Happy New Year, folks!
A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of rounding up my 2014 goals and explaining how the past year went – spoiler alert: awesome. Now it’s time to see what’s what in 2015 and set some ambitious New Year’s resolutions. Instead of kicking back it’s important to maintain the 2014 momentum and even try to improve upon it.
Financial independence is indeed not just an end-state, but rather an ongoing process of self-improvement and trying to decrease your dependence on outside sources and forces for both financial security and personal stability. That’s why I’ve also outlined personal development, blogging, and health goals for 2015 on top of my exclusively financial objectives.
My list definitely won’t be as big as the one Huw from Financially Free By Forty conjured up, but gamifying my life to the point I have track almost everything I do with an end-goal in mind just isn’t for me. Five ambitious objectives is more than enough and I’m glad to share them with you.
1. Save 70% on average of my net annual income
When I first started to get into financial independence and early retirement some time around March last year, I initially decided I’d go for a 50% savings rate on average. In the meantime much has changed, however. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of cheap yet decent apartments out there, that internet connections don’t cost you an arm and a leg when you don’t buy special all-in-one packs, and that forgoing car ownership saves you up to €400 a month.
That’s why last year I managed to save over 70% of my income on average. Having enjoyed the safe environment of my parent’s home for seven months last year, it’s no surprise that I achieved annual savings of that magnitude. Now, for 2015 I’ve decided to set that exact initial goal even though managing it won’t be easy. Just think of the fact that I’m moving into the savings territory of frugal badasses like the Frugalwoods and you now I’ll have to pull out all the stops.
2. Increase my net worth to at least €70,000 by the end of the year
When translating a 70% savings rate into absolute numbers we’re talking about putting away €1,400 every month since my monthly income hovers around €2,100. That’s a total of €16,800 of extra savings next year, excluding any bonusses now that I’m motivated as ever at work. If everything goes according to plan, of course.
Because December’s portfolio update showed that I’m currently at the €50,000 threshold, it should be a walk in the park to accomplish a sizeable net worth increase in 2015. Someone once said “go big or go home”, so let’s go big and set a very ambitious goal of €70,000 by the end of the year.
To reach that number I’ll definitely need the help of both my well-trained side hustle muscle and the Gods of the Stock Market. The slightest dip in stocks next year could derail this goal, so now I’m even more motivated to crush my savings target of 70% and make sure I get to the seventy thousand mark. In the end, saving a big chunk of your paycheck remains the most important factor in ever reaching financial independence.
3. Achieve €500 in dividends for the entire year
In September of last year I received my very first dividend from McDonald’s, as most of you know. I can’t tell you how exciting it was to see fresh and new capital rolling into my account, no action required on my part. Waking up in the morning was more than enough to receive that free and new income.
Since that time, I’ve slowly been building my dividend growth investment portfolio so that I am sure to receive ever larger monthly payouts. At the moment my 12-month-forward dividend income yields a healthy €350. If newly added capital remains at a constant level from 2014, I’m pretty sure that €500 in dividend income is achievable for 2015. Can’t wait to put in those numbers in my dividend portfolio tracker!
€500 might not seem like much, but that amount accounts for just over 5% of my annual expenses. As such, 2015’s expected passive income should be able to sustain my current lifestyle for 18 days. Simply by owning a bunch of excellent businesses worldwide I’m able to live worry-free for over two weeks already, awesome!
4. Follow three work-related trainings and a hobby-related one
On top of my three main financial goals, I’ve also set some personal development goals for 2015, like I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Being fresh out of university it seems a bit ridiculous to dive head-first into course books and to join extra training sessions, but I feel constant learning, or life-long learning as the European Commission likes to call it, is essential to staying ahead of the curve.
That’s why I hope to sign-up and complete three work-related trainings by the end of the year. Most likely I’ll try to follow an advanced strategic financial management program, a shorter internal audit course, and a traning session on introducing a higher level of efficiency in business processes. I’m really lucky to have an employer who actively promotes further training.
On a more personal level, I also hope to find some free time to sign up for at least one training session in an area that I’m interested in. At the moment I’m thinking of picking up computer programming again, but I might very well go an entirely different route and finally start learning proper German – that way I’ll finally be able to read Lars’ blog. My current knowledge of German is limited to academic language usage only, which is of nu use in the real world.
5. Reach a total of 100,000 page views for the entire year
Last week I was pleasantly surprised to find my blog was read by over 8,000 unique visitors in just six months’ time. It’s crazy to think that so many people might in some way or another be interested in what I have to tell here. Because I’m now more motivated than ever to spread the word of financial independence and dividend growth investing, I’m aiming to serve at least 100,000 page views to my audience by the end of the year.
6. Bike to work at least 50 times
A couple of months ago my roommate and I first tried to bike to work. Instead of dreading the 70km round-trip we were both more worried about the Brussels traffic, but in the end it turned out to be a fun experience. In the following months we biked to work a couple of times more before it got dark too quickly in the evening. For 2015 I hope to bike at least 50 times to work, which is between 20% and 25% of my workdays.
There you have it. Six goals to achieve in twelve months’ time. I feel pretty positive that I’ll be able to crush all of them. The only goal that’s a bit out of my hands is the net worth increase up to €70,000 because of possible stock market volatility. If that happens I’ll still be a happy camper because that means cheaper stocks and consequently higher dividend yields thus making my dividend income goal easier.
As you can see, having a game plan is much more important than actually achieving it. As long as you can visualise the way forward and give it your all, you’ll be surprised to see how much you can achieve in just one year. That’s why I’m sure 2015 is set to capitalize on the great momentum built-up in 2014.
Contrary to last year, I plan on posting regular updates on my goal progress. That way you guys can follow my journey more closely and I can benefit from the extra pressure and motivation that brings. On top of that the monthly income and expenses reports are here to say, just like the net worth updates. Something new that I’ll probably introduce in the next couple of days is an overview of monthly dividend payments. If you have any further ideas, I’d love to hear them.
How about your resolutions and goals for 2015?
Those are some great goals for 2015. The savings rate and net worth are particularly aggressive. I wish you all the best along the journey and will continue to follow your progress on the blog.
If I didn’t set aggressive goals for myself, I’d probably start slacking off. That’s one of the main reasons why I started this blog; to keep myself accountable. One of the best ideas I ever had! You guys always push me on through your kind and generous comments.
Thank you for following. Hope to stay in touch next year.
All the best for 2015,
Some excellent goals – good luck, I’m sure you’ll be up to the challenge!
A couple of my own goals are similar to yours and like you, they’re dependent on stock market prices, so fingers crossed for us both!
Thank you for your confidence in my abilities! We’ll see, but I’m sure I’ll at least make the majority of the goals set above. Sadly we can’t fully rely on the stock market, but even if it goes down we’ll come ahead in the long-run.
I hope you had a wonderful time in Hong Kong!
Good luck next year,
Good luck with your goals. With your attitude and the willingness to be a little uncomfortable for financial gain, I’m sure you will achieve them. Good luck.
Thank you! I’m sure I’ll achieve at least the large majority of them. After having such a great 2014 I owed it to myself to keep the momentum going far into 2015.
Have a wonderful 2015,
What an awesome year you’ve had! And your goals for 2015 sound diverse and inspirational. Your savings rate is enviable and totally hardcore. I’m continually impressed with your commitment to ramping up your savings! I appreciate the shout-out too, thank you :)! Happy New Year!
You and me both! We’ve had a fantastic 2014 on both the financial and blogging fronts. Actually, I’m jealous at the steady stream of high-quality posts you guys keep on pushing out. 😉
Keep it up over there,
With the amount of success you had on achieving your 2014 goals I am sure you will have no problem achieving your 2015 goals. Great job on the impressive savings rate last year and glad to see your maintaining it throughout 2015.
It won’t be easy, but I’m sure I’ll hit most of 2015’s goals without too much problem. I just have to stay the course and not let unimportant things distract me.
Thank you for your support and I hope you reach your $10,000 in dividends in 2015!
All the best,
Hey man, as usual, another excellent post. Really like your goals, and the fact that you’ve kept them pretty succinct too.
I imagine you should be able to easily achieve all your goals for 2015, and I wish you every success in them,
You should have seen my notes when I was preparing this post. I had about thirty different goals! 🙂 It would be dumb for me to post such a long list because I know I won’t be able to track them at all.
I hope you have a fantastic 2015 too!
Keep it up over there in England,
WOW! 70% thats crazy, you will be reaching FI in no time. I challenge you to increase your biking to 52 instead of 50 🙂 there’s 52 weeks in a year, it will be easier to track (but if u plan to have a 2 weeks vacation, 50 is perfect). Can I steal your idea and add biking in my goal?
Ha, it makes sense to go for 52 times, but I’m not going to bike during winter. It’s too dark (and therefore dangerous) to be riding to work in the morning. I’ll start biking again sometime in March and try to do so two times every week.
Go ahead, ‘steal’ all you want! 🙂
Hope you have a wonderful 2015,
Those are some excellent goals, NMW. I wish you the best in achieving them in 2015.
Thanks, man! We’ll find out in due time.
Have an awesome 2015 yourself,
I think those goals are very much achievable and I’m sure you’ll be successful! The greatest thing about having such a high savings rate and low cost of living, is that it affords you options. I’m working on my own set of goals as well. This coming year is going to be exceptional! Good luck!
I sure do hope so! The only thing truly within my own power is my savings rate and I’m intent on absolutely crushing it again this year. The rest will follow.
Looking forward to read your goals and following alongside you in the next couple of months.
All the best for 2015,
You’re definitely riding some awesome momentum heading into 2015 NMW, and it’s great to see you want to push things a little harder this year. I think it’s a fantastic idea to track your goals during the year, rather than just waiting until the end to see how you go – it should make it easier to correct as you go if you start veering off track. And speaking of ‘off-track’ – that’s a pretty solid bike ride you have to work too!
Look forward to cheering you on during the year! All the best!
Exactly my thoughts! Now is not the time to kick back, but to push on and reap the rewards of my past efforts.
Tracking your goals is extremely important in staying the course and keeping yourself motivated. The past few months I’ve been doing this already, but I thought it would be nice to share my progress with you guys. More transparency and accountability is always a good thing.
Long bike ride to work indeed, but I absolutely love it. When I get home from a long day at work I feel completely revitalized. Highly recommended!
Looking forward to see how you will juggle work, your new mortgage, and family life next year down under.
Great list of goals. Love the 70% savings rate goal. That’s hardcore, my friend. Should be attainable for you, based on your lifestyle and historical spending. Achieving 70% for the year would be awesome! 🙂
Best of luck with all of the goals. You’re surely on a great trajectory for wealth and freedom.
Thanks, man! 70% won’t be easy, but I’ll give it my all for sure. Even if I don’t manage to save that much I’ll see a huge boost to my net worth and future dividend income.
I appreciate you following along and I hope 2015 will be as great as 2014 has been for you. It definitely was the year everything fell into its own for you: self-employment, engagement, … the list goes on and on!
All the best for 2015,
What a great list of goals, both financial goals and physical goals. Really like your goal on riding bike to work. 70% savings rate would be very impressive to hold for the entire year. I can’t wait to hear more updates on your goals this year.
Having good goals is half the work. If you truly believe in them, it’s much easier to give it your all to reach them. I’m glad you like what I’m trying to accomplish in 2015.
Thank you for your support the past year. Looking forward to what 2015 will bring for you!
Happy new year!!
Good luck on reaching those goals.
My 2 main goals are:
– Have 250 000 EUR invested in the stock market by the end of this year.
– Receive 8000 EUR of dividends
Happy New Year, pal!
Great goals yourself. I’m sure you’ll manage without any problem whatsoever. I’m really happy to see you crushing the dividend growth strategy in Belgium because it shows it can be done!
Have a wonderful 2015,
Excellent goals NMW! It is also nice to see some of your goals are actually out of the personal finance area. It is always nice to keep in mind that there is more to life than just money : )
You’re absolutely right! Money and personal finance are just a way to get out of life what I really want to get out of it.
I hope you have a great 2015 over there!
Thank you for stopping by again and for following along,
Love this! Can’t wait to read your post at the end of the year 🙂
Thank you! Hopefully you won’t have to wait until the end of the year to read about me accomplishing one of my goals.
All the best for 2015,
If you’re able to save 70% of your net income through the year, you’re going to smash any financial targets you set for yourself! You’ll have matched Sir John Templeton’s savings rate, and that’s saying something.
As you said, net worth is a slippery figure as it can depend so heavily on outside factors, but as long as you keep piling your cash into quality assets, the results will follow.
– Ryan from GRB
Interesting that you bring up John Templeton. I never heard one of the goals he set in life was to consistently save at least 50% of his income. Let’s hope by doing the same I’ll also turn into a billionaire! 🙂
Tracking your net worth closely definitely is a slippy slope because it’s influenced by so many outside factors. As your portfolio continues to grow even small swings might have an enormous impact on your overall net worth. That’s exactly one of the reasons why I switched to dividend growth investring from index funds.
Thank you for stopping by,
All the best for 2015,
A bit late but I wanted to wish you good luck with your six goals!
I’m very interested about the 100k page views. Let’s see how do you manage to reach it.
Looking forward to reading your first update.