Growth and Goals

The 2018 Annual Goal Review!

It’s time for the annual goal review! I set these bad boys at the end of 2017 and am ready to see how I did. You’ll notice I didn’t set my 2019 goals yet and there’s a reason for that. I wanted to see 2018 results to see what kind of goals make sense for next year.

Related : My 2018 Annual Goals

If you haven’t read my goals before know that I do them Olympics style. That means there’s a gold, silver and bronze level for each. The idea is for bronze to be a reasonable goal and for it to get harder from there. If I do these right then gold should only be doable if I really stretch for it.

I made goals in four different areas; portfolio, savings rate, expenses and income. Each area has 1-3 goals for a total of 9.

This was an interesting year on the expense front, an area that drives many of the goals. I got married and went on a nice honeymoon. Those expensive would sink me any other year but I was lucky to get a higher paying job in 2018 so it’ll be interesting to see everything rolled up.

My Q3 review looked good in areas like dividends but bad on the savings rate front so let’s see if made up the shortfalls in the last quarter.

Related : Q3 Goal Review

I’ll keep it simple and follow the same format I used during my Q3 review listing the targets for each goal in the bronze/silver/gold order.

2018 Annual Goal Review

Goal One – Invest at least 31k/36k/41k in new capital in 2018

I was tracking well on this until the 3rd quarter when my wedding and honeymoon expenses hit. That stopped my savings dead with two negative savings rate months. However, I think I did a pretty good job recovering as evidenced by the graph below.

annual goal review

That recovery allowed me to just graze past the bronze level here with savings just north of 31k. It’s bronze but it is a record year when it comes to actual invested capital. That’s something to celebrate!

It’s clear that the impact of the slightly negative August and hugely negative September was large. However, I followed that up with three 50%+ months.

That included November where I was in Hawaii for two weeks. It did help that it was a three paycheck month and a lot of excursions were pre-paid.

Overall, not a bad year considering my expenses. I’m so fortunate to save this much money in a year where I get married. It does help that we didn’t go crazy on the wedding and saved on some other areas.

Result : Bronze

Goal Two – Collect 9.25k/9.75k/10.25k in dividends in 2018

I killed this goal. Honestly, I didn’t expect such dividend growth this year as evidenced by how easily I eclipsed my goals.

My latest dividend update showed a total of $10,702.03 for the year, well above the gold target. That’s a y/y growth of 28.67% and big growth across all quarters as seen below.

annual goal review

Steve, my dividend employee certainly had a good year.

Related : My Dividend Employee Steve

I think I’ll have to assume a larger growth rate next year because I smashed this one without trouble.

Result : Gold

Goal Three – Gross income savings rate of 30.5%/33.5%/38%+ overall

I was way behind on this after Q3 due to my negative months. Did those solid Q4 numbers do enough to bring us above the bronze target here?

annual goal review

I finished with a 30.3% gross income savings rate. That number jumps to 35.22% if I include employer contributions.

That means this is a fail although I was VERY close.

What drove the failure? My entertainment expenses rose 577% this year due to my wedding!

It was totally worth it but the impact is clear. My entertainment expenses made up 3.7% on my overall expenses last year. In 2018, they made up 21.9% of my overall expenses!

The wedding shifted both savings rates more than 10% and that’s pretty impressive. However, it’s a one time expense and a set of beautiful memories we’ll have forever.

Result : Failed

Goal Four – Savings rate of 40.5%/45.5%/50.5%+ overall

It’s a similar story here on the savings rate front since they often go hand in hand.

annual goal review

My savings rate was 39.8% for the year. That’s just shy of the bronze medal! Adding employer contributions brings that number to 46.18%.

It’s not a medal but it’s pretty damn good considering the big life events and expenses that come with them.

To illustrate the impact of the wedding, removing those expenses takes my savings rate to 51.7% for the year. That’s just removing the wedding and leaving the honeymoon. That’s a big swing guys! I’ll reiterate that the expense was totally worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat but it does show how much those things can cost.

In fact, I might actually do a post on the overall cost of my wedding and lay out all the expenses. I think that’d be fun.

On the positive end of the expense side and spoilers for a later goal, I did get rid of my car loan near the end of the year. That’s part of what made Q4 so successful.

The take away from this is I can potentially increase my savings rate quite a bit next year. It’s not like I’ll get married again!

There is the potential home purchase that might be a negative but that’s far from certain. We’ve been looking for two years but maybe this will be the year!

Result : Failed

Goal Five – Savings rate of 50%+ in 3/4/5 months

I saved 50% or more in 6 months this year! I knew I had to save a lot in the off months in order for this year to not be a total disaster and that worked pretty well. The negative months were off set pretty well by these six 50%+ months.

Result : Gold

Goal Six – Reduce 1/2/3 bills in 2018

I reduced one bill this year. I changed my apple music subscription from monthly to annual saving myself $20.

Related : How to Save Money on Apple Music

This was a fail on my part since I saw that my Comcast subscription went up but I didn’t call to haggle. I hate those calls so I avoid them. However, it’s totally worth the hassle and I do have to get around to it.

I’ll take the bronze but need to do better next year.

Result : Bronze

Goal Seven – Pay more than just my standard payment on my car loan in 2/4 months OR for gold, pay off my car loan

This is a gold. I made my final payment in October and no longer have a car loan.

It was a 2% loan but I just wanted to be debt free so I accelerated my payments a bit this year. Actually, now that I think about it, that probably caused me to miss my savings rate for the year given that I was so close.

At least it was a negative year for the market so it worked out!

It’ll be nice to go into 2019 without debt especially if we decide to buy a home. My wife still has a car loan but it’s 0% interest so there’s no real reason to rush any payments there.

Result : Gold

Goal Eight – Reduce my restaurant expenses by more than 0%/10%/20%

This one looked good after Q3 but I definitely indulged in some delicious food on my Hawaii honeymoon.

My honeymoon month, November made up 38% of my restaurant spend for the year! Totally worth it though, Hawaiian food was awesome!

What’s the result? Despite November, my restaurant expenses were down 5.6% for the year so good enough for a bronze.

Result : Bronze

Goal Nine – Increase my income by 3%/6%/10%

I got a promotion to a management gig towards the latter part of the year.

My forward income went up by more than 10% which is nice. However, this goal was about income during the year which went up 7.6%!

I talked about using my side hustle to earn more income if I didn’t get a big raise but that didn’t really happen. My blog still hasn’t turned a profit, nor did I start a second blog like I said I would. That second blog idea was silly anyway and I just plan to write whatever nonsense I wanted to write there here.

My old self-published income is still a steady $20 per month so that’s nice and I did recently start to dabble in stock photography and streaming to see how that does but none of those are material yet.

Overall, I’m happy with the income bump I had this year. It’ll definitely help me save more going forward and made it easier to stomach the large expenses this year.

Result : Silver


It was a great year in my personal life and I didn’t do too bad on the financial front either.

The final tally is 3 golds, 1 silver, 3 bronzes and two fails. If I were to give a 3/2/1/0 score for gold/silver/bronze/fail, I’d average a 1.5 for the year. That’s right between bronze and silver which is where I should be during a year like this.

I got married and went on a honeymoon but I also got a promotion. It’s an expensive year but one where I increased my income so things somewhat even out.

Despite those expenses, 2018 was a record setting year in terms of how much I actually saved and my dividend totals.

There’s a few lesson from these goals that I plan to take away when I’m setting my 2019 goals in a few weeks. The obvious one is that my dividend growth is really picking up steam and I need to account for that. Another is that my income will likely grow well into 2019 as well as I realize my new salary for the full year.

There’s also opportunities here. My savings rate was solid despite an expensive wedding and honeymoon. Those expenses and my car loan won’t be there next year. That means I can improve my savings rate substantially in 2019. However, I still have to keep in mind the potential for a home purchase which will be a big expense. We have a down payment saved up but I’m sure many new expenses will arise with a new home that I have to account for when setting my goals.

On top of that, my insurance costs are going up quite a bit in 2019 as well. My wife’s company has switched to sub par insurance forcing her onto my plan. The bad news with that is that my company’s spousal contributions are terrible. The second part of bad news is that we have a 10k+ family out of pocket max if things go awry with our health. The one piece good news is that she’s now on an HSA plan with me so I can contribute quite a bit more in that tax-advantaged space!

There’s some potential negatives but the opportunity is there to push myself forward in more ways than one and I plan to take advantage of that. Whether it be income, dividends or savings rate, I plan for 2019 to be a record setting year just like 2018 was and I know my goals will help me get there.

Thanks for reading and let me know how your 2018 goals went or if you plan to set ones for 2019.


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