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Can my new year start in mid-January?

The good news is that I now have a real, permanent job with benefits, which is something that I haven't had since just before college. With steady income I can plan for my future. Of course, at my advanced (ahem!) age, there's not much future left, but what the hell, right?

I've developed a list of long-term and short-term goals and, because it's so close to the start of the year, I've informally dubbed them my 'New Year's Resolutions.' And, since Justin keeps bugging me about writing a column, I present them here for posterity:

  • First, I'm consolidating and getting rid of all my credit card debt. I made the mistake of running up about $3K on my cards just before leaving college under the mistaken assumption that I would be hired right out of college, even though I'd hardly applied for anything. Three temp jobs, an ill-fated and short-lived move to Chicago, and one ex-girlfriend later, that amount has ballooned to $6500. The worst part is that about half of it is on a card with a 30% APR. Go ahead, do the math... I'll be right here.

    Yeah.

    So, under my original plan, I was going to use about $350 per paycheck, dropping down to $250 in May after paying off the first card, for a total of roughly $7270, all to satisfy a $6500 debt. Luckily, with my now-steady income (note that I haven't mentioned the actual dollar figure; yes, I'm a sly dog), I've qualified for a consolidation loan: 4% APR, 25 bi-weekly payments at $265 each... same end result, but $640 cheaper.

  • Second, I'm starting a retirement plan. My new employer will make a 2-for-1 match, fully vested, of my contribution, up to 5% of my paycheck. (Apparently the 2-for-1 is unusually large, and the immediate vesting even moreso, but I wouldn't know anything about that.) After some extended number-crunching, I've decided to put 10% of my paycheck away this year. I will probably bump that up to 20% next year when my credit card debt is sayonara. The big question is whether I can afford to retire at age 70; thankfully, I can start stripping away the doubt.

  • Third, my 52 plan presumably starts next week. It's safe to say that my interactions with single, heterosexual females lately have been less than satisfying. Coupling (oh, my wit!) that with the fact that most of the single, heterosexual females who were within my sphere of friends have either moved out of my sphere or are no longer single has led me to a minor crisis of confidence. If I needed a date for a social event, I wouldn't know who to ask anymore. Frankly, I don't know if I have 'it' anymore. This all leads into my 52 plan.

    So what is the 52 plan? Simply put, it's my plan to make contact with 52 unattached women over the next 52 weeks. The potential benefit is twofold: it will force me to learn how to approach women and it will expand my range of potential dates. It's not a plan to go on 52 first dates... I'm not making that much money.

    On a side note, I have a quasi-bet with Justin over whether I can make contact with one woman per week... Justin's really into being literal, so he won't accept a simple 52-in-52. Frankly, it doesn't matter to me whether I lose the bet because I win just by going through with the whole thing, plus I'll still be the one with a soul.

  • In addition to those three goals, I have some smaller goals for the year. This summer, I'll take an official IQ test for the purpose of joining Mensa; this should prove whether I really do have an above-genius intellect. I plan to get a cat, possibly two, in May; the house hasn't had a pet in three years, since Smoke passed away. I want to take a trip to Marquette and to Toronto; I didn't visit either city last year, breaking a six-year streak. I also want to visit a Steve and Barry's store in Ohio to get an Ohio State University jacket to match my University of Michigan jacket. Little-known fact: I'm half-Buckeye (and half-blond, but that's another story.)

So, to summarize, I'm paying off my credit cards, starting a retirement plan, and meeting women. It's almost like I'm on my way to being a GQ piece of crap!


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