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Financial Goals Mid Year Update 2010

It was suggested by a regular reader, canucktuary, to write an update of my financial goals for 2010.  I always find it helpful to review progress to see if I’m on track for the end of year report.  I’ll be honest, in preparation for this post was the first time I’ve gone over my 2010 goals.  However, it seems that most priorities are on track.

Here are the original financial goals, progress, and if I’m on track to achieving them by the end of the year.

Pay off Mortgage – With about $25,000 remaining on my mortgage balance, it’s well within striking distance to being paid off.  It will be quite the personal achievement to have the mortgage paid off in less than 3 years.  Providing things go as planned, we want to be mortgage free in 2010!

Ah, the coveted debt free goal that most of us have.  As I don’t have any consumer debt left  (I pay off credit cards every month), besides our tax deductible investment loan, only our mortgage is remaining.  We started the year with $25k left on our mortgage, mid way through the year, we have about $15k remaining.  With the current low rate environment, I suspect that we are on track to have our variable rate mortgage paid off by the end of 2010 (or close to it).

Maximize TFSA’s – I was pretty slack with the TFSA’s in 2009, but I plan to change that in 2010.  I plan to make good use of the $15,000 remaining in contribution room.  My goal is to fully fund 2 TFSA accounts in 2010.  As of this post, I only have 1 TFSA which was recently opened with Questrade.

After only contributing $5k into a TFSA in 2009, I made it a goal to max out the remaining contribution room in 2010.  I’m happy to report that we have already maxed out our TFSA’s for 2010!  Now, if I could only find a place to invest the cash..

Optimize RRSP’s – With higher reported income for 2009, there should be plenty of RRSP contribution room available for 2010.  However, with 2010 T4 income being questionable, I may only contribute enough to optimize taxation.  However, I may simply max out my contribution but carry forward the RRSP deduction should 2010 prove to be a low income T4 year.

After receiving my Notice of Assessment, it turns out that we do have quite a bit of RRSP contribution room for 2010.  My goal is to withdraw enough from the corporation in the form of dividends and contribute to the RRSP to make $0 tax payable on the withdrawals.

Generate More Passive Income – After selling my rental properties, passive income has taken a major hit.  The only remaining source of passive income is via Canadian dividend stocks in my leveraged portfolio.  If stocks become attractively priced in 2010, I will become more aggressive in purchasing dividend equities.

I have increased my positions in my leveraged portfolio somewhat, but not enough to see a large increase in passive income.  However, equity prices are becoming more attractive so I may achieve this goal yet!

Consolidate Accounts – I have way too many accounts at various institutions.  For example, I have 3 non-registered trading accounts with 3 different institutions.  In 2010, my goal is to consolidate some of these accounts and simplify our finances.

I have not attempted this goal yet, but it’s still part of the plan!

Blog Goals – Grow readership to 15,000 subscribers. As this site has become a large part of my life, I plan to put even more energy towards growing the readership. 15k subscribers is quite the jump from 8k at the beginning of 2009, but a nice round number to work towards.

We have grown MDJ readership from 8k to 10k, but still quite a bit away from the goal of 15k.  The slower than expected growth may have something to do with my reduced post frequency, but something I hope to correct in the near future.  My new career path has taken its toll on blogging time but I’m hoping to find the balance soon.

Overall, I’m pleased with the progress but in hindsight, some of the goals could get more aggressive.  For those of you who have declared financial goals for 2o10, how are they progressing?

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FT About the author: FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.

{ 23 comments… add one }
  • Big Cajun Man July 5, 2010, 9:20 am

    Not good, but when you have to pay for 2 kids going to University out of town and one of your kids is going to a Private School, it’s a big drag on your finances.

    Good luck on the Blogging goals, I have those same goals, but need some serious help to get there.

  • FT FrugalTrader July 5, 2010, 9:37 am

    @ BCM, we’ve been comtemplating private school as well. How much is private school in Ottawa? Are there any tax incentives available?

  • Tom July 5, 2010, 9:49 am

    I would say that the reduced post frequency is actually quite anoying.

  • FT FrugalTrader July 5, 2010, 10:10 am

    @Tom, what topics would you like to see more of on MDJ?

  • Duncan July 5, 2010, 12:10 pm

    Good for you for slamming down the mortgage so quickly! I live in Richmond(Steveston), British Columbia and own my own house. Unfortunately, the cost of living here is far higher than the rest of Canada so it won’t be possible to pay off my mortgage anytime soon.
    I’ve maxed out my RRSP’s for the last 5 years but took a big hit after the crash. I’m now sitting mostly in cash and Gold. Don’t know where to invest right now as everything looks pretty negative.

  • The Passive Income Earner July 5, 2010, 1:29 pm

    Well done on your mortgage! I can’t wait to be in a similar position but I am at least 10 years away.
    I haven’t officially written my goals but my big one is to make progress paying down my debt (Mortgage & LOC). Specifically for this year, I want to pay off the Reno LOC and it’s on target.
    Otherwise, I wanted to get setup with companies to DRIP with Computershare and CIBC Mellon and I have gotten setup with 6 of them already. It’s just 1 share but since it takes time to get setup, once your are it’s just a matter of making contribution.
    My TFSA is maximized but not my wife’s. I am not sure when I will be able to get to that…

  • Ms Save Money July 5, 2010, 1:29 pm

    Wow! Congrats on getting rid of the mortgage. Must be a relief. I’d love to get rid of my mortgage so that I can allocate my finances to other expenditures but I guess everyone’s gotta put in their time right?

  • Tom @ Canadian Finance Blog July 5, 2010, 1:38 pm

    Good job with the goals FT! I really envy the amount of mortgage you have remaining since I’m only one year in on mine.

    I’m in line with my goals. I should be consumer debt free in about 2 weeks, a month ahead of schedule for when my wife’s maternity leave runs out.

    Will open a TFSA to finally get a small emergency fund going with at least the remaining month of mat leave.

    Will also finally open a credit line within my Scotia STEP and open a non-reg Questrade account to be ready to start my Smith Smith Manoeuvre.

    Blog income is doing better than expected, though I would like the traffic to increase a bit more (who wouldn’t?)

  • Tom July 5, 2010, 2:02 pm

    That’s a good question, anything about personal finance I enjoy to read and get informed about.

    Some of the guest writen articles have been very good, for example the series about the rental properties.

    Maybe some more book reviews, I’m about to pick up “This time is different” an 800 year look at markets, but I’m not sure if that book will be over my head.

    I’m not sure if you have written a lot about RESPs but that’s something that I’m also interested in now that I have a 6 month old.

    I also enjoy Fridays where you post a series of links to the best/interesting articles other bloggers have posted that week on there web sites.

    This site has really become part of my routine, and when there is no update in the morning it really bums me out.

  • Stefan Alexander July 5, 2010, 3:03 pm

    As difficult as it is, DAILY posts with high reliability are really important to maintaining and growing readership. As Tom pointed out, it gets to be a part of your daily routine. Of course, the quality of the articles can’t suffer, and it’s hard to write that much every day (or find guest bloggers). So a mix of shorter updates (still useful, but not as involved) and regular-length articles would be a good compromise.

  • ldk July 5, 2010, 3:12 pm

    on the subject of ‘what else would you like to see’….how about posts/interviews/reader stories from others with updates on their own “Million Dollar Journeys”–it might be interesting to hear how others are handling the same challenge. (ie. the current MoneySense has an article on the various different paths to a million dollar portfolio.)

  • Rachelle July 5, 2010, 4:57 pm

    My financial goals for 2010 is to increase my income. So far it hasn’t been going very well because my husband got sick and I’ve been taking care of my son a lot.

    However, I’ve been writing a lot, learned how to set up my blog and work on that. I think I’ve also decided to write a book.

    I think I have also decided to expand my skill set and become a mortgage agent. I would learn a lot about that pat of the business.

    FT you are doing awesomely! Being mortgage free will give you a kind of financial independence lots of people never get!

  • FT FrugalTrader July 5, 2010, 10:13 pm

    Thanks for the kind feedback and suggestions guys. I’d prefer not to sacrifice quality content for frequency. But if you guys would prefer that, then it’s something that I would consider.

  • Financial Cents July 5, 2010, 11:24 pm

    What can I say Frugal, but well done on the goals!

    WOW, to be mortgage free later this year…I can only wish. We have 5 more years to go, but we are contemplating moving in 2011. We’ll see.

    I also think the 15,000 readers is in reach for you within the next year. Keep up the great work. You continue to be one of my favourite blogs and motivated me to start blogging myself. Cheers!

  • Multiple Egg Baskets July 5, 2010, 11:35 pm

    Do you see rental properties as a bad investment idea? Do you 100% prefer a REIT over an investment property?

    I’m curious to know if you have any plans to get back into the real estate game.

  • FT FrugalTrader July 6, 2010, 11:31 am

    @ MEB, no I dont’ see owning rentals as a bad investment idea, however, they are more of a “business” than an investment. One thing that I should have done while owning rentals was hire a property manager, which would have taken a lot of the “pain” away from owning rentals.

  • canucktuary July 6, 2010, 12:34 pm

    Great job on the goals.

    I really enjoy the case studies that you’ve done, but sometimes they are a bit obvious. ie. pay off your credit card debt before investing, etc.

    Perhaps securing some non-traditional case studies, or making it a monthly feature, as they are very interesting reads.

    I agree, MDJ is part of my daily routine, so I appreciate when there is a post every weekday. I assume that your website is broken otherwise and keep checking back to see when the post is up.

    Its difficult when you start a new job though. Maybe a blog post on that? Although I know Kathryn has done a post on that in the past.

  • Brandon July 6, 2010, 3:07 pm

    Good job on your targets! However, I noticed the passive income and consolidation targets do not completely follow SMART criteria, which will make it difficult for you to say “yes, I’ve achieved this”

    Sorry for being picky… I deal with target setting quite often ;)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

  • Bluenoser in Cowtown July 8, 2010, 6:43 pm

    FT: As a future topic perhaps…RBC just introduced a new finance tool for their online banking clients. I haven’t gone through the entire tool yet, but it seems to be a pretty solid budgeting/expense tracking tool. The best part is it automatically categorizes all of your income and expenses and creates charts and tables. I know you aren’t an RBC client but perhaps one of your contributors who are a client could provide a review?

  • FT FrugalTrader July 8, 2010, 10:15 pm

    @ bluenoser, thanks for the idea, I will look into it! I know that CIBC does the something similar with VISA expense line items.

  • FT FrugalTrader July 8, 2010, 10:16 pm

    @ brandon, you are right. Some of my goals are not quantifiable, perhaps it’s just my way to easily saying “yes, I did achieved that goal”. :) I’ll make them more quantifiable in my next update.

  • Financial Cents July 8, 2010, 10:29 pm

    Hey FT,

    Sure you could make your goals “smart”er, but don’t be too hard on yourself…you’re doing pretty darn fine :) Cheers!

  • Jayn Steele July 15, 2010, 3:12 pm

    Great article! I love to see people looking at their goals and reviewing how they are doing at meeting them. Reviewing and assessing your goals is such an important step because it allows you to see if your plans are working, if you need to alter your plan to meet your goal, or if your goal needs to be slightly altered to be more realistic. In one of my blog articles, “Setting Financial Goals for Success”, I talk about the importance of setting specific goals with concrete plans for success, and as you have done here, it’s important to review and make changes as necessary throughout the path to reaching your goals. I find that when I set realistic goals with a detailed plan, I am much more likely to meet them.

    Setting Financial Goals For Success: http://jaynsteele.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/setting-financial-goals-for-success/

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