Now that Q1 is long and in the books and we are already more than 3 weeks into April – I thought it would be a great time to reflect on the last 3 months and see where I am in line with my goals. There are 9 months to go and I’m curious if I am seeing any sort of light at the end of this tunnel. Of course, doing a Q1 goals update, also means that another busy season (#5 for me) is in the books and the air becomes more apparent for me to breathe in – all of you accountants – you know what I’m talking about! I set lofty goals back in December of 2015 for my 2016 year and this first quarter has been a blur. With the blur – let’s see if I was able to make out anywhere to make progress.
2016 Goal Re-Cap
Given this post – this helps me tremendously get back on the path in case that I have steered off of it somewhat or help keep me on the golden brick road to the 12/31/16 end goals. Below are the goals that I had established in December for this year, as a way to re-cap what I wanted to accomplish:
- Projected Dividend Income at $8,000
- Keep Trading Costs Below $100
- Make 3 Trades > $3,000
- Monthly Plan Expenditures: Switch from Verizon, Reduce Auto Insurance to $70/month, Change Internet from AT&T
- Make $2,000 extra payments towards Mortgage in 4 quarterly installments
- Sell 3 Items on eBay
- Go on a Trip
Phew, that’s a mouthful above and fun seeing that I kept it to a solid 7 goals, very similar to 2015. From just reading them I know that the monthly plan expenditures are hard and the projected income is always a beast to take down, given that I missed the mark in 2015 (UGH!). One thing that always helps the monetary goals is – Saving over 60% of your income each and every month, but sometimes life happens – bachelor parties, vacations, weddings to attend, etc.. also – Uncle Sam takes a good punch to my gut come April. Enough of the rant here… how the heck am I doing in relation to these goals??!
March 31, 2016 Progress
- Projected Dividend Income at $8,000: Currently, as of April 23, 2016, I am sitting at a projected $6,782 in dividend income. This isn’t materially different than at Q1 or 3/31, as i haven’t made a fricken purchase in what feels like years! I even wrote about why I haven’t purchased a stock in
3060 days, it’s wild. I may have a purchase up my sleeve, however. I have increased my dividend income so far in 2016 by ~$277 (as I ended 12/31/15 around $6,505). I needed to add $1,495 in dividend income, therefore $277/$1,495 = 18.5% there – not quite 25% but not too bad. Obviously not buying anything deters this, as well as instances where entities do not increase their dividend, cut their dividend like BHP Billiton (BBL) or even barely increase such as Procter & Gamble (PG) (they did a “whopping” 1% dividend increase). I have currently $1,218 to go. Time to put my foot on the pedal and…. GO.
- Keep Trading Costs below $100: With my purchases of ADM in January and then a whopper of T. Rowe Price (TROW) in February – my trading costs are EXTREMELY low at this point. My total trading costs are sitting at a dismal $13.90 – which is AWESOME! With those 2 purchases – the total was $6,130 and the costs as a % then was 0.226% aka – negligible. I still would have to spend $86.10 more or make 12 more trades. Given how the trend has gone – that won’t happen more than likely. I would say I am doing very well here in this realm. Feeling better now.
- Make 3 trades > $3,000: As we knew from my post on why I want to make larger purchases for investments – and with the two purchases mentioned above – I am actually 66.67% of the way there – NOW WE ARE TALKING!! I didn’t think I would have accomplished this chunk of the goal so early on, but it happened. Therefore – I need to make one more substantial purchase, and I can see that happen more than likely by the end of the 3rd quarter, maybe the 2nd. All I know is – I am on track to hit this goal as well.
- Monthly Plan Expenditures: Well, well, well. To begin – Verizon (VZ) has sucked at the moment. I was trying to work with them over the last few days to see if I can stay and have a slightly early upgrade = NO is what they have said, unless I want to pay monthly for the phone, which I do not want to do. Leaving them would be $150 in early termination fees at this point, it sucks. I talked with a Sprint (S) a bit yesterday and they are willing to pay for the ETF fees, waive the activation fee of $30 and my bill would be approximately $15 cheaper than VZW, plus I could get a new phone. I am REALLY debating this. However – I would sign on for 2 years, which is tough. To be determined on that one. Auto Insurance is another story. My premium ended up going up somehow for 2016 beginning 4/25 (aka I am working to wind this down again by contacting others), even though my car is older, my auto loan is smaller, plus another full year of no incidents/violations. AKA W T F?!?! Enough with that crap. Internet – the good stuff – we all know that I switched from AT&T (T) a month back to WOW! network provider. One thing to note – AT&T never told me I’d have any early termination fees initially. After I switched and I called back AT&T to turn it off officially – they said I was on the hook for $45. Never was told me and I do not understand. I am warning all readers to ask the question and don’t take that if they say “that’s fine, you can leave” that it means $0 in fees. Don’t get hit like I did. My new internet is $10 cheaper and more than 5x faster, it is amazing. AMAZING. Bottom-line and well worth the switch. Partly failing here though with auto insurance and cell phone. Damn.
- Make $2,000 extra towards the Mortgage: Currently I have chipped in 2 $500 payments and am halfway towards this goal. I made 1 on 1/1 and another on 4/1. I am 50% there and seem to be breezing through this goal. The BIG debate always is do you either pay off the mortgage or invest, something I’m always curious on individual’s feedback. Are you doing something similar?
- Sell 3 Items on eBay – 0 so far and failing in this category. I have donated quite a bit of clothes and have some clothes to sell as well, in addition to my modem from the old internet. Because of busy season and weddings – June may be a good month to do some work here and grab some extra cash.
- Go on a Trip: Cha-Ching! Luckily – my wonderful girlfriend was able to fly me out to Burlington, Vermont as part of her work program at no cost. I spent 3 days approximately there and went to a few fun restaurants, a brewery tour, did karaoke (no videos to be released haha) and had a fun time in the early part of busy-season. Next up will be this upcoming Friday – where we are going to the Dominican Republic all-inclusive resort for approximately $1K each. THIS GOAL IS DONE!
Overall Q1 2016 Goal Conclusion
Phew… okay. I know where I need to do some serious work. If I want to be at 50% of my dividend income goal – I need to add approximately $471 the remainder of this quarter alone. Which could happen with the match in the 401K from the employer, dividend increases and at least 2 purchases I’d like to make. I could get there – there’s also the wonderful tool of dividend reinvestment that I love, which will help me accomplish this feat. Further – I need to get my eBay game in order, as well as “go Italian” on a few phones calls related to the cell phone and auto insurance. In fact, I’ll be working on the auto insurance this afternoon to get the most value at the best rate. Stay tuned there.
Thanks everyone – how are you all fairing up in your annual goals? Falling behind, ahead of the pack or staying the course? Need any help getting back on the horse? Thanks again everyone for coming by, please leave comments, feedback and suggestions below – they are MORE than appreciated. Good luck and keep crushing it!