Bert’s Q3 2017 Goals Review

Three quarters down, one to go.  2017 is rapidly coming to a close.  October is one of my favorite months.  My wife and I love the fall weather, playoff baseball is back, and some of my favorite holidays are right around the corner.  If you recall, at the end of December I set five goals for myself.  I knew some of the were stretch goals, but it has been a blast aiming for them anyway.  Each quarter Lanny and I review our goals to check our status and see what possible changes may need to be made.   Let’s jump in an perform my Q3 goals review.


Q3 2017 Goals Review

Goal #1: Add at Least $45,000* to Our Portfolio – Here is a summary of the total capital invested in my portfolio this quarter and the source of the funds:

  • Purchases – $7,026.30
  • 401k Contributions – $11,264.90
  • HSA Contributions – $2,535.13
  • Dividend Re-Investment – $3,479.52
  • Total – $24,305.85

At the end of the second quarter, I was only 38% toward my goal because I was in a cash hoarding position. We had closed on our house and were getting ready to start some house housing projects and move. Well, not too much changed in the third quarter as we were arms deep in housing projects and using every minute of free time to get our house ready to go.

Despite that, I was still able to make a few additional investments during the quarter.  I added to my positions in Cardinal Health in August and Canadian Imperial at the end of September.  On top of that, I increased our automated 401(k) contributions an extra percent per paycheck for my wife and I, so our bi-monthly contributions increased slightly.

After considering these moves and the dividend income we received during the month, we have added $24,305.85 to our portfolio!  This represents 54% of my annual goal.  This should be one heck of a fourth quarter folks and I really hope that I am able to make some progress on this goal.  However, it may be too late in the game as that is a lot of ground to make up.  Unfortunately, I am currently failing this goal and the likelihood of passing this by the end of the year is not likely.

Goal #2: Cross $6,250* in Forward Dividend Income – $5,100 –  Again, I am behind my goal for all of the reasons mentioned above.  At the end of September I was able to make a last minute push and cross a pretty awesome investing milestone ($5,000 in forward dividend income!).  I will likely have a different, more detailed, article about the milestone , so I won’t cover it here.

In the third quarter, I was able to increase my forward dividend income by $424 dollars.  The table in Goal #1 was a huge catalyst for my dividend growth.  The automated investing strategy is really starting to pay-off and the expected dividends from our various 401(k) plans continue to grow at a fast rate.  On top of the automation, I was able to see a nice increase from a clerical error in the quarterly dividend estimate for one of my wife’s mutual funds.  My record keeping resulted in a nice understatement of forward income.  Let’s just say I was really happy to identify and correct this error!

What this quarter’s result shows me is that the power of dividend re-investing is real and can have a huge impact on your forward dividend income.  As the dividend snowball continues to roll, it picks up momentum and helps increase the speed with which your dividend income increases with each re-invested dividend and each extra fractional share that you receive.  It continues to motivate me to keep on grinding.   Still, much like the first goal, I am currently failing this goal.

Goal #3: Stick to My Student Loan Payoff Plan –  Last year I developed this student loan pay-off plan for my wife’s graduate school debt.  This plan would have resulted in her student loan debt being paid off in six quarters.  The final payment would have been made in the second quarter of 2018.  Much like the other goals, I placed this goal on hold during the second quarter due to our house purchase and I was looking to get back on track in the third quarter.

The great news is that we were able to save $4,000 together and make a nice payment in the final week of September!  Finally, I can mark one of my goals as a success.  I’m looking forward to continuing to make progress on this goal in the next four quarters.

Goal #4: Read 1 Book per Month –  This month, I finished only two books and man was a I close to finishing a third book.  Of the three books I was reading during the quarter, there is one that is having a major influence on my life.  If you have been following our Twitter feed, Lanny and I have talked a lot about de-cluttering our lives and getting rid of “stuff.”   Heck, Lanny JUST published an article discussing the five major benefits of getting rid of extra items and focusing on possessing items.

So where has this motivation come from?  Why are Lanny and I so motivated to adopt aspects of minimalism?  At the end of June, we saw a live performance from The Minimalists in Cleveland.  Man did we love the show and left extremely excited and motivated to begin focusing on ourselves, what makes us happy, de-clutter our lives, and focus on having experiences that build relationships and create great memories.

After the show, we met the Minimalists (pictured below) and purchased their first book “Everything that Remains: A Memoir by the Minimalists.”  Trust us, this book did not disappoint.  To give a quick summary without spoiling it, the book is about how Joshua Fields Milburns and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, left the successful careers climbing the corporate ladder, discovered minimalism, and the profound impact minimalism has had on their respective lives.  It is something that 99% of us can relate to, including those that are on a corporate ladder.  There is SO MUCH more to their story than describes, but those amazing details are worth reading and discovering for yourself, as I wouldn’t be able to do The Minimalists justice.

Since then, one of our favorite hobbies and side hustles has been finding items around the house that we can sell on Ebay or donate to someone who needs the product and can get some great use out of it.  I could not recommend this book to enough people and if you haven’t read it, check it out from your library!

Goal #5:  Travel to 3 new places –  I did not take any new trips in the third quarter.  To date, I have only travelled to one new place during the year.  This was a really fun bachelor party in Atlanta for one of my best friends.  Still, I am once again behind my goal.


Once again, I find myself behind on my annual goals.  It is frustrating to see the negative results once again.  I knew I would be behind with my financial goals with my house purchase.  However, I am a little disappointed in myself that I did not focus on reading more books during the last three months or find some time to take a short trip to a new place with my wife.

However, I am going to try something new with goal setting in the fourth quarter and I discussed it in an article published earlier in the month.  In addition to the long-term annual goals that I set at the beginning of the year, I am going to take a look at some shorter term goals that I would like to accomplish over the next three months.  In this article, I set four short-term goals to also focus on during Q4 in addition to the five discussed in this article.  I have nine goals to focus on now in the fourth quarter, so it is time to roll up my sleeves and take some action.  Let’s go everyone and as we always say…EVERY DOLLAR COUNTS!

What are your thoughts about my goals?  Do you have any great book suggestions for the fourth quarter? Do you only set annual goals?  Or do you set short, medium, and long-term goals each year such as monthly and quarterly goals?


26 thoughts on “Bert’s Q3 2017 Goals Review

  1. Her Bert,

    No worries on not meeting all of your goals. For starters, you did reach some of them, including paying down on that student loan and being on track there. That’s HUGE! And, for the goals you didn’t mean, you’re still accomplished them partway. Again, I’m reminded of a favorite quote of mine from Michelangelo who says that the greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.

    I’m rooting for you that next quarter will be a solid one, and that now that the house purchase is behind you, you can get closer to meeting, or even exceeding your annual goals. Almost to the finishing line for December. You can do it!

    • Dividend Portfolio,

      Thank you for the kind words. I love that quote and I think it sums up how we should all feel about the goal setting process. I cannot believe we are already going to be setting our 2018 goals soon enough. You’re right, hitting the mark on my student loan goals is a huge and getting rid of that high interest rate debt is definitely a priority of mine. Hopefully I can deliver next quarter. Thanks for the extra motivation heading into the final months of the quarter here.


  2. You might not be able to hit that 45k goal but you should definitely push as hard as you can in November/December to get as close as you can as possible which should help with the forward dividend income goal too!

    On the book note, I watched the minimalism documentary on netflix a few weeks ago and it was interesting. I might pick up one of their books sometime and check it out as reading more was one of my goals this year too and I’m behind on that as well!

    • TITM,

      Oh for sure. I’m going to work my tail off trying to hit the $45k mark. Don’t you worry about that haha What did you think of the documentary? Would definitely recommend the book I discussed in the article. Have you started getting rid of stuff yet as a result of it? You’re right, less time outside will result in more reading. However, I need to prioritize reading each day and carving out some time for a quiet, relaxing activity.

      Thanks for the great comment.


  3. Bert,

    I’m not sure you are in as bad of shape as you think you are.
    Goal 1 – would you ever consider your house an investment and include it in your portfolio?
    Goal 2 – you’re doing great there.
    Goal 3 – you’re doing great there.
    Goal 4 – with the days getting shorter and the temps dropping, you’ll be indoors more and this may be a goal that you will catch up on without even trying too hard.
    Goal 5 – same as 4 above, you’ll be wanting to get out of your house. Get out and explore your area. You’ll be surprised what’s nearby that you’ve never visited before.

    Keep up the awesome work,


    • Brian,

      I actually haven’t considered my house an investment. That goal, when I set it, was focused solely on my investment portfolio. You’re right, a house is a different kind of an investment. But it was not what I had in mind when I set my goals a long, long time ago. I appreciate the support and the pump up/motivation. You are right about number five. There are so many great areas in Cleveland that I have never explored. I need to get off my butt, take the time, get away from a computer, and explore each of these areas.

      Take care,


  4. While you might be behind the pace/mark for your goals through three quarters the result isn’t necessarily the real purpose of goals. In my view your goals are more like guideposts or targets to keep you on track. The purpose of the goal is to keep you focused and on the right track to whatever it is that you deem important in your life when you’re setting the goal. You still made progress on your goals which ultimately is the important thing. If you’re like me you’re probably setting goals that fall much closer to the “if everything goes right” end of the range of possible outcomes yet life has a way of being anything but predictable so anything that throws you off course even if just a little while will keep you from achieving those goals. But you’re focused, moving forward and back on track now. All the best in Q4.

    • JC,

      Thank you for the great comment. You’re right, I am like you in the sense that i want to set the goal that I know I can achieve if I am firing on all cylinders. I push myself for that reason and know how much discipline I need to have to achieve those goals. 12 months is a long period of time and as you said, so much can change at the blink of an eye that you could not have predicted when you initially set those goals oh so long ago. I really like your thought process and viewpoint about goals and I’ll definitely be considering this when I set my 2018 goals here shortly.

      Take care,


    • Tom,

      Thanks – I’m close, but still very far away. Reading still isn’t habitual for me and I need to continue to find time and force myself to make it a habit. Let me know if you decide to read more books.


  5. Just one of the reasons I love this blog: brutal honesty and a relatable journey.

    Thanks for sharing this. Even while behind, you are doing so much better than most Americans (unfortunately). Keep it up!

    • TI,

      We try to give you all the full transparent picture of our lives. The good and the bad, because there are lessons to be learned from every experience. I’m glad you find that kind of value in our blog. Thanks for the kind comment.


  6. Good forward looking progress. Although you might not fully achieve all of your goals, by setting them, you are moving forward in the right direction. If you never set a goal, you are rudderless. Good work!

    • Palmetto,

      Thanks. You’re right, even though I may not hit the end target the ship is definitely moving in the right direction. I would rather shoot for the moon and come up short than never try at all.


  7. Bert,
    You might feel behind on some of those goals, but you still are very very far ahead of the curve. I would venture to say that most who read here and reply are there with you, but most people our age are not. Keep killing it. Love the minimalist stuff; I’m also a fan of them – mainly from their documentary.
    – Gremlin

    • Gremlin,

      Thank you very much. OUr community is special for the reason you just mentioned. We all care and are focused on improving our finances. I just wish there was a way where I could expand our outreach at times and help others realize that it is never too late to start improving our finances and even the smallest of changes can have a HUGE impact in the long run.


      • Bert,
        I have tried to show my friends that, but usually it is just not what they want to hear. So I guess the best thing we can do is be an example. Then again, perhaps we should not tell them – need someone to make sure those dividends keep flowing!
        – Gremlin

        • Gremlin,

          Leading by example is always the best strategy. You can’t force change on someone. The only time they will make a drastic change is when they are ready to, even if you have tried for years to convince them otherwise.


  8. Hi Bert,
    As already mentioned in previous comments, I agree that it is better to set goals that are really hard to achieve rather than setting low expectations and achieving them easily. What would be the point if you didn’t need to try hard for them? 🙂
    I think you are doing great and you can give yourself a lot of credit for what you achieved already this year. This doesn’t mean that you should relax and not try to push until then end of the year, of course 😀
    Keep it up!

    • BI,

      Like I said to the others, I couldn’t agree more with that goal setting philosophy 🙂 I appreciate the support and the kind words. Don’t worry, Ill definitely be pushing still here and am not letting up. I’m getting as close to that mark as I freaking can!


  9. Always nice to reflect upon goals even if you aren’t hitting them all. That is one problem I have is I am chasing too many goals at once. Which makes it hard for things to get accomplished. Financial goals are harder to hit this year due to trying to pay for school out of pocket to not take on any more debt. But that is kind of a win in itself I guess.

    Congrats on crossing the 5k forward dividends mark. At least you are still on pace for a few things. Just takes time is all. I usually never travel but actually did once or twice this year. Set me back a little financially but well worth it. And there is still time left this year, maybe take a long weekend somewhere. But with tax season coming up soon, I know how difficult that is. Best of luck pushing for your goals in the next few months!

    • Dividend Daze,

      I had 6-7 goals last year and paired it down to five this year for that reason. It is possible to spreads yourself too thin and I have done that in the past. I agree, paying for school without incurring debt is HUGE and it is nice for you to save on that interest expense.

      There is nothing wrong with taking a nice trip, especially if you have saved for it and can fit it into your budget/routine. Heck, if anything, you save on the day to day items so you can have experiences such as those.


  10. Hey Bert, I am with you for the current progress on my goals. Not doing as well as I would like to be! Some of my goals were rather ambitious, but I like this because it gives me something to strive for. If I reach them, amazing. But if I fall short, I would have still made great progress. Personally I think it’s good to have yearly goals, then set your quarterly goals to help you reach your yearly goals.

    • Terence,

      As I’ve talked about with others here. It is better to aim high with your goals than to set a low bar just for the sake of hitting it. I’ve started setting annual and quarterly goals like you have.

      Take care!


  11. Hey Bert I really like your goals. I like how you set high goals. Even if you don’t meet or exceed all of your goals to me you are doing outstanding. Looking at your goals will help challenge me with my goals next year. Can’t wait to see how you make out by year end.

    Take care

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