May is ending and we are fast approaching the half-way mark through 2011. Where has the time gone?! The year is flying by and I thought this would be a good time to review the goals I set forth for myself at the beginning of 2011. I think when you are setting goals, it's important to make the goals attainable, but challenging enough to push yourself. I think my goals meet that criteria.
I have updated my goals page to reflect the recent change in my lifestyle. I sold my car earlier this week and am now using a steady dose of public transportation to get around town. So far, so good. One of my goals was to sell and/or get rid of my car by the end of the year. I have reached that goal, and reached it much faster than I had assumed I would. I enjoy pushing myself.
My other goal was to reduce expenses by $150 per month. I have effectively reached that goal by getting rid of the car. As I mentioned before, my monthly costs on the vehicle were over $450 on average, not including repairs, possible speeding tickets, yearly registration and other non-recurring costs.
Although I didn't mention it in my previous article, I would need $180,000 in equities invested at a 3% entry yield to afford my monthly auto costs at the current rate.
That is an amazing figure, when you look at it that way. By sacrificing personal transportation and taking the bus I have allowed myself the ability to become financially independent on a much smaller portfolio. This just goes to show you why living frugally can be just as important as saving massive amounts of money and achieving spectacular returns on investments. I could work an extra ten years to save that $180,000, or I could simply decide to use the bus. I chose the latter.
My mantra is to build a portfolio of dividend growth stocks to retire young, live frugally and with purpose. I believe that shedding the auto costs and therefore needing much less money to retire on is aligned well with my beliefs.
Looking forward, I still have a goal to achieve a 50% savings rate of net income and a goal to receive $1,200 in total dividends for the year of 2011. I'm on pace for the savings rate, but May's numbers are going to put a dent in my progress due to paying off my car. I'm pretty far off the goal of receiving $1,200 in total dividends for the year, but I have time to catch up. If I fail to make this goal, then so be it. I'll be happy to attain three of the four goals, especially considering how challenging they were!
Overall, I'm having fun with these goals. They are pushing me to heights I never thought I'd go. I encourage everyone out there to write down your goals, review them quarterly or monthly, and attack them with gusto. Make them challenging. Make them fun! Most of all, make them attainable with effort. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Remember to have a road map of where you're going, and a plan to execute the trip.
Thanks for reading.