Taking time to smell the roses (or get some of your non-financial goals accomplished)

One thing every FIRE person needs to guard against is getting so tied up in the financial side of FI, that they neglect other aspects of their life that are equally or even more important (can anyone say “family” here?).  One should never neglect their other goals in life just for financial gains – or you might end up at the end regretting a life of emptiness.

That is why your goal setting for the year should include a healthy set of non-financial goals, and you should strive mightily in order to meet them. For me, my non-financial goals are:

Personal:

  • Increase weight lifted by 10% from 2018 (increased by 12.7% in 2017). I want to continue to improve my strength as I get older, instead of just wasting away
  • Average 3 hours of cardio per week (currently averaging about an hour). Again, want to improve my fitness
  • Take part in at least one long bike ride, like MS bike-a-thon (80 miles)
  • Backpack over 100 miles on AT (did over 100 in 2017)
  • Begin volunteering at Pennsbury Manor at their joiner’s shop (woodworking)
  • Reduce weight by 20 lbs. from Jan 2018 (lost 9 lbs. in 2017). Again, I want to get in better shape as I get closer to financial independence
  • Read at least one book a month. Trying to learn new things and keep my mind shop. Started this in August 2017, and I’ve been doing fairly well with it.

Travel:

  • Visit a national park (visited Shenandoah NP in 2017)
  • Visit family in Tennessee, Vermont and New York. Family is very important to me. One of the things I am looking forward to with financial independence is the opportunity to visit family more often
  • Visit Portland, OR and northern California. Mrs. 39 Months has a craft class she wants to take in Portland, so I’ll go as well, and run around in Portland, when it’s over, we want to visit the Park in Northern California with the Redwoods.
  • Visit Ellis Island. Wanted to do this in 2017, but didn’t make it. As 50% Czech from immigrant great grandparents from the turn of the century, I believe they went through there, and I want to see it
  • Go on an international trip. Not sure which one (Canada, Caribbean, etc.) but I’d like to get out this year.
  • Visit the Asheville NC area. It’s one of the areas that we are considering retiring to (close to my old home in Tennessee, interesting crafts, shops & outdoor sports, etc.). Trying to learn more about the area (we’ve been there a couple of times).

For the year, I have worked as diligently on these as on my financial goals (well…. Maybe not the weight loss as much). Still, I have knocked a lot of them off/made progress.

This week, I had the opportunity to visit two National Parks, which helped me check off a travel goal for 2018 – and gave Mrs. 39 Months and me a lot of pleasure.

We visited the Redwoods National Park in Northern California. Mrs. 39 Months has always wanted to see these big trees, and they didn’t disappoint. It was great hiking around and just taking in the grandeur of it all.

We also visited Glacier Lake National Park, in Southeast Oregon. It was formed when a volcano exploded about 7700 years ago, and then collapsed in on itself and the caldera. The result is a beautiful lake at 8800 ft. altitude, which is just fed by rainwater. Nothing drains out, nothing drains in, and so it has some of the most pure water in the world. You typically can see 140 – 180 ft. down into it, and it is also about 1900 ft. deep.

When we visited, there was still snow on the ground and blocking the road which goes around. We took pictures in freezing rain, and then headed out. Still a lot of fun.

What non-financial goals do you have this year, and what have you gotten done so far?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Status Update, May 2018

Well, another month, another period of not much progress. Again, I didn’t lose but didn’t gain much either. Looks like last years big “bump” is going to be offset by a flat year in 2018? We will see, still got 2/3 of the year to go. Thanks to putting all my bonus money into my investments, I’m back to being over $1M in assets, so that is a plus.

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

I ended up being about 0.3% up here, after my monthly inputs into the various accounts. My bond index funds dropped a bit, but my international and REITs were up, bringing me to a +0.3% for the month. For the year, I’m a little up, while the market in total is a little below Jan 1. Another reason for asset allocation. Note that these returns include reinvesting dividends.

My 401K/Deferred account at work was up only 1.1% for April – but this one doesn’t have a REIT option in its choices, so I didn’t get the benefit of the REITs for April (but didn’t suffer from this in this account for 2017).

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

Up about 0.2% including dividend payments.  Bonds (50% of allocation) got hit, but my 25% REITs helped to lift me into the positive. Most of the dividend stocks (Chevron, Verizon) were up significantly, which helped.

Value Investing Account: Allocation (remember I refocused this at the beginning of February):

  • 40% in individual value stocks I picked myself (2 each, 20% for each) – SBS and GILD
  • 20% USAA Market Index (my brokerage is USAA)
  • 40% in Vanguard Value Index fund

Another bad performance for the stocks that I picked myself. Down 2.5% for the month of April. The big losers were my two stock picks. It is becoming very clear that I am not a good stock picker (as most folks in the FIRE community can attest to). If I don’t see a major turn around in fortunes by the end of the year, I’ll just sell my stock picks and go to index mutual fund investing (like so many other folks). Again, this is more of a “fun money” account where I experiment.

The allocations are not too much “out of whack” so I don’t intend to rebalance until July (unless something major happens).

 

How did you do in April?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Quarterly Update – Apr 2018

Well, it’s early April, a quarter of the way through the year, and hopefully a good start for the year’s goals. Again, a lot of folks don’t like to do this sort of thing, but as an engineer and amateur financial junkie, I actually love taking a look at these sort of things. Even when I’ve had a bad quarter (or bad year) I like to look at the numbers and see what my situation is, and the future outlook – and financially the first quarter had both good and bad.

So how am I doing in comparison to my goals for 2018?

My Goals for 2018 (some financial, some not):

Finance:

  • Save $81K in tax-advantaged accounts (saved almost $37K in 2017): Grade B. Saved almost $14K in 1st qtr, and looking to dump $21K from my bonus into it in early April.
  • Save $9K in regular: Grade A. Got this done right out of the gate. The $5K I had to take from my inherited IRA went right into this, and I took $4K from savings and put it in as well. The $333/month I was going to dollar-cost average into it will just go to plus back up my savings.
  • Increase dividend income from all accounts to $24K/year: Grade B. Was at $4,456 for 1st qtr vs. $4,089 in 1st qtr 2017. I usually get a big boost in 4th qtr, so we will see if I hit it.
  • Passive income covers 33% of base living expenses in retirement, i.e. $24K of my $72K expected expenses: Grade B. See above – need to hit $24K of dividends, since I don’t have other forms of passive income right now.
  • Beat net worth growth rate of 7%: Grade D. Market is down, thus hurting my net worth. It hasn’t grown hardly at all, despite the $23K that I dumped into it. If market recovers, I should still be able to hit this.

Business:

  • Begin attending regular meetings of my local real estate investors association. Grade C. Attended four (4) meetings over 3 months. Good info, but nowhere near as much as I should be investing time for. There was a great one last night on estimating repair costs, but it was full and I couldn’t attend.
  • Double the number of blog visitors in 2018. Grade A. I’ve already exceeded last years numbers by 15%. I’m sure part of it is that I have more content. Still, I need to do a better job of providing stuff folks want to read.
  • Write/publish a book on finance.  Grade: Incomplete. Did some initial work on it, but really haven’t put as much work into this as it needs.

Personal:

  • Increase weight lifted by 10% from 2018 (increased by 12.7% in 2017 Grade B: Up 3% from the beginning of the year
  • Average 3 hours of cardio per week (currently averaging about an hour).Grade C: Averaging about 1.7 Hours a week as of March.
  • Take part in at least one long bike ride, like MS bike-a-thon (80 miles) Grade: Incomplete. Bike scheduled for September
  • Backpack over 100 miles on AT (did over 100 in 2017) Grade: Incomplete. Hike’s scheduled for June and October
  • Begin volunteering at Pennsbury Manor at their joiner’s shop (woodworking) Grade C: Volunteer training set for April 15th, and then I will start
  • Reduce weight by 20 lbs. from Jan 2018 (lost 9 lbs. in 2017). Grade D: Only lost 4 lbs. in 1st Qtr. Need to get better at fitness and diet.
  • Read at least one book a month. Grade A. Read five (5) books in 1st qtr, one work of fiction, two self help, and two histories. Really enjoying this personal goal

Travel:

  • Visit a national park (visited Shenandoah NP in 2017). Grade: Incomplete. Scheduled to visit two parks in May (Redwoods NP in California and Crater Lake in Oregon)
  • Visit family in Tennessee, Vermont and New York. Family is very important to me. One of the things I am looking forward to with financial independence is the opportunity to visit family more often. Grade B. Visited family in TN in March, but only for a short time. Looking forward to more visits throughout the year.
  • Visit Portland, OR and northern California. Grade: Incomplete. Scheduled to visit in May 2018.
  • Visit Ellis Island. Wanted to do this in 2017, but didn’t make it. As 50% Czech from immigrant great grandparents from the turn of the century, I believe they went through there, and I want to see it Grade: F. Still haven’t been there and I have had the opportunities.
  • Go on an international trip. Not sure which one (Canada, Caribbean, etc.) but I’d like to get out this year. Grade: Incomplete. Nothing scheduled at this time.
  • Visit the Asheville NC area. It’s one of the areas that we are considering retiring to (close to my old home in Tennessee, interesting crafts, shops & outdoor sports, etc.). Trying to learn more about the area (we’ve been there a couple of times). Grade: Incomplete. Nothing scheduled at this time.

Overall, I’d give myself a B. Got a lot done, but still have more to go.

 

How are you going on your goals for 2018?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Status Update, Apr 1 2018

Well, not much progress was made during the month of March, but I also didn’t lose, which (when you think of February) could be considered a plus. I did get one month closer to FI (27 months to go!). While I am not “going gangbusters” right now, I’m not unhappy. As I said in my previous post, I believe I am going to be able to get some investments on sale in early April. Still haven’t gotten back to $1M in invest-able assets (thank you February) – but I will soon.

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

I ended up being about 0.4% up here, after all the craziness. While the S&P 500 Index and International Equity lost significantly, the bonds and small cap did alright. The surprise was the REITs! After getting pummeled in 2017 and the beginning of 2018, they hopped up over 4% in March, and enabled me to stay in the black. Another reason for asset allocation. Note that these returns include reinvesting dividends.

My 401K/Deferred account at work was down 1.1% for March – but this one doesn’t have a REIT option in its choices, so I didn’t get the benefit of the REITs for March (but didn’t suffer from this in this account for 2017).

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

Did well, considering – 1.7% up for March. Again, don’t forget that it is ¼ REITs, and they really helped it out. The bonds didn’t really go up much, but I did get the advantage of all the dividends. Overall, dividends were about 3% annual yield – and I will reinvest those in the assets that went down in 1st quarter.

Value Investing Account: Allocation (remember I refocused this at the beginning of February):

  • 60% in individual value stocks I picked myself (3 each, 20% for each)
  • 40% in Vanguard Value Index fund

Another bad performance for the stocks that I picked myself. Down 4.7% for the month of March. Everything in this account is down. I believe I am going to give it to the end of the year, and if it’s no better, then its going to Low-cost index funds!. Again, this is more of a “fun money” account where I experiment. It keeps showing me that I’m not a good stock picker.

The allocations are not too much “out of whack” so I don’t intend to re-balance until July (unless something major happens).

How did you do in March?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Status Update, Mar 1 2018 – OUCH!

Well, that hurt a little! As with most of us in the US, the markets were not kind to us in February. I thought we’d have a dip and then push back up a little before the end of the month, but it went down a lot at the end as well.  I lost about $38.3K (3.8% of invested assets) and dropped back below the $1M mark for assets, right as I hit it in January. Sad face!

The S&P 500 benchmark dropped 3.9% in February, so I guess I should consider myself lucky that I didn’t do as bad. I had hoped that with my larger % of bonds (30%) and REITS (17.5%) in my retirement accounts, it would buffer it a bit, but that didn’t work out. Let’s break it down.

Retirement Accounts: Remember, my allocation for these is:

  • 30% Bond Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

They all ended up losing money, but the big losers were REITs and International. Bonds actually didn’t lose too much, so they helped offset some of the losses. For REITs, there was a broad market selloff in February, and Mall REITs really tanked (down 23%). Though many earnings reports beat analyst estimates, the potential for a pending rate hike really hurt them.

Dividend Income Account: Allocation:

  • 25% Dividend Stocks
  • 25% REITs
  • 50% Bond Index Funds

Some of my stocks went up her (Cisco, iShares) and the bonds only dropped a little. Still the REITs hurt it. What’s interesting is that, while I’m down 3.8% overall, this account is only down 3.4% – and the dividends for the holders actually were raised for 2 of them.

Value Investing Account: Allocation (remember I refocused this at the beginning of February):

  • 60% in individual value stocks I picked myself (3 each, 20% for each)
  • 40% in Vanguard Value Index fund

This was my worst performing group, dropping 5.3% for February. One of my picks (SBS) was up about 1.6%, but the others drove it down. Again, this is more of a “fun money” account where I experiment. It keeps showing me that I’m not a good stock picker.

So after losing a$38K in one month, what am I going to do about it? Not much.

I have an allocation strategy and a set amount I invest on a monthly basis. I’m going to stick with my plan, and revisit every 6 months.

 

How did February treat you?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Monthly update – Feb 2018

Keeping it rolling, only 29 months from Financial Independence!

A pretty good month to celebrate!

  • For the first time, our investment assets (not counting savings, checking, home, etc.) hit over $1M
  • Good month for gains – got a 1.36% monthly gain, in addition to what I put in
  • Was able to roll my Dad’s IRA required distribution and some additional savings (total of $9K) directly into investments, and I bumped up my deferred pay allotment as well. All total, I put in about $13K into my investments in January alone. Getting into FIRE really motivates you to save.
  • Did my first travel hack! Mrs. 39 Months and I attended a dulcimer conference in mid-January, and got to stay at a nice hotel for free. Sweet!
  • Traffic on the site exploded, up over 200% from my 2017 monthly average. Thanks for tuning in!

A great way to start the year. I want to keep the momentum going.

My “fun money” value portfolio was interesting. I have three stocks in them (Gilead, Beasley Broadcast and SBS). I’ve already gone over why I chose them.  Gilead is up 12% for the month, and SBS is up 10%, However, Beasley is down about 1.5%. Overall, they’ve been great picks, and I’m up 2.5% for January (even counting my bond fund losses). About that – when I was originally planning it, I thought I’d set it up as a dividend account as well – so I have Bond Funds in it. Since I want to evaluate value with this money, I’ve decided to sell the bond funds, and invest the money in a Vanguard Value fund. I’ll do that at the beginning of February, so I will have a “baseline” to compare my stock picks to.

My inherited IRA that I set up for Dividends didn’t do well in January. Since its 25% REITs and 50% bond funds, you would expect with the raging economy and work on raising the prime interest rate, they’d suffer – and they did. Overall, they are down -1.8% for January. Not unexpected.

My company 401K and deferred accounts are up about 6% for January, because they are more heavily invested in stocks (25% S&P, 25% Small Cap, 25% Int’l, 25% bonds). Small cap really knocked it out of the park.

Our IRAs and Roth IRAs came back in around 1.2% for the month – pretty good. These are the ones that are 30% bonds, and then evenly split over REITs, Small Cap, Int’l and S&P 500. Again, good returns, and not unexpected.

While I expect a market correction at some point, I think we will be able to weather it, provided the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t come. My plan is to re-balance in July, unless the market really goes crazy.

Hope your new year is starting well!

 

Mr. 39 Months.

 

 

 

Investment update – End of 2017

Well, with 30 months left till FI, and the beginning of the new year, I wanted to go back and see how my investments did, to give you an idea of how my allocations seem to be working out.

For the year, my investments (not savings or real assets) went from $823K to $983K.

  • I added about $63K throughout the year
  • Got about $22K in dividends (2.7%)
  • Got about $75K in capital gains (9.1%)
  • Total returns on investments for the year, round 11.8%

The return is about average for the FIRE community. There are certainly some who really “smacked it out of the ballpark”, but I think that is because they are more invested in the assets that really took off this year.

Since I’m older and closer to FI, my allocation is a little more conservative:

  • 30% Bond intermediate Index Fund
  • 17.5% S&P 500 Index Fund
  • 17.5% Small Cap Index Fund
  • 17.5% International Index Fund
  • 17.5% REIT Index Fund

As one would expect, my bonds and REITs didn’t do as well this year (1.5% and 1.2% counting dividends) and they make up almost half of my assets. The stock portion (S&P, small cap and International) really kicked butt, getting around 20.1% on average. In the end I am very happy, as historically, this allocation would net me around 5.24% after inflation (which I expect to be around 2% for the US this year). Thus, my expectation was 7.24%, and I ended up around 11.8%.

As you might expect, my “set it and forget it” investment portfolio in my 401Ks and IRAs (both regular and Roth), where I just invest in index funds with the above allocation, did the best. I just regularly put in money, and surprisingly, the index funds do OK.

My father’s Inherited IRA, which I set up with an eye towards income, has returned 3.6% in dividends in 2017, which is a little more than I expected. Perhaps the rise in interest rates in the US (up 0.75% in 2017) had something to do with it. The capital gains for the stocks have been substantial, but that is only 25% of the portfolio. The REITs (25%) and bonds (50%) had a poor year for capital gains, so overall, it ended up just generating the 3.6%.

My “fun money” account, was somewhat of a disappointment as well. While one of my stock picks (Gilead Sciences) really shot up, the other two value picks (TAHO and CSS) did not perform well. I will revisit them in another email and I try and decide my ongoing value strategy. This portfolio also has 33% REITs and 33% bonds, which didn’t do well. Again, this is a small portion (5%) of my overall investment portfolio, so its more for me to try new things than to really make lots of money. I keep the majority of my investments in index funds and let them grow.

In a future posting, I’ll go into my value strategy, so folks can get some additional ideas and see if they work for them.

Hope your New Year has gotten off well!

 

Mr. 39 Months.

Goals/Objectives for 2018

I’ve already gone over my performance to goals for 2017 in a previous posting. In summary, I hit my finance and business goals, but was only halfway successful for the personal goals. From what I can see, that is fairly normal for FIRE bloggers – we are pretty good at hitting the numbers, but often fall off on the “squishy” goals.

For 2018, I kept my finance and business goals fairly similar (just bumping up some of the numbers) and added more personal goals. Why would I add to the goal category in an area I didn’t excel in? Call me a glutton for punishment, but I feel that I want to emphasize the personal as I get closer to my FI goal. I need to continue to work on realizing it’s not just about the money.

Finance:

  • Save $81K in tax-advantaged accounts (saved almost $37K in 2017). 401K, Roth IRA, etc. By utilizing a deferred account my company offers, I can dramatically increase this number (I will dump 100% of my company bonus in to help reach this number).  Since the deferred account money will have to be withdrawn (and taxed) when I leave, it actually is a pretty cool FIRE solution for saving.
  • Save $9K in regular accounts (compared to $26.5K in 2017). This will go into my brokerage account. I will use the money I was putting into this to upgrade the money in the tax-advantaged (see above)
  • Increase dividend income from all accounts to $24K/year (compared to 22K in 2017).
  • Passive income covers 33% of base living expenses in retirement (it was 30% in 2017). My long-term goal is to get my dividend/passive income up to where it covers over 100% of my expected retirement living expenses, so my investments can continue to grow.
  • Beat net worth growth rate of 7% (it was 12.3% in 2017). My historical net worth growth rate for the last 20 years has been 6.6%. This has been through two downturns (2000 and 2009), and it’s been over 12% for the last five – but there is a downturn coming at some point.

Business:

  • Begin attending regular meetings of my local real estate investors association. They hold a regular monthly meeting, a monthly meeting for new investors, and a monthly meeting for my specific county. All three could be interesting, and it’s free for a paid member. Last year I started attending, but it was spotty.
  • Double the number of blog visitors in 2018. Last year it was a little over 2,000. I want to get at least 4,000 this year, so I need to put myself out there more (i.e. comment) and write interesting topics.
  • Write/publish a book on finance.  I wrote one for new graduates in 2017, but I have identified an area of the community which hasn’t been served as well in the past. Hopefully I can assist with something here.

Personal:

  • Increase weight lifted by 10% from 2018 (increased by 12.7% in 2017). I want to continue to improve my strength as I get older, instead of just wasting away
  • Average 3 hours of cardio per week (currently averaging about an hour). Again, want to improve my fitness
  • Take part in at least one long bike ride, like MS bike-a-thon (80 miles)
  • Backpack over 100 miles on AT (did over 100 in 2017)
  • Begin volunteering at Pennsbury Manor at their joiner’s shop (woodworking)
  • Reduce weight by 20 lbs. from Jan 2018 (lost 9 lbs. in 2017). Again, I want to get in better shape as I get closer to financial independence
  • Read at least one book a month. Trying to learn new things and keep my mind shop. Started this in August 2017, and I’ve been doing fairly well with it.

Travel:

  • Visit a national park (visited Shenandoah NP in 2017)
  • Visit family in Tennessee, Vermont and New York. Family is very important to me. One of the things I am looking forward to with financial independence is the opportunity to visit family more often
  • Visit Portland, OR and northern California. Mrs. 39 Months has a craft class she wants to take in Portland, so I’ll go as well, and run around in Portland, when it’s over, we want to visit the Park in Northern California with the Redwoods.
  • Visit Ellis Island. Wanted to do this in 2017, but didn’t make it. As 50% Czech from immigrant great grandparents from the turn of the century, I believe they went through there, and I want to see it
  • Go on an international trip. Not sure which one (Canada, Caribbean, etc.) but I’d like to get out this year.
  • Visit the Asheville NC area. It’s one of the areas that we are considering retiring to (close to my old home in Tennessee, interesting crafts, shops & outdoor sports, etc.). Trying to learn more about the area (we’ve been there a couple of times).

So those are my somewhat ambitious goals for 2018. I am going to do my best to hit them, so wish me luck.

What are your goals for 2018?

Other bloggers on setting goals

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Mr. 39 Months

2017 Goals & Performance

Like so many others in the FIRE community, I thought I’d go over my 2017 goals and see how I did, in order to prepare for my 2018 objectives. I’ve been doing this for years, but haven’t had a blog to put it out there before now. I have to say, the Blog does help to both motivate me to push for bigger goals, and to keep things in perspective (there are always people in the FIRE community doing better than you – or at least looking like they are doing better than you on their blog).

2017 Goals:

Finance Goals:

  1. Save $33K in tax-advantaged accounts (Roth IRA, 401K, etc.) – Grade A: Overall saved almost $37K for the year
  2. Save $26K in regular accounts (brokerage accounts, after-tax, etc.) – Grade A: Saved $26.5K for the year
  3. Increase dividend income for all accounts (401K, brokerage, IRA, etc) to $18K for the year – Grade A: Total of almost $22K for the year
  4. Passive income covers 65% of base living expenses (taxes, utilities, etc.) – Grade A: Due to higher dividend payments, came in at 73.6%
  5. Net Worth beats my traditional 6.1% per year rate – grade A: Great stock year and putting in a lot of money led to a 12.3% increase in my net worth. From $1.27M to $1.42M! Yah

Overall for finance, I had to rate it as a A! Time to push the goals a lot more

Business Goals:

  1. Begin attending local Real Estate investors meeting (REIA). Grade C: Attended one meeting in July, but work and other issues kept me from going to more. Plan on starting to attend regularly and to pay for membership in January.
  2. Start a Blog – Grade A: Started the blog in April, total of 81 posts, 54 comments, and over 2,000 page views. Pretty small for most FIRE blogs, but I’m happy with it to start. Was able to post an average of twice a week, and I think that is a good amount. Was able to get over the “six month hump” where many bloggers dry up.
  3. Publish Student Finance BookGrade A: Completed the book on finance and work for students graduating. Its an e-book for $0.99, done more to get the info out there than to make tons of money (so far, its only sold 3 copies). I’ve got ideas on a second book, maybe for 2018.

Overall, for Business, I’d give myself a B.

Personal Goals:

Its here where I was a little “spotty” on getting stuff done

  1. Increase weight lifted in exercise by 10% from Jan 2017 amount – Grade A: Increase by 12.7%. Need to get more intricate in my lifting plan
  2. Average 3 hours of cardio every week by end of year – Grade F: Averaging around 1 hour, like at the beginning of the year. Need to make time and get this done
  3. Go on an international trip – Grade F: Didn’t do it, was planning on the 4th qtr, but work and injuries to Mrs. 39 Months kept this from happening
  4. Visit a National Park – Grade A: Backpacked in Shenandoah National Park for a week. A lot of fun. Looking forward to doing another 100+ mile year on the Appalachian Trail this year.
  5. See the 2017 total solar eclipse – Grade F: Had to go on a business trip to California the week it happened, and CA was overcast the day of. Didn’t get the chance to see it at all!

Overall, I’d give myself a C for personal goals in 2017. Need to up my game, here.

 

For the most part, it was a good year, though some health issues at the end of the year for Mrs. 39 Months and myself kept it from being a completely awesome year. I’ll try and push myself some more in 2018, both financially, business-wise, and for the personal goals.

 

How was your 2017? Did you get done a lot of what you planned for?

 

Mr. 39 Months

Monthly update – Dec 2017

Keeping it rolling, only 31 months from Financial Independence!

Much better month in November (+1.32% gain) than October (+0.47%), especially at the end, where the market really jumped up. I started the month with $952K of invested assets, put in $4,108 into my various accounts (401K, Roth IRA, brokerage), and ended with $969K (almost to $1M, yay!). For the year, all total, I am still up around 9.6%, and that is with a 70% stock/REIT and 30% bond mix.

Bonds continue to not perform very well (up only about 0.1% for the month) but they are providing the stability that I want (in case of a market downturn). Surprisingly, the REITs were up (about 3.0% for the month) – maybe they are just returning to where they should have been after a pretty bad year. The International was OK for the month (up 0.8% for month), and the S&P 500 and small cap indexes really did well (around 3.1% for the month).

My dividend portfolio (from my dad’s inherited IRA) is up about 3.0%, primarily due to REITS, though the Chevron and
Verizon stocks did great (Chevron was up 9.2% in November). That at the same time that they are due to pump out some end-of-year dividends to help out (this may be the reason they are up – folks are buying them to get the dividend).

In the value portfolio

  • CSS Industries stock was down almost 10% for the month, and went into negative territory for the year. I’ll go through my 6-month stock analysis in a later post, as I try and determine whether to keep a stock
  • Gilead was down 0.2% for the month, but still up 10% for the year
  • Taho continues to underperform, down another  8.1%, and over 20% for the year. Legal troubles in Central America continue to be a drag
  • For December, I plan on continuing to put my investment money into my bond mutual fund. I want to get my allocation more in line there with a 33% REITS/ 33% bonds/33% stocks plan. This will call on me to probably buy bonds each month for the rest of the year
  • The big lesson for the value portfolio continues to be that I’m not a very good stock picker, or that I need to be patient (i.e. 3-5 years patient) in order for it to pay off.

I continue to make progress towards my FIRE goal. While I expect a market correction at some point, I think we will be able to weather it, provided the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t come.

How did your November go? How are your plans for the year going?

 

Mr. 39 Months.