Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future. The first quarter of the year is already in the books and the second quarter is now well under way. I think it's important to set specific, measurable goals at the beginning of each year to keep you focused and motivated towards hitting your goals. It's important for them to be measurable so you can see exactly how you're progressing. Back in January I set several goals covering budgeting, savings, investing, blogging, and personal goals, so it's high time I take a look and see how I'm doing.
|Grocery spending < $200 per month||$228.78||Needs Improvement|
|Restaurant spending < $110 per month||$98.68||On Target|
|Average monthly expenses < $2,350 per month||$2,672.43||Needs Improvement|
My budgeting goals haven't been all that great so far in 2014, but I kind of expected that shortly after my goals were set. I figured I would do better on my grocery and restaurant spending but my total monthly expenses were pretty much dead on arrival. It's great to see my restaurant spending coming in under budget but my grocery spending has more than made up for it. I'm trying to do better by cooking more while I'm at work and I'm slowly doing more. Of course that will really help out with my personal weight loss goal as well. I'm planning on really focusing on my grocery and restaurant spending and doing what I can to lower my total monthly expenses, but the $2,350 goal is probably not going to happen.
|50%+ Investment Savings Rate||53.94%||On Target|
|$450,000+ net worth ($125,000 increase)||$354,243.61 ($34.129.39)||On Target|
I changed the way I calculated my savings rate starting this year and I think it gives a truer picture of my savings rate. That calculated savings rate now shows just the after-tax income that is saved each month and directly marked for investment. I'm pretty happy to see that with my higher expenses I'm still over the 50% savings rate. And even better is that I expect to be able to increase that throughout the rest of the year. I want to see how the second quarter goes before I increase my target but I think I can push it up to the 60%+ level. My net worth is going along smoothly and on target to beat my goal by about $10k if I keep the same rate of increase up. This one is a bit out of hands since a lot of my net worth is tied to the markets and therefore susceptible to declines on the asset side. I'll do everything that I can to keep it increasing but eventually the markets will sour and lead to declines no matter how much I save each month.
|Receive $4,500 in dividends||$939.32||Needs Improvement|
|$5,000 Forward 12-month dividends||$4,146.83||Needs Improvement|
|Rental property providing $150+ per month in cash flow||--||Needs Improvement|
|Receive $1,500 in option premiums profit||$460.57||On Target|
|Increase invested assets by $100k ($361,500)||$23,436.85 ($284,925.02)||Needs Improvement|
Now on to the really fun goals. My goal is receive $4,500 in dividends throughout 2014 and right now I'm a little behind that pace. Even though I'm behind right now I expect to be able to make up ground if the markets can cool off a bit and get valuations back into better value territory. I almost hit $1k in dividends for a quarter for the first time in the first quarter and I should be over that every quarter the rest of the year which is a nice milestone along the way. My forward dividends are well behind my goal right now but that's due to two main reasons. One is my goal of seeking out a rental property is leading me to build up more cash and the other is that there haven't been as many value opportunities in the markets. I've got a lot of work to do to reach $5k by the end of the year. I'll have to invest over $26k over the rest of the year at an average yield at purchase of 3.25%. I'm a bit torn on whether to pursue a rental property. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great way to diversify my income sources and if I can find the right property at the right price I'd go for it. It's just very difficult while I work out of town to be able to check out properties and move forward on any that I like. Most likely I'll have to go through a turnkey company so I'm going to research that route a lot more over the next few weeks and hopefully meet with some companies when I have vacation in mid-May.
I'm ahead of pace right now for my options premium profit so at least one of my investing goals is on target. I still have two open put options (one on KO and one and PM) and if I hold them until expiration they should push me up to $1,500 or at least very close. I typically like to sell put options rather than calls but I haven't been quite as active in the options market because I've honestly not had time between everything else that's been going on. My total invested assets are almost on target to reach a $100k increase and with a flat or slightly increasing market I think I'll be able to get there by the end of the year. If the markets decline throughout the year then I'm not sure if I'll get there but it's still in the works. Plus I'm sitting on about $25k cash in my savings account from saving for a down-payment for the rental property that isn't included in my invested assets. Overall I think my investing goals are fairly well on track despite being a bit behind schedule at the end of the first quarter. I'm excited to see what the rest of the year brings.
|Surpass ||49,298 in March||Needs Improvement|
|Earn $1,000 from online activities||$419.03||On Target|
|Average 2 stock analysis reports per month||2.0 average||On Target|
My blogging goals are going quite well so far. In March I almost passed my original goal of 50k pageviews and I should officially pass that goal in April. Although I'm well behind my revised goal of 100k so I've got a lot of work to do on that front. I'm earning way more than I ever expected from online activities and mainly thanks to increased traffic leading to increased Adsense revenue and my writing on Seeking Alpha. The Seeking Alpha income isn't included in these calculations yet, but I'm well on my way to passing $1k this year. That's extra money that I can throw towards my portfolio and reaching financial independence. I'm going to focus on getting some more stock analysis reports out because I have a lot of valuations to update. It's difficult to get them written up quickly but I have three updated already and I'm working on the posts. The Alexa rank has been fairly flat so far this year which has been a bit of a disappointment. So if you want to help me out with that goal then go and download the Alexa Toolbar since the ranking is completely based off pageviews from people with the toolbar in their browser of choice.
|Lose 20 lbs||Lost 5 lbs||On Target|
|Quit Smoking||Still smoking||Needs Improvement|
|Read 6 books||0 books read||Needs Improvement|
My personal goals, like most everything else, were a mixed bag throughout the first quarter. I've been doing well with working out and running a little bit and have been fairly consistent with both, but my diet has most likely kept me from losing more weight so far. Even though I haven't lost as much weight I think it's gone great so far as I've lost inches and my clothes are fitting better. Hopefully the second quarter will bring a bit more progress on this front. Well I'm still smoking so I can't say that's a goal that I'm doing well on. I've still been going back and forth between smoking and not smoking and really need to do better here. It's expensive both financially and for my health. I haven't read any books yet this year because I've been just way too busy. Between working moving extremely fast and trying to do more writing for my blog and exercising most days, there just isn't enough hours in the day to get everything done. I know I mentioned at the beginning how we need to set measurable goals and well "Travel More" doesn't exactly count as something specific. But I mainly wanted to remind myself to take advantage of the free time that I do get. I'm heading to Vegas next month, so that probably won't be cheap, and then my wife and I are still trying to figure out what we're going to do in July. I'd still like to go on a road trip and we're trying to narrow down some options there. But part of me would also love to go to a beach and relax somewhere. We'll figure it out and if you have any suggestions, feel free to pass them along. We'll have a week to do whatever we decide on.
Overall I'm pretty happy with where I stand in relation to a lot of my goals after just the first quarter. If the markets do pull back then I'm sitting on a lot of cash that I can use to make some big progress towards my investing goals. Most of the financial goals will just be steady as she goes the rest of the year but I'm really looking forward to making some progress on the personal and blogging goals the rest of this year. There's a lot going on and it's an exciting time. I'm looking forward to what the second quarter brings, well the rest of the second quarter now that we're almost a third of the way through.
How did you do on your goals in the first quarter of 2014? What's your number one goal for the second quarter?
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