Bert’s 2016 Goals

I can’t write this without smiling.  2016 is going to be an amazing, life-changing year for me and I cannot wait until the ball drops on New Year’s Eve to make it official.  I’ll be marrying the love of my life at the end of May, so I don’t think there is a bad thing that can happen to me.   Well, now I left myself with an impossible task.  How on earth to I segue from that to discussing my 2015 investing goals?  Nothing I do this year will mean more to mean than that.  So I guess I will technically knock out one goal at the end of May?  Anyway…. now I’ll get down to business.  This article will discuss my 2016 goals!goals

The reason it has taken me this long to put together a goals article is because I have struggled with deciding how exactly I want to mold my 2016 goals.   When I set my 2015 goals, which were definitely ambitious in hindsight (which is not at all a bad thing), I created three kinds of goals:  investing, expense focused, and life goals.   I’m not going to spoil my year-end goal review article too much here, but the one thing I learned from my 2015 goal review process is that I just did not have enough time to accomplish everything I wanted.   It is unfortunate and a lot of it was self-induced, as I traded the slower season in public accounting for a new job that found me travelling and working more hours.  And, ugh, well, we all know how that ended as I am not back at my original job.  It is very funny how life works out though, right?  These experiences were very influential for the next year as I have a wedding that will occupy a lot of my free time and expenses in the first half of the year.   So if any of you are wondering why I am not including those goal categories, that’s why.  Again, I couldn’t be happier and once again I am smiling as I write about getting married.   But I want to focus my goals and push myself in the areas that I know can make a difference in 2016.  Hopefully I didn’t turn down the ambition on my goals and instead just shifted my focus on getting the most bang for my buck in 2016!  So here we go everyone, my 2016 goals are as follows!

The Goals

  1. Projected Annual Dividend Income of $3,250-  Currently, my projected dividend income is sitting around $2,500.  I’m definitely not alone in what I am about to say, especially considering the great comments Lanny has received from one of his recent articles about KMI, but the dividend cut from KMI was really felt as I calculated this dollar amount for this goal.  But after reading about the dividend cut, Lanny’s article, and a few others thoughts out there, it appears that Kinder and the rest of senior management made the right/tough decision that is best for the long-term health of the company.  Do I like it…no…but I respect the heck out of them for making the decision that needed to be made.  The KMI cut is officially in the past so now it is time to move on and start looking forward.  It happened, oh well, let’s move on and earn back the income.  With a goal of $3,250, my annual dividend income will need to increase $750 during the year.   I arrived at this figure by making a few assumptions along the way about how I am going to receive increases in dividend income throughout the year.
    1. Dividend Re-Investment.  My portfolio’s average yield is ~3.95% right now, so I will receive an additional $98 from re-invested dividend income based on my current annual dividend income of $2,500.
    2. 401(k) Contributions & Employer Match – Each paycheck I contributed ~$130 to VINIX, one of Vanguard’s standard S&P 500 mutual funds.   The fund’s yield is about 1.75%, so I will receive ~$54 in forward income based on he 24 contributions I am set to make in 2015.  In addition to contributions made during each paycheck, I will also receive an annual employer match contribution during the summer.  Remember all of those who thought Lanny was crazy when he wrote earlier in the year about why an employer’s 401k match is huge news for dividend investors…well this is why.  My match will be 50% of the contributions for about 8 months (since I rejoined the company in September and our fiscal year begins in April).  If my calculations are correct, I should receive a match of ~$1,000 in the summer, which will add ~$17.50 in projected dividend income to my portfolio.  When all is said and done, I should receive $71.50 in dividend income related to my 401k activity in 2016.
    3. Dividend Growth – Last year, my portfolio’s average dividend growth rate was ~7.5%.   However, as Lanny pointed out in a recent article, we have noticed a trend of slowing dividend growth rates from many of the companies in our portfolio.   While I haven’t calculated my portfolio’s weighted average dividend growth rate…yet….I am going to estimate that this amount has decreased from 7.5% to 5%.  If you multiply my current dividend income by 5%, that represents a $125 increase from dividend growth.
    4. New Investments  – After considering the three items above, I will need $455 from new investments to accomplish my goal. Based on the capital constraints resulting from my wedding this year and some of my others goals (see below), I should be able to get there.  It’ll be a push, but I can definitely get there! 
  2. Invest in 5 new Dividend Aristocrats in 2016– I’m not going to spend too much more time discussing KMI, but one of the takeaways from their dividend cut announcement is that we were all reminded that a dividend, let alone a dividend increase, is never guaranteed.   Well, investing in companies that have demonstrated over a long period of time, aka Dividend Aristocrats, is the easiest way we can put ourselves in a position to see our dividend income increase versus taking a step back (again, I’m not guaranteeing this).  Quite frankly, between KMI and ARCP I have had two major dividend cuts that have forced me to take an annoying step back in my forward dividend income.  Surely, my dividend income goal would have been higher if the cuts would not have happened.  And you know what, I am sick of it. I’m sick and tired of seeing my dividend income take a step back.  One common thing with both companies is that they were not Aristocrats and their consecutive dividend increase streaks were well below the minimum 25 year threshold.  With the wound still fresh, I want to change this nasty streak I have and continue to put myself in a position to see my income grow.   Therefore, I want to challenge myself to add 5 new Dividend Aristocrats to my portfolio during the year.   My focus is on building a strong, growing dividend income stream and I think this will definitely help.  Time to go shopping  at Target (Our most recent stock analysis) and based on my most recent Top 5 stock listing , and our listing of foundation stocks, which include plenty of great Aristocrats to choose from that I currently do not own.
  3. Invest in 2 Companies with Dividend Yields below 2%– Huh?  What? How the heck am I going to earn $455 in dividend income from new investments if I invest in low yielding stocks.  One of my objectives in 2016 is to build a stronger portfolio and dividend income stream, which is the objective every year quite frankly.   The reality set in when I was reading Lanny’s Starbucks article and learning about how great of a company SBUX is…I am missing an entire population of great low yielding dividend stocks that offer some impressive dividend growth rates.   I sometimes tend to ignore stocks with a low dividend yield (one criticism of our stock screener) because I am trying to find stocks with a yield greater than the market.   If I want to build a diversified dividend investing portfolio, I can no longer continue to ignore this sector.  Therefore, I am challenging myself to invest in two low yielding companies during the year.   Over the years, our screeners and stock analyses have identified many great companies out there:  Starbucks (see above),  Disney, our Top 5 low dividend yield/high dividend growth rate stocks, and ABT from my Top 5 Dividend Aristocrat’s with a low debt to equity ratio article.  There are plenty of fish in this see, I just need to cast a line.  That hopefully will change in 2016.
  4. Invest $15,000 in New Capital in 2016 – This was my favorite goal in 2015 and I was able to knock it out in August due to the headwinds I was able to capture from changing jobs twice in a year.  But I am not planning on changing jobs again this year unless my socks are knocked off (you never know though, right?) and I will have less capital available due to the wedding/honeymoon.  So as a result, I will not increase the dollar amount threshold in 2016.  In my projected dividend income goal above, I mentioned that I need $455 in projected dividend income from new purchases to achieve that goal.  To hit this mark, I will need an average yield on new purchases of ~3.05%.  This plays very well Goal #3 of finding 2 companies with yields below 2% to purchase in 2016. 
  5. Earn $1,000 in Other Income –  Another favorite goal from 2015; however, I was not as successful here as I was with the other goal.  I tried several ventures for earning additional income throughout the year and man does it take a lot of time.  Note, this does not include income from this website.  As time became more precious for me, finding new ways to generate income was sacrificed and now it is really bothering me.  I know I can do it if I stay more focused and keep on fighting through, so I want to take another stab at it.   Lanny may be solving a major issue/annoyance he has had over the course of this blog (I’m not going to spoil it for you all) and his commitment to using online websites to generate additional income was a main driver for it.  His primary source of online income is the website Swagbucks (here is a referral link for those who are not familiar with the website or you can click the banner on the right) and he has made a decent chunk from this fun website.  I have dabbled and gone through periods of commitment and dry spells.  However, if I can continue to sell stuff, use websites like Swagbucks regularly throughout the year, and earn cash back points on my credit card, I know that I can make at least $1,000 in other income.  This one is on me to deliver, so it is time to step up to the freaking plate!  LET’S GO!
  6. Learn One New Song on Piano–  I’m not planning on sneaking out of this article without one life goal.  For those of you who do not know, I played piano throughout my childhood.  For 10 years, I practiced daily and by the end, I was a pretty good piano player.  The hard part about playing piano at a high level is that you need to practice regularly to maintain you skills.  Unless you are a prodigy, Mozart, Chopin (my favorite), or Beethoven, it is very, very difficult to just sit down and play a song flawlessly.  I am nowhere close to their levels and I can’t believe I mentioned them in the same article.  Periodically, I sit down, play piano, and leave disappointed realizing that my skills have diminished and my playing career is a shell of what it used to be.  It is painful to listen and watch myself struggle through songs that I could play effortlessly.  If any of you played piano, you probably know the feeling I am talking about.  So after my wedding, I am planning on trying to re-vitalize and re-capture this skill from my earlier life.  In my career, I had one nemesis of a song.  A piece title Polonaise in A flat major op. 53 by Chopin.  This song is my all time favorite classical piano piece and man is it difficult.  In an earlier life and my peak piano playing days, I attempted to learn the song and it did not end well.  The version below is 7 minutes long and lets just say it would take me over 30 minutes to “play and finish” the song if that’s what you call it.  This may sound ridiculous, but what did me is the fact that I have smaller hands.  However, I really want to start the process of teaching myself this song over again.  It may take over a year and I am prepared for that.  But I want 2016 to be the year that I begin re-building and re-learning this song.  Heck, if I can play this song at a third of the speed that this guy can I would consider it a success!  Maybe I’ll update you guys with a video or two throughout the year so you can judge my progress.  By the way, it really pisses me off how effortlessly he plays this song.


So there we have it everyone.  My 6 goals for 2016.  I can’t wait for the year to end and start to work towards knocking these goals out.  I’m focused and determined after the way 2015 ended.  What are your thoughts on my goals?  Would you invest in  companies with a yield below 2%?  Or is that too limiting of a target?  Do you think my goals are ambitious enough or did I settle?  Have you set your 2016 goals yet?  If so, do we have any in common?  Please everyone, let me know your thoughts, comments, or concerns!

Happy Holidays Everyone and Happy New Year!  Can’t wait for 2016.


Disclaimer:  I do not own the rights to the video included in this post.

36 thoughts on “Bert’s 2016 Goals

    • Thanks It Pays Dividends! I think the best part of making goals are creating ones that are slightly out of your reach and will require you to dig deep to achieve them. However, we aren’t talking goals that are out there on the moon haha Sorry I did not clarify that fact as well this year as a did last year. The $15,000 is capital that I transfer from my savings or checking account into Capital One. So no, this does not include 401k contributions or re-invested dividends. Hopefully this helps clarify your question.

      Have a great afternoon and thanks for stopping by!


  1. Bert, Congrats on the wedding date next year. It’s gonna be awesome bud! I wish you and your wife the best and a wonderful new chapter in your lives.
    I like your play on 2 low yielders and dividend aristrocrats. I hear ya and feel you on dividend cuts. Time to just focus on core quality stocks especially in the healthcare and consumer staples.
    Some great set of goals and when you marry, it’ll be awesome because 2 becomes 1 and so you guys will have to figure the financial aspect of joining together moneywise… it’ll be easier to build wealth if your both on the same page.
    Happy holildays and keep up the great work. Have fun and Cheers to us my friend. 🙂

    • Hustler,

      Thank you so much. We both appreciate it a ton and it means a lot to us. The two becomes one aspect is what I am looking forward to the most. We both are going to be doing this journey though life together and there is no one I would rather spend it with. We have similar mindsets in terms of savings and spending, so there won’t be too much of a clash between her lifestyle and my more frugal lifestyle. I’m very lucky in that regard.

      This year is all about building that rock solid foundation. Let’s not outsmart ourselves and just focus on building our portfolio with the best stocks that have shown over time that they can handle short term issues while consistently delivering returns to their shareholders. That’s what it is all about, right?

      Again, thanks for stopping by and the kind words. Lanny and I love having you around the website and motivating us to push ourselves and keep on going.

      Have a great holiday.


  2. Wedding is a major life event but hopefully you and your SO can keep the cost down. Mrs. T and I got married 3 times in two different countries and spent way less than the Canadian wedding spending average. 🙂

    On your goals, great stuff, love them. The 2 low dividend yield goal is a great one, definitely want to pick something with explosive dividend growth.

    • Thank you so much Tawcan. My portfolio has a lot of heavy yielders and my dividend growth rate definitely suffered this year as many of the large payers dropped their dividend growth rate. So now I want to turn my attention to the other portion of the population that has some amazing stocks with impressive growth rates. Starbucks is just the one I keep thinking about for every reason Lanny discussed in his article last month. This will be a much needed yield diversification (I may have just made that term up) in my portfolio to balance the types of dividend stocks that I own.

      3 weddings and below the Canadian wedding! Freaking impressive as heck. What countries did you get married in? Were they several small weddings? It sounds like a sweet concept and fits your personalities (based on what I have learned about you over the years here). Does that also mean you have 3 honeymoons 🙂 We are working to keep the costs down, but I think it’ll be right around the average if not slightly more. We found a sweet venue that is a little pricier, but we both walked in and knew that was the place. So we are working to push the costs down other ways. We are working one heck of a balancing act to make sure we have a memorable wedding. Once we get closer and the dust has settled on a lot of these costs, I am definitely going to write an article or two about this experience.

      Thanks for stopping by. Man, I am still impressed you were able to have 3 weddings and keep it below the average. AMAZING.


      • We had two weddings in Canada and one in Denmark. Smaller size compare to some of the 200+ ppl weddings I’ve been. You say read more about them on the blog. 🙂

        • Sounds awesome. I’ll definitely be poking my head around the website read about it. We were just joking today about how we should have had a really small destination wedding haha

          Take care and have a great weekend.


  3. What are your thoughts on my goals?
    Awesome! Congrats on the wedding plans, same as Tawcan we did our wedding in two countries and far below the average cost of a wedding (including a 20 day honeymoon), the experience is not gained with spending more, rather the people around you.
    And we think it is a smart move to make your goals a bit more realistic, well done!

    Would you invest in companies with a yield below 2%?
    Yes, and we actually have already. But we are considering adding a few more for the same reason.

    Or is that too limiting of a target?

    Do you think my goals are ambitious enough or did I settle?
    We think you found a nice sweet spot, there is no point to set yourself up for failure (which can be highly demotivating!)

    Have you set your 2016 goals yet?
    Not really, we thrive better on the long term vision and leave some room to adapt various strategies and opportunities, it very hard to predict what’s coming up in the future anyways. Life is good, enjoy it as it comes along.

    If so, do we have any in common?
    yes, financial Independence 😉

    All the best in 2016!

    • Team CF. wow, thanks for the response here. A 20 day honeymonn and still below the average?? Holy smokes. Do you mind if I ask where your honeymoon was? Was it a backpacking trip? Our wedding will probably end up being right around the average and possibly a little more. As I mentioned with Tawcan, we opted for a more expensive venue because it was the one we both love. We are having a traditional reception with about 150-175 people, so it is pretty hard to keep the costs down regardless of which venue we selected. Having pictures and a videographer is something that is very important to my fiance, so we went with the higher quality ones as well. I think the biggest takeaway/piece of advice I could offer based on this experience is to not always opt for the cheapest option. Figure out what is the most important thing to you on this special day and make sure you allocate the proper funds to that area. Venue, videographer, and photographer were important to us and we were not afraid to spend there. However, there areas we are doing some hardcore price shopping and finding gthe highest rated person for the cheapest price. It is a balancing act for sure. I love your last sentence though. The experience is gained by having the people around you and we want to make sure we capture that during our ceremony.

      In terms of your other responses (looked like I started rambling in the last paragraph haha), which low yield stocks do yo own and are considering adding? I’m always looking for ideas for my own portfolio 🙂 Thanks for your other replies to the comments as well. Are you ready to hit financial independence with us?? Let’s do this together so we can all enjoy as much of our lives as possible!

      Thank you so much for the comment and kind words. Thanks for stopping by!


      • Hello Bert,
        Our honeymoon was in Hawaii, spent 10 days on Hawaii and 10 days on Maui. It was awesome! We found really cool accommodations through VRBO (some at the waterfront, others further up the hill), rented a car from a local on Maui (has his contact if you need). We did limit going out to dinner and thus did some of our own cooking. However, we did do a good Luau at the Marriot.
        We did keep our wedding limited (about 90 guests), but did do an open bar and had a live band. As we don’t care too much about the rings, those did not set us back much. The wedding ceremony was free (Monday Morning). We organized everything ourselves, and got a little bit of help from friends and family. Oh, and we had our wedding dress and suit custom made to fit (still use the suit regularly for business).
        All-inclusive the wedding and honeymoon was about (converted from Euro’s) $14,000 (nope, this is not a calculation error, we are just very creative).
        It all depends on your taste and preferences how expensive you want to make it, we had an absolute blast with friend and family and would do it again in a heartbeat.
        Have fun in May!

        As for the stocks (all Canadian):
        Metro Inc (MRU.TO); Saputo (SAP.TO); Canadian National Railways (CNR.TO); Exco Technologies Ltd (XTC.TO)
        Happy Hunting!

        • Awesome! Thanks for the information. We are looking into Hawaii as well. I have a lot of Hilton points, so I am leaning towards liquidating those points to cover the hotel costs. However, I may have spent the last 30 minutes on VBRO and there are some really nice/affordable rooms available on the different islands. Walking out of a wedding and honeymoon for only $14,000 is pretty freaking impressive. Kudos to you and it sounds like you had an amazing experience. I’m sure ours will be the same way! And if we feel half as good as you do about yours, I know we will end up an amazing night.

          Happy hunting to you as well!


  4. Great list and congratulations on your future Marriage! I am going to have to check out this swagbucks thing once and for all. I have been seeing it pop up now and then but have yet to check it out.

    Thanks for sharing your goals!


    • JT,

      Thank you very much! I can’t wait to make it official in May. I would definitely say check out Swagbucks (We would love to have you as a referral haha) and see if it sticks. Lanny loves it and is much more diligent about it than I am. But it is a really easy way to earn money based on searching the web, online shopping, answering surveys aka everything that we end up doing online anyway. What I like about it versus other online websites is that it is simple to use and isn’t to “spammy” if that makes sense. I don’t feel like they are trying to throw ads in your face (unless you select to watch videos of course) or blasting you with emails every two seconds. I would say it is definitely worth a shot to see if you enjoy the experience.

      Let us know your thoughts! Thanks for stopping by.


  5. Congrats on your upcoming wedding. I’ve been married for 19 years, and we’re still going strong. I really like your goals for 2016. Adding $15k, plus adding to your 401k is a great goal; one that if continued will surely lead you to a fantastic retirement.

    Investment Hunting

    • IH,

      Thank you very much. Sounds like you found the perfect match and are barely skipping a beat. Hopefully we are as happy as it sounds like you are! With a wedding and honeymoon it will be tough, but I would love to find a way to keep pushing $15k into my portfolio so I can let the power of compounding begin as soon as possible. The goal is to have the best life possible, so setting yourself up for a great early retirement sounds perfect and the best way to enjoy life to me.

      Thanks again for stopping by! Happy Holidays!

  6. Great plan – I wish you the best in the upcoming year.

    In regards to the 2% dividend, I think if the growth is there then yes, absolutely. I bought more CVS and V in 2015, both yielding well below 2%, but your yield will increase on your original cost basis as dividends increase yearly.

    • Thanks Chimp! I agree, I’m not going to invest in a low yielding stock just for the sake of doing it. I am going to make sure these stocks pack one heck of a dividend growth punch so my overall return (yield + DGR) is impressive. Companies like V, CVS, and others come to mind and I am sure I am going to perform some sort of analysis to see if that is the best fit.


  7. Great goals, Bert!
    Seems like you’re covering a lot of ground with these. I particularly like your idea to make money from side income. It doesn’t require a whole lot of time and energy to use something like Swagbucks so the rewards are definitely worth it!

    • Thanks Jenna, I appreciate it. The side income one is fun but it can be challenging if you do not have the proper time to cater towards the side hustle. That was the issue I ran into this year at least. However, Swagbucks is the perfect compliment to it since it is internet based and I can do it from any place or hotel room that my work sends me to. I would recommend giving it a shot if you haven’t done so already. The low level cash outs for gift cards are pretty freaking nice haha

      Thanks again for stopping by. Hopefully we will see you around more often!


  8. Hi Bert,

    What are your thoughts on my goals? – Those are some great goals, all hard to reach but not impossible either. I look forward to seeing how you do!

    Would you invest in companies with a yield below 2%? Or is that too limiting of a target? – I definitely would invest in a company that yields less than 2%, as long as it’s a great company. It also depends on what its payout is – a company could pay out 20% of its earnings and yield 1.5% dividend, whereas another could pay out 60% and yield 4.5%. Over time, the company that is paying out less and re-investing that money back into the business will grow more.

    Do you think my goals are ambitious enough or did I settle? Like I said, I think they are tough but not impossible and you’re going to achieve the best thing of all this year: $3,250 dividend income! No, kidding, getting married is a huge thing, congratulations.

    Have you set your 2016 goals yet? – I haven’t set any goals yet, though I will do soon. Look out for it 🙂

    Good luck and all the best for 2016 (Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year).

  9. Great goals. I hear you about the use it or loose it piano skills. I played violin from 4th grade through college. I recently came across some of the stuff I played in college and broke out the music stand and rosined up my bow…let’s just say it was disappointing….the piano piece you will be worrKing on will be great, keep at it!

    • Alaska49,

      Thanks for coming by! Violin is one tough nut to crack so kudos to you for mastering it during those years. For me, the most frustrating piece of the equation is know that you had the skill, were pretty darn good at it, and now knowing just how much work/effort will be needed to get you back to that level. Do you have any plans to re-teach yourself how to play? What was your favorite song to play during your years?

      Have a Happy New Year!


  10. Great list of goals, Bert!

    If you decide to retrospectively fulfill one of goals to watch one of your teams on the road and choose to travel to Chicago to do that, let me know. I’m working in Chicago until July 1st and would love to meet up for drinks with likeminded people. With that in mind, Go Packers!

    Have a great 2016,


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