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How Much Is Enough Money? One Writer’s Approach To Goal Setting

As the end of the year approached I began to think about goal setting. I talked about how to set goals last year in an article called: Setting Goals for Your Writing Business

The process I described there is a good one, and I actually started down that path earlier this week. I was starteled when I looked at the total I earned last year because it was not quite $2,000 less than I’d earned the year before. The thing that still puzzles me is that I lived better, and saved more even though I hadn’t earned as much as I thought. And I didn’t do it on credit either. I don’t have credit cards or much other debt and none incurred in the last several years.

A Couple Of Approaches

So this goal setting session has become for me a lot of contemplating just how much money is enough money for me?

It’s so easy to toss out figures like “I want to make $100,000” or “I want a million dollars.” While there’s not a single thing wrong with wanting either dollar amount, when I’ve used those in the past for goal setting or figuring out how to fund my Vision, I’ve realized that I hadn’t put enough thought into them. They were just meaningless numbers to me, and those don’t work when it comes to goal setting.

Since I track all my income and expenses I can use those records to figure out what I’m actually spending a month. December was an expensive month, partly because of my move in late November.

Another method is to multiply my rent (or mortgage if I had one) by three or four. That number feels a bit low for me even when I use four. 

So for the moment I’m going to average the two. And then, for the heck of it I’m adding a bit to round it up.

Now that’s a number that feels about right. It’s more than I earned last year, and it seems totally possible. It leave room for saving for myself, for taxes, for emergencies and to tithe at about 12%, which is one way I keep the flow open.

More Than Money

But I want my goal setting to be about more than just money. Last year I created six categories that pretty well cover my whole life. I like them:

  • Residual / Retirement Income – I really don’t want to be ghostwriting when I’m 95 years old.
  • Clients – Income – ghostwriting and coaching clients will make up most of this category
  • Excellent Physical Health – here’s where I urge myself to exercise, to eat well, etc.
  • Living Well – this covers everything from new clothes and office equipment to vacation and trips with the grand kids. Getting a haircut can fit here, so can visits to the chiropractor. It’s also where I put keeping track of money and keeping the house clean – a true catch-all but all about living well for me.
  • Rest, relaxation and fun – lots of what falls here could also go under Living Well, but I seem to need to remind myself to have fun and relax so it’s got it’s own category.
  • Spiritual Practice – this is for me my ground of being. 
I suppose every day should have a bit of everything on this list. It doesn’t always work that way for me. But having the list and using it to plan my days keeps each item in view which means I’m more likely to include it.
That’s how I’m approaching goal setting for this brand new year. How are you doing it?
Write well and often,

Two newsletters:
Abundant Freelance Writing – a resource for freelance writers including 3x a week job postings.
Writing With Vision – for those who want to get a book written.

Image from http://www.sxc.hu

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • admin

    Karl, I’d forgotten about New Year’s Resolutions! lol I only think in Visions or Goals these days.

    Tess, thanks for being here and sharing with us.

    In fact thanks to all of you.

  • I’m not a strong believer in “new year’s resolutions”

    They are not really goals. And most people give up on them (it’s almost a requirement now days).

    Goals however are great, and every year should start with them.

    My goal’s are relatively simple and specific.

    Karl Rohde’s last blog post..Goals for 2009

  • Hi Anne,

    I like your resolutions! Just like you, I am not only focused on improving my freelance writing business, but also on my health and family life. In addition to working on existing projects and building up my client list, I want to focus on a few personal projects and devote at least an hour everyday to working on my own writing.

    Here are my 2009 resolutions: http://wahonemomsadventure.blogspot.com/2009/01/new-year-new-resolutions.html

    Wishing you a wonderful and properous 2009!

    Tess’s last blog post..New Article!

  • I’m planning on putting more effords into getting more passive income from my writing as well as two or three additional long term clients (I prefer long-term clients to one time assignments since that allows me to get some security…) Apart from that I only have 6 New Year’s Resolutions and while they are rather general I think they will help me further my career 🙂

    Jane Rutherford’s last blog post..On a roll, baby!

  • I am hoping for your number two on the list, Anne.

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