Weekend Reading – How do you measure success?

Weekend Reading – How do you measure success?

Hey Everyone,

Welcome to a new Weekend Reading edition, covering something I’ve been thinking about a bit, how do you measure success?

First up, some recent reads:

We just posted our August 2023 Dividend Income Update.

We’re hopefully inching higher next month as a few more dividend increases flow-in in the coming months. 

August 2023 Dividend Income Update

I also posted this below, so many Canadians can relax a bit when it comes to income planning.

Unlike some CFAs or media personalities, most people will never need $3-$5 million to retire…

Weekend Reading – Yes, you can retire with your millions

Weekend Reading – How do you measure success?

I love this question since there is so much to unpack. I’ve been thinking about this recently so for today’s post I thought I would offer a few reflections…

1. It depends on your objectives.

In the business world, a clear objective from where you are is an enabler to business success because it guides the allocation of capital, resources and time. I mean, how are you going to get to where you want to go if you don’t know where you are or where you are going?

2023 Financial Goals


Source: The Behavior Gap.

Just like every company may choose their own sets of objectives, I believe everyone needs to consider their own personal finance and investing objectives. 

“…few things matter more with money than understanding your own time horizon and not being persuaded by the actions and behaviors of people playing different games than you are. The main thing I can recommend is going out of your way to identify what game you’re playing.” – The Psychology of Money.

Maybe your objective is trying to beat the index. Maybe your objective is to ride market returns. Maybe your objective has nothing to do with following an index at all.

Learn and embrace professionals (investing or otherwise) that say this:

Avoid professionals or noise that say that:

(Those are not “hearts” from me. Just screenshots for my context.)

The facts are: your journey, your plan and mitigating your risks are the only objectives that matter.

2. Identify any key, repeatable steps to realize your objectives.

Like the Carl Richards’ sketch above, I believe your goal should be to make a consistent link between your objective(s) and the work you do – clear, persistent and predictable. 

For some investors and clients I support, that could be via real estate investing. For some, it’s managing a business or corporation. There are others still that remain with a money manager. Gasp!

Hey, do what works for you with your risk tolerance in mind. 

I’ve observed that folks don’t become wealthy without a healthy dose of persistence and determination almost irrespective of how you invest. You do you.

3. Evaluate your objectives.

Finally, business or otherwise, you must regularly reevaluate yourself in ways to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

I’ve seen in my professional career, companies tend to have access to a growing torrent of statistics, measures and metrics that could improve performance but often we have too much data and not enough focused-metrics to really move the needle.

In my personal life, I like focus and a healthy dose of concentration – maybe that’s why I have the hybrid investing approach I do.

  • Focus is about intention. 
  • Concentration is what you do with your intention.

I’ve been focused on two main / major personal finance goals for well over a decade:

  1. Own our home.
  2. Beyond two workplace pensions, beyond our future CPP or OAS benefits, beyond any future part-time work – another big goal was for us to own a $1 million dollar investment portfolio for retirement.

Well, for the first goal, the mortgage will be dead in early 2024. The second goal was surpassed a few years ago and we’re working on new goals because of that. We feel very fortunate and we’ll keep investing until we realize our other objectives… 

I believe my/our combination of focus (prioritizing small to larger goals) and some concentration (directing our energy on such objectives) have been key ingredients to get to where we are.

I feel the same ingredients could work for you too, if not already in-flight. 😉

Weekend Reading – How do you measure success?

I guess my answer would be:

Realizing your objectives.

However large or small those objectives in your life may be.

More Weekend Reading…

When it comes to dividend investing or dividend safety, I would agree with these top priorities from Dividend Growth Investor.

  1. Monitor/observe a modest dividend payout ratio.
  2. As an investor you want to see higher Earnings per Share (EPS) over time. 
  3. Watch for a sustainable, dividend growth rate. 
  4. Look for the company to offer up other ways to increase shareholder value beyond dividends, such as paying down debt, acquiring other companies or I would also include share buybacks here too. 


I enjoyed GenY Money’s 40 financial lessons in 40 years. 

40 Financial Lessons In 40 years (Part 1)

Jon Chevreau highlighted some tips for folks in the mortgage buying arena – find a great mortgage broker using these tips.

Dale Roberts wrote about the wild ride that is the stock market including what you might expect from oil stocks for the rest of 2023. 

Morgan Housel wrote a few things he’s sure about... One of them:

I have no interest in anything that’s not sustainable. The key to success in so many areas of life is endurance and longevity.

Save, Invest, Prosper!

As always, check my Deals page – partnerships and discounts to help you make the most out of your money – some of them you can’t find anywhere else!

Check out my partnerships with:

  • Dividend Stocks Rock
  • 5i Research
  • StockTrades.ca
  • LegalWills
  • Borrowell 
  • and more!

As always, you can also consider hiring me for some low-cost financial projections services – anytime.

Just reach out. 

This is a service founded by DIY investors for DIY investors without the conflict of any advice.

Have a great weekend!


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.

8 Responses to "Weekend Reading – How do you measure success?"

  1. Hi Mark: When it comes to success it is as you say. It depends. Financially I have been very successful as I have taken the get rich slow approach and it has accumulated over time. I’m past the 5 million mark but financial success is only one measure. I’m single and never had a chance to marry so no kids with the joy and heartache they bring. I have to live that part of my life through my brothers kids and grandkids. My health has failed me lately so that is another form of success. Like in that old Guy Lombardo song that say’s you can kiss a dollar bill but it wont kiss you back. To sum up there are many different types of success and it depends where your priorities lie. Financial success is only one and as mentioned at this I have been successful but being financially secure and alone maybe one is not totally successful.

  2. How do you measure success? Interesting question Mark. I realize not everyone is in this situation – but at least in my case – I feel my measure of success is tied to our kids “success/happiness” in life. Have my wife and I established the basis for them to be happy, contributing members to society? This could incorporate various aspects from sociological to psychological to physical to financial. For the financial aspect, I hope that we’ve been able to lay a proper foundation that will help get them on the right foot for their own financial well-being.

  3. Thank you Mark.Yes, financial success is meeting your personal, reasonable goals ( preparing well for a financially secure retirement , meeting income needs with some growth to cover inflation, and being in a position to assist those in need…)
    As well, always be humble and grateful for the blessings that have come your way.Mike


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