Final dividend income totals have been tallied. Final purchases were made (or not made). Now that the ball dropped and the calendar turned, the book on 2016 is finally closed. A few weeks ago, I published my 2017 investing and life goals so I can hit the ground running in 2017. However, I can’t ignore the fact that I had 2016 goals to complete. I performed quarterly updates to monitor my progress; so for one final time, I will publish my 2016 goals review. Let’s see if I was able to meet my goals in 2016!
Before I set my 2017 goals, I reflected on the goal setting process and how I could do a better job of setting goals going forward. Some of the reasons I did not succeed some of my goals served as a major influence at trying to build “SMART”er goals or goals with more of a purpose, as Lanny described in an earlier article. This is an evolving process for all of us, and the best way to learn and grow as a person/investor is to reflect on what has succeeded and what has failed in the past. I’m not calling 2016 a failure by any stretch of the means, because even if I didn’t hit my goal, the journey to knock the goal out improved my financial situation. But in this black and white setting, where I either hit my goal or missed it, it has to be defined that way. Let’s review how I performed in 2016!
Goal #1: Projected Dividend Income of $3,250 – Starting off strong here, starting off strong. I was fortunate enough to crush this goal earlier in the year and wrote about how I was able to cross $3,250 in projected forward dividend income at the beginning of November. By the end of the year, I was able to increase my forward dividend income total to $3,337.87, exceeding my goal by $87. That $3,337 figure only represents my personal portfolio, however. When I add the impact of my wife’s portfolio, our family forward dividend income is $4,516.90 entering next year. In 2017, I am pushing for $6,250 in forward income for our family, so let’s see if I can replicate the same success in the current year!
Goal #2: Invest in 5 new Dividend Aristocrats in 2016
Goal #3: Invest in 2 Companies with Dividend Yields below 2%
I thought I would talk about these two goals together, because the reason I did not meet these goals was a big theme in my goals reflection article. During the year, I only purchased two Dividend Aristocrats ( T.Rowe Price & Target) and did not purchase any companies with a dividend yield below 2%. So yes, I failed to meet both of these goals. My takeaway from this, and it was reflected in my 2017 goals, was that goals like these are too specific and boxed me into investing in only certain types of companies versus finding the best company available at the time. The Browns just earned the #1 pick in the draft, and I oddly find this as a parallel to the argument of “Do we take a desperately needed quarterback even though they aren’t the best player” or does the team “draft the best player available?” Just because a company is not a Dividend Aristocrat does not mean it isn’t a great dividend growth stock. Similarly, a stock yielding less than 2% may not be the best discount in the market at the moment. My search for a company should focus for the best company that fits my dividend growth investing strategy at the time, regardless of the yield or status as a Dividend Aristocrat. If I followed these goals and forced myself to accomplish them, I would never have purchased Realty Income. You can’t stare me in the face and honestly tell me that Realty Income is not a great dividend stock at the moment. Therefore, you did not see these goals carried forward into 2017.
Goal #4: $20,000 in New Purchases in 2016 (Excluding 401(k) contributions). – After I purchased Realty Income, I thought I was cruising towards knocking this goal out of the park. I was sitting pretty, having purchased $16,239.40 in purchases (not including 401k contributions) with an accumulating cash account that I was eager to put into the market. Then, I think we all know what happened, the stock market took off! We were all struggling to find good values in the marketplace, so much so that I posed the question of whether the stock market rising like crazy was an indicator that I should use my extra capital to pay down student loans versus investing. Bottom line, I was not able to accomplish this goal during the year…another fail. But I would rather continue increasing my capital reserves waiting for the right stock to purchase versus forcing a purchase in an overvalued stock just to say I was able to accomplish this goal. Don’t worry, I’ll put this capital to good use in 2017!
Goal #5: Earn $1,000 in Other Income – This goal is difficult to measure, during the year, I earned about $100 to date through Swagbucks (Affiliate Link) by participating in random activities and surveys. This is well short of the $750 Lanny has earned over his Swagbucks career, but I’ll take it considering I left 2016 with $100 more dollars than I started because of the website. However, I was not able to turn a profit on any other side hustles and was not able to accomplish this goal. When setting this goal, I underestimated how busy I was going to be in 2016. The one thing about side hustles (not including the blog of course) is the time required to complete the side hustle. Between wedding activities, work, blogging, and swagbucking, there just wasn’t that much time left over to adequately earn money in other platforms. There are many things you can control in this world, but unfortunately, you cannot control how many hours there are in a day.
Goal #6: Re-learn One of My Favorite Songs on Piano – Ugh, this one pains me because I set my goals on learning the toughest songs I had ever played. But if I didn’t have time to adequately perform a side hustle to earn an extra $1,000 in 2016…I definitely did not have enough time to adequately re-teach myself a song on my piano. It takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, to play a song perfectly. And honestly, it is difficult without having my piano teach by my side guiding me when I started falling off the path and guiding me. however, there is some good news here! This goal did encourage me to sit down and begin playing piano again. I didn’t master it, but I was able to begin playing one of my favorite piano songs again and got it to a respectable level! If I get enough requests, I will put up a video on this website one day down the line when I can get the song back to a level appropriate for the public! So I won’t say I failed this goal, but I definitely didn’t pass it.
Despite the fact that you saw a lot of fails above, 2016 was an amazing year and I left the year in MUCH BETTER shape than I entered it. There is no such thing as a perfect goal and situations arise that may make the goal irrelevant halfway through the year. I used the goals review for 2016 as much to help drive SMARTer goals for 2017 and beyond. I’m officially ready to start looking ahead towards 2017 and slowly chipping away at those goals! Onward and upwards my friends!
What do you think of my goals review? Are you shocked that I wasn’t able to accomplish any of the goals? Were you able to accomplish your goals in 2016? If not, what did you learn from the goal setting process? What changes did you make for 2017? Looking forward to your comments and feedback everyone!