I’m a strong believer in the process of goal setting and regular goal monitoring. Throughout my working and personal life I find goals give me a sense of accomplishment that I miss if I just carry on without a target or known end state. Without goals, how does one know they’ve achieved what they set out to?
When it comes to goals, I like to make sure I cover 2 categories:
Realistic – Goals I know I can achieve with some effort. These aren’t supposed to be easy, but equally aren’t supposed to be impossible. These make up the core of my goal collection and give the continual drip feed of achievement I crave.
Stretch – Goals I know I probably won’t achieve but they give me a reason to push harder because if I do achieve them the sense of accomplishment is far greater.
If there were one piece of advice I’d give to anyone going through this same process, it would be to tell someone! Through years of goal setting I’ve always met greater success in the goals I’ve shared with others. To me a goal is just an idea until it’s shared – when someone is asking how you’re doing it becomes a tangible goal.
Before I reveal my 2017 goals, it’s worth covering some of the financial challenges I face this year:
- House Renovation – In what could be considered an anti-FI move, I bought a house late last year that requires a full renovation. The housing market in London is very fast moving with a lot of competition and sometimes the best deals can be found in properties that require modernisation. The house I purchased has bags of potential and all the space we need (for now) for a growing family, so although this will distract me from my savings and investments goals I see this as an on-going investment in a slice of the property market that will hopefully provide good long term returns and if not will at least provide a home for my family.
- Mr and Mrs Diarist + 1 – I was fortunate enough to become a father at the end of 2016 and there’s no denying that although my daughter is already bringing me all the joy in the world, my finances are likely to take a hit.
With both of these challenges I see opportunity. There’s no doubt I’ll have less money left over each month to invest in an FI future, but I can be careful with what I do spend and hopefully manage the impact. When renovating I’ll see what jobs I can do myself and will go out to tender for any significant jobs. Likewise I see no need to splash out on Pampers nappies (14p each) when Asda own will do (7p each!).
So onto my financial goals…
2017 Financial Goals
- Average 30% net monthly savings rate. [Realistic] I could set this higher, but this feels like a realistic figure given the challenges I’ve listed above. I’m hoping to improve this figure year on year so 30% feels like a strong starting point.
- Earn £4,000 additional income. [Stretch] This is going to be a challenge given the lack of time I have spare after work, renovations and my young family. My plan is to clear out things I no longer need as moving house has made me realise I have far more stuff than I really need!
- Increase my Emergency Fund to 3x monthly living expenses. [Realistic] I value the importance of an emergency fund. It gives me the confidence to invest for the long term knowing I won’t need to dip into my long-term funds in the event of an emergency. Ideally I’d like to get extend this to 6x months worth of expenses, but I’m happy to split this goal over a couple of years.
- Add £1,200 to my daughters JISA. [Realistic] Knowing the value of compound interest and the power of time, I’m aiming to take advantage of a JISA in the hope that 18 years of gains should give my daughter a healthy cash lump sum when she needs it.
- Have 240 No Spend Days (NSDs). [Realistic] This goal is targeting my desire to continue being frugal with the money I spend to work. Specifically this No Spend Day goal stops me bringing cash to work to buy lunch from the canteen or pick up a latte from the station when a packed lunch and home filled flask will do.
My aim is to track these goals on a monthly basis so I can take evasive action if I start heading off piste.
That’s it for my 2017 goals. What goals have you set for the year ahead? Are you being less/more ambitious?