Setting my 2014 goals a little early this year
Towards the end of September and the start of October, I started to write down some goals for 2014.
I also decided that I would post these on moneystepper and measure my progress against them each month. I wanted to do this for two reasons:
1) Accountability – I know that if I have to explain an action to everyone, it would certainly make me think twice about taking any action which would be detrimental to my goals.
2) Enjoyment – I thoroughly enjoy reading the goals, and the progress against them, on other personal finance sites. In fact, I look forward to the end of the month to see how people are doing with their budgets, net wealth, businesses and personal goals.
I made the decision that I wouldn’t post any net wealth figures. I like to keep my privacy in these matters and the security that goes with announcing these figures on a public site concerns me somewhat. However, I would post all of my goals for 2014 (most of which are financial, but with a couple of other personal ones in there) and mark my monthly progress against them.
Why wait until New Year?
I finished setting these “2014 goals” in mid October. Already, there have been two or three occasions where I have made the wrong choice and thought “I won’t do that next year when I’m recording everything on moneystepper”.
This led to me skipping a session in the hotel gym one morning, and sitting watching ESPN in bed on TV at 9am on a Sunday morning! After this, I thought “why wait”. New Year is a pretty arbitrary time to start these goals. In fact, it may even be the worse time. It gives everyone complete freedom to indulge to excess in all aspects of life over the Christmas holidays safe in the knowledge that “I won’t do that in January”.
I have set 12 goals which I will start on 01st November 2013 to be completed on 31st December 2013. I have split these to show financial first, then fitness, then travel. They have been ordered in what I see as being descending level of difficulty in each section. So here goes.
2014 Goal 1 – Increase my net wealth by over 56% from 01 Nov 2013 to 31 Dec 2014.
This equates to around 3% every single month. This is lower than my 2013 average monthly increase, but 2014 will involve significant expenditure on getting married and re-relocating back to the UK following our 2 year stint in France (see later goals).
I will calculate my net wealth as being all my major assets (I won’t include my CD collection or bicycles etc) and all my liabilities: currently cash & cash equivalents + portfolio of investments + pension fund + house value – mortgage – tax liabilities.
2014 Goal 2 – Positive net wealth change for at least 12 out of 14 months
This is of course linked to the goal above, but I have added this to ensure consistency in my net wealth increase.
This avoids me making the first goal by a surprise one-off increase in net wealth in a certain month (perhaps due to an annual bonus or other one off receipt of cash) and then reducing my net wealth in many other months.
2014 Goal 3 – Save at least 60% of net wealth for at least 12 out of 14 months
Again, this is fairly similar, but will ensure that even if I begin to earn additional income, I do not relax on saving and frugality.
2014 Goal 4 – Pay £7000 to reducing capital portion on my primary rental property mortgage
After moving from the UK to France, I rented out my apartment. In doing so, I was legally required to move from a residential mortgage to a permission to lease mortgage. In doing so, my mortgage rate went up from around 2.5% to 6.2% fixed rate until November 2015.
Paying down this mortgage is essentially equivalent to a 6.2% fixed rate investment.
Therefore, I aim to pay make the maximum overpayments on this account in the year which I am permitted (without incurring horrendous overpayment charges).
I have considered remortgaging this (which would be beneficial even with these early repayment charges), but living abroad is a major hindrance in obtaining reasonable financing in the UK (even though I am still employed by my UK company).
2014 Goal 5 – Make £700 profit from rental property
In relation to the rental property, I am striving to make a profit (before tax) of at least £700. The success on this will mainly be dependent on any repairs required so let’s hope we don’t get unlucky on this one!
2014 Goal 6 – Fill 2014 stocks & shares ISA (estimated limit = £11,760 – to be updated)
I indeed to meet the stocks & shares ISA limit next year as I aim to increase the percentage of my net wealth which is invested in tax shielded market investments. I have already maximized my 2013/14 allowance, so this goal will be measured in money put aside for investment in April 2014 related to the 2014/15 limit.
2014 Goal 7 – Earn over £600 in dividend income
This shall hopefully be driven by goal 5 and by selecting a good mix of income and growth stocks.
2014 Goal 8 – Make net profit from moneystepper.com and related activities of £700
Having started moneystepper in June 2013, I’ve no real idea of the amount that this goal should be for the year. I’m managing the site whilst working full time, but am serious on making it a mainstream site in the UK. Additionally, this will include any income from book sales and any other income which is driven with moneystepper as its basis.
2014 Goal 9 – Save £6,000 towards our wedding
We are returning to the UK in October 2014, and are planning to get married in Spring 2015. We haven’t yet made a detailed budget for the wedding, but £12,000 is our preliminary budget and so I shall aim to save this before December 2013.
2014 Goal 10 – Cycle a total of 3500 miles
Enough for the finance, let’s move on to a couple of fitness goals. I am planning a 1000km cycling tour around the routes of the Tour de France, Giro D’Italia and Tour of Switzerland during ten days next May with some friends.
As such, I need to start some serious training. Therefore, 3500 miles in total will be 250 miles a month, or around 50-60 miles per week. Given that I don’t cycle to work, this seems like a reasonable target with a few small training sessions and a longer ride at the weekends.
2014 Goal 11 – Eat under 2500 for over 365 days
Goal 10 means I exercise more. Goal 11 should mean I eat a little better. A diet goal over 14 months is quite hard to set, especially given that my aim isn’t to lose much weight, but rather just to get fitter. Therefore, I thought I would go for a calorie goal to ensure that I consistently eat well. This equates to eating under 2500 calories 6 out of 7 days.
2014 Goal 12 – Visit 5 foreign countries (non UK or France)
And finally, I will include a travel goal. Having come to France, we did so with the plan to travel around Europe at weekends. However, we found in the first year that there was just too much to do in France itself. Therefore, I originally included the goal of visiting 4 other countries in 2014 outside of the UK & France. However, given that I have already ticked off China, I will make that 5 in total.
So, there we are: my 12 goals for 2014. What do you guys think? Any seem unrealistic? Any seem too easy?
Check out my update after the end of each month: