2017 Financial Goals – March Update

In my previous update, outlining our 2017 financial goals, I told you my wife and I decided a long time ago we needed some financial goals defined so we have a hope of realizing them.  Nothing has changed…

Our money goals for 2017 are rather simple but also aggressivewe’re striving to cover basic living expenses from dividend income eventually.

In today’s dollars, here’s a list of expenses we hope dividend income will cover within 10 years, by age 50 if possible:

  • Property taxes ($4,200 per year)
  • Home utilities (heat, hydro, water, internet, cable; cell phones up to $7,800 per year)
  • Home maintenance ($4,800 per year)
  • Home insurance (at least $1,500 per year)
  • Food and household supplies (up to $11,000 per year)
  • Healthcare needs (various).

When we do the math that’s about $30,000 per year to cover these expenses.  Not cheap.  But we’re on our way to realizing this goal – in fact – we’re almost halfway there!

The Plan

To earn $30,000 in dividend income, we’ve decided to invest in a number of Canadian and U.S. dividend paying stocks across our portfolio.  We started this journey back in 2009, after overhauling our portfolio out of pricey mutual funds and other bad investments.  Since 2009 our dividend income has rose steadily thanks to new stock purchases every year and reinvested dividends.   Basically, buy and hold and do very little else.  We try and invest as to make a sloth jealous.

Dividends 2017We’re optimistic if we continue our investing habits and lazy path of reinvesting dividends, we’ll reach our dividend income goal sometime around the end of 2023.  This dividend income coupled with our other indexed investments across our portfolio should provide for a comfortable semi-retirement.

Goals Update

Since January we’ve made some great progress – here’s our quarterly update:

  1. Do not to incur any new debt. It goes without saying but I wrote it down anyhow.  Less debt will mean more cash flow for us.  Goal in progress.
  2. Maximize our Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). These accounts are used to help us with our dividend income goal, so they remain a big priority every year.  We maxed out our TFSA contributions recently and bought more utility, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), and telco stocks with the money.  Goal accomplished.
  3. Make double-up mortgage payments. Even with our mortgage borrowing costs as low as they are today (less than 2%), we believe having no debt in our financial future will give us options – to stay, to sell and rent, to travel more.  It is our goal to be debt-free and own our home in about 5 years.  This big hairy audacious goal remains in progress.
  4. Save $5,000 for a vacation. After maxing out the TFSAs and after setting up extra payments on our mortgage, we have fun – travel is a big part of that for us.  We’ve only saved about $500 for our next big international trip.  We just recently returned from Costa Rica debt-free.  We try and save up for trips as much as possible in advance.



  1. Save $5,000 towards a new car. I write about my old car often on this site.  It is now 17-years-old.  It is rusting but I barely drive it so it works well for a secondary car sitting in the garage.  I’ve decided to keep it running until 2018.  Instead of having a car payment we’ll save up for a newer car in advance.  We’ll try and save $5,000 this year and the same next year – with the goal of paying cash for decent used car.

Mazda Car

  1. Top up our emergency fund. We used a small portion of our emergency fund this winter after our Heat Recovery Ventilator (HRV) broke after 17 years of operation.  We were able to purchase a new HRV unit outright.  I was hopeful that topping up this fund back to this amount would take about a month.  It actually took us until a few weeks ago but that goal is complete.  Goal accomplished.

Lastly, you might notice we don’t have any RRSP-contribution goal.  This is because those contributions have already been on autopilot for many years.  Besides, only my wife’s RRSP has any relevant contribution room left.  We’re working slowly on maxing out her RRSP contribution room in the next couple of years.  Then, all registered accounts will be out of contribution room.  We’ll need to figure out what’s next.

So that’s our update.  We’ve gone 2 for 6 and we’re only in March.  I think we’ve done great but I’m biased – it’s our goals and blog after all!  I’m optimistic things can keep going for us in 2017 so stay tuned for our progress and thanks for being a fan.

How are your goals coming along in 2017?  Any comments about our saving and investing goals?

My name is Mark Seed - the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, I'm looking to start semi-retirement soon, sooner than most. Find out how, what I did, and what you can learn to tailor your own financial independence path. Join the newsletter read by thousands each day, always FREE.

15 Responses to "2017 Financial Goals – March Update"

  1. Thanks Mark. I have been following your blog for about a year now as your situation is very similar to my own. One question for you on your expected future expenses. What are you including in your $4,800 per yr house maintenance costs? That seems quite high to me. Assuming you mean for a new roof, new furnace, etc., as those issues arise? I don’t have anywhere near this amount in my planned house maintenance cost (less than 50% of what you have) and worried I my be under budgeting this area.

    1. Thanks for reading ddivadius. I see that money going to install new sump pumps, furnace, HRV, hot water tank, new roof, etc. over the life of home ownership. The longer you own a home I feel the bigger that fund might need to be.

      At the end of the day, we save up that money in advance and if we don’t need it we’ll invest some of it.

      Maybe it’s a bit high but based on what we’ve done over the years it’s not that far off.

  2. Awesome progress… stay the course. Long-term planning is the only surefire way to enjoy a comfortable retirement 🙂 I’m now more than 5 years along in mine, and working everyday to end my wife’s need to be part of the rat race – Cheers

    1. Hey Phil.

      Great to hear from you! I was wondering how you are?

      I assume your investments are coming along nicely?

      How was the ski season for you this year?


  3. Keep up the good work Mark! Mind if I ask what is a Heat Recovery Ventilator? Is this part of your furnace or an “add-on” that you would recommend?


    1. Thanks very much!

      HRVs are good for air-tight homes that tend to trap moisture inside the house. So, to rid excess moisture from the house, especially in the winter when it can cause condensation on windows, etc. the HRV exchanges cool air from the outside with warm air in the house. It exchanges heat for cooler air thereby reducing humidity or regulating humidity in the home.

      I would recommend it if a) you have problems with condensation in your home and b) if you want it more comfortable overall.

  4. Well done!! Financial goal setting is something I could do more of, so it’s great to see what kinds of goals you have. So inspiring. Thanks!


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