Darwin’s 2011 Goals – Gonna Crush It!

by Darwin on January 4, 2011

I’m pretty pumped about 2011.  I had the best blogging year ever in 2010 (my accomplishments vs goals), my investments have performed spectacularly (my portfolio), I contributed a healthy amount to our kids’ 529 plans, I’m firing on all cylinders at work and our family’s having a blast.  But I also made some mistakes and learned a lot in all of these aspects.  I’ve set myself up for a strong 2011, so here are some ambitious, yet hopefully achievable goals for the year:

My Investments

2010 was bittersweet for me as an investor.  My overall returns were spectacular, especially in my active trading account.  However, I left a large sum of money on the sideline, as we were anticipating a move and I wanted to have a lot of liquid cash in hand for closing costs and emergency funds.  As it turns out, the housing market has been just so horrific that we couldn’t stomach continuously dropping our asking price just to get a sale so we’ve resolved ourselves to the fact that we’re going to stick it out in our current home.  Not the yard and newer larger home we always wanted, but our lives are enriched in so many other aspects, it’s just not the sole priority for us.  This means I have a lot of cash to put to work in 2011.

  • IRA – I intend on maxing out my IRA at the allowable limit of $5,000 and starting one for my wife as well.  I may make some 2010 contributions to max out that year as well since I’m allowed to do so up until April.
  • 401(k) -I had also curtailed my 401(k) contributions in 2010 while saving for our new home, but with that out of the way, and also, a nifty 2% free bonus from the payroll tax holiday Obama just enacted, there’s no excuse not to up my 401(k) contributions in lockstep.
  • Trading Account Returns -Through a combination of straight stock holdings, shorting stocks/ETFs, options strategies and commodities investing, I was able to trounce the returns of the major market indices in 2010.  This year, with more cash invested, I’m shooting for a 12% return, unless the S&P500 exceeds that amount, at which point, I am targeting exceeding that benchmark return by 2%.  I believe I can return 10-12% even in a down market through my various strategies, so we’ll have to see how that works out in December.  If you’re not already following my site dedicated to ETF investing, check out ETFBase or subscribe to that RSS here.


  • Concepts – I just started up an MBA Monday series here which I think people will enjoy.  I’ll look to hit 52 of those posts this year and hopefully enrich and educate readers and learn a lot as well since such great comments roll in here.  I need to keep my posting schedule relatively strong at 3-4 per week here and I also want to shoot for at least 2 per week at ETFBase.  When I’m only posting once per week over there, I just feel like I’m not giving it my all and readers sense that.  I’ve toyed with the idea of launching another blog or perhaps purchasing one that already has traffic established, but that might be biting off more than I can chew.  But I definitely want to have at least 1 more “concept” or achievement for year end.  I’ll report back.
  • Traffic – I’ve set a reasonable target of 10% monthly traffic increases, so with about 9,000 views in December, I’d like to be exceeding 20,000 views monthly by the end of the year.  Since so much is dependent on just a few google search wins or losses, it might be quite variable, but that’s my goals.
  • Income – Since income is roughly proportional to scale, I anticipate doubling my direct blog traffic income (Adsense primarily) in 2011, but that’s only a portion of overall income (learn more about the Economics of Blogging).  I’d like to continue with some freelance gigs and land direct ad placements where I can.  Overall, if I’m up 50% with respect to total income over 2010, I’d be very pleased.

New Small Biz

Recently, a college buddy approached me with an excellent, scalable business idea.  He’ll be the operations and I’ll get the web traffic.  We’re setting up a site now and I’ll soon be looking to build content and traffic.  It could be a great side business that takes off in the coming years.  I’ll be sharing more on this once we’re far enough along to launch.  So, for 2011, my goal is to have the site running, be actively promoting it and be making a few hundred bucks a month in passive income by the end of the year.  We’ll have to set up a Professional LLC for the new biz just like I have for my current blogs, will keep you posted!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

krantcents January 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Those are some ambitious goals! Goals are supposed to be a stretch otherwise it is too easy! Good luck and Happy New Year.


Invest It Wisely January 4, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Good luck on the goals, Darwin! I’m also hoping to increase my blogging income (starting it off would be a more accurate term) in 2011.


Darwin January 5, 2011 at 8:42 am

As part of Yakezie and with your great content, you’re set up for success in that category! Off to the races!


Financial Samurai January 5, 2011 at 12:13 am

Dude, I’m just jealous you get to still invest in an IRA!

Or, interesting challenge as a goal.. .what about trying to achieve an income goal at work so that you no longer are allowed to contribute to an IRA! Novel idea!


Darwin January 5, 2011 at 8:45 am

Oh, haha! You’re jealous that you make too much money to do an IRA. I know, life is tough out there in Cali.

As far as work, I’m actually pretty comfortable with my work-life balance. If I was just promoted again last year and I’m usually top 10-20% at appraisal time for a decade now, so I get good raises, bonuses and options, but in order to say, double my income in 3 years or something, I’d have to be a job jumper and be moving every couple years chasing that dollar. You can’t do that within the same company where I’m at, it just doesn’t happen. So, I’d rather grow my income by leaps and bounds on this side gig. Best of both worlds!


retirebyforty January 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Good luck with the side income! I think that’s the most challenging goal for anybody with a full time job.


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