Grading My 2012 Personal Finance Goals

I set some very lofty goals this year. Now it’s time to review and see how well I did. I gave myself a grade for each of my goals and gave myself an overall goal as well. I didn’t sugarcoat it, but I did put everything in perspective. Let me know if you approve of my grades based on my performance!

1. Start Two New Side Ventures

I did make several thousand dollars on an online side venture, but in the end, it simply wasn’t sustainable. While many people would say that making a bunch of extra cash on a failed business venture is pretty damn good, I had higher hopes.

I tried to build a second business, but I wasn’t ready to commit big bucks for a test, which even if it was successful, would not take make the project one I would definitely pursue.

While I didn’t start the two side ventures I was hoping, I did try, which I’m definitely proud of. If I had gotten lucky, maybe I’d have a full fledged business. But what can you do?

Grade: B

2. Double My Side Income from 2011

Um…this goal was a little bit too aggressive. I actually regressed this year in terms of side income, partly because I had a full time job and wasn’t able to put in the time and effort that I put into side projects while I was self-employed. I had a strong finish to the year, and the total amount is nothing to sneeze at, but I definitely failed to reach this goal.

Grade: F

3. Save 60% of My Post-Tax Income

It seems like each quarter brings a new challenge. Our biggest expense in the 4th quarter was our honeymoon. We said we were only going to spend $3,500 on our trip, but how can I not splurge on this? We want to swim with the dolphins! So we’re going all out for that, which definitely didn’t help the bottom line, but let’s face it: who cares?

For the year, we saved 48% of our net income, which is nothing to sneeze about, especially since this was a year filled with first-time expenses: wedding costs, honeymoon costs, and furnishing our first apartment together. If this was a year of high one-time expenses, I’m excited to see what we can do next year.

One thing I did not factor in was Lauren’s cost of school, which is relatively low for graduate school, but is still several thousand dollars in tuition and books per semester.

Grade: B+

4. Double My Net Worth

Looking back, this goal was completely unrealistic because of the huge financial step backwards I took when I married Lauren and started calculating her student loans into the equation.

The good news is that we’re up 23% since the end of September. The bad news is we’re still down 64% overall. So a long long ways to go before we reach the goal, but at the same time, we seem to be making great progress, I have no complaints about the amount we’re earning or the amount we’re saving.

Grade: F

I learned a lot about setting goals from this exercise. I think reviewing performance is really helpful, and I’m proud that I didn’t move the goalposts halfway through the year like many others do.

Overall, I had a great year. I earned more through my job than ever before, my blog and other side ventures have worked out pretty well. I’ve set myself up well for the future and have tried to achieve some fairly unreasonable expectations. I think some of them were not realistic at all and there’s not much that I could have done to control the others, so we’ll just keep plugging away at it!

Overall Grade: B

What do you think of my grades? Was I too harsh or too lenient?

I will be coming out with my 2013 goals which will be a little easier to achieve yet will still push me to work hard to put myself in excellent financial position moving forward.

5 Responses to Grading My 2012 Personal Finance Goals

  1. Hey Daniel,

    Long time no hear from you man. HNY! Congrats again on getting married. It’s great to see an honest assessment of your progress. Saving 48% of net income is great!

    BTW, not sure if it is my browser, but the posting section column seems to have shrunk to the size of the ad columns.

    • Daniel says:

      @Financial Samurai, Thanks, I think far too many people move the goalposts halfway through the year. What’s the point of having and tracking goals if you lower your sites each time you fall behind?

      Thanks for the head’s up. I thought I fixed it yesterday, but I guess the issue is back. I fixed it now but I’m sure it will revert back at some point so I’ll have my tech guy take a look.

  2. I like the grading system. When I look at my goals, it’s pretty much a pass/fail. I think your way is better.

    As to your goals, I think doing a ‘double’ of net worth and side income were both probably a bit too aggressive. While it’s nice to think that we can exceed every goal we set, I think the key is to set more manageable expectations. I’ve also seen where two goals are set for each item, a conservative and a ‘stretch’ goal. The first is what you can expect to hit if things go as expected, the second is the ‘wow’ goal. Something to think about.

  3. Kathleen, Frugal Portland says:

    Perhaps you were too hard on yourself! Looks awesome to me.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    Hey Daniel,

    Thank you much for sharing your goals (and results). I always feel it takes a great character to put it out in the open.

    One thing that really helped me with setting my goals is to have a person to hold me accountable for achieving these goals. I learned that with a person “looking over my shoulder” I am much faster in performing a “course correction” (nice way to say, I really messed up the goal). It also really helps me to think about different ways to achieve my goals, you see, I never really want to disappoint the person which agreed to hold me accountable :-)

    Looking forward to see your 2013 goals!

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