2018 Targets - Full Year Review

Goals | Dividend Growth Investing | Financial Independence

The last few years we've been in a constant state of flux in regards to our finances and lives in general, but 2018 is finally looking to be a year of settling back into a groove.  Normally I would set out some very specific goals for the new year; however, for 2018 I decided to just lay out some targets.  

It's hard to believe that 2018 already half way over.  It seems like just a few weeks ago that I was setting these targets for the year and it's already time to check in on how things stand.

Budget Target

In 2018 my budget had some highlights and some lowlights.  On the income side there's no complaints from me with average monthly work income coming in at $7,627.30.  That was a decline from 1H2018's average of $8,400.  If I can hang out around there 2019 should see some big progress.  

Total monthly income (post tax work income, tax free work income, pre tax dividends, interest and side hustle) came in at $98.5k or an average of $8,212.71.  As I mentioned the income side was more than adequate.

Unfortunately the expense side was a bit out of whack.  Total expenses for 2018 came to $58.6k or $4,883.31 on average.  Core expenses was a more modest $43,790.70 or $3,649.23 on average.  

Much of that was due to one time expenses with the unexpected down payment for my vehicle adding $250 to the monthly average.  Another $443 per month was spent on travel expenses while that hurts to see the average that high there's no way I would take it back because the family trip to Cayman was well worth the money spent.

The largest core expenditures were out mortgage, property taxes, food, home owners and car insurance, and debt payments.  

Overall I'd consider the budget target to not have been met.  The income was fantastic; however, expenses were just way too high.

Get Rid Of All Non-Mortgage Debt

After resetting our plans multiple times throughout the year we didn't make as much progress as I'd have liked on the non-mortgage debt.  

We did manage to pay off the loan on our air conditioner replacement in September and then made some nice progress on the note on my wife's car.  Then we got word that we're expecting so our plans shifted to cash preservation.

Unfortunately, December brought the loan for my new car which I wasn't planning on just yet.  I decided to go with a new Hyundai Tucson rather than a used one because with my job I have to have a reliable vehicle.  Not to mention the fact that the used cars weren't nearly as much of a discount compared to buying new.  Minimum monthly debt payments are roughly $875 thanks to the new payment on my vehicle.

If it weren't for the new car loan or new baby this target would have been met.  Considering the circumstances I'll count this target as 1/2 met.

Net Worth Target

Our net worth took a big hit in October and December when the markets dropped.  I didn't have much of a target, per se, other than to improve the net worth.  Unfortunately the declines from the market drop was too much for savings and dividends to counter in addition to that the new car loan didn't help matters.  Our net worth ended 2018 at $509,786.76 which was a $24,700 decline from the end of 2017.  

All in all it wasn't a bad year, but given the increase in our liabilities this one gets chalked up as another unmet target.

FI Portfolio Dividend Growth Target

Luckily our FI Portfolio hummed along nicely in 2018.  The weighted dividend growth rate for the FI Portfolio came in at a very healthy 8.76%.  I was hoping to see 2018's dividend growth rate come in above 6% and the excellent companies that I owned far exceeded that target.

Finally a target that I can resoundingly say was met.

Forward 12-month dividends

At the end of 2017 the forward 12-month dividends for my FI Portfolio was at $5,833.07 with a goal on increasing it to $6,183.05 by the end of 2018.  At the end of 2018 our forward dividends sat at $6,233.91.  

Target achieved!

Blogging/Writing Target

My target for 2018 was to write at least 1 article per month on Seeking Alpha.  Due to a lack of time and focus I really struggled last year with writing at Seeking Alpha.  During the first half of 2018 I had only written 1 exclusive article for Seeking Alpha.  The second half was better but still below what I would have liked; however, I did write 6 articles in the second half with 5 coming in Q4.

This has to go as another target that was not met.

Passive Income Target

I consider my passive income to be dividends earned in my FI Portfolio, EBIT from my blogging/writing and the interest earned on my savings accounts.  

Dividends from my FI Portfolio came to $6,384.72 while interest from my savings accounts have totaled just $122.67.  The EBIT from writing/blogging has seen an unsurprising dip to just $592.41 completely because of a lack of writing.

That brings the total passive income for 2018 to $7,099.80.  I fell short of my $7,200 target, primarily due to the aforementioned lack of writing throughout the year.  

This target failed to be met although that was primarily because of my own doing.


Overall I consider 2018 to be a successful year despite the fact that we only met 2.5 of the 7 targets we had for the year.  *Fingers crossed* things will actually settle down a bit in 2019 and we can start making some headway on building up our investments once again.

How did you do on your goals for 2018?  Did you meet all of them are did you have a few set backs?


  1. Congratulations on your wife’s pregnancy! It’s the Importance of events like that which puts financial targets into perspective. All the best in 2019!

    1. DIH,

      Thanks! It's hard to believe that we'll be meeting new baby in about 2.5 months or so. Going in to 2018 I knew that it was likely going to be a very weird year financially but I'm hoping 2019 brings some more stability at least on that front considering all the changes that a new baby will bring.

      Thanks for stopping by!


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