Happy New Year everyone. Technically, it’s just another day. But, in reality, it is not. It’s the beginning of a whole new year! It’s a time to reflect on the previous year. What worked and what didn’t. It’s a time to assess what changes can be made to better your life and your future. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? Yup. Resolutions. I’m determined to be more focused and disciplined in 2018. I hope you have a few minutes. So, sit back, get ready, and let’s dive in.
In 2017, I had numerous goals, both personal and blog related. Let’s see how I did.
My 2017 dividends goals were to:
- earn $200 in dividends by the end of the year and
- contribute a minimum of $800 a month to buying shares. Well, I’m happy to report that I achieved both goals.
With respect to earning $200 in dividends by the end of the year, based on my dividend tracker, it appears that I earned $238.64 in total dividends. So, I’m very happy with the results. However, I’ve come to appreciate the forward annual dividends metric as a more appealing number to track. So, I will make a goal for that amount in 2018.
With respect to the second goal of contributing a minimum of $800 a month to buying shares, I also maintained my consistency in doing so. Technically, every month I contributed $790 to my dividend portfolio, which I knew when I selected that particular goal. I was just calling the $790 number as $800 for simplicity sake. But, I think I can do better, and so I will increase this amount for my 2018 goal.
- One of my blog goals for 2017 was to contribute to the DGI Community by leaving a minimum of 3 comments per month on a dividend blog. I felt I’ve done that, and more. I have a routine where I review the blogs on my blog roll and simply go to each site, and try to add to the conversation on a recent post. Work sometimes get in the way and so I may not comment as much as I would like, but I try. I’ve definitely done the minimum of 3 comments per month. 3 comments may seem like a small number. But, keep in mind that when I initially started blogging, I was very inactive and wasn’t sure that blogging was right for me. But, as I kept blogging, I really loved it. And, what’s more, the DGI Community is great, and I feel “vested” in that community, for lack of a better word. I won’t be repeating a similar goal for my 2018 resolutions, but you can expect that I will remain active in the community.
- The other goal I had for the blog was to write at least one blog post per month. I’ve definitely achieved this goal. Again, part of the reason why this goal seemed so easy to reach is because of the concern I initially had with blogging. So, like before, I won’t be making a goal relating to the number of posts I do per month, but it’s probably going to be somewhere around 3 or 4, at the minimum.
- My first financial goal for 2017 was to invest enough money in Realty Income so that I would have enough money, where the dividends I earn would be enough to purchase at least one share of the company. In retrospect, this was a poorly conceived goal. The idea was that I was going to concentrate on Realty Income and then move on to another stock. Sort of like trying to get out of credit card debt. I didn’t achieve this goal in 2017, partly because I abandoned that strategy. I chose instead to dollar cost average my way into building all stocks in my portfolio.
- My other financial goal was to pay at least $2000 a month towards paying down my student loans. Well, that was a dismal failure! Except for one large payment of about $1500 in August, I’ve only been paying the minimum amount as reflected in my debt tracker. I do need to update the tracker, and may disregard it in 2018. But, I will try and make a more realistic goal to pay off my student loans. Expect to see more on this in a future post.
Now that 2017 is over, it is time to focus on my 2018 resolutions. With that, I’ve made some tweaks and changes, and without further adieu, here are my goals for 2018.
- Earn $1000 in forward annual dividend income. At the time of this writing, my forward annual dividend income is $664.90. My goal is to cross the three-digit mark in 2018 where my forward annual dividend income is at least $1000.
- Earn $800 in actual dividends received. In 2017, I earned $238.64 in actual dividends received. I generally don’t care about this number as much as the forward annual dividend income. However, I’m leaving this as a goal, because if my forward annual dividend income right now is $664.90, then if nothing changes, that means that in 2018, I should be earning a minimum of $664.90. So, I’ll be tracking my dividends received for one more year to see if the actual dividends received comports to what my meter shows as the forward annual dividend income. I hope that makes sense.
- Contribute a minimum of $1010 to my dividend portfolio. In 2017, my minimum contribution to my portfolio was $790. I hope to increase that number to $1010, no later than March 2018. That’s a whopping $220 increase. That means, that I will have to learn to live on $220 less. I realize that part of the reason why I waste money is because I have the money readily available in my checking account. So, one way to force me to not waste money is to limit the amount of discretionary money I have available to me. By forcing myself to contribute more to my portfolio, I will necessarily have less money to waste. It’s going to be difficult, but I hope to reduce expenses in other areas, such as food (discussed below). In another post, I’ll break this down some more to show where this gets allocated into the portfolio and why. By the way, I’m saying no later than March because I have to see if I can add one more stock to the portfolio. Already, I’ve committed an additional $140 to my portfolio, but I want to make sure it’s a realistic goal to get to the $220 and so I’m taking it slow.
- Do not eat out everyday. This is going to be one of the more difficult resolutions to meet. But, it’s an important one. After my mortgage, my biggest expense comes from how much money I spend on food. That’s got to stop. So, I purchased pots and a rice cooker. Then I bought $30 worth of groceries. These included, rice, chicken, cooking oil, canned vegetables and some miscellaneous items. So, I’m going to learn how to cook. Wish me luck. I’ll write more about this in another post, but hint: I’ve already started cooking and will be posting my first meal cooked in 2018.
- Work out 4 times per week. This is another tough one. Usually, I wait until January 1 to start working out. Then, after a few weeks, I get unmotivated for one reason or another. Well, even before this January 1, I’ve been working out each week for about 4 times per week. I did that for all of December. I have a workout partner who is training me for free. Dieting is a huge part of working out, and I haven’t been on any diet plan in December. That’s ok. I just wanted to get in the habit of going to the gym. I have a set schedule now, and I try my best to keep it.
- Drink alcohol only on the weekends. Talk about wasting money. I estimate that by limiting the amount of alcohol I drink is not only good for my health, but also for my wealth. I will be saving a lot of money this way. So, if i stick to this goal, and the first one about not eating out everyday, I’m confident that I can come up with the extra $220 to put in my portfolio. I fully realize that drinking on the weekends may be counter-productive to my work out goals. But, given the stressful job I have, among other reasons, it’s a pass time I am unwilling to eliminate completely. But, everything in moderation as they say. So, I intend to fully moderate my drinking habit, and the first way to curtail that is to limit it to the weekends. Baby steps.
What a year 2017 was. I certainly didn’t cover everything. I’ll save those for future posts. In fact, one of the things I’ll be sharing is my financial plan for 2018 as it relates to my emergency fund, investment allocations, etc. But for now, thank you for reading. To the extent you make resolutions, or goals, I wish you all the best of luck meeting those goals. I hope you have a Happy New Year.
Do you have any resolutions for 2018? If so, what are they? If not, why not? Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.