Monday, January 27, 2014

2014 Goals

Last week I reviewed how I did on all of my goals for 2013.  From a financial perspective it was a resounding success without any huge misses.  The goals I'm most proud of was hitting an 80% savings mark for the year and the huge net worth increase.  The markets roared higher last year and with the high savings rate I was able to maintain I ended up with over a $160,000 net worth increase for the year.  Yeah, I didn't see that one coming.

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
Increase Decrease Alexa rank to less than 70,000

Personal Goals for 2014:
Lose 20 lbs
Quit smoking
Read 6 books
Travel more

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.

32 comments:

  1. Congratulations on a successful 2013! An 80% savings rate is fantastic. I've been around 40 to 50% over the past few years - but I definitely want to do better there. I just posted my 2014 goals yesterday - http://seejacksave.com/my-goals-for-2014/ . There is definitely some similarity between our 2014 pursuits. I hope your 2014 is as successful as your 2013!

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    1. I agree that a 50% savings rate is awesome. Looking at your high income, high level of savings, I think that you might also benefit from lower prices throughout 2014. So while you might not hit $450K if prices drop, you would be building out a much stronger base for the future.

      As a shareholder of MO however, thank you for smoking. I hope you manage to quit smoking though in 2014. I know it is tough!

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    2. Jack,

      40-50% is awesome and I hope I can hit the 50% mark that is strictly dedicated towards investing. Hope you have a wonderful 2014 and I'll be stopping by to check out your goals.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    3. DGI,

      I wouldn't mind missing on the net worth goal if it means I get to put my capital to work at much better prices. I'm hoping for that actually.

      It sure is and that needs to be the goal I'm most focused on. Being in great physical health can do wonders for how early retirement/FI will go.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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    4. Quitting smoking is a big deal. I am toying with the idea myself. If I could invest what I would usually smoke it would add a ton of moolah to my dividend portfolio.

      good luck in the new year!\

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    5. Anonymous,

      I say you should go for it. The worst that could happen is that you smoke a few less packs throughout the year and the best is that you quit completely. And of course investing that savings can really help out the investments. Best of luck in 2014 to you as well. I can't believe it's already February.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Great set of goals JC! Certainly a big jump in a couple of areas (net worth/blog goals) but nothing unobtainable provided consistent effort and hard work! The nice thing about all the financial goals is that as the "nut" grows, it will start doing some of the heavy lifting for you. Best of luck on the goals in 2014!

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    1. w2r,

      The nut is already doing some heavy lifting and as it continues to grow it'll just do more and more. I can't wait to hit the $5k mark in dividends as that's a huge chunk of money. I'm not sure how the blog goals will go but I'll definitely do my best to hit 50k in a month. After my Chevron stock analysis was picked up on SA my pageviews here have ticked up by about 100 views per day. I've already surpassed December's PR for pageviews and there's still a few days left in the month. That's probably been on of the biggest surprises for me because I didn't expect it to grow like it did in 2013. Here's to a great 2014!

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Love the goals and I have high confidence you'll be able to meet them. I'm pulling for you to get that rental property which will help create a nice mix of different assets. Traveling is something that's a big priority for me this year. Best of luck on the blog and personal goals.

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    1. FI,

      I think it's a good mix of goals and should help to push me through the whole year. Although there's definitely some competing goals, I still think I can hit a lot of them. I'd really like to purchase a rental property to get that under my wings and see how things go, but it's just so difficult since I work out of town. I'm not about to go and purchase a property completely sight unseen. I've missed out on 2 great opportunities that could have cash flowed well into the 10%'s. At some point the right opportunity will meet up with the right time for me and I'll make it happen.

      Thanks for stopping by and for your continued support.

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  4. Competing investing goals: I hear that. We have so many ideas and not enough capital!

    The one goal I hope to read you succeeding at is quitting smoking. Excluding all the quality of life improvements that it will give you, financially it will save you a ton on lower health costs in your later years. I wonder if there are any studies out there on how much rate of return quitting smoking will give.

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    1. PMU,

      There's a lot more opportunities now that the markets have pulled back a bit.

      Quitting smoking is my number one priority. I seem to do well for a bit and then get way too stressed and just crave a cigarette like crazy then I get back into the habit. It's been better though now that I've started working out on a regular basis. I'm sure there's studies out there that have calculated that in detail.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. " Increase invested assets by $100,000"

    That goal is awesome!
    In Germany work a lot of people for less than 1.600 EUR in one month.
    And from this amount you have to pay taxes...
    I am constantly amazed at the huge amounts in the USA!

    I wish you the best for 2014!

    D-S

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    1. D-S,

      It'll take a combination of high savings and the markets helping out a bit, but I think I can get there when you add up the 401k contributions/match, ESPP withholdings and of course my after-tax savings. Purchasing a rental property with some positive equity wouldn't hurt either.

      I'm curious what the cost of living difference is between the USA and some of the Western European countries. I hate paying taxes and all in all they took a huge chunk of my income.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great 2014!

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  6. I admire how ambitious your goals are. Mine are, in some respects, a lot more modest. 50,000 page views a month is a far off dream for me, but I find it inspiring to see how others are doing. Well done and best of luck.

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    1. Done by Forty,

      Don't count it out because I never thought I'd get anywhere near where I'm at for my own blog. I thought my first 10k pageview goal would be a stretch but somehow I got up to over 30k by December. Being an investment blog, I'm curious to see how things go once the markets sour. I expect to see some dropoff in viewers, which is a shame because that's exactly when they should start reading/learning as much as they can and investing their spare capital wisely.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. Very nice goals. I especially like the travel more goal. Traveling can sometimes be at odds with our (financial) goals but there is so much to see and experience in this world. I can't even imagine getting my grocery spending to under $200 a month (do you include toiletries in this or is it separate?). I look around and I must be a glutton! Good luck this year, I look forward to following your progress and learning more from your excellent blog :)

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    1. Divi me up,

      I can't wait to travel and like I said above you can't live completely for the future or completely in the present. So I'm making it a point to try and do some more travel this year. Of course 2013 saw no significant travel which really put the bug in my ear.

      The $200 per month covers toiletries, but it's mainly for just myself. So a grocery budget for one. I really lose out on the economies of scale that way, but if I can start to cook more then I think I'll have a much better chance of getting there, or at least getting close.

      Thanks so much for the kind words and thanks for stopping by! I always love getting to see some new faces around the blog world.

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  8. PIP, these are great goals. I like the speed of your growth and I wish I could do it as well. Very ambitious goals, really. Sometimes I wish I could fast forward my savings and investing to get to the goal faster.

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    1. Martin,

      I've also felt that way. I'd love to fast forward 5 years to see where I'm at, of course I'd miss out on so much stuff that I don't think I'd do it if I could.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Hmmm looks like our net worths are pretty similar and we're due for similar increases next year! Mine finished off 2013 around $345k and I'm projecting to be around $465,000 by the end of 2014.

    Good luck with quitting smoking! I hear it's really difficult.

    You must be buying groceries for one person - there's no way I can see spending anywhere $200/month on groceries now that my boyfriend and I are sharing groceries! Oh now I see you are married. How do you guys plan to spend so little on groceries???

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    1. leightpf,

      Best of luck in getting to $465k! That'll be a huge increase. 2013 was amazing for my net worth and while I'd love to see a repeat, I don't expect it one bit. At least from a market performance perspective.

      Those groceries are for one 85% of the time. I work away from home so I'm feeding myself most of the time. My wife and I keep our finances fairly separate because of my work schedule, or lack thereof. Ideally it'd be more joined but this works best for us in our current situation.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Hi PiP

    Like your goals, I will have to think about setting myself some personal goals.

    The one thing I want to investigate in detail this year is option income. I understand the broad principles, but I need to find a broker who will let me write options based on shares that I own (no naked writing!), and really let me multiply my income as a result.

    Best wishes, and hope you can achieve all your goals this year.

    FI UK

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    1. FI UK,

      I really like setting the goals as it gives me something specific to reach for. I'd still do well if I didn't set them but I like to have the goals in place to kind of track my progress. Plus it's fun to meet and then raise your target.

      I like the income possibilities from options, although I don't mind doing it naked. ;) Only naked puts though with companies I want to own and would be buying it if gets to that price anyways. I'm not a fan of covered calls but it's definitely a route that has made a lot of money for a lot of other investors.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Pursuit,

    Fantastic list of goals. They're well-rounded and easy to track and quantify.

    I wish you the best of luck with all of them! I can't even touch you on some of the net worth/investing goals, but I'm really looking forward to seeing how you do throughout 2014. If you do decide to travel a bit more I'm really interested in seeing where you end up going. I've always wanted to go to some beautiful, tropical locales like St. John and the Maldives, but I also want to see some cool cities on the West Coast like Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Of course, there is also international travel as I always have the bug to just up and move to Chiang Mai and try out early retirement right now.

    Best wishes!

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    1. DM,

      Making goals that are easy to track can be a big motivation because you can easily see how you're doing. I'll definitely be travelling more in 2014 but I don't think any out of the country trips will be in the works. I really want to take a road trip so now it's just a matter of figuring out where. With just one week of vacation at a time it makes it difficult to do a longer road trip because I don't want to spend the whole time in the car. I think we've narrowed it down to some of the SE US or the west coast. I've never been further west than Colorado and I've heard the drive is gorgeous over there. I'm leaning towards the SF to Portland with a stop probably in Napa and then some camping in Oregon. It'll be a bit more expensive since we'll have to fly to SF and rent a car but it's all about the experience.

      Thanks for stopping by and have a great 2014!

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  12. I really like your blogging goal of achieving 50,000 page views a month. How do you plan to execute this? I'm shooting for 100k views/month by the end of the year. Hopefully it goes as planned.

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    1. Marvin,

      I'm not really sure what the plan will be to increase the traffic. So far a lot of it has been pretty organic just through continuing to write posts that get linked too and commenting on posts from other bloggers. I saw an up tick in views after my first SA article and I think that's a decent opportunity to generate more traffic over here.

      I probably should have set the goal at 100k because I hit 36k in January. 14k extra pageviews per month still sounds like a lot to me as that's almost an extra 500 views per day. I'd be interested to find out your strategy to hit 100k by the end of the year.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. Some aggressive goals there! Looking forward to seeing how your rental property purchase works out. Congrats with the success of your blog, some good progress there. I'd expect you should easily exceed the $1k in online income.

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    1. Integrator,

      I'm excited about the rental property so hopefully things go well with that. Other people build your equity and you can get cash flow that's at higher yields than stocks. I wouldn't abandon DG stocks at all but I think rental properties can add another layer of diversification.

      I really don't know what to expect as far as online income. In all of 2013 I only earned around $220 but that was just through Adsense. I'm looking into other avenues to generate some side income that I'm going to explore. I really need some more time in the day to write as much as I'd like to but all of the other great blogs, yours included, always distract me. I'd be excited to blow past the $1k mark in side income because that's a good chunk of money right there.

      Have a great 2014 and thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  14. Wow! What a great set of goals!

    I am rooting for you on your personal goals. I used to weight 50+ lbs more than I do now. I actually lost it, regained it and lost it again. I hope you succeed. It has made a world of difference to me.

    Take care.

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  15. I am a huge fan of setting goals. You have set some very lofty goals for yourself this year which is great, better to aim high. Increasing invested assets by $100,000 would be huge!

    I would be interested to see how you are doing thus far in 2014.

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