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.
Knocking one off the list. Taking my wife out for her birthday dinner…finally (two and a half months later) pic.twitter.com/5U9HRJsQAU
— Dividend Diplomats (@DvdndDiplomats) November 11, 2017
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?