Most businesses operate under a system called management by objectives. In order to align everyone’s behavior, employees will typically have an integrated set of business objectives in order to reach a company’s overall business goals. If an individual employee succeeds with some or all of their objectives they typically get a bonus.
There is no reason why a similar set of objectives cant be set at a family level in order to focus and foster good behavior to meet the family’s needs.
The key with any set of objectives is to make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) so an objective of “take a course” is a very poor objective. However, “take sales course 131 with a score of 90% or higher by end of December” is a much better objective.
In business these objectives can be synthesized down to the bare bones in order to focus behavior. So for example an objective related to sales growth of “Increase sales year on year by 3%” could be pared down to something like “Sales growth >= 3% YONY”.
Another thing to bear in mind is there is no point having too many objectives. If an employee has too many then they are less likely to focus on them and will forget about them. Somewhere around 5-6 is a good number.
So here are our family objectives for 2018.
- Finance : Overall FIRE rate <= 2.8%
- Finance : Number of new phones/ipads/computers purchased = 0
- Finance : Grocery bill < $600 per month by EOY
- Fitness (Steve) : Miles run per week average 15 by EOY
- Blogging : Number of posts >= 85 in 2018
We still need to decide what our “bonus” will be at the end of the year if we make these but we will consider some sort of additional break or treat in early 2019.
Some detail on the above.
Finance : Overall FIRE rate <= 2.8%
In 2017 we fired at a rate of 3.2%, our overall aim is to get to 2.5%, however that might be too much of a jump in 1 year. So the intention is to try and get to 2.8% in 2018 with a view to get to 2.5% in 2019.
Finance : Number of new phones/ipads/computers purchased = 0
All our electronics are currently 3-5 years old so under normal circumstances we would be thinking about upgrading. our aim is to not upgrade this year and review in 2019. Note this doesn’t apply to our daughter who might buy a new phone with her own money.
Finance : Grocery bill < $600 per month by EOY
Our grocery bill was higher than we planned in 2017 at an average of over $700 a month. This was much higher than planned. Admittedly we have a teenager and a 10 year old going through a growth spurt. I think we can keep this under control better. There is of course a small loophole here, we could eat out more in restaurants, which would lower the grocery bill, but increase the restaurant spend. That would be cheating though.
Fitness (Steve) : Miles run per week average 15 by EOY
I typically run 3 times a week, so this is just to keep focus on this.
Blogging : Number of posts >= 85 in 2018
The aim is to post twice a week, however i’ll probably take a break during vacation periods (so call that 5 weeks or 10 posts missed). Plus a break over Christmas/New Year. I’m also expecting there to be the odd week where an emergency occurs and a post will be missed. So based on this 85, seems a reasonable number.
I’ll post updates on these objectives every quarter.