Thursday, January 16, 2014

2013 Goals - Full Year Checkup

How is January already into the second half?  I guess it's high time that I get my 2013 goal checkup done and get some goals for 2014 posted as well.  I originally set my goals for the year back in January.  Last year saw a lot of changes, the biggest one being purchasing our house back in September.  It was a bit of a mixed bag as far as goals for the year as some were blown completely out of the water and other fell short.

2013 Budgeting Goals - Annual Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
80% take-home pay savings rate 81.31% 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%, Oct 81.04%, Nov 78.82%, Dec 69.72%) Success
Less than $1,400 required expenses $1,616.73 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, Oct $1,595.79, Nov $2,351.98, Dec $2,545.32) Failed
Reduce Misc. Expenses by 15% (Exp. < $96.51 per mo) $120.22 Failed
Reduce Restaurant Expenses by 10% (Exp. < $128.31 per mo) $119.16 Success
Reduce Grocery Expenses by 5% (Exp. < $205.64 per mo) $225.89 Failed

Well, my budgeting goals had some good success as well as some failures.  My savings rate hit my target with a bit extra to spare although December saw a big drop in the savings rate from a lower income and higher expenses.  If you look at the required expenses, you can easily see when we purchased our house.  That increased my average monthly expenses by quite a significant margin but some of that will be coming down once we get some debt from the furniture paid off.  I failed miserably on my minimum expenses goal, though.  Even if you back out the housing expenses the trend was higher for the most part.  I shouldn't be spending nearly as much as I do on food.  A combined $344 between restaurants and grocery expenses is horrible considering that I'm buying mostly for myself.  I'm a bit too loose on food and that's going to be remaining one of my focus areas in 2014.  The biggest way for me to cut those costs is to rely less on convenience foods because they are horrible when it comes to price per meal and aren't exactly the healthiest.

2013 Saving Goals - Annual Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
$286,000+
$306,000+ Net Worth
$320,114.22 (+$164,162.04) Big Success
1 year emergency fund 5.80 month covered

My original goal was for a $100k increase to $256k for my net worth.  Yeah, I blew that one out of the water a bit and ended at just over $320k.  The markets had a huge run during 2013 which helped to spur my net worth ever higher.  I had to revise my goal higher 2 different times during the year, which is never a bad thing, and still passed that by a big margin.  With the increase in the markets and my after tax savings, I was able to average over a $13,650 monthly increase.  I didn't see that one coming.  2014's net worth goal is going to be hard to predict because certainly the markets won't follow up with another 30% increase.

2013 Investing Goals - Annual Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Receive $2,750 in passive income (dividends, interest, option premium) $3,696.93 received ($2,546.79, dividends, $41.77 interest, $1,108.37 options) Big Success
3.00%+ YOC for FI portfolio 3.50% YOC Big Success
Forward 12-month dividends at $3,500 by end of year $3,597.64 Success
Surpass $250,000 in invested assets $261,488.17 total value Success
Max out Roth IRA's for my wife and I $0 contributed Failed

The investing goals were essentially a resounding success across the board.  Total passive income for the year almost exceeded my target by $1,000 thanks to my option income.  I didn't really have an idea of what to expect from options as it was my first year to really pursue that as an additional income source, but combining options as well as margin for selling naked puts really helped me to add some income.  I almost reached my goal through dividends alone which I'm quite happy about.  I was able to significantly increase the YOC for my portfolio from 2.88% at the end of 2012 to 3.50% by being more selective with my entry yields, as well as the organic dividend growth and adding some higher yielding REITs in the second half of the year.  My forward 12-month dividends were pretty much right on track throughout the year, which I was hoping to increase those a bit more, but a win is a win.  The only failure on the investing front was maxing out Roth IRA's for my wife and I.  We were amazingly above the MAGI threshold so we couldn't contribute directly to a Roth and due to my rollover IRA going the backdoor route would have created more taxes to be paid.  This goal was pretty much shot from about the halfway mark of 2013 but I was hoping to be able to contribute to them.  Overall though I was very happy with my investing goals and where I ended up.

2013 Personal Goals - Annual Results
Goal 2013 Amounts Status
Lose and keep off 20 lbs. Lose 5 lbs Gained 8 lbs Failed miserably
Workout 3 x per week Averaging 0 workouts Failed Miserably
10k+ 25k+ monthly pageviews 31,927 in December (27,012 avg. for 4th quarter, 18,440 avg. for 2013) Big Success
Monetize the blog $120.90 in paid Adsense earnings ($102.20 unpaid) Success
Avg 2 stock analyses per month 1.92 average (23 total reports) Slight Failure
Quit smoking Oooops! Failed miserably
Read 1 book per month Ooops again! Failed Miserably

Um....yeah.  About these personal goals.  These are not the droids you're looking for.  It was a horrible failure on pretty much every single personal goal that I set.  But I've already started doing much better towards the weight loss goals for 2014 and I did the sacreligious personal finance move and joined a gym.  So far I've used it quite often and even used it while I was home.  I expect 2014 to be much better on this front, since 2013 was a resounding failure there's not much else to do but improve.  No more excuses here.  I also failed to quit smoking.  I did much better in the second half of the year and would go a week or two without smoking and then pick it back up.  But I'm doing better so far in 2014 now that I've started working out on a more regular basis.  And thanks to all of you writing your own great content, you made me completely fail on my read one book per month goal.  At least I was still reading/learning though.  If you add up all of the reading I did online through blogs and news sources, it probably added up to somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 books per month.

The blog goals went much better than my personal goals and were a success for the most part.  I had to revise my monthly pageviews target higher earlier the year, which is just fine by me.  I can't thank all of you enough for continuing to stop by and check in on how things are doing and what I'm thinking.  Several of you even started your own blog throughout the year and I always enjoy getting to see what the new guy has in store.  I was able to monetize Passive-Income-Pursuit but it was only through Adsense and the conversion rates just aren't all that great.  Things have gotten better as the traffic has picked up, but I'm not going to count on Adsense to be a significant contributor.  For 2014 though I do want to expand into some other monetization methods so we'll see how that goes.  I almost hit my stock analysis target but came up 1 short.  Honestly I'm a bit disappointed on this one as I thought that I'd beat it by at least a few.  I'm compiled the data on a lot of companies, but the most time consuming part is going through and actually writing the posts up.  I hope to be much more consistent with this in 2014 as there were stretches where I'd go a month or so without posting one and then knock out 2-3 in a 2 week span.

All in all 2013 was a pretty big success, even though I only met or exceeded 9 of my 17 goals for the year.  There's still some expenses that I need to cut down on as far as budgeting, namely food expenses, but I'm happy with the progress I was able to make on my goals as a whole.  2013 was such a great year and I can't wait to see how 2014 ends up.  I hope you all had a great 2013 and have an even better 2014.

How did you do on your goals so far in 2013?  What's your number one goal for 2014?

18 comments:

  1. PIP,
    You set a lot of lofty financial goal and hit most of the major ones. Great year overall. Next year on to smoking! That's got to be the toughest.
    -RBD

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    Replies
    1. RBD,

      Most of the financial goals went really well despite some of the budgeting goals being missed. I'm happy with the progress I made on both the financial and blog goals, but the personal goals really sucked in 2013. That's the biggest focus for me as the financial goals will be on auto-pilot to hit in 2014.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. Very elaborative post PIP. My biggest goal in 2014 would be to reach a portfolio of $100k. On personal front I wanted to join MS in Computer Science and starting this spring semester. I have a hectic,adventurous, funfilled year ahead.

    Dividend Mom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dividend Mom,

      Hitting $100k will be a great feat. I noticed you recently passed $50k so that'll be a big goal to hit. Getting a MS in Computer Science should prove very lucrative for your career prospects. There's times I wish that I went with more of a broad based degree that could translate to a lot more fields, i.e. business, computer programming..., but I'm still glad with the path I've gone down so far. Looks like you have a big 2014 in store for you. Best of luck!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Oh the whole, it looks like you did great JC. Things like cutting the grocery bill, loosing weight, and quitting smoking......are all super tough. Keep working on them. "Progress, not perfection", as it were. My biggest goal this year is having my wife stay home with our son, without needing to take any money out of savings. I think I have a really good shot at it!
    -Bryan

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    Replies
    1. Bryan,

      It was still a great year but there's always more that could be done. I'm doing well on the losing weight and quitting smoking so far, but the food expenses need work. I really just need to get back to cooking while I'm at the rig rather than getting convenience foods, frozen meals. Having your wife stay at home with your son is an admirable goal. I'd love to be able to do so myself and be a stay at home dad. I think having one of the parents there full-time can mean a big difference in the relationship the child has with its' parents and on the education it receives.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Pursuit,

    Overall, you did great here. I'm anxious to see you keep climbing to ever higher heights, so you can eventually quit your high paying job and spend more time with family. I'd love to earn what you earn, but I'm not sure I could be away from family for extended periods like that. Maybe if it was just a year or two.

    Keep up the great work. 2013 was a huge year for many of us, and you had one of the biggest.

    Best wishes!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DM,

      It's definitely tough and I don't know how some people do it with young children. That's go to be especially tough. I'm hoping to get a solid base in place and then reevaluate what I want to do. If it means taking a pay cut and pushing back FI by a few years or sticking with my current job to reach FI a bit earlier. There's pros and cons to both but that will be something to think about in the next few years.

      It's great getting to see how well everyone has done. There's also been a lot of new bloggers that came on during 2013 and it helps to keep inspiring me when I get to see how others are taking more control of their financial lives and seeking something other than the traditional retirement. It's crazy to think back to the beginning of my own financial and blogging journey to see how far I've come. But sharing in others' journey is just as fun as going down my own.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. looks like you has a great financial year. As for your personal goal "Just Do it"

    I met all my financial goals last year. I was very happy about that.

    In 2014 my main goal is to receive $2,000 in dividends and have a net worth of $70k

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FF Dividend,

      It was a great year financial wise but the personal goals obviously lagged. I've done a lot better so far in 2014 with my personal goals although I don't know about weight being lost. I have worked out quite a bit though and it feels great to get back to doing that.

      $2k in dividends is a great goal. That's over $160 per month.

      Best of luck in 2014!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Excellent work on all of the financial goals, JC. We did well on our financial goals too, but like you, not so well at personal goals, weight gain being a big surprise and not the usual for me. That was tough to deal with, but I think I'm on track now. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Laurie,

      I can't really complain about the personal goals because I didn't put nearly the effort into them as I should have. I'm getting back on track so far in 2014 as well. I'm not sure if I've lost any weight or not, but I've been lifting weights and my body just plain feels better. Have a great 2014!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Great job on the financial goals. A savings rate of 81% is amazing! Best of luck for 2014!

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    Replies
    1. First Million,

      I was surprised to see that I actually hit 81%. And if you include the 8% that's being withheld after tax from my paycheck for my ESPP shares, that's almost 90%. I expect that rate to come down and settle between 70-75% though due to the increased monthly expenses, although I'll still be happy to maintain that level.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. Hi PIP,

    the look back is very interesting!
    Your money goals are all perfect.

    The goals for your body... oooopps ;-)
    I go 3-4 days a week in an gym.
    But in winter it is very hard to go.
    But then I think like Arnold - and than every thing is ok ;-)

    regards
    D-S

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. D-S,

      I like to take the time to review and see how I did. Whether it was good or bad, you won't know unless you compare to what you were expecting.

      Yeah, those personal goals sucked. When I was out of work I went and worked out every day. It's not that I don't want to go because I always enjoy it, but it's hard to justify getting a membership when my work location changes quite often. Luckily I've been in the same general area for a while and should continue to be here as long as things go well. I'm doing well so far on working out, not sure about weight loss though because I don't have a scale. My body definitely feels better though.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  9. Nice work on a great 2013. I'm looking forward to seeing your Seeking Alpha articles as they start to roll out. Nice way to keep some income ticking over while you work out a core monetization strategy for the main blog. Best!

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    Replies
    1. Integrator,

      I've just submitted one, although it's not a pro article as I wanted it posted here as well. We'll see how that ends up working out. At the very least it should drive a bit more traffic over here. I'm also looking forward to posting articles to SA as a secondary means of making some extra income.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete