My Goals for 2017


With 2016 officially done, I thought I’d share my goals for 2017 with everyone.  In recent years, I really haven’t set up yearly goals.  So, I figured why not get back on track.  These goals should stretch me but should still be attainable.  Winning the lottery or getting a six-pack will not be on this list.  Neither of those are likely.  So with that said, I hope you enjoy.  



  • Grow net-worth (excluding my home and 529 plans) by 25%.  

The past two years I’ve been able to grow my net-worth by 40% and 35%.  I’m not expecting to grow my net-worth like this every year.  Previously, the bulk of our net-worth has been due to increases in our savings rate.  Now that our net-worth is much higher, the amount of savings will unfortunately not have the same impact that it did a year or two ago.  On top of that, a lot of this is dependent on the stock market.  I’d love for the market to return another 14% next year.  That’s probably unrealistic though.  I’d truly be ecstatic with a 8% historical return.  Running through the numbers, if I’m able to save 70% of my take-home pay, along with maxing out my 401k and IRA, with a 8% stock market return, I should be able to hit that 25% number.


  • save moneySave 70% of take-home pay.  

The past two years I’ve hovered around 65%.  Reviewing the numbers on Personal Capital, I’m not exactly sure what I can do to bump this number up.  Even if I totally eliminated our restaurant bill, I still would only be at 69%.  The only way that I really know how to increase savings is to make more money.  So here’s hoping that the blog starts generating some money 🙂



  • Increase viewership.  

I started this blog in August of 2016.  My first month, I had just a handful of views.  I think my first few comments were from my mom.  Thanks mom for providing encouragement on the articles.  To be where I am today is incredible.  I am incredibly thankful for all of you that take the time to read each day.  I love the community and love the feedback that I receive.  My goal is to double the number of monthly page views from 16,000 page views to 30,000 by the end of the year.


  • Make enough money through the blog to sustain the costs associated.  

I don’t have a ton of money invested into the blog.  I’ve invested around $200 so far.  It would be wonderful to recoup the fees that I’ve paid so far, but that’s not my main concern.  I find the blog to be an incredibly fun, creative outlet for me, although it would be a nice side benefit to make a few bucks from it.



  • Work out 4x a week and weigh 175 pounds.

As most of you know, I hate going to the gym.  I wrote earlier this year about how health and finances are related.  I’d like to continue down a healthy financial and physically fit path.  I’m currently 187 pounds.  In Tony Horton from P90X terminology, I’m a little “loose in the cage.”  So this year, I’m hoping to drop 12 pounds by going the gym 4x a week.  My plan right now is to go three days Monday thru Thursday and then on Saturday.


  • healthy foodEat healthier.  

I have made tremendous strides in this area.  Prior to meeting my wife, I actually ate terribly.  Eating a box of donuts on the weekend, washing it down with a 2 liter of coke.  I was a hot mess.  Now that I’m married, I actually have balanced meals and don’t eat nearly as badly.  With that said, there is always room for improvement.  If I’m going to reach my goal of dropping 12 pounds, eating better will be at the top of the list.


  • new jobFind a new job.  

I have an interview after the holidays that I am currently prepping for.  Whether or not I get selected remains unknown, but I am excited about the possibility.  At this point, I feel like I have hit a ceiling in my current job.  While it would be easy to stay in a comfortable environment, I have the yearning to stretch myself and learn something new.


  • beachGo somewhere memorable for our five year anniversary.  

My wife and I will be celebrating our five year anniversary in September, and I’d love to do something memorable.  I’m trying to convince her to go to Iceland in August.  I’m not sure she’s as excited about it since she loves warm weather and the beach.  But we will see 🙂


  • read bibleRead the bible and pray with my wife everyday.  

I’m in a pretty good habit of reading my bible every morning before work but not as good at reading it on the weekend.  I’m not so good with praying with my wife before bed.  Sometimes, I fall asleep too quickly, but I want to make a conscious effort to do so on a more regular basis.


  •  empathyShow more empathy.  

I talked previously about how empathy can make you a better investor.  I try to treat my neighbor as myself as much as possible.  There are times that I selfishly put myself first when I know I should be more empathetic about a situation.  This year, I’m going to try to continue doing a better job and have my wife give me feedback.  She’s brutally honest with me and that way I can “measure” how I am doing.


Readers, have you all written your 2017 goals down?  What are some of your top goals for the year?  Please share below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.


  1. Hi MSM,

    Congratulations on setting your New Years goals (and hello MSM’s mum!). It’s great to see also the variety (i.e. not just financial) and reality of the goals.

    I haven’t set any as I tend to base mine around the UK tax year, as that coincides with having to do my taxes, but lets see!

    FIREin’ London

  2. Nice goals MSM! You’re clearly on track, no need to aim for double digit grows anymore. There’s a point in time when average market returns also provide great income.
    Your blog traffic is awesome! I started only 1 month after you but my 2017 yearly goal is less than your monthly one. I’m clearly doing something wrong here.
    Happy New Year and wish all your goals will be achieved!
    Roadrunner recently posted…My 2016 Financial OverviewMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Roadrunner!!! Keep up the awesome work on your blog. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before you see a big bump.

      I hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

    • Thanks for stopping by Liz!!! I think that’s incredibly smart that you plan to do monthly check ins. I was planning on doing it quarterly but it probably makes more sense to do it monthly. Thanks for sharing and I hope you have a great 2017!!!

  3. 70 percent savings is definitely an aggressive goal. Best of luck on meeting them. I know you’ve seen my goals from my recent post so I won’t rehash them here. Happy 2017.
    Full Time Finance recently posted…Value of TimeMy Profile

  4. I like your goals to be healthy (financially and physically), especially the 25% net worth increase. In my books, this number is more important than any investment returns or assets or debts.
    I am not trying to give your wife any ideas (I know she edits this blog). If you can’t convince her to go to Iceland, then try Hawaii. I had been there during my honeymoon and planning to go back for my 10 years anniversary. It’s a very relaxing place to go (Kuai).
    My goals for 2017 are not as ambitious as yours as I set the bar with a 10% net worth increase or more and hope to achieve that on an annual basis.
    Leo T. Ly @ recently posted…The Isaved5k $2,017 Giveaway During 2017 – January 17, 2017My Profile

    • Leo my wife would love to go to Hawaii. We have heard some really amazing things and definitely something that we will need to take into consideration. Thanks for the great suggestion!!!

  5. Great list of goals, Mustard Seed! I think that’s a great combo of working out and eating healthy in order to lose weight. I was the same as you before I met my wife. I’d have frozen pizzas multiple times a week… Now I know that’s not the healthiest choice!

    Also, early congrats on five years! Again, similarly to you guys, that’s when we took our first big vacation together. We went to Peru and visited Macchu Pichu, etc. Next year will be #10 for us! Better start thinking of our next trip… 🙂
    The Green Swan recently posted…The Swan Life: December 2016My Profile

    • Thank you for the warm wishes JW.

      I have had friends that have gone to Macchu Pichu and raved about it. What were your thoughts, was it worth it?

      What are you thinking for your ten year anniversary?

    • Thanks for stopping by Laurie. The Bible is something that I am consistent with during the week but for whatever reason it falls off on the weekend and holidays. I need continue making this a part of my life EVERYDAY. It definitely keeps me grounded and gives me a bigger perspective.

      Happy early birthday and I’m sure you are well on your way to looking 30 🙂

  6. These are some great goals and some overlap what my wife and I spoke about this weekend. From the spiritual standpoint, my wife & I rarely pray together except at meal time, something we have committed to changing for the better. We are working on reading through the Bible (currently in 1st Kings) and find our weekends to be more relaxed as you use the time to relax together as a family and our little daughter.

    Professionally, congrats on the progress of your blog. In 6 months you have grown a large audience, something most bloggers (myself included) probably cannot say.

    Finally, I hope your job interview opens the door of opportunity you are looking for.
    Josh @MoneyBuffalo recently posted…Using Personal Loans to Consolidate Credit Card DebtMy Profile

    • That’s awesome Josh that you and your wife are reading through the Bible together. That’s something that my wife and I really need to do 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes on the job. I’m hoping they make the decision sooner rather than later.

      Anyway hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  7. Congrats on the early success of your blog! Those are some truly impressive numbers for your first 5 months. I love the P90X quote of “I’m a little loose in the cage.” That one has always stuck with me as well. Iceland would be an awesome trip! It’s been on my list for a while now. We had friends who went there a year ago and their pictures were incredible. Happy New Year!
    Go Finance Yourself! recently posted…2016 Year in Review: On the Path Towards FIREMy Profile

    • I was just talking to a neighbor of mine that went to Iceland in November to see the Northern Lights. He said it was incredible and that I have to go that words can’t describe what it’s like. I am definitely sold now I just need to convince my wife 🙂

      I hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  8. If you stick with you it you will more than recoup your $200 investment into the blog. Sounds like some really great goals, though, and I’m especially impressed with this -> “Read the bible and pray with my wife everyday.” If I did that even once a week it would be a big win!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…How to Connect Your Dreams to RealityMy Profile

  9. Hey MSM, great goals, I like the diversity and balance. Interesting how the “denominator effect” makes % increases in Net Worth harder and harder to achieve from contribution rate alone. I noticed this in my own life, and now accept it. What’s exciting is when the Net Worth gain in a year EXCEEDS your entire income. It’ll happen, another “denominator effect”.

    Good luck with the job interview!

    • Thanks for stopping by Fritz!!! I can’t even imagine what it would be like to have my net worth exceed my entire income. That will be quite the year.

      Thanks for the well wishes on the interview. Here’s hoping that I get it.

      I hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  10. 65% savings of net pay is impressive. Are you counting the mortgage as part of that 65%? If so, are you splitting the principle and interest apart so that only principle counts towards the 65%?

    Not to rain on your parade but 70% will be tough without a significant pay raise. You cannot identify savings to get to 70% so without a pay raise you are sunk. i do notice you are keeping the 5 year anniversary trip in the budget.

    2 years at 65% makes me pessimistic for 70% in 2017. Life has a way of imposing itself on your plans. Every few years, I have a major expense that skews my savings rate for that year – new car, expensive car repairs, out-of-pocket medical expenses for a serious condition, family member in trouble, etc.

    In addition, once I get to a savings rate north of 50%, I begin to feel like I’m sacrificing too much. If I spent to my heart’s content, I think I would clock in at about 25% to 35% savings of net pay. I can get another 5% to 10% savings without too much sacrifice (i.e. cook rather than go to a restaurant, take public transit instead of drive & park). Anything more than that feels like I am sacrificing.

    As your net worth increases, it becomes more practical to focus on your investments rather than savings rate. I have seen my portfolio change daily value by 2x gross monthly pay. In other words, my portfolio has changed in one day by an amount equal to my gross monthly pay for two months. During the post-Trump election bull market, my portfolio changed by amount equal to annual gross salary in a few weeks. For me it is much more about managing my net worth rather than managing my savings rate.

    • Thanks Dan for sharing!!!

      My wife and I are fortunate that we paid off our mortgage in December of 2012. So we’ve been debt free for the past four years.

      Not having a mortgage has allowed us to greatly increase our savings rate without feeling like we’re sacrificing too much at this point but we know that 70% may make us feel too stretched.

      So I guess we’ll evaluate at the year goes on.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your perspective!!!

  11. Thanks for sharing your goals! Your savings rate is impressive, to say the least! Looking forward to following your journey!

    I wrote out some of my goals on the blog, but have others I would like to reach. I want to get to the gym and rock climb more often. I also want to read more books and spend as much time as I can with my kids (before they fly the coop!).
    Amanda @ centsiblyrich recently posted…A New, Exciting Vision for the New YearMy Profile

    • I had friends that loved rock climbing and I’ve heard it’s an amazing sport. It seems like all the American Ninja Warriors have some sorta background in rock climbing.

      Anyway I hope you and your family have an amazing 2017!!!

    • Thanks for stopping by SRGO!!! I’m hoping that I get there with the page views. Who knows but I am definitely trying.

      Hope you and your family are enjoying 2017 so far!!!

  12. It’s been great seeing your blog take off over the past couple of months!

    It looks like 2017 is going to be an adventurous year for you and your family. Celebrating those milestone anniversaries with a trip is what we try to do. We still reminisce about our 10 year anniversary to the UK – which was over 10 years ago!

    And good luck with the upcoming interview. I encourage you to take some calculated risks if you believe you’ve reached a plateau at your current position.
    Mr. Need2Save recently posted…2017 Here We Come! // More About Our Mortgage Payoff GoalMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Mr. Need2Save. My wife and I were able to go to the UK about four years ago now. It as definitely a memorable moment for us and we still watch the slide show on Apple TV 🙂 Isn’t it amazing how old pictures can bring up such great memories. We’re definitely hoping to make some more.

      Thank you for the great advice with taking a calculated risk. This job is something completely out of the norm for me so if I get it I will definitely be excited. Although how exciting does accounting work really get 🙂

      Anyway hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

    • Thanks for the compliment Matt. I feel like it’s a 2nd child at times devoting lots of time. But I definitely enjoy it.

      Thanks as always for stopping by!!!

    • I convinced my wife to go to Alaska a couple of years ago and she too is a warm weather person but she LOVED it. I think even more than I did.

      So hopefully it won’t take too much convincing 🙂

      Hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  13. From someone that hasn’t set yearly goals this is quite an impressive list 🙂
    Love it that most of your goals are personal and are in a way to improve yourself. Savings ratio is by the way something I’m really jealous on. We are currently on 40%, which is still more than i had imagined. Just keep on going!

    I’m trying a new thing for the year by instead of focusing on numbers, I try to adjust my daily or weekly habits. Hopefully so it will become an automated thing I will be enjoying to do.
    Divnomics recently posted…Dividend & Portfolio update – December 2016My Profile

    • That sounds really smart to adjust daily and weekly habits. Sounds like you will be able to stay on top of things that way. You’ll have to share how it works out for you.

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  14. Great set of goals you have there! I feel like it makes you work harder to achieve them when you actually write them down. I hope you hit all of them this year.

    • Thanks for stopping by Brent!!! This is the first time that I shared my goals publicly. So hopefully it holds me accountable.

      Anyway hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

  15. You have written a nice set of goals. Wish you a great 2017! I am still thinking through my goals for the year. I have written 50% of my goals. I hope to get it done before the end of this week.
    Michael recently posted…What is your Delilah?My Profile

  16. Saving 70%, wow that’s aggressive! Is it harder if you are married to save more especially if you’re wife does not have the same savings mentality?

    • You know I got really lucky. My wife is even more frugal than I am. She insists that we don’t waste anything in the house. So I’ve actually increased my savings rate since I’ve been married.

      Thanks for stopping by SMM!!!

  17. Love this set of goals! Many are similar to mine/ours. Mr. COD is in a similar job situation; there’s no growth possible, so he wants to get a college teaching job for next year. Interview time for him as well. Good luck to you!
    Mrs. COD recently posted…Mrs. COD’s January 2017 GoalsMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Mrs. COD!!! A college teaching job seems awesome. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a teaching professor. You’ll have to share what the outcome is!!!

  18. Great goals! Our most challenging goal for the year is going to be cutting back on food expenses. We recently canceled our weekly meal subscription service and in lieu of utilizing the grocery store more. We figure we can go to the subscription services website and utilize the recipes but reduce the cost from $10 per person per meal to $2.56 per person per meal.

    • That would be a huge cost savings if you are able to drop by 75% per person per meal.

      You’ll have to share how that works out for you and the pros and cons of it.

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  19. Must say man you’ve set some goals there! I’ll have a post coming up on my site in the coming weeks (spoiler alert) 😉 and looking forward to you smash these goals..

    Congrats on your progress to date!

  20. Really great goals MSM! I have always struggled with the “keeping fit” category and tend to be one of those people who start off with great intentions of going to the gym – only to start making a million excuses not to go a few weeks in.
    This year I am trying something different 🙂 I started playing squash with my husband. I’m quite competitive by nature so it keeps me interested 🙂 and spending more time with my husband doing something we enjoy (kicking each other’s butts lol) is a big plus 🙂 🙂
    Mrs Smelling Freedom recently posted…Thank you 2016!My Profile

    • I have had a couple of friends that play squash and they say it’s the best work out and the love competing. I really need to play one of these days.

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  21. First of all, how did the job interview go? It’s impressive that you have 16k+ page views monthly in 5 months of blogging. It must be a testament of high quality content. I will definitely check back in to see how job, views and net worth goals are going.

    • Thanks for stopping and for the kind words!!!

      The interview went well and I plan to share with everyone this upcoming week 🙂

      Right now it looks like I might actually beat my 16k page views by at least 50% in January so it looks like the blog is starting to gain a little momentum 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

  22. MSM – Very impressive that you have built your readership to 16,000 page views per month in less than 6 months blogging. As you know, you were THE VERY FIRST to leave a comment on my blog. I have a long way to go – my page views are somewhere in the 10’s per month. :).

    I can see why you have had success with the blog. Your content is thought provoking and you are showing what can be accomplished financially with some discipline.

    Best of luck and keep up the good work.

    – Zero

  23. Dear MSM

    What a great list of goals for this year. With your dedication you have already shown, this must become a great year for you.

    Thanks for your inspiration you are giving me through your blogposts.

    Best regards,

  24. Definitely go to Iceland! It is well worth it. Check out the Blue Lagoon, the Golden Circle, and if you don’t mind staying up and enjoying some liquid frivolity I would do the runtur (basically a pub crawl) on the weekend. It is only on the weekend b/c Icelanders don’t drink during the week.
    Jason recently posted…The #1 Rule of Personal FinanceMy Profile

    • Thanks for the awesome tip Jason!!! Sounds like you have been 🙂

      All those places sound amazing and the pictures are breath taking. It’s definitely something I’m trying to do.

      I’ve also never heard of the the runtur but I will definitely need to check it out.

      Thanks for sharing!!!

  25. Hey Good goals you have acieved, and good luck with the 2017 ones. I think its important to try to get as much accomplished during the first few months, to help elevate annual goals to new heights. Good job on the blog, we are all just small fish compared to the big boys making 50K a month revenue.
    EL recently posted…Wearing Yeezy Sneakers is not Financially SmartMy Profile

  26. Love the goals. I identified with many of them. 2017 is the first year I’ve written goals out. I made a 2017 goals time line on a big white board with my wife. Some of mine are:
    1) 10% body fat. I’m at around 15 now, so I have some work to do.
    2) Add another $1k/month in passive income. I prefer passive income goals vs net worth, because I feel I can better control it.
    3)Take one legitimate vacation (I had to write this as a goal, because I am a workaholic and otherwise wouldn’t have done it). Hawaii hotel and plane tickets purchased. Check.
    4) Write 50 blog posts. I have also started a new blog, but have no idea how many page views to shoot for. I created my own (rather than using word press) and am muddling through SEO.

    • Those are some awesome goals!!! I have no idea what my body fat is but it’s above a six pack right now 🙂

      I’ve never been to Hawaii before and have heard amazing things. You’ll have to share how it goes.

  27. Worthy goals, all. One note on fitness: you don’t have to journey to a packed gym full of rippling muscular bodies to get fit. I used to go to a local gym religiously, but have since switched to working out exclusively at home. It doesn’t take much investment to set up a garage (or other area) as a simple gym – this also removes the “I just don’t have time/energy to go to the gym today.” excuse. If your weights are 20 feet from your couch, it’s tougher to rationalize skipping them.

    Not only does this offer health benefits, it has a sweet financial ROI. The cost of a power rack and a handful of weights is far less than yearly membership dues at a gym.
    Mack recently posted…My Weird AddictionMy Profile

    • I have tried to doing the various p90x routines and even had a gym available at my old office to work at. Heck, I was given an 1 hour every other day to work out but I found myself not pushing myself nearly as hard as I do now. I definitely don’t think I was as mentally tough as I needed to be to work out by myself. But it’s definitely something to re-examine. Thanks for sharing!!!

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