Dividend and Expense Updates,  Growth and Goals

Time in the market’s Q3 2017 goal review

2017 was a year of firsts for me and that included the first time I set concrete goals that dealt with my portfolio. I’m sure we all have goals in the back of our mind that we strive for but writing them down and actually committing leads to a higher chance of success. I thought it’d be fun if I set tiered goals for myself and therefore decided to mimic the Olympics and gave myself bronze, silver and gold goals to aim for this year.

These goals were designed with the idea that Bronze would be a tiny stretch and everything else would require quite a bit of work to get there.

I wrote the initial post in February and promptly forgot about it but recent months of sub 20% savings rate reminded me of those goals.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons and the changing colors of the trees all around me has me wondering if it’s time for some changes in my life as well. I figured it was a good time to revisit my goals if I can make any adjustments in the last two months of the year that will help me hit those goals.

I’m hoping I can at least get most of the bronzes before the year wraps up and set my sights on something higher for 2018.

There were a bunch of goals in that initial post so let’s go through them one by one and see where I sit in relation to the various medals. The below analysis includes data through September.

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

My portfolio has grown nearly $90,000 this year and that included about $23,000 in contributions. It’s great to see those kind of returns but it looks like I’m slacking a bit when it comes to new contributions. This means I need to hit at least $7,000 in contributions by the end of the year. I think I’m in a good spot to get there as there are a still a few paychecks left(October is not included here) and December is a three paycheck month.

I think I’m on pace to hit Bronze if I buckle down a bit.

Goal Two

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

YTD dividends through September are $5120.74 which means I need to collect nearly 3k in the last three months. That may seem like tough sledding but a good portion of my dividends are paid out in December. Last year’s haul for the last three months of the year was just north of $3,000 and I’m hoping to improve upon that this year.

I’m on pace to hit Bronze here, maybe Silver if we see a big jump in December dividends especially if I can up the contribution game a bit.

Goal Three

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

I did one on George Risk and another one on MSG both of which I purchased. I’ll potentially do a third before the year is over. Now that work is starting to slow down, I was actually thinking of doing a weekly post where I take a quick look at certain companies that interest me on a surface level to see if I want to take a deeper dive.

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

My savings rate has been abysmal lately but I’m still sitting at a 28.1% here despite some lackluster months. I think a lot of that is driven by how strong my February and March were as those were my two highest paying months(bonus and tax refund) and I achieved very high savings rates there.

I think with a bit of work, I can potentially hit Bronze here although it’ll be a stretch.

Goal Five

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

Similar story here as my savings rate sits at 37.5% which means I can potentially hit Bronze if I cut down on the spending in the last three months and save a bit more.

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

I’ve only hit 50%+ in one month(February) and was just 0.9% shy in March so I’m unlikely to hit this goal. It’s possible I will hit 50%+ in December due to the three paychecks but not sure I can hit two months out of the last three.

Goal Seven

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

I have reduced both my Comcast and Verizon bill this year. Verizon simply reduced their prices on the various data plans they had which cut down my cost 20% while increasing my phone data(Yay competition).

Comcast required a phone call and some discussions around cancelling my basic TV cable package. I don’t watch cable TV and only had it because the combined package was cheaper than just internet alone. I was able to get a cheaper price(20% cheaper) and get better internet while still keeping my unused TV channels. I don’t want the TV channels but it was cheaper to keep them than go standalone internet, go figure.

I’ll have to look and see if I can find another bill to slice to hit Gold but I’ve definitely got the Silver already.

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

There were four months where I tossed at least $100-$300 in extra payments on my car loan. It’s a low APR but I’d rather free up the cash flow sooner. I’ve hit Silver already.

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 think I’m slightly under $2000 here which means I’ve failed the goal. The failure comes down partly to the fact that my girlfriend is the cash hoarder in the household and now that we’re engaged, it makes more sense for her to save up the money for the house while I invest more of mine. I’ll still toss some money into the house fund here and there but don’t see this as something I’ll hit this year.

Goal Ten

  • Gold – Write every day

Writing was my main side hustle this year but I burned out and haven’t really written much since April as evidenced by the lack of side hustle updates. Now that it’s getting colder outside, I may pick it up again but this is definitely a failure this year.

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

Another side hustle goal and while I’ve stopped writing, the money from my self-published stories keeps trickling in at a snail’s pace. I’ve earned about $240 this year but that’s before expenses which included 200 stock photos for future covers and some cover expenses. Overall net income right now is $96 and I will definitely beat Bronze this year as I’ve been making about $30/month.

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 spent a week in Nashville this year and also visited Denver which I chronicled right here. I have no plans for any further vacations this year but I’ll take the Silver here.

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

Yikes, I really should have tracked this better. I definitely read a self-help book and a finance book and I’ve definitely read at least 12 books but I’ll have to go back and check  exactly what I’ve read and how many. I definitely have the bronze but it’s unlikely that I’m near the Silver.

Next year, I’ll probably track my reading on Goodreads or a website like that.

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

I definitely need to work more on this as well. I generally get out there at least twice a week but I know there’s been some weeks where work is busy where I just don’t want to do anything after work. I would say this is a failure this year because I know there’s weeks where I haven’t taken at least two long walks.


I’ve failed three goals already. I didn’t write every day, I didn’t take long walks at least two times a day, and I didn’t save at least $5,000 for my home. I’m most disappointed about the walks because health is important to me and that’s something I definitely have to change going forward. I could hit the house fund if I buckled down but have no need to do so as explained above since my fiancee is picking up my slack for when we eventually get a house and my house fund is decent enough already.

That’s not a great start but there are some good results. It looks like I’ve got four silvers already locked down which is great. There’s potential to bring some of those up to Gold as well. They’re not the key ones that this block is about but they’re still important and include visiting two new places, paying extra towards my car payment four times, reducing two bills and doing two deep dives on stocks I bought.

I’m on the cusp of hitting bronze in my side hustle earnings and will definitely hit that before the year is over but have no shot to hit Silver unless I start writing like mad after today. That’s unlikely but I do plan to pick it up again after the busy season at work dies down and that’s a few weeks away.

I’ve definitely read enough books to hit Bronze but likely won’t hit Silver this year.

I’m on pace to hit at least Bronze in dividends and perhaps better. ETF and mutual fund dividends are a bit unpredictable and December could be less than last year as one of my main dividend payers had a small payout in June. Still, I do expect at least some growth in my December results and am hopeful for a Silver here.

The rest of the goals are intertwined and depend on my savings rate for the rest of the year.

The last two months’ savings rate has been abysmal with a 19.8% and 16.0% result respectively.

If I want to have a shot at hitting my investment and savings rate bronze goals then I really need to buckle down and cut my expenses. October is already over so I can’t control what happened this month anymore but I can do something about November and December.

That means that the 30k investment mark, the 30% gross income savings rate and 40% savings rate goals are all within reach if I can really kill it these last two months. I’m certainly not hitting Silver in any of those but bringing all those up to above Bronze would be a nice way to end the year.

That means that I now have a new goal and that’s to do my best in these last two months(hopefully October wasn’t too bad either) to make that happen. That might mean no more extra cay payments for the year but that’s OK with me since I already hit a silver there.

I suppose even the three months above 50%+ savings rate is in reach although I’m not sure I can do that in November which is a two paycheck month.

I’m not too worried about that and I’ll be proud of myself if I can hit the other three mentioned above.

I know that’ll mean some changes for the last two months but I’m excited about giving it a go now that I know it’s within reach.

The one thing that will help is that December is a three paycheck which generally means a really solid savings rate. I might even try to write a little bit now that it’s getting cold outside to try to improve on that side-hustle income. We’ll see how it goes but I’m pretty pumped to see how I can do in November and December.

Thanks for reading and let me know how you’re doing with your goals now that the year is close to being over!


  • Mr. ATM

    Nice detailed goals and l like how you rate them with medal system. Do you use spreadsheet for these goals? Spreadsheets can be very useful in visualizing progress on your goals.

    All the best to you.

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