Many of my friends and colleagues have jumped onboard the whole ‘January thing, eg ‘Dry January’, ‘Vegan January’, though I don’t know if any are daring to do ‘Januhairy‘…. Anyway, some have fallen off the wagon already.
Me, I will continue to drink, eat meat/dairy and de-fuzz as usual – this month isn’t any different from any other month.
New year, same old me, really.
10 days into the new year (as I write this) and I’ve been to the gym 4 times already (an achievement for me!) so I’m hopefully starting as I mean to go on!
Before I go into my actual goals, I will mention that I intend to continue to throw my spare cash into investments regardless of what may or may not happen around the world which might cause share prices to go down (or up).
I’m not planning to hoard cash because I don’t know how to time the markets and wouldn’t want the anxiety or stress of trying to decide when it’s the best time to invest so I’m just going to continue investing as soon as the cash is available (stops me from spending it anyway!).
Anyway, back to the main topic…Goals!
As with previous years, I find that I am more focused if I only set myself a few goals, with little room for distraction.
Last year’s goals were challenging (I only met two out of six) so I may as well aim for them/similar again.
Sorry that’s not very exciting but I don’t feel the urge to go for outrageous goals just for something to write about. Gone are the days when one of my goals was to learn how to complete the Rubik’s Cube (I can still do it!)! I do want to learn how to do a 4×4 Rubik’s Cube so perhaps a future goal, when I run out of things to write about!
So without further ado, here they are:
2020 Financial Goals:
Average 50% Savings Rate*
This goal has remained elusive to me over the years but I feel that this year might be the year I will finally achieve it. With my sister contributiing to the bills, it’s down to me to not spend the surplus money.
Saving 50% will make it more certain that I will reach FIRE as planned. Even with the extra cash from sis, 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’m finding it hard not to let lifestyle inflation creep up on me – it was far easier when I was living on my own, although I am enjoying the outings with the family.
Here’s how my savings rate has looked in the last 4 years:
2019 – 46.3%
2018 – 43.2%
2017 – 42.4%
2016 – 44.9%
Decent numbers but not quite there, so hopefully, this will be the year!
£2,000 Total ISA Dividend Income
Previous years’ dividend income has been the total income from all my investments and it’s been great tracking my yearly progress since I started investing for dividend income (which is only part of my investment strategy).
As mentioned in my end-of-year update, for recording purposes, I need to split the income I receive in my SIPPs and my ISAs and will focus on the latter.
So the goal is to achieve at least £2k income from my investment trusts (ITs) and shares only in my ISA. Last year, total income from these investments came to just over £1,500.
I will continue to track my total income, have my eyes on £5k for this but the ISA income is more important to me.
This is how the income in my ISAs have grown over the years:
Why just ITs and shares, and not the ETFs in my ISA?
Even though some of the ETFs I hold also produce dividend income, when I FIRE, I’m planning to sell the ETFs for capital income and hold onto the ITs and shares to produce the income. My intention is ultimately for this income to cover most (not all) of my monthly bills in retirement.
If I could cheaply switch these income paying ETFs to accumulating ones, I would do, but I’ll leave them as they are for now.
It’s looking likely that I will hit my £200k milestone this year. In 2017, I predicted that it would take me FIVE years to get to this goal so things are looking great if I get there 2 years earlier!
Earn £5,000 Matched Betting (MB) Profits
I was way off target last year but despite fewer offers being available due to accounts being restricted/gubbed, I will make an effort to push for this. If I can get anything close to this, I will be truly happy (and quite astonished!).
I barely made any profit on my football accumulators in 2019 so will keep these to a minimum – a shame because if not for the fact that I lose money on them, I find these fun to do (that’s the gambler in me talking!).
After reading Pursue FIRE Dan’s excellent guide, I’m going to give tennis trading a go – just started off tentatively with mixed results, so need to see how I get on with this as a long term strategy. Other than that, I will just continue with normal MB offers and each way betting and hope that the odds will be in my favour!
I’ve now been MB for nearly 4 years and have made total (tax free) profits of £16,300.
I still treat it as a hobby I enjoy doing and I hope the profits continue to roll in.
I often get asked how much time I spend on this hobby and the answer is that it varies. Like any other hobby, I fit it in between all the other things I do in my life.
On average, it’s probably around 25-30 hours a month – up to an hour a day, perhaps 2 hours on a Saturday. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, depending on what I’m up to. That’s far less than what I spend doing my other hobbies, eg reading blogs, watching tv and reading books.
2020 Non-Financial Goals
Borrow and Read 20 Library Books
Same goal as last year. I’d love it if all the books I read this year were borrowed from the library, but I need to read some books I actually own (including loads downloaded onto my Kindle over the years). I was gifted a couple at Christmas, plus friends and family continue to hand books to me that they have read (out of their house, into mine!).
Borrowing from the library 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 again 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
The same as last year’s goal and this is a goal I’ve always struggled with.
I know 3 doesn’t sound like much but as mentioned previously, my passion is reading fiction (sci-fi, fantasy or crime/thriller) so even these measly 3 books will be a big challenge and out of my comfort zone. As in the past, I intend to borrow them from the library, so I can work on two goals at the same time!
These non-fiction books won’t necessarily be finance or investment related or anything to do with self-help or stuff like that – just something which piques my interest and hopefully educational.
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 and direct to a local library; 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 toilets.
I will continue to support this charity and will twin one toilet @ £60, and again, I will see if a lucky reader would like to win a twinned toilet, donated by me! However, I want to donate a bit more to local charities this year.
I don’t have any specific fitness goals except to go to the gym 3 times a week. As this is dependent on my social life (and work), I don’t want to set it as an actual goal, so it’s more of a pledge.
I don’t need to lose any weight – although I ate a lot over the festive period I seem to have not put on the usual ‘winter layer’ so I’m just aiming to maintain my current weight and fitness.
Last year, I didn’t buy a single bottle of water, carrying my own drinking bottle instead, even when travelling abroad. I hope to do the same again this year – my small effort to stop another plastic bottle ending up in the sea.
At some point, I need to revisit and review my FIRE plan – I received a quote from my DB pension provider (not a transfer value) which has thrown up some options I hadn’t previously considered, so will mull on that one before I decide what to do, plot some other scenarios.
I’m hoping this year will be a good year, not necessarily an exciting one and that’s fine by me.
Did you set any goals for 2020?
If so, good luck and may it be a happy, healthy and prosperous year for all! 🙂
And lastly, this might be the year my bet will finally come in…
Dare to believe…YNWA!