2020 Financial Goals

2020 Financial Goals

Another year, another round of goal setting!

I figure if you never have an end in mind you’ll never get to where you want to be.

For years on this site, I mean years, we’ve set financial goals to keep ourselves accountable. Overall, I think the process is working.

You can read about how we did on our 2018 goals here.

This was my recent update on our 2019 financial goals.

Is semi-retirement within reach?

Financial Reflections

With that monster 2019 market year now behind us (that nobody saw coming), that’s another reminder it’s impossible to predict what 2020 might hold. But with 2019 having been such an outstanding year for equities and dividend investors like myself, it’s a sign if we stick to our investing plan for the coming year we should be that much closer to realizing our passive dividend income goal and other goals that should kick-start semi-retirement.

To recap, here is where we want to be in a few short years to start semi-retirement:

  1. Own a $1 million investment portfolio. That portfolio value excludes any future workplace pensions and excludes any house equity, which brings me to major goal #2:
  2. Own our condo; no mortgage debt ever again!

How are we working towards these goals?

One week, then a month, then a few months at a time.

Little changes turn into massive improvements over time

I believe largely because we’ve been documenting our goals, tracking them, and making them transparent, a level of accountability has set in to make most of our goals each year a reality.

You can see that progression in my 2010-2019 financial decade in review.

While big goal #1 above is now much closer thanks to generous 2019 stock returns, we have some work to do with goal #2. That means our priorities in 2020 should align to that accordingly.

This is what we came up with for our 2020 goals:

  1. Kill debt more aggressively.
  2. Maximize contributions to next year’s TFSAs.
  3. Increase our travel fund.

Kill debt more aggressively.

Based on a high volume of reader suggestions and requests, I’ve become a bit more transparent regarding our debt load.

At the time of this post, our mortgage balance is about $133,000. That debt is not going to go away anytime soon until we become more aggressive in tackling it.

So, throughout 2020, we will increase our standard mortgage payments by $100.  This way, by the end of 2020, an additional $2,600 should be paid down directly on our mortgage principle.

We will also take any tax refund(s) we get in the spring of this year; after our RRSP contribution room is maxed out, and apply any tax refund to reduce our mortgage. For those thinking ahead to their tax refund, this is just one strategy we’ve used in the past as we strive for financial independence in the coming years.

These are the best things to do with your tax refund, in my opinion!

Maximize contributions to next year’s TFSAs.

You already know that the TFSA is far more than a “savings account” by name.

 Since Day 1, we’ve used this account as a retirement account and will do so, for the foreseeable future.

With 2020 TFSA contribution room now done, our focus has actually turned to funding 2021 contribution room. Estimates say that contribution room should be in the neighbourhood of $6,000 per account, or $12,000 total for us. I’m confident if we can automate our savings, we’ll realize this goal in another 12 months.

Increase our travel fund.

All work and no fun makes for a boring life!

So, let’s travel more!

To do that, we believe having a dedicated travel fund will help us – so we’ll establish that as a specific goal for 2020.

Although it took us years to get there, we already have a modest emergency fund on retainer for the “what ifs” in life.  Our fund has remained largely at this balance, plus or minus a few months, for the last 4 years now.

Although one might argue to escape cold, snowy, often ice-frozen Ottawa winters is a legitimate emergency (!), we prefer to fund travel separately. I think getting into the habit of automating our savings for upcoming travel will be a great way to fund this account to pay for flights, accommodations/villas in any sun or warmer climates a couple of times per year.

Our goal in 2020 is to establish a rolling travel fund of about $5,000-$10,000 we can draw from at any time.

To get there, we’ll set up automatic savings to a dedicated account, and transfer $500 at the 1st of every month. That should deliver a total of $6,000 by December 1, 2020.  (Actually, we’ve already set-up our automatic transfers so the process is now fully underway…)

What about RRSPs?  What about not taking on new debt?

Ya, great questions.

Regarding the RRSP contributions, because we pay ourselves first (this is the better way to budget by the way) we’ve removed all the behavioural gaps that might prevent us from maxing out contributions to my RRSP. I’ve maxed out my RRSP contribution room for years now, 2020 should be no different thanks to small, automated, monthly contributions.

My wife however had tens of thousands of RRSP contribution room available to her in the past. But no longer. In fact, we made a massive dent in that RRSP contribution room in 2019. Now that 2020 is here, I’m confident with her automated, monthly contributions set-up in the amount they are, her RRSP will be maxed out with contribution room for the first time. 

Because monthly RRSP contributions are automated and calculated to max out available contribution room, I figured this was low-hanging fruit that didn’t need to be an implicit 2020 goal. I will keep you posted if that changes.

In terms of taking on new debt? Well, our mortgage is plenty enough. I think you know based on goal #1 we want debt gone and don’t intend to incur any new debt.

Goals in perspective

Health and happiness are far more important than money. The latter is just a tool.

So beyond any 2020 financial goals, I will personally be putting a higher focus on health and time management for happiness. As I get older, I’ve come to realize what I should have known all along – while we’ve been very fortunate things might not always work out as planned. It’s important to have good physical and mental health to stay resilient in times of change. On that note, it is my hope through other improvement opportunities I can improve upon my general wellness to eventually enjoy the fruits of my hard-earned labour. It would be shame not to enjoy the semi-retirement plans we’ve been building towards due to poor health.

Ultimately, good health for you and me, and our families, is the best form of wealth.

On that note, best to you in 2020. I look forward to sharing our progress on these goals and much more wealth-building content in between.

Got comments on our goals? Changes we should make? Other things we should consider? Fire away!  I read every comment on this site and I try to respond to as many as I can.

Mark

My name is Mark Seed and I'm the founder, editor and owner of My Own Advisor. As my own DIY financial advisor, we're inching closer to our ultimate goal - owning a 7-figure investment portfolio for semi-retirement. We're almost there! Subscribe and join the journey. Learn how I'm getting there and how you can get there too!

57 Responses to "2020 Financial Goals"

  1. Kudos to you for maxing out both yours and your wife’s RRSP this year.

    I have already done all I have to do for 2020, maxing out RRSP, TFSA and RESP. Regarding RRSP, we actually max out the RRSP for 2020 already based on our year 2019 income.

    With the good run of 2019 and the good start of 2020, I think I can be pretty confident to say one of us can retire any time now. As none of us wants to retire yet, I guess my goal for this year would be taking my family to travel more.

    Reply
      1. Thanks, RBull. We actually should change our spending habits a little bit now. Try to spend a little bit more. A nice problem to have, I guess. Another thing I can do is donating more. Our company now is matching donation to Aussie fire so it’s a good cause and an efficient way to donate.

        Reply
        1. May, so nice to read you are doing so well and have lots of options on spending, donating, traveling and retirement timing.

          Re your comment below. So far in retirement things have been good for us and we feel very fortunate. So many on this blog seem to be in fine shape and tracking well. Mark, must attract them and its great to read.

          Reply
          1. The major change actually is not our net asset or investment income, although they were doing pretty good 2019, but my job change. My job was quite stressful and it’s the major motive for me to get ready for retirement. Now couple months after the job change, the stress level reduced and I enjoy more of my work. Plus it’s a pretty stable job. So now I feel that I don’t mind to take a little bit more time to get ready for retirement. I am not ready yet for the non-financial part of my retirement plan.

            Reply
          2. Ahhh, I get that now. That’s excellent for you. If you enjoy work and do well financially to prepare for retirement then for sure, why stop working!

            Being prepared for retirement mentally and with a plan to spend time in a fullfilling way is definitely important, and I’m sure when you do retire you’ll be ready.

            Reply
    1. I have another small contribution to make for 2019 tax year RRSPs – but we have the money saved so that’s a done deal. We have set-up monthly RRSP contributions to ensure 2020 RRSP contribution room is maxed out.

      Neither my wife nor I can retire until the debt dragon in slayed but those days are coming, hopefully <5 years now and could be far less if we cashed in our non-reg. account but I don’t want to do that since it delivers > $10k per year in tax-efficient dividend cash flow. I hope to get the non-reg. account to ~ $15k per year within 3-5 years so that is easily covers our property taxes + condo fees in perpetuity. Those are two major expenses for us.

      Thanks for the encouragement and kind words!!

      Reply
      1. I understand you don’t like debt. With the interest rate so low, I am sure you made the right choice. The return of your reg account will most likely much higher than the mortgage rate so in the long run, you are getting ahead by doing this.

        Reply
        1. Our registered accounts absolutely blew away what we could have had in a guaranteed rate of return per se on the mortgage in 2019, so that was absolutely the right call to invest. Time will tell in 2020!

          Reply
  2. Pretty darn awesome way to start 2020 Mark. Great progress!

    I like your 2020 priorities/goals and how you’re dealing with them. A bigger travel fund. Oh my, what a problem to have!

    Health and happiness- well is there anything more important? Good for you.

    A couple of my priorities for 2020 have been put to bed. Min. LIF withdrawal done in kind ENB + IPL to unregistered. TFSAs topped up and purchases for RY, BIP, BPY made. Made a few other equity switches at the same time. Next up is some cash accumulated in RRSP to decide what to buy with. Hmmm.

    Reply
    1. Great work: “TFSAs topped up and purchases for RY, BIP, BPY made.” Solid choices since more dividend income is on the way for you in 2020 then.

      More VTI or VYM in RRSP? Either one is a good bet.

      Thanks for the kind words. Nice to see some of our plans working out!?

      Reply
      1. Thanks. I’d say all of your plans are working out….handily!! You are welcome.

        Could be right. My crystal ball is kinda cloudy. Am inclined to stick with plan and top up what hasn’t done as well as the US.
        Have some work to do on all this and will let you know what I come up with.

        Reply
  3. You are doing great. Same general strategies my wife and I employed with great success. Now I consult a little for fun, but we don’t need an income. It seems slow at first but progress really snowballs!

    Reply
    1. Thanks Maria. Seems like I’ve been at this goal setting, monitoring stuff for many years but I think it’s paying off finally.

      All the best for your plans in 2020 – any big milestones?

      Reply
  4. Great achievements Mark,
    posting your monthly dividends progress opened my eyes and made me change the way i think about investing , before i discovered your website and as a couch potato portfolio follower all i was thinking about is capital gains in my etfs shares but following your website made me more excited about monthly or quarterly dividends that’s dripping in my account and i love it and i honestly don’t care much for share price increases as much as my dividend income is and like everyone says prices goes down that’s like black friday sale so we can buy more.
    speaking of maximizing your rrsp and your wife’s wouldn’t make more sense to contribute more into a non registered account instead in order to avoid OAS clawbacks and paying higher taxes in retirement?

    Reply
    1. Thanks Gus!!!

      I’ve been a fan of growing dividend income for years. It’s really motivating for me.

      In terms of RRSP and non-reg. and other accounts, I have a non-reg. account but I don’t contribute to it and haven’t in a few years. It supplies almost half of the dividend income reported here each month and with a decent paying job, I’m only being taxed more on it. For now.
      https://www.myownadvisor.ca/december-2019-dividend-income-update/

      We hope to semi-retire within 5 years and if we can, I figure/hope the non-reg. dividend income alone will cover all Ottawa property taxes and condo fees for life.

      That would be great! I figure we need at least > $15k per year generated by that account to cover both items.

      Reply
  5. Three questions….

    1) How much would taking $2,000 out of your emergency fund and putting it on your mortgage save you over the course of the mortgage?

    2) Is there any benefit to paying more to your RRSP every second or third year while paying just enough to avoid paying extra taxes on the years in between? Would there be a benefit to saving up RRSP contribution room for a year when you are only working part time and earning less in the future?

    3) Have you considered not saving for a while and just hitting the debt hard?

    Reply
    1. 1) We might Beth but we feel happy having some money tucked away just in case. Should any bonuses or other come from work, it will go on the mortgage. Thoughts?

      2) We have considered that but we decent paying jobs that helps renew some RRSP contribution room every year, I feel it’s a decent plan to keep the RRSP-maxed out. You never know with jobs!?

      3) We have but we feel a blend of investing (maxing out accounts) and slowly paying down debt (to help max out accounts) has worked so far. Besides, it’s nice to have some extra money to travel South or via other places. Might go to Scotland this spring!

      Great questions, happy to answer.

      Reply
      1. 1) I thought you could use an online calculator that showed it might be favourable to plop $2k on the mortgage at the beginning of the year then slowly rebuild the emergency fund over the course of the year. If you and your wife work for the same company then you would need a larger emergency fund. If you work at separate places then you could take some time to rebuild the emergency fund. I imagine you could probably live on one income if one job suddenly disappeared. I understand if you would rather keep the $10k as your fully funded emergency fund. Money is very emotional and having available cash would feel calming. I am focused on paying down my debt because it stresses me out. As a single person I have no one to rely on if I can’t work and I want my debt gone so there is one less financial thing I have to worry about.

        2) I am trying to figure out, for myself, if I get a bigger tax credit if I keep some RRSP contribution room for the future (debt free, working part time) when it will give me huge tax credit on my lesser income. I thought I had read that you may consider working part time in the future and I wondered if you had considered this.

        3) I save and pay down debt but I can see a light at the end of the debt tunnel, two years in the future, and I would like to be done with it forever. Less to savings right now but I will still be saving some. I am flexible so I can always amend this plan. My current ratio is debt 35%, retirement savings 15%, home maintenance 10%, living 40%. Everything else has to come out of the 40% living category. These percentages make pay day budgeting very simple for me.

        Reply
        1. 1) Ya, I mean, I’ve consider that – rebuild the emergency fund over the year but we’re getting to the point in our careers where TFSAs, RRSPs will both be maxed and time to enjoy things vs. worry about debt. Life is short.

          We do work at the same company, so having an emergency fund is important we believe.

          Yes, if we had to live on one income, we could no problem.

          I don’t blame you for killing debt as a single person – very smart!

          2) Yes, I hope to work part-time in a few years actually. Once debt is gone, I just might since any part-time work can cover basic necessities and any portfolio value can continue to grow. That would be ideal.

          3) “These percentages make pay day budgeting very simple for me.” Seems you have a good plan. Kudos!

          Reply
  6. Great progress and great plan! I feel that part of the win is writing it down and being able to look back and see changes and progress.

    It is so important to see progress and have it written it down to reflect.

    Health is also a key point. We actually pay for fitness class and it has made a huge difference for someone like me who sit at a desk all day.

    Reply
    1. Absolutely my friend. The plan is coming along nicely. That said, health is critical and money is just a tool.

      I need more exercise and trying to do that in 2020.

      BTW – got your email 🙂

      Reply
  7. Congratulations Mark. Exciting times but I have to ask why you wouldn’t do some sort of modified Smith Manouver? Pay off your mortgage, buy the five stocks you want to purchase equally (T,CNR,CAR.UN, EMA,BPY.UN) with an average div yield of 4.1%. Borrow the money back from a HELOC with an interest rate of 4.5%ish. Claim the interest on your tax return as carrying charges which has the same power as an RRSP deduction. That increases your tax refund and can reduce the HELOC interest rate by your marginal tax rate. The effective tax on the loan is around 3.35%. BUT all those juicy dividends are higher so effectively all your mortgage payment goes to principle. I know this is complex but why would rush to pay down a mortgage that is probably around 2.5%?
    If you won a $133 000 in a lottery would you pay off the mortgage, invest or a combination?
    Respect always – what you both have accomplished is impressive.

    Reply
    1. I’ve read and re-read this about six times now. If I were younger, and especially if the mortgage could be paid off without a lot of penalties, I’d sell enough non-reg to pay off existing mortgage, apply for a new long term (and maybe even larger) mortgage and then re-invest. Local credit union has 5 year posted at 2.99%. As Gruff laid out, interest on mortgage becomes deductible and it isn’t really “new” debt. Good analysis Gruff.

      Reply
      1. Great points….I guess I’m just not sold on the SM right now but I’m not against borrowing to invest when slim or no other mortgage debt is on the books. I figure $1 M+ portfolio and no debt would be a great position to be in, in my 40s; and therefore provide the luxury to borrow $20-30k per year to pad the taxable account. Thoughts on waiting vs. now?

        Reply
        1. Ya, you’re correct. I talk big now but I never availed myself of this procedure. It’s so much easier in hindsight to say what I coulda/shoulda done. I don’t recall anyone back then even remotely considering that interest rates would fall so low and stay there for so long. Most of us up in the years recall the 14-20 percent loan interest rates so there is always that “what if” cloud on the horizon. Maybe it is better to miss an opportunity than take an increased risk? Don’t know. Perhaps the “to thine own self be true” is applicable? Stick with what is comfortable? My brain is addled with this ridiculous stock market and it’s time for my beauty sleep.

          Reply
    2. Big thanks Gruff!!

      I’ve thought about the SM and wrote about it here:
      https://www.myownadvisor.ca/should-i-implement-the-smith-manoeuvre/

      I’m just not that comfortable with leverage…I figure I have enough with the mortgage. Now…when the mortgage is done…I might consider some borrowing to invest more in my taxable account.

      I recall you are doing this? Any concerns with any future market correction – or not worried with low rates the way they are?

      “If you won a $133 000 in a lottery would you pay off the mortgage, invest or a combination?”

      I would probably do a bit of both. Put some lump sums into the mortgage AND throw about $60-70k into the taxable account. The TFSA is full. The RRSP only has $500 or so of contribution room 🙂

      $1 M combined portfolio not that far away…when is the market going to stop going up??? I need to buy more stuff!! 🙂

      Reply
  8. you’ve laid out about what our system has been for a long long time while we were working full time. we had the big emergency fund similar to yours. we always budgeted ~10k for travel and gifts which we saved each year. that was a big deal to be able to relax and take a trip where the $ were already in the bank. it’s prepaid but not locked into any date/destination. the difference for us was never maxing our american 401k’s but we did max out our roths. those must be similar to your TFSA.

    early on i still had student loan debt and had to take care of that, so i spent less discretionary money and it was no big deal. knocking out our mortgage 4-5 years ago was a really big deal and a life changer. i think the key to the whole thing was the balance with the “fun” savings so we were living our lives and not feeling deprived by trying to rush the process. i think you have the right idea. good luck with it all.

    Reply
    1. You got it freddy – very similar to your Roth = TFSA; our RRSP = 401(k).

      I know we’re pretty happy having some money tucked away if and when we need it. Who knows what the future holds. I don’t like going into debt for small emergencies.

      We’re getting to the point where balance is getting better. Some debt, maxed out accounts, some fun!!

      Thanks for the Twitter share and support! Looking forward to more interactions. Cheers.

      Reply
  9. Congrats Mark, you are disciplined and know what you want. That is the most important thing for an investor.
    But I totally agree with Gruff403 on the HELOC way of investing. We did the same thing and paid of all debt by selling stocks, then re-invested and made the interest tax deductible. Also always had some leverage, borrow all the money at the beginning of the year you need to invest on TFSA, RRSP, then make payments to pay of the loan instead of saving up and carrying cash until you have enough. Now we have enough dividend income to cover ALL expenses and everything else is bonus. Still have a line of credit for emergencies, or buying cars, travel. Retirement is great.
    wish you all the best in 2020.

    Reply
    1. Thanks very much Divinvestor! You’re another reader that has suggested that. Is that because my mortgage balance is getting lower? More manageable? My TFSA and RRSP is maxed without borrowing money so why borrow more and pay interest on it? What if something happens to my job – at least with a small mortgage I could afford it and/or pay it off with any severance.

      Thoughts?

      Reply
  10. I’m just thinking of the cash you keep for emergencies and travel. That could be deployed to either pay down the mortgage or invest. Then take out only what you need when you need it. I just wrote a post on leverage in my journey to FI at dividend-café.com

    Reply
      1. It’s not borrowing if you plan to save up an amount. What I did was invest it now and use the monthly savings to pay of the loan. in the meantime you make more than the interest rate in dividends, and take advantage of being in the market. Look what is happing right now, these are some good days to be in the market. Your $6K example, invest in ENB at 6.14%, pay loan interest of 4% or less. By the end of the year you have $6128.40 (or more if the market goes higher) net for travel. I just never liked having cash sit idle. When co-workers used to ask me when a good time to buy was, I said “when you have cash”. And I don’t regret what I did, were living comfortably on dividends. Their is bad debt and there is good debt. But you have to stay within your comfort level, I totally understand it’s not for everyone.

        Reply
        1. I think I understand what you are saying. I guess I’m much more risk averse.

          How much are you “living off dividends” might I ask? Might be good to interview you for the site and pick your brain, how you got there, how you are managing your portfolio today. I know we’ve chatted before a bit but not in a formal way. Anyhow, no obligation, do think about it and flip me a reply here or send me an email and maybe we can line something up for posting this spring!

          Cheers,
          Mark

          Reply
  11. I don’t have mortgage and I have a big size heloc. So borrowing to invest is always in my mind. But I didn’t do it yet and will not do it right now. Will I ever do it? Who knows. Time will tell. I think just as Lloyd indicated above, it depends largely on in which stage of life one is at.

    With the market so high, nobody knows when the downturn will be here and how deep it will be. Worst scenario, the market goes down 50%. Let’s assume I have $1M invested and I have also a $1M house, I can get $650K heloc and I borrowed and invested. If I didn’t do SM, I still have $1.5M in net assets. If I did the SM, now I have only $1.5M – (650K/2). I have $325K less. I know it’s only loss on paper, the market will eventually come back as long as I sit it out. But could I be sure my emotional side will listen to my sensible side? Will I still be able to sleep tight in the night? How about I have to spend a big amount money at that time? E.g. if my kid goes to university in another city and I want to buy a condo there? If I didn’t use my heloc up, I can do it. Now I cannot do it any more, as I don’t want to cut on the floor.

    In investment, I think higher reward always come together with higher risk. I want to look at the worst scenario first to consider if I could swallow the risk. If not, then I try not to be tempted. As a fact, not only I don’t borrow to invest yet, I have 40% in FI as I am close to retirement time and I want to be safe.

    Actually you don’t even need to do a SM if you just want to invest with leverage. E.g, you can buy TQQQ. If nasdaq index up 33.33%, you get 100% return. But of course, if nasdaq index down 33.34%, you are wiped out. Would I risk the chance of wiping out in order to get three times return on the nasdaq index? At this moment, NO. In the future? Again, who knows. If one day I am rich enough and I have money that I don’t mind to be wipped out, then why not?

    Reply
    1. Yes, nobody knows with the next major downturn. I would be very shocked if it’s 50% down, maybe 20-25%, but you never know!

      “But could I be sure my emotional side will listen to my sensible side? Will I still be able to sleep tight in the night? How about I have to spend a big amount money at that time?”

      These are the questions I ask myself about leverage. I mean, if something happens to my job or other – what will I do to pay some bills while creditors want to get paid?

      I figure no debt in a few years is good and if I want to borrow to invest, I can do it in smaller sums vs. $100k more in debt.

      Good of you to think it through!
      Mark

      Reply
      1. Stick to your plan. It’s working gangbusters. No need to fiddle and tinker with leverage.

        I wouldn’t be so shocked at 50%…. or more. Things now are more extended now than in ‘08 imho.

        But you never know. Maybe we’ll keep blowing along for years, or have a minor 25% drop.

        Reply
          1. Good man.

            I have no idea what the market will do and I know no one else does either. This one is just defying anything so all bets are off in my estimation!!

            Focusing here most on the steady income generated for a sturdy retirement anyhow.

            The craziest thing about MIC is 4 large “special” dividends in 8 mths. Ever since the deal announcements with the Chinese and Brookfield…..

            Reply
    2. Good analysis and post May. I think along those same lines and every now and then I revisit the leverage thing as we have a Heloc and Loc and would be easy to utilize. I keep coming back to – will this make my life better and do I really need to do this. The answer to both is not really because I am conservative financially and we are living just fine lifestyle wise, with considerable peace of mind without debt, and plenty of cushion in our spending vs. cash flow. I could leverage with lesser amounts but I still come back to the same answer. The last debt I had was 25 years ago when rates were 4 times plus what are now so my mindset is different than those people who are younger investing in extended bull markets and also likely haven’t experienced any or much anguish with large market drops, let alone doing it with leverage. Or “normal” interest rates. So I won’t say never but pretty doubtful.

      At some point in time something is going to have to give with one or perhaps much more with these frothy markets, the enormous debt everywhere, hyper growth focused govt banks and extreme low or negative interest rates.

      Reply
    3. Great position to be in May, We were in a very similar situation with assets but I never used more the 100K for leveraged investing. We also thought of worst case scenario. so there was always a lot of room on the HELOC should something happen.

      Reply
  12. 2020 in a nutshell:
    – kill car loan asap
    – make extra lump-sum mortgage payment >= 1 year of our principle payment (goal is mortgage free in 3 1/2 years)
    – contribute >= $15K to TFSA (I have lot’s of room)
    – contribute >= $15K to RRSP (same)
    – maintain >=$30K cash balance/emergency-opportunity fund
    – maintain >= 25% save rate
    – achieve >$11K in dividend income (and re-invest the $$ off course)
    – family vacation to Europe (force feed the kids some culture)
    – be better period

    So not that much unlike your own goals let see how well we’ve done next January:)

    I have to admit I do not quite follow the leverage discussion. Not saying it is without merit but to me it creates unnecessary complexity and risk at least for us at this point our FI journey.

    Ben

    Reply
    1. Solid stuff Ben, those are detailed goals and you’re smart to have them so you can monitor your progress against them. $30k in savings/opportunity fund is very good and I hope to have a modest cash wedge of about $50k to start semi-retirement with in a few years. Everything else will be invested!

      Reply
  13. I set goals every year but one thing i find difficult is i get really small wage increases, and i am primarily using the increase to cover property tax and strata fee increases so i feel like my savings rate isn’t increasing. But when we probably get our 2% increase (i’m in the public sector), I am going to try to increase my retirement savings, if only slightly. Hopefully the small amount will build over time.

    Reply
    1. One trick you can try Christina to increase savings, is to automate even a very small portion. Say $5 per day or even $2 per day. You’d be amazed if you never see the money into your account how fast a few hundred bucks (or over almost $2,000 in a year with $5 per year) can add up!

      Reply
  14. I like the goal-setting process too, Mark. It seems to be working for me over the years as well. Even if you don’t accomplish all your goals, goal-setting somehow sets the end destination in motion. In other words, you move closer to the end goal just by writing the goals down.

    Nice goals for the year overall. I want to kill debt too. Planning to finally eliminate my student loan this year. And I love what you said about health and happiness first. I totally agree. Thanks for sharing and good luck with your goals, Mark!

    Reply
    1. Absolutely. Writing stuff down, making it real, are really keys to the process as you know.

      I think a whole new world might open up for us once we’re debt free and we own this condo in the coming years. Until then, more goals, rinse-and-repeat the saving, investing and maxing out TFSA and RRSP.

      Health and happiness for sure…my goodness. You can have all the $$ in the world but if you have no health including any mental health then what use is that?

      All the best RTC and I will keep following your progress too in 2020!

      Stay in touch,
      Mark

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