Monday, October 28, 2013

2013 Goals - 3rd Quarter Update

Somehow the 3rd quarter has already passed us by and we're almost done with the 1st month of the 4th quarter.  Really?  I'm a bit late on this, seeing as how the 4th quarter is quickly passing by but it's time to look back to see where I'm at on the goals that I set back in January.  There were a lot of changes to my financial world in the quarter as my wife and I purchased a house.  Unfortunately this will mean that our monthly expenses will be increasing but I'll do my best to stay on track with my financial goals.

2013 Budgeting Goals - 3rd Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
80% take-home pay savings rate 82.90% average savings (Jan 85.35%, Feb 82.23%, Mar 84.41%, Apr 84.18%, May 81.40%, June 77.71%, July 79.71%, Aug 86.60%, Sept 84.49%) Exceeded Goal
Less than $1,400 required expenses $1,434.18 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, July $1,454.40, Aug $1,489.46, Sept $1,640.97) Needs Improvement
Reduce Misc. Expenses by 15% (Exp. < $96.51 per mo) $119.16 Needs Improvement
Reduce Restaurant Expenses by 10% (Exp. < $128.31 per mo) $118.28 Exceeded Goal
Reduce Grocery Expenses by 5% (Exp. < $205.64 per mo) $209.37 Needs Improvement


The third quarter was a bit of a mixed bag.  Of my 5 budgeting goals I'm passing only 2 thus far which is a decline from the 4 that I was above through the first half.  The cumulative savings rate ticked up from 82.55% to 82.90%.  A lot of the savings rate increases had to do with the very high income in both August and September.  had passed in through the 1st quarter.  Expenses crept up through the third quarter, mostly attributable to higher gas and food expenses as I was driving much more for work.  I'm still please by my restaurant expenses coming in below my target and my grocery expenses are just barely over currently.  I'm going to try and really focus on the budgeting goals for the last quarter of the year but I expect to only really be able to make progress on the three individual categories as the other two are going to change since we purchased the house.

2013 Saving Goals - 3rd Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
$286,000+
$306,000+ Net Worth
$278,165.03 thru Sept (+$122,212.85) Needs Improvement
1 year emergency fund 5.80 month covered

I had mentioned in the mid year checkup that I was trying to decide what to increase my net worth goal to since I had made a lot more progress than I expected.  Originally my goal for for a $100k increase to $256k, but I passed that in July and revised the goal up to $286k by the end of the year.  Between the markets continuing to rise and higher than normal income, I'm going to officially raise this target up to $306,000 which will give me just over a $150k increase for the year.  Upward revisions are always good.  I'll need to average over $9k per month to hit this target by years end.  All in all the net worth goal is doing great.

2013 Investing Goals - 3rd Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Receive $2,750 in passive income (dividends, interest, option premium) $3,218.79 received Exceeded Goal
3.00%+ YOC for FI portfolio 3.33% YOC (3.40% Non-ESPP YOC) Exceeded Goal
Forward 12-month dividends at $3,500 by end of year $3,015.43 (86.16% of the way) Needs Improvement
Surpass $250,000 in invested assets $224,004.36 total value Needs Improvement
Max out Roth IRA's for my wife and I $0 contributed Needs Improvement

My investing goals have gone pretty well so far although there's still work to be done.  Through 3 quarters I've blown past my passive income goal of $2,750 thanks to over $1,400 in option income.  I'm hoping to be able to reach the $2,750 mark through just dividend income by the end of the year but I'm currently on track to be about $250 short.  So to make up that difference I need to invest over $26k at an average yield of 3.00% between now and the rest of the year and receive all of the dividend payments.  That's a tall task at hand but I'll at least give it a shot if there's some decent values available.  I increased the YOC for my portfolio from 3.29% to 3.33% over the quarter mainly from dividend increases and through divesting of some of my employer's shares which were a very low yielding stock and made up a significant portion of my portfolio.  My forward 12 month dividends are doing decent but I still need to increase them by another $500 between now and the end of the year.  At a 3.00% average yield, that will require around $16.5k to be invested.  My invested assets were almost at the $250k mark at the end of July, but after taking out over $30k for the downpayment for the house they're now well under.  The good news that I'm $26k short of that mark, which fits nicely with the $26k needed to hit the dividend income goal from above.  If thing work out right then I can get there.  The Roth IRA goal is being put on hold until I can figure out whether we'll be allowed to contribute this year, although it's not looking good.  I'm thinking of possibly doing a backdoor contribution but I need to see if that will make sense due to having a Rollover IRA.

2013 Personal Goals - 3rd Quarter Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Lose and keep off 20 lbs. Lose 5 lbs Gained 3 lbs Needs Improvement
Workout 3 x per week Averaging 0 workouts Needs Improvement
10k+ 25k+ monthly pageviews 21,072 in August (19,852 avg. for 3rd quarter) Exceeded Goal
Monetize the blog $120.90 in paid Adsense earnings ($15.21 unpaid) Exceeded Goal
Avg 2 stock analyses per month Avg. 2.33 per month in 3rd quarter On target
Quit smoking -- Needs Improvement
Read 1 book per month -- Needs Improvement

So far in the second half of the year I've been very lax with my personal goals.  Not working out leads to gaining weight.  The exact opposite of what I set out to accomplish this year.  A lot of that is due to being very behind on sleep while I'm at work because we're drilling the wells very quickly and that leads to quicker tool changes.  Most of last year and the first half of this year it was 2-3 week wells and since we started drilling in this new area it's about 11 day wells.  That makes it hard to get in any kind of routine with exercising when you're behind on sleep all of the time.  It's time for no more excuses.  I've set October 31st as the date to quit smoking as this is the goal that I'm least proud about my status on.  It's horrible that it's taken this long with very little progress, but I continue to go through stretches where I won't smoke for a while and then something will trigger the craving and I start back up for a few weeks.  I need to figure out a more productive way of distracting myself when that happens.

The blog goals have gone well as according to Blogger's count I received over 21k pageviews during August and averaged 19,852 per month for the third quarter.  That's truly amazing to me and I'd like to thank everyone that continues to stop by and spread the word about Passive-Income-Pursuit and DIY DG investing.  I published 7 stock analyses during the third quarter covering tech (IBM), financial (ADPV), healthcare (BAXSYK) and beverages (DPS, SBUX).  So a little bit of everything.  If there's any specific companies you'd like me to take a closer look at feel free to comment or email me and I'll do my best.   I've done a decent job monetizing the blog but I know I can do better on that front.  I haven't devoted the time to really learn about monetization yet because I've been focused on other things.  Any tips would be appreciated.  I've been approached by some people that work at Seeking Alpha about becoming a contributor and I'm hoping to get started on that during the fourth quarter as a new means of income.  So be on the lookout for that sometime later on.

In total it's been a great first 9 months and I can't believe that the year is nearly over.  I need to focus on some of my goals the rest of the year as I'm falling behind in certain areas.  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 have you done on your goals so far in 2013?  Any new goals for the 4th quarter to finish the year strong or just steady as she goes?

20 comments:

  1. Great breakdown of your goals and achievements. Congratulations on the achievements and good luck with the rest of your goals.

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    1. Roadmap,

      I've accomplished much more than I thought I would so far through the year. Upward revisions in goals are always nice. Hopefully we can all close out the year with a nice run.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. Pretty awesome that folks at Seeking Alpha reached out to you. Should be pretty interesting to see if you can add that as an additional stream of income. I know Dividend Growth Machine (who publishes his earnings) has done quite well this year with his articles.

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    1. w2r,

      I was quite shocked to see an email from an SA editor. That's pretty amazing. DGM has been making some decent income off of his articles there. I'm trying to figure out how to organize some of my posts to make them a bit more concise for the SA readers. Plus I love the exposure that you get as they have agreements in place to be shown on Yahoo! Finance and other mainstream financial websites. Hopefully that can lead to more traffic here as well.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
    2. Absolutely! Really a great opportunity for you to broaden your brand and potentially build additional traffic. Be sure to keep us posted as you pursue that opportunity.

      Delete
    3. w2r,

      I'll definitely let everyone know if/when anything gets posted. I think it's a great opportunity and I'm looking forward to pursuing it. Figuring out the details on how I want my posts to get set up is the biggest hurdle right now.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great rest of the week!

      Delete
  3. Congrats on your achievements. Very impressive saving rates. Puzzles me about you manage to do that... Great job!

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    1. FabSavings,

      Thanks. The savings rate is so high because I require very little in terms of expenses and my income is very solid as well. Unfortunately the savings rate will be dropping as the new house is leading to higher baseline expenses, but I'll do my best to maintain a high rate.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. PIP,

    This is the first goal update of yours that I have read. That is a lot of goals, and you are delivering. I generally don't set shorter term goals, but I am thinking about it this year having read so many blogs with solid goals. My investment portfolio could use some motivation. I have a massive to do list that drives my life mostly. Maybe next year that will change. Good luck with quitting smoking. And a Seeking Alpha gig would be sweet.

    -RBD

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    Replies
    1. RBD,

      I like to set my goals on a yearly basis unless things materially change, although it's usually just upward revisions. I think setting annual goals is a great way to try and keep yourself on track as you get quicker feedback on them. If your main goal is just to retire before you dad did, there's no real checkpoints along the way that you can measure your progress against. What amazes me about the reach out from SA is that you don't need any kind of qualifications or to be approved to write articles there so the fact that they took the time to ask if I'd join is pretty awesome. As I mentioned to w2r above, I'm trying to figure out how to better organize my stock analysis posts as I feel they're probably not as reader friendly for SA posting. Best of luck on getting your to do list narrowed down. It's always a pain when I go home after being gone for 1.5-2 weeks as the to do list is mighty long at that point. After a few days at the house I can't wait to get back to work so I can relax.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. I like your break down and many of your achievements. Good job on that. And one cheer up on quitting smoking. You can do it man! Look at it like you are destroying your health and you even pay money for it! C'mon! You can do it! Stop paying your hard earned cash for something what doesn't return you anything back.

    Well I have a few ideas for my next year goal. Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Martin,

      Thanks so much for the encouragement. I know that I need to quit and have been trying for quite some time, but I guess it just goes to show the "stickiness" of the tobacco industry's products. At least I'm getting some of their dividends. I've given it a half-hearted attempt so far but am going to give it a full attempt the rest of the year. That's the biggest goal that I want to accomplish over the last quarter, well 2 months now.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. "The Roth IRA goal is being put on hold until I can figure out whether we'll be allowed to contribute this year..." : to know if eligible is it basically : gross_income_husband + gross_income_wife - 401K_total_contrib < $178K ?

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    1. FabSavings,

      Yes, but in order to get to your MAGI you have to know your capital gains, dividends and interest income as well. Plus my employment income is extremely variable. Some months I might only bring home $5k, others it's $10+k. That makes tax planning a real pain until I get to near the end of the year. Further complicating the calculations is that this is the first year that I sold shares purchased through the ESPP program through my employer which has some of the gains taxed as income and some as capital gains. Unfortunately I don't think there's a good chance that we'll be able to contribute to a Roth this year. Although we still have the option to contribute to a traditional IRA with the deduction ineligible and then convert it right away into a Roth. But that gets complicated by the fact that I have about $15k in a Rollover IRA from my previous job. So we won't even be able to convert the full amount to the Roth. Obviously our tax situation is murky at best. There's just so many moving parts.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Great job once again on the savings rate... that's truly phenomenal!. Good luck on the SA writing. I've found it an interesting experience. Can be pretty rewarding as well.

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    1. Integrator,

      Unfortunately the savings rate will be coming down from here as the expenses will be higher. But it'll still be great at around 70%. No complaints from me on that. SA should be interesting as you and it seems like you can at least make more income from that than with adsense alone. Plus it's just gaining income on something I'd be writing about anyways.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. Thanks for giving us an update and being honest and open about it! I battle with nicotine addition myself, but have done well avoiding cigarettes. I use those little snus pouches and e.cigs when I get stressed out or just can't resist the urge. I hate the way cigarettes smell and they also wreck havoc on my running, but it's sure hard to quit cold turkey!

    I still have to have a real smoke when I'm drinking, but other than that no real cigarettes/dip anymore! The next step is quitting all together! If I wasn't heading to Afghanistan in a few months I think I could do it, but there's no point attempting it while deployed :(

    I still think tobacco companies are going to do well at least medium term. I was in New York state this month, and apparently people are willing to pay over $8 a pack! MO, LO, and RAI have a lot of wiggle room left with pricing for the rest of the country it seems. E.cigs are already huge too. You can smoke e.cigs inside meaning people tend to go through them faster without realizing it. No need to freeze outside in the snow either.

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    1. CI,

      I try to be as forthcoming as possible to show that we can all struggle with certain things but you need to get that out in the open in order to face the issue. Cigarettes and booze go too well together. That's usually what will kickstart my smoking again. Head out and drink somewhere and oh I can have just one cigarette and then I'm smoking again. Best of luck on your own fight to quit and be careful in Afghanistan.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. Great to see your goals and progress towards them. As I am already 54, I am aiming for retirement at 60, mainly to be achieved by dividend growth investing, and contributing money to both my portfolio & company pension up to the maximum matched by my employer (currently 14% combined).

    I have just started a blog, and note with interest that you have reached over 25k of page clicks per month, does this come relatively naturally by regular posting, or have you taken specific actions to grow the visitors to your site?

    Good look in your journey to independence from "the man"

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    1. FI UK,

      Great to have you as a reader. It's definitely not a get rich quick scheme but it's a pretty sure fire way to end up with more money/income from your investments.

      I didn't expect to be able to make that kind of jump as quickly as I did. A lot of the page views are pretty natural. I haven't really done much as far as guest posting but it's almost all been from just regular posting. I think the biggest thing when you're starting out is to make sure that you're commenting on other blogs and guest post if you have the opportunity. I'd be more than welcome to have a guest post from you if you'd like. Commenting on other blogs is probably the best way to get your name out there and start leading towards more page views. Eventually you'll start acquiring regular readers that continue to come back and spread the word for you.

      Best of luck on your own journey. The combination of pre and post tax savings should set you up nicely. Since I don't plan on working until 59.5, the earliest that you can draw on your retirement accounts here in the US, I'm contributing just enough to get the match from my employer. I'm trying to run through the math to see if that's actually the best route, taxes sure do complicate things.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete