Monday, April 15, 2013

2013 Goals - 1st Quarter Update

I can't believe the 1st quarter has already come and gone.  Now that the 1st quarter is done, it's time to look back and see where I'm at on the goals that I originally set back in January.

2013 Budgeting Goals - 1st Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
80% take-home pay savings rate 84.00% average savings (Jan 85.35%, Feb 82.23%, Mar 84.41%) Exceeded Goal
Less than $1,400 required expenses $1,372.94 average (Jan $1,304.19, Feb $1,500.33, Mar $1,314.30) Exceeded Goal
Reduce Misc. Expenses by 15% (Exp. < $96.51 per mo) $116.83 Needs Improvement
Reduce Restaurant Expenses by 10% (Exp. < $128.31 per mo) $112.07 Exceeded Goal
Reduce Grocery Expenses by 5% (Exp. < $205.64 per mo) $212.76 Needs Improvement



Of my 5 budgeting goals I passed 3 thus far but need quite a bit of work on the other 2.  I absolutely killed on my savings rate through the 1st quarter which is great because it will help to make up for months when my income is lower.  I'm very pleased that my required expenses have come in less than $1,400 through the 1st quarter.  I expected to be much closer but improving on my miscellaneous and grocery expenses will help 3 goals.  I'm still disappointed with my total food bills averaging over $320 but a lot of that is due to the lack of synergies due to my job.  Since I work out of town for extended periods of time I'm buying groceries and cooking for one instead of two and then usually take my wife out to a few restaurants when I'm home.  My food and miscellaneous spending will be my biggest focus for the 2nd quarter and I hope to make much better progress than I did during the 1st quarter.

2013 Saving Goals - 1st Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
$256,000+ Net Worth $210,272.29 thru March (+$54,320.11) On track
1 year emergency fund 5.86 month covered Needs Improvement

The first quarter was a perfect storm of events to kick off the new set of goals.  Higher than normal income, a new crop of ESPP shares, profit sharing deposited to my 401k, and let's not forget the market being on FIRE!!!  After the first quarter I'm 54% of the way towards my goal of a $100k increase.  I wouldn't have expected that at all.  The progress should slow down some as my income normalizes and the markets most likely cool off.  If I can keep up solid progress through the 2nd quarter, I'll most likely revise the net worth goal upwards.  My emergency fund actually took a bit of a hit in March due to some extra car maintenance expenses.  I had most of it covered through savings specifically for the car, but it ended up being a little bit more.  I keep going back and forth on whether I want to increase the emergency fund up to a full year or keep it around the 6 month mark.  I'm leaning towards keeping it at the 6 month mark because a full year's worth of expenses being kept in cash or cash equivalents seems a little rash when the interest rates on savings accounts or CDs are as paltry as they are currently.  At the 2nd quarter update I'll make any revisions to the net worth and emergency fund goals.

2013 Investing Goals - 1st Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Receive $2,750 in passive income (dividends, interest, option premium) $621.39 received Needs Improvement
3.00%+ YOC for FI portfolio 3.06% YOC (3.37% Non-ESPP YOC) Exceed Goal
Forward 12-month dividends at $3,500 by end of year $2,178.30 (62% of the way) Needs Improvement
Surpass $250,000 in invested assets $202,873.44 total value Needs Improvement
Max out Roth IRA's for my wife and I $0 contributed Needs Improvement

I've only passed one of my investing goals thus far but should be able to hit all of them by the end of the year.  My dividends, interest, and option premium goal is on target to hit $2,485.  I should be able to hit this through additional capital and more option premium received now that I've added margin and naked put selling to my account.  I'm excited to be able to cross the 3.00% YOC level even when including my ESPP shares and that should go up as some of the ESPP shares end up getting called away and are then reinvested into higher yielding dividend growth stocks.  If the markets don't pull back some through the dog days of summer I think I'll come up short on the 12-month forward dividends goal because I won't be making as many purchases.  It's a shame but a reality when you're trying to get good value for your money.  As you can see I haven't contributed to the Roth IRA's for either my wife or myself so far.  With the potential to get a raise this year, we just might cross the MAGI threshold for 2013, although that's a good problem to have.  I'll be waiting until the end of the year to make any contributions.

2013 Personal Goals - 1st Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Lose and keep off 20 lbs. Lost 2 lbs Needs Improvement
Workout 3 x per week Averaging 0 workouts Needs Improvement
10k+ 20k+ monthly pageviews 13094 in March Exceeded Goal
Monetize the blog Work in Progress Needs Improvement
Avg 2 stock analyses per month Avg. 2 per month On target
Quit smoking -- Needs Improvement
Read 1 book per month -- Needs Improvement

The blog goals have been great so far.  I'm averaging right at 2 stock analyses per month and I hope to push that up a little bit higher.  I'm going to keep my goal at 2 for now because it takes quite a bit of time to compile the data and form a post around it.  I have started to monetize the blog, although just through Adsense.  The income isn't great, but through the first 3 months I've earned almost enough to cover the cost of the 3 year domain registration so I'm happy about that.  I'll be looking into more routes for monetization but not very aggressively because I'm more focused on delivering solid content.

In order to try and grow Passive Income Pursuit I joined the Yakezie Challenge, The Div-Net, and the Money Crashers Top PF Blog ranks.  The goal for the Yakezie Challenge is to get under 200,000 Alexa Rank.  I started off at 18.3 million and have climbed up to a 361,953 rank.  I know it's going to take a lot of work to try and get under the 200,000 mark but I still have 3 more months on the challenge.  If you'd like to help me out please install the Alexa Toolbar in the browser of your choice.  I also killed it on the pageviews and have already eclipsed this goal with 13,094 in March.  I'm on track to pass that as well in April so things are really starting to come together here.  I'm going to revise this goal up to 20,000 which will be hard to meet but gives me something lofty to aim for.  I can't thank you all enough for stopping by and if there's anything you'd like to see covered here please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

My personal goals haven't gone nearly as well as the blogging goals.  A lot that has to do with no day light on my time off.  Once the time change happened though I started walking/running and doing some bodyweight exercises.  I'm still well behind those goals but am focused on them and if I slip again during the 2nd quarter, please someone come find me and whoop me.  I'm very disappointed with the reading goal as well, although a lot of my free time has been devoted to reading some of the other great blogs out there and developing content.  This should change as I get my daily schedule better tuned.  The goal I'm most disappointed with is the quit smoking.  It's just a waste of money and is horrible for my health.  It's been a stress reliever for so long that it's really hard to break the habit.  I did okay with the goal and would quit smoking for a week or two and then go buy a pack and smoke for a week or two and alternating back and forth.  This is the biggest of all my goal that I'm going to focus on in the 2nd quarter and I hope to be reporting much better progress in July.

Overall it was a pretty good 1st quarter for my 2013 goals.  Almost all of the financial related goals are on track to be exceeded by the end of the year and I'm very excited about that.  My personal goals have been the biggest disappointment thus far and will be focused on much more closely in the 2nd quarter.  I'm trying to come up with some ways to keep me on track with these goals so feel free to leave any ideas in the comments.

How did you do on your goals in the first quarter of 2013?  Any new goals for the 2nd quarter or keeping everything the same?

14 comments:

  1. It looks like you're doing great as far as blogging goals go. I also think that you're investment goals are going well. You just set really high standards for yourself, so it doesn't look as good as it is.

    Don't worry about the Alexa rank. Just keep writing and somehow it will start dropping. I think you've got a lot of great content here, so keep it up. If only for me.

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    1. MyFIJ,

      It was a great 1st quarter. I think the investment goals will all get reached by the end of the year, but I knew most of them weren't going to be accomplished this early. I think the option income will have to play a bigger part than I'd like for the investment income this year, that is unless the markets actually take a prolonged dive to let me make more buys.

      My Alexa Rank has actually improved to just over 330k since the post was written so as long as it's improving that's all I really care about. I think with another 3 months I'll be able to join you with the sub-200k rank and get to cross that off my list.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Pursuit,

    Man, your goals are in the stratosphere. That's tremendous. Even if you fall short...it's like shooting for Pluto and landing on Jupiter. You're going far either way! Keep up the great work!

    That savings rate is especially impressive. I have come so close to 80% on a monthly level a few times, but I certainly couldn't even come close to actually averaging that on any type of long-term basis. I would need about a 10-20% pay raise to accomplish something like that. That's amazing.

    Your blogging is going very well. I don't really track my Alexa rank, but last I looked I think I was somewhere near that 350,000 mark. So, you're right in my neighborhood! Keep it up. :)

    Best wishes.

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    Replies
    1. DM,

      I wouldn't mind landing on Jupiter at all because most people are on Mercury and just waiting to be burned. The 80%+ savings rate has had a lot to do with a higher income to start the year. May will be a dip back down but I'm hoping to get that back up, even though that means being away from my wife. This year should bring about a promotion/pay raise and since they've been hiring more people I should also get a chance to have some trainees which I get paid extra to train them. Plus it feels good to teach them and help them understand what's going on.

      I hope to catch up to you on the dividend income, but if the markets don't really cooperate that might not happen this year. Thanks for all of your inspiration.

      It's amazing to see that it took 13 months to knock of 20k total pageviews and now 4 months into this year I've crossed 60k. I'm not too worried about the Alexa rank except for trying to pass the Yakezie challenge to get under 200k from 6 months. That'll be awesome to hit.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Nice job with the personal goals JC! Having the ability to write naked puts should accelerate your option income quite significantly. It will be interesting to see how a full quarter of trading will affect your overall income progress.

    13k of pageviews in a month is pretty awesome! Wasn't too long ago you were happy to hit 30k in total! Keep up the great content and they will keep on visiting!

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    Replies
    1. W2R,

      Most of my goals are in the works to be pretty close or exceeded. The naked puts should add quite a bit to the option income, but I'll wait to see how it goes this quarter before increasing that goal.

      I was pretty surprised to see the big jump in pageviews. It was over 4k more than February, so we'll see if it sticks, although it looks like it should based on how April has gone so far.

      I really need to focus more on writing posts up in advance and getting them scheduled. I was good about that for a week or so in early March and actually had about 2 weeks worth of posts written and it felt great. But then I let that slide and now there's not much for already completed posts. Oh well, I'm hoping to get that going again this week.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. There a lot of 'needs improvement" but there are a lot of "exceeded goals" too. I consider that a job well done. And I agree with MyFIJ. You blog is really doing well. Just give it enough time and just keep on doing what you're doing. you will get there.

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    1. KC,

      There is a lot of needs improvement, but most of the investing goals had no chance to get accomplished in the 1st quarter since they were annual goals. I probably should have changed some of those to "On target" or something of that nature.

      I'm definitely happy with the way the blog has grown so far this year and it kind of blows me away. I had 20k pageviews in the first 13 months but over 40k in the first 3.5 months of this year. Now if only I can find a way to grow my portfolio at the same rate. ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. Love this 1st quarter update. Looks like you are getting a ton of pageviews which is awesome.

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    1. Marvin,

      I think it's important to take a look at how things have gone. Too often goals, especially New Year's resolutions, fall by the way side and out of focus. I've made so much more progress than I anticipated throughout the first quarter and some of them just befuddle me. The growth of the blog has been one of the biggest ones for me. I know I finally started focusing on growing the blog, but it still amazes me just thinking back how last year I was excited to break the 1k monthly pageviews and now that's every 2-3 days.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Congrats on your success, both investing and blog wise. Thats a phenomenal savings rate you have! Patience is the key with the dividends I think. Its time in the market that will drive these up, slowly but surely.

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    1. Integrator,

      Thanks, I know I'm surprised by some of the numbers. I'm not too worried about the dividends because it's been more of a function of the markets thus far in 2013. A rising market, especially one that rises as quick as this one, takes away a lot of the value. I've made much fewer purchases this year considering the amount I've saved and contributed to my FI portfolio. It seems so long ago that the problem was deciding which company was the best value/place for your money and now it's just trying to a find a few to choose from.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I absolutely love how you broke down your financial independence goal to sub goals. That's exactly how I achieved my financial freedom (through online business passive income). Also, your new 361,953 alexa rank is great. keep the good work!

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    1. Tal Gur,

      Thanks. I think it's a lot easier to keep track of your progress when you break the goals down into separate components. I've actually gotten it down under 300k and I'm really hoping to get it down under 200k over the next 2 months. If only I could have financial independence already. Congrats on getting there.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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