As I like to stay accountable for my finances, I set financial goals every year. Last years goals were fairly aggressive and although I’m happy with the way things worked out, there was some room for improvement. Out of the six goals, three were achieved, one made good progress, and two just didn’t happen. Lets take a look.
Pay off Mortgage – With about $25,000 remaining on my mortgage balance, it’s well within striking distance to being paid off. It will be quite the personal achievement to have the mortgage paid off in less than 3 years. Providing things go as planned, we want to be mortgage free in 2010!
I knew this goal was achievable, but I wasn’t sure it was going to happen due to the low interest rate environment and the urge to keep cheap debt. However, near the end of the year, we decided to take some of that savings just sitting around earning very little interest, and become mortgage free.
Maximize TFSA’s – I was pretty slack with the TFSA’s in 2009, but I plan to change that in 2010. I plan to make good use of the $15,000 remaining in contribution room. My goal is to fully fund 2 TFSA accounts in 2010. As of this post, I only have 1 TFSA which was recently opened with Questrade.
This goal was also achieved. We saved cash throughout the year which gave us the opportunity to max out our TFSA contribution room ($20k). The only issue was that a significant portion of the TFSA sat as cash and short term bonds. Perhaps a goal for the new year is invest some of that cash!
Optimize RRSP’s – With higher reported income for 2009, there should be plenty of RRSP contribution room available for 2010. However, with 2010 T4 income being questionable, I may only contribute enough to optimize taxation. However, I may simply max out my contribution but carry forward the RRSP deduction should 2010 prove to be a low income T4 year.
This goal also worked out well for us. With a relatively high RRSP contribution limit for 2010, it gave us some flexibility in getting some money out of the corporation. What we did was calculate the maximum amount we could withdraw from the corporation in the form of a dividend so that no personal tax was payable after accounting for the RRSP contribution. We did this for both shareholders via dividend sprinkling.
Generate More Passive Income – After selling my rental properties, passive income has taken a major hit. The only remaining source of passive income is via Canadian dividend stocks in my leveraged portfolio. If stocks become attractively priced in 2010, I will become more aggressive in purchasing dividend equities.
While we did increase our dividend portfolio a bit, it wasn’t as much as we expected. Come to think of it, this goal was pretty vague as it wasn’t a quantifiable/measurable outcome, so it’s difficult to measure its success.
Consolidate Accounts – I have way too many accounts at various institutions. For example, I have 3 non-registered trading accounts with 3 different institutions. In 2010, my goal is to consolidate some of these accounts and simplify our finances.
This one remained on the “todo” list all year and I didn’t get around to making it happen. One account that I plan on closing is the Interactive Brokers account. Not that it’s a bad platform, the opposite really. But IB is meant for traders, and although I use the pseudonym “FrugalTrader”, I do little short term trading to be worth keeping this account open.
Blog Goals – Grow readership to 15,000 subscribers. As this site has become a large part of my life, I plan to put even more energy towards growing the readership. 15k subscribers is quite the jump from 8k at the beginning of 2009, but a nice round number to work towards.
This goal proved to be a little more challenging than anticipated but we made a good run at it. We started the year with 8,000 subscribers and by the end of 2010 we had approximately 12,500. Even though we didn’t quite reach the 15k mark, the subscriber base did increase by over 50% which I’m pleased with.
How did you do with your financial goals for 2010?