I’m a big fan of having goals. Goals give you something to shoot for, they’re a target so that you can track your progress. Putting goals down on paper, and then showing them to the world does a couple things. First, by actually typing these goals up I realize them in a physical form. If the goals only exist in my head they’re easy to forget. Second, by showing them to the world I obviously want to save face and do my best to reach the goals as my pride is on the line.
I try to make goals challenging, but achievable. This sets the bar high and forces me to do my best, but also reinforces positive results. Without further ado:
It would be fantastic if I could reach, and exceed, this goal. That would be an average of $166 a month throughout the year, and a big increase over my ~$1,200 year-end dividend total in 2011. With the amount of money I have in my Freedom Fund, I could easily reach this by investing strictly in high yield securities, but I’m a dividend growth investor and I do favor stocks with strong entry yields, but more important to me is the growth rate. With high yield securities, one usually sacrifices the growth rate a bit for that high yield. So, my dividend totals may not “wow” anyone, but the compound growth will start to take shape 5-10 years from now. That’s when the wow factor will begin. It’s important to note, that this is not a running annualized total. I actually want to receive $2,000 in dividends from January 1-December 31 of this year.
Goal #2 – To save 65% of my net income earned in 2012, averaged monthly.
This would be huge. I lived a fairly frugal life in 2011 and was able to achieve a net income savings rate of 59.3%. To improve on that would be fantastic, as I think the ~60% savings rate is pretty phenomenal. Although I was able to consistently get over 60% a month for the last few months of 2011, some key things that will make reaching 65% difficult this year will be some hefty taxes owed in the spring (due to investment gains) as well as some alternative transportation plans I have. The bus is great, but is late more often than I’d like and was late yet again this past week which resulted in me being late for work. So, this is something on my mind. A scooter or cheap used vehicle may be something I own in the near future. This leads me to goal #3.
Goal #3 – Develop or purchase a frugal transportation alternative to the bus.
Unfortunately, this is necessary at this point. As I recently discussed, I received a promotion at work. This promotion comes with the possibility of more income, but definitely comes with more responsibility. Being late to work, especially in a new position is just something that I can’t do on a regular basis. The bus system here in my city is cheap, clean and has routes that cover most of the area. Unfortunately, the reliability and timeliness of said bus system leaves a little to be desired. If I could get by on the bus indefinitely that would be great, but I can’t. I will have to come up with a back-up plan in 2012 and this is something I will be addressing sooner rather than later.
Goal #4 – Weigh less than 190 pounds by the end of the year.
I’ve discussed my affinity for physical fitness and staying physically active many times on this blog. In fact, one of my 5 steps to retire in 12 years involves staying physically active to try and help reduce health care costs. As a former competitive bodybuilder I took a big step toward frugality when I recently quit my gym membership. Although saving money is great, it’s not a good move if one lets their health go down the tubes. I currently weigh 193 lbs. at 5’9″. That may sound heavy to some, but keep in mind that a muscle weighs more than fat and I’ve always had a fairly muscular frame. Since quitting the gym, I’ve found it more difficult than I had planned to get exercise in. It requires motivation to strap on some shoes and go for a two mile jog everyday after a long day at work. But, part of my long-term plan is staying in shape with or without a gym membership and 2012 will be a big test for me.
I’ll be updating my goals page accordingly.
What are your goals?
Thanks for reading.
Photo Credit: Stuart Miles