We wrapped last year having accomplished almost all our goals. Almost, because we got our car totaled right before Thanksgiving. We missed our net worth target by 1%. Let’s say that was a pretty good year financially. And we had a daughter, who’s awesome, so 2016 was definitely terrific.
How’s 2017 going to look like?
Choosing a framework
Oh the ugly word, that sounds corporate doesn’t it? Haha, sorry! Influenced by how we design our corporate objectives, I’ve ‘borrowed’ the format to define and track my own goals. Once set in this tracker, categorized as below, they are reviewed on a quarterly basis. My wife and I already have monthly reviews so that should be pretty effective.
This year, I’ve decided to categorize my goals in 4 different areas:
- Growth : whether personal or professional, it covers goals that can have an impact on the income side of the equation. The impact may be short or long term.
- Health : there’s no point being FI and sick or unable to live a healthy life for many many years. I want to have a sustainable lifestyle and these goals support that.
- Finance : covers the spend & investment side of the equation, the part that is mostly under control now.
- Legal : is for all the stuff that we typically do not need to do until shit happens and we realize we should have. It’s the safety net.
Here they are:
In 2016 I managed to read 12 books and I feel like I learned a lot. I didn’t do a very good job capturing that knowledge and applying it consistently so a goal I have for this year is to improve that process. Still read, but read better.
At work, I am currently on a project management track which started after the company let go truckloads of people. The remaining folks would have to be trained and meet a certain level (or else…). I’m already 12 months into the training with probably 6 more to go. The promotion at the end isn’t automatic, but it isn’t possible either until the training is completed. We’ll see.
I often hear that we are the sum of the 5 people we spend the most time with and it seems quite true. This year, I’d like to join an entrepreneur or investment community and meet people with more ambition, success or net worth than I do. If I could find a mentor or two there I’d be super excited.
Health is a tricky one because I’ll be happy even I failed trying. What truly motivates me is to lower my BMI under my 2016 levels. During the last medical check-up, the nurse told me I was ‘borderline’ overweight. WTH? No way I’m crossing that line.
So I’ve designed several objectives to keep myself moving. Running is an activity that I’ve come to enjoy and now that I’ve run a half-marathon once, I have a personal record to beat. If I can keep running throughout the year for about 10k / week, it should also prepare me for a marathon in 2018.
Anyway, getting into a running routine on the week-ends and possibly during the week would be an awesome achievement.
Ironically, I do not have much planned in terms of finance. My goal is to stay the course and remain above the >50% savings rate. Our finances are pretty much under control at that point and I can’t think of many ways we can optimize it further. If we do, I think it’ll be for ‘peanuts’.
What we now need is increasing our income.
I did add 2 objectives for home maintenance on the list because they can have a large impact on our budget. If done well, we will benefit from them for many years but without proper research costs can go up quickly.
One of these project to protect our pergola that the previous owner never maintained. I’d rather spend a few $$ now than losing it in a few years for lack of maintenance. We also have a large sliding door in the back that isn’t very safe for kids and provides almost 0 insulation from the outside. I need to find good contractors that can help me with this.
Lastly I added a legal category this year mostly to cover the need to have a will ready. My grandfather passed away 2 years ago and without a will, his entire estate was divided as per the local laws. It was a mess and it took forever. We already have a rather complex estate and we want to make it easy to manage would something happens to one of us (or both). I might be overthinking it, but I’m sure it’s going to take several months.
This will also be the opportunity to review all of our insurance for auto and home insurance. Our coverage hasn’t changed in 5 years and I’m sure it needs to be reviewed carefully. I’ll need to evaluate if an umbrella insurance makes sense too.
Finally, I’d like our daughter to have global entry. Last time we passed the customs, the officer made it clear that she can’t go through with us if she doesn’t have it. Some more paperwork to fill.
2017 and beyond
Our goal is currently to be Financially Independent in 5 years. With 1 kid in the budget, that will be more difficult but if we have another one, that will have to wait until after daycare / nanny costs go away.
Also, one plan that is on the table for the next 5 years is to find a business to buy, take over, optimize and resell. Something of a reasonable size for which we would have to partner with investors to raise equity. I have met 2 couples who have done this over the last 12 months and they have amazing stories to tell. It has actually opened my mind to completely new opportunities and I need to explore this a little more. The income limit is virtually unlimited and the experience invaluable.
In parallel, I get more and more signals that investing in real-estate rentals is a serious way to accumulate wealth. This might be a strong objective for 2018.
Another option is actually starting a business. My wife has some great ideas that we’ve been refining over the last few months and I think there’s a lot of potential in many ways. Once the ideas have matured, I’ll share with you guys!
I’ve picked the objectives this year so that they can directly impact every one of these post-2017 goals. I like the idea of having more than one way to achieve a long term goal. If we can’t hit our Financial Independence date, I’m fairly confident that it’ll be to surge past it a little later on.
Here’s to a wonderful year!