Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2015 Financial Goals

As great as 2014 was for me personally, professionally, and financially, I'm happy to turn the calendar to 2015. After tracking six financial goals in 2014, I'm going to simplify in 2015 by only tracking four goals. 

Increase Expected Forward Dividend Income by $1,800/yr 
This is definitely a stretch goal, but one I think is possible with some discipline. My plan is to invest a certain amount per month, and make one special contribution based on my work bonus. Additionally, the dividend growth I have from my current portfolio will help in achieving this important, but realistic objective. Lastly, I'm hoping the Canadian market continues in a bearish mode as there are some nice opportunities developing in the energy and banking sectors. I look forward to adding to my positions in solid companies that reward their shareholders with regular dividend increases...hopefully at lower prices than in 2014.

Complete the Transformation of my RRSP by Year End
Mid last year, I decided to use my RRSP to increase my holdings of US and foreign companies in order to benefit from favorable tax treatment of international dividends and to increase my portfolio diversification. The plan is also to hold Canadian REITs in my RRSP, as their distributions are taxed at a higher rate than dividends in my taxable account. I started a very long process of cleaning up my various holdings, knowing it would take me at least a year, possibly 18 months in order to get my portfolio in tax efficient, well diversified shape. I made a lot of progress in the transformation in the second half of 2014, but there's still much ground to cover in 2015. The rise of the US dollar against the Canadian dollar is making this objective even more challenging as I look to buy attractive US stocks where a 25% exchange premium won't completely negate my returns if the Canadian dollar appreciates again (which I do feel it will in the long-term). My current estimate is that the transformation in my RRSP will be complete around September 2015.

Give Twice as Much to Worthy Causes as in 2014
Last year, I tied the amount I gave to charity to half of my short-term trading gains. Although last year's plan provided me with motivation to complete profitable short-term trades, I realized that my contributions to charities shouldn't be tied to the luck I have with my investments and the direction of the market. If I have a rough year on the market, I should still give money to worthy causes that are important to me. I'm very lucky in life that I have an incredible wife, amazing son, loving family, fantastic friends, a fulfilling job, and so many other blessings. After reading Tony Robbins' "Money: Master the Game", I decided to double the amount I gave last year. The plan is to give a certain amount per month in order to ensure that I don't lose sight of the importance of giving to the less fortunate.

There are a couple non-financial goals I'll be working toward in 2015 (keeping my weight under 165 lbs at the end of each month and averaging a blog post each week) that I'll report on here as well. This is gearing up to be a great year, and here's wishing everyone the best of luck with accomplishing everything they set out to do in 2015!

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