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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Goals for 2015

Happy Solstice Day! Today, the sun stands still in declination, having reached the highest position for an observer on the South Pole. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, today is Winter Solstice. The day is as short as it will be all year long (9 hours 33 minutes in San Francisco where I live).

Solstice day is a great day to set new goals for DivGro for 2015!

In my previous post, I reviewed my 2014 goals and reported that I've achieved all of them, essentially. The one goal I haven't achieved yet is one that I updated on 11 July 2014, to write 100 posts for DivGro instead of 72. This is my 98th post, so I'm confident that I'll achieve that goal, too.

Before listing my 2015 goals, I'd like to state some assumptions and commitments:
  • Continue with recurring investments of $2,500 per month ($30,000 for 2015).
  • Continue to reinvest dividends, on average at least $400 per month (at least $4,800 in 2015).
  • Deposit "passive" income earned via Google Adsense biannually.
  • Deposit premium article income from Seeking Alpha at least quarterly.
  • Find opportunities for bonus deposits to boost DivGro's investment capital.
  • Assume yield on cost (YoC) average 4% and increases by 7% annually.
Here are my 2015 goals:

1. Increase projected annual dividend income to $7,500

Currently, DivGro's projected annual dividend income is $4,882, which is $82 above my 2014 goal of $4,800. Assuming a liberal 7% increase in dividends for existing investments, projected annual dividend income should grow to $5,224.

Next year, given my commitments listed above, new investments totaling $30,000 and reinvested dividends totaling $4,800 should afford an additional $1,392 in projected annual dividend income. I'm not accounting here for the fact that dividend income would grow over the course of the year, since dividends are paid throughout the year and not in a lump sum at the beginning of the year.

The total of $6,616 ($5,224 + $1,392) is $884 short of the listed 2015 goal, which makes it a rather stretching target. I'm hoping occasional bonus deposits and next year's web-based income would make up the difference.

Projected annual dividend income of $7,500 means that DivGro will generate a minimum of $625 per month starting in 2016. Of course, the underlying assumption is that stocks in DivGro would at least maintain their dividend payments going forward.

2. Earn $6,000 in dividend income.

My new goal of earning $6,000 in dividend income is a 67% increase over this year's goal of $3,600. Although not impossible, adding an extra $2,400 in dividend income will be challenging.

Using a formula to calculate the future value of an investment based on periodic, constant payments and a constant interest rate, I can estimate the dividend income potential of DivGro. Let's assume that on January 1, 2015, DivGro starts with a balance of $120,000 and I continue with recurring monthly deposits of $2,500. With a constant interest rate of 4%, the balance of DivGro at the end of 2014 will be $156,254. Subtracting the starting balance ($120,000) and monthly deposits (12 x $2,500 = $30,000) from the ending balance, the accrued interest will be $5,547, which is a little short of my $6,000 goal.

Again, I'm hoping the difference will be made up through occasional bonus deposits and by investing income that I receive from Adsense and Seeking Alpha.

3. Write 104 posts, including 24 premium articles for Seeking Alpha and 12 articles for DivNet.

This is my 98th post for 2014, so aiming for 104 posts is not a stretching target by any means. However, I'm upping the ante, so to speak, by adding the subgoals of writing at least 24 premium articles for Seeking Alpha and 12 articles for The DIV-Net.

Since joining Seeking Alpha in September this year, I've written three premium articles:
  1. The Bloggers' Dividend Growth Portfolio: Popular Dividend Growth Stocks Trading On U.S. Exchanges
  2. Stock Analysis: Exxon Mobil Corporation
  3. 10 Dividend Growth Stocks For December 2014
I have not written articles for The DivNet, yet. I became an associate member of The DivNet on 25 October 2014.

One motivation for joining Seeking Alpha and The DivNet is to network more actively with other investors focused on dividend growth investing. The wider audience and increased traffic to DivGro is a welcome bonus. Since starting DivGro nearly two years ago, I'm nearing 150,000 page views. That's an average of about 205 page views per day over the lifespan of DivGro. On Seeking Alpha, my page views are nearing 84,000 since September. That's an average of about 700 page views per day!

By having Adsense serve advertisements to my blog pages, I'm generating a little extra income. I intend to deposit this income (as well as earnings from published premium articles) into my DivGro account and invest it in dividend growth stocks! There is no doubt that increased traffic matters, but I'm fully aware that the content of my articles is what matters to my readers

4. Hike to Seattle and back • Climb the Burj Khalifa thirty times  • Lose three stone 

Say, what?

Yes, I'm adding a personal goal to my 2015 list – something that has very little to do with dividend growth investing... I've had great success in achieving the goals I've set for myself with DivGro, particularly because I made them public and regularly reported progress.

So, I'm (indirectly) soliciting the help of DivGro's readers to keep me on track with an ambitious tripartite goal for 2015:
  • to hike 3,421,441 steps, which is the equivalent of 2,607 kilometers (1,620 miles), or the distance from San Francisco to Seattle and back;
  • to climb 4,890 floors, which is equivalent to climbing the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, thirty times; and
  • to lose 19.05 kg (42 pounds), which is the equivalent of three stone.
I'm planning on replacing my Fitbit, which I lost crossing the Bloukrans river while hiking the Otter Trail in South Africa in July this year. It is a cool little device that tracks your steps, distance, calories burned and floors climbed.

After losing about 10 kg in dribs and drabs over the past two years, I feel its time to crank up the effort and lose another 20. That would put me at a weight that is more ideal for my length and should reduce my body mass index to a more healthy level.
Thanks for reading! Are you setting stretching goals for 2015? Feel free to share your goals and to comment on mine! All the best for 2015 and thanks for your support!


  1. Nice 2015 goals. Increasing your dividend income to $6000 will likely involve involve some strategic buys. Stocks with their first ex-dividend in March/April should probably be high on your list. Good luck!

    1. Hi Dividends For Dummies -- thanks for stopping by!

      My $6,000 dividend income goal will be quite stretching, but I do want to be careful not to have my goals influence my stock selections in negative ways. My investment in SDRL this year is probably an example of what I mean -- a juicy dividend that has now been suspended. I'm not saying that taking ex-dividend dates into consideration necessarily would be negative, though. If two otherwise equivalent candidates present themselves, certainly choosing the earlier ex-dividend date would serve my dividend income goal better!

      Best wishes for 2015!


  2. Those are some really sweet goals. I honestly think that even if you don't earn $6000 in dividends in 2015, you should be fine if you meet the projected $7500 in annual distributions. This is because, as you mentioned, due to timing of dividend payments during the year. I don't know your personal financial situation, but I do think that you will meet even your stretch goals if you get a bonus from work, or earn more from your side hustles to name a few. And I am curious, what is your long-term goal for dividend income, which will make you FI?

    Good luck in your dividend investing journey!

    Dividend Growth Investor

    1. Thanks, Dividend Growth Investor!

      This year, I've cranked up both goals ($6,000 actual and $7,500 projected) beyond the "stretching but doable" level to the "really challenging" level. Given our present financial situation (new mortgage), I think it will take some doing to get even close. Generally speaking, I subscribe to the idea that its better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.

      Having said all that, I do agree with you that deploying a bonus here and there and income from side hustles could make up the difference. Also, I have some investments stashed away in a couple of smaller portfolios (growth and value oriented) that I'm willing to raid in case a Hail Mary is needed! (In actual fact, its part of my strategy to tilt the balance of my investments to mostly dividend growth stocks over time).

      Your question about my long-term goal for dividend growth investing is quite timely and relevant. I've been inspired by your own (and other dividend bloggers') statement of long-term goals. I'd like to write an article soon about my thinking in this regard.

      Best wishes for you in 2015!


  3. Pretty sweet set of goals, both personal and financial. Continuing to nudge the snowball forward with $30k of additional capital AND bonus deposits is awesome, and even if you miss slightly, the stretch goal is there. Good luck building your audience and income from your side hustles. These will be what tips you over the top.

    Are you targeting a certain audience level at either site (SA or DivGro) by the end of the year, or just post volume?

    1. Thanks, writing2reality!

      As I mentioned above, I think my financial goals for 2015 are "really challenging" but that I believe in the idea that its better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. I certainly hope that income from side hustles will make up the difference, but I do have some other tricks up my sleeve if that fails to do so... including reallocating funds from smaller value and growth portfolios.

      I'm not sure how to characterize the audience level I'm targeting, though I can tell you that I don't just want to focus on post volume. The type of article I enjoy writing involves topical research and financial analysis as well as exploring ways to present results visually (in graphs/charts/tables) rather than only verbally. In writing articles, I try to present some unique element or perspective that wouldn't necessarily be found in other articles. Of course, that's hard to do, but that's my goal...

      Take care -- and thanks for your regular comments!

      Best of luck for you in 2015!

  4. Ferdi,

    Great looking goals. As others mentioned, I think the $6,000 in dividend income goal might be tough. I haven't been able to make a leap like that from one year to the next - my 2013 dividend income was just shy of $4,000, and this year will be just shy of $6,000. But I wish you the best of luck!

    I like the fitness goals. I haven't been as active as I'd like to be over the last month or so. I notice my desire/interest in fitness ebbs and flows a bit, like other interests in life. Sometimes I'm all over it with 100% intensity. Other times, I can be rather indifferent. I appear to be in an indifferent stage. But I also know that I'll be back to full intensity just around the corner.

    Wishing you the best throughout 2015!


    1. Thanks, Jason!

      Yes, I'm quite aware that the $6,000 goal will be very tough, especially given our current financial situation involving a new mortgage. I'm willing to give it a very energetic and passionate go, though! As I mentioned above, I'm cranking up both goals ($6,000 actual and $7,500 projected) beyond the "stretching but doable" level to the "really challenging" level.

      I'm like you about fitness and also about dieting -- my interest ebbs and flows. So does my intensity. That's partially why I stated my fitness/dieting goals in the way I did. For example, "Hiking to Seatle and back' certainly sounds more interesting than hiking a total of 1,620 miles. BTW, losing 3 stone at my age is going be excruciatingly hard. Like my other goals, though, I'll be OK with failing after having tried my best to achieve each goal.

      Have a wonderful and successful 2015! I know it will be exciting!


  5. Ferdi,

    Congratulations on hitting every one of your goals for 2014. I'm going to come shy on a few of mine but I did set them fairly aggressively.

    I like your 2015 goals and it's great you added some personal ones. I plan to do the same and need to come up with mine. With a little increase from online income and dividend increases, I'm sure you'll hit that $6k goal. I'm already procrastinating on setting mine!

    Happy holidays and good luck in 2015!

    1. Hi AAI -- thanks for stopping by!

      One could argue that hitting every one of my goals means I haven't stretched myself enough! :-) I know that's not true, though, as I had to work hard along the way to achieve them. I'm saying that humbly, realizing that we've been blessed with good fortune this year...

      As far as missing some of your goals, I wouldn't worry about that too much -- especially because you've set them aggressively. As mentioned above, I firmly believe its better to try and fail rather than not to try at all.

      When setting goals, you can only imagine the future context you'll be dealing with. You cannot foresee everything. You're context could change in an instant, making the goals you've set impossible to achieve. Despite this, I believe its better to set goals and aim to achieve them, versus not setting goals. So, I hope you'll get around to setting new goals for 2015 and go for it!

      On this special day, I wish you and your family happiness and all the best for 2015!

  6. Divgro,

    I like the goals a lot. You are really going to have to push yourself, but they are all attainable. If you found a way to hit all of your goals in 2014, you can find a way to hit them in 2015! Finding new ways to push yourself is why goal setting is so much fun, right??

    I like how you have added the personal goals in addition to investing. 2015 will be a well-rounded journey for your personal and financial health!

    Keep up the great work, I'm looking forward to tracking your progress next year.

    Bert, One of the Dividend Diplomats

    1. Thanks, Bert!

      I agree -- I'm going to have to push myself a lot! If I can achieve my 2015 goals I'd be very happy, especially the physical exercise goals...

      Take care and may you have a great 2015!

  7. Some great goals there, FerdiS. Your projected dividend income has great by leaps and bounds in 2014 and im sure you will do well in 2015. I wish you the best in achieving them.

    I will be sure to follow along the journey.

    1. Hi R2R -- thanks for stopping by. I'm very excited to try to achieve these stretching goals. A little nervous, too. Take care and may you experience a wonderful 2015.


  8. Nice, measurable goals Ferdi. You've now got me thinking about adding a goal to join Seeking Alpha and/or DivNet this coming year. :)

    Wishing you success in accomplishing each and every one! AFFJ


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