Before I go into my goals, I will mention that I intend to continue to throw my cash into investments in the face of probable continued turbulent markets, uncertainty due to Brexit and whatever else happens around the world which might cause share prices to go down (or up).
I don’t intend to hoard cash because I don’t know how to time the markets and wouldn’t want the anxiety of trying to decide when to invest so I’m just going to continue investing monthly regardless. Keep calm and carry on and all that.
I need to ensure that my emergency cash funds are topped up (having dipped into them recently to fund some holiday excesses) – my aim is for them to cover 3 x monthly expenses for now.
Anyway, back to the main topic…Goals!
As with recent years, I find that setting only a few goals works well for me, allowing me to focus, with little room for distraction so I’m going to do something
similar exactly the same for 2019.
Not every exciting, I know and perhaps not really stretching either but there’s another reason why I want to keep things simple and familiar, which I will go into later.
So without further ado, here they are:
2019 Financial Goals:
Average 50% Savings Rate*
Regular readers of the blog might wonder why I doggedly insist on having this as a goal when it continues to remain elusive to me. It’s because my actual savings rate is not that far off it and also because if I set an easier goal (eg 40%), that’s what I will aim for.
Saving 50% will make it more certain that I will reach FIRE as planned, or even perhaps a little earlier. Trying to save 50% is a real challenge for me because my salaried income is only modest (low in fact, compared to most aiming for FIRE) and I continue to live a vaguely normal life with all its inherent costs, without sacrificing anything important to me.
Here’s how I’ve performed in the last 3 years:
2018 – 43.2%
2017 – 42.4%
2016 – 44.9%
Not bad going but not quite there, either!
I can’t control what goes on with the stock market but to a certain extent, I can control my spending and my savings rate so let’s see how I get on with this again!
£4,000 Total Dividend Income
In order to increase my dividend income, I shall need to continue to chuck my money into income-paying investments, with all dividends being re-invested. Most of the income currently comes from investments in my SIPPs, so there’s a mini-goal to get at least £1.5k income from my ISA investments. My intention is ultimately for this income to cover most (not all) of my monthly bills in retirement.
Earn £5,000 Matched Betting (MB) Profits
Just a slight increase from last year’s goal. Still a tough target as it will depend largely on how I do on my each way betting and no-lay accumulators, both of which can suffer from huge variance and occasionally result in overall losses.
There is also always the real risk of losing bookie accounts (through ‘gubbings’ – bookies don’t tend to like matched bettors) which means actual MB offers will dry up but we’ll see how I get on.
MB is still very much a hobby I enjoy doing and I hope the profits continue to roll in.
The £5k itself may not seem very ambitious considering the huge earning potential of MB but I’d be well chuffed if I got anywhere close to it.
2019 Non-Financial Goals
Borrow and Read 20 Library Books
I failed last year’s goal so have reduced this one slightly. I need to read some books I actually own (including loads downloaded onto my Kindle over the years) so can’t just read books from the library.
I still like to set this goal however, as borrowing means that I’m inclined to spend less on books and also means that I am supporting my local library services. I’m going to try to read a total of 30 books this year (I track my progress here via Goodreads), so at least 20 must be borrowed from the library.
Read 3 Non-Fiction Books
Again, the same as last year’s goal. Doesn’t sound like much but as mentioned previously, my passion is reading fiction so even these measly 3 books will be a challenge and out of my comfort zone. Of course, if I can borrow them from the library, I can work on two goals at the same time!
I’ve decided that this year, these books won’t be finance or investment related or anything to do with self-help, so whatever else piques my interest and likely to be educational.
I failed to get ‘house’ on my last attempt and this isn’t a goal as such, but I’ll be trying to mix up my fictional reading again this year, (though not too much as I don’t want to drift too far from my favourite genres). Here’s the Bingo card I’ll be using while pursuing the above reading goals:
So, I’ll be marking off squares as I read the books matching the criteria over the course of the year. Some books will enable me to mark off more than one square eg if I read a book with a red cover that is >10 years old, that’s two squares.
I’m going to struggle those colour of book cover ones as some of my books will be ebooks.
As per previous years, I pledge to donate at least 10% of my MB profits to charity, so if I hit my MB goal this year, that will be at least £500. The main charities I donate to regularly are Age UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and British Red Cross; I donate to other charities though not on a regular basis and I also fund ‘charity loans’ via Kiva.
The last couple of years, I set a charity goal with Toilet Twinning to twin school block toilets.
Whilst I want to continue to support this charity, I also want to help a more local charity this year.
So what I intend to do is twin two toilets @ £60 each. My other charity efforts will be directed to a local(ish) library which was one of ten libraries I reported as being closed down last year by the council. I have fond memories of this library as I used it regularly for both books and internet services when I lived in the area and I was very sad to hear that it had been shut down.
However, I found out a few months ago that it had been saved by the community and is now a registered charity! I was so happy when I heard this that I contacted them, told them that I will be donating regularly with cash and books and that at some point, I hope to donate my time – I have always wanted to work in a library!
There are loads of other charities I want to help but there’s only so much money to go round.
Keeping Things Simple and Familiar
So the reason why I haven’t really made any attempt to vary my goals is because my life is going to be turned upside down later in the year.
Don’t worry, it’s nothing sinister, but events will cause some disruption and will impact (both negatively and positively) my life as I know it right now.
Sorry for the teaser but a full explanation will be given very soon in a follow-up post next week.
No ‘Dry January’ or ‘Vegan January’ for me (I only drink at weekends anyway and eat meat a couple of days a week) but I plan on continuing with my exercising to maintain my current weight and physique, eating (fairly) well and drinking moderately.
I’ve got some personal fitness goals but don’t want to bore you by tracking them on here. There’s also some other stuff that I think I want to do or aim for but they’re not measurable goals, they’re more like ‘good ideas’ or things I’d like to do, rather than things which I will really motivated to do.
So, goals are pretty much the same as last year, but this year will be different.
Did you set any goals for 2019?
If so, good luck and may it be a happy, healthy and prosperous year for all! 🙂