2020 Sucked
Growth and Goals

2020 Sucked – Financial and Personal Goal Review

2020 Sucked But Let’s Review Goals Anyway

2020 sucked and it’s time to leave it behind. However, before I do, I thought I should revisit the goals I set in 2020. After all, what’s the point of setting goals if I don’t look and see how I failed most of them?

Remember the first part of 2020? When we had hopes and dreams of a good year and meeting our goals and ambitions and most of all doing stuff.

Well, then February and March came along and slapped us right in the face.

Sure, some good things happened for some during the year. For us, we bought a house, for example, but all in all, 2020 sucked and it’s a year most will not think of fondly when they look back on their lives.

Many lost jobs, health was imperiled, the incompetence of various parties, lack of empathy and disregard of many was brought to light. All all in all, it was a highly depressing and bad year to be a human being.

On top of that, I developed some super crappy health issues near the end to top it all off.

If I had to rate 2020, I’d rate it suck/10. 2020 sucked, that’s all there is to it and now we can look at 2021 with hope and dreams of a better year. It sure has started off sucky but hopefully we can go up from here!

To keep it simple and quick(because who wants to dwell on 2020 too long), I combined both personal and financial goals in this review.

I’ve already set my personal goals for 2021 but will use the results here to set the financial goals sometime this month.

Let’s start with my financial goals.

2020 Financial Goal Review

If you didn’t check out my financial goals last year, know that I set bronze, silver and gold goals. It’s like the Olympics of goals and it’s awesome. Bronze is meant to be achievable if I put in some effort, silver requires some decent leg work and changes to my life and gold is a real big deal.

Let’s get started!

Goal One – Invest more capital

  • Bronze – Invest more capital than in 2019
  • Silver – Invest 7.5% more capital than in 2019
  • Gold – Invest 15% more capital than in 2019


I actually saved about 15% less money in 2020 due to various things but mostly things related to expenses. After all, we bought a house and I had some health expenses that I talked about in my last expense review.

Certainly off to a good start here! Still, the fact that I was able to save money in a year like this is something to be thankful for!

Goal Two – Collect more dividends

  • Bronze – Collect $15,000 in dividends
  • Silver – Collect $16,000 in dividends
  • Gold – Collect $17,000 in dividends


I collected $12.9k in dividends in 2019 which was a ~21% growth rate over 2018. $15,000 was my “easy” goal which meant a 15.9% growth rate over the year before. Then 2020 came along and dividend cuts and falling yields made that a tough ask.

I also changed my strategy a bit during the March drop and invested into more growth names. That paid off handsomely in terms of returns but did impact dividends a bit.

Still, the results weren’t too bad given the circumstances. I collected $13,930.48 in dividends or a growth rate of 7.59% year over year.

2020 sucked

It’s a failure but the trend of growth continued and really speaks to the power of compounded growth and continued investing.

Dividend growth was certainly muted this year and I’m very lucky to be able to grow this at all. I think most of it just came from putting more money into the market.

Goal Three – Achieve a certain gross income savings rate

  • Bronze – Gross income savings rate of 33%
  • Silver – Gross income savings rate of 39%
  • Gold – Gross income savings rate of 45%


I actually saved 35.5% of my gross income this year. That’s pretty good and I always liked that as a target since it follows that old adage of 1/3rd of your money goes to taxes, 1/3rd goes to savings and 1/3rd goes to expenses.

In this case 35.5% went to savings, 34.9% went to expenses and the rest went to taxes and benefits.

This is still down from a crazy 42.8% in 2019. It’s nice when a year doesn’t have many expenses and we keep it frugal like we did in 2019.

Goal Four – Achieve a certain savings rate

  • Bronze – Savings rate of 43%
  • Silver – Savings rate of 51%
  • Gold – Savings rate of 58%


I hit a 47.7% savings rate here which is just shy of 50%. That’s a shame but I was well on pace for 50% before my -38% month in December which took it down quite a ways. That’s what happens when you buy a house and have to meet your health insurance deductible.

That’s off from last year’s 56.5%. That was a crazy savings year for me.

Where did my money go? Well you can see that below.

Rent was #1 then health expenses(health deductibles + health insurances). Groceries were next followed by home bills and my car(new tires and tune-ups). Then I spent some money on gifts, some tax bills beyond federal taxes and my pets.

You can see that lifestyle stuff was pretty light as entertainment, restaurants, gas and travel were quite low.

We had a family trip to Spain scheduled in May but you know how that goes. 2020 sucked.

Overall, this was a continued trend of relative frugality. I didn’t spend much on things or travel or anything and we stayed home most of the time. That’s really not too much different from our regular lives besides a trip or two a year. We tend to be homebodies and don’t get a lot of value from spending money.

However, now that we have a home, we have more space to furnish which impacted some of 2020 but will also impact 2021 as we slowly get stuff.

Goal Five – Achieve a savings rate of 50%+ in X months

  • Bronze – Savings rate of 50%+ in 6 months
  • Silver – Savings rate of 50%+ in 9 months
  • Gold – Savings rate of 50%+ in 12 months


At least, I’m consistent with these savings rate months. I hit 50% or more 7 times in 2020. Three paycheck months help in that regard as did the month with the stimulus check plus the month where I got a bonus.

You can see the trend below including the big December dip into the negatives for the month.

2020 sucked

Goal Six – Reduce monthly bills

  • Bronze – Reduce one bill in 2020
  • Silver – Reduce two bills in 2020
  • Gold – Reduce three bills in 2020


I called Comcast in January and threatened to cancel my TV and somehow since internet/TV bundled is cheaper, they were able to offer me a reduction in my payments for another year.

I think those prices have gone up again this year so I’ll have to call again. That’s on top of them adding data caps to my plan. It’s a pandemic so Comcast raises prices and caps my data. Super cool!

Goal Seven – Reduce utility and internet/phone costs

  • Bronze – Reduce utility and internet/phone costs
  • Silver – Reduce utility and internet/phone costs by 15%
  • Gold – Reduce utility and internet/phone costs by 30%


My bills in those two categories actually went up 36%. It’s not a fair comparison though cause I had to pre-pay some oil and propane bills that will likely last me a bit of time.

I was definitely on pace to do OK here but who knew we’d buy a house!

I think this will also trend up in 2021 since we’re now heating and cooling a home twice the size than our apartment.

Goal Eight – Cover discretionary expenses with side hustles

  • Bronze – Cover one of my expensive discretionary expenses with a side hustle
  • Silver – Cover two of my expensive discretionary expenses with a side hustle
  • Gold – Cover three of my expensive discretionary expenses with a side hustle


I didn’t really have a lot of discretionary expenses so it’s hard to gauge this one. However, I also didn’t really have a lot of income from my side hustles unless you count this blog which wasn’t the idea behind this goal.

I did make some beer money on the side from various spots but none with the design to cover off a certain expense so I’d wager this one as a fail. If I set a similar goal next year, I think I’ll be more specific with it.

Goal Nine – Increase income

  • Bronze – Increase income(2020 vs. 2019) by 2%
  • Silver – Increase income by 5%
  • Gold – Increase income by 10%


My income went up just north of 2% which is mainly driven by a slightly bigger bonus during the first part of the year. I’m not going to complain about my income going up during a year like this one.

I’d actually expect it go down this year based on that(since my bonus was pre-pandemic) but who knows. I’m certainly not expecting much of a raise in 2021 but I still have my job so that’s a fortunate thing.

Goal Ten – Make a profit and donate to charity

  • Bronze – Make a profit on the blog and donate it to a charity
  • Silver – Make $100 in profit on the blog and donate it to charity
  • Gold – Make $200 in profit on the blog and donate it to charity


I still haven’t done the final data crunching on the blog income but I’ve already donated $100 to charity and will donate more if it comes up a bit higher. I think based on a high level view, that’s just about right though. This blog isn’t a big money maker since I don’t have a ton of ads on it and don’t really do any sponsored posts at this moment.

Right now, it’s basically covering costs with some profits depending on how often affiliate links get used. I do think traffic is ticking up a bit so hopefully next year I’ll be able to donate a bit more to charity. This isn’t a profit venture for me and I’ll likely donate all the money I make above cost to charity for the next few years.

It’s nice to be able to use a hobby to do that and help others in some way.

Overall Financial Goal Review


Did the results suck too? Well, the final tally on my financial goals is 1 silver, 5 bronze, 4 fails. That’s not great but not too awful for a sucky year like this one.

I wasn’t going into this review expecting a ton of golds and if I did have a ton of golds, it’d mean I set my goals really poorly as golds should be hard to hit.

Overall, I’m sitting at a 60% success rate which ain’t too terrible. I don’t go by the American grading system where that’s basically an F because 6/10 goals met is still pretty damn good when you consider the circumstances of this year.

When I set goals, I basically try to aim for all bronzes when I can so that obviously wasn’t a success but there were mitigating circumstances that made that a bit harder this year. Overall, I’m pretty content with where this ended up.

Let’s take a look at my personal goals now.

2020 Personal Goal Review

These goals don’t have the same bronze/silver/goal setup as the financial goals and they’re more simple and direct.

I already set my personal goals for 2021 since these are less dependent on actual 2020 results. If you read that post, you have a decent idea of what these goals are like. They’re supposed to be attainable, reasonable and most of all trackable.

Goal One – Row 5000m in One Sitting


I went into 2020 with some ambitious goals and this one might have been the most ambitious. I’m not in great shape and have some health issues that make certain things difficult to do but I was rowing maybe 500-1000m at this point and really thought I could step that up.

I started off a bit strong with some decent rowing months but then the pandemic hit and things started to slow down.

You might think that being stuck inside would mean I’d do more workouts at home but really that never materialized.

It didn’t help that our small apartment meant we had to set up and put away the rowing machine each time we wanted to row and that made it a bit less accessible and annoying.

I know, I know, excuses all around but in the end, I barely rowed through the year and while I picked it up and started here and there, it was never a consistent thing so I never got close to this.

Goal Two – Double My Steps in 2020


This one was made harder due to the pandemic as getting out and about was a problem at times.

I started off strong during winter but faded when we were locked in and never really caught up.

You can clearly see the strong start then a big dip during the pandemic months, a strong resurgence when it got a bit warmer and another dip near the end when the pandemic ticked up in my state again.

Overall, while this was a failure, I did increase my steps quite a bit and plan to continue that going into 2021. That’s what goals are about, incremental if not huge growth year over year.

Clearly doubling the steps wasn’t overly realistic but I did see a pretty big increase in steps year over year and that’s not bad.

It also helps that we have a house on a private road now and it’s just much easier and more fun to go for a walk than it was to walk in our apartment parking lot.

Goal Three – Learn to Meditate and Meditate


So I got a few books, read them, gave it a go and decided meditation isn’t really for me. However, it’s possible I may give it another try this year as a pain app I got this year uses it as one of four elements of the process they use.

We’ll see. I have a hard time focusing and letting things out and actually got more anxious when I was meditating. Perhaps, that was only an initial ramp up phase and I can get past it but it’s hard to tell.

It did help with my reading goals though so that’s nice.

Goal Four – Visit Two New Places in 2020


Well, the plan was to hit up Spain in May but that was killed by EVENTS. After that, we had a trip planned to San Francisco in October for a friend’s wedding.

That was killed by EVENTS as well.

Did I say 2020 sucked yet? It’s a real bummer cause that Spain trip was going to be awesome and included a planned visit to some Michelin starred restaurants.

Instead I did this.

2020 sucked

Naturally, this was a fail since one shouldn’t be traveling when there’s a pandemic out and about. It did save us some money and we ended up just watching a bunch of TV and staying in more often.

I did visit and now live in a new house, does that count?

Goal Five – Pick Up a New Hobby or Skill


I sorta got into stock photography this year. The skill part of it is learning what type of photos are actually worth uploading and also learning how to upload them and keyword them properly.

Well, I mean I got into it in the sense that I posted some old photos on websites like Pond5, Dreamstime and Shutterstock. It does seem like the stock photography game was great years ago and has gone to crap since then but I thought it’d be fun to post some old photos and see if they sell.

It’s honestly kind of a pain in the ass to upload and keyword all these photos although some software makes it a lot easier. Still, I did end up selling a few photos and had fun with it.

Here’s my best selling photo. GORGEOUS!

I took most of these photos on my iPhone SE so they’re not great but I did get about $6 worth of sales so far. HUGE! Is it time to retire and become a pro photographer yet?

Since we weren’t going out much, there wasn’t much to take photos of this year but hopefully that can change in 2021. On top of that, while older phones can take OK pictures, you really want something better(DSLR is ideal) to take photos for stock photography.

I do plan to get a new phone and get back at it in 2021 and see if I can take that $6 to something really huge(like $12). Maybe one of my goals will be to pay for my new phone or a new camera with stock photography. Doesn’t sound too easy though given how much you earn for each photo sale(dozens of cents!)

Goal Six – Volunteer Three Times


My wife joined a bunny rescue this year and volunteers there weekly at this point. Even during a pandemic, the bunnies need help!

It’s a cool place and we actually plan to adopt a bunny from there in the near future, our second bunny after bun bun who’s the favicon for this website.

I went three times and plan to go there more often in the coming year.

We’re also thinking of ways to raise more money for the bunnies as well.

Goal Seven – Read Twenty-Five Books in 2020


I read 28 books in 2020, a decent beat over my goal.

The best book was probably Guards! Guards by Terry Pratchett. One of the best Discworld books so far as I make my way slowly through that series. Ninth House was a fun book as well as well the various Brandon Sanderson and Haruki Murakami books I read through the year.

Besides meditation books, I didn’t read much non-fiction this year.

The worst book was probably All the Birds in the Sky.

You can read all these books for free by using Libby!

Goal Eight – Try Three New Recipes


Honestly, while we did a lot more eating at home this year, I didn’t try a ton of new stuff but three new recipes were probably done throughout the year.

Hell, we made like 3 new things for our new years party including some keto stuff that I could eat like cheese taco cups and avocado chips.

Still, there’s plenty of time to try new stuff in 2021 especially now that we have a bigger kitchen.

A big kitchen makes such a big difference and makes cooking in general so much easier because it allows you so much freedom to stack stuff around. The kitchen we had in our apartment wasn’t tiny but it was tight while this one just has so much space.

It’s pretty awesome. I’ll definitely be cooking at home a lot more this year(not that I have much of a choice).

Goal Nine – Treat Myself Three Times


This is a fail I guess because I didn’t really get anything I didn’t need this year.

The spirit of this goal is to get something I want but don’t really need. In the goal last year, I mentioned a dinner at a Michelin starred restaurant in Spain(didn’t go) and a new phone to take photos(didn’t get).

I did get a bunch of stuff like a house but I don’t know if that was treating myself. After all, it’s more of a need as well since we have to live somewhere and it just replaces our apartment expenses while building equity. The payment minus equity is less than our rent was.

I think I need to do a better job of just spending money on a few dumb things in 2021. I do think I want to get that new phone since mine is slowly starting to die and Apple will finally stop supporting the iOS updates on it this year. Plus, I want one of those new fangled cameras these new phones all have that pop off high quality photos as photography is something I want to get more into going forward.

I don’t think I’ll start with a DSLR yet because I can see myself just not taking that everywhere while my phone is with me always. If I find that I LOVE taking photos with my new phone, maybe I’ll upgrade to a DSLR later in the year.

Goal Ten – Write 40 Blog Posts in 2020


I have 39 posts published in 2020.

I know what you’re saying, so close, just one more BUT I know that a few of those posts were just old updated posts that I republished so those don’t really count.

Overall, the goal was to write more in 2020 but that didn’t really materialize. Setting a goal to write less than one post a week wasn’t too hard but I had times where I didn’t get a ton of writing done in certain months.

Still, the blog didn’t die and I kept writing and while I could have done more, I’m not going to look back and be upset about my laziness. I can only look forward and try writing more. That’s one of the goals this year again and I think the failure here will just help motivate me for 2021.

Hell, this is already post for this year which ain’t bad at all. Here’s to a year of more writing!

Overall Personal Goal Review

Well, this doesn’t’ seem like an amazing result since I’m sitting on 6 failures and 4 passes. However, it was a pandemic year.

Even if it wasn’t, I don’t see this as a bad result. After all, and I’ve talked about this in my setting goals posts the year before and I still think that even if I do well on one goal, I’ll consider it a success.

That’s because it sticking to goals and succeeding starts to reinforce a better mindset and better yet, it adds new items to your life repertoire. Even if you just try something once and don’t care for it, it was still an interesting attempt. However, sometimes you’ll do something and stick with it and that rocks. In this instance, I read more, picked up a small new hobby, did some more cooking and more importantly started to volunteer. That last one is something I found a lot of value in and will continue to do more in 2021.

In essence, that’s the point of goals, to try to add some new things to your life, some of which may stick, most of which may not. Like this year, I didn’t get into meditation but I tried it and saw what it was about. On the opposite end, I did get into volunteering and will do more of that next year.

Overall, that’s a success in my mind and I hope my 2021 goals continued to drive that sort of growth.

Goal Review – 2020 Sucked But I Met Some Goals Anyway

In the end, that’s the headline of 2020. 2020 sucked but some of my goals were a success.

On the personal end, I failed 6 goals but had 4 successes and added some new things to my life that will serve me well in 2021. It never hurts to read more or try new stuff after all.

On the financial side, I kept my job and continued to save which was a huge success in this year. On the medal end, I hit 1 silver, 5 bronzes and 4 fails. That’s not too terrible for a year like this one. After all, just being lucky enough to keep my job allowed me to continue on this path despite all the bad things going on around the world.

Overall, this year made me realize how life can change at the drop of a hat. That’s based on what’s going on in the world around me but also in my personal life with my health. You can go to sleep one day and wake up the next with your whole world in disarray. I’m sure many people experienced this in 2020 and can attest that 2020 sucked for many.

However, despite all the changes, goals like this helped me stay a bit more grounded and realize that certain things don’t matter. I’m not too upset about the number of failures and know I need to celebrate the number of successes because this was a tough year so any successes need to be embraced.

On top of that, this year made me realize why saving money is so important and got me more driven to be laser focused on my financial goals and achievements. Having money gives you flexibility but it also allows you to help others and that’s so important.

On the personal side, it made me realize that I need to focus on the things that bring me joy(like my wife and dog and good health) and try to not stress about the things that don’t(like my job and often my health). That’s easier said than done but it’s something to continue working on every year. Maybe that’s what’ll bring meditation back into my life. It was a fail this year but maybe in the long run it’ll work out.

Overall, 2020 sucked but I have hope that 2021 will be better so here’s to a whole new set of goals and growth in the new year for everyone!

Here’s hoping 2020 wasn’t terrible for you and best wishes for a better 2021.

One Comment

  • PracticalFIRECanada

    My first thought was “Holy cow, you have a lot of goals!” :-). Your attention to your own progress is inspiring. Kudos to you.

    Don’t forget; you have a home, a wife and a dog. You’re still employed. There’s food on the table. You’re good. Tough year all around, but you’re good. (Actually, you’re kind of crushing it)

    One more thing, feeling anxious while meditating is very normal. There is no preset outcome. If you feel anxious meditating, you were very likely anxious before you meditated; you just didn’t realize it.


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