Goals Page Updated

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.

Comments

  1. peter says

    Great read. I to have gotten the memo on dividend reinvestment. Recently, I scrutinized the prospectus of my IRA mutual fund holdings. I was astounded of the numerous fees I have been charged on each holding. No more. In the coming weeks, I will be transferring to a Sharebuilder IRA which has no custodial fees after I satisfy the Class A and B share redemption gimmick policies. Its my fault for being taken as a dummy years ago. Should of known.

    In your previous reads, you mention that you did not want to be tied to a IRA, due to not being allowed distribution until age 59 1/2. You may want to rethink that strategy. Why? A ROTH IRA has different rules than a Traditional IRA. In a Roth, you make after tax contributions. You are allowed to withdraw tax free on each deposit after five years of a deposit. Also, a ROTH is exempt from seizure during a Ch 7 bankruptcy and a legal judgment. Your life circumstances could change in days, weeks, months and years. Be proactive and protect as much as you can.

  2. Oculista says

    In order to achieve earning 1200$ per year in dividends (and more) you should demand your stocks as much as you demand yourself, that is, the greatest possible combination of yield + growth, as the Gordon-Shapiro equation explains.

    For example, JNJ may have been a great investment a decade ago but today it is growing its dividends at a poor rate and doesn’t have a particular high yield so it will be difficult (or take longer) to live off JNJ dividends instead of other alternatives.

    Maybe you should check MLPs or other consumer staples able to raise dividends faster. Philip Morris Int seems a better alternative. I recommend you to do a bit more due diligence in your portfolio. Also focus in international stocks and not only in USA stocks. How about a brewer from Latam?

    Good luck!!

  3. says

    Good article. I am trying to have an ‘attitude adjustment’ where I try to build my retirement budget from the ground up instead of a number based off a % of my current earnings.
    I have yet to drop the cable and sell the car, but I am trying to minimize other areas :)

  4. says

    peter,

    Thanks for the comments and thanks for the tips on the ROTH IRA. I’ll definitely have to look into that. Due to the contribution limits it would only be a small part of my overall plan, but that could be a beneficial addition. Thanks a lot!

  5. says

    Oculista,

    I’m not sure about JNJ slowing. Will it be as strong in the next 20 years as it was the preceding? I’m not sure, but I do know it’s a better investment today, valuation-wise, than it was 10 years ago.

    As far as foreign investments, I do have a couple in my portfolio. If you look at my portfolio you’ll see I have investments with Telefonica (Spanish telecom) and Total (French oil major). My foreign investments are actually quite large in relation to my portfolio size, and probably a little larger than they should be.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  6. says

    me myself and I,

    What you are trying to do is exactly what I did. How much I’ll spend in retirement has nothing to do with what I earn. Someone earning $5,000/mo in retirement is likely to live that kind of life and spend most of it. Conversely, someone scraping by with $800/mo will find a way to survive. It’s all about your mentality.

    Good luck with your minimization and keep me updated!

    Take care.

  7. says

    Great read and awesome dedication to your goals. I too am a dividend investor. I discovered it much later in life. I am 43, but hope to live off my passive income by age 52-55. I have dividend stocks, I am building a passive income from websites and article marketing and hope to pay off my first home and use it for rental income. I hope to have roughly $5000 a month in retirement. I dividend income is rapidly increasing, as I am investing at the rate of $2k a month. I could definitely squeeze more investing dollars out of my income if I was as frugal as you are. Congratulations…

  8. says

    Pirate,

    Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoy the blog. Although you are starting later in life, you are shooting for the same goal basically; to retire after ~12 years of concentrated saving and investing. I started at 28 and am looking to finish by 40. You’re getting a later start, but compounding can still work for you. Good job on the investing rate…I hope to be around the $2k figure myself now that the car is gone. We’ll see. At any rate, thanks for stopping by and good luck on your journey as well. Hope to see you around.

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