d like to see, although I am in much better shape than I was when I started.

One missing piece right now is my nutrition. I still don’t like cooking, much less cooking for just myself. More and more, I want to be as healthy as possible, so I have a strong personal incentive to work on this piece of my health puzzle.

6. Build my personal relationships.

I haven’t written much about my personal relationships on Consumerism Commentary. While I’ve always been forthcoming with my financial details, at least until this website became a major part of my financial situation, I’ve been reluctant to share much about my romantic relationships — well, relationship. Not long ago, I ended a long-term, long-distance relationship, that spanned nearly the entire history of Consumerism Commentary.

And except for four or so months during the darkest period of my life almost twelve years ago, I’ve never been single as an adult. I seem to have maintained only long-term relationships. And having been single for about six weeks, it’s not a situation that particularly suits me.

I have the flexibility to travel and see friends living across the country. One of my plans for the new year involve taking advantage of that flexibility. It’s hard to make a plan that involves building relationships because it depends on the involvement of other people, but I’ll at least be open to new experiences.

7. Continue working with photography.

Over the last few years, I’ve derived a lot of pleasure from taking photography classes and working with a photography teacher on a one-on-one basis. Portraiture seems to be my favorite type of photography. I enjoy working with the subjects, models or otherwise, and developing and printing in the darkroom is very satisfying. I plan to continue portraiture photography in the new year.

I’m not limiting myself to portraiture, though. I am planning to develop a series of photographs for a gallery, but I have a long way to go. I’m slowly building confidence in my photographic skills. I recognize that this will never be a profitable endeavor for me. Everyone with a smartphone is a photographer these days, and it makes it harder for professional photographers to justify their existence.

Like usual for me, this is a lot to contemplate for the year. I’m still young, at least in my opinion, and there’s a lot I want to do with my life. You’ll notice that nowhere above are there any “S.M.A.R.T. goals.” I am frequently examining my life, but I have no interest in turning my passions into a series of metrics. These are guidelines for traveling on the path of my life, designed to keep me moving in the right direction.

What are your plans for the coming year? Do you have any resolutions or goals?

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This is a guest article by Phil Cioppa of Arbol Financial Strategies, LLC. Phil has over 10 years of financial service experience and specializes in asset management strategies, insurance planning and taxation issues. A budget is an important part of any financial plan, and right now is the best time to take another look at yours.

Do you feel like your dollars don’t stretch as far as they used to? No, it is not your imagination. They don’t, because we are experiencing some of the most difficult economic times since the gas lines of the 1970s and the Great Depression in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

What does this mean for you? It means that it’s time to revisit your household budget to make sure that you are living within your means, that you are not wasting your hard-earned dollars on items you don’t need, and that you are setting money aside for what is really important.

What is really important? No, it’s not having the latest high tech gadget, a flashy new car, or more clothes to hang in your closet. It’s building and maintaining an adequate financial safety net for yourself so that you have the money you need to pay for setbacks and emergencies. For example, you lose your job, your employer decides not to continue paying for your health insurance, your car dies and you need to replace it, your child has an unexpected medical problem, your home needs an expensive repair, and so on. Without an adequate safety net, you may have to use credit cards to fund the unexpected, which could be devastating to your finances.

Saving for retirement is also really important. No matter how far away you are from retirement, if you don’t begin planning for it now, your inaction will come back to haunt you. No matter what –- put money aside for the future! When that future becomes “now,” you will be glad you did.

I know that doing all of this may sound like a tall order, but it’s non-negotiable. To start, re-evaluate your financial priorities, study your budget to figure out how your spending and your priorities line up, and then reduce your spending as necessary so that you can begin building a financial safety net as well as a retirement fund. And yes, doing this may require some sacrifice on your part.

If you have to spend less, examine your essential expenses, like food and other day-to-day costs of living. What can you reduce? Also look at the fat in your budget –- the stuff that you enjoy or think is nice to have, but that you really don’t need. What are you willing to give up?

Here are just a few of the kinds of questions you should ask yourself as you rework your budget:

  • Is your current cell phone plan truly the best deal for you?
  • Can you save money by bundling your phone, Internet and cable service? You’ll usually find that new account holders get the best deals so you may want to change providers.
  • Have you explored whether you could purchase your electricity or gas from a less expensive source, assuming those services are deregulated in your state?
  • Do you really need all of the TV channels you are paying for? If you changed to a cheaper package, would you miss the channels you eliminated?
  • Are you paying too much for your insurance? Ask your insurance broker to evaluate your insurance needs and explore whether you could save by consolidating all of your insurance with one company.
  • What about your vehicles? Can you get rid of one or them? And, how often do you use the motorcycle or boat you pay to insure?
  • How much are you spending each week on restaurant meals, happy hours, and coffee drinks? If you take the time to add up those expenses, you may be surprised at your final total. Take the money you are spending on such nonessentials and use it to pay off your debt faster, or to increase the amount that you save each month.
  • If you’ve been dropping thousands on vacations away, take vacations closer to home or even consider a vacation at home. Given rising airfares, you could save a bundle.
  • Refinance your home. With interest rates at all time lows, you could realize a substantial savings by getting a new mortgage loan and paying off your current one.

Nobody likes to change their lifestyle, but nobody likes to be broke either or to come up short when it’s time to retire! The key to surviving and even flourishing in a down economy is to be realistic about your spending, to decide what your financial priorities and needs really are, to give up some of your creature comforts if necessary, and to save, save, save. It’s essential if you want more money in your pocket for today and for tomorrow.

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I’ve exchanged some of the stress and risk in my life for a more comfortable situation.

At the end of October, as some readers have been aware, I relinquished my ownership of Consumerism Commentary. There was an announcement in the Wall Street Journal that I’ll link to below for those who are curious about some of the circumstances. Despite no longer owning this website, I am deeply involved in its operation, particularly from an editorial standpoint, though not limited to just the articles. I still write all the articles published under the names Flexo and Luke Landes and oversee and edit any content by other contributing writers such as Ellen Cooper-Davis.

Very little on Consumerism Commentary has changed or will change from a reader’s perspective due to this shift in ownership. It does change my immediate financial outlook, however.

Although little has changed about the way I work from day to day, I am technically an employee. This arrangement has benefits as well as drawbacks. I have better health insurance coverage than I had with COBRA coverage with my old employer’s plan, and it’s certainly better and much more affordable than I would have had with individual coverage. I don’t need to worry much about the effect of changes in a competitive marketplace on revenue because my pay check is consistent. Theoretically, a large company has the resources to grow this website’s presence larger and more quickly than I might have been able to accomplish on my own, and I can focus on more important things, like writing, without spending much time on other business matters.

On the other hand, I have ceded some of my independence and must now create a new strategy for moving to the next step in my life.

I don’t intend to go into much detail about the change in ownership, a change that has been in development for well over a year, but it is worth mentioning due to its effect on my finances in the future. I’ve used Consumerism Commentary as a way to share the details of my personal finances through monthly reports, goal sharing, and other articles wherein I discuss very personal matters, and I plan for this to continue. If I weren’t to mention this change, it would make it difficult for me to share my goals for the future in context.

I will offer my specific goals and resolutions for the new year soon, as I’ve done in many recent years.

You can read more about this on the official release on the Wall Street Journal, and I’ll have more to share from a personal perspective in the coming months.

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Reflecting on My 2011 Goals

by Luke Landes

A little less than a year ago, I mentioned that 2011 would be the year that everything changes. It’s a phrasing that I borrowed from Torchwood, but it was relevant for me as well as to the television program’s concept. I’ll have more to say about this year’s changes later. At the time I created ... Continue reading this article…

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Full-Year Budgeting for Teachers

by Luke Landes

The school year within the United States public education system lasts about ten months, so some teachers face an interesting budgeting issue that most American workers do not. The first issue is handling a below-average paycheck. Compensation for public school teachers varies wildly depending on years of experience and location, but for the most part ... Continue reading this article…

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Family Earning $225k Annually, No Emergency Fund

by Luke Landes

Money Magazine featured a story about Rick and Amy Mendez, a couple in their early forties with two children, earning an income of $225,000. They have a healthy retirement plan balance, and they needed to borrow from their 401(k) to pay for an emergency. Here is a family of four earning $225,000 a year, with ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Design and Stick to a Flexible Budget

by Luke Landes

While it may not be the most exciting activity in the world, building a budget is one of the most important pieces of getting your financial life on track, especially if you’re starting from a particularly precarious point. When I first realized I needed to improve my money situation, I was in debt and had ... Continue reading this article…

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Budget Categories Based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

by Luke Landes

When I started my first real budget as an adult, the concept was not difficult. I knew I had to track my spending and keep myself from paying more than necessary for expenses I could control in order to fix my financial situation. To reverse the trend of increasing debt every month, I came up ... Continue reading this article…

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Goal Progress After April 2011

by Luke Landes

I last evaluated my progress towards my goals at the end of January, so it may be time to have another look. At the beginning of 2011, I set financial and personal goals for the year to keep me focused on improving not only my finances but other aspects of my self. Goal 1. I ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Financially Survive a Disaster

by Luke Landes

When one thinks of earthquakes in the United States, California is usually the main target. The San Andreas fault line is well-known for powerful quakes. There are others located within the United States that, although they haven’t caused severe seismic activity in the most recent century or two, could produce earthquakes resulting in severe damage. ... Continue reading this article…

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2011 Goals: First Month Status

by Luke Landes
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The year is no longer new and novel. I’ve stopped accidentally writing “2010″ on my checks, though I still double-check the date before sealing envelopes. New Year’s resolutions often don’t last past the first month of the year, so it’s time to see how “average” I am — how much I am like the typical ... Continue reading this article…

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Welcoming 2011 With Goals and Resolutions

by Luke Landes

Welcome to 2011! I’ve been reading 2010 recaps from friends and bloggers for the past few weeks and the general consensus is that people are happy to see the year go. With unemployment, health issues, and even death, the new year is being welcomes with open arms. I’m looking for a good year as I’ve ... Continue reading this article…

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Goals and Resolutions for 2011

by Luke Landes

Every new year provides an opportunity for self-renewal. The relatively arbitrary custom of recycling the dates on the calendar is like having a second (or a third, or fourth, etc.) chance to change the world. Although its history is a bit murky, the tradition of new years’ resolutions probably stemmed from this feeling. It took ... Continue reading this article…

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Evaluating My Progress Against 2010 Goals

by Luke Landes

There isn’t a lot of time left in 2010. As I get older, time seems to move faster. Perhaps now that I am not spending eight or more hours dedicated to a day job, I will be able to slow down the passage of time. With more time, 2011 may be better for me in ... Continue reading this article…

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Broaden the Concept of Return on Investment (ROI)

by Luke Landes

I was talking to a friend and former co-worker the other day about a recent major acquisition in the finance industry. One large company in this industry had financial trouble of its own in the last few years, received an infusion of capital to keep it afloat for a while, and began selling off its ... Continue reading this article…

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How To Stick With Your 2010 Resolutions

by Kelly Whalen

This article is presented by Kelly Whalen, Consumerism Commentary staff writer. It’s the time of year when everyone is talking about their New Year’s resolutions or goals for the year. Tops on the majority of Americans’ New Year’s resolutions for 2010 are losing weight, quitting smoking, and saving more money. While losing weight and quitting ... Continue reading this article…

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Smithee’s Goals for 2010

by Smithee

My one goal from the beginning of 2009 was to do at least one creative thing a week. When I thought of it, it seemed pretty ambitious, then I started writing twice a week for this site, and it was automatically taken care of, so any other creative thing I did was just metaphorical gravy. ... Continue reading this article…

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Flexo’s Goals and Resolutions for 2010

by Luke Landes

Although I’ve been tracking my finances publicly on Consumerism Commentary since 2003, this is only the fourth year I’ve outlined specific financial goals for the new year. The next year is a bit of a mystery for me. I feel like some changes are necessary, particularly in my day job. Although I have some big ... Continue reading this article…

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Evaluating My Progress Against My 2009 Goals

by Luke Landes

At the beginning of the year, I set a few financial goals and resolutions representing what I would like to accomplish by the end of 2009. Like last year, my progress is mixed. I’ll get to that in a moment. I’m not a big fan of the concept of financial goal setting. Goals or targets ... Continue reading this article…

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