2015: Year-end Review

2014 is when I started my journey towards Financial Independence. I did not have a formal set of goals, but I did define what Financial Independence means to me (here).

2015 was the first year where I had a formal set of goals. For 2015, I the following goals to get me closer to my financial independence goals (here). End of 2015 has arrived and it is time for the year-end review.

One word before that. I got amazing support from the Financial blogger community during this year and my humble thanks to all who took the time to drop a comment and/or drop in an encouraging word and/or drop a suggestion. It is truly appreciated. Thank you.

Back to the goals, I managed to reach some goals, exceed some and not reach some.

  1. Max out 401K contributions ($36K) for both me and my wife.
    1. Done: 12/31/2015
    2. Reached this goal…same goal for next year.
  2. Contribute $16K (goal stretch $24K) to Passive Income Streams
    1. Done 09/30/2014
    2. Exceeded this goal big time….very happy about this.
    3. Same 16K goal for next year
  3. Contribute $4800 to 529 College Fund
    1. Done: 12/31/2015
    2. Exceeded this goal as well by about $1000….I am happy about this too…though the goal seems to be stuck at $30K…it is like two steps forward and three steps back.
    3. Same goal for next year though
  4. Deposit maturing CDs into passive income streams
    1. Done 01/17/2015
    2. This was a one-time cash inflow…I used some CDs I had set aside for home down payment…since I did not see that happening this year, I moved them to my passive income streams. I am very happy I did this as well.
  5. Keep scouting for a possible home
    1. Not Done: 12/26/2015
    2. This goal is not looking so good. The prices in 2015 were even more crazy than 2014. So, 2016 is not looking good either. There were some discussion about moving to a lower cost area that *forced* its way into the family’s conversation. But, no decision yet.
  6. Start and finish Estate Planning
    1. Not Done: 12/26/2015
    2. There were some changes within the family which delayed this goal a bit. I was thinking about appointing my brother’s family as a guardian for my kid, but some instability has crept into my brother’s family and I wanted to give him time to work things out…so, I need to rework my strategy and timing a bit more. Family is family…so, I am hoping this issue can be resolved. And of course, I spent way too much time on setting up the passive income streams.
    3. Will add this goal to next year’s goals
  7. Get a more stable job.
    1. Not Done: 12/26/2015
    2. I am struggling with this goal due to a serious lack of will power. I keep starting my preparations and then it gets bogged down after a few days. I think I am mentally tired of working and preparing for interviews and the rest of the things that has to happen in family life. But, doing this when out of a job is not a good idea.
    3. Will add this goal to next years goals but I will come up with some form of tracking to keep me honest.

Summary

Overall, 2015 has been a reasonably good year. I achieved 4/7 goals I set for myself.

  • Average monthly dividend has reached $702 per month…still way below my target of $4000, but much closer to my intermediate target of $1000 per month. I read somewhere that the pace of compounding will visibly increase once you hit $1000 pm in dividends. For next year, I would like to make a serious dent in the goal towards $1000 pm in dividends.
  • Goals 6 and 7 will be done next year for sure.
    • For 7, I need to build up my confidence and will power and beat the heck out of this goal.
    • For 6, I just need to make some difficult decisions along with my wife.
  • W.r.t Goal 5, I am going to keep accumulating small amounts of money towards the home down payment, but I do not anticipate meeting this goal in 2016.

More on this in 2016 yearly plan. Once again, thanks for all the amazing support. I really appreciate it.

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2015 Goals and progress updates

NOTE: Updated quarterly; latest update is on 12/26/2015 

I started my humble journey towards Financial Independence in 2014. I did establish what Financial Independence means to me and what the goals were. But, I really did not have any yearly goals for 2014. I just wanted to come up with a plan and create multiple passive income streams and let them fly, protect my family with life insurance, etc. I believe that I have accomplished all the goals I implicitly had for 2014. For 2015, I wanted to be a little bit more formal about goal setting and I will document my 2015 goals in this post, updated quarterly. Monthly Progress Report is tracked here.

The Financial Independence criterion for me are:

Financial Independence Criterion
Emergency Fund $72K
College Fund $80K
Passive Income Streams $4000 per month
Retirement Fund $900K
Roof for our Family $1 million
Medical Fund $100K
Life Insurance Done initiating.

For 2015, I have thought about the following goals to get me closer to the above financial independence goals. The updates are quarterly for each goal.

  1. Max out 401K contributions for both me and my wife.(Done: 12/31/2015)
    1. 2015 401K limit is $18000 => $36K worth of 401k contributions.
      1. 03/31/2015 $13K/$36K done       $23K remaining
      2. 06/30/2015 $26K/$36K done       $10K remaining
      3. 09/30/2015 $32K/$36K done       $4K remaining
      4. 12/26/2015 $36K/$36K done        $0K remaining
  2. Contribute $16000 to Passive Income Streams (stretch goal of $24000) Done (09/30/2014)
    1. VCAIX, VTMFX, VDIGX, VHDYX, VTCLX, VTMSX, VTMGX, VMMXX.
      1. 03/31/2015 $4K/$16K done         $12K remaining
      2. 06/30/2015 $8K/$16K done         $8K remaining
      3. 09/30/2015 $25K/16K done         $0K remaining
      4. 12/26/2015 $37K/16K done         $0K remaining
  3. Contribute $4800 to 529 College Fund (Done: 12/31/2015)
    1. Vanguard 529 Plan
      1. 03/31/2015    $1200/$4800          $3.6K remaining
      2. 06/30/2015    $2400/$4800          $2.4K remaining
      3. 09/30/2015    $3600/4800            $1.2K remaining
      4. 12/26/2015    $4800/4800            $0K remaining
  4. Deposit maturing CDs into passive income streams Done(01/17/2015)
    1. VCAIX: $35K   $30K
    2. VTMFX: $10K $20K
    3. VDIGX: $10K  $15K
    4. VHDYX: $5K   $10K 
  5. Keep scouting for a possible home (Not Done: 12/26/2015)
    1. A paid off house is a must for financial independence.
      1. 03/31/2015         No progress
      2. 06/30/2015         Finished mortgage analysis, finally!
      3. 09/30/2015         Scouting properties….not much luck.
      4. 12/26/2015         Prices way out of reach. Some discussions on relocating to a different state…not sure yet
  6. Start and finish Estate Planning (Not Done: 12/26/2015)
    1. Will, POD beneficiaries, Caretaker for our child, etc
      1. 03/31/2015        No progress
      2. 06/30/2015        No progress
      3. 09/30/2015        No progress
      4. 12/26/2015        No progress…definitely for the coming year
  7. Get a more stable job. (Not Done: 12/26/2015)
    1. Current job is on very shaky foundations
      1. 03/31/2015        No progress
      2. 06/30/2015        Interview preparation started!!
      3. 09/30/2015        Interview preparation slowed down 😦
      4. 12/26/2015        No resolution yet…need more will power 😦