What is your One Money Goal?

one-money-goalMy father is originally from Taiwan and smoked cigarettes like his brothers, his father, and nearly every adult male he knew.

Back in those days, no one knew that smoking could cause lung cancer… so kept smoking.

Then he had kids. Those kids grew up and we grew up in an era where we knew smoking caused cancer. So when I was a kid, I asked my dad to stop smoking. I vividly remember my sister and I making signs and putting them around the house. I don't know if it helped but my dad stopped smoking when we were little and never restarted.

Anyone who has ever tried to reach a goal, whether it's to stop smoking or pay down debt, knows that it's hard. There are a bunch of different strategies you can use to improve your chances but the biggest one is accountability.

Accountability is fundamental.

How do you force accountability? Make it public. Tell your friends.

That's why I have a public page on my blog with my One Money Goal. wallethacks.com/omg

(in addition to the goal itself, I share my why)

That's the financial goal the rest of my money decisions revolve around. It's an audacious goal but it's the big OMG. It's meant to be big and presumably out of reach today, but not in five years. But it's where I aim to devote my work time.

Someone comes to me with a new financial opportunity… does it get me closer to my OMG? If the answer is no, I pass.

If my OMG were to pay down credit card debt, then all financial decisions are up against that mission. Do I buy that new gadget or do I put it towards my OMG? Active decisions are the cornerstone of mindful spending, put your goal out there for all to see. Friends invite you out? I will pass this time, I'm close to hitting my goal. It's as simple as that.

What's your OMG?

Share your One Money Goal in the comments. If you have an OMG page on your blog, put the full URL in the comments so others can see it.

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About Jim Wang

Jim Wang is a thirty-something father of four who is a frequent contributor to Forbes and Vanguard's Blog. He has also been fortunate to have appeared in the New York Times, Baltimore Sun, Entrepreneur, and Marketplace Money.

Jim has a B.S. in Computer Science and Economics from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.S. in Information Technology - Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a Masters in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins University. His approach to personal finance is that of an engineer, breaking down complex subjects into bite-sized easily understood concepts that you can use in your daily life.

One of his favorite tools (here's my treasure chest of tools,, everything I use) is Personal Capital, which enables him to manage his finances in just 15-minutes each month. They also offer financial planning, such as a Retirement Planning Tool that can tell you if you're on track to retire when you want. It's free.

He is also diversifying his investment portfolio by adding a little bit of real estate. But not rental homes, because he doesn't want a second job, it's diversified small investments in a few commercial properties and a farm in Illinois via AcreTrader.

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  1. Paul says

    A money goal? Hell, I’m just trying to stay alive? Seriously.

    I used to work and got made redundant from my job (gee thanks Prime Minister – obviously I’m not from the States).

    I was subsequently diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And no, being made redundant did NOT cause that, having coronary bypass surgery caused that and that’s one of the medical professions dirty little secrets. It’s all, wow you’ll be able to run a marathon in 6 months ra ra ra… yeah, bollocks. Read just a few months ago that in excess of 78% of bypass survivors (yes, some patients actually die!!!) suffer severe fatigue for considerable periods after recovery phase of the operation. Oh, and I was the lucky one. I had 7 (yes SEVEN) bypass grafts. That was a record at the time and as far as I know still stands, in my country.

    But, back to the topic, truly, my goal is to try and get through a day without serious fatigue, exhaustion, pain, anger, oh yes, ANGER. Because it really does mess up your thought processes.

    I’m struggling to be able to pay our bills. My wife works, and every $ she earns abates our benefit by $0.8. So, we are on excrement street and slowly going under the (metaphorical) brown stuff. Get ahead? Fat chance of that. Work from home? Everything that I have seen has been a scam, or if it is legit I don’t have the qualifications, or if it doesn’t need those ever so special quals, I can’t do it because of not only chronic fatige, but I have a serious hearing loss (since birth) so I have difficulty understanding people talking and with it, of course, my speech is not clear. Comes with the disability. Nothing I can do to fix either of these problems. As we say here, FIID, FIID… I’ll leave it to you to work out what the letters mean.

    • Jim says

      I can’t relate but I can imagine the frustration that must accompany chronic fatigue syndrome, the energy you had before just not being there… but was the coronary bypass surgery optional? I’ve always believed the alternative would be worse.

      I obviously don’t know what the answer is, we live in different areas and it’s a life experience I’m not familiar with, the only thing I can say is that having a strong support system around is crucial.

      • Paul says

        Was the bypass optional? Of course it was… I didn’t HAVE to have it. Of course, with 7 serious blockages my outlook was extremely bleak. The alternative… well it comes to us all eventually doesn’t it?

        My advice to you, and anybody else reading this is… at the end of the day all the money doesn’t mean diddly squat if you haven’t got your health. Abandon the SAD (Standard American Diet – or Anglo Saxon Diet or…) and start to eat healthy. And I mean REAL healthy. Lots of green veges, or orange or yellow ones too. If you can, and I know some can’t, ditch eating meat. Especially red meat… which ironically includes pork. Can fried food. Can oils for frying… such as Canola/Soy (all GMO btw). Ironically Coconut oil, despite being a saturated fat is orders of magnitude healthier than liquid oils like Soy and Canola.

        Get out and exercise. At least 3 times a week. Become healthy and EnJoY your money.

        • Jim Wang says

          You make excellent points Paul – you are right, health is everything and when it ends, it ends. I’ve been trying to eat healthier, healthier portions, and maintaining an active lifestyle so I can do the things I want to do.

  2. Cary Revilla says

    My financial goals for 2016 is to build up my ER fund and increase my retirement savings. I just rolled out a new online biz and I tapped into my ER fund. Need to replenish and see my biz grow!

    Thanks!
    Cary

  3. diane @smartmoneysimplelife says

    I have an OMG for this year. Does that count? My OMG is to reach $10k per month income from my online endeavours.

    I’m a big fan of the book, The Power of Less, and I’m finding that just focusing on a single target is removing the ‘busy work’ from my life. If it doesn’t get me closer to my goal, it goes to the bottom of the list. Unfortunately, my garden’s now a mess… 🙂

  4. Al says

    My OMG would have to be to continue to max out our retirement accounts. We don’t have any debts except for our mortgage (about three years remaining) so contributing the max each year has been possible. Even though I will most likely get a full pension, I am reducing my risk because it is not fully guaranteed yet.

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