It’s that time of year again. It’s time to look back over 2017 one final time and observe where we landed against our goals.
Not the Only Review This Year
A caveat before we get started. As we stated when I set our goals, you should never wait a whole year to review them. I have visited our progress a few times through the year in pieces here. Rest assured while I have not posted a full analysis of my status against my goals before now, I have been regularly reviewing them. So on to the 2017 goals.
For those who don’t recall they were:
- Save 1X Our Expenses
- Reduce Our Mortgage by 10%
- Invest New Money in a way that achieves no less then 3% return over the long run.
- Use Credit Cards to fund travel to 1 international destination and 2 domestic locations without an impact to our finances.
- Donate at minimum the equivalent of 5% to charity.
So where did I end the year on 2017 Goals?
- Save 1X Our Expenses- Major Pass. This almost feels like cheating. When I set these goals we had no idea my wife would eventually become self employed. That move alone added another half a year of expenses to our savings rate. All told we saved 1.5X our expenses from our income. This is truly a case of luck meeting the prepared. We were setup to save half my income and when my wife suddenly started receiving a paycheck we simply never adjusted our spending up.
- Reduce Our Mortgage by 10% – Major Pass. As noted in my original goals post I cheat a bit here, my mortgage principal counts as part of my savings rate. As such there is an overlap between the first two metrics.So where did we land? Our mortgage was actually reduced by about 25%!Why so much? About mid year I started to get a bit concerned about the rate of increase in the market. I noted my asset allocation was starting to slide quickly towards a larger stock allocation then I felt comfortable with. This was mostly due to the massive return of the market for the year overweighting my stock allocation. I use my mortgage equity as most of my bond allocation, so to keep up I upped this number significantly.That being said, my mortgage is already fairly low.While 25% seems high, note my stock market contributions still outpaced my mortgage payments by 2 to 1. I will also admit that some of the market movements have me a bit nervous, so I took some of my play money investment account and put it in the mortgage as prepayments. This effectively gives me dry powder for later. Admittedly not the optimal investment solution, but that’s why it’s the play portfolio and overall insignificant.
- Invest New Money in a way that achieves no less then 3% return over the long run – Major Pass
Given I have not sold anything other then ESPP and RSUs this year you know I blew this one out of the water. Even in the case of my company incentive holdings my work stock was on a tear, so I had nothing but stellar returns. How Stellar? At the time of this writing my 401k is showing a return of 18%. I can’t see how this type of return can continue into next year, but you never know. My play portfolio may be defensive, but overall I’m not changing my asset allocation. The market can stay irrational, either good or bad, longer then I can stay capitalized.
- Use Credit Cards to fund travel to 1 international destination and 2 domestic locations without an impact to our finances. – Somewhat Fail
I made my initial goal, to cover 1 international destination and 2 domestics without financial impact. Then I added locations. All told we did 3 international destinations and 1 domestic. The first 3 were income neutral. The last one cost us $2.5K. This is the only bit of my wife’s income we spent for the year other then business expenses. I consider this the reward part of my wife successfully brining in significant income. After all you should treat yourself sometimes when a surprise windfall appears. So long, of course, as you don’t treat yourself out of the windfall.
- Donate at minimum the equivalent of 5% to charity. – Somewhat Pass. I lowered this one somewhat mid year. Originally it was 5% of income. The thing is I did not account for my wife’s income in the original metric which I set using raw dollars. For better or worse I held to my original raw dollar number. As such I achieved 5% of my income but not 5% of ours for the year. Our local fire company, good will, the local church, and my son’s school have all been recipients of our charity in some degree.
Financially this was easily one of the top 2 most successful years I have ever had. The difference in savings from last year when my wife worked full time to this one when my wife was part time self employed was negligible. We traveled more then we ever have. And we wanted for nothing, no self deprivation here. On the budget front there was only two items outside of step. One was the aforementioned travel. The other one, outside our control, was a spike in health care costs due to minor emergency room visits. Both boys led us on surprise, thankfully minor, trips to the ER. Both are healthy thankfully, but without those trips our numbers would look even more stellar. It will probably come out in my 18 goals post, but I’m hesitant to hope that 2018 can hold a candle to the good fortune we experienced this year financially.
I also set a few blogging goals over the year. So before we close out I will review them:
- Achieve 10,000 blog views a month within the first year – Fail We’re still not quite there, but we’re definitely moving that direction. Even with me essentially stepping away from commenting for most of November we are now through our second month of 8,000 views. If I ever clear all this work travel I suspect we’ll be there. Originally I wanted to be at 20,000 views by 1.5 years. This is looking unlikely. I’ll write a bit more about this topic in my 2018 goals post, but I suspect I will be revising my goals down a bit going forward based on my experiences in this area to date.
- Implement a new Blog Logo – Fail I’m still waiting a year later for a logo design from my family. In the interim I’ve instituted a temporary usage of a picture of me scuba diving. This will likely change in the new year one way or the other.
- Learn about Digital Marketing – Pass with Opportunities I’ve learned quite a bit about digital marketing both here and in my job in the last year. From aspects of social media to what works for driving product sales (job, not here as I only sell you on reading my content here). But there remains much to learn. In the new year I will be adding new aspects to this blog to experiment with new areas. Stay tuned for the 2018 post for more.
Not bad for a year and a few months of blogging. I continue to move forward with no end in sight.
How did you do against your 2017 goals?