Lanny’s 2017 Goals

Here we go again!  Another rendition of establishing my goals for the upcoming year.  As we remember, I cannot wait for the upcoming year of 2017.  This has been a whirlwind of 365 days and very happy to close the books on the year.  I am ready, today, now, this moment to take more control and to leap forward into the challenges that await, as well as the growth that I know these next 365 days will contain.  goals

Also, I’m excited for Bert and his 2017 goals that he posted last week.  He is set to really crush the year, making moves on the student loans with his wife and accomplishing other milestones, especially after they recently combined their dividend income portfolios.  With each item that I have personally established below, with talking with my girlfriend, as well, I am keeping in mind the purpose or the why in the goal that I am establishing.  This is very critical, as we would be wandering aimlessly at doing “things”.  2017 will be more of what I’ve been doing, but a little shorter on the goal list.  I have found out that it is better to have a more focused approach, as well as to establish those that are truly attainable.

2017 goals

1.) Dividend Income Projection by 12/31/2017: To begin with the question – why do I need/want this goal?  Because I love investing and want to increase my dividend income to be financially free, in order to do more of what I want and spend time with whom I want, at any given time!  Given the extreme challenge I set for myself for 2016 – where I began at a projected $6,505 on 12/31/15 and set a goal of $8,000 – I was very ambitious, to say the least.  I thought with the compounding of the dividend reinvestment, plus the dividend growth and my desire to place as much capital into the market as possible would get me there.  What’s awesome is my new tax-efficient strategy of maximizing the 401(k) and H.S.A. has kept me on an automatic buying spree, which helped propel me over the goal of $8,000.  Going into the end of 2016, I am currently at roughly $8,067 for projected income.  I do not plan on making any further contributions as of right now, and am hoping to open 2017 with a new systematic strategy that really dumbs down my investing approach.  Therefore, I am setting a nice target of $10,000 by the end of 2017 in projected income.  I achieved increasing my annual amount by $1,500+ (even more so when you include BBL’s cut) during these last 12 months – well, with more income and more power, $2,000 appears to be massive but attainable.  Here is how I will get there:

a.) Dividend Income of $8,067 reinvested at a weighted average yield of 3.41% = $275 added via reinvestment alone.

Article: Dividend Reinvestment

b.) Dividend Growth on $8,067 on a weighted average dividend growth rate of 5.50% = $444 added via dividend growth alone.

Article: Impact of Dividend Growth Rate

c.) 401(k) Matches, considering I still will be at my employer, of $2,517 (approx.) at 2.25% yield = $56 added via 401k Match.

Article: Power of the 401(k) Match

d.) Contributions of $18,000 into the 401(k) pre-tax at 2.25% yield from VINIX = $405 added.

Article: Maximizing Pre-tax 401(k)

e.) Maximizing of $2,900 + employer’s chip in of $500 towards the H.S.A at 2.25% yield from VTSMAX = $77 added

Article: Maximizing the H.S.A.

f.) Invest in IRA & Investment Account $19,800 throughout the year or $1,650 per month at 3.75% on average = $743 added.

Total Amount to be added above = $2,000.  This is intense.  Section f is the most daunting without a doubt.  Luckily that is entirely up to me and will be the only “more manual” process, which it is my intention to automate that as much as I possible can.

2.) Donate 30+ Pieces of Clothing – This goal is fun.  The reason why is to reduce the amount I own, clear space and give back, with the final topping of a tax itemization.  In 2016 I was lucky enough to donate 2 suits, 4 pairs of dress paints, 4 pairs of jeans, unused/unfit boxers, 3 dress shirts, a pajama set, over 15 t-shirts, athletic shorts and multiple polo shirts.  It felt so nice being able to donate the clothing, clear out my closet/declutter my house and receive a small tax-break for this.  Given that was over 30 pieces of items in 2016, I bet I can achieve that again in 2017 – being more true to the questions one needs to ask.  Those questions are – Have I wore this in the last 3, 6 or 12 months?  If the answer is “No”, then donated they go.  It truly does feel nice when I open my drawers or my closet and it seems very simplistic and not complicated.  I simply wear what I love to wear.  If they ever wear out/really start to become thin or fall apart, then I will purchase new clothes, but only in that instance.

3.) Increase my Salary – Yes, going against my grain.  However – this is to increase my salary beyond a normal increase.  Why do I want to do this?  It’s been one hard as hell year for me professionally and I am still standing, fulfilling all commitments and going above what my role is/should have been.  Further, this has been a crazy year in our firm, as I am the only manager, outside of senior managers in our audit group within the state.  Therefore, this has required me to be a part of a lot more than others have had to.  Why would I like a higher salary?  To recognize this, and the easy other answer – to have more income for other financial endeavors, as in, invest more to retire earlier.   Now, the question is, how will I accomplish this?

a.) Have hard facts on the fiscal year I’ve gone through – client relations, extra billable work, business development opportunities, training younger staff and managing the 15+ senior staff/staff under me.

b.) Come in with a fair market value assessment elsewhere.  I don’t fully recommend this, but I am also thinking of a career change, so having this in paper, will also be of aid.

c.) Comparable managers in my area of Ohio to show where I stand versus where I’d like to be, to compare that to a scale.  This way, what I would be asking or seeking – would not be uncommon, either.

4.) Travel – Why do I want to travel?  To experience life, explore, learn about other cultures and to take what life has to offer, truly in.  I believe my girlfriend and I would like to go on a road trip to DC, New York, Boston or somewhere else east; as well as explore another trip internationally.  Also – we’d like to drive to Canada to visit both of our relatives, which it would be our first time exploring Canada together, as well.

5.) Study – Italian and or for a certification in an area (no further details).  Why would I want to do this?  Easy – to learn.  Italian is my family’s older/main language before taking the boat here in the 60’s and most of my relatives continue to speak it.  Therefore, I’d love to learn this language to converse with them, as well as to broaden my speaking skills with other languages (should be fun to travel there and know the language too!).  As it relates to a certification – this could be helpful for a career change that I may consider doing either soon or within the medium term/time frame.  No disclosures yet here, but I am sure one can guess/assume which one fairly easily, haha.  How will I accomplish one of these?  Here is the plan:

a.) Study/Read Materials – minimum 3x per week for 5 hours.  With all of the driving I do, I actually should have time to do this.  This will be a way to keep track of my progress.

b.) Talk to family members to hone on the language even more.  My girlfriend’s family also has a bit of Italian in their background, so the combination of my family + hers, should be beneficial.

c.) Document & track my studying/reading/practicing.  It always works better for me if I know I have to record my activity.  This should keep me motivated.

With that, you’ll notice I did not have a mortgage paydown goal.  As of right now, especially give my recent article due to change in interest rates, I am not sure if I want to make further additional payments on the mortgage.  I dislike debt, of course, but not sure if that is the ultimate best use of my capital, right now.  Don’t worry, you know I’ll still be saving at least 60% of my income, each and every month, and making every single dollar county as much as possible!!!

goals conclusion

There those bad boys are.  Obviously, these can be adjusted given circumstances throughout the year, but these are my stops on the way to what I am trying to pursue.  I really just want to submerge myself into taking more control over, which some would say I have a fairly decent grip, my finances, career, money that comes in, knowledge that I learn and experienced I’d love to have.  Life takes turns in all sorts of directions, very open to those experiences as you never know what you’ll learn, who you’ll meet or what it may end up meaning/doing for you.

Which one do you think will be the hardest to accomplish?  Are you mixing both financial and non-financial goals?  Which one don’t you like above or that I may be missing some suggestive points to accomplishing the goals, that I could benefit from?

Thanks everyone and best of luck in 2017!!!


34 thoughts on “Lanny’s 2017 Goals

    • Time –

      thank you very much – the $2K will be hard, but trying to stick with my own motto and rule – every dollar counts. I’ll be living frugally, saving often and investing more often as well. Stoked for the first month already!


  1. Ciao Lenny,
    Great set of goals there! I am working on mine as we speak and I love the details and precision of your targets! If I can help with your Italian ask away. I thought it was odd to want to learn Italian but after reading I understand better! 🙂 Do you know where your family was originally from? Have a great 2017 and ciao!

    • Ciao Stal,

      Much appreciated, I’ve been working on really drilling it down and finding out why and how I’ll even get there.

      They are about an hour north of Naples – Cantalupo Nel Sannio Isernia. You??


      • Ciao Lanny,
        I am from Florence, a bit further up north compared to Naples. As usual I’ll be checking your progress on the blog, as to the Italian if you have any odd question ask away will be happy to help!
        ciao ciao

        • Ciao – awesome, do you still live there or where are you now??

          Appreciate it and let us know if there are some other deep topics to talk about and/or if you want to bounce ideas off eachother. Talk soon!


          • You, came back to Florence after many years of travelling/living abroad… 🙂 If you want any help you know where to find me, and if you ever come down to pizzaland give me shout maybe we can meet up somewhere! 🙂
            Ciao ciao

  2. Hi Lanny,
    A great set of goals – I like the mix between personal and financial too! Your salary improvement plan looks pretty solid too – I hope you get the raise you deserve!

    Of all your goals, I’m gonna guess the language one will be the hardest as it’s the most subjective. I’m biased as I find learning languages hard – I’m always reluctant to try to speak in case it’s wrong 🙂 Finding someone you can regularly talk to in Italian, or watching movies in Italian with English subtitles can help. Have you thought about travelling to Italy and working on the travel + language goals together?

    Looking forward to watching you crush those goals this year!
    Best wishes,

    • DLife –

      Thank you very much. That will be the hardest, I tried once to learn, but just was not mentally ready/dedicated. BUT – I see your point – two birds with one stone? I plan on starting tomorrow morning/Monday with a cup of coffee, wish me luck on my first session!

      Appreciate the hype though DL, I need all of the positive energy I can get! Best wishes and looking forward to your performance as well.


  3. Great set of goals, Lanny! I especially like the second one about donating the clothing. We have also been doing a fair bit of decluttering and it always feels good afterwards. It’s hard to describe the feeling of opening up your wordrobe to only see your favourite clothes. For items that I have found harder to throw out, I’ve resorted to moving them to a separate wordrobe and if they stay there too long then they will be donated not too long after that. I’m gonna try our your 3, 6 and 12 month rule though.

    Happy new year and good luck with your endeavours!


    • Len –

      Pumped that you stopped by. It’s funny, I showed my girlfriend what a few drawers looked like and she was stunned how much more organized and less chaotic they looked. And you are right – the goal is to end up being the clothes you have are your favorites, that you wear most often. I still have ways to go, this I know, but I hope to make further progress this year!

      Thanks again and best of luck to you as well.


  4. Rock on Lanny. A good list! To me, one of the most important reasons for success is one’s “system” and I think you have a great system going, so you should continue to be very successful in 2017. Keep it up and thanks for sharing,

    • Dan –

      Ready to rock and rip this year up, that’s for sure. I appreciate you noticing the system aspect. What’s funny, is I’m almost at a point where I’d like to automate anything $ related, you know? Then, to focus really my time on the softer items – the blog, language, other areas of the pursuit to financial freedom, etc.. The more time spent there, I know will be better. Pumped for the year and appreciate the comment.


    • DesiD –

      Thanks for commenting! Yep – those were definitely some curve balls in there, and the declutter is such a satisfying piece for some reason. Providing clothes for others and then cleaning up your own area of living is incredible, something I recommend everyone to take a hard look at. Also, doesn’t hurt for those that itemize on their taxes : ) Appreciate the comment as always and talk soon.


  5. My goals are simple this year. I will pay off a $7000. debit (I paid $140.00 to get this money but I don’t have to pay interest on this money) by October. My wife and I will continue contributing the max our 457 accounts and we will max out our Roth contributions this year.

    I will continue to diversify my portfolio. I used to reinvest all my dividends into the companies that paid them, but since October (I tranfereded all my holdings to Merrill Edge from Ameritrade) I’ve been pooling all my dividends and have been purchasing shares in companies that are are not yet full positions.

    I am currently receiving $15,700 in dividends per year.

    This new approach is helping me to rebalance (slowly) my portfolio without having to sell anything. I was becoming uncomfortable with the number of shares i had in particular companies such as pm (585), cvx (315) Es (525) and msft (210).

    I own 62 stocks, 41 are full positions and the rest are not. I’m adding to companies such as Lmt (11) cmi (60), adm (50), rtn (81) and Vfc (20). I’m not sure the approach I’m taking is the best one but feel this is helping me to diversify. Thoughts?

    • Lou –

      Thanks for stopping by. There we go – crushing DEBT and PUMPING INVESTMENTS.

      Interesting – so instead of reinvestment automatically, you are simply collecting and then purchasing an undervalued stock, eh? I’ve seen it both ways, automation works well for me : )

      And DAYUM! That $15.7K would be music to my ears, especially because it’s almost double where I’m at. Impressive.

      Those are massive positions, so re-balancing wouldn’t be a bad idea OR just build up the others with new capital to balance it out that way!

      I believe you are fairly diversified, however you could increase VFC and other investments in order to level out the other massive positions you have in PM & CVX. Thoughts on that?


      • I’ve been watching you two guys grow your portfolio and am I’m enjoying your journey. Thank you both for including me along the way. These are the stocks that i’ve been focusing on and will increase the number of shares in these companies in this year. I did sell 250 shares of cop this year but kept 50 shares because I still like the company.


  6. Hi Lanny,
    That is a great set of goals. I wish you the best of luck in crushing all of them.
    I like how you dissected your dividend growth target. Nice analysis.
    Personally, I would say that the best way to learn a language is to speak it. And that usually works best in the country where it is spoken. Similar to learning how to swim, it’s best to do it in water.
    You could consider combining the language and your travel plans and knock down two goals at once.

    • Div Inc Builder –

      Too funny and it’s funny because I think you are right. While I am reading & listening to the CDs, I should talk to my Uncle, Aunt and Nonna while I have the opportunity to do so. That should help, right?? Do you know other languages?


  7. It’s great seeing these goals start to roll out for everyone as the new year begins. I completely agree with the acute focus for goals. We’re all ambitious so sometimes our goals/minds wander in a lot of directions, honing focus is definitely a good idea. I’m looking forward to seeing you destroy these goals. Big stuff fully funding the 401k! I’m putting together my goals right now, nice to pull some thoughts from yours.

    Cheers to 2017!

    • Stacker –

      Thanks for the comment as always. You are doing great things and your 2017 will trump 2016 in a monstrous way. What’s fun with starting out, is that you will see exponential growth, so enjoy it and savor your accomplishments, but stay hard on the grind!

      But yes – the maximizing 401k was a fun transition, a transition/experiment that I am going to continue onward! Pumped for tax-time, lets just say haha.


  8. Nice goals Lanny. I love how you broke out dividend income increases, it really helps to support the snowball theory. My favorite goals are your personal ones, donating clothes and learning a language.

    I just donated about half my closet to charity yesterday. It’s feels good to give away items that I don’t use or no longer need. I gave away a bunch of really nice suits. Hopefully someone can use them to better their position. I haven’t needed to wear suits to wok in over 10 years. Honestly, I can never go back to them. I like my jeans and t-shirt workplace.

    Best of luck with these goals and for you and Bert in 2017.

    • IH –

      That is awesome. What made you want to donate all (half) of your clothes?? I agree -someone can definitely wear them and get much better use of the clothes we donate. Pumped that you did that. Did you notice, also, more space??

      Appreciate it IH, talk soon!


  9. Ha! My 2017 goals regarding clothing has been to do my best to keep my wife from donating all my awesome old t-shirts 😉

    Anyway, best of luck reaching some very ambitious numbers! 10k is a lot, however I’m sure you can do it!

    Regarding travel, my family and I went to Boston for a mini vacation last month and had a great time. There is so much history there that you can easily spend 2 – 3 days just walking the city for super cheap. Wait till it warms up though, walking around in the cold was rough!

    Happy New Year!

    • TDP –

      Thanks for the comment and that is hilarious. My girlfriend screamed, “Don’t donate every single piece of clothing!” which would be far from the case.

      I would love to make the road trip to Boston – couldn’t agree more on the cold, though. I literally walked from the office to my car and thought the world was coming to an end haha. What were your favorite things to do when you were in Beantown?


      • There is sooo much in Boston to do. The freedom trail pretty much takes you past all the highlights except for Harvard and MIT. But eating at the Oyster House was cool… the seafood was incredible. We used a Trolley tour (Old Town Trolley – I think) to get a heated view of the city – it was freezing! That turned out to be a really good deal and the stories the drivers told were fun. Didn’t even need to get a subway pass – could have just used the Trolley service. The Boston Tea Party Ship and Museum was a really cool show (free with the trolley tour). I’m sure you’ll have a great time if you go!

  10. Lanny – I find one of the great things about dividend growth investing is the ability to reasonably forecast future dividends. I use a very similar formula with respect to dividend income and dividend growth, except I use a median yield of 3.75% for dividend growth (and new money) and an average dividend growth rate of 5% on existing investments.
    Using that formula for 2016, my total dividends came within 1% of the forecast! There is a degree of comfort knowing that while stock prices will fluctuate, dividend income can be projected with some degree of certainty if your portfolio is comprised of established long time dividend paying companies.
    Good luck in 2017!

  11. Nice Goals Lanny! I personally like #3 Increase Your Salary.

    While I’ve been slacking on the blogging lately, I’ve been crushing it at the day job. In fact when my review came up in December. They offered a raise but I ended up countering them for a higher raise. It was a terrifying experience because I’ve never done anything like that before. However, I hear it’s a normal policy. In the end, it was respectable option and they ended up matching my counter raise. Something to consider. =)

    Good luck with the goals!!!

  12. Lanny – you have some great goals and I think you have a very good chance of commanding a higher salary. It sounds like you are becoming more indispensable to your employer – always a good position to be in as this strengthens your negotiating position.

    If you get the higher salary, this means you can automatically increase your contributions to your investment portfolio and will go a long way to helping you into a five figure a year dividend income. Keep compounding and happy investing!

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