Time in the market’s 2017 goal review

goal review

The year is over, my 2017 year in review is done so it’s time for my annual goal review.

Last year, when I designed these goals, I thought it’d be nice to tier them and give myself stretch goals. I set up three separate medals for each goal mirroring the Olympics. I made a bronze tier, a silver tier and a gold tier.

It’s good timing that I’m writing this up just as the Olympics are happening.

These goals were created with the idea that bronze is reachable and anything beyond is more of a stretch. It’s just like the Olympics, you need a lot of hard work to get a gold medal! That means if I do well, I can be just like this guy.

gold medal

Imagine that’s me. Ignore the fact that I don’t have any actual medals, have much less talent and am in much worse shape. Beyond that if I get a bunch of golds here, we’re pretty much exactly the same. Also, I can’t swim. Still, almost the same.

In reality I’m not sure I can hit many golds this year. That’s not the point here anyway because golds should be rare if I set the goals correctly.

Reviewing these goals during Q3 showed me that I was a bit behind. That made me realize that I had to put in some extra work to even have a shot at bronze this year in many categories. Q4 was a big one for me as I cut back on spending and boosted my savings rates to make sure I could hit these goals. That’s the benefit of setting goals and keeping regular track of them. The Q3 review made me realize I was behind so I took action.

You might as well call me Action Jackson.

The reality is that I wouldn’t have done anything without the review and it was the goals that pushed me to act. It’s exciting to see that the goals are impacting me which means that there’s value in doing all this!

I set a ton of goals in 2017. Some of them weren’t related to financials which I quickly found was a bad idea due to how difficult it was to track them. That’s why my 2018 goals are solely related to finances and I’ll do separate short term goals for personal things. That’s enough said about the why so let’s get to the actual goal review.

Goal One

  • Bronze – Invest at least $30000 in new capital in 2017
  • Silver – Invest at least $35000 in new capital in 2017
  • Gold – Invest at least $40000 in new capital in 2017

I saved $30,746.94 this year! That means I just pushed into the bronze medal range. That includes maxing out my 401k, HSA and ROTH IRA plus some additional savings in taxable accounts. There’s a reason my portfolio went from 372k to 499k in 2017 and while most of it was the crazy bull market, the contributions certainly helped a lot too! This number doesn’t include my employer contributions.

Result : Bronze

Goal Two

  • Bronze – Collect $8000 in dividends
  • Silver – Collect $8500 in dividends
  • Gold – Collect $9000 in dividends

2017 was a good year for dividends as I collected $8317.30! That’s a new record and not too far away from silver too.

Result : Bronze

Goal Three

  • Bronze – Perform in-depth analysis on and purchase one individual stock 
  • Silver – Perform in-depth analysis on and purchase two individual stocks
  • Gold – Perform in-depth analysis on and purchase three individual stocks

I did two of these this year. One for George Risk and another one for MSG. I purchased both of these stocks. Neither of these stocks has moved much since I bought them so I still think they’re solid values at current prices. I also did some write ups about investing in video games and crypto that could be considered in-depth but I wouldn’t count them here. Still, it’s my first Silver!

Result : Silver

Goal Four

  • Bronze – Gross income savings rate of 30%+ overall
  • Silver – Gross income savings rate of 33%+ overall
  • Gold – Gross income savings rate of 37.5%+ overall

I saved 31.3% of my gross income this year. That’s a good result considering I was at 28.1% after the end of Q3. That means the changes I made after that were key in helping me reach this goal.

Result : Bronze

Goal Five

  • Bronze – Savings rate of 40.0%
  • Silver – Savings rate of 45%
  • Gold – Savings rate of 50%

This one goes hand in hand with the gross saving goal which means I should reach it if I reach the other one. My savings rate for the year was 42.18% which again is a good bump from the 37.5% I had after Q3.

Result : Bronze

Goal Six

  • Bronze – Savings rate of 50%+ in 3 months
  • Silver – Savings rate of 50%+ in 4 months
  • Gold – Savings rate of 50% in 5 months

February at 68.9%, November at 54.6% and December at 51.2%. The bronze medal here is driven by what I did in the last part of the year! March was at 49.1% which means I just missed out on the silver.

Result : Bronze

Goal Seven

  • Bronze – Reduce one bill in 2017
  • Silver – Reduce two bills in 2017
  • Gold – Reduce three bills in 2017

My cell phone bill went from $63.29 to $55.52 after a phone call to Verizon. That’s not a big change but $8/month is nothing to sneeze at and I actually get more data now too!

I also had a call with Comcast that reduced my internet/TV bill to $82.50 from $117.05. Now that’s a big change!

I initially planned to cancel my TV package which I don’t use to reduce my bill. After talking to various people at Comcast, it seems like it’s cheaper to keep TV and internet bundled than just have the internet. That’s dumb but it is what it is and I was glad to get my bill reduced by more than $30. Comcast has a tendency to do price bumps often so I’ll likely have to keep an eye on this and see how long this price lasts but I’ll take the savings when I can get it even if it means I’ll have to call again next year.

Result : Silver

Goal Eight

  • Bronze – Pay more than just my standard car payment in two months
  • Silver – Pay more than just my standard car payment in four months
  • Gold – Pay more than just my standard car payment in six months

I made four extra payments this year totaling an extra $800 towards the car loan. The plan is to try to pay this off entirely in 2018 as I only have about $6500 left which means I can probably get rid of it if I throw an extra $1400 towards the regular payments. That’ll impact my savings rate but the piece of mind of having no car loan will be nice especially if I purchase a house in 2018 and take on additional debt.

Result : Silver

Goal Nine

  • Bronze – Save $5000 towards my house down payment fund
  • Silver – Save $7500 towards my house down payment fund
  • Gold – Save $10000 towards my house down payment fund

I ended up saving $100 in this fund in 2017. The reality is that my house fund is large enough given mine and my fiancee’s cash holdings so I decided to scrap this year early in the year. Those dollars are not included in my portfolio and are kept separate in a bank account since it’s for a purchase within the next few years. I do also have a sizable cash cushion in my portfolio that I can always tap into if I want a bigger down payment.

Result : Failed

Goal Ten

  • Gold – Write every day

I wrote every day for a few weeks into the year then burned out and gave up. I do plan to get back into it this year at a reduced schedule.

Result : Failed

Goal Eleven

  • Bronze – Earn $100 after expenses from my side-hustle/writing
  • Silver – Earn $500 after expenses from my side-hustle/writing
  • Gold – Earn $1000 after expenses from my side-hustle/writing

My self-publishing side hustle income was $363.33 for 2017 which isn’t bad given that I didn’t write much of anything. It was mostly money flowing in from stories I had published years ago. The expenses included getting some stock photos for future covers as well as some covers done for books I haven’t published yet. My net earnings without those costs were $207.33 which is great considering it was all pretty much passive income. The 200 covers I bought on sale will be helpful in the future when I want to get back to this and will limit my future expenses.

Result : Bronze

Goal Twelve

  • Bronze – Visit at least 1 new place outside of my state
  • Silver – Visit at least 2 new places outside of my state
  • Gold – Visit at least 3 new places outside of my state

I went to Nashville in April and then went to Colorado to see the eclipse in August. The eclipse was an amazing experience and I highly recommend going in your lifetime if it’s ever in your area.

Result : Silver

Goal Thirteen

  • Bronze – Read at least 12 books this year including 1 finance and 1 self-help book
  • Silver – Read at least 24 books this year including 2 finance and 2 self-help books
  • Gold – Read at least 36 books this year including 3 finance and 3 self-help books

I honestly have no idea what I read in 2017 since I didn’t track it all that well. That’s the problem with these personal goals and while I’m pretty sure I’m at least a Bronze here, I’ll mark this as a fail since I can’t be sure.

Result : Failed

Goal Fourteen

  • Bronze – Take a long walk at least twice a week
  • Silver – Take a long walk at least three times a week
  • Gold – Take a long walk at least four times a week

One of the reasons I gave up with personal goals is that I suck at tracking them. It’s easy to track savings rate and portfolio performance when you’re running a finance blog but I certainly didn’t track if I walked every day! I probably walked at least twice a week but I’m sure I missed a week here and there.

Result : Failed

Goal Review

Let’s tally everything up.

I had fourteen goals for the year. There’s 6 bronze medals, 4 silver medals and 4 failures. That’s not too bad. I wouldn’t call it a massive success but it does tell me that I did a good job in setting the goals this year because the goal was to get all bronzes. If you consider the failures and silvers as an offset to bronze then that’s exactly what I did.

The failures mainly came from the personal goals some of which proved hard to track. The one financial failure came from the house fund which was a decision I made rather than a failure. The silvers came from some of the non financial goals as well like traveling more, reducing a bill and writing an in-depth stock analysis. Those are great but less important in the grand scheme of things.

It’s the financial goals that really matter and in those I’m right there with the bronze medals. I hit bronze in all the saving rate goals, the dividend goal and new capital invested goal. I’m happy seeing those results in this goal review.

I might not be standing on the podium like Shaun White but I’m not that far away in terms of our successes. That is if you ignore the talent, athletic ability and massive dedication to his sport. I also can’t snow board. Other than that, pretty pretty close.

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15 thoughts on “Time in the market’s 2017 goal review

  1. Nice work Phelps 😉 A handful of medals for the year is pretty damn good. Especially since your goals seem to stretch you and aren’t gimmies. I thought too that you have 14 goals and maybe that’s why it’s hard to stick to personal goals…energy is spread pretty lean? Anyway, hope 2018 is another solid year for you, medals or not!

  2. To even make the team is better than most. To medal in multiple events is stellar. To recognize there is room to improve is priceless. A Fitbit (or alternative) might have helped with one medal!

    1. I might look into one of those – perhaps an apple watch is in my future once the battery life improves a bit more.

  3. It looks like a successful year to me, Time! The awesome thing about setting goals is that even a failure is somewhat of a success. At least you’re still closer to what you are ultimately trying to accomplish. Your savings amount, savings rate, and dividend income are especially impressive. Keep it up!

  4. That’s a monster set of goals, and quite the list of accomplishments…. Congrats! The goals were a nice mix of income boosting, saving, investing, expense reduction, debt reduction & personal improvement. I, too, enjoyed the Olympic theme. Take care, TITM.

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