Bert’s Fourth Quarter Goals Review

Goals.  Man setting lofty and ambitious goals are so important to achieving success. I’m relatively new to the goal setting process and only started doing so just a couple of years ago.  At first, I only set annual goals; however,  after the third quarter, I took a new approach to setting goals.  I created a list of four life and finance goals to compliment my lofty annual goals.  The thought was I could focus on taking care of both little and big rocks during the quarter instead of focusing my attention solely on those lofty annual goals.  In this article, I plan on reviewing these four fourth quarter goals.  Let’s take a look at these goals and see how I performed.

Fourth Quarter Life and Finance Goals Review

Goal 1: Solve My Cable Situation –  This was by far the most infuriating roller coaster of a battle that I had over the last few months.  In November, my cable box broke and I swore that I was going to drop cable for streaming the next day.  The world of cord-cutters was about to have another member.   I received an offer from AT&T for 50 mbps download speed for $40/month.  My plan was to sign-up for Sling TV for $25/month and call it a day.  Boom, just like that, I would realize $30-$40 after taxes in savings each month by ditching my current cable provider.

Then, reality set in.  I called AT&T about the deal and they told me there would be a $100 installation fee.  As many people on Twitter pointed out, AT&T would gladly have waived that fee to bring in a new customer.  Before I even bothered calling AT&T and arguing about this, I decided to call my provider and see if they would match the offer or reduce my price.  It would have been much easier for them to match my offer and then I would not have had to deal with the set-up process.  I talked to my current cable/internet provider and guess what….they wouldn’t match the offer.

This was the final straw and I was done. Or at least I thought.  I asked the guy about the cancellation process and he told me that there was going to be a $249 termination fee to end my contract seven months early.  Thank goodness I was sitting down here because I nearly fell out of my chair when he told me that.  They weren’t budging on my fee and a $249 fee (or $35/month over the seven remaining months) would have KILLED the savings realized.  It freaking sucks.  So for now, I’m staying with my current plan and will revisit this at the end of my contract after July.  Good luck keeping me as a customer after this contract ends!  Luckily, I negotiated a pretty solid cable/internet deal so my costs aren’t too out of control.  It is all just really frustrating and I’m pissed that I was not able to achieve this goal.  It sucks that the industry is more focused on attracting new customers than treating their current customers well.

Goal 2: Shop My Insurance and Reduce My Cost –  In addition to shopping cable and internet, I decided to embark on what could be the second most annoying annual bill/service to shop around.  I know it is critical to re-visit the expense each year and shop around, but man it is not a fun process   What made this even worse was that I was shopping insurance providers at the same time as I was battling my cable/internet company.  So let me tell you, my patience for this was razor thin.

However, I have had State Farm as my insurance provider for over 10 years and my experience with them could not be better.  They rarely raise my rates and their customer service is great.  I’ve had several claims for ridiculous situations that have happened to me over the last five years and the claims process was painless.   When I embarked on my mission to shop my insurance cost, I wanted to validate that my insurance costs were astronomically higher than the market rates.  I didn’t want to switch just to save a few dollars if that meant the quality of my insurance and service would decrease significantly.  But if there was a no-brainer move to be made, then of course I was going to make it.

I received quotes, phone calls, and mailers from over five insurance companies.  One of the insurers called me what felt like five times a day for a week.  Again, this really was not a fun process.  What I learned really surprised me.  I actually have decently price home and auto insurance.  My homeowners insurance was less than all but one of the quotes.  Sure my auto insurance expense was higher than the majority of the companies I received quotes from; however, once bundled, my overall insurance cost was lower.   Only one insurance company offered me a lower  bundled quote, which would have saved me over $100 every six months.  However, this was the company that was calling me constantly.  Their ratings and reviews were not as strong as my current providers, so I decided not to switch.  The last thing I wanted was to find a situation where they quoted me a low rate in the first year and then subsequently increased it to make up for the losses in the first year.

Sure, I didn’t switch providers.  But I left this process feeling very happy and confident about the current services I receive for the price I pay.

Goal 3: Drink More Water Each Day – This was the goal I have been the most excited about.  As I mentioned in my article describing my goals, I have historically drank a dismal amount of water each day.  But that changed here in the fourth quarter and the results were amazing.  Each day, I forced myself to drink a ton of water.  Every chance I got, I would refill my cup or my water bottle.  I noticed a few things.

First, my energy levels were up and I was drinking less coffee.   I knew this would happen, but it still caught me off guard considering I am a person that loves the taste of coffee and drank a ton of it each day.  One of the main reasons I would drink coffee is because I was feeling slow and tired each day.  This was a product of not sleeping well and not drinking enough water.  Well, once I started drinking more water, I started feeling better and more energized.  Suddenly, my urge to drink those two afternoon cups of coffee or that extra cup in the morning disappeared.  It was great!  Second, my body started craving more water.  I could tell when I hadn’t drank enough water and my body was telling me that it was time to get off of my butt and find the closest water fountain.

Sure this goal did not produce any financial gains, but I consider it a huge success.  It is very difficult to change a habit, especially one that you have been doing for the last four or five years.  But I was able to fight through it and could not be happier with the results.   Now, I take my big water cup with me every where and make sure that I am getting at least my daily requirements.

Goal 4: Take My Wife to Her Birthday Dinner…Finally –  Two and a half months after her birthday, I finally took my wife out to her birthday dinner.  Honestly, it is inexcusable that it took me this long.  However, the dinner was delicious!  We have kept a list of breweries in Cleveland that we have not visited over the years and are slowly trying to knock them off the list.  So I found a brewery that had delicious food and we went for dinner and a few drinks!   Going forward, we are making it a point to take time together and make sure we celebrate everything timely.  Heck, we are already discussing when we want to have our Valentines Day dinner since it is in the middle of the week.


I may have failed on my finance goals, but at least I was able to deliver on my life goals!  In all seriousness, this quarter has taught me a lot about the constant battle to keep my expenses low and the value of your time and great service by a company.  My cable experience showed me that my time is very valuable.  I spent a lot of time battling with my cable/internet company trying to save some dollars during the year.  Was it worth it?  Clearly not, because I was not able to achieve my savings.  Conversely, I found a company that treats me well and values my time.  To me, it wasn’t worth choosing the lower cost service provider just to embark on the endless price battle that would eventually ensue.

I also enjoyed the process of setting short-term goals to compliment my long-term annual goals.  I thought it was helpful to have a few smaller things to focus on throughout the quarter to help move the ball forward while I worked behind the scenes to achieve my long-term goals.  Look for me to do this again during 2018!  If you don’t do it, I would definitely recommend it!  I’m very happy with the results.

What are your thoughts about my results in the fourth quarter?  Have you been tagged with an expensive termination fee by your cable and internet provider?  Would you have switched insurance providers if you were me as well?


22 thoughts on “Bert’s Fourth Quarter Goals Review

    • Tom,

      Cheers to you *with my water bottle in hand* It is crazy how much better I have felt since I have started drinking more water. Yes – it was a very fun bar and the food was delicious. If you every find yourself near Cleveland, Lanny and I will be able to give you many great suggestions! Keep on drinking that water my friend.


  1. Hi Bert,
    It’s sad to hear that you spent so much energy on the first two goals without much result. However, you did your best and know the situation now so it should no longer bug you. I would consider it as a win!
    Glad to see that you nailed the life goals, though! I think we should take more attention to them as they may become hidden after the financial race 😉

    • BI,

      Honestly, I’m more upset about the cable battle than the insurance. I definitely consider the insurance a win, because I left feeling comfortable about the price I pay for the services I receive. Now my cable battle on the other hand, I’m just pissed off about that one haha They’ll feel the pain in July when I take my services elsewhere.
      What I’ve learned is that the life goals are just as important as the financial goals. It has been great finding one small aspect to improve in my life and make a habit/

      Thanks for the comment!


  2. Hey Bert,

    Love that you’re making new goals and looking to achieve them, good luck!!
    I also wanted to mention the importance of habits vs goals which is a debate that has been in my news feed often recently.
    Here’s an article to really explain the difference:

    I find that goals help me determine my habits, and by having those habits that encourage my goals, I am able to get the best of both worlds!
    I feel both are truly important for life and finance, because we want continuous habits that aid FIRE, with goals to show our progress and give us motivation.

    What do you think?

    • Chris,

      Thank you so much for sharing that article. I like your approach to it and honestly, that’s why I am having a hard time setting my goals for 2018. I’m trying to find the right blend based on my failures and successes from 2017. Informally, I have set a “work out three time a week goal no matter what” and it is going to probably make it into my final goals listing. And sure, that is going to hopefully establish a habit where I could end up working out 4 to 5 times a week because I want to! now I have to think about how to find some great habits to try and work on for FI/RE. Maybe donate ten items a month, etc. What are you doing for yourself??


      • That’s great goal – nothing like being excited to be healthy? Are you adding some food goals to that as well?

        Donating 10 items a month could be so fulfilling for your overall happiness man that’s awesome!

        A few habits:
        1. Read at least 20 minutes a day
        2. Workout at least 2 times a week (I like using the at least word so that way your encourage to do more if you can)
        3. Wake up by at least 4:30am each day

        A few goals:
        1. At least 3K in side income for 2018
        2. Maxing out retirement accounts
        3. Complete the goals we have for Duke of Dollars this year!

        Thanks for checking out the post !

        • I like donating 10 items for month. It builds a great habit and while the amount may not seem that large, 120 items over a year will make a huge difference.

          I really like your habits and goals. I’m a person that never wakes up on time and I like how you set that goal for yourself. That is a little too early for me though 🙂 Interesting though, very interesting! And by the way, you are going to crush those financial goals!!


  3. “Man setting lofty and ambitious goals are so important to achieving success.”

    Made me smile 🙂 as I’m in the same boat. They’re important but can get out of hand very quickly – especially in the work place.

    On your goal #1, we’re keeping our AT&T internet only and killing TV. We’ll likely do Hulu. I could do without the TV, but Mrs. BD likes a few channels/shows.

    On goal #3, water, do it. It helps a lot. If you go workout a lot, you’ll feel like crap if you’re not drinking enough. Feel like crap = dehydrated. Also, not clear = dehydrated. I’m not a doctor or expert, but I think water is good for everyone. Especially after consuming other types of liquid that tend to dehydrate you.

    Nice post!

    • Mike,

      Thanks and I’m glad I was able to make you smile! You don’t need to be a doctor to figure that one out! I used to think that coffee is what help kept me a wake, but in reality, I would crash without proper hydration. Now that I’m drinking water more, I feel so much more awake and attentive. It is crazy how that works. Best of luck knocking your goals out of the park! Let’s just crush it in 2018 and continue to set ourselves up for success. Cheers!


  4. Since you’re experienced with this can I just outsource my annoying monthly bill negotiations to you? I really hate having to deal with that stuff. Honestly that’s a service I wouldn’t mind paying for because it’s just a pain to have to deal with companies that seem to really not care whether you’re a customer or not. And they say customer service is dead.

    • JC,

      Not a bad business idea….something I’ll have to talk to Lanny about haha When I have the time, I enjoy the battle. But it becomes old and tiresome quickly. But if we ever start the business, you’ll be the first person we call haha But it is a shame that those places place such little value on servicing their current customers.


  5. I think some companies do this on purpose. Make ridiculous wait times/fees/etc. so the consumer gets frustrated and decides they just don’t want to deal with it anymore. Then you just pay them money to not deal with the BS. I can understand the frustration. I’m looking at cutting the cable cord after football season ends. >.<

    • MH,

      Interesting theory and man it is frustrating. I definitely believe it is true in terms of termination fees. They know they have you once you are told that you have to pay a large termination fee if you leave just a few months early. Why do companies that offer great products for a fair price even need to have a fee to keep their customers? Frustrating as heck. Let me know what you end up doing and what streaming service is the best for watching sports. I can’t pass up the opportunity next year to watch my Browns finally win a football game haha


  6. Cable and internet are some of the most expensive items. The problem is I don’t even get that many choices. We no longer have cable. Internet, we have a modest plan. :(:(

  7. Terrific work on increasing the water intake, Bert. I’ve been wanting to do that myself, but I can’t seem to get past a few days in a row…. something I’ll have to work on. Regarding your insurance, I would have stuck with my current insurer given your same situation. Don’t give up on great service for a few extra bucks, as great service is hard to come by these days. Finally, nice brewery picture… I’m getting thirsty looking at all those beers on tap… maybe I should have some water instead though!

    • Thanks ED! It was hard at first to stick to the water intake routine; however, I just started carrying a re-usable water bottle with me everywhere I went. After a while, I would just find myself casually drinking it. Suddenly, it would ne empty and it was time for a refill haha The beers were fantastic by the way. I just made sure to drink a lot of water before and after 🙂


  8. Although you didn’t achieve some of your goals Bert, it was important that you set them in the first place. You learn more about yourself in the process, and plus, you can reassess and re-attack as needed. Glad you were finally able to celebrate your wife’s birthday dinner. That was probably one of the more important ones to get accomplished and you did.

    I also like the idea of setting shorter term goals than simply having annual goals.

    As for me, I have numerous goals for 2018. Some personal, but mostly are financial. Time will tell if I will achieve them.

    • Dividend Portfolio,

      Thank you very much for the kind words. You’re right, I have learned a lot about myself in this process. ITs funny, I set some goals in the past hoping that I would be able to change a habit. However, once I started doing it, I quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. It is about finding what you need to do to make yourself a better person. Sounds like you have found your groove with the goal setting process as well and I am excited to swing by and see your goals. You have 12 great months to achieve these goals and best of luck achieving them. With your mentality, you are going to get there!


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