My Ten Resolutions for 2014

I have always been cynical of new-year resolutions.  The way I see it, a man who waits until the dawn of the new year to bring about a positive change in his life is unlikely to follow through with his resolutions.

While I continue to hold that sentiment, I have decided with immediate effect to improve my lifestyle in a few ways.  I hope you do not mind my sharing these with you.

1. Diversify my investment portfolios I had shared my retirement portfolio in the comments section of the year-end personal financial round-up (be sure to read the wonderful insights of Ramesh). While my folios are not terrible, it is certainly not optimised across market caps and international equity. So I am going to work toward that.  I will post my learning soon.

Diversification across asset classes and within an asset class is crucial for preserving the fruit of compounding.

 You can use this tool to check your folio : Equity Mutual Fund Portfolio Comparison Tool

2. Write a will Although I foresee very few legal issues if I drop dead, a will is important.  My net worth is increasing continuously and if I do not instruct my wife on how she should use it after my passing, I am worried she will be stuck with a useless pension plan.  Therefore, I need to make a list of actions for her to take.  This will ensure her financial independence and pay for my son’s education.

If you are interested, I have automated this process in the insurance section of the Financial plan creator

3. Learn about post-retirement investment options There are many ways to invest post-retirement to effectively combat inflation and make the corpus last our lifetime.  Here is a bucket-strategy simulator I made for this and a related income ladder calculator.

I need to learn more about this in order to be prepared for my retirement, make new calculators and help others with their retirement.

I strongly believe expertise in distribution phase planning or post-retirement investment strategy will be the most sought-after skill-set from a financial planner.

4. Learn about portfolio management My goal is to create tools in which mutual funds can be evaluated in-depth and investments/financial goals can be tracked easily. I will soon release an automated mutual fund and financial goal tracker as part of this plan.

To take it to the next level I need to learn about portfolio management. It is tough as I find it quite boring and extremely soporific.  Turns out, I actually need to read a decent portion of such books in order to learn! That is like being forced to eat cucumber salad each day!

5. Write more Someday I would like to author a book. In order to do that I would like to hone my writing skills. No better way to do that, than be regular with freefincal posts.  Writing is like an exercise regimen.  It is fantastic to keep negative thoughts away. My friends have urged me to write more articles for young earners. I must take this suggestion seriously.

I agreed to write a series of articles on basic financial planning for Market Express. I wrote one part and am yet to get to the second part. Will have to do this asap. Here is part I, if you are interested:  Financial Planning: Using Common Sense to Achieve Fiscal Fitness

6. Make freefincal faster, accessible and popular  Thanks to a suggestion by Basavaraj Tonagatti who runs BasuNivesh.com, I am learning about search engine optimization and have now made freefincal fast and optimised so that search engines show my blog more often in the first search-results page.  This has resulted in an increase in blog traffic and visibility.  I aim to optimise it further and make the calculators more accessible.   

Do lend me a hand in this goal by sharing posts/calculators you find useful 🙂

7. Lose weight. 

Four years ago, I was 95 Kgs fat, fighting back-pain, obesity and cholesterol. I then resolved to change my life around.  I dropped to 72 Kgs (perfect for my height), over the course of 2.5 years, without exercise and managed to hold on to it for more than a year.  I felt younger and fitter than ever before!

Then I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis. My weight started to drop alarmingly fast to 69 Kgs within days due to a benign tumor in my thymus gland.  I was depressed and started to eat junk food again.  The fact that I was (and am) on steroids also contributed to this eating.  Thankfully, my weight went up only to 79 Kgs.

So from today(29th Dec)  I have resolved to lose weight again. I would like to do it the way I did before:

  • Minimum carbohydrates
  • No processed food.
  • No oil, except a little Olive oil.  Microwaves are wonderful in this regard.
  • No sugar. Well, at least as little as possible.
  • Not eat anything after dinner
  • More vegetables and fruits (not a fruit and green veg. lover but must try to eat more)

8. Exercise Resume my exercise regimen. After I fell sick, I stopped exercising.  I have now resumed exercising - to the extent I can.  Exercise is awesome for creativity.

N.B. Losing weight and keeping fit are very different goals.  We need to eat right for the former and exercise regularly for the latter.  Related post: Weight Loss and Long-Term Investing

9. Watch more movies! I know that does not sound intelligent.  Most people who use my blog, assume that I read a lot. This is not true at all. I don’t remember the last time I completed a book! I love collecting books more than I love reading them. I love comics even more and have a decent collection.  I stopped buying comics when I realised it is not a smart way to spend money.

So I am never going to read more….just not me.

Also, I would like to think reading books, affects original thinking!  I am disgusted by those who keep quoting Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. How many people like Buffett for his frugality?

Anyway, I love watching movies.  After my Myasthenia, I stopped watching ‘art’ movies and have leaned on popcorn entertainment.  I would like to watch more cerebral movies, particularly those from Europe and South-Asia.

Someday I hope to be part of a movie in some capacity.

related post  Babette’s Feast: An Extraordinary Movie About Wealth, Food and Devotion!

10. Ensure I follow through with the above resolutions!

  Wish you all a happy and healthy 2014. May we edge closer to our dreams this year with hard work and a bit of well-deserved good fortune!

 Thank you all for making freefincal a success.

Your participation makes me a better person.

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33 thoughts on “My Ten Resolutions for 2014

  1. Sandip

    An awesome and the most honest post, I've ever read!
    My favourite lines from this post:

    (1) a man who waits until the dawn of the new year to bring about a positive change in his life is unlikely to follow through with his resolutions.

    (2) I strongly believe expertise in distribution phase planning or post-retirement investment strategy will be the most sought-after skill-set from a financial planner.

    (3) Also, I would like to think reading books, affects original thinking! I am disgusted by those who keep quoting Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. How many people like Buffett for his frugality?

    And, I can at least help you actively (along with resources) in one of your new year resolution i.e. "I would like to watch more cerebral movies, particularly those from Europe and South-Asia". You are most welcome Pattu!

    Reply
  2. bharat shah

    a little digging to ' my ten resolutions for 2014':1. about 'write a will': will you prefer to get it registered , or just it with your family? i read in moneylife article , one opinion says to keep it unregistered , so you can change it latter easily even in emergancy in case you need.
    2.(a) 'minimum carbohydrates' : i think , for vegetarian it means,more fruits, vegetables, as proteins vegetarian foods are scary. and fats also to be avoided.(b)no oil, except a little olive oil. microwaves are wonderful. in this regard.: i read and find some substance : do not avoid oil and ghee completely from your food. it may cause joint pains latter, as the fluid helping the joints would get lost/lessen . advised to take chikki, made of jaggery (gud/gur), sesame (til) seeds and edible gum for avoiding joint pains. recently i read that one should avoid microwave cooking for health reasons. and our sesame oil and coconut oils are better than olive oil. for sesame oil, i read and experienced very useful for tooth aching and normal tooth health problems. one may find its usefulness by googling 'oil pulling'.
    this is just to bring other side , and i think, for matter of healthy food, there are many varied contradicting views.

    Reply
    1. pattu

      I will just write a document and leave it with my wife. I don't have any brothers and sisters so I will not face legal hassles.

      thanks for digging up information on the food aspects. I have been using olive oil for 5 years now. As of now I have had no problems. Yes, I understand oils are also essential. Just the bare minimum should do. For vegetarians, proteins are the problem,. Fruits and veggies have all the carbs we need.

      I have also experimented with a blend of sesame, coconut oil, sun flower oil. Don't know if it better than olive oil though.
      Let me read more about this. Thank you.

      Reply
  3. Syamantak

    Pattu,
    I have added one 'to-do' in my list and that is to go through all your posts in this blog. Frankly, I havent completed all yet and I just go thorugh your list of calculators everytime I need to check something. Almost everytime, I find a related post (and an excel too) to help me clearing up mess that I piled up over the years on my personal finance. Thanks for all your hard works which saved me from disaster. Thanks a lot!!

    Wish you too a very happy and prosperous year ahead 🙂

    Reply
  4. bharat shah

    thank you for your reply. a little dip digging in 'will' matter for more clarity to me. in the same article , the editor put a note that though 'will' registration is not mandatory,'Wills is being mandated through the backdoor. Some municipal corporations are allegedly insisting on registration. Some registrar & transfer agents also give preference to registered Wills'. otherwise also , we should be clear how beneficiaries of the our unregistered 'will' would get what we would have given through it after our death. as 'will' is supposedly to override the inheritance by the law , at least for the self earned assets, its authentication beyond doubt may be asked by the concerned authorities viz; banks, municipalities , registrar and and transfer agents(in case of securities) etc.one way to prove it may be through witnesses' signature verification , and also verifying signature of the testator ( which would be available with them in most cases) , but still they may doubt the 'will' itself. i think, they may insist , the no objection letter from other heirs as per law other than beneficiaries of the will. and also indemnity bond from the beneficiaries. so unregistered will would serve the purpose only if there is no dispute .even if you have no brother sister(also your son , daughter are the legal heirs as per law) and do not envisage any dispute over the will, the procedural part should be clear to the beneficiary to deal with the authorities (and that is in our INDIA. what is your thinking in this regard?
    one more information i like to know: who are required to be present before registrar at time of registration of the will: the testator, the witnesses? or even executor?

    Reply
    1. pattu

      I haven't given much thought about the will writing as yet. I will need to find the answer to your questions. As for registration, I agree that it is best to get it done, irrespective of family situation.

      Thank you for sharing your research.

      Reply
  5. Vipin

    This world filled with lies; if not at least truth are hidden. How could you so open to your readers like this??!!! Great sir.

    Reply
    1. pattu

      Hi Vipin. Thanks for your compliment. Openness is a gift I have inherited from my mother. Embracing the truth is the way to be grounded. When they say 'keep it simple', they mean only one thing: speak the truth. First to yourself and then to others. Thank you.

      Reply
  6. Basavaraj Tonagatti

    Hi Pattu,
    I just saw this post (I know I am late). I request you to remove the lines of thanking me about whatever a little I did. I did this, keeping in mind to spread this wonderful knowledge you have, to each and every one. So I think being planner, it is my right to do so and did the same.

    Reply
    1. pattu

      Hi Basu, Your advice and help made a huge impact on the blog. More than you can ever imagine. So if you don't mind, I am not going to remove it. It is your humble nature that makes interacting with you pleasant and enlightening. Thank you.

      Reply

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