Reflections on 2018 and What’s To Come in 2019

Reflections on 2018 and What’s To Come in 2019

I wavered on whether to write a post like this or not. But after realizing so much wisdom from reading similar posts from other people that I respect, I feel that if it benefits just one person then it would be worth it.  If you’re here strictly for financial content, I won’t be offended if you skip this one.

As we closed out 2018, I took the week of Christmas totally off.  It ended up being nine days with the weekend bookends.  It’s been a long time since I’ve taken that much time off.  It was an amazing time spent mostly with my beautiful wife and two boys — they’re growing up fast, so I’m trying to soak it in.  But there were also some quiet moments that I spent reflecting on my life and business.  As a result, I want to share a few things that worked well in 2018 and what lies ahead in 2019 both personally and professionally.

Personal Reflections & Goals

I’ll start with the personal side because I think that any business success has to start with being in the right frame of mind each day.  Here are a few things I started in 2018 that I’ll be taking with me into 2019 because they worked well.

I Structured My Time

I set a bedtime for myself of 11:00 and a wake-up time of 6:00 each and every day.  These times are non-negotiable. This might sound rigid and weird, but I found once I started this schedule that it is a keystone habit.  For those unfamiliar with the term keystone habit, it is a habit that has a waterfall effect on other pieces of your life.  For me, what started as a way to ensure I got enough sleep ended up profoundly improving other areas of my life as a result. For instance…

I’ve successfully completed my Bible study every single day since I started this.  When I wake up, I go straight down to my basement and do my Bible study.  Whether you are religious or not is irrelevant. Perhaps you start your day meditating, journaling or practicing gratitude.  No matter what you choose, it is virtually certain that it will start your day off on the right foot if you start by working on yourself first.

I’m getting in much better shape as well because I’m successfully getting my workout in before I even turn my phone on.  My boys get up at 7, so I can easily accomplish these goals without interruption. I used to try very unsuccessfully to work out in the evenings, so getting it in first thing in the morning has been a major victory.

Intermittent Fasting & Eating Healthier

My brother introduced me to intermittent fasting this year and I follow this protocol five days per week (sometimes more) where I eat solely between the hours of 10:00 and 6:00.  Outside of those hours, I drink only water.  Once I got through the hunger struggles of the first week, I found that I have more energy; I sleep better and I look better (at least I think so).  I’ve also found that this process has encouraged me to eat healthier as well.  This year, I’m going to try cutting down on my sugar intake, especially in coffee. Black coffee anyone?

Read More Books and Less Online Reading

My boys go to bed around 8:00 each night, and since my workout is already out of the way, I want to dedicate time to reading some good books.  I felt frustrated that there are so many good books I wanted to read, but never felt I had the time.  Then I saw a blog post from Shane Parrish titled “Just Twenty-Five Pages a Day” that’s worth a read. So, my daily goal is to fit in time to read just 25 pages per day. I already jumped on this wagon in December and have finished two books already.  Thinking of it this way, it feels much more manageable.

In reality, most of the above life changes occurred in the second half of the year, and I’ve felt much more on top of things.  I feel like the changes I made have made me a better father, husband, and person.  Certainly far from perfect, but I’m trying to improve each and every day.  So, I’m not adding any new goals at the moment, just trying to do more of the same.

Business Reflections & Goals

On the business side, it was an exciting year and am really looking forward to what’s to come in 2019.  Here are some business reflections from 2018 and what I’m excited about in 2019.


In reading one of the books I was mentioning above, the author poses a question, “What is your vision for your career?”  I’ve done plenty of goal setting in my career thus far, but I can’t say I have ever thought too much about the extreme big picture.  So, I spent some time thinking about that.  What hit me as obvious as a rock over the head is that I believe my true “mission” in both business and in life is increasing #RetirementLiteracy among my parent’s generation.

There are groups that are all about #FinancialLiteracy and that is an amazing cause to be sure.  But I feel as if that cause is not overly focused on the generation that are already (in the here and now) at significant risk of “not making it” financially speaking.  So, I am dedicating myself purely to the cause of #RetirementLiteracy.  I am passionate about educating people and believe that I can make a real difference in this cause.

So, you’ll see a slight shift in how my blog posts will be written.  I’ve always focused on retirement issues, but have tended to lean toward the investing side of things.  I spent some time over the past week writing down the most critical questions people in or nearing retirement need to be thinking about. As I move forward, my posts will be written with the full intent to answer the list of questions I came up with.  I have about 50 topic ideas already with inevitably more to come. If you have ideas, I’m all ears.

The goal is to help retirees answer these questions.  Some are advanced-level questions with long answers and some are really straightforward.  If you’ve liked what I’ve put out to this point, I think you’ll get even more value out of it as I move forward.  I also hope if you find what I’m doing valuable that you’ll consider joining my #RetirementLiteracy mission and share this site with others that you care about.

Last thing on this topic and I’ll move on – Outside of the blog, I am “going to the people” to provide this retirement education in person as much as possible.  I’m in the midst of creating a few presentations that I can use to present on behalf of various local employers, non-profits and others to be the feet on the streets. If you are local to Pittsburgh and would be interested bringing this type of #RetirementLiteracy workshop to your company or an organization you are a part of, send me a message via my Contact Ashby page and we can find some time to discuss!

I’m really excited about this mission and feel that if I move the needle just a little through my career I’ll consider it a raging success.

Retirement Resources

I launched a new page on my website where I share the “best of the best” that I’ve found across the web when it comes to retirement.  This fits right in with my #RetirementLiteracy mission.  I will continue adding to this page as I try to make it the best resource available to retirees anywhere. Click here to see the Retirement Resources page.

Making the Business Fun

Those following my Pittsburgh Retirement Planner Facebook Page know I already started the Pittsburgh Burger Tour 2019 where I will go to a different restaurant each week in 2019 in a journey to find the best burger and fries in Pittsburgh.  For what it’s worth, I realize the irony of this idea with regard to the idea of healthier eating above but I don’t think one meal per week will hurt. I thought this would be a fun idea for people to follow along and might even serve as an opportunity to meet some new people.  Thus far, people seem really excited about this idea, so if you live in Pittsburgh (or even if you don’t), I encourage you to Like and Follow my Pittsburgh Retirement Planner Facebook Page to follow along.

Okay, That’s It

If you’re still with me, thank you.  And I mean that.  Writing this blog for the past nine months has been one of the highlights of my career.  I get so many great responses from readers and am thankful for each and every one of you.  I hope that your new year is off to a great start, and l look forward to spending more time with you in 2019.

Thanks for reading!

Ashby Daniels

Disclaimer: Any opinions are those of Ashby Daniels and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Any information provided is not a complete summary or statement of all available data necessary for making an investment decision and does not constitute a recommendation. Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss.

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