3 Ideas: First Paycheck of the Year, Non-Smart Goals, Active & Fit Gym Fees


written by oz chen

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Welcome to the Rich List, a weekly newsletter of 3 ideas to increase your wealth, well-being and wisdom.

Idea 1: The Value of Non-SMART Goals

I found lots of fascinating research as I put together my money goals workshop, happening on January 21st (hint hint…you should sign up.)

A big insight? There’s value in setting general goals, not just specific ones.

Researchers found that “general happiness goal(s) can leave a longer-lasting positive emotional imprint.”

We’ve long heard of SMART goals—Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
While there’s value in making things specific, research shows that this is most effective for setting productivity and outcome oriented goals, like paying off debt or losing weight.

But when it comes to emotions like feeling happy, “general goals may be an advantage because people will be open to experiencing a broader range of positive emotions.”

It’s not broad VS specific goals, it’s having broad AND specific goals. (Spectrum thinking for the win!)

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I’ll help you set financial goals that feel GOOD and actionable in my free upcoming workshop. Sign up here:

Idea 2: Audit the First Paycheck of the Year

By now, millions of Americans have received their first paycheck of 2023.

This the perfect time to do a quick audit of your paycheck and catch anything off.

The thing I care about most is 401K contributions and not missing free money (employer match).

“Based on my contributions, will I max out the $22,500 limit by the end of 2023?”

Just for reference, $22,500 divided by 26 pay periods (paid bi-weekly) comes down to $865.38 per paycheck. Figuring out the exact math can be hard, so I’m coming up with an template soon on how to take the proper amount from each paycheck.

Other things to study on your paystub:

  • Amount of PTO hours
  • Tax withholding
  • Check employer benefits (FSA, HSA) for the correct amount

Happy payday!

Idea 3: Active & Fit—save gym membership costs

Ah, the beginning of a year. Full of that new year’s resolution energy, which also means packed gyms.

One of my friends told me there’s a little hack to getting gym memberships at low costs.

It’s called Active & Fit, a”low–cost fitness membership available through your employer, health plan, or other participating organization.” Their standard plan starts at $25/month, and you can still get something like 20%-70% off of more premium gym memberships.

Example: Gold’s Gym is in the Active & Fit network, and the local one near me costs about $50 and up. You basically get a 50% discount by only paying $25/month.

Pro tip: if you have AAA, you can enroll in Active & Fit too.

Just for fun

Since I host cocktail parties every month, I decided that I’ll also learn how to make a new cocktail monthly too. I recently tried my hand at making the classic Old Fashioned and two of my discerning liked it!

Here’s my preferred recipe:

Muddle brown sugar cube with 4 dashes of orange angostura bitters and black cherry syrup. Drop in ball or block ice. Mix. Add 2 oz whiskey. Twist orange peel to get the zest on the drink, then run it over the lip of the glass. Use cocktail toothpick for orange peel and black cherry. Serve with a cheshire grin. 

How do you like your old fashioned?

(Personally, I like the Manhattan a bit more, which is just adding sweet vermouth to this recipe).

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