I’ve worked really hard (well in my opinion) at trying to keep up with my personal finance resolutions of 2016. I’ve been cognizant of my spending and I continue to feel like I don’t spend very much (e.g. don’t go shopping, don’t spend money on clothes or designer bags) but I still end up spending quite a bit, I think mainly on eating out, dining with friends, oh, and of course traveling. There probably aren’t many people who think a $5000 travel budget (just including myself) for the year is reasonable but in fact, extravagant. I will definitely have to re-evaluate that for next year.
So here’s a look at the goals I set out in January and a review of how I am doing for 2016 so far:
Max out the Tax Free Savings Account
This was a no brainer, and accomplished probably sometime in January. All it took was to transfer some cash from my non-registered account to my registered Tax Free Savings Account. If you are having trouble deciding between contributing to a Tax Free Savings Account or a Registered Retirement Savings Plan, check out the aforementioned post, with great graphics to clear the confusion.
Max out the Registered Retirement Savings Plan
This was also done early in the year, by contributing to the RRSP in my Questrade account and setting up automatic contribution for the rest of the year for my TD e-series account. Because of my defined benefit pension plan, it doesn’t take very much to max out my Registered Retirement Savings Plan. Many people might question why I am contributing to an RRSP anyway because of my defined benefit pension plan, but I may not work full-time for the next 20 or 30 more years to get my full pension so might as well be prepared for anything that might happen.
Increase Net Worth to $420,000
I didn’t achieve my net worth goal last year, I was only off by around $800. I hope to achieve my goal by the end of this year of $420,000 net worth and ultimately can hopefully can achieve $800,000 or $1,000,000 by age 40. I have six more months to achieve this goal of $420,000 net worth. I haven’t been spending very much, but have traveled quite a bit already this year (I have already spent over $4000 on my trips this year) and I do spend about $150 a month on going out for dinners/ enjoying wine with friends (well, for the last two months anyways).
One of my rewards from last year if I achieved my net worth goal was to buy a road or cyclocross bike. Well, since I have not achieved my net worth goal and was off by $800, I am slowing trying to fund it by decluttering my place and selling stuff. I also am including the cash back reward available in my MBNA World Points World MasterCard. So far, I have about $600 for my future road bike, think I can get something decent? Probably not haha unless it is used or stolen from someone else but listed on Craigslist.
Read Four Financial Books
I have read three out of four books so far for 2016:
- The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life, by Alice Schroeder (which was an amazing amazing fascinating book by the way)
- Beating the Street by Peter Lynch
- One Up on Wall Street by Peter Lynch
- Currently I’m reading a book about Investing in Canadian Real Estate but I don’t think I’ll count it as a book for this year
Spend a Set Amount on Travel
Almost Not Achieving this Goal! Panic Ensues…
As for my insane traveling budget of $5000 per year, I am already almost maxing it out. I spent around $500 on a trip to try and see the Northern Lights in Whitehorse, I spent about $1000 on a trip to Omaha, Nebraska, to see the great Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger at the Berkshire Hathaway Annual General Meeting (which was probably one of my favourite trips in the United States), I spent about $1000 on a cruise to Alaska (my first time I have ever gone on a cruise, and I gained five pounds! I couldn’t say no to the food, it was so delicious). My flight to south east Asia cost $1300 and traveling within South East Asia is going to cost about $500 including accommodation. Finally, there’s our destination wedding location which I’ll include the time and costs of traveling spent after the wedding in my travel budget.
Continue Alternate Month Shopping Ban
I think I had to break the shopping ban one month because I needed to replace something in my home. I have been pretty good about it and for example, this month I am allowed to shop, but I haven’t really had the urge to buy anything actually.
Increase Dividend Income to $6000
I just continue to add to the portfolio that I have agreed to contribute to on a monthly basis. I have refrained from adding more equities (even though it was very tempting to buy more SNC Lavalin (SNC.TO) because I am over 26% in individual equities, and my rule for myself was to have less than 25%.
Readers, how are your 2016 Resolutions so far?