2017 Goals

Welcome to the 2017 goals post. I want to quickly share some of the main goals I have for the year which is under way. I am a little late posting this but I still want to document it to provide motivation for me through the year. If I post it, I am more likely to make the ultimate effort to achieve it. I am also a big believer in having targets. It is a great way to push yourself to strive for something. I am a pretty goal oriented person but I believe this will help push me a little higher over the course of a long year.

 

 

Finance

Let’s start with 2017 goals for my finances. I am a big believer in dividend income. I love dividend paying stocks. It is a great way to hold companies accountable for how they run their business. I would argue companies that pay dividends and consistently increase them are much more stable than others that don’t pay a dividend.  For the most part, they must run the business well in order to continue to pay the shareholders. There are exceptions of course, but this is generally true in my opinion.

My goals regarding finance can be broken down into Dividend income goals, progress toward retirement, and debt reduction. These are the three main categories I am going to focus on for the new year:

  • Dividend Income:  I had a good year in 2016 with a total dividend income of $5,871.93 or $489.33/month. I can do a lot better than this in 2017 and I am very well positioned to crush that going forward. This is due to rollover money that came in mid year. I collected dividends on this for only part of the year. Based on my calculations, if I don’t add any new money and my stocks don’t cut their dividend, I am expecting an increase of 25%  in dividend income.  I will be receiving a full year’s dividend payments on all of my stocks in 2017. This is a big advantage to reaching my goal for the year. Originally my goal was going to be to achieve a 20% increase in payments for the year , but now I will need to bump it up quite a bit. I will set a goal of 35% for the year with the understanding that it may be unachievable. I will do everything I can to make it happen.  Needless to say, I would be thrilled to reach this lofty goal.

2017 Dividend Goal:    $ 7927.10   $660.59/month   an increase of 35%

  • Retirement Progress – I started 2016 at 26.5% towards the retirement goal.  This is the amount I think I need to ride off into the sunset. I finished the year at 32.07% for an increase of 5.57%. This is despite being out of work for a couple of months and spending a ton of money to downsize and get set up in the new digs (see Downsizing).  Not great but considering the year’s challenges, I am fairly pleased. One thing to keep in mind is that the closer you get to the goal, the quicker it will accelerate. It makes sense, 5% of 1 million is much bigger that 5% of 100 k.  So as the portfolio grows, I am expecting the dollar totals to rise faster. Look for big things for 2017. I am positioned for big gains in saving. Although you can never predict the future, I am hopeful the year is going to be great.  I should be able to hit a higher goal on the way to retirement.

2017 Retirement Goal:    39.07% on the way     an increase of ~ 7%

  • Debt Reduction – I don’t typically carry a lot of debt but over the summer when we downsized, there were some initial costs that resulted in some new debt for us. I could have spent the emergency fund but I chose to take on the debt, I didn’t want to deplete the reserves so I made a conscious decision.  Six months later and we are paying it down. We have a little ways to go but we are making progress. The goal for the year is to eliminate the downsizing debt. It totals about 10K.  I have really ramped up the saving so far so finding the good balance between saving and paying it down will be challenging. I also am paying off the second child’s braces which was 6k per kid. A lot to manage.

2017 Debt Goal:  eliminate the 10K downsizing debt completely.   – $10,000    

Golf

The previous two years I saw huge gains in confidence and scoring in my golf game.  2014 saw me break into the 70’s for the first time with a 79. It happened again in 2015 with a 77. I was thrilled. My thought was that my game was on the upswing and that better times were on the way. Last year came and I had the job loss, and maybe a little depression as a result. I got out of my gym routine, got heavier and out of shape and my game suffered as a result. My low for the year was an 86. Ouch ! I am determined in 2017 to get back on an upward trend. The 2017 goals for golf are:

  • Scoring:  The goal for the year can only be summed up as 70’s. I need to get back in the 70’s. It ate me up all year and I was pressing. Golf should be enjoyable so even though I am striving to better my score, I also want to enjoy it and get there with a smile. My sights are being set a little higher by doing it twice in 2017.

2017 Goal:    Break into the 70’s again two times !! 

  • Frequency: In order to achieve my goal, I will need to play a bit more. I think I need about 25 rounds for the year which would be up by about 3-5 from my norm.  This is a goal that really excites me. To be able to play a few more times is something that I can really get behind. The weather is a factor here in New England and I have no control over that but it is something to shoot for anyway.

2017 Goal:    play golf 25 times in 2017

Fitness

I wanted to add this goal because of golf and my desire to get better. It is also something I have been trying to get more consistent with over the years. I have been going to the gym on and off for 6 years. I go through periods of boom and bust like everyone else. I do great for a few months, lose weight, build muscle mass, and then get lazy and add it back on. I am not a small guy but also not overly large. I am about 6 feet tall and my weight fluctuates between 210 and 225 for the most part. I do lift weights so I like to think some of it is actual muscles. I still have way too much blubber for my liking.  I am also in my late 40’s so if I don’t get religious about heading to the gym, I put weight on immediately.  It is a vicious cycle.

I have noticed a direct correlation between my golf game and the state of my fitness. This is one of the reasons I am so hot on getting in shape this year. As discussed previously, my game suffered this year and that is not acceptable. I only have so many good golf years left and I want to maximize them to see how low I can really get. Golf will always be fun, but it is so much more enjoyable when you are competing with others and and playing well.

The goal this year is to be a beast on the golf course and to feel great all the time. I want people to say “wow!  you don’t look your age!”. There is no way to gauge that on my part because people are generally polite to your face but I can measure my fitness by how I feel and how my golf game comes along throughout the year. I am really making a push this year to get this back on track. The 2017 goals for fitness are:

Weight: I need to finally get down to 200 lbs. This is a goal I have had before and I made it down to 209 lbs. I was in tremendous shape and felt great. It was 4 years ago and I am determined to get back there. Complicating this is my age and the fact I like to lift weights, which tends to make you weigh more. If I get close to my target and feel as good as I did a few years ago, I will not be disappointed. I want it all this year and I am going to get it.

2017 Goal:      Finally get to 200 lb. , feel great and be in shape. 

Blogging

This is one of the hardest goals for me to formulate. I have been seeing slow steady progress with the blog for the last 6 months. I have grown my twitter followers from 100 in June to almost 900 today. Not stellar but pretty good. Page views are up about 50% for last year. Despite this slow progress, I feel I should be doing better. I have a lot of things I need to fix on the site. It is too busy looking and I do not like the layout any more.  I want a bigger jump in viewership. I want to post regularly (I did manage to do this for stretches in 2016).  All of these things take time however. Complicating this is the job, it is really kicking my ass.  I get home after work and I am spent. I just want to chill and see the family.

So for the coming year, I am going to set the heights lower and see if I can’t continue the slow steady theme from 2016. I have so many things I want to do for the blog but I will choose the low hanging fruit this year. The goals will revolve around viewership, and site redesign to start,  along with a stretch goal or two. There will be a lot of goals but they are all fairly modest accomplishments. Let’s get to it:

  • Viewership: Continue the climb by increasing the viewership at the same rate as last year.

2017 Goal:    Increase viewership by 50%

  • Twitter: I do get a fair amount of traffic from Twitter. Increasing the followers is fairly easy and it will go a long way to helping with the first goal. I should be able to knock this out of the park.

2017 Goal:    Increase Twitter followers by 100%

  • Pinterest: Pinterest is a little vexing to me. I get sporadic views through this medium. I know others who have the most traffic from this site but not me. I am not sure why. I need to figure this one out. This may be tough but I want to build this up.

2017 Goal:    Increase Pinterest viewers by 50%

  • Dashboard: I have been periodically working on a dashboard page for the site containing metrics on all kinds of things related to the site. I kind of lost track of it and never finished it. I am going to do that early this year. I really like seeing data presented this way as it is an easy way to see at a glance the status of milestones and goals.  Originally it was just for financial topics but I am going to expand it to all topics. The goal will be to finish this and get it published to share with the readers.

2017 Goal:   Publish a Dashboard on the site this year

  • Guest Bloggers: I really want to have some quality guest bloggers contribute to the site but so far I have only had 3 people express an interest in doing so.I had 3 guests post in 2016 and I want to get this number up. I added infrastructure to the site to allow for guest posters but it has gone largely unused. This is a big goal for me for 2017. If you are interested please contact me and I am happy to set up an account for you provided your intentions are good (there is a lot of people who just want back-links generated).

2017 Goal:    Get at least 5 new guest Bloggers to Post

  • Site Redesign – As mentioned previously, I really want to redesign the site to be less busy and a little more focused. It may be I write about too many subject or it could just be the style but it needs a better look. I am going to try and do this at some point throughout the year but I am not sure when. Life is so busy and this would be a huge undertaking. I did the last redesign when I was laid off and had nothing but time on my hands.  That is simply not the case any longer. I am thinking I could do it when we go to Cape Cod for a week in the summer. It is a relaxing vacation at the family property and I often just sit on the porch and smoke a cigar for days at a time. This seems like it would be a good time to try and tackle this if I can.

2017 Stretch Goal:    Redesign the site again to be cleaner and less busy

  • New Logo: I desperately need a new logo to go with the site redesign. I didn’t want to spend too much and used Fiver to get the logo done and as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. I am going to actually spend a little and get this done if the site redesign happens. It is a wish list item but well worth it if I actually get the site facelift accomplished.

2017 Stretch Goal – Design a new Logo for the new design

 

 Technical – Programming

The 2017 goals for tech are stretch goals for me. I have been on and off over the last few years with working on home projects. There is a golfing app I have been developing, mostly for myself, but finding time to work on it has been a challenge. I really want it to be done but between my busy job (it is kicking my ass), two teenage girls, and blogging. I just don’t have enough time. My goal is going to be pretty vague for this one. I have to be realistic on this. Am I going to finish it?  Not likely, but I can make some progress on it and maybe hit a milestone in the development. I am not a young guy anymore and my energy level for this stuff is not what it was. It is more of a hobby at this point but you never know. Sometimes when you start a project and it is interesting, it becomes almost an obsession and you find the energy to work on it. Even so, I will be setting the bar low.

  • Golfing app:  This app has a phone and web interface (not developed yet) and a pile of infrastructure. I am still developing the infrastructure piece. A goal for me might be to finish the infrastructure or to develop one aspect of the UI.

2017 Stretch Goal:   Hit a milestone on the app. Finish one aspect of the app.

Travel

This goal is the opposite of what you may think. We have gone on a plane at least once a year for the last 5 years ( twice last year) and spent a ton of money making memories with the kids. We decided we needed to regroup and temper the spending on vacations for a bit. We love to travel but we need a reset for the wallet.  So for this year we are doing less expensive vacations than the usual. We are going to New York for 3 days in April (driving – it is 3 hours away for us), and doing the family property vacations for the rest of the year. We are extremely fortunate to have access to our family properties in the New Hampshire mountains for skiing, and down in Cape Cod to scratch the beach itch. We don’t pay to stay there and although we do spend money when we go it is far less than the plane trips we have been taking. I am really looking forward to the ski and beach trips this year because the pressure is off to save the multiple thousands needed to book the standard vacations.  The 2017 goals for travel this year is to resist the urge to hop on a plane for vacation.

  • Plane Trips: Whatever you do, don’t get on a plane this year. Resist the temptation to take the family on a big vacation for this year.

2017 Goal:    DON’T get on a plane for vacation in 2017

 

 

2017 Goals Conclusion

There it is. I tried not to set the goals overly lofty but that is my personality and I tend to shoot higher by default. I think for he most part, my goals are attainable and I will be psyched to reach most of them. The fitness is one of the most important to me. It affects my golf game, my mood, and my general well being. I plan on crushing this one.

The finance is another one that is high on my list. I am laser focused on building my nest egg and gaining traction on progress towards retirement. It is has been my singular focus for the last 5 years and I have been pleased with the progress so far. This is no time to let up on the gas pedal.

I will post updates periodically throughout the year. I hope you are able to check in and see how I am doing. Thanks for stopping by and stay focused !

-Brian