Wednesday, July 24, 2013

2013 Goals - 1st Half Update

I can't believe the 1st half of the year is already over with.  Or July for that matter.  It seems like July 4th was just yesterday but the end of the month is almost near.  Now that the 1st half is done, it's time to look back and see where I'm at on the goals that I set back in January.

2013 Budgeting Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
80% take-home pay savings rate 82.55% average savings (Jan 85.35%, Feb 82.23%, Mar 84.41%, Apr 84.18%, May 81.40%, June 77.71%) Exceeded Goal
Less than $1,400 required expenses $1,387.13 average (Jan $1,304.19, Feb $1,500.33, Mar $1,314.30, Apr $1,361.56, May $1,399.65, Jun $1,442.76) Exceeded Goal
Reduce Misc. Expenses by 15% (Exp. < $96.51 per mo) $118.42 Needs Improvement
Reduce Restaurant Expenses by 10% (Exp. < $128.31 per mo) $109.77 Exceeded Goal
Reduce Grocery Expenses by 5% (Exp. < $205.64 per mo) $195.57 Exceeded Goal


Of my 5 budgeting goals I passed 4 thus far which is an improvement over the 3 that I had passed in through the 1st quarter.  I still need to do some more work my miscellaneous expenses although most of that is tied to one of my personal goals that I'll cover later.  I'm really pleased with my savings rate being well above 80% through the first half.  I figured this might have been a bit of a stretch goal but so far the right combination of higher income and lower expenses has pushed me above the 80% mark, despite the dip in June.  I'm very happy with my food expenses continuing to creep down as both are currently under my target monthly average.  They still fluctuate a lot more based on how much I'm home during a given month but overall they're trending down.  It's still a bit high at $300+, but it's an improvement from the $320 through the first quarter.

2013 Saving Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
$256,000+ Net Worth $240,113.39 thru June (+$84,161.21) On track
1 year emergency fund 5.80 month covered

As I mentioned above, I've been having higher monthly income than I averaged last year.  Since my expenses are continuing to trend down that just leads to a larger gap that goes straight to the bottom line and gets invested.  With the markets generally being on a tear so far this year my net worth has increased over $84k through the first half of the year.  I had a goal of hitting $256k by the end of the year which would have been a $100k increase, but I'm almost there through just the first half.  My wife and I are in the beginning stages of looking for a house which is going to put a dent in the net worth figure.  I'm going to raise my target up to $286k by the end of the year which is a $30k increase.  I was planning on making a pretty large increase to my net worth goal to really push myself for the second half of the year but with the house purchase looming that's going put throw a wrench in the works.  My emergency fund hasn't really improved throughout the year, although it hasn't really changed much at all either.  I'm leaning towards keeping my emergency fund lower for the time being just because I'm not sure that a full year emergency fits in the overall financial picture at this time.

2013 Investing Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Receive $2,750 in passive income (dividends, interest, option premium) $2,697.22 received Exceeded Goal
3.00%+ YOC for FI portfolio 3.29% YOC (3.44% Non-ESPP YOC) Exceeded Goal
Forward 12-month dividends at $3,500 by end of year $2,932.65 (83.79% of the way) Needs Improvement
Surpass $250,000 in invested assets $233,091.79 total value Needs Improvement
Max out Roth IRA's for my wife and I $0 contributed Needs Improvement

My investing goals have gone great so far this year although there's still work to be done.  In the first half of 2013 I received $1,645.86 in premium from closed/expired options, $1,025.23 in dividends, and $26.13 in interest income for a total of $2,697.22.  I didn't expect this goal to be reached just half way through the year but my option income has really helped out and is way more than I expected.  There's still an outside chance that I could pass this goal on dividends alone although I think that'll be a stretch.  I'm glad to see my YOC creeping higher through both new purchases, dividend increases, and unloading some of my ESPP shares.  Those were a big drag on the YOC since they only have a 1.99% YOC and make up about 12% of my portfolio.  The forward 12-month dividends are really starting to build and it's exciting to see.  I haven't contributed yet to a Roth IRA for my wife or myself because we are very close to the MAGI threshold and I don't want to deal with having to withdraw the money later due to not being allowed contributions.  That will be a 4th quarter 2013 or 1st quarter 2014 payment depending on where we end up.

2013 Personal Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Lose and keep off 20 lbs. Gained 4 lbs Needs Improvement
Workout 3 x per week Averaging 0 workouts Needs Improvement
10k+ 20k+ monthly pageviews 17,380 in May (16,779 avg. for 2nd quarter) Needs Improvement
Monetize the blog $75.89 in Adsense earnings 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

My personal goals haven't been going very well.  I just haven't had the motivation to workout although I did go walking/jogging yesterday so I'm hoping to kick start this again.  Half the year has already passed by and I've gone backwards on the exercise/weight loss goals.  If I had a way to lift weights I'd be more motivated because I really enjoy doing that but it's hard to get motivated to just go walk/jog.  The other personal goals of reading and quitting smoking have been very hit and miss.  There's stretches where I do really good on both and then I get off track for a bit.  Quitting smoking is going to be my biggest priority in the 2nd half.  Not only will it save money but it will also allow for easier exercise and generally make me feel better.

The blog goals have gone pretty well.  I had originally set a 10k monthly pageview target but passed that through the first quarter and raised the goal to 20k.  There's still work to be done on that but overall my readership/pageviews has been growing so I'm happy.  I have monetized the blog but obviously it's nothing spectacular.  Considering I would and did keep the blog running for free any bit is a bonus, plus it's covering the cost of the domain registration so at least it's not costing me money.  Just throwing this out there but if you've been approached to pitch a product/service or have a specific ad banner placed on your own blog, how much do you go about charging for that?  I've had a few offers and honestly have no clue where to even start with a dollar number.

All in all it was a good first half of 2013 with several goals already being met and therefore raised.  I'm very pleased with all of my financial goals as most of them are on track to be met.  My personal and blog goals are going to be my biggest focus for the rest of the year and I'm hoping to make as much improvement on those as I have on the financial ones.

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

14 comments:

  1. Nice first half of the year, how did it go by so fast? Congrats on hitting some of your goals, that's a great net worth increase in just half a year. I'm also impressed with your savings rate. Keep it up ! I haven't written out any new goals for the second half but I have a few in my head that I'm trying to hit since I've already met some of my goals.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AAI,

      I have no idea where the first half went and the second half is starting out the same way. The net worth increase has been great although I would have preferred a slow climb since a good chunk of those gains have been due to the rising markets. You're killing it on the dividend goals. I wish I could grow my dividend stream as quickly as you have.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of 2013!

      Delete
  2. Congrats on meeting your budgeting goals and having a pretty solid year investment wise! Just a bit of encouragement if I may, I started working out in December, I'm probably averaging four times a week now, but the first few weeks are always the hardest. Once you get into the rhythm of forcing yourself to go, it starts to feel abnormal when you don't go and you feel weak and sluggish. Once the habit is formed, you're good to go. If I can't make it at least 3x a week I start to go nuts haha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chad,

      Unfortunately due to my job and my car I'm kind of limited on workout equipment, I drive a Civic. Since I usually work in the middle of nowhere it's hard to find a gym without driving 40-60 mi roundtrip. When I was laid off working out was easy. If I went more than a day without doing some kind of exercise my body felt weird. But a good weird. I really miss those times. I'm trying to get back into it but I always hated doing cardio before and I'm very limited to just doing cardio as my main exercise source now. Weight lifting always seemed better because it makes so many other aspects of your life better and easier.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Great job on your financial goals for the first half. Saving 82% is phenomenal, I'm having a hell of a time getting to my goal of 50!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. First Million,

      The financial goals have been awesome so far. There's just a few more tweaks to the budget and the rest will take care of itself. I'm very happy with my savings rate and if you add the 8% that's taken out after-tax but doesn't hit my checking account my savings rate is pushing 90%. A big factor in your savings rate is going to be your local cost of living. Luckily I have a great combination of being naturally thrifty, a great income and a low cost of living area. That can lead to some awesome savings! Keep up the good work. I think too often people forget that personal finance is just that, personal. We're all in different situations and if you constantly compare path with another persons's you're going to be left way behind. AAI for example gets to invest even more capital than I do on a monthly basis and I'm very jealous of that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Pursuit,

    That savings rate is just crazy. Keep it up man.

    Your doing fantastic on almost every single goal, which is amazing considering the sheer number and breadth of them.

    Looking forward to seeing you crush the rest of 2013.

    Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DM,

      You've done great on your goals as well.

      I'm hoping to get back to investing capital into the FI portfolio in the second half. I almost have the full down-payment in cash already between savings and selling off the ESPP shares. I'm thinking of going on and selling off some more shares if there's a bit of a jump in HAL's share price to get more capital for extra down-payment and incidentals while house hunting, i.e. closing costs, inspection... Once we already have a target price and have seen several houses in that range that we like so hopefully there will be some extra left over and then I can start investing again.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. WOW that is a crazy savings rate! Jesus. With that type of savings rate I am shocked you blow cash on Cigs. Just seems to be the opposite of you are lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evan,

      I'm pretty disappointed that I haven't been able to kick the cigarettes yet. Just goes to show how solid of a business big tobacco is. Almost everyone knows that it's not exactly healthy and they are quite expensive yet people keep coming back.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. I second Evan's comment. Anything above 50% savings rate is pretty good going. 65% plus is outstanding. Over 80% is a savings masterclass. And to think the average national US savings rate is 3.3% :) Simply outstanding.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Integrator,

      When I first started this journey I really had no idea what it would be but without trying too hard my savings rate was 60-70% thanks to my high income and relatively low expenses. After progressing further down the line I've got my expenses in even better shape and the income has risen. That's a great combination to get to 80% and I'm really hoping to get that for a full year because that would be amazing to me.

      I hate that the average US savings rate is 3.3%, especially when you then hear those same people complaining about how they never have money and are deep in debt. Sounds like the problem is your spending habits, so do something about it!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. 82% for the first half of the year is a record-breaking achievement! Well done, sir! Read your story, and I must agree with you, we don't think much of what we already lost until we no longer have anything to hold on to. Just like your job, other people think that they are stable enough with their money as long as they have jobs. But at least, it's not yet the end for you since you now keep saving for the future. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tyrone,

      Thanks for the congratulations! I try to do my best to save as much as possible while I currently have very low expenses, no kids, and a great income. Being laid off was definitely a trying time for the first few months and then I stopped obsessing over it because I knew I still had money to last me for a while and it was causing so much stress in my life. I just hope that through this blog I can help inspire others to really start saving for the future. It doesn't have to be for an early retirement scenario because I honestly don't know if I'll do that. But it's mainly for the peace of mind that comes with being financially independent.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete