My 2015 Goals

With 2015 approaching,  I wanted to formally put together my goals for the next year.  Ever since Lanny wrote about his goals last month, I have been hard at work thinking about my goals.  What I like/respected the most from Lanny’s set of goals were that they were very challenging and well-rounded, containing both investing and life goals.   It reminds me that while I should be focused on growing my portfolio and sprinting towards financial freedom, you still can’t forget about your life and building those memories that you will tell your kids and grandkids about.  I should achieve this balance in 2015, so lets take a look at my goals for the year!

Bert’s 2015 Goals

1. Invest $15,000 of New Purchases in 2015–  This is probably my biggest change from my 2014 goals.  Last year, I based my total portfolio growth on the final market value and was always focused on my market value crossing XXX dollar in June, September, December, and so on.   While I love seeing my market value grow and it is great watching your market value climb on days when the broader market is booming, I don’t think this is the appropriate goal for me going forward because it subjects my personal goal to forces that I cannot control.   I am one October pullback, one oil collapse, one battle between Congress/the President away from watching my goal circle down the drain.  The worst part is there was absolutely nothing I could do to prevent those events..nothing!  The one aspect of portfolio growth I can control, however, is invested capital.  Regardless of economic events, I am in complete control of how much capital I invest in my portfolio.  My market value will certainly grow over time if I continue to invest capital.   Therefore, I would like to add $15,000 in new purchases in 2015.  This does not include employer matches for my 401(k) and capital stemming from dividend re-investment.  This $15,000 will consist of new capital transferred into my Sharebuilder account from my checking/savings account.  My current cost  basis is $41,289.90, so adding $15,000 would grow this figure by 36% in the new year!

2. Projected Dividend Income of $2,750 – At the time of this article, my projected annual dividend income is $1,851.  So in order to reach my goal for 2015, I would have to add $899 of annual dividend income to my portfolio, or 48.5%!   Let’s do some quick math from my first 2015 goal.  $15,000 of new purchases at my portfolio’s current yield of 3.94% would add $591 of projected annual income to my portfolio.  With the impact of dividend re-investment from December 2014 (the largest dividend paying month of the year) and all of 2015, I should get some additional help towards reaching this goal, as well as the illustrious dividend increases our stocks pump to us!   In addition, I have a lump-sum match for my Roth 401(k) from my employer in June, which represents half of all contributions from the prior year.  With all four forces combined, I’ll be in the $2,750 neighborhood.  It’ll be a challenge for sure, but I am ready and I want to grow my annual dividend income by 48.5%!  Let’s aim towards blowing past $2,750 in projected dividend income in 2015!

3. Max-Out my Roth-IRA Before 12/31/15–  Alright everyone, I have a confession to make.  I have not maxed out my Roth IRA for the year, even though I know the benefits of maximizing my Roth IRA very, very well.  I have every intention of doing so before 4/15/15 and I am going to make sure I do so, but I backed myself into a corner here.  Essentially every purchase until this date will be in my Roth account until this date.  How did I put myself in this situation even though I have purchased well over $5,500 in stock in the current year?  I’ll share.  My Roth IRA has traditionally been held through a larger institution with a person that has served my family very well over the years.  He has worked very closely with family members that are not investment-savvy  and always had their best interests at heart.  He was not the stereotypical investor that has his best interests in mind, the focus was always on my family.  Because of this, I wanted to return the favor and house my Roth IRA under his umbrella even though the stock purchase costs are significantly higher.  My thought was I will make two large purchases in this account this year to reduce the impact of the cost.  Over the years, I picked the heavy hitting dividend stocks such as BP, GSK, ARCP, and HCP (Which was my last purchase for this account)  in this account with purchases over $2,000.  I had every intention of making a large purchase in the second half of the year in this account, but my financial situation changed which threw this plan out the window.  Instead of saving for larger purchases, I was scraping together smaller purchases ($500, $1,000) as the funds became available, and the smaller purchases are just not cost-effective with that large of a transaction-fee.  So I continued to make these purchases in my Sharebuilder account, whose largest fee per transaction is $6.95.   To fix this, I recently opened up a Roth-IRA with Sharebuilder and now I can benefit from this lower cost investing with smaller purchases (My recent purchase of IBM was the first purchase in this new Roth IRA).  I will continue to hold my current Roth at this larger firm to benefit this guy, but all purchases going forward will be made in the lower-cost Sharebuilder.  This should allow me to fund my Roth throughout the year as opposed to two large purchases.  That’s why I am setting the goal of having my Roth IRA funded before 12/31/15, so I don’t find myself in the same situation I am in now.

4. Make $1,001 from The Dividend Diplomats Brand– I couldn’t agree with Lanny’s goal any more if I tried.  In his article, he challenged both of us to make $1,000 from the Dividend Diplomats brand.   I accept his challenge and I raise him $1!  Take that Lanny!  All joking aside, he hit the nail on the head with this goal.  Every dollar of additional income puts us one step closer towards financial freedom.   I am excited to work with all of you on this goal, because without you, we won’t achieve this goal.

5. Make $1,000 in “Other Income”–  This is going to be the most challenging goal for the year, but the one I am the most excited for.   My income streams are my employer, dividend income, and the blog.  I want to continue to diversify my income streams, so I am challenging myself to earn $1,000 from other income sources.  This can come from rental property (if I buy an income property this year, which isn’t the most practical), selling items lying around the house, or flipping items I can find at garage sales.  This is why I am so excited for this goal, I don’t have any concrete plans on how I will accomplish this.  So I will need to be creative, perform a lot of research, and try to create markets for used goods that may or may not exist. This is going to be a blast!  If I am going to hit my first two 2015 goals and goal number 6, I will need to expand my income revenues.   Adding $1,000 in additional income at my current portfolio yield of 3.94% will push me $39.40 closer towards reaching my goal of $2,750 in projected dividend income.

6. Beat the Dividends Diplomats Savings Challenge 6 Months in 2015– This year, I gladly accepted the challenge to save 60% of my income each month.  I knew it was going to be difficult to save such a high percentage of my income, but I also knew that I could do it with hard work and determination.  To date, I have monitored my expenses for 3 months and have saved 60% of my income once.  I would like to increase my  success rate from 33% to 50% and defeat the Dividend Diplomats Savings Challenge 6 times in 2014!  While goals 4 and 5 focused on generating new income to allow myself to invest more and reach financial freedom sooner, I can also achieve this by spending less.  Lanny’s classic saying is there are two ways to increase savings: increase your income or decrease your expenses.  Both are equally effective.  So I am challenging myself to find new ways to cut expenses to save 60% of my income 6 times in 2015.

7. Watch One of My Sports Teams on the Road–  Here is my life goal for 2015.  I am about as big of a sports fan as you can be.  I love my Cleveland sports teams and my Buckeyes.  I have been going to Indians games before I could walk, cheering on the Browns since they returned in ’99, watching some of the worst basketball (Pre-Lebron Cavs) and the best basketball (Cavs with LeBron), and missed all but two games when I attended Ohio State.  So I bleed sports.  While I have attended sporting events at our home, I haven’t cheered on one of my teams on the road in a really long time.  It would be such a great experience cheering for your team in a hostile sports environment.  That’s why I am setting a goal to go on the road and watch one of my teams play in foreign territory.  I have plenty of sports to choose from, so it will be picking the right game(s).  I could travel to Toronto  to watch the Indians play  the Blue Jays, travel to Auburn Hills to watch LeBron and the Cavs take on the Pistons,  travel to Blackensburg, VA to watch my Buckeyes avenge their loss to Virginia Tech this year, or the best, I could travel into Dividend Mantra‘s old territory and watch Ohio State take on hated rival Michigan (Mantra- Let’s make this trip happen!).  Regardless of where I go, this trip is going to be amazing and will surely create lasting memories.

2015 goals (Picture from watching the Indians at home last year)

I can’t wait for 2015 to begin.  I have 7 challenging, but achievable goals this year.  What are your thoughts about my goals?  Do you set goals for your portfolio by market value or contributed capital?  Do you have any suggestions on how to generate $1,000 of Other Income?  I look forward to hearing everyone’s feedback and suggestions!


Read about Lanny’s 2015 Goals here 

27 thoughts on “My 2015 Goals

    • Hey Jay,

      Thanks for stopping by! No, the $15k does not include that total and I excluded it for the reasons that you mentioned. 401(k) contributions acucmulate much faster than you realize since it is directly deducted from your payroll. Thats why I am tracking it by measuring dollars transferred from my checking/savings account to my Sharebuilder account.


  1. Awesome goals, and will certainly help propel you (and by extension, Lanny) towards your path of financial independence. Putting $15,000 to work above and beyond retirement contributions at work is fantastic. I have been thinking about my goals for 2015, and will be posting them at some point over the next month or so. Keep on cranking!

    • W2R,

      Thank you very much for helping us out along the way. We enjoy having you as a follower and reading your input/comments on our articles. I am determined to hit at least $15k this year. That way, the power of dividend re-investing can really begin to flex its muscle and grow my portfolio!

      I am excited to read your goals for the upcoming year. Hopefully you publish the article sooner rather than later!

      As always, thanks for stopping by!

    • Thanks Tawcan,

      As I mentioned with W2R, I really want to put in at least $15k so my portfolio can begin to snowball. Hopefully 2015 is a great year and a lot more income becomes available for me (and everyone else) to invest in the market! I am looking forward to seeing what you have planned for 2015.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Alex,

      You have a lot of exciting sports teams to choose from in LA. While this season may be a long one, it is always fun to watch Kobe play. Plus, I am sure management has some plans in store to jolt the franchise/team in the off-season. Another sports goal of mine is to attend a game a Dodger Stadium one day. So much baseball history has happened in that stadium and some of the all-time greats have played there. I’ll make it htere one day!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  2. As you said, challenging but definitely achievable goals. Good luck in 2015. I hope you don’t chase yield too much when trying to meet your 2015 dividend income goal. Though these days some high yielding pretty solid energy names can get your there. BP anyone? Thanks for sharing these goals.

    • DivHut,

      Thanks for stopping by! I think I am getting to a great spot with my portfolio. For the past few years, I have been focused on generating dividend income to build the foundation for my portofolio. While I wasn’t necessarily chasing yield (except for when I bought ARCP of O), I tended to look towards investing in higher yield stocks. Since I have a foundation, I can start to transition from investing in high yielding, low dividend growth stocks to a blend that also includes lower-yielding, high dividend growth stocks.

      But you are absolutely right, never get caught chasing yield. If there is one lesson I will preach to any new dividend investor, it is that one.


  3. Bert,

    Great goals!

    Investing $15k throughout the year would be fantastic. That’ll add some serious dividend income all by itself, plus the dividend growth from all of your previous investments. The snowball begins to roll. 🙂

    Like the sports goal. Very cool I’ve tempered my inner sports fan over the last few years. Cutting cable and not going to sporting events will do that. But I still watch football pretty religiously. Works out great that it’s mostly on broadcast television. But I hope to hit up some sporting events at some point. I’m even thinking about going to a Tampa Lightning game in 2015 when the Red Wings visit. Haven’t been to a live hockey game in many years, but have fond memories of going to the Joe Lou during playoffs. That place goes nuts for the Wings.

    Best of luck throughout 2015!


    • DM,

      Thank you very much, I appreciate it. I am going to be disappointed if I cannot hit the $15k mark in contributions this year, for all the reasons you mentioned. The earlier I can get the snowball rolling the better. I will just get one “roll” closer to financial freedom. It’ll be interesting to see how I invest these funds as well. In the past few years, I have focused on investing in higher yielding, quality dividend stocks since I was in the income accumulation stage. But now, since I have a solid base, I can begin investing in both the low yield, high growth stocks and the high yield, lower growth stocks. So my $15k this year might not have the same income impact as $15k last year, I will still add a substantial amount of income and increase my 12/31/14 figure by at least 30%. It’ll be fun this year as I feel like I am opening my eyes to a whole new aisle of stocks in the investing grocery store!

      You should definitely go to the Red Wings game if you get the chance. If you go, don’t forget to bring your octopus with you! Hockey games are a great time in person as the game is filled with action from the minute the puck drops to the closing seconds. I wish we had an NHL team here in Cleveland! And from what I have heard, the Red Wings have some of the most passtionate fans in hockey and the stadium is electric on a nightly on a regular basis. I can only imagine how much the place shakes during the postseason. I have to give you props for tempering your inner sports fan, I don’t think I could do it. My favorite of all the major sports is baseball, which is probably the least friendly sport for broadcast television. Unless you are the Yankees, Red Sox, or Dodgers, your games will not make the weekly Sunday Night Broadcast.

      Thanks again for stpping by!


  4. Hi DividendDiplomats

    Have been following your blog for a while but my first comment here.

    I like the way you phrase and put your first goal. You try to put priority on what you can control which is the processes and let the outcome take its natural course. A lot of us tend to focus on the networth but we know that this is mostly beyond our control. If we want to focus on the return, that’s another goal to track for.

    Great stuff.

    • Thanks Forever Financial Freedom! The natural course of investing in dividend growth stocks is positive, especially in the long run. I think history has proven that. So as long as we invest/contribute capital, the natural course will have us trending upward. We can’t control the short term market values of our portfolio because as you mentioned, it is beyond our control.

      I’m glad you decided to comment. Hopefully this is the first of many times we get to hear from you and interact! Are you going to post a goals article?

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Those are some great set of goals, Bert. I like your goal on how you are concentrating on the amount of contributions instead of looking for the market value at teh end of the year. The contribution is what you can control….market value is what you get out of the market and not focusing on that will help you in avoiding risks just for the sake of hitting the goal.

    Some very strong other goals indeed – I like the “Other” goals and I am a strong believer in diversifying income sources just as one would diversify investments. I wish you (and Lanny) the best in achieving them.

    Best wishes

    • R2R,

      Thank you very much for the kind words. I agree, one shouldn’t be exposed to just one source of passive income. It is going to be a fun challenge reaching $1,000 in other income. I have plenty of assets sitting around my house collecting dust that I could turn into cash/eventually dividend income. If that doesn’t get me there, it’ll be fun driving through Cleveland picking antique stores, flea markets, and garage sales to see what I could possibly flip for some extra cash. If it isn’t as fruitful as I am imagining, it’ll at least create some funny memories for Lanny and me.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hey Bert,
    A great set of goals that look attainable – $15K is a whole lot of diplomacy right there! I love the $1 up on Lanny too and I’m sure he does as well!

    I haven’t thought much on how to write my goals yet but I agree that it’s better to base your goal on invested amount rather than market value. Goals shouldn’t require you to make unwise financial decisions which might happen if the focus is on yield, ROI or market value.

    Are you going to be making your full Roth IRA contribution for 2014 by April as well as making the full 2015 contribution? And do you max out your 401k contribution to the full yearly amount or only to the maximum employer matched amount?

    Wishing you all the best on achieving your goals next year!

    • Dividend Life,

      You know I can’t let Lanny beat me on all goals! That’s what he gets for under-estimating what our blog can earn. Plus, based on the “Price is Right” rules of estimating value, I will be the winner if we cross the $1,001 mark.

      $15k should be attainable for sure. I have really been focusing on improving my savings rate each month, and investing $15k is below my current average savings rate. The important part is continuing to improve this rate so I can easily hit and re-up this goal during the year.

      I will be making my full contribution for 2014 by April 2015. The tax savings provide too great of a deal to investors to not maximize on an annual basis. To answer your second question, I do max out my 401(k). If I contribute 5%, my employer matches 50% and contributes once a year. But I did not factor the 401(k) in the $15k of capital contributions. That figure represents net income transferred from my savings account to my Sharebuilder account.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hey man, great set of goals! I’ve just hit my 2014 goals, so was thinking to go over my 2015 ones to see if I could push myself a bit more! Love what you guys are doing, you spur each other on!

  8. I love the goals you’ve set for yourself – especially the one to make $1,000 in “Other” Income, as I have set myself the same goal! Building multiple streams of income is what it’s all about.

    Keep working at it!
    – Ryan from GRB

    • Ryan,

      Thank you very much, I appreciate the kind words. I’m glad that you mentioned that you have the same goal as well, now I can follow your journey and possibly steal (I mean share) some of your ideas on how to accomplish the goal. Do you have any plans on how you want to accomplish the other income? Will you get gift cards from online websites such as Swagbucks or Fusion Cash? Flip items at a garage sale? etc.

      Looking forward to following your path in 2015. Thanks for stopping by.


  9. Motivating blog for a budding investor like me… Good job! BTW, Many links in old articles like this are broken. If possible correct them, it would be great for new visitors.

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