2017 Goals

With the New Year here, I am looking forward to re-launching my dividend income fund.  While I wasn't writing about it, after three years of slowly building a fund - from zero - to help cover some of the costs of life with a child with autism, I decided to finish off a master's degree in 2016 while not funding it through taking on debt.  After a lot of back and forth, I decided to take a loan from the fund to pay for tuition.  The way I see it, the degree will qualify me for a raise of $10,000 come September, and that money will be returned to me year after year, allowing me to pump more and more money back into the fund.  It's a guaranteed return, and so after some debate, because I had worked so hard to build the fund up to $20,000, I emptied it.

I finished the degree and now I am just waiting for the official graduation ceremony in a few weeks.  But there is more to the story.  Having enjoyed taking classes again, I signed up for another master's program, and I've been completing the two concurrently.  This second degree will allow me to get a higher certification and the ability to interview for jobs in educational leadership.  While I might not put it to use quite yet, it will allow me increased opportunities in the future.  Unfortunately, there was no more cash available, and I did have to take out $22,200 in student loans to complete the degree, which I decided to try to complete in one year.  Four classes in the summer and two more this past fall are in the books.  Now, I cruise into the spring semester with only two classes to go for the second master's.  Not a bad way to start the year!

I am excited to continue this progress into 2017 and it is time to set some goals.  Obviously, finishing the second degree is my priority right now, but I am on track to wrap it up over the next five months, and so I won't be including the degree completion as a goal here.  I am itching to re-start my fund, and that is where my focus will be.

First, even with completely emptying my dividend investing fund last May, I was able to save just over $10,000 for the second half of the year.  I worked a ton of hours at a side job over the summer, and was able to bank most of my fall coaching check.  That is the seed money that I will re-start the fund with.  

My primary goal is to create an automatic investing plan for 52 weeks.  I set $100 to go every Monday from my bank account to my Scottrade account.  I hope that I can learn to live with this much in guaranteed savings and not notice when it isn't there.  It will definitely be hard to see it through over the summer months when I am not teaching, so I'll be on the lookout for a new summer job this year.

GOAL 1 - Fund 52 weeks of automatic investing of $100 for a total of $5200.

My next goal will be to identify a measurable and achievable dollar goal of new money to be invested into the account.  I think that $10,000 is a reasonable expectation.  While I will likely work less this summer, and have to start paying back student loans, I think that if I stay disciplined and let the automatic investments continue, I can find the balance of the $10,000 through side work and my coaching stipend.  

GOAL 2 - Invest a minimum of $10,000 new dollars into the fund.

My final goal - for now - is to try to establish a certain target in dividend income to meet by the end of the year.  Right now I am projected to hit $400 in estimated annual dividend income.  While setting a high target here might cause me to pick some higher yielding, higher risk stocks, I am going to hedge my bets here and not worry too much about making this goal in the first year of the re-booted fund.  For the sake of a round number, I will set the goal at $1000 in annual dividend income.  I know I will not receive all of those funds this year, but I will look at the end of the year estimate to determine where I stand on the road to $1000 in annual dividends, and set a more clearly defined goal for next year.

GOAL 3 - Hit $1000 in estimated annual dividend income by the end of 2017.

So I think that is a good place to start, and I am eager to get going.  Good luck out there, and please check back from time to time so see how things play out.  

Happy New Year!

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