Creating a Rich Life

Ready to rest and fresh your family and financial goals? This year we’re exploring how to have a rich life!

The Challenge: Make 2023 A Rich Life

Okay, that’s a pretty bold statement – have a rich life.

Let first back track on how I came up with this theme for the season and then we can talk about what a rich life looks like.

Even before we wrapped up this last season in November, something had been nagging me about the podcast.

Besides Simplify and Enjoy, I also write and run Couple Money which is focused on helping married couples get on the same page with their finances. I’ve really loved it.

As we were paying off debts, stashing and growing our financial cushion, and eventually becoming a CoastFI family, it’s been fantastic to hear from you and other families on the milestones you’re reaching.

Between the two, I’ve been writing and or podcasting about personal finance for over 12 years and it’s been incredible.

However as important as getting your finances squared away, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. So I took time off throughout last year including one in October where I just disconnected from the work. I allowed myself to explore and read other topics besides finances to see if I could add something to this podcast that would help you and other families have not just an amazing year with your finances, but really allow you to enjoy things.

The first think that clicked for me was a quote from Cal Newport. It served as a jumping-off point for me as I looked at 2023 and what I wanted to do.

Do less. Do better. Know why.

Instantly, I knew I wanted to dig into this. Initially, I thought about how it would in with podcast.

Do less. Families are stressed out because they’re doing so much. There’s always this list of a million things you need to do to get your money straight. Or here’s how you work, be a full-time parent, and have a side hustle.

It’s too much noise and nonsense.

I want to keep things simple and flexible so you can build and design your life as needed.

Do better. With time and energy freed up because we’re no doing a ton of things, how can we use that to create something special? Let’s put energy into building up our relationships, levelling up on skills with work, and taking on a projects and hobbies that are meaningful to us.

Know why. Productivity culture almost elevates being busy like it’s a virtue, but the real challenge is having and knowing your purpose for what you’re doing. This definition can then be used so you can gauge when you have enough.

Considering this quote, taking notes from some my initial conversations, and thinking about how my experience writing about personal finance for over a dozen years, I saw the pieces together and I knew what I wanted to discuss this season – living a rich life.

In this episode, we’ll dig into:

  • defining what living a rich life means
  • creating your goals along with a game plan to achieve them
  • making a challenge list so you can follow through and hit your goals for the year and beyond

Are you ready? Let’s get started!

Resources

If you’re ready to jump into the year and knock out some goals, here are a few of my favorite resources and includes what we covered in the podcast.

If you’d like to chat more your money system, please join us in our private and free Facebook group – Thriving Families.

We’re families looking to support and help one another out.

Hope to see you there!

Thank You to Our Sponsor Coastal!

Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! Come check out Coastal today if you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better.

As a credit union, Coastal serves its members first and foremost including an annual loyalty bonus.

We've been members for years and love their service and competitive rates on checking and savings accounts!

Defining Rich Life: More Than Money

Rich life is such a loaded phrase, especially in the personal finance space.

Too many times the conversations veers and stays centered chasing a number. You have to pay off this debt in a year! You need this huge amount to retire! And the goal posts keep moving.

It’s exhausting and discouraging.

There's a reason why we set financial goals, it's not simply about hitting them; it's about what happens when we do and more so what we do along the way.Jason Vitug

So instead of spending this season simply focused on how to hit your financial goals faster we’re going to examine the big picture and that means looking at things from different angles.

With that in mind, this season we’re going to look at creating these goals, breaking them down into more manageable pieces whether that’s using SMART goals, habits or systems, and then finally keeping things interesting with personal and monthly challenges.

So let’s start with your goals.

Defining Your Goals

What would you like to accomplish it this year? (And no don’t just say pay off debt or something you’re supposed to do!)

Take time with this and brainstorm some ideas as a family and for yourself. What trips do you want to take? What hobbies or sports do you want to take up? Add those financial goals, but don’t let them dominate your list.

To keep things – you guessed it- simple, let’s divide things up into three buckets:

  • money
  • home
  • life

I think they are specific enough to cover the essentials while keeping it flexible so you can tailor it to you and your family.

Money covers your more straight forward, typical money goals like paying off credit card debt, investing for retirement, and building your financial cushion.

Home can be where you track home projects and also includes family centered goals.

Life is a bit broader but for me this where I’d keep my health and career goals, plus any hobbies I enjoy.

Making Your Goals SMART

As a quick review, SMART is an acronym on how you can effectively frame your goals.

A smart goal is specific, measurable, attainable, results, focus, and time base.

What do I mean by that?

  • Specific: You don’t want to save more. You want to set up your emergency fund or your travel fund.
  • Measurable: You want to have $5,000 in your savings account or you need three months of essential expenses.
  • Attainable: This is not a moon shot, but it’s something you can actually accomplished (provided you put the work in)
  • Results: What’s the result of you hitting your goal? What personal or family win will you have?
  • Time-Based: When do you want to accomplish this? This is handy because you can then work backward and set up how much you need to save or pay off each month.

The point of it is that you have a mini-game plan already set up for how you’re going to actually achieve that goal.

Another benefit to laying out SMART goals is that you get a sense of whether or not you're working on too many things. Very quickly, you’ll notice the numbers aren’t working out.

You can then decide to either push back a deadline for a goal or two.

Breaking Down Goals Into Habits and Systems

With your SMART goals down, it’s now time to start looking for ways to break these goals down into doable chunks. For some goals, that means defining key habits and/or systems you need to have in place to knock these out.

Again, I have a few episodes about building better habits, but some key things to consider:

  • look for keystone habits
  • consider ways to remove the friction
  • automate if possible

The idea is that you’re not just relying on motivation alone – which can come and go. You’re trying to develop a sustainable and relatively easy habit that will move you towards your goals.

Creating and Taking on Monthly Challenges

I think it’s crucial that we talk about this, but just as important is following through on them and one method I found successful is gamifying them into monthly challenges. I start the month off with clear idea of what I want to accomplish.

Having some wins can also motivate you through to keep going on. Personalize it on things you enjoy!

When we were at the beginning of our financial journey, we tried to do things like $20 date nights or finding the best free and low cost festivals and events around town.

Next month, we try something different. It kept things fresh.

You can also do this with your goals and depending on what they are, build up on them. Let’s say you’re trying to get fit in 2023.

Instead of changing every single thing with how you eat, sleep and exercise, you focus in on one of those key areas in a month, like sleeping better or only work on one small habit change in each of these like simply tracking your meals, workouts, and sleep using a fitness tracker or a spreadsheet.

These challenges are meant to be a fun way to build momentum.

Our 2023 Goals + 23 Challenge

I hope that this four part approach to creating and tackling your goals makes it easier for you to have some big wins this year.

Introducing My 2023 Challenge

Personally, I thought it would be fun to share some challenges I’m planning on tackling during this year with you.

Just like I mentioned before, after I brainstormed and chatted with rob, I had a whole list of ideas.

Narrowing it down based on my schedule and prioritizing them, I broke down the goals into those three buckets:

  • finances
  • home
  • life

You can see the entire list on Simplify and Enjoy, but here’s a few examples of what I’ve included.

  • On the financial side, we’re trying to plan an international trip and decide if real estate investing is something that would work for us
  • I have a ton of house projects that I’d like to do, including creating a family library space. I’d love for us to have a quiet and cozy space where we can read or work on solo projects.
  • On a personal note, I’m thrilled about getting fit and putting together my reading plan for the year.

With that in mind, this year on the podcast I’m sharing my progress. I’m interviewing people who have done some amazing things in those areas, resources that make it easier for busy families to hit their goals faster, and how I’m doing with them – the good and the bad.

And I’d love to hear from you! Please let me know how you’re doing with your goals.

There are several ways to join in. We have our free newsletter, our Facebook group Thriving Families, and of course you can tag me on social media. Let’s cheer each other on!

Support the Podcast!

Thank you so much for listening to the podcast! If you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, here are some ways to support it.

  • Spread the word! If you enjoyed this episode and think it can help a buddy get on the path to dumping debt and become financially free, please share.
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Photo and Music Credit

Music By: Marscott and other artists from Audiio