2016 Goals Review

2902023575_e3f696a376_bEarlier this year, I posted about how I set goals and listed a bunch of financial and non-financial goals for 2016. Now that 2016 is coming to a close, it’s time to take a look at how I did. I was far more diligent in the first half of 2016, and since October let my focus slide a little.

1. Eliminate credit card debt of $2700 (AMEX)

Technically a win, I paid this off but in true Gen Y fashion, found myself back in debt a few months later. I paid the new debt off, and after moving house in December, currently have a credit card debt of around $1800 (used to purchase some furniture and Christmas presents in December

2. Stop using credit cards

Missed. I stopped for a month or two a few times during the year, but often found myself putting something on credit, either because the company preferred it (e.g. my insurance or business expenses) or because I didn’t want to have a direct debit from my bank account causing a dishonour fee. I’m going to have another crack at breaking the credit habit in 2017, but perhaps not eliminate them entirely, just pay them off every month, and only pay for something if I have cash to cover it going on credit.

3. Reduce eating out expense to < $250 per month

Missed. I reduced eating out expenses for the year by just 6%. I did OK with this goal at times, and came in on target for 2/12 months. About a further 6 months I was only just over, but for the remainder, I had huge blow outs. This last month has been pretty bad, since moving house I had no eating utensils or crockery and ate out almost every night for a week and a half. Sheeesh! June, November and December were the worst months by far.

4. Increase emergency fund toward $10,000

I’m calling it a win. I have around $9.6k in my emergency fund, so although I didn’t hit $10k, I made good headway.

5. Contribute $2400 to investments

I met this goal by Q3, and sold my investments to fund my own start-up.

6. Complete NYU Valuation Course Lectures

Missed. I knew this goal was kinda ambitious, and I think I watched 3 lectures in total and cherry picked from another. I’d like to watch these at some point, perhaps while investing – nothing beats actually investing to learn.

7. Read Damodaran on Valuation

Missed. While I read a few thick books this year, I didn’t read Damodaran on Valuation. Fine by me.

8. Continue reading high quality value investing blogs

Easy to do. My favourites of the year have been Base Hit Investing, Investment Hunting, Dividend Diplomats, Dividend’s Down Under and Hey It’s Just Money.

9. Save $2600 for travel to Japan

I’m calling this one met, although I travelled to Europe instead of Japan, and spent almost two weeks in Vienna/Salzburg and one week in Budapest. It was just wonderful.

I also had a goal to exercise 4hrs a week (didn’t quite get there over the year, but did get there often throughout the year and even competed in a triathlon), learn basic Japanese (not really) and submit my Masters thesis (absolutely done). So I’m pretty happy with what I achieved but also feel I took on too much and spent far more than I could afford. Considering I also taught at a university, started working for myself, travelled and kept up with my blog semi-regularly, I did  a decent job with plenty of room for improvement. I’ll spend some time thinking about what I’d like to achieve in 2017, and might scale the number of goals back, to hone my focus.

How did you go with your goals for 2016?

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8 thoughts on “2016 Goals Review

  1. Do you have a post on your start-up? Would be very interested in hearing about that!

    While it seems you missed on your goals, it seems that your focus in life just changed. That’s the beauty of life, you can do what interests you and what is right for you today.

    Best of luck in 2017!

    Erik

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    1. Hi Erik – thank you for commenting and suggesting a post idea! I like the idea a lot, so keep an eye out for it in the new year 🙂 You’re right that it’s beautiful to do whatever in life seems right for today, thanks also for the warm wishes for 2017, I hope yours is a productive and peaceful one.

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      1. Ali

        The Velocity card deal you got is pretty good. If we later become permanent residents I’ll probably be getting one of those too :). What you can do to manage the credit card spending is to pay the expense just after you charge it on the card (from your mobile or once you get home that day).
        Happy New year!

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  2. Ali

    Congratulations on your yearly review and submitting your thesis.

    Why do you want to eliminate credit card usage? I know in the FI world is quite common to advocate for a credit card free life but it doesn’t have to be that way…I see that you took a trip to Europe and, as a traveller, credit cards that earn points towards miles have been a great ally. I haven’t read all your post so maybe you already take advantage of this…I have rarely paid for plain tickets in the last couple of years. I pay credit cards as if they were debit cards and get miles for using them. In turn they subside the most expensive part of my trips.
    As an example, like you, I went to Europe in 2016 using an award ticket from Sydney to Tel aviv with stopovers in Bangkok (stayed for a night), Addis Ababa (stayed there for a week) and Istanbul (day trip). From Israel, I flew to Budapest (ticket paid by me) with a low cost airline for around $130 AUD each way. Travel around the area, flew back to Israel and came back doing the same route. The total ticket cost was around $450 AUD for everything and I used about 80k miles. If you learn a bit about award ticket booking you can get a multi city ticket for a low mileage amount.

    I moved to Australia from the US three years ago and now live mostly on cash but that is because of currency conversion and money transfer fees involved when paying my US cards while having AUD (we are not permanent residents so we can’t apply for the worthwhile credit cards)

    I know is more difficult to do that in Australia but there are still some decent reward cards out there that can get you a substantial sign up bonus. In the US the cards are a lot better but it’s still doable in Australia. Maybe you’d like to consider that option 🙂

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    1. Hi Ali! You make a good point on taking sensible advantage of credit card/reward programs, and sounds like an awesome deal you got flying to Europe ($450AUD return is just sensational!). I actually use a Velocity Points Amex card which I negotiated a lower annual fee on, and which provides an annual return domestic flight in Australia for free. Since I take at least one of these a year and they usually cost twice the annual fee or more, I’m already ahead provided I don’t pay interest. I also use the ‘reward points’ for flights 🙂 So while I’m not at all 100% against credit cards my main bug bears with credit is that it can lead to overspending (money I don’t have) and the interest charges/annual fee can erode the value of any rewards pretty quick. If I can pay them out in full each month to avoid any interest, I’m quite happy to continue using them. The other option I’ve looked into is a reward debit card (so spending my own money), which I also like the look of, but most of these charge a hefty annual fee (could probably be waived if one asked). Thanks for the thoughtful comment and stopping by.

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  3. Hey WFT, sounds like you had a great year to me, even if you didn’t hit all the goals as you’d like.

    Reducing your eating out expenses is still good, I’m sure you’ll reduce it to what you want to when you have all your kitchen stuff 🙂

    Good job on getting your emergency fund up to $10k! We are also working on that goal too, which we’ll do a post about soon among many other things. It’s goo to feel financially secure, particularly if you have debt (like the business stuff you’ve taken on).

    Tristan

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    1. Good to hear about your emergency fund – they’re most essential! I’m looking forward to just a few goals for 2017 (topic for an upcoming post!) and keeping the year simple. Should have a good opportunity to cut some discretionary expenses this year which will be offset with higher rental expenses, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on the net effect. Best wishes for 2017,
      WF30

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