With everyone doing “End of the Year” posts I thought I would join the party with my own modest contribution. Within my job in education, we are all about setting SMART goals:
SMART goals are ideal for most people because it presents a specific target for you to strive for and hold yourself accountable to. I also included some goals that are a little more nebulous just because it’s our blog and we can be abstract if we want to!
1) Save 35% of my net income
I will make roughly 55K in gross income this year. By the time my taxes, pension, union dues, medical, life insurance, and the 1001 other deductions are taken off, I will take home about $2,700 per month. After I take out my mortgage payment, car payment, utilities, grocery bill, tuition, and gas/car maintenance, I believe I should be able to save 35% of my net income (again, this in addition to my DPP).
2) Put my back-pay and tax return towards an early paydown of my mortgage and begin the Smith Manoeuvre
Our government-negotiated teaching contracts are always way behind (this gets under my skin quickly because they often don’t include any interest on the back pay when it is settled) and I have 17 months’ worth of built-in raises that should be back paid any month now. Due to our tuition pay back in Manitoba, I also should have a 3-4k tax return coming back to me in the Spring. I hope to use both of these lump sums to build equity in my house and then begin the Smith Manoeuvre. I’m fairly happy to be getting a large exposure to equities at this time, even if it isn’t the market lows of 2009.
3) Keep investing primarily through ETFs
I hope to keep passively investing through ETFs and enjoying the stress-free long-term returns they will generate. I’d rather concentrate on improving my income and enjoying my leisure time as opposed to pouring over bank statements trying to gain an edge over other, better-educated investors.
1) Earn $1000 a month online by January 2013
We have been seeing steady gains in our online income over the last few months here at My University Money. We hope to continue this upward momentum in 2012. We have some very preliminary plans to look at expanding our “online empire,” and more concretely, I’ve developed several staff writing and ghost writing positions around the web that are generating a nice monthly income right now. If we experience similar growth in 2012 to what we seen in 2011, I should have no problem meeting this goal. Several blogs around the PF community are championing the “30K challenge” where the goal obviously is to make $30,000 in 2012 from online activities. This remains an unreachable goal for us right now in my opinion, but a more reasonable target is to be in a position to make that commitment at this time next year.
2) Explore the most efficient use of online time
I won’t claim the SMART goal of starting another website because I have to do a cost-benefit breakdown of what would be a better use of my time. Right now I enjoy the low maintenance of writing for other people and having them do all the formatting and worrying about monetizing sites etc. The reading I’m doing tells me that is ultimately more profitable to build your own site. I have to spend a couple evenings making a personal long-term plan for my blogging activities outside of My University Money.
3) Finish my eBook and hit the 5000 download mark
Inspired by the dividend investing eBook that The Financial Blogger released earlier this year, I am currently putting the finishing touches on an eBook of my own. Since it is my first crack at this genre of writing, and I just want to get some widespread feedback, I am going to offer the product for the low, low price of… FREE! TFB has hit the 15,000 downloads mark, and while I have nowhere near the online chops or properties that he has, I’m hoping that with the help of some of my blogging buddies I can get 5,000 sets of eyeballs on my initial creation.
4) Create a second, and maybe even third and fourth eBooks
Depending on my experience with my initial foray into the world of eBooking, I hope to subsequently write stuff that people want to read! If they want to pay me for it, that would eventually be pretty cool too.
Overall Goals For Life
1) KEEP LEARNING!
Ok, so this is the definition of a goal that is NOT a SMART goal. I believe it’s an important mindset to re-affirm every year nonetheless. We often use the term “lifelong learning,” and it has become fairly cliché. To actually keep an open and inquisitive mind requires some serious effort. Don’t succumb to the power of bad reality TV and turn your brain off!
2) Lose 10 pounds
Is there a prize for the least original, most over-used year-end goal ever? I’m a big guy at about 6’2, 245 pounds. While I’m pretty active, I also love to eat (I like foods that are good for you, foods that aren’t, pretty much anything that is edible). There is no question my quality of life would be raised by dropping a little weight. For those of you wondering, this goal has made my list the last few years and it is definitely an ongoing battle for me.
3) Take 9 credit hours towards my Master’s Degree
I wouldn’t put this under my first goal because I often feel like I’m not actually learning all that much in these courses (or at least not learning efficiently). The bottom line is that this a hoop I have to jump through (it frustrates me how much time we spend jumping through hoops in society, but this is another rant for another time) in order to present myself with some cool career options. I’d rather get it done sooner-than-later and hopefully I meet some good people and have some positive experiences along the way.
I hope some of you out there have some more entertaining and original goals, anyone getting truly ambitious in 2012?