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2014 Annual Goals: Q1 Review

I saw on Twitter that someone had posted that they were late with their quarterly review of their annual goals, and I started to panic because truthfully, I haven’ t really thought about my annual goals much over the past month. But now that I’m working full-time again and chugging away with my freelance income, I can refocus on what I had wanted to accomplish this year. Maybe the 6 weeks off is going to affect a lot of my financial goals, but I’m okay with that because I think I’m in a better place than I was when the year started.

This year has been going by pretty quickly, but I couldn’t be any happier. I feel positive about the future, and I love seeing my friends and family achieving their goals as well. I’m excited about what the rest of the year has to offer because I have a sense of freedom. Freedom in having a job that’s so generous and flexible with taking time off, and freedom because I’m (trying) not to stress about money every day anymore.

Anyway, onto the review of my goals…

Financial

  • Stay debt-free (aside from my mortgage). ON TRACK! This is a pretty obvious goal, but it needs to be said. The number one goal is always to stay debt-free. :)
  • Increase my income by 10%. NEEDS WORK. Losing work for 6 weeks in Q1 has definitely hurt this goal. But, I have much more earning potential at this new job, and I’ve already taken on some fun freelance projects, so I’ll have to keep plugging away at this and not let that setback bring me down.
  • Increase my net worth to $115,000. NEEDS WORK. This is an increase of approximately $22,000 from 2013. So far, I’m off pace but I’m going to try to increase all of my automated savings to try to make up the difference.
  • Buy stocks. ON TRACK! I’ve already put $600+ into my Questrade account this year. I’m never going to be big into stocks, but it’s fun to learn and play around with it.
  • Save at least $750/month into my RRSP/TFSA. ON TRACK. I’m giving myself a pass here because I was doing this until I got laid off – saving $600 into my RRSP, and $150 into TFSA.
  • Save at least $50 bi-weekly into a long-term travel fund. ON TRACK. Surprisingly, I’ve saved over $1,100 already this year. It’s all thanks to banking a whole freelance cheque, and any ING Direct referral bonuses I’ve been getting.
  • Stay on budget every month. FAIL. I’ve already failed at this goal because of my job loss, but I’m still going to work hard at making achievable targets each month and being super conscious with my spending habits.
  • Sell at least one item every month. ON TRACK. Well, I’ve technically only sold one thing. But I’ve put items up on eBay every month, and I have given away a ton of stuff to goodwill, so that counts for something. At least for me, anyway. :)

Personal

  • Go on one big trip. ON TRACK. Well, originally I was going to Sweden this year for a work trip, and that was going to be where I based my vacation from. But now, I can go anywhere. Still thinking Europe, because I’m planning this trip with BF, and he hasn’t seen much of Europe before. We’ve tossed around a bunch of different itineraries, but haven’t settled on anything yet except for the timeframe – likely in late September for 2-3 weeks. Originally I was thinking it would cost less than $2,000 because work would pay for my flight to Europe… but now I’m thinking it might cost upwards of $4,000 because of the added cost of the flight, and the potential change from 2 weeks to 3 weeks. If 3 weeks is the case, then I’ll use the $$ in my long-term travel fund to help with the additional cost. :)
  • Run in four half marathons and set a PR. NEEDS WORK. Well, I’ve run in one half marathon already this year, but it was rough, and I haven’t really gotten back on track since that run. I’ve been nursing a foot injury for a couple of months, but I still have aspirations of running in at least two more half marathons this fall. My stretch goal is still to run one in 1:48, but realistically I just want to stay healthy for the rest of the year.
  • Read 20 books. NEEDS WORK. I haven’t really been into reading the past couple of months, even though I have a huge pile of books just begging to be read. I actually think it’s because I don’t spend much time alone these days. But I just need to get into the habit of reading a little bit before bed each night. Traveling helps too, and when we go to Vegas this month I’ll get to catch up on some reading while in the air. :)
  • Spend less than $1,000 on clothing/shoes. ON TRACK. Well, surprisingly I’ve only spent $38.22 on clothes this year – and they were on nylons. I don’t know why I insist on buying nylons since I’m so clumsy and end up ruining them before the day is over. :| And they’re so expensive! But I do know I need to update my work wardrobe since the place I work at now is a bit fancier than my last job.
  • Make one new recipe every monthON TRACK. I’m still vegetarian, and it’s been fun to experiment with new recipes and ideas in the kitchen. BF is a meat eater though, so sometimes it can get a bit tricky. And I do find that I need to eat a lot more to stay full.
  • Tackle three household projects. NEEDS WORK. Well, I’ve done none of these things. The closest I’ve gotten is discussing painting my bedroom with BF, who said it would be an easy job and we could get it done in a day. It’s not that I haven’t thought about refinishing my cabinets or getting blinds installed, it’s just that I keep flip flopping about what I want to do with my home in the long-term. If I want to sell in a year or two, then there’s no point in putting in that money, because I won’t get it back at all. But if I plan on staying long-term, or if they change the complex rules to allow for rentals, then I would definitely get going with these projects. So I’m going to give it until the end of Q2 to see if I can make any progress in my decision.

Professional

  • Research project management programs. ON TRACK. I’ve looked into project management and marketing management certifications through BCIT. They’re something that I’m interested in doing for sure. Originally I didn’t think I needed to do anything to advance my career, but over the past few weeks I’ve gotten a clearer picture of where I want to be in 5-10 years, and I know I’ll be better off with more education.
  • Take a French language class. NEEDS WORK. If I do end up taking a management program, I might drop French language lessons. It was a good goal to have in the last industry I was in, but I’m not sure it’s needed in the direction that I’m headed. It’s still worth taking a look though, because a second language is always beneficial.
  • Get published 4 times. ON TRACK. I was published once this quarter, but I don’t have anything lined up for the next 3 months so I should start thinking and pitching some ideas. :) I also got back to doing some media interviews – once for MoneySense Magazine, and one for a podcast.

2014 Annual Goals

The overall theme of 2014 will be to take chances (don’t be afraid), and focus on saving for the future.

During 2013, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I’m a lot stronger than I thought I was, and I learned that if I really want to be happy, I need to take chances. I can’t spend too much time over analyzing every small detail of my life, and worrying if I’m making the right decision. Usually, my gut feeling ends up being the right one anyway, so I can’t be afraid to go for what I want. Besides, you’re not really living life if you don’t feel scared every once in a while, right? :)

And the truth is, the goals I have listed below scare me. I haven’t been this focused on seriously increasing my savings for a very long time. 2012 was spent traveling (and saving minimally), and 2013 I did okay… but I know I could have done better. So 2014 is the time where I prove to myself that I have what it takes.

Retirement will take centre stage this year, as I’m drastically changing the way I funnel my money. I am no longer paying an additional 20% onto each of my accelerated bi-weekly mortgage payments. Instead, that $200+ each week will be put towards my RRSP and TFSA accounts. I think this is the right move to make considering the future life I want for myself.

Anyway, here are my goals for 2014:

Financial

  • Stay debt-free (aside from my mortgage). I feel like this goal is an obvious one, but it needs to be said.
  • Increase my income by 10%. Instead of putting a number value on my income goal for 2014, my goal is to increase my overall income (full-time and part-time) by a specific percentage. I think that this a bit of a stretch, but it’s still realistic.
  • Increase my net worth to $115,000. This is an increase of approximately $22,000. Last year my net worth increased by $17,000, so this will be a bit of a challenge for me. But if my income increases, and I stay on track with my RRSP/TFSA contributions and mortgage payments, I should be able to reach this.
  • Buy stocks. I purchased my first stock in 2013 (through my TFSA), and I’m actively tracking a couple of others for long-term growth. So, my goal for this year is to put $2,000 into stocks. It’s not a lot, but I’m comfortable with this amount.
  • Save at least $750/month into my RRSP/TFSA. This will likely be split at a ratio of $600/$150.
  • Save at least $50 bi-weekly into a travel fund. This is money that won’t be touched for a long time, and is separate from saving for annual trips that I take. I want to start putting away money for a big adventure. I don’t know when I’ll take this trip or where I want to go, but I do know that I’d like to travel for at least 2 months (preferably 3), and that will take a lot of coordination to work out… but I’d better start saving for it now.
  • Stay on budget every month. A big problem with my budget in 2013 was that I was always going over. I need to make realistic budgets for myself this year, and focus on hitting those targets. That’s the only way I’m going to be able to achieve the rest of my financial goals this year.
  • Sell at least one item every month. I have a lot of things that I just don’t use anymore… and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Craigslist and eBay, is that people will buy just about anything. So I’d like to start decluttering and getting rid of some of the stuff in my house.

Personal

  • Go on one big trip. I want to scale back on travel, but I don’t want to give it up completely. I think the most cost-effective way is to take vacation immediately after a work trip, like last year when I went to Morocco after a conference in France. This year, the conference will be in Sweden. I’d love to explore Denmark and Northern Germany… but I’d also like to do a road trip through southern France/Spain/Portugal… or head back to Turkey… or go to Russia. So as you can see, I’ve got a lot of research to do. But whatever I end up choosing will likely be in Europe, will likely be in late October, and will hopefully cost less than $2,000.
  • Run in four half marathons and set a PR. 2013 was great. I ran in two 10km races, and two half marathons. 2014 is where I take my love for running and try to do something with it. Now, I’m not dumb. I know my body and its capabilities… I’ll never be an elite runner, but I do want to push myself to become better. My goal? To run a half marathon in 1:48 … that’s going to be about 6 minutes faster than my current PR.
  • Read 20 books. I have a huge list of books to read on GoodReads. Time to tackle them.
  • Spend less than $1,000 on clothing/shoes. Okay, this may seem like a ton of money, but I know I’ll need to replace my running shoes ($150) and field hockey boots ($150) at some point. If I want to spend more than this amount, I will need to sell my current clothes to come up with the money.
  • Make one new recipe every month. I’ve never claimed to be great in the kitchen, but I do like trying. My goal is to make at least one new thing every month.
  • Tackle three household projects. I want to re-finish my kitchen cabinets, get blinds installed, and re-paint my bedroom.

Professional

  • Research project management programs. I don’t want to go back to school full-time or take an intensive part-time program… but I am interested in some certifications. I don’t know all the options out there, and I honestly don’t know if this is something I want to (or need to) do to advance my career, so I’ll have to do a lot of research to figure out what my options are.
  • Take a French language class. This is probably going to have to happen. I’m really interested in continuing to grow as an employee, and without a second language (any second language) working for international companies can be difficult. French is the obvious choice because Canada is bilingual.
  • Get published 4 times. I don’t think I want to go back to a regular freelancing gig, but I do love writing articles. So my goal is to pitch and submit at least one article per quarter during 2014. It doesn’t matter if it’s online or in print, but I do need to get paid for it.

Any questions or comments? Let me know! :)

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:

Financial

  • 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.

Personal

  • 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.

Professional

  • 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!

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