My Goals For 2014

I’m sitting here on a Friday night, super excited for what the coming months and year may bring. I had a great 2013, but that year has passed. I’m now looking forward to 2014 and what I can accomplish. I’m going to push myself harder than ever to see exactly what I’m capable of. And to that end, I’m publishing some challenging, but realistic goals for 2014 for the world to see so that I hold myself accountable.

I really believe in setting SMART goals – a mnemonic for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. That means that I always look to set goals that are realistic, but tough. They should also have a specific time limit.

So what you’ll see below is my attempt to put together goals that adhere to this criteria. It’s onward and upward, and so I’m anxious to get this party started. Wish me luck!

Goal #1 – Receive $5,200 in dividends during the year of 2014

Boom! This is my biggest and most important goal for the year. My dividend tree is what’s ultimately going to provide the fruitful bounty that will sustain me once I’m no longer working full-time. So to that end it’s of utmost importance that I focus on increasing my dividend income dramatically from year to year. This is a full $1,700 over last year’s dividend income goal and more than $1,200 over what I ended up receiving in 2013. This is going to be especially difficult since I recently took a pay cut at work, but I’m going to give this one all I’ve got! $5,200 translates to ~$433 per month, which is a hell of a pile of snow to automatically add to my compounding snowball; I’m starting to think I live in the North Pole here. I’m anxious to acheive this mark, because that means before I even start contributing fresh capital from my day job I’ve already got well over $400 per month, on average, with which to purchase shares in high quality companies that grow dividends.

Goal #2 – Save 50% of my net income in 2014, averaged monthly

This may be a disappointment to some, as this will be a reduction from the savings rate I was able to accomplish last year. However, I think this will still be challenging since I have taken on significant expenses over the last six months while also suffering through the aforementioned reduction in income. I’m hoping other income sources, including dividends and online income, help make up some of the job income loss, but I still have to account for the facts that I now own a car and have health insurance. These are major expenses I didn’t have at the beginning of last year. I’m going to do my best to not only exceed this goal, but crush it. I had a hard time exceeding a 50% savings rate the last few months of 2013, so I’m hoping to consistently push myself over that mark throughout the coming year. If I’m able to accomplish this goal it will be the fifth year in a row I will have saved more than half of my net income.

Goal #3 – Maintain a weight of less than 180 pounds during 2014

I revealed to everyone recently that I lost 18 pounds during the course of the year, and I plan to keep it all off. I’m going to write an article very soon that talks about how my diet has evolved over the last year or so as I increasingly focus on eating healthy on a time crunch, while also keeping costs low. I believe fitness is incredibly important, and even more so to those of us seeking early retirement. If you’re looking to limit your healthcare costs over the course of your life it would behoove you to eat reasonably healthy and stay active. Although keeping fit won’t deposit money in your account like dividend growth stocks do, it will pay dividends over the long haul. I currently weigh 176 pounds as of today. I’m aiming to be very close to this same weight by the end of the year. To give some perspective to this goal, I have maintained a weight of between 190 and 200 pounds over the last decade – which isn’t as crazy as it sounds on my 5’9″ frame as I carry a fair amount of muscle on my body. Focusing on more cardio, faster workouts, healthier food and smaller portions should allow me to maintain a smaller Jason going forward.

Goal #4 – Earn $12,000 during the year from online income

This will be a new focus for me. I haven’t previously gone out of my way to try and earn money from my online endeavors – most of which is simply this blog. However, I’m going to put a bit more effort into earning money online as it not only will make up some of the income loss at work, but also hopefully build into a bigger opportunity moving forward. I’ve increasingly found intense personal joy and satisfaction from writing here at Dividend Mantra and inspiring others. I can actually see this as a huge creative outlet once I’m no longer working at a regular, full-time job, and I hope to continue to build this site into a place where us dividend growth investors and pursuers of financial independence can come together and inspire each other. As such, I’m going to try and produce the best content I’ve ever put together in 2014 and bring new readers into the fold. Content will be my main method to accomplish this goal rather than seeking additional advertisements, as I actually recently removed in-post ads because I felt they were obtrusive. I may try to pursue certain partnerships as they make sense (affiliate and other), but I will not do anything that destroys the value here at the site. And by focusing on content I will not necessarily produce more content than I did in 2013. I believe in quality over quantity, and as such I hope to increase the former more than ever going forward.

So these are my goals for the coming year. I think they’re all very challenging, but also reasonably attainable. I’m going to spend all of my available energy to exceed these goals by a wide margin, but I’d be happy with just going 4/4 because achieving every one of these goals will mean I had another fantastic year. We’ll see where I’m sitting in 12 months.

Do you think these goals are realistic and challenging? What are your goals for 2014?

Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Comments

    • says

      Those are some great goals and the $12k in online income would definitely be a big help to make up for the lost job income. I haven’t done much on the online income front although it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get a bit more of that rolling in. SMART goals are important to me as well. If it’s just a vague goal of save more money or lose weight, the chances of that happening aren’t realistic. Something you can track/measure can make all the difference. Especially if you can make a visual to go along with it as a quick reminder. Best of luck in 2014!

    • says

      Pursuit,

      Thanks for the well wishes and the ongoing support. I really appreciate it.

      I wish you and the missus the best of luck with the rental property search. You guys are growing your wealth at a phenomenal rate. You’ll be FI before you know it!

      Best wishes.

  1. says

    Good luck on your goal DM. Saving 50% of your income is fantastic no matter the income and is something to be proud of. I would love to see that type of savings! And I am really excited to watch you shoot for $5200 in dividends. Here’s to hoping the market helps with a nice pullback here :-)

    • says

      Divi Me Up,

      Saving 50% this year will probably be the toughest outing yet. Previous years were a bit easier with much lower expenses, but unfortunately I have some additional expenditures now. I’m hoping I can increase the income side of the ledger enough to make up for this. We’ll see how it goes.

      I’m hoping you continue to succeed in striving for all of your goals in 2014 as well. :)

      Best regards.

  2. Spoonman says

    I think #2 is realistic because you are essentially rolling with the punches. That savings rate is still pretty darn high. I am excited to see how #4 develops, I think if your blog’s popularity continues to increase at the current rate you will readily achieve that goal.

    I don’t really have any concrete goals for the year except to pull the trigger in the second half of the year. There are just too many unknowns, so I will just proceed forward in an organic fashion. However, another thing that I hope to do is to concentrate on allocating capital in companies with great dividend growth prospects. In the near term I will not have as much current income, but in the long run it will pay off in the form of higher income increases and added safety.

    • says

      Spoonman,

      I’m excited to see you guys pull the trigger later this year. It’s an exciting and terrifying time for you I’m sure.

      I’m also looking at opportunities with higher growth potential, but also mixing in some higher yielding securities as well. Bird in the hand and all that…

      Best wishes!

  3. says

    Good luck for reaching your goals.
    I think they are all possible!

    My goals are:
    #1 Receive 1,000 EUR dividends in 2014
    #2 Increase the saving rate to 30%
    #3 Get bigger muscles ;-) like Arnold :-)

    Best wishes
    D-S

    • says

      D-S,

      Good luck building up to Arnold. :)

      When I was really into weightlifting and bodybuilding back in the day Arnold was an idol of mine. I bought his books, watched Pumping Iron and read all of his interviews. These days I’m a lot more focused on holistic fitness and a more sustainable approach that’s easier on the body. However, that’s not to say I’m not still hitting the weights pretty hard. :)

      Good luck on the savings rate and the dividend income. I hope you smash through those goals. I’ll be rooting for you.

      Cheers!

  4. says

    Good luck in 2014! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress. I think your goals are very challenging, but I’m sure you can do most of them. We are also aiming to save 50% of our net income. It will be difficult because we don’t know what’s going to come up this year.

    • says

      Joe,

      Thanks for the ongoing support! Really appreciate it. Glad to see you have a writer helping out now. I hope you get to spend some extra time with the family now. :)

      Good luck on the 50% savings rate. I hope you nail it. It is indeed difficult forecasting a savings rate for an entire year because life can change quickly. But I’m pretty optimistic about my chances.

      Have a good weekend!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      AA,

      Thanks. I tried to be aggressive, but realistic here. I’m going to give it 100%, as always. :)

      I have a long way to go to catch up to your progress. You’re doing fantastic, keep it up!

      Take care.

  5. says

    I think these are great goals.

    Does your goal to save 50% of your income include online earnings, or is it 50% of your traditional income plus all your online?

    I really do look forward to you building this site into an inspiration to us all (although I think it is already pretty inspiring). I would love to don the same for UK investors.

    Thanks for all your posts, and I look forward to all your 2014 updates.

    • says

      FI UK,

      The 50% net income savings goal includes all sources of income, including regular day job income, dividend income and online income.

      I wish you nothing but the best in putting together a source of inspiration for not only UK investors, but all investors across the globe! You’re pulling down some pretty serious dividend income now, and that’s inspiring all in itself.

      Best wishes.

  6. says

    Nice goals Jason. I was hoping you’d have something on there about leaving your current job. It’s obvious that the job is wearing on you. I’m most interested in #4, because I think it’s the key to getting you out of the dealership. If you can get the online income up, you can get on with your life. Of course the dividends are a big part too. Anyway, that’s just my two cents. Have a great weekend. Hoping for another successful year for you!
    -Bryan

    • says

      Bryan,

      I thought about that – my job and some of the issues there. However, I decided not to make it a goal to either stay or go. And that’s because I really don’t know yet how everything is going to play out and I didn’t want to jump to conclusions. I’m convinced that I just took a pretty severe pay cut, but I wanted to let it play out and then see where I go from there. If my pay goes down as significantly as I expect it to then I’ll really have no choice but to explore other options.

      I guess what I’m saying is that I wanted to put goals together that will surely better me, and I’m not sure if staying or leaving will better me in the long run right now. I think that, in the end, I’ll probably have to look for other opportunities. In which case I’ll obviously make it a personal goal to seek the best possible opportunity available. :)

      And I definitely agree with you that the outside income sources, including both online income and dividend income, are key for me to eventually leave what I deem to be an undesirable job. I have found a lot of passion and drive for writing, so if I could turn all of this into more of a full-time income I’d be ecstatic!

      I picked up your email this morning. I’ll be checking it out pretty shortly here and getting back to you. :)

      Best regards!

  7. Jonas says

    5200$ in dividends. Wow, this is a big number. I think I will make 1000€ this year. My goals for 2014 are the following:
    1.) to save on avernge 1300€ per month. This is for me a saving rate of 65%.
    2.) to sell put options from my favored shares and get a premium of 4000€. This is a strateie I use the first time this year. My goal is to become the shares I want at a cheaper price than the current one. The risk is that I don’t profit from ricing share prices or rather only for a higher share price after the premium. The reason I’m doing this is that I get payed for the try to get shares for a price I’m willing to pay.
    3.) to read at least one quarterly report of all the companys I have shares or options from and 2 books about selling options or buying shares.
    4.) my sport goal: to train 2 to 3 tims a week tabel tennis. Also I want to develop my backhand topspin to a level at witch I’m abel to achiev 80% hits with succsess in a comptition.

    Best regards.

    • says

      Jonas,

      Thanks for sharing your goals! I think they’re fantastic. Your dividend income goal seems really good, and so does the option income. I don’t use options right now, but that’s just me. Many investors/traders seem to make a pretty good income from that. Good for you!

      Great idea on reading the reports. I always try to skim through quarterly earnings reports as time allows, and I really love reading the annual reports. An annual report gives management a chance to reflect on more qualitative qualities of the business, and discuss important strategies and changes in the business going forward. I think they’re fascinating.

      Good luck with all of your goals in 2014. Sounds like they’re very well-rounded. :)

      Cheers!

  8. says

    Dm, im a long time reader and have noticed that your comment stream has increased dramatically. It isnt the same cozy place any more. If you want to increase traffic and online income my suggestion is to start a forum area. Judging by the comment streams they are overflowing, often with off topic discussions. It would be a benefit for everyone.

    • says

      Six Fig,

      Hey, long time no talk. I hope all is well with you. I remember you were invested pretty big in PM. Had a rough 2013, but I’m looking forward to bigger things going forward with further inroads in the Philippines, further expansion into e-cigs and hopefully less currency headwinds.

      I like the idea of a forum. I actually looked into that mid-2013 and found it to be more difficult than I originally anticipated for a blogger blog. It seems a lot easier for the WordPress blogs. I could, of course, change to WordPress but that would be a feat in its own right.

      I’ll have to investigate this again as I think it would add a lot of value here. I’d love to put a place together where everyone can talk investing, stocks, dividends, financial independence, early retirement, hobbies, interests, money, personal goals, inspiration, etc. That would be fantastic!

      Thanks for the suggestion. I really appreciate it. And I hope all is well with you and your investments.

      Best wishes.

  9. Anonymous says

    Jason,

    I enjoy following your journey and look forward to more material from you. FYI – You’re writing style engages the reader. Keep up the great work.

    I note Goal #4 re: Earn $12,000 during the year from online income.

    Clearly it appears you are not at a loss for ideas but I am wondering if your followers would like to chime in with their thoughts as to what they may like you to cover. Perhaps they may have ideas you haven’t thought of. Get a list of ideas and select those that interest you.

    Your #1 goal is a stretch but if you don’t set stretch goals then they are not REALLY goals. Maybe some of your readers need a refresher on why/how to set stretch goals and what needs to be done when the motivation starts to wane. So many people out there set a goal to lose weight, for example. They make a New Year’s resolution to lose weight (a vague goal), run out an join a gym, go to the gym periodically for a short period, don’t see any change, and then quit. Here’s another one that so many fail at….quit smoking!

    I am willing to bet that so many people wander through life aimlessly with no goals because NOBODY showed them how to set goals and what it takes to reach these goals!!

    One of our goals this year is to increase our annual dividend income from $38,000 to $45,000. I came up with this stretch goal by trying to forecast what dividend increases we could possible expect in 2014 from our existing holdings. Once I came up with that number I looked at how much we would need to invest to make up the “shortfall”; after this exercise I can tell you a $7000 increase in dividends is definitely a stretch goal!

    I immediately took steps to make up this shortfall by purchasing a few hundred shares in each of BNS (TSX), RY (TSX), KO, and PM. I also contribute about $1500 every 2 weeks by purchasing more BNS shares through my employer’s Employee Share Ownership Plan. Even with these purchases and the anticipated dividend increases from our existing holdings, we’re still well short of reaching our goal. I am hoping for a market correction so as to bring some of my acquisition targets to more attractive “entry points”.

    Wishing you all the best in 2014.

    Cheers.

    Chuck in Ontario

    • says

      Chuck,

      Thanks for the kind words about my writing. I really take it seriously, and I love writing. So when someone compliments me on that I really do appreciate it. :)

      You have some serious dividend income there! That’s really inspiring and amazing. I can’t wait for the day I’m hitting $30k+ in dividends. I know it’s still decades away, but I know it will happen one day.

      I hear you on the goals. I alluded a little to my belief on the importance of setting SMART goals, but perhaps a full post dedicated to the subject would make more sense. As you mention, setting a vague weight loss/exercise goal will you do no good. You have to say “I want to lose 10 pounds by June 1, and I’ll do this by eating 400 less calories per day and working out 3 times per week, 30 minutes per workout.”

      Great buys there. I really like PM here, but it’s already such a large portion of my portfolio. I know my portfolio is still growing, but I hope my PM position grows with it even without me having to add a lot more fresh capital. And I still have so many companies I’d like to add more capital too. It’s tough. KO looks good here, but I missed my opportunity when it dipped a few months ago to the 3% yield mark. I should have pounced. I think BNS shares are attractive here. You must have a pretty big piece of BNS with that type of ESOP buying going on! Very, very nice. :)

      I’m hoping for a broader market correction as well, which would bring many of the high quality companies I’m interested down to more attractive prices. We’ll keep our fingers crossed, right?

      Thanks for stopping by, and I appreciate the support!

      All the best to you this coming year as well.

      Cheers!

  10. Anonymous says

    Excellent goals, nice to see you pushing yourself! It’s ok to fail.

    You probably already did this math, but I wanted to understand the details behind it. To buy $1,700 worth of dividends you’ll need about $42,000 (@ 4% yield) – $57,000 (@3% yield).
    So if $5,000 comes from dividends and $12,000 comes from online income, you’ll need $25,000 – $40,000. If your other annual income from the job is around $42,000 and you save your 50% goal, that gives you about $21,000 to invest in dividend paying stocks. So to hit your goal of $1,700 you’ll need an average yield above 3% on the new dividends. That’s very attainable, but how do you keep yourself from reaching for higher yield stocks to increase your average yield or overvalued stocks to add to the dividend pile, just to hit your goals?

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I’m happy to share some of the math.

      I actually don’t need to purchase $1,700 worth of dividends. It’s closer to $1,200 based on what I hit last year (almost $4k). So based on that, I’d have to inject about $34k into the portfolio at a 3.5% average yield. This should be attainable between the dividend income I’ll reinvest, the dividend growth that will organically raise my dividend tally for next year as well as capital I’ll receive from my day job and online income. If $5k comes from dividends and $12,000 comes from online income I’d need another $17k from the day job. I think this is fairly realistic, but challenging.

      As far as your last question goes, I never chase yield. I go for the best opportunities I can based on valuation, portfolio weight, current yield, dividend growth and certain quantitative fundamental and subjective qualitative qualities. That’s why you don’t see any mREITs or BDCs in my portfolio. Even though the yields on some of these stocks would allow me to easily attain certain dividend income goals, I can’t fully dissect the businesses and understand all the risks, and so I choose to focus on companies I can understand and properly value within a reasonable range.

      I hope this helps!

      Best wishes.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      I’ve been finding myself looking at TGT, PM, O, ARCP, UL, GIS and HCP lately. The REITs are a bit less attractive after Friday’s pop, however. I actually recently purchased shares in a company, and I’ll be talking about that in the coming days. :)

      I really like PM here, but it’s tough for me to add more because it’s already 6% of my portfolio. Over the long haul, I’d like most positions to be somewhere between 1.5% and 3%. I like the idea of core positions (like PG, PM, KO, PEP, JNJ, etc.) to have heavier weightings (closer to that 3% mark), but I don’t particularly find myself enamored with the idea of one or two stocks dominating the portfolio (like I have right now with JNJ and PM). This will correct itself over time as my portfolio grows and I add more capital to other positions to “round out” the Fund.

      Take care.

    • says

      I will be adding TGT and UL to my portfolio Wednesday. I think HCP gives a 5% discount if you purchase it with computerhshare. They do that because computershare has longer term investors. I like the core portfolio idea. These are currently my core: JNJ, KO, PEP, PG, NSRGY, XOM, CVX, and T. I would like CL as part of that, but it is very expensive IMO. I’m really considering purchasing GLK. It looks like the bad publicity has it pretty low and the yield is stout atm. What are your thoughts?

    • says

      Monty,

      Nice moves on TGT and UL. I find both of them attractively priced right now, as I did a few months ago.

      I wasn’t aware of the discount on HCP shares through Computershare. That’s awesome info there! Thanks for sharing. :)

      I haven’t ever heard of GLK? I don’t know if that’s a stock that trades on one of the U.S. exchanges. Any insight?

      Best wishes!

    • says

      Monty,

      I’ve never really followed GSK. And that’s because I don’t really want to invest in pure pharma plays. I prefer my healthcare sector investments rely on more diverse companies like JNJ and medical device makers because the revenue stream is more predictable.

      Best wishes!

  11. says

    Good luck on your goals! With your drive I have no doubt you will accomplish them. Looking forward to reading the blog this year.

    A little OT but do you get money when people click on ads or just if they purchase the products? I might start clicking an ad or 2 every time I come by if it helps you out.

    • says

      fiveoh,

      Thanks for the encouragement! Much appreciated. I’m sure you’ll have a fantastic 2014 as well. :)

      As far as your question goes, I do actually get financial remuneration from ad clicks.

      To our continued success!

      Best wishes.

  12. For Whom the Bell Tolls says

    2014 should be a noteworthy year with the big Partnership idea. That proposal you are evaluating could reap huge dividends! Good luck to you in all your endeavors in 2014! ;)

    • says

      For Whom the Bell Tolls,

      Thanks! I just hope I can just even come close to achieving in 2014 what I did in 2013. It was a banner year in all respects, so it’s tough to follow that up.

      I don’t really have any specific partnership ideas quite yet, but hopefully something works out. I’m currently looking at Personal Capital, and you’ll notice they’re a partner on the top right of the page. I hope to put up a review soon!

      Best of luck to you in 2014 as well. Stay in touch. :)

      Cheers.

  13. Anonymous says

    A fine set of goals as always DM! You can achieve all of ‘em.

    I decided to go with the following:
    Earn 2800€ (about 3800USD) in dividends
    Diversify away from Finnish stocks. Add more US based stocks (Currently KO, IBM, WMT, PM, MDT, AFL)
    Loose some weight (an evergreen for me!)
    Save 60% of net income

    Regards

    Jarmo

    • says

      Jarmo,

      Great goals there!

      The $3,800 in dividends would be fantastic. That’s right about what I achieved over the course of 2013, so you’re right there with me. It’ll be fun to grow our dividends and portfolios together. :)

      I like the idea of diversification, of course. That’s pretty much the only free lunch we investors have access to.

      And saving 60% of your net income is extremely difficult. I just barely made that mark this past year, but it was very tough. I imagine it’s even more difficult over there with your tax situation!

      Good luck with everything, especially the fitness goals. Great health pays dividends – literally and figuratively. :)

      Keep up the great work!

      Best regards.

  14. says

    DM,

    I’ve been a reader of yours for a while. You’re absolutely killing it when it comes to stacking investments! To think you started ~4 years ago and built a ~$150,000 portfolio on a middle class income is inspirational. I agree that goals should be SMART. Another key component that people often leave out is that they should be within your control, and not derail-able by influences outside your sphere of control.

    Tough break with the 3rd guy at work man and income loss, but it will probably be less stressful I’m guessing? The good part is you have insane online income, so that’s a bright side. Good luck with the goals in 2014! A main question that’s always lingered in my mind is: Do you have to pay estimated quarterly tax payments on your side income and dividend income now that they’re getting higher?

    TFCL

    • says

      TFCL,

      I’m glad you find what I’ve done inspirational. That’s exactly why I hold myself accountable and publish everything live here. I don’t make a crazy high income, and I think people in general have this idea in their head that early retirement, financial independence or six-figure portfolios are impossible when you’re making $50k or $60k per year. Instead, it’s really all about prioritizing and staying persistent. If you want something you’re going to have to go out and make it happen!

      You’re right in that the third guy alleviates some stress at work. I’m already seeing that happen. The workload has been reduced, I’m receiving less phone calls and the client flow is smoother. Overall, it’s definitely less stress, but I can also see how it’s definitely less income. A tradeoff for sure, but there are benefits and drawbacks to everything in life, right?

      As far as your question goes, this will be the first year I’ll be paying estimated taxes. I got away with avoiding it last year because I was able to have my employer deduct some extra taxes out of my regular paycheck the last couple months of the year. But there’s no way I’m going to be able to make that work this year due to my dividend income and online income so I’ll definitely be setting up estimated taxes this year and reducing my income appropriately in my income/expense reports so that my income still nets out correctly.

      Thanks for the support! Best of luck with the new blog and digging out of student loan debt. I still have some fairly substantial student loan debt myself, so I know how that load feels.

      Best wishes.

  15. says

    Jason,
    Highly obtainable goals, I enjoy watching your dividend increases. I’m shifting into more stable dividend stocks as I have a lot of high growth ones.
    To answer your question about a 72T distribution I don’t know anyone that has used it because it does take some work. If you have Fidelity or an online brokerage they can help you.
    I read you post about why you don’t put in your 401K. Since you’re in the 25% bracket you can use a mix of Roth and 401K contributions to defer and pay no taxes by converting your 401K contributions into a Roth IRA. It takes a little planning and you’ll have to do it over several years when you plan your early retirement but if done right you’ll earn 25% (the amount you save on your tax rate)
    Read this article from Mad Fientist http://www.madfientist.com/traditional-ira-vs-roth-ira/ That post to me is the post of the year. For Roth conversions I’ve known several people that have done it, and it’s much easier than 72T. Since you’ll be living off dividends your rate will be zero. If this changes your mind you can buy me a beer

    • says

      Charles,

      I think the conversions would definitely be a lot easier than the 72T, just based on how both of them work.

      I read that Mad Fientist post, and he actually came by my blog and commented about that strategy. I don’t disagree that could save me a little capital, but I guess in the end I’m not totally sure the planning and execution is worth the savings? I try to keep things pretty simple in all areas of my life, and maybe this is another area I’m a bit afraid of “complicating”. I like staying as liquid as possible, as the idea of traveling/retiring abroad is still in the cards, and being liquid and avoiding excess tax paperwork is ideal in a situation like that. Maybe it’s a lifestyle call.

      At any rate, I’d still be happy to buy you a beer sometime! :)

      Cheers.

  16. says

    I like that you have a handful of focused goals, rather than a huge list. I find that focus on one or only a few objectives leads to greater success. All the best in increasing your online income and achieving a 50% savings rate!

    • says

      DB40,

      Thanks. I purposely chose to keep a small, focused group of goals year in and out. I find it allows me to hone in on what really matters and what will ultimately contribute the most to my wealth, health and happiness.

      Thanks for the encouragement and support. I really appreciate it! I wish you all the best in all of your endeavors in the coming year. :)

      Best regards!

  17. says

    DM,
    Great goals! I like them all, especially goals #1 and #4. You provide such amazing motivation and content here. I’m a big believer in the ability to make money online with persistence and value. It’s not easy to make money online via blogging, but those that provide the best content can make it happen. Your blog truly offers value and I hope you meet/exceed that goal. You certainly deserve to with all your hard work! 2014 is going to be an exciting year, and I’ll be reading here the whole time for your wisdom, motivation, and words of encouragement.
    Sincerely,
    Ian

    • says

      PPC Ian,

      Hey, I just received the card today! Thanks a ton. That was really kind of you to send that out. And tell Suzanne thank you as well. Very sweet. :)

      I appreciate your ongoing support. I’m really glad that you appreciate the time I put into this blog and the value I try to offer. It is my genuine and sincere attempt to broadcast as much inspiration as possible in one neat little package. I’m not perfect, and I certainly make my fair share of mistakes. And not everyone will agree with all of my methods. But all in all, I believe that if I’m able to significantly improve just one life out there somewhere then I think that’s a job well done.

      I hope 2014 is a wonderful year for the both of us!

      Best wishes.

  18. Anonymous says

    Hi DM,

    Great goals for 2014!

    Have you ever thought of writing a book? If you could get a publishing contract with a nice advance, you could quit your job to write the book, then use the publicity from the book to work up a career in inspirational speaking.

    Keep up the good work, freedom fighter.

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Ha! I like that term: freedom fighter. I think I’ve used it myself a few times. It’s apt. :)

      I have indeed contemplated writing a book, however what I think I would do is write it once I’m closer to financial independence or perhaps when I actually reach FI. At that point I’d have not only a huge amount of material to work with, but also some serious credibility. I also think I’d probably just self-publish it and self-promote it. I wouldn’t have a big advance or anything, but I’d be able to control the message completely.

      Thanks for the idea and encouragement. I hope you have a great 2014!

      Cheers.

    • says

      Second Half,

      Wow. What an awesome set of goals there. You have quite a 2014 carved out. :)

      Very exciting stuff. It sounds like you’ve made some excellent choices, and now you get to reap the rewards of hard work. That’s the spot I want to be in one day!

      Enjoy the ‘Second Half’ of your life! And please continue to stay in touch and let us know how a free life feels. :)

      Best wishes.

  19. says

    Great goals and I bet challenging. 12k in online income is really big one. You should do more reporting on that one as I wish to get my online income boosted too. It will be nice to see your progress.

    • says

      Martin,

      I’ll definitely be reporting on the online income goal as I go because it will all be included in my monthly income/expense budget reports. So it’ll be easy to follow along and see how I’m doing. :)

      I wish you the best of luck in also trying to boost your online income!

      Best regards.

  20. Anonymous says

    Hi Jason, The very best of luck with those goals for the coming year. The future’s so bright you better wear shades!…

    • says

      Anonymous,

      Thanks! I really appreciate it. I wish you the very best for the coming year as well. I hope 2014 is a fantastic year for all of us.

      I guess I better see if I can go out and buy some new sunglasses. :)

      Stay in touch!

      Take care.

  21. says

    Ah Jason, love the post and the goals. I think it goes without saying I am fan of the fourth goal, but really like that you are constantly pushing yourself to grow, both financially and as an individual. This pursuit of well rounded growth is going to carry you well as you progress into the future.

    Best of luck on the goals this year, I’ll be following along for sure.

    • says

      w2r,

      Thanks a lot. I believe I’m pushing it pretty hard with the above goals. However, even if I fall a little short that will still mean I made a ton of progress. And that’s the beauty of shooting for the stars – you might end up on the moon. :)

      Best of luck to you in 2014 as well. I’m hoping we both kill it this year!

      Cheers.

  22. says

    $12k per year in online income would rock :)

    If you’re going to have goals, go big.

    Regarding the dividend income, the more you save, the more you’ll be able to invest.

    Good luck with your goals. I’ll be following.

    Mark

    • says

      Mark,

      Thanks for following along! I’ve been following your journey to freedom as well, and you’re doing great. :)

      Solid work on the dividend income. I’m just hoping to catch up to you in the next couple of years. Keep it up!

      Take care.

  23. Anonymous says

    Jason,

    I’ve been following your blog only a few months after you started and you have been an inspiration to me. When you took a hiatus a few years back, I was pretty bummed, but since then I think you’ve become a better writer, investor and most importantly a well rounded individual. Wouldn’t normally go to those lengths, but since you’ve shared so many details of your life and your goals/directions/plans, I don’t feel like that’s necessarily cliche.

    I think your goals for 2014 are par for your course. Typically challenging, measurable, and will put you in a much better place at the beginning of 2015 than you were 2 weeks ago.

    A few items to note…..

    In a comment above you mentioned it taking you “decades” to reach 30k in income, but I think with your perseverance and based on what you have accomplished in 3+ years that this is probably an over estimate.

    Regarding the unfortunate turn of events at work, I find it pretty upsetting that the work you’ve been doing the last few years has helped your company grow, thus needing the extra employee, but it is at the expense of your paycheck. There is certainly value in having a less stressful work environment due to less chaos and having another set of hands on deck, but you’re not working there because you love it, you’re there to reach your desired goals of FI. I think you’ll better understand just how much of a pay reduction this new guy will be when you receive your first months paycheck. Might be worth having a discussion with your superiors, but you would know better than I.

    That said, your attitude is spot on Nd you’ll be fine regardless.

    The last point I wanted to make is that if by the end of the year you’ve achieved your 2 financial goals of dividends and online income, you’re essentially at your FI #. I know you also intend to build in a buffer, but “retiring by 40″ seems to be another over estimate.

    Wanted to conclude this comment by talking a little about how you have inspired me in a way to go out and plan to leave a safe/steady job that commands an extreme amount of my time and travel with my girlfriend for the foreseeable future. Your comments about having rights to income that give you choices and the ability to not have to work inspired me to really maximize my investments to take some time off of work to enjoy some of my dreams while I’m healthy as can be, have almost no responsibilities (kids, mortgage, etc) and liabilities. My current dividend income isn’t enough to cover the monthly costs of this decision, but I’m planning on spending the next few months saving as much as I can while eliminating my rent (moving in w a relative for a short time) and waiting for my yearly bonus to clear. Should give me a buffer and I plan on eventually re entering the workforce to make this move/independence permanent.

    I wish you the best in 2014 and beyond and I plan on letting you know how things turn out. If I roll thru your part of Florida, I’ll give you a shout.

    Sincerely,
    Building Yield for Years

    • says

      Building Yield for Years,

      Wow. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing all of that. And thank you for the support from the beginning. The camaraderie and mutual inspiration/encouragement around here really amazes me sometimes.

      I also think I came back better than ever after taking that short hiatus in the summer of ’12. I’m more committed than ever right now, and I’m learning and evolving every single day – as we all are.

      The work situation is indeed a bit frustrating and disappointing. I’m still taking it day by day, but if my income takes a significant cut I’ll have no choice but to start looking at other opportunities. There is less stress at work for sure, but as you aptly point out I’m there to earn as much as possible as fast as possible so that I can achieve financial independence. If I wanted to make less money for a better work environment I would just go find something I like doing and work 20 or 30 hours per week and put the dreams of FI on the back burner. It’s a situation that’s a bit confusing right now. But in the end I’m confident that I’ll learn from it, grow and end up in a better situation.

      As far as hitting my FI #, it’s crazy. I never would have dreamed making so much progress in just a few years. When I first started this journey I had all of these big visions and dreams but also seen this long slog up a giant mountain. It turns out it wasn’t so giant after all. I know I’ve said this before, but it really just takes an incredible amount of persistence and perseverance. You have to want it, then go out and do it. Every minute, every hour and every day. But I still have a long way to go. I’m not sure I’d want to rely on my blog income for half or more of my income because to me it seems like all of this could go away at any time. It almost doesn’t seem “real”, you know? The dividend income is tangible and reliable. I know Coca-Cola is going to earn more money year after year and send me higher dividends as a result. Same with Chevron, Philip Morris, Aflac, Kinder Morgan, etc. Do I know that I’ll definitely earn more money from this blog year after year? I just don’t know. It’s the lack of certainty that scares me a bit, but the income isn’t why I write anyway. I write because I love to write, and I write to inspire. However, if I knew for sure this would be reliable and rising income for decades on end then I might take the plunge. Maybe I’m too conservative for my own good sometimes?

      Finally, congratulations to you on doing something amazing. It sounds like a hell of an adventure for you two. And you’re right that this is the best time to do it, while you have no responsibilities keeping you in any one place. I’ve thought about something similar: saving up enough cash for a year or so and then just traveling to SE Asia or Ecuador or somewhere similar and try living cheaply and without worry or the 7-6 job to beckon for me. I think the only thing that really keeps me from doing something like that is the fact that I’d miss my family too much, and my drive that keeps me on this strict path of mine. I miss my family a lot right now, and I’m only 1,200 miles away. Being thousands of miles away from my parents and sisters would probably get to me…

      Continued below…

    • says

      ….

      Sounds like you’re off on a fantastic adventure very soon. I hope you guys make the most of it. Are you going abroad or staying domestic? Remember, that even if your dividend income doesn’t cover your expenses now, if you save up enough cash you can cover the shortfall for quite a long time, while also allowing the dividend income to rise organically which would bridge the gap for a bit. If you earn $500 in dividend income per month and end up spending $750, just saving up $5,000 would allow 20 months of buffering, and perhaps more as the dividend income goes up by itself. Throw in a little outside income here and there and you might go for years. :)

      Best of luck to you guys on your adventure. I’ll be living vicariously through you. I hope you’re able to stay in touch from time to time on the road!

      Best regards.

  24. says

    Hey Jason,

    Those look like some great goals…all the best toward you!

    I really appreciate you creating a place for people to share their goals /plans. It is inspiring!

    So here’s our 2014 Goals for my wife, three kids and myself:

    Goal #1
    Improve our health by working out 3x a week.

    Goal #2
    Strengthen Family Relationships by spending at least 6 hours a month with each family member.

    Goal #3
    Learn Spanish and Self Defenses 30 min a day.

    Goal # 4
    Save/Invest 40% of all income = $36k

    Goal #5
    Complete Addition for our home and a Will

    I hope to share with you all the results next year too.

    Cheers!

    Chris

    • says

      Chris,

      Awesome goals there. I wish you nothing but the best of luck. They’re very diverse and each one of them will improve your life in a unique way. I’m also interested in concentrating on my health and spending more time with family this year.

      I’m extremely excited about what 2014 will bring us both, and I hope we’re able to do well with both our health and wealth, as well as being able to concentrate on relationships we value. :)

      Looking forward to seeing how you do!

      Cheers.

    • says

      Brian,

      Thanks, man. I appreciate the encouragement! :)

      And I wish you the best of luck with your goals as well. I especially love your goal to travel to a number of different countries and all 50 states. Hawaii, Italy, and Canada seem particularly nice. Australia too, but far.

      I hope you stay in touch.

      Take care!

  25. says

    Jason,

    12,000$ from online income with pay per click ads? Seriously? You deserve it for sure. You are working hard for it everyday. But Wow! I barely make 5$ a month with three websites… Lol but two of them are in french… Kind of a small market I’d say.

    I wish someday I’ll be able to make at least a couple grands per year from it. When did it start kicking off that kind of income? After a year or two? Do you see the same kind of increase in your online income than what you can see on your dividend income?

    Nice goals man!

    • says

      Allan,

      Oh, it’s taken quite a while to get to where I’m at now. I’ve been blogging since March 2011, and I didn’t see any significant income until after my blog hit national media. And even then, it took six or seven months to see much of anything. For my first two years or so I was lucky to see $50 month – as you can see in all of my monthly budgets as I always recorded my online income. It wasn’t until late last year (after more than two years of blogging) that I seen anywhere near the income you see now. And this income also includes freelance writing which accounts for around 1/3 or more of what I earn.

      And keep in mind that I never blogged for the money. If I did, I would have quit a very long time ago. But I think that if one thinks of the non-monetary rewards that blogging provides, the money will naturally come as well.

      Cheers!

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