January 8, 2014, 5:00 am

What Can You Do When Your Goal Achievement Plans Fall Apart?

by: The Financial Blogger    Category: Business,Career
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Each year, I identify personal goals that Im going to work on throughout the year. Im back with my “2014 edition.

 

But first, let’s take a look at my 2013 goals and see how it went…

2013 GOALS REVIEWED

 

It’s the first time since I can remember that I didn’t do too well with my goals throughout the year. In fact, if I look at 2013, I feel somewhat like a big failure…

DROPPING UNDER 300K OF DEBT

Surprise! Surprise! This didnt happen. I worked really hard on reducing my expenses but this wasn’t enough. Then, my wife opened her daycare at home to earn more money. Finally, I sold my RX-8 (which I surprisingly don’t miss that much right now!)

While I made great efforts to both increase income and reduce spending, other factors came into play. Google had hit our online business severely over the past two years and making money online is harder than ever before. We shifted our focus to pay our corporate debts and significantly reduced any dividend or revenues paid to shareholders. This is why the daycare only served to replace this income temporarily lost in my budget. The problem is that the daycare started only in September whereas we stopped our revenues back in May of the same year.

I’m still waiting for a few numbers to update assets and my current net worth and debt levels but I should finish in a better position compared to the beginning of the year. And the most important part: Ive definitely increased my income and reduced my spending budget for 2014.

 

OPENING A TFSA

The reason why I wanted to open a TFSA in 2013 was to start a fund to pay for private school. I have three young kids and I want all of them to go to private high school. I’ve already looked at the different options in our city and the best schools with the best sports/art/international programs are private.

I’m happy to check this item off my list as my TFSA is not only opened but my account shows almost $900 at the end of the year. At this pace, I will have the first year completely covered once my oldest kid reaches high school. My goal is to increase my contribution each year so I have over $10,000 in this fund in four years. This would give me more than 2 years in advance (assuming the cost is about $4,000 per year). Over the next four years, I need to increase my bi-monthly contribution from $50 to $150 to be able to generate $4,000 each year to pay for this expense. The fund (the $10,000 or so) will cover for the years where two of my kids will be at private school at the same time. So far, the plan seems to be on the right track.

 

MAKING OVER 150K

With my sites not generating any income I can withdraw, you probably figured that I failed to earn over 150K. My bonus wasn’t as high as expected for my second year at my new job but I’m still happy overall. I almost reached my objective as I made around $130K this year. I guess the good news with this story is that my personal income didn’t move, but my wife is now generating additional income for our household.

Next year, our household income will definitely break the 150K as I expect to make 150K myself. Therefore, our family revenues will probably be around 175K. Now we are talking about making some serious money!

And due to my most recent online projects, I will be able to withdraw some dividends out of it!

 

LOSE WEIGHT

I don’t know if I can say this but I achieved this goal and then failed later on. I dropped from 193lbs to 182lbs during the summer. Then, for an unknown reason, I completely slacked on my training program and went back to… 198lbs as at December 31st!

Part of my plan to lose weight included running 500 miles over the year. The reason why I picked 500 miles was because I can track them on my treadmill ;-). Running on average 10 miles per week and giving 2 weeks of buffer seemed like a challenge but feasible at the same time. I did run 501 miles in my year and I’m quite proud of it. But I noticed that this wasn’t enough to maintain the key point in losing weight: being consistent. The goal was “too easy” and this is why I was 30 miles in advance in September and slacked off.

NOW ON TO MY 2014 PERSONAL GOALS

2013 was frustrating and a year of adjustments. I didn’t feel like I accomplished much and sometimes it felt like I was losing an entire year to turn round and around like a dog running after its tail. But life is like a big ship; sometimes it takes time to make it turn 180 degrees.

I now feel that I’ve set the table for a great year in 2014. But the main difference between 2013 and 2014 will have to be consistency. If I work on a continuous basis instead of raising peaks here and there, I will be able to accomplish all of my goals.

PAYING OFF MY CONSUMER DEBTS

On January 1st, 2015, I want to be able to declare that I’ve completely paid off my credit cards, personal and pool loans. This represents about 15K in debt. Once these are paid off, I will have over $400/month in free cash flow. This should be enough to accomplish my second goal.

 

INCREASING MY TFSA SAVINGS TO $100 BI-WEEKLY

If I want to fund my children’s education correctly, I need to increase my savings ability to $150 bi-weekly. In 2013, I started my journey with $50 bi-weekly. I want to double this amount towards the end of 2014. I will probably use my next salary increase in June to make it happen.

 

LOSE 20 POUNDS & RUN A HALF MARATHON

Hey! It’s the beginning of the year! So why not push ourselves out of the comfort zone??? By the end of 2014, I want to weigh under 180 lbs. The first thing I will do is to increase my running challenge from 500 miles to 550 miles. This will leave me no room for breaks as I will need to run 3 times a week consistently to make it happen.

If I can keep up with this pace over the year, I should be ready to run my first half marathon towards the end of the year; most likely in September or October. The most I ran in 2013 was 16.5km, a half marathon is 21km.

 

SUCCESSFULLY COACH MY SON IN COMPETITIVE SOCCER

My oldest kid is a very good soccer player. This year, I hope he will make the competitive team in his first try. I’m also applying for the “coach position”. I’m not a soccer player, but I just love coaching kids while watching how they can progress and learn over a short period of time. The tryouts start in January for both my son and I. The goal is for both of us to make the team and have a wonderful summer!

 

GETTING OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE

This is more like a qualitative goal and it is very hard to determine what it truly means. I just noticed that I’ve been comfortably installed in my comfort zone for the past two years. Since I had my third child, I’ve put pretty much everything in my life on cruise control. I can say the results weren’t self-fulfilling and that I want and expect a lot more from life. Getting out of my comfort zone means acquiring clients in non-conventional ways (e.g. not through references, but becoming the king of cold calls and networking), becoming fit (the goal being not only to lose weight but being able to take my shirt off during the summer ;-)), doing things I have never done before (like running a half marathon, coaching a competitive sport), etc. The idea here is to burst my bubble and do something that matters. I want to feel the fire burning inside of me…again.

 

Life is nothing if its not burning inside you.

-Me

 

 

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Comments

by: RICARDO DI VINCI | January 9th, 2014 (10:39 pm)

Hi Mike;
You mention a TFSA as the education fund. I am wondering if you are also contributing to a family RESP as the government supplements your contributions. Nothng like free money.
I will probably sign up for the Army Run in Ottawa this coming September. This would be my fifth and. like you, I have to shed a few pounds.. Also like you I had shed some 12 kilos previously and have managed to find almost all of them over the last two years. Hopefully I can get away from the yoyo dieting through better eating in the future – easier said than done as salt (high blood pressure), sugar and fat taste soooo good. If you only run 21K you won’t reach the finish Mike as it is 21.1K. LOL YES! you do have to complete that 0.1K
Are you a “pool shark”? Couldn’t help myself on that one Mike. You’ll have to improve your game if you are losing money Mike.
Remember to sink the eight ball last.
Congrats on the mileage you ran Mike. Almost 900K. That is excellent.
I signed up for a gym session as it is too bloody cold outside as of late. Aside from the warmth inside there are two other benefits 1) burn calories and 2) drink less booze (read calories) as I spend my money on the gym fees rather than in the bar. Great two pronged weight reduction program. I think it actually costs less than the booze.

by: The Financial Blogger | January 10th, 2014 (6:52 am)

Hey Ricardo!
I do have a RESP but I can’t withdraw from it to pay private high school. This is why I had to open the TFSA as well.
I will register to a few trail runs as well (I rather run in the mud than on the street, lol!).
I’ve started very well this year. On January 1st I was at 200 lbs and I’m 192lbs as of this morning (this is what a good gastro can do, lol!)
and I’m not a pool shark :-)

by: RICARDO DI VINCI | January 10th, 2014 (8:58 am)

True enough. The RESP is only for post secondary education at a CEGEP or Uni. My memory is fading as my experience was 10 yrs ago.
ARMY RUN registration opens in Feb. Usually a fairly flat urban street run from Ottawa in to Hull and back. Amazing to see the injured soldiers taking this on.
Nothign like a gastro. You can lose weight from both ends!

Hi Mike,

it seems you’re trapped in the rat race:/ Need to work harder to pay more….

SInce you do a decent income, you might want to tackle the underlying problem; lack of assets. You don’t talk about it, but i’d be surprise you have more than your house as an asset; am I wrong?

Also, I’m surprised your blog doesn’t generate income… as it’s not the first time I see your website!

I wish you the best!

When I red the tittle I thought oh boy! As I kept reading I thought why are you beating yourself up? You are there and thereabout. Now that we are at the beginning of 2014 you have plenty time to make up any shortfall from 2013. Good luck.

by: The Financial Blogger | January 11th, 2014 (3:03 pm)

Hey Alexander,

I would call it a “rat race Deluxe” as I need to work harder only to pay more debts. I’ve failed on my goal to pay off over 16K in debts but I my debt level

I actually have a few assets:
- about 50K in investments (RRSP + non registered) (plus a pension plan that worth about 30K).
- 5K in my RESP (for children education)
- 1K in TFSA
- my online company shares
- 100K equity on my house

Considering I’m only 32 and I have 3 kids, I think I’m doing good.

Our sites income have been used to pay off corporate rates (we grew through several acquisitions over the past 6 years). I will use it to pay off my debts in the future.

I hope it makes more sense :-)

Cheers,

Mike

Hey Mike,

thank you for your answer! I didn’t mean to attack you on this I’m sorry if I did. I didn’t mean to insult you as I do think you’re doing good.

However if it can help you, what I meant by assets that can get you out of the rat race are assets that send you a cheque every month. Right now, the only asset that brings money in besides your self is your website. The house requires money, the money in RRSP doesn’t send a cheque, the house equity doesn’t send a cheque either… Compare this to assets that send a cheque every month such as rental properties. With your annual salary, you could easily purchase such assets that will make it a joke to get to your goal of 150k per year… And I’d be surprised you wouldn’t do even more.

Anyway that was my 2 cents!

Take care!

by: RICARDO DI VINCI | January 11th, 2014 (3:49 pm)

AHH! How lifestyles have changed.
When I was a kid, not really that long ago, my dad walked to work, came home for lunch, we had no car and TV was brand new fangled thing-a-ma-jig that we got later. We lived in a comparatively small two bedroom bungalow. My days were spent in the sand box with the cars and shovels and buckets. Later it was pick-up softball/baseball on Saturdays and in the winter pick-up hockey at the outside rink. YES! It was cold enough then to have serveral months of good ice hockey. And we got to clean the snow off the rink if we wanted to play.
A summer’s vacation was a trip by Bud Car (not the beer -it was a passenger train) down to Boston to visit the releatives and swim in the ocean
And NOW! Three or four TV’s so everyone gets to watch what they want. One of them has to be a big screen. Two or three cars – and the kids will have one when they are old enough.
Bigger house – even if you are only two people (no kids). And ecah child needs their own room. Summer vacations, winter vacations down south. Laptops for the kids for their education but mostly to play their games on. Etc, etc, etc.
Lifestyles have changed. Nothing against that as staying static is not all that interesting either. DIvorce is easier and therefore more common along with the spliting of incomes and doubling of some expenses like housing.
I keep a sying in fornt of me to keep my thoughts straight when I get the urges as well.
IT IS BETTER TO LIKE WHAT YOU HAVE THAN TO HAVE WHAT YOU LIKE
Or in orther words, take a step back from time to time and look at your life. Just maybe you have not taken in to account how lucky you are to have all that you have right now.

My rant for today

by: The Financial Blogger | January 11th, 2014 (3:49 pm)

Hey Alex,

I didn’t feel attacked, don’t worry ;-)

you are right, my only asset in that sense are my website. I’ve considered rental properties but they are very expensive in Canada (we didn’t get any housing crash yet). Therefore, in order to buy a rental property that actually pay you something each month, you need to put 40% cash down. Since a Triplex would sell for $300K, that’s 120K in cash to make sure I create an asset instead of another liabilities.

Since interest rates are so low, most people started to buy rental properties to maintain their level of income. It’s not a good market for that right now :-(

by: The Financial Blogger | January 11th, 2014 (3:53 pm)

Hey Ricardo,

good points, we “need” a lot more stuff today to fill our house. I’m not doing so bad right now (it has been worse in the past!). We only have 2 TV and my biggest screen is a 42′ (not even plasma! hahaha!). Since I’ve sold my sport car, I only have 1 car for the family. I’m slowly getting to a more frugal life and it’s not that bad! lol!

I guess my kids will start asking for cel phones, tablets and all those gadgets in a year or two… oh man! you can’t get away from it! lol!

by: RICARDO DI VINCI | January 11th, 2014 (3:54 pm)

Plus having your renters call you at midnight because their lightbulb burnt out is not all that much fun.