Give Me Back My Five Bucks

2013 Annual Goals: Recap

Well, 2013 has been a weird year for me. It was an emotional year, and in many ways I didn’t think I’d be where I am today. I never thought I would spend the majority of the year single, and I didn’t think I’d ever see myself in this line of work. But I consider myself to be pretty fortunate to have found a great job immediately after coming back from Germany. That provided me the stability I needed after an up-and-down year as a freelancer in 2012. I got to travel internationally, made new friends, took up running, ended a relationship, had a bunch of ridiculous dating adventures (I swear I could start up a second blog just based on dating stories!), started a new relationship, and have a more focused mindset going into 2014.

I also learned a lot about work-life balance this year. I miss the income I was generating when I was working 60-70 hours/week, but having an extra 10-20 hours each week to do the things that make my life fulfilling is worth the extra money I would have earned. And honestly, my income hasn’t dropped that much. I am working smarter, not harder, and that’s been paying off. Plus, my personal relationships have improved tremendously, and I feel really grateful for everyone in my life right now.

This has also been a year of fitness for me. I’m still not where I want to be, but I’m also more fit than I’ve been in years. Being able to run 20+ km without getting super tired? That’s a pretty great feeling. Running in races is something I’m really enjoying, and I hope to continue that into 2014. My immediate goal is a few more half marathons, then a marathon, and then… who knows. I’m fascinated with ultra marathons, but I realize how selfish they can be. Aside from running, field hockey is something I have always been passionate about. And this season has been the first time in many, many years that I can feel myself getting better. It’s been frustrating to play, knowing exactly what I need to do, but physically (or psychologically) not being able to do it. Because of my increased fitness level, and the coaching I’ve been getting this year, I wonder if I can recover more skills that I’ve lost over the years. :)

I’m a little sad that 2013 went by so quickly. I’m not quite ready to let the year go yet, so I guess it’s a good thing there are still a few days left. :) I really am looking forward to everything that 2014 represents, and I want to prove to myself that I have what it takes to become better.

Anyway, here is how I did this year with my goals:


  • Earn $85,000 to $90,000FAIL. This was a stretch for me, and I failed because I didn’t have a plan to get me to this goal. I just threw out an arbitrary salary range, and hoped that I would get there. Not the way to achieve a goal, Krystal. I ended up making approximately $77,000 this year – which is good, but pretty far off the mark of where I wanted to be. Still, to be honest, I’m pleased.
  • Put an extra $2,500 onto the mortgageCHECK! I ended up putting just over $2,600 extra onto my mortgage.
  • Save $16,000 in my Retirement PortfolioFAIL. I just increased my auto deductions, and am looking to ramp them up again for next year… but because I was so far off my income target, this was the one category that suffered. I ended up saving about $7,500.
  • Diversify my investmentsCHECK! I put about $1,300 into my Questrade account.
  • Start contributing to charityCHECK! I’ve decided to contribute monthly to WaterCan.


  • Run in a half marathon and two 10km races. CHECK! I ran in two 10km races, and two half marathons. My best times were 49:59 for the 10km, and 1:53:52 for the half marathon. I’m looking forward to improving on those times in 2014.
  • Take a French language classFAIL. Since Nic and I broke up, I became less interested in learning French. But that being said, I do still think it’s a valuable skill to have – especially in the industry that I’m in. There are so many jobs that require a second language. Maybe French isn’t the language I should be learning, but I think it’s something I’m going to have to put some real effort into.


  • Invest in a grown-up wardrobeCHECK! About half way through the year, I ended up calculating how much I had already spent on my wardrobe. It was a shocking amount, and I actually ended up spending a grand total of $1,854.13. But that includes a suit, bridesmaid dress (including shoes and alterations), a couple of pairs of running shoes, running gear, and a significant upgrade to my professional wardrobe. I’m satisfied with how much I’ve spent, and that I got the best deals possible on good quality clothing.
  • Read 6 marketing books. PASS. Okay, technically I only read two books. But I watched a TON of marketing and business documentaries, so that has to count for something, right? Right. So I’m giving myself a pass.
  • Scale back my freelancingCHECK! I love how one of my goals for this year was to do less. :) Near the end of the year, I realized I needed to step up my game and get back into freelancing, and I think I’ve come to a healthy balance.

So, there you have it. My 2013 goals. Any questions? Comments?

Happy Holidays!

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. I often see lists of financial goals similar to yours. Your 2013 might have been a great year or a poor year depending on your debts. If your debts went down, then this fact combined with your other accomplishments makes it a great year. However, if your debts went up, then you’ve likely had a poor financial year. That’s why I usually recommend to people that they close the loop on their financial goals by including one or more goals that cover debts. You’ve covered your mortgage, but we can’t tell about any other possible debts.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      The only debt I carry is my mortgage, and in 2013 my net worth increased by $17,000. Not a crazy amount, but still a step in the right direction.

      • It sounds like you’ve got an implicit extra goal of not creating any new debt — good for you. Sadly, I know people who should make such a goal explicit. They feel good about saving $5000 in a TFSA, but grow their debt by $10,000 at the same time.

  2. jolie says:

    I think you had a wonderful year with the exception of you and Nic splitting up. You saw amazing places, you got yourself into great physical condition and experienced the adrenaline of running, and best of all, and I quote you “I worked smarter, not harder”. That alone is a goal many of us aspire to. I look forward to reading your adventures in 2014

  3. Alicia says:

    I’m interested, if you’re willing to share, how much of your income was salary vs. freelance. I wonder if because of your last goal (scaling back) was why you didn’t reach your first goal. (I’m not knocking $77,000 whatsoever, just curious if they’re linked).

    Great job on the goals overall – I like that you said your relationships have been strengthened by your time off. Good to see the non-financial payoffs!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      In order to main some sort of privacy, I won’t disclose exactly how much I make at my full-time job (although I’m sure it’s easy to find out if you read through the archives). But it was definitely because of scaling back freelancing that I didn’t reach my income goal. I don’t know why I thought I could increase my income while decreasing my hours worked. :) I guess I just thought that if I worked smarter, the money would come. And it did to some degree… but since I scaled back my hours worked so drastically, I just couldn’t make up the difference. Lesson learned. I’ll regroup and adjust for 2014!

  4. E.F. says:

    Always inspiring and motivating to read your blog Krystal. Keep it up!

  5. That looks like a pretty stellar year to me! Congrats on your success for the year, and good luck in 2014!

    By the way, why are ultra marathons selfish? I’m not a runner, so I don’t understand that comment.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Well I only said that because training for an ultra marathon (and even a marathon) takes up a lot of time. If in the future I have a family, I couldn’t imagine spending hours and hours of my week on myself, when I would have young kids to take care of. Or neglecting my partner and friends/family when I’m so used to spending time with them. But that’s just my thinking right now. It must be doable, since many people who have families and social lives run ultras.

  6. Hi Krystal,

    It’s great to see that you’ve met many of your personal investment goals this past year (including contributing to your Questrade account). Keep up the good work.

    John – TeamQuestrade,
    Questrade, Inc.

  7. Eileen says:

    could you list some of the marketing & business documentaries you watched?

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