Here are my 5 modest resolutions for 2007

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Many of you know how how much I hate dumb people (e.g., here, here, here, here, here, here, here, etc), including pundits who try to predict things but quietly fade away when the results come in, and hand-wavy arguments that people use to rationalize not getting started (like here).

Anyway, this year I’m going to make 5 very modest resolutions. New Year resolutions are always weird to me. Isn’t it odd how we treat the new year like it’s a complete rebirth, which often leads to unreasonably ambitious resolutions that never seem to happen? And we ignore that this pattern has been repeated for the last 20-something years? Now, I’m all for ambition and anything that will help us be more productive and happy, but one of the core tenets of iwillteachyoutoberich is recognizing the difference between being sexy and being Rich.

It would be sexy to say “I’M GOING TO MAKE A BILLION DOLLARS THIS YEAR!!!!!!!” or “THE CURRENCY INFLATIONARY CRISIS, COMBINED WITH INTERNATIONAL SPECIALIZATION AND IMMIGRATION, HAS MADE ME BEARISH ON THE STOCK MARKET, SO INSTEAD OF INVESTING I INTEND TO HOLD MY ASSETS IN CASH AND PERHAPS GOLD.” Really? Instead, I’d probably just say “I’m going to set up an automatic transfer of $500 from my bank to my investing account on the 1st of every month” or “I’m going to read one book per month on personal finance.” Not as sexy, but with a long-term horizon, I think it works.

As Paul Saffo recently wrote,

As this portentous year draws to a close, many are tempted to forecast a coming new utopia — or unimaginable new hells. Both outcomes are unlikely. Instead, humankind will do what it has always done, namely muddle its way forward.

Okay, that’s definitely cynical, but the message still comes through: Instead of grandstanding, small, simple steps work for me. So after some thought, here are my modest resolutions:

  • About 23% of my readers are women. I want to increase that number to 35% by the end of 2007. This will be hard.

  • Go against my personality and say “no, thanks” to opportunities that might seem interesting, but aren’t a core part of what I want to do this year.
  • Share what sources I read more frequently, including links to other blogs and 2 book reviews per month.
  • From a personal-finance perspective, I’ll make more, save more, and spend more than ever before this year. I spent most of December thinking through a new asset allocation, which I might write about later.
  • Write for 30 minutes every day.

That’s it! Happy 2007.

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29 Comments

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  1. I’m curious … how do you plan to increase your female readership?

  2. The plan is to research money and women more (I’ve just begun), figure out what issues I’m not addressing, and write about them in a way that will help equalize the gender imbalance on this site. Then, work hard to get the message out.

  3. That’s awesome Ramit. I look forward to reading more from you in the new year. Keep up the great work!!

    G

  4. Hi Ramit, how about guest posts by personal finance bloggers who are women and vice versa. That’ll introduce those readers to your site and expose your readers to a female voice without you having to spread out of your core. Although, it might not hurt to learn about women ;-)

  5. I’m female, count me in, I’ve read your site for 2 whole days….part of MY New Year’s resolution…..read something about Finance daily. Now, mind you, I read all the past entries and really won’t want to see many like the “tie purchase”, (even tho the responses were QUITE entertaining) and if you want my opinion of how to get more readers, GET MORE SERIOUS! I don’t just want to see 2 different credit card offers, I want someone to tell me which one is BETTER and WHY. I want nuts and bolts I can read tonite, use tomorrow morning, and take to the bank by the end of the week. I’m working on my master’s, so I don’t have time to read 2 finance books per month….but you do……SO give me the highlights, just the meat sir.

    Tall order? Well you asked for more female readers. My husband said he’s rather have a root canal than to read a financial blog…..so someone has to do it!

  6. You could always increase your percentage of female readers by decreasing your male readership (kidding!). I’m looking forward to reading about your new asset allocation, per your 4th resolution.

    Continued thanks for the invaluable information and resources.

  7. I don’t know if you’ve had any considerable spike increases in the past five months, but have you considered re-doing the poll to obtain more accurate figures for January?

  8. Guest writers would be a brilliant way to increase your female readership. Perhaps you could also inquire as to why women in general (from my experience at least) seem less interested in finance than men. Could be an interesting topic of debate.

  9. I’ve noticed quite a few people are making writing a part of their new years resolutions. The more I read that resolution the more I think I should be writing about half an hour a day as well.

    And I agree with Jennifer – start with as accurate numbers as possible and maybe ask for suggestions on how to attract more female readership.

  10. Ramit, I’m a 40-something girl who reads your blog. I will be sure to mention it to my friends. Several of us are tackling the financial/investment part of our lives right now.

    Your writing on the subject is excellent and approachable.

    Good luck with all your resolutions!

  11. I also added your feed a couple of days ago, so that ups your numbers, too.

    I’ll be interested to see how your site and writing style evolve as you pursue goal #1.

    Good luck!

  12. Very reasonable goals. I’ve found one difficult but attainable goal is about all I can handle each year.

  13. Ramit – I like your goals! I’ll be sure to tell my female friends about your site too. I’m 20-something, and the problem I see with my young female friends is that they are not empowered with their money; they are fearful of feeling dumb by not knowing about these things so they just avoid it. (I know, doesn’t make sense, but it’s the way it goes.) You could start by reaching out to other female bloggers like myself and the commenters above to spread the word via WOM.

  14. Fulfill your promises from 2006 first.

  15. I predict that I will be the 16th comment. I like easy predictions ;)

  16. Great list of attainable, yet challenging, goals for 2007. I wish you the best is your achievements.

  17. You can add one more 20-something female reader to your list as of the last couple months =) I enjoy your posts and they definitely keep me motivated to stay on top of my finanaces.

  18. I am a female reader. How can you tell female readership is only 23% I feel most of my readership is female but I have no way of knowing the %

  19. Hey Ramit,

    I did it, thanks for responding.

  20. Ramit,

    As a marketing bunny, I would advise to target either male or female but not both (two very different markets). You will get spill over but your target should be specific (most companies do this with every product…For example: The McChicken eater is a middle class, middle aged, white female with a full time job, 2 kids, etc).

    I like to write to a single person. In your case, it may be a 22 year old male college grad with school debt, renting, entry level job, etc. etc. Get inside his skin. What does he watch on tv? What are his worries? If he had a million dollars, what would he buy? Know him.

    Don’t worry too much about excluding people. Both No Limits Ladies and K’s Blog has a very female target (different female targets though). That hasn’t stopped our male readership from growing.

    You don’t want to be all things to all people.

  21. Hey Ramit! It makes me sad too. Not only because of my own personal situation, but because so many fantastic women ignore this important aspect of their lives.

  22. Nice work Ramit. I am looking forward to reading more of your site in ’07. Best of luck on the resolutions, especially the female readership target.

    How do you know which readers are male/female?

  23. Hi Ramit,

    So glad I found your blog. Wish I had known about it when I was writing my book (shameless mention below).

    You could swap guest blog posts with popular sites like Boston Gal’s Open Wallet to reach more female readers. And if you check out women-centric news blogs like Salon’s Broadsheet you will get a better idea of what financial issues women are thinking about. But maybe you’re already doing all this. :)

    I think working the $ advice for young people is a great angle, so don’t take that for granted. People want to read advice from someone in their own demographic who can say, I’ve been there, I know how it is…

    Anyway, I’m excited to peruse your site some more.

    –Michelle Goodman, author of The Anti 9-to-5 Guide: Practical Career Advice for Women Who Think Outside the Cube

  24. Happy New Year Rammit!

    I thought it might be helpful if you knew why I, a woman (hear me roar – or something) read your blog.

    1. It’s funny. ( My favorite “But Rammit! You might be saying…”)
    2. I’m interested in managing my finances wisely.
    3. You seem to know what you’re talking about.
    4. I heard about you from someone i trust (seth godin).

    Hope that helps!

  25. I find it very interesting that almost everyone is commenting on your female readership. I seem to recall you mentioning other goals like going against your personality to say “no thanks” to certain opportunities. I’m a new reader to your blog and also an almost 40 female with technology and psychology degrees. I’m looking forward to reading more from you. Thanks.

  26. Count another female in – I just arrived here from ViolentAcres.com, and this is the first post of yours I’ve read. I already like your writing enough that I’m going to spend the evening poring through the archives.

    I’m glad I found you!

  27. YES, share your sources! It’s so annoying when you don’t, and while recommendations aren’t a great idea, at least knowing what you read and who your admire as a blogger would be very helpful to know. In blogging, no man is an island.

  28. I’m a female reader who plans to read your site regularly. One way you could increase readership is to get your link added to female finance bloggers. They tend to link to other females, but I think your viewpoint could be a welcome breath of fresh air from the saving money stance of many female bloggers. Good luck!