The Wise Cracks Blog by Dan Otter



2016 Theme: Simplify

I am not a big New Year’s resolution person for the simple reason: I am terrible at it. I can usually hold to a proclamation for about a month. For me these declarations become January resolutions. I am taking a different approach in 2016. Instead of a resolution, I have a theme for the year that I hope will last the rest of my life: Simplify. I plan to simplify many aspects of my personal and professional life. When given a choice this year I plan to always choose the simpler option. I know what many of you are thinking: Simpler is just another word for lazy kind of like "Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" (from Me and My Bobby McGee). Maybe.

The simplification process actually began last year when I dumped a money losing property — vacant land in New Mexico — that my wife and I bought in 2007. We lost a lot of money on this ill-conceived purchase, but I can say without hesitation unloading it was a huge relief and it has simplified our life. On the 2015 plus side, my wife and I adopted the budgeting software You Need a Budget. I can’t say enough good things about this product. I love the firm’s slogan: Give Every Dollar a Job. Its app-based operation is super user friendly. Before I even exit the grocery store I take 10 seconds to enter the sale on my phone. Our budget is immediately updated to reflect this transaction. No more saving paper receipts and then entering them en masse. Note: You can learn more about my 2015 investing successes and failures in the first Teach and Retire Rich podcast of 2016 (episode #17).

For 2016 I have two main financial goals: simplify investing and downsize our home. My wife and I currently have a myriad of mutual funds at numerous institutions. We are working with fiduciary advisor Scott Dauenhauer, CFP to streamline our portfolio. We also plan to downsize from our large home this year. We have a daughter going off to college and now seems like a good time to make a change. I’ll report back on both of these endeavors in a future post and a future Teach and Retire Rich podcast.

I am also currently working on some changes and streamlining of 403(b)wise. The goal is to make the site even more useful. We plan to provide more specific information for the higher education and healthcare markets. The goal is to roll out these improvements by June.

There are a couple of other changes planned in my personal and professional life but the simpler thing to do is to just end this post here. That was simple. And kind of lazy.