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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Goals for 2013

I believe in setting challenging yet attainable goals.

It is not advisable to entertain goals that are impossible, or even nearly so. No matter how hard I try, I will never run 100 meters in under 10 seconds. That feat is only possible for a select few, presently male-only, athletes, with the talent and training to make them world-class sprinters. On the other hand, if I wanted to, I could set a goal to become a good guitar player and with hard work and dedication, I could attain that goal in a few year's time.

Setting goals that are simply attainable will not require special effort, nor will I feel a great sense of personal satisfaction in accomplishing them. Challenging goals demand extra focus and commitment. They require me to raise the bar, to exert extra effort, to put in the time. And when I attain these goals, I know I'll experience a great sense of achievement.

For 2013, I'm setting 4 goals for DivGro, each challenging yet attainable:

1. Own 10 dividend growth stocks, aiming for diversity.

Starting with $12,000 and adding $1,000 per month, I'll have $24,000 to invest this year, plus any dividend income received. I prefer to target trades of about $2,500 each in order to limit brokerage fees as much as possible. This means it should be possible to buy 10 different stocks by the end of 2013. Of course, it is an open question if 10 different, fairly-valued dividend growth stocks will present themselves during the course of the year. Also, without compromising overall quality, I'd like to diversify across sectors, industries and geographies and target different ranges of dividend yields and growth rates.

2. Earn at least $750 in dividend income with DivGro stocks.

I can use a formula to calculate the future value of an investment based on periodic, constant payments and a constant interest rate. This value can serve as a reasonable target for dividend income. Starting with $12,000 and adding $1,000 per month (at the start of every month), and using an interest rate of 3.5%, the future value after one year of payments is $24,656.75. So dividend income of $650 should be possible, assuming I average yields of about 3.5% and the market doesn't trim my portfolio too much. To make this a stretching goal, I'll aim for $750.

3. Average one blog post per week (52 posts).

For regular bloggers, this goal will sound trivially attainable. For me as a rookie blogger, however, this is a stretching goal! Here's what I'm thinking: 10 posts for stock additions, 12 posts for monthly reviews, 4 posts for quarterly performance reviews, and one annual performance review. That totals 27 posts, leaving 25 unaccounted for. I could discuss my motivation for taking this journey in additional posts, and elaborate on my investment strategy and stock selection criteria in others... see, 52 posts will be challenging!

4. Exceed the performance of the S&P 500 index in total returns.

This is stated as a secondary goal of DivGro, and I'll include this annually and keep a tally of how DivGro measures up. By investing in high quality, low risk stocks that pay growing dividends, I hope to exceed the performance of the S&P 500 index in total returns.

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