I’ve decided to do a post about my New Year’s resolutions. Some people don’t believe in them. I was chatting with my boss about this and he’s response was something along the lines of …
“if you’re going to implement a resolution to do something that you should just do it. Why wait for the start of the year? “
Actually, when I thought about it – he has a fair point.
My rebuttal would be to say that the most people look at the New Year as a clean slate. If we have set goals last year and failed then we can forget about it and just move forward. It’s a new leaf …
I’ve always been a goal setter but I don’t normally put them to paper. They just vaguely float around in my mind. Taking some advice , I’ve decided that I should probably have a go at writing them down and elaborating on them since it increases the chances I’ll actually follow through with them and succeed. And what better time to do it. So on to the resolutions for 2019.
- Reach the elusive 50% savings rate
The savings rate is arguably the most important factor in portending your path to FIRE. Many FIRE proponents hunt after a 50% savings rate (after tax). This is well above the average rate no matter which country you’re from and unless you have a super high income it’s going to be hard work getting there. Mine is quite average, so I must be frugal. I’ll be analysing my expenses and cutting back where I can. I’ll live modestly but not too restrictively in order to achieve this goal. It is my top priority goal and the one I consider to be the most important. The FIRE pretty much begins to fall into place with this goal and the next…
- Achieve a “good” return on my investments
Admittedly this goal is a little more difficult to quantify for a single year due to the nature of returns of investments. Returns are quite statistical and since I intend on investing heavily in stocks at this stage in my life, my portfolio is largely dependent on stock market performance. If the S and P 500 is down 20% for the year and I manage to retain what I had at the beginning of year – then that’s a good year. A really good performance, considering most people don’t beat the S and P 500.
Okay, I need to define this though, otherwise it’s just too vague. I’ll set the bar at a 5+ % return average per year, over a long period of time, but year to year it depends…. I believe there’s dark times ahead for financial markets and it’s only a short while till there’s a recession in the US. Over the next few years a return of 3% per annum could be quite exceptional if this pans out – it certainly would have been this year considering the market was @ around -4% in the US.
I feel that for the time being it’s best to hold money in cash, bonds or fixed interest and then after the following recession I’ll buy up growth stocks.
This goal is quite important – I need to invest and make good returns with what I save in order to achieve FIRE.
- Total matched betting income of $ 6000 for 2019
Matched betting is a side hustle I have only recently been acquainted with. I’m only really a beginner with this and currently I’m focusing on just exploiting the promotional sign up offers from the bookies, which can be quite substantial. I’ve dabbled a bit at exploiting some of the other offers, the one I’m particularly fond of is a horse racing free bet where you can win a bonus bet if your horse doesn’t win but runs 2nd or 3rd.
Currently I don’t use any software with my matched betting. If I were in the UK, I would definitely use OddsMonkey or ProfitAccumulator because they’re pretty good value. However, I live in Australia and the only one I’ve come across is BonusBank but that’s around $50 per month, which is a bit steep compared to the UK counterparts IMO considering what it does.
In order to do it myself, I manually look for bets and find promotions, which isn’t too difficult or time consuming to do since bookies usually email them to me. I then read tutorials online on how to exploit each particular promotional offer. After this I go to the smarkets calculator and size my qualifying or free bets accordingly.
Not using the software does however have its perils and I have made mistakes. I put a lay bet on the exchange but when betting on the bookies websites I accidentally didn’t confirm the corresponding back bet. Luckily, the lay bet came through and I benefited from the mistake. In a further blunder I also treated a bonus bet like a qualifying bet when sizing bets, but this didn’t affect profit too much. Admittedly I had the flu when I did this, so I wasn’t as sharp as I usually am.
Overall, from match betting after about 1 month I’m up around $ 400, which is fantastic considering its all tax free income. I was a little sceptical to begin with but it’s a great way to make money online in a short period of time. It’s not for everybody and some people are hard to sell on the idea.
My goal for matched betting will be $500 per month average or $ 6000 over 2019. This would boost my income enough to make achieving goal #1 much easier, since my savings rate will likely increase by about 10% if I don’t change my expenses. I’m really glad to have found about this and I give thanks to the other FIRE bloggers who practice it and report on it.
- Continue on with this Blog
Initially for this blog I intended to harness it as its own income stream just like some of the other popular bloggers have been able to do. I began setting traffic and backlink goals and this was probably a little ambitious but also not the right approach to blogging. I should blog because I enjoy writing and the income, if any, it generates should be a side benefit.
My goal is to continue to post, preferably 2-3 time per week and through blogging continue to expand my knowledge and learn about investing. Writing is a really creative process and through reading other blogs in the FIRE community I’ve learnt new things which have been really helpful.
After 2019, I will see how things have panned out and then decide if I want to assign some traffic or income goals. For now, I’m just going to enjoy the process and focus on writing about smart investing and attaining FIRE. I’ll also angle the blog more towards a journal of progress as I make my way towards FIRE and outline any investment ideas that are worth employing.
- Adopt other frugal measures
This is probably tied in #1 but includes decluttering my life through selling stuff which I no longer use and becoming a bit more of a minimalist and hording less unnecessary processions. For example, I have bow worth a few hundred dollars I’ve held onto for 5 years in case I get back into archery – this along with other stuff, which I don’t need, is going to go.
I’ll also be using credit cards to rack up frequent flyer points in order to travel hack. I just applied for a credit card which will allow me to rack up enough points to get a flight worth several hundred dollars essentially for free.
I will also be using cash back websites where possible to save on purchases. I’ve known about these sites but never really taken advantage of them in the past and it’s time for a newer, frugal me to now do so.
Other personal goals not related to finance:
- Max out my level of fitness & look after my health
It’s important to invest in one’s health and I’ll be doing that as much as possible in 2019. I have a fairly sedentary job just like many people and I need to exercise more than I do otherwise I’ll end up unfit and unhealthy. I’ll aim to do vigorous exercise at least 4 times per week.
Once you have a health problem it can be expensive to fix or go and visit the necessary specialists. It also chews in to time and creates worry. I would also include visits to the dentist with in this category. Taking a bit of time to floss after brushing could prevent the hefty bills that dentists are notorious for. I need to do this more often!
- Get Engaged
I would like to get engaged by the end of 2019 since I would like to start a family in the next few years hopefully. I’ve always wanted children and I’ve found someone I would like to be with.
What about you?
Well, there’s all my New Year’s resolutions for 2019. Have you created a list of New Year’s Resolutions? Maybe it’s time to take a break and take the opportunity of a New Year and a fresh slate to reflect on where your life is heading and what you want out of it…
Best wishes for 2019 and good luck on all your goals.
Founder of WiselyInvested.com