Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 Goals - 3rd Quarter Update


Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.  Somehow the first half of the year is already over.  It seems like just a few weeks ago I was reporting on my progress for the first quarter and now another quarter is over and done with.  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.

2014 Budgeting Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
Grocery spending < $200 per month $220.31 Needs Improvement
Restaurant spending < $110 per month $124.68 Needs Improvement
Average monthly expenses < $2,350 per month $2,641.54 Needs Improvement

I'm still well behind where I'd like to be on my budgeting goals for the year and took a little step backwards as well.  My grocery spending is still above my goal but I have decreased the monthly average by about $3 since the end of the first half.  Baby steps!  Unfortunately average restaurant spending has increased by $18 since the first half, so that's no good.  There was a lot of unexpected dining out during the two middle quarters of the year and I hope to start limiting that.  Although I'm not sure how that will go due to the issues with Luke and most likely quite a bit of restaurant expenses.  There should be a decline in grocery spending though in the fourth quarter but probably not enough to counter the increase in restaurant spending.  My monthly expenses are still well above my $2,350 goal but they only increased about $3 compared to where they were during at the halfway mark.  If you back out the $300 debt payment then I'm beating my goal.  Unfortunately that $300 payment won't be gone until early next year assuming I don't just pay off all of the debt early.  The refrigerator is technically paid off but we're applying the snowball method to finish paying off some furniture from when we bought our house last year.  It shouldn't be too much longer until there's no more debt payment at all.  Overall it's been fairly steady as she goes on the budgeting side and I hope to make some more improvements especially with the grocery and restaurant spending.

2014 Saving Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
50%65%+ Investment Savings Rate 60.40% Needs Improvement
$450,000+ Net Worth ($125,000 increase) $389,292.43 ($69,178.21) Needs Improvement

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.  My savings rate has increased by 2.93% from the first half but did average 66.25% throughout the third quarter.  I increased my savings rate goal at the half way update from 50% to 65% for the year but I'm not sure if I'll get the full year average up to the 65% mark.  It will take higher savings rates than I can normally expect to reach in order to reach that goal, 78%+, so my main focus will be on maintaining at least 65%+ levels for the quarter.  The 3rd quarter wasn't quite as friendly for my net worth with the car purchase in July for my wife and the markets becoming more volatile.  So I'm now well behind my goal with just 1/4 of the year left and needing almost a double from here.  The net worth goal has always been a bit of a secondary goal though since so much of my net worth depends on the status of the stock market.  If the markets are up my net worth flourishes, if it's down then my net worth follows.  As long as I keep doing what I can by saving a high portion of my income and the dividends of companies I own stay in tact, then the net worth will take care of itself over the long run.

2014 Investing Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
Receive $4,500 in dividends $3,215.63 (Proj. $4,489.25 ) Needs Improvement
$5,000$5,500 Forward 12-month dividends $5,230.35 Needs Improvement
Rental property providing $150+ per month in cash flow -- --
Receive $1,500 in option premiums profit $1,161.33 On Target
Increase invested assets by $100k ($361,500) $61,283.24($322,771.41) Needs Improvement

Now let's get to the really fun goals.  My goal was is to receive $4,500 in dividends this year and I'm currently on pace to receive $4,589.  Things are looking pretty good there although I probably need to make one more investment to officially pass this mark.  Originally my forward 12 month dividends goal was to pass $5,000 by the end of the year but I've already passed that and I'm working my way up to $5,500.  It's always a good thing when you're increasing your goal!  The rental property is out of the question for the time being but I will revisit this next year to see if it's an option I want to pursue.  The 3rd quarter was very quiet on the options front so I'm still at $1,161.  I'm still technically on pace to reach my goal but I will most likely lean more towards making outright purchases in my Portfolio rather than option trades unless the options are just that compelling.  My invested assets have done decent this year but are still behind where they need to be to keep me on pace with my goal.  This is asset value and not net contributions so it's still related to the movements of the market.  This is very similar to the net worth so most likely I'll be modifying this goal when my 2015 goals come out.  Probably to an invested capital goal.

2014 Blogging Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
Surpass 50k 100k monthly pageviews 53,151 in August Needs Improvement
Earn $1,000 $2,500 from online activities $1,230.48/$1,389.61 Needs Improvement
Average 2 stock analysis reports per month 1.22 average Needs Improvement
Increase Decrease Alexa Rank to < 70,000 225,531 Needs Improvement

Pageviews did pretty well over the 3rd quarter considering my posting schedule was anything but consistent.  I've essentially got no shot of hitting my 100k goal, well at least I highly doubt it, but maybe I can bump it up to 55k by the end of the year.  I had passed my online earnings goal by the halfway mark and then increased it up to $2,500.  Well with very little writing over at Seeking Alpha I didn't earn a whole lot during the 3rd quarter.  I'm averaging just 1.22 stock analysis reports per month which is bad and well behind my goal of at least 2 per month.  I've still been compiling data for the stock analyses but have been way too short on time to get the posts written up.  I'm really hoping to get this corrected during the 4th quarter but I know the full year goal will not be reached because there's just too much ground to make up.

2014 Personal Goals - 1st Half Results
Goal 2014 Amounts Status
Lose 20 lbs  Gained 5 lbs Needs Improvement
Read 6 books 1 books read Needs Improvement
Travel More


My personal goals have been a big disappointment but I'm hoping to get that corrected in the 4th quarter.  I really need to figure out a way to keep me on track with both exercising and diet.  Especially my diet.  Any ideas will be appreciated!  I've been absolutely horrible with reading this year but I did finally finish reading 1 book earlier this month.  I'm working on another one and am almost halfway through it so I really just need to sit down and read.

If you look back there's a lot of needs improvement among my list of goals which is nowhere near where I expected to be sitting 3/4 of the way through the year.  There's still a lot of work left to do and a little over 2 months to do it.  So I need to get back on track.  I'm not sure how the rest of the financial goals will go because I need to try and build up a bit more cash for expenses related to Lucas.  I honestly have no idea how insurance works so if anyone can give some insight into that then please comment or email.  My main concern is whether the annual out of pocket is truly the max you would pay each year or if that's only based on certain expenses.  So I'm trying to build up some more cash in case it's not what I think.  That's the good thing about never having to use insurance for anything other than checkups!

How did you do on your goals through the first 9 months of 2014?  What's the number one goal you're going to focus on to close out the year strong?

Photo Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

15 comments:

  1. You are still doing great and much better than a lot of ppl. Keep chipping away at those expenses and you will be able to meet your goal.

    Best wishes
    R2R

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R2R,

      My expenses should come down early next year which will be nice. Although other expenses might start coming up depending on how things play out with Lucas. Sadly, the fact that I put goals down and am working towards them is better than a lot of people.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  2. Hang in there! You're still rocking a savings rate in excess of 60% and have had a heck of a few months dealing with with life issues. Keep on grinding and working and you'll find some of the improvement you've set out to obtain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. w2r,

      I'm not concerned with a lot of the needs improvements although I wish I was a bit further along than I'm currently at. Considering what's been going on in our lives I'm happy with where we're at. Even if I end up falling short on a lot of these goals I still made some massive improvements YoY so I'm quite happy with where I'll end up by the end of the year. Although I'd really like to have life settle down a bit!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  3. Like WRR said, your savings rate is incredible and anyone would be envious of it. I know I am.

    In regards to groceries, those are hard goals to meet given they seem to rise in cost every month and to go uber-cheap you'd have to eat like a squirrel or nothing but processed junk. That won't help the personal goals a bit :)

    As far as Alexa goes, I wouldn't focus on that too much. Alexa is easily manipulated by getting a few buddies to add the Alexa toolbar to their browser and then visit your site regularly. I'd personally set a traffic goal within Google Analytics instead.

    My only goal was to make sure I stuck with dividend growth investing for the first full year and thus far I have in spades. Next year I plan on expanding my goals list and your efforts gave me some ideas of what to focus on. Writing about them and feeling a tad bit more accountable should help.

    Best,
    DWC

    ReplyDelete
  4. Gave me a chuckle:

    1 books read

    Should be book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      Ooops, guess I need to throw in a grammar book to the list!

      Delete
  5. Although you are listing needs improvement on most goals, you are really killing it above and beyond 99% of people, so nothing to fret about. I'm sure you will hit the goals very soon, as you are motivated and in the right direction. I'm no where near your savings rate and spending limits, so I'm envious. Good job!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. SAG,

      Lots of needs improvement for sure but there's still been great progress so far this year and if it weren't for the issues with Lucas then I'd be a bit further ahead as well. I'm still doing my best to see where I can improve on some of the goals but for the most part I don't expect to see big changes in too many of them over the last quarter of the year. Glad to have someone jealous of where I'm at!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  6. Hi PIP. With most insurances, you pay the deductible plus 20% after that. Then there is a final cap at 10k dollars or so. If your insurance is through your workplace, they should be able to tell you what the maximum out of pocket is in a year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,

      That's how I figured it but since neither my wife or I have ever had major health issues it's completely new to both of us. I'll have to look back at the annual max for her plan but I think it was between $10 and $12k so we aren't too far off. There's just so many question marks for the next 6 months that I'm wanting to build up more cash cushion. My wife is on disability now so that's another wrinkle that we have to figure out and there will be a bit of time where I'll be on FML as well so I'll be without income. And then depending on how things go my wife might become a stay at home mom. Potentially lots of changes in the future although they'll all be worth it if Lucas ends up just fine.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. Hi PiP -- I like your thorough analysis of your goals. In my view, the fact that you set goals and keep track of them is more important than reaching the goals. Its the journey, not the destination...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ferdi,

      The journey not the destination indeed. Just setting the goals, coming up with a plan of attack, and working towards those goals puts us ahead of where the average person is at. And even though I come up short on some/lots of the goals there will still be really solid improvement from the beginning of the year.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  8. As a nutritional expert I can tell you that losing weight is 90% diet and 10% training. Looks like you might already know this but if you try to lower the carbs until you are losing the required amount you are on the right track. Good luck. Also would be interested in what you think about IBM at the moment? Obviously trading a lot lower the historicaly but is it justified?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. john,

      Yeah back when I was in much better shape I was eating so much better and cooking 95% of meals. I always had a lot more energy too. I've been working on trying to get my diet better but man, carbs are delicious. Why must they be so bad for you?

      I'm looking at adding some more IBM so I'm bullish on them long-term. I wouldn't quite put them in the same spectrum as a PG, CL, JNJ, KO, PEP but they're still solid. Obviously a return to organic growth would do them a lot of good but I think their financial situation is solid enough to buy them another 5-10 years to figure out what's next.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete