If you're going to set goals, make sure they are something that is concrete. Don't just set a goal to save more money. Make it a specific amount whether it's 5% per month or $100 per month. A big positive for setting concrete goals like this is that you can easily track your progress. If you're like me you can even set up a visual cue that you can either hang up in your house or keep on your computer to see how you're doing. Visuals really make it easy for me to see how things are going and what else I can improve on. One last thing about goal setting. Try not to be too conservative in your goals. Make them something that is going to really push you to and past what you thought your limits were. Whether that means setting some goals that are about on track with what you expect and then following up with stretch goals, be like the high school cheerleader. BE AGGRESSIVE, BE BE AGGRESSIVE! You don't want to reach you goals in June and then become complacent the rest of the year.
Well time continues to move on whether we want it to or not and the first month of 2014 is almost over so it's about time I release my goals for 2014. Overall the goals will look similar to 2013, but with higher starting and ending points. That's always a good thing.
Budgeting Goals for 2014:
Reduce average grocery spending to less than $200 per month
Reduce average restaurant spending to less than $110 per month
Reduce average monthly expenses to less than $2,350 per month
Savings Goals for 2014:
Average 50% after-tax savings directed toward investment
Surpass $450,000 net worth ($125,000 increase)
Investing Goals for 2014:
Receive $4,500 in dividends
Increase forward 12-month dividends to $5,000
Purchase a rental property that can provide at least $150 per month in positive cash flow
Receive $1,500 in option premiums
Increase invested assets by $100,000
Blogging Goals for 2014:
Surpass 50k monthly pageviews
Earn $1,000 from online activities
Average 2 stock analysis report per month
Personal Goals for 2014:
Lose 20 lbs
Read 6 books
My budgeting goals should be a bit of a stretch as it's around a 10% reduction in those expenses. However, the good thing is that those goals go hand in hand with my goal to lose 20 pounds this year. Ideally more, but 20 pounds would be a good start.
If you remember from my 2013 review, my goal was for an 80% savings rate. Why the drop to 50% for 2014 you ask? Well, I"m changing how I calculate my savings rate to only include the income that is saved and directed toward investment. This will give a truer picture of my savings rate. I normally budget in savings for travel, gifts, car maint./repair, insurance..., but that's income that while technically is saved, it's earmarked to be spent.
There's a few competing goals in the investing section as they all require capital but there's only so much I have available to put to work. If things work out well this year, I very well could hit all of them but we'll see how things go from here. The good thing though is that while a rental property would lower the likelihood of me hitting my forward dividends goal, it would substantially boost my overall passive income for the year and going forward. It's a bit of a yin-yang relationship there.
I saw way more growth in my little piece of the internet than I ever expected and I have to thank all of you for helping me to get to where I'm at so far. I'm hoping to continue the growth trend in viewers during the year, but I wouldn't expect to see the kind of growth like I had in 2013. You never know though. I earned a whopping $220 from my online pursuits last year so hitting $1,000 will be a big stretch to hit. But I'll try my best to get there as that would allow me to make one more purchase for my portfolio. Nothing wrong with that at all. I'm already behind on my stock analysis reports but I'm planning to start getting some of those out soon to try and get ahead of the game. As always, if there's any company you'd like to see me take a closer look at please feel free to let me know in the comments or with the contact form on the sidebar. The Alexa rank should go hand in hand with more traffic, but if you want to help me out on that then go add the toolbar to your browser of choice.
Oh, those pesky personal goals. This was my biggest area of failure in 2013, but 2014 is a new year and it's time for a new start. I've already worked out several times and my body feels better already. Quitting smoking would obviously do wonders for my wallet and my body so that's high on the priority list. My goal last year was to read a book each month. Well, that didn't really happen and I think I finished 2 or 3. But given the amount of reading online, all of those wonderful blogs out there, I probably averaged closer to 4 books per month. The goal is to read 6 books this year which is way less than I'd like, but still way more than I read last year. I've got several books competing for my attention so we'll see which ones win out.
Travel more is kind of a vague goal, but I wanted to remind myself that I need to take the time to let loose a bit more now and then. My wife and I already have a trip planned to go to Washington D.C. in March, I'll be going to Vegas in May, we'll most likely be going on a road trip in July* and a camping trip in October. Besides those trips I want to try and take advantage of some impromptu weekend getaways with my wife whenever my schedule allows me to be home on the weekends. There's so much to see and do that I want to make sure that I take advantage of the opportunity that I have right now. You can't completely live for today or completely live for tomorrow. There has to be a balance.
So those are my goals for 2014. I know I'm going to miss out of a few of them, but that's the nature of setting as many goals as I have. A lot of them go hand in hand though so success in one area will lead to success in another area. I hope you all have a great 2014 and make great progress on your own goals. It should be a great year for all of us and you all help to inspire and motivate me to reach my own goals.
*Side note if any of my readers/fellow bloggers live in D.C. or Vegas let me know and hopefully we can meet up while I happen to be in town. For the road trip my wife and I are mulling over hitting the southeastern United States with a bit of an extended stop in Nashville to visit some friends or making the San Francisco to Portland drive that's supposed to be beautiful. Also if anyone has any other recommendations please pass them along. It's only a week long trip but I can't wait to make it.