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Our 2018 Goals: Looking Ahead

In our last post we reviewed our 2017 results. Today we’ll explore 2018’s goals.

Subtle Tweaks in 2018, Measure but Stay the Course

If you recall from last year’s New Years Resolution post, I don’t really believe in only setting goals on a yearly basis. However, if you also recall I do view any excuse as a good one to evaluate where we are. I also happen to view a year as a good standard unit of measure for several metrics. Therefore I do review my metrics at the turn of the year. However, as this point is just a measurement stop my metrics and strategy do not tend to change significantly with a new year. As such many of my metrics are subtle tweaks of 2017 goals, not significantly new targets.

Income Will Still Involve Some Unpredictable Self Employment

And on that topic I have confirmed my wife will continue to do at least some business. I can not at this time determine whether it will end up being to the same degree, smaller, or larger than 2017. I can determine that there is at least a contract through the early part of the year. As such I realize my goals should account for at least some income from my wife. Add to that I expect to have some nominal income come in from this blog and a moderate pay increase for my income. As such our income is going up.

Expenses Hold Static

Also I do not expect our expenses will increase in any appreciable manner. I’m hopeful we will have less medical bills in the New Year. I also do not expect a budget busting vacation. Finally, as of January we will have paid off our 3 year 0% car payment. As such I am expecting overall expenses to be down instead of up.

Savings Goals Mirror 2017 Achievements

Add these together and I’m throwing out a stretch goal to repeat this year’s savings rate. That is, save 1.5 years of expenses. Mathematically these factors should make this rate possible even if my wife’s business shuts down after a quarter. If my wife’s business continues I may have to revise the goal upwards later in the year.

Mortgage Payoff Goal Increases Again

I also will increase my mortgage reduction goal to 33% from 10% in 2017. This represents the same raw number reduction as 2018. I will continue to ratchet up this value until the stock market return reduces to keep my asset allocation steady. (Remembering I view my mortgage payments as part of my bond allocation.

Honestly I do have some concerns here. I am getting dangerously close to a paid off mortgage. If market returns return to normal I am going to have a psychological barrier to overcome in returning my mortgage payout to normal levels. Also if Bonds suddenly took off I’d have a similar dilemma. That may perhaps be a topic for a future post.

Continue to Obtain a Long Run Return for All New Money Exceeding 3%.

The goal to invest new money to exceed 3% continues. I expect it to get harder in the next few years with the market potentially having a pull back. This goal is more about keeping me directionally aligned. I.E. I will not purchase bonds or other fixed income items that return less than 3%. I will invest in risky assets and only consider fixed assets that exceed my mortgage rates. Still I hope to achieve an overall return of greater than 3% as well. Come on stock market!

Credit Card Hacking

My credit card hacking goals also remain in place. That is to use Credit Cards to fund travel to 1 international destination and 2 domestic locations without an impact to our finances. This metric will also be harder to achieve in 2018. We’ve done many of the heavy hitters in 2017 and in fact churned through 6 cards. Also both of us are currently at 5x 24 for Chase. Still it is a goal and we will see what we can do. For the late part of 2018 we cut back on the churning to give are credit some time to recover, this should get at least one or both of us eligible for a Chase card in another quarter. We do not expect any more surprise travel for 2018 like Barcelona throwing a wrench in these plans.

Donate at Minimum the Equivalent of 5% to Charity.

This number continues to be set in the background as a raw number. That number is then converted to a percent of my known income including my pay raise and my wife’s confirmed income. It does not account for any upside my wife may encounter. This accounts for an ok bump from 2017 in raw donations. That being said, next years donations may be more costly to our household. I suspect 2017 is the last year we will itemize, receiving a tax deduction for our donations. If the current tax reform passes I know this will be the case, but even without it the likelihood of itemization is low going forward. So any donations going forward will cost our household the donation plus the tax we paid on the earnings. Still a good cause is worth it, we’re blessed and can afford to help others.  That does it for the 2018 finance goals.

What about the 2018 blog goals?

Pageviews Goal Reduced

I’m reducing my page view goal. Originally. I wanted 20K views at the end of the second year. Now I’m going to set that goal at 15k a year.

Blog Income Goal

Since the beginning of this blog my financial goal for it is to be cost neutral. It actually turned a slight profit in 2017. How slight? I don’t know the exact number but it’s not significantly different then $20 for the year. This is with pretty much my only cost being hosting. This also considers my time as free. In 2018 I am going to invest some more funds into the blog. My goal continues to be to keep the blog cost neutral, though with some investments I now need to increase the revenue slightly. Achieving my page view goals should cover this goal.

Finally Release a Logo and Experiment with Email

On the learning and development blog front I will begin experimenting with email newsletters some time in 2018. Look for more information in an upcoming post. I will also finally release a logo, even if I have to make one myself.

That’s all I have folks. What are you’re financial goals for 2018?

 

Happy New Year to All.

11 Comments

  1. Chris
    Chris January 1, 2018

    I have very similar goals to knock down the mortgage balances as a bond or safe play. I think in 2018 I will probably take the married standard deduction since it will be more than my itemized deductions were for the past 2 years. If that happens, and becomes the new pattern, than home mortgage interest isn’t deductible in my scenario so it makes more sense to pay it down considerably. I’m not pulling out of the market but I do think I may do more mortgage pay down than additional purchases. Maybe 70/30 pay down to new money invested.

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance January 2, 2018

      Sounds like we have similar plans. Best of luck as 18 progresses.

  2. Troy @ Bull Markets
    Troy @ Bull Markets January 2, 2018

    I’m thinking of growing my trading blog into a fully fledged financial media company. Right now it’s just me, but if I go down this route, I’ll probably pour $200k into it and see what happens. 2018 will be an interesting year!

    Happy New Year
    Troy

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance January 2, 2018

      That would be a significant move. I’ll be interested in seeing how it progresses.

  3. Mr. Need2Save
    Mr. Need2Save January 2, 2018

    Our 2018 financial goals are pretty similar to 2017, although I’m not counting on 20% market returns.

    For us, that means maxing out 401(k) and HSA contributions, significant savings/investing into taxable brokerage accounts, and keeping expenses in line with 2017 spending. If anything, our expenses will probably be a bit less in 2018 as we aren’t planning any home improvement projects like we did in 2017.

    Happy New Year!

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance January 3, 2018

      Happy New Year. I agree a market return repeat is extremely unlikely. If otherwise the years are similar I will still be happy.

  4. The Mastermind Within
    The Mastermind Within January 9, 2018

    Looking forward to continue reading your blog in 2018. I’ve really enjoyed your content – I can see your analytical abilities shining through in your writing, similar to my writing.

    Keep it going, you never know what will happen when you continue to be consistent on building!

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance January 9, 2018

      Thanks Erik. Here’s hoping we both have a successful 2018.

  5. Layla
    Layla January 11, 2018

    Love reading your blog. I recently started to recognize the travel miles/points I could rack up with credit cards. Was wondering what card you got started with in paying for your trips in 2017. No need to be specific for personal reasons, maybe just what bank?

    • FullTimeFinance
      FullTimeFinance January 11, 2018

      I always would recommend starting with Chase cards since they won’t provide you a card if you have more then 5 cards you have signed up for in 24 months. My first card in 17 was the Chase Sapphire Reserve. Typically the best cards out there are the Sapphire Reserve, Sapphire Platinum (can’t do both in same year for a single person), Amex Platinum, Amex Starwood Preferred, Chase Marriott Premeier, and Chase United Premier. Their signup bonuses do change from time to time.

      • Layla
        Layla January 12, 2018

        Okay great, thank you. I had heard about the Chase rule of 5 credit cards within 24 months. For this year I plan on getting those cards first. I already have the Sapphire Preferred and Marriott cards from about a year ago. So I believe I am at 2 cards within 24 months. I will look at the United card before moving on the American Express. Thanks again, great website!

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