Happy New Year everybody! 🥂
It’s that time of the year again where we are all supposed to set some financial goals! How else will we ever get financially independent?
Honestly, I’m really not such a strong goal setter. As a person I’m rather focused on just doing what I like by following my intuition.
At the same time I feel it has to do with a very singular mindset which I have developed over the years, because the main question I typically ask myself is:
- Am I happy?
If the answer is No, then let’s change something. If the answer is Yes, then let’s not waste any time and energy and let’s continue like this going forward.
I bet that this sounds very easygoing, but it’s probably also the reason why I had to wait until I was 33 for my first financial awareness “eureka”.
Until then I was just depositing some money on my savings account if I had something left at the end of the month. Even though I’ve always been frugal (or is a better word cheap?), it just wasn’t really going anywhere.
Actually, there was always a reason to increase my expense level every time I gained some “space” after a salary hike. As an example, just imagine an upgraded lease car as a status symbol in the consulting industry. Hence, I made sure I had a nice one!
In my mind I was still frugal, because the car expense was directly deducted from my gross income. Hence, I never really felt the impact of my decision, because my net income wouldn’t change too much 😉
But that was then and now is now. I’ve moved on from such thinking and I’m at least fully aware that having financial goals really helps me. Even if it takes me additional effort to push myself to deliver on those goals.
However, my approach for goals might be a bit different than for others (nothing SMART here!).
As an example, I truly believe that the best way to improve yourself is to be intrinsically motivated by a vision or a dream. If you don’t have one, then it will be very hard to achieve anything substantial.
But if you have one and you can clearly see and feel it, then you’re really of to a great start. Because in my opinion the biggest hurdle to overcome is to “just” get started.
And this should come as no surprise to some of you, because several of you have reached out to me over the last 2 years where this was exactly the problem. Typical fears / hurdles I often observed based on the questions you brought forward were:
- is now the right time to get started?
- what if the stock market crashes tomorrow?
- how much money is wise to spend on my first buy?
- what if I lose my money?
- what stock to invest in first?
Hence, “just do it” is an easy recommendation to give, but oftentimes very hard to execute.
Though, I’ve learnt that once you “start doing” that it’s all about quickly experimenting what works best for you to find the optimal path to realize your dream.
I’m also quite confident that you will figure it out somehow, because your vision / dream is a very strong magnet pulling you into the right direction.
What’s only left then for me is the power of continuous improvement. What this means in practice is to self-reflect regularly, take learnings into account and try to be every month/quarter/year a bit better again than the last time.
And that’s really just it at this stage of my journey. Being a bit better again than last year is all I aim for in my goals.
So with that in mind, let’s break down my goals for 2022 in the following paragraphs.
1. Savings Rate
The savings rate is still the most important metric for my performance at this stage of the journey.
Unfortunately 2022 is off to a poor start with the introduction of a new tax policy called “Polski Ład” (Polish Order). The government implemented a new tax regime to transfer some wealth from the middle class to:
- lower income class
- people with large families (4 or more kids)
- people whom are repatriating to Poland
- senior people who decide to continue working after their retirement date
I’ve probably forgotten something here, but it’s clear that I’m not part of any of the eligible groups for whom this policy has been designed.
Having said that, in practice it means that I will get ~8% to ~10% less salary deposited on my bank account.
But it doesn’t stop there, because on top of that we are experiencing in Poland one of the highest inflations in recent history.
In other words, my savings power is expected to drop by 16% in the first few months of the year compared to last year.
As you can imagine, this looks really bad!
There is still some hope though, because somewhere in the first part of the year I will get to know if I’m eligible for a salary increase (which I expect I will be). In such case this gap might narrow a bit and soften the blow to my net income.
So knowing all of this, I’m aiming for a savings rate of slightly above 50% which would be slightly a bit better than last year when adjusting for the 16% drop.
Let’s see how it will go. It will be a very challenging goal, because I’m really eager to go on a good and long summer holiday which will impact our savings.
On the other hands, let’s not forget that we only live once. As a family we have very fond memories from our vacations in the south of Europe.
2. Dividend Growth Portfolio & Investing
a. Deployment of cash
I would like to deploy a little bit more than last year in the stock market. Most of this will come from our monthly savings rate, some from dividend reinvestment, but some will also be sourced from our savings account. I feel we are a bit too cash rich in this inflationary environment and it’s well beyond a 3 month “expense-equivalent” savings cushion.
Hence, I would expect to increase our portfolio by about 25% all else being equivalent.
b. Option Trading
At the same time I would also like to earn about 150 to 200 Euro per month from option trading. This is again a bit more than last year when I earnt approximately 100 Euro per month.
I will not be too focused on this goal as option trading requires quite some time for me. I would even call it sometimes a distractor, so I will try to combine it as much as possible with my dividend growth portfolio.
That’s why I consider it to be an easy fix to only sell put options on stocks I truly would like to own.
c. Portfolio Yield
Share price growth has vastly outperformed dividend growth last year. This had a significant impact on my portfolio yield which currently dropped below 3.15%.
I consider this to be on the low end, so my goal is to increase the portfolio yield towards 3.5%.
Needless to say, but this might almost be impossible if share price growth continues to outpace dividend growth, but I believe it’s worth trying.
Hence, something I can fairly easily do is increase my dividend stock screener limit from 2.75% to 3.25%. It does mean that I will significantly limit the amount of stocks on my radar, but on the other hand it might give me better focus.
Let’s see how effective I will be with this goal, because I know myself: if I see an undervalued stock (no matter the yield), I will likely be interested to initiate or increase my position. As an example, I really would love to own more Intel right now.
In that regard, the best what could happen this year is a severe stock crash! 🤞
d. Projected Annual Dividend Income (PADI)
This is actually the most important goal after the savings rate, because we’re talking here about absolute dividend growth.
My PADI is also closely related to my expense-coverage-rate, because it’s one of the most important elements of the formula (PADI / Future Estimated Expenses).
Hence, it’s my goal to increase the PADI by approximately 30% based on the amount of cash I would like to deploy.
Such an increase should hopefully result in an expense-coverage-ratio of 46.3% by the end of this year.
Having said that, these were my investing & financial related goals. At the same time I truly believe that body, mind & soul have to be in balance to live a happy life.
That’s why I would like to share with you some other type of goals as well.
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One of the things that annoys me the most is that I’m becoming less flexible over the last few years. Hence, sporting continues to be a very important, but also difficult goal for me.
As an example, I’ve played football all my life, so I find it quite hard to motivate myself to sport on my own. Sporting with others gives me an additional motivation to get out of the house, no matter whether it’s sunny or pouring rain. I just don’t want to leave my buddies alone by not showing up.
That’s why the most important goal regarding my health will be to play at least 75% of all the total available from our football matches.
To reach that goal I will need to make sure that I’m having a good condition, because at our age we’re not training anymore. We’re just playing recreational in a local league as part of the “veterans”.
As a result, a second goal is to start running again and I will try to do this as much as possible with someone else. Hence, let’s just include a goal to run two times an official 10K of which one will have to be below 52 minutes.
This is really it regarding my health for this year. I am lucky not to be overweight or having any other health related issues right now. Fingers crossed that it will stay like this 🤞.
5. Entertainment & Leisure
Let’s focus a bit more on the mind right now. Without a clear mind I won’t be able to keep it up at work and with my passion for dividend growth investing.
That’s why I would like to go at least 3 weeks this year on holiday with my wife and kids. Such a holiday(s) should be focused on resting and it should include a lot of sun!
Truth to be told, we already booked our first vacation somewhere in a very sunny country in south Europe. I can’t wait anymore!
Another important topic for me is to continue having great quality time with my kids. That’s why I will plan a “father’s day” once a month with both my kids. Such a day will be focused on going to a child-friendly museum, the cinema or a nice long bike trip with a very large ice cream during a beautiful summer day.
Last but not least, I really want to continue to broaden my knowledge in a wide variety of topics. That’s why I will aim to read at least 12 books again. This goal should not be too hard to achieve as this is already my regular habit in the weekends.
6. Blog & YouTube
My mission is to make investing easier for European dividend growth investors.
I feel that I’m still far away from achieving this mission, so I will continue to address topics that should be of value to you. I believe that certain topics are still underserved, so they will have to get a bit more focus from me during 2022.
Examples of such topics are:
- dividend withholding taxes and how to reclaim them,
- investing in dividend ETFs,
- finding undervalued dividend growth stocks,
- knowledge sharing about effective strategies (incl. how-to’s)
- building out the database of European dividend stocks and their metadata.
All of this will be done via one or more channels as part of the European Dividend Growth Investor platform.
Quality of my work is the most important to me, because I’m sure you can find already a lot of low or medium quality articles elsewhere. Hence, it’s my goal to first of all continue to get from you at least a 4.5 star rating for every new article I publish.
After that I aim to reach more readers and increase the engagement so that more European investors will find the courage to take matters in their own hands. That’s why I’m aiming to grow the reader base across all the channels:
- Grow page views on this blog to an average of 40K per month by the end of 2022
- Increase the mailing list to 4000 subscribers
- Grow YouTube to 10K subscribers
- Grow Twitter to 10K followers
- Double the amount of Podcast plays
Such numbers should also allow me to earn a humble 250 Euro per month from Blog & YouTube income. I will reinvest all the earned money back into this blog, i.e. via WordPress plugins and equipment.
As an example, I would love to invest in a premium plugin which would allow me to create a membership area. This way you wouldn’t always need to go back to the welcome’s email to find the link to my dividend growth portfolio or the dividend portfolio tracker template.
Last but not least, I’m not setting a goal around the number of articles and videos. This is not so relevant for me at this moment in time. I believe that I already established a strong rhythm and discipline towards analysis and content creation. New articles and videos will just be a result of that.
Summing it up
These are my financial goals for 2022:
- a savings rate of slightly above 50%
- increase our portfolio by about 25% all else being equivalent
- earn about 150 to 200 Euro per month from option trading
- increase the portfolio yield towards 3.5%
- increase the PADI by approximately 30%
- an expense-coverage-ratio of 46.3%
Looking at these goals it’s clear to me that I’m still pushing the Snowball somehow. Let’s see how long it still takes before it starts rolling by itself.
Now tell me, what are your goals for 2022?
European Dividend Growth Investor