Friday, July 8, 2016

2016 Goals at Mid Year

A goal without a plan is just a wish"
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery

After achieving all of my goals in 2015, I set some very ambitious objectives for 2016. Since I am on a quest to be financially independent and improve the quality of my life, my three categories of goals correspond to those over-riding themes: passive income, expenses and personal improvement. Keeping in mind the above quote, included below each goal are some bullet points forming a plan to achieve the target. My progress toward the large goals and plans are covered in italics below.

Increase Passive Income by 25% (up 4.7% at June 30th*)
- Make regular contributions to my investment accounts representing approximately 50% of my take-home pay. On track
- Maximize my investments in tax preferred accounts (i.e. RRSP, TFSA, RESP). Completed!
- Achieve a weighted average dividend growth for my total portfolio of 5%. Dollar weighted average dividend growth rate of 2.7% at mid-year.**
- Avoid dividend cuts. No dividends cut at mid-year!
- Do NOT add to any holdings that have not raised their dividend in the past 12-months. On track
- Add an additional source of passive income beyond dividend stocks. Ignoring this goal due to tax reasons
- Limit short-term trades to a maximum of one per month. Six short-term trades at mid-year -> On track

* The main reason I am not on track for increasing passive income is that I have been very slow to deploy capital. The cash portion of my investment portfolio is currently 210% higher than it was at year end 2015. There are very few stocks that I am interested in at their current prices.
** After some experimenting, I am now able to calculate total return for my portfolio, which was 22.8% in the first half of 2016. I plan on reporting this figure as a key performance metric during future goal updates. 

Understand Where My Money is Being Spent
- Track large variable expenses such as costs associated with my car, gifts, work, taxes, sports, cottage, and anything appearing on my personal credit card. Regularly update my spreadsheet -> On track
- Save at least $1000 this year on variable expenses. Saved on bank fees, haircuts, tire changes, and short-term trading costs -> Still a bit behind on $1000 per year target
- Continue to make investments that decrease expenses over time (i.e. tools for changing the tires of our cars, hair cutting equipment, etc.). Hair clipper and belt sander -> On track
- In-line with the above goal, get the roof of my cottage repaired. Behind on this, have to make a call

Personal Improvement* 
- Visit a dentist, optometrist, and doctor this year; although this might seem like a very basic goal, it has been 10+ years, 2 years, and 5+ years respectively since I have visited these professionals.  Zero for three so far :(
- Write at least 52 blog entries this year while focusing on quality (i.e. no filler entries). 28 entries at mid-year -> On track
- Complete at least five workouts every week. Have not done this consistently
- Run a 5km, 10km, and half-marathon in 2016. Zero for three so far
- Take my wife on at least one weekend getaway. Completed!
- Be mentally present and focused when spending time with my son. Doing better at this goal
- Continue money/personal improvement experiments (i.e. developing a new skill in 20 hours). Only two ongoing experiments to date (brighten someone's day for $20 or less and aim for 10,000 steps a day). 
- Identify three areas/jobs at my company that interest me and talk to employees in these areas. Have interviewed in two different areas of my company during the first half of 2016 -> On track
- Complete at least one personal development course relating to my profession. Must look into this soon
- Make meaningful donations of time, money, and stock to causes that I feel passionate about. Have donated money to a couple of my favorite causes, but have to look into donating stock and time. 

* Out of my three major goals, I have made the least progress in this area. I am likely focusing too much on the financial goals, and not enough on improving the quality of my life. I must turn this around in the second half of the year. 

Although I am not doing as well in any of the major areas as I would like, I have made some decent progress on certain initiatives. I was pretty happy when I saw my dollar weighted dividend growth rate of 2.7% today given a couple of my largest holdings have yet to announce any dividend raises in 2016 (i.e. Alaris, Enbridge, Enbridge Income, etc.). Additionally, I feel quite proud of some of my accomplishments such as maximizing contributions to tax preferred accounts, tracking material expenses, and taking my wife on a weekend getaway. My two biggest areas of focuses during the second half of 2016 will be looking for opportunities to deploy capital and focusing on personal improvement.

How are you tracking against your 2016 objectives?

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