December 31, 2012, 5:00 am

Personal Financial Goals Reviewed – Let’s Crush 2013!

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Personal Finance

 

 

December 31st… the last day of the year to make things right! What have you done for the past twelve months? Are you proud of what you have accomplished? The best way to know if you have done something with your life is to setup goals at the beginning of each year and follow them. Here’s where I am at with my three main goals:

–          Dropping down under $300K in debt

–          Opening an RESP and invest $2,400

–          Make over $130,000

 

Let’s start with the unachieved goal…

 

Dropping Under $300,000 in Debt

 

This year has been such a bummer on my budget that I even quit on paying off my debts. I can’t say that I’m really proud about it but I have to accept what happened; I kept spending without bringing in the dough. I literally closed my eyes and dove into consumption like you would dive into a pool when it’s burning hot outside… speaking of which… my pool was a huge expense that was not properly budgeted for. In addition to that, my sport car broke every month for 5 months in a row at the beginning of the year. Even worse, I kept my eyes closed and bought my family a trip to Disney… Oh! And I forgot; I got the brilliant idea of switching jobs which threw my bonus down the toilet. Finally, having a third kid brings its wealth of expenses as well. Wow!

 

yeah… I really quit on paying off debt in 2012.

 

But you know what? I don’t care!

 

We spent the whole summer in the pool;

I still LOVE driving my sport car every day;

My trip to Disney is an incredible opportunity to spend time with the kids;

The job switch will become the best move I have ever done in my life over the next few years;

And the joy of a third child is just simply priceless.

 

So I’m not proud of failing on my first goal, but I don’t really care what happened to my finances. I’m young and full of energy. Even better; I’m darn good at making money and I’ll just make more in 2013 to drop that darn debt level under $300K!

 

Opening  an RESP

 

Having three kids is quite a challenge when they go to college and you get the bills. This is the reason why I wanted to open a Registered Education Saving Plan. I was a bit late in the year to open it and couldn’t find enough money to catch up to my goal of investing $2,400 in 2012. At least, I put $1,600 in so far and will continue to invest $200/month (plus subsidies) in 2013. At this pace, I calculated that I’ll have roughly $30,000 per kid to fund their tuition. Since I live in Quebec, this should be more than enough to pay for everything.

 

In the future, I’d like to increase it in order to be able to buy a duplex for them when they will move to another city. This would be awesome if they could share an apartment that is mine. Since I will have to help them to pay rent, I would rather buy the darn apartment and build some value! But I’m not there yet… I’ll have to wait a few years before I can think of this plan!

 

Making Over $130,000

 

At the end of November, I already spilled the beans and told you that I will be making roughly $131,000 in 2012. The drop in income compared to 2011 ($176K) is directly linked to my bonus that is a lot smaller this year. It’s normal; I’m starting a new book with no clients, there was an adaptation period to go through. It was a tough year to go from hero to a barely average employee. Still, I was able to rake in a great income!

 

But I’m already past that dark period and rocking my way through the beginning of my new year at work (starting on November 1st). I’m already at 30% of my objective after 2 months and still working on other deals.

My 2013 Financial Goals

 

We are going to leave the year 2012 in a few hours and it’s now time to look at what I’m going to do next year!

 

Dropping Under $300,000 in Debt (SIC)

 

Yeah I know, I wrote about that… a year ago! I expect my debt level to be roughly where I left it at the beginning of 2012. So it means that I’ll have 12 months to drop my debt by $20,000 if I want to pass the psychological mark of $300K.

 

The good news is that I have absolutely no expenses planned this year. No pool, no newborn, no car repairs (lol! As if I could predict that!), no expensive vacations. All of this totalled over than $20,000 in 2012 so I should be fine .

 

I want to pay off my consumer debt since it was the first time since I got my first full time job that I have accumulated consumer debts. Now I have way too much on my plate and definitely need to settle down and deal with this crap. Fortunately, I’m not paying high interest on it but I would rather not wait too long before I see interest rates going up!

 

I’m planning on using my online company dividends to pay my debts off. I should technically be able to live off of my day job income and use 100% of my company derived income to pay off my debts. I also significantly decreased my insurance costs throughout 2012, this will definitely help put some money aside!

 

Opening a TFSA

 

In 2012, I opened up an RESP for my kids, in 2013 I want to open a TFSA… for my kids! William is turning 8 in 2013 and I will need funding to send him to private school in a few years. It’s very important that my kids benefit from the top education and the best resources are only available in private school. I have personally seen the difference between private and public school and it’s not an option for me.

 

In order to fund it without having to hit my head on the wall each month, I decided to open a TFSA account and start putting some savings aside. Once I will pay off a part of my debts, I will open my TFSA account and start investing $100 or $200 per month.

 

Making over $150,000

 

Financial goals for the year wouldn’t be goals without an income goal! After dropping from $176K to $131K this year, I want to go up half way and make $150K. This would be the definition of my perfect level of income. If I continue to close deals at work at the same pace, making $150K this year shouldn’t be a problem.

 

In addition to that, I have some good ideas to make money from my online company and have made sure that I’ve put the money engines in place at work to reach my goal. If I can crush it, this will only mean that I’ll be able to enjoy life even more 😉

 

Going to Hawaii

 

Yeah… that’s actually not a 2013 goal but a 2014 goal! I want to go to Hawaii with my wife in 2014 because it will be our 10th wedding anniversary. I’m not the type of guy who enjoys all included in Cuba so I thought that jumping from one island to another could be more entertaining!

 

The deal I made with my wife was that I want to pay cash for that trip. I guess it will cost something in the range of $10,000 so I had better rack-up a healthy bonus to get us there! This is also the reason why I started working on this goal a year in advance! Let’s hope that it will work!!

 

Personal Goals

 

I also have a personal goal that has nothing to do with finance; I want to lose weight. I’ve been carrying a few extra pounds in 2012 due to the lack of intensity in my workouts. I tried to do it 4 times a week but I didn’t make it most of the time. Part of it was due to the lack of sleep (thx Caleb!) and the other part was due to the lack of motivation. I want drop under 180 pounds (currently sitting portly at 193). 175 would just awesome but I will need to cut down on my eating habits at the same time while working out intensively four times a week. I have done it in the past, so I know that I can do it again!

 

2012 has been a rough year in many aspects (money was flying out the window, my online company was hit by Google twice and building a new book of clients is not the easiest thing to do!).

But I’m glad it’s over. I look forward to 2013 with hope and optimism. Most of the things that happened in 2012 can’t really happen again next year so I should be able to crush it like I do best ;-).

 

What about you? What is your #1 goal for 2013?

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December 27, 2012, 6:00 am

25 Thoughts on Blogging For 25 Years of Life

by: MD    Category: Make Money Online

I’m officially an old man. I turned 25 yesterday! Well, actually I feel on top of the world. And truth be told, I wrote this article in advance because I’m likely feeling under the weather today. You know how that goes.

I wanted to share 25 thoughts on blogging from my 25 year old perspective. I’ve enjoyed blogging for the past four years and I feel that I’ve picked up enough knowledge to at least pound out a solid article on the topic.

Let’s go with 25 blogging tips from a 25 year old…

1. You have to write X amount of words per day.

We overestimate what can be done in one day and underestimate the power of time. If you get into the habit of writing X amount of words per day, you’ll become consistent and your site will have plenty of content. My personal goal is to type up at least 1,000 words per day. How many words will you type?

2. Theme doesn’t matter.

It’s nice to have a theme that’s easy on the eyes. It’s not essential that you stress about theme. Content is much more powerful. Uniforms don’t win games. Focus on content first. Worry about the theme when your blog actually has readers.

3. Understand some basic SEO.

Do you know anything about SEO? I recommend that you at least try to write one piece per week or so that’s heavily focused on a specific keyword. The point of this is to ensure that new readers can find your articles through search engines. It’s really a win-win situation. You don’t want your blog to be a ghost town.

4. Be bold.

What are you afraid of? Throw yourself out there. It’s just a blog. It’s just criticism. Don’t be afraid of being bold. This ties into the next point…

“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” — Aritstotle

5. Try some videos.

I did something bold in 2012. I started posting videos. What took me so long? I was just afraid. I made up excuses and avoided what I really wanted to do. I’m ashamed that I waited so long.

I urge you to create your first video today. Don’t wait. Bust one out today and let the world see that you’re not afraid of putting yourself out there.

6. Guest post as often as you can.

How are others supposed to find your blog? Aside fro SEO, guest posting is the next best strategy. I’ve been guest posting ever since I started. I love it because it gives the main blogger a day off and it allows me to present my content to a whole new audience.

Just remember to make life easier for the blogger that you write for. Don’t create any extra work for them. Proof read, optimize for SEO, and keep it relevant. Don’t be foolish like me. I’ve cursed in guest posts sent to religious bloggers. Oops!

7. Differentiate between a hobby and a business.

Do you have a hobby or a business? Free is not a business model and the sooner you realize this, the sooner that you’ll be in the winning column. Running a business means that you have to make money. You can’t be afraid of making money or promoting products.

8. Respond to comments.

Someone took the time to write you a comment. Are you telling me that you can’t take a minute to respond? You better or else you’ll see your community dwindle down. While I’m not the best at blog comments, I try to respond as often as possible.

There’s nothing more exciting than engaged reader or those readers that keep you on your toes.

9. Watch what your competitors are doing.

I try to keep track of what my competitors are trying out because you never know what would work for you. This strategy is also critical for finding blog content. Your competitors should be the number one inspiration for future articles.

Do you know what your competitors are doing?

10. Create some competition.

What if you don’t have any direct competitors? Start a friendly challenge with bloggers that you interact with regularly. This could be a challenge for who could write the most words, create most content, or increase traffic. There should be something at stake just to make things interesting.

I’ve entered many friendly challenges. I love to be held accountable in a public forum. It sort of kills all of the excuses.

11. Don’t give up.

I once read a stat that most bloggers give up within 6 months. In my own circle of friends, I’ve had three friends give up on blogging within less than 6 months. They barely got off the ground. They couldn’t understand why their first post generated no attention or revenue.

Blogging sucks if you want a quick buck. Go make a sex tape for easy money. You need to be in it for the long run here. Even then, there are no guarantees. Blogging isn’t for everyone. Those that survive, will thrive.

12. Don’t be afraid to spend some money.

You eventually have to invest some money into your blogging just like you would with any other business. Don’t be afraid of this. You should eventually consider the following expenses as a blogger:

  • Outsourcing mundane tasks.
  • Tools to make your job easier.
  • Courses.
  • Writing books.
  • A theme once you start generating revenue.

13. Try a giveaway.

Giveaways are an excellent strategy for building short term traffic. I’ve spent my own money on these in the past. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have companies sponsor giveaways. My biggest giveaway to date was when HP had me giveaway two laptops. That was huge. My inbox flooded for the first time and I had to create a brand new email for the competition.

The only trick is to ensure that you find a way to get these readers to stick around. You might want to collect emails or highlight your best posts for them so that they don’t run away.

Sorry but you have to wait until next week to see the rest of the list. Stay tuned! The list just gets better and better. I promise.

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December 24, 2012, 8:36 am

Best of The Financial Blogger For The Holidays

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Miscellaneous

 

 

WOOHOO! This Monday is not like the other Mondays… we are Xmas Eve!

 

I won’t be writing for the next week since you will probably celebrating with your family and I’ll do the same on my side. But you also might want to relax and read some good articles from time to time. This is why I thought of putting together The Financial Blogger for 2012.

 

Most Visited

 

#1 Single Income Household, The Best Kept Secret For Happiness

 

#2 Should You Even Save Money In Your 20’s?

 

#3 5 Years To Become a Millionaire

 

#4 From 30K To 176K in 8 Years, The Chronology of My Income

 

#5 If You’re Willing to Spend Thousands of Dollars on College, Then…

 

Most Commented

 

#1 Do You Go All In?

 

#2 Investing Sucks, Blogging Rules

 

#3 250K – 35 hours, Are You Day Dreaming?

 

#4 Is Buying a Site a Good Investment?

 

#5 I’m Quitting on Paying Off Debts

Special Mention

 

#1 Can You Survive Google?

 

#2 Site Valuation What People Are Saying And What They Keep Secret

 

#3 3 Killer Ways That Work To Build Your Online Empire

 

#4 Is There a Right Way To Share Your Income?

 

#5 12 Real Actions for a Real Money Making Blog

 

I wish you all a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year with high yield and dividend growth 😉

 

I’ll be coming back on December 31st with the review of my personal financial goals and will start the year with the launch of the Best 2013 Dividend Stocks on January 1st!

 

Best,

 

Mike

 

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December 23, 2012, 1:53 am

Epic Link Hits

by: MD    Category: Financial Rambling

Have you guys bought all of your gifts yet? It’s almost Christmas so I’m guessing that means that many of the gentlemen reading this will be out at the malls Monday morning scrambling at the last minute. Luckily for me, I have all of my gifts. I think I got everyone the ideal gifts this year. We’ll have to find out in a few days. Oh and next time we chat, I’ll be 25 years old. The first quarter century wasn’t even fair. I hope you guys are ready for another 100 years of me!

What should you check out? Well the problem is that I’m off Twitter for the most part. I still check in, but I don’t stick around to stay on top of the newest articles. The good news is that I’m more productive. The bad news is that, I’m hooked on Dexter. My girlfriend finally got me hooked on the show.

100 Words On: How Smart People Make High Risk Ventures Pay Off @ Len Penzo.

A great blog with an even better concept.

How do you make high risk ventures pay off?

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December 20, 2012, 6:00 am

What to Do With Extra Space in Your Home

by: MD    Category: Properties

Do you have any extra space in your place?

One of my good buddies had a bunch of us over to his new place last month. This guy is a really handy dude. He built his old house with his father. Yes, he literally built a house. I can’t even build Ikea furniture.

As he was showing us what he had done with the place, he mentioned that he had tons of additional space now since he turned empty space into a liveable room. We then started discussing what one could do with additional space in a home, especially rooms that are never used.

What can you do with extra space in your home?

Airbnb.

You can rent out your empty room to travellers from around the world. I recently met someone that was renting out the guest bedroom every single weekend for a decent chunk of change. I became fascinated with this idea.

What’s this all about? I checked out the official Airbnb site to see how they explained their own service:

“Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world — online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 33,000 cities and 192 countries.”

Sounds like fun to me. I’m sure that it’s easy to be skeptical about this since you’re letting strangers into your home. However, it’s worth giving this a shot. You take some pictures, set the rate, and the availability. Why let that additional room go to waste? Why not make some money out of it? Plus, you might meet someone pretty cool.

Couch Surfing.

Have you heard of CouchSurfing? It’s like Airbnb without the money. It’s like a social network for travellers. You also don’t even have to offer a full room. You can share a spot on the couch or a mattress in the living room.

What does the official site have to say about this service?

“Couchsurfing is a community of over 5 million members in 97,000 cities — and every country — around the world. Our website connects travelers and locals who meet offline to share cultures, hospitality and adventures – whether on the road or in their hometowns.”

What do you exchange for allowing the traveler into your home? That’s up to you. Your new friend from across the world can teach you their native tongue or they can simply cook for you.

Once again, you have to be really open minded here because you’re opening up your doors to unknown vagabonds. The good news is that you can meet a seasoned traveller that can share all sorts of stories with you.

Of course, this natural isn’t for everyone. Now, what if you absolutely do NOT want any strangers in your home?

Turn it into a gym.

This will cost you some money to get started, but it will save you money in the long run on gym memberships. A home gym is also super effective when you don’t like to travel to a gym or you get intimidated by all of the fancy equipment at the gym.

What do you really need to turn empty square footage in your home into a gym?

  • Space to do your pushups and air squats.
  • Resistance bands.
  • Some dumbbells.
  • A kettlebell for swings.

Have you ever tried working out from home? With those tools and some extra space, you can get an amazing pump!

Create a working space.

Do you have a specific space where you can just focus on your work? You can buy a desk and comfy chair to create your own working space. This can be your home office or where you go strictly to focus and get things done.

Those were the best ideas that I could think of for extra space in your room. I would love to hear from you guys about what you would do with unused space in your home.

Would you let strangers into your home? Would you rather have your own home gym?

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