Sunday 27 December 2020

Review of this year's Goals, and setting Goals for 2021

I was going to do a post reviewing my actuals for 2020 vs. my goals, but found that I hadn't actually posted about my goals for 2020. So I'll summarize how I went according to what I think my 2020 goals were, and set down my goals for 2021, so I'll have something to check off against when 2021 winds up.

So, what were my goals for 2020 how did I go?

1. Lose weight and get fit (exercise and weight training):

This was progressing nicely up until late Feb when I stopped going to the office (or gym) due to lock-downs and a transition to WFH (work from home). There was nothing stopping me from sticking to my diet plan or walking around the neighborhood, but I found that I tended to stay at my desk more when working from home than I had when I was going into the office each day. WFH means that you get a lot more random IM messages and Skype calls from co-workers (who would normally just catch you at your office desk if they had a question), so I tended to stay at my desk throughout the day. I also wasn't doing the daily 40 minute brisk walk to and from the bus stop. Despite saving a couple of hours each day not having to commute into work, I also ended up with less 'free' time at home as I tended to do more work in the evenings and on the weekends (as everything was set up to be able to work from home), and I had quite a lot more work to do. Given the job market during the pandemic it was hard to say no to additional work tasks, even it meant there was no way to get it all done in a standard 40-hours of work each week.

By December I had put back on most of the weight I'd managed to shed (just 6 kg less than my previous maximum weight), although I've managed to cut back on snacking and junk food for the past few weeks, and didn't overeat during Christmas. I did manage to complete a beginners Kendo course during 2020.

So, during 2021 my goal is to shed the excess weight (again) and actually continue on to achieve my 'ideal weight' (and lean mass). And start regular Kendo training once the Northern Beaches 'lock-down' ends. I'd also like to get back to weight training at the gym 2-3 times a week sometime in 2021, but that will have to wait until Covid-19 is back under control in Sydney (I had thought about starting to go to the gym again in early December, after more than a month of no locally acquired Covid-19 cases in NSW, but then the latest outbreak occurred on Dec 11-16).

2. Continue with my savings and investment plans

This was an easy win, as I automatically save a fixed amount of my pre-tax salary into superannuation (via SGL and salary sacrifice) and have a few $100/mo automatic transfers of after-tax salary into various online bank accounts and investment savings plans.

2021 had a lot more market volatility than I had been anticipating, but I reduced my leverage considerably after the GFC so wasn't too stressed when the market tanked in Feb/Mar. I hindsight I made the correct decision to go risk-off in our SMSF investments in late Feb as the Covid-19 outbreak had spread from China to Italy and was starting to have an impact around the world. Unlike many market crashes this one provided enough warning to allow assets to be reallocated.

We didn't manage to pick the market bottom though, as we were still a bit cautious when we took on some more risk in June. It didn't help that I managed to fill in the switching form incorrectly (I had intended to switch the Bond Index Fund into the High Growth Fund, but instead ticked the box for the Growth Fund). Overall we got through 2020 in good financial condition. DW decided to leave her full time job and retire when they wouldn't let her continue to work from home, but then changed her mind and got a local part-time casual position. She's applying for the odd local full-time position, but with the increase in unemployment due to the Covid-19 recession during Q1/Q2 there will be a lot of competition for jobs.

For 2021 I'll continue with my normal savings and investment plans, but I might shift some of the monthly savings into an investment bond rather than online savings accounts.

I don't have any specific investment performance or NW goals for 2021, as the markets will do whatever they want. Hopefully the real estate market will rise slightly during 2021 and the economic recovery will get underway and support the current stock market valuations. It would be very nice if my SMSF balance was 5-10% higher by the end of 2021.

3. Financial Planning qualifications and study

I had intended to complete the two specialist courses from IIT and the Advanced Diploma in Financial Planning during 2020, as well as progress with my Master of Financial Planning studies, but found that I kept putting off the ADFP and specialist units. I did complete the four MFP subjects I had planned for 2020, but only managed to get one Credit and three Distinctions so won't be on the Dean's List for 2021.

For 2021 I want to complete the ADFP and specialist units during Q1, as well as do one MFP subject, and then complete the remaining two MFP subjects during Q2 and Q4. Unfortunately the final subject I need to complete isn't on offer during Q3, so I'll be completing the Masters degree at the end of 2021, rather than in September, which will delay being able to apply to enroll in a PhD until the end of 2021. I need to get two Distinctions and one High Distinction in the three MFP subjects I do in 2021 in order to graduate 'with honours' (which is my goal).

4. Financial Planning business

Well, I still don't have ANY financial planning clients. I had planned on starting to cold-call a few local numbers each evening during 2020, but due to Covid-19 I put that plan on hold and only had a few enquiries that didn't result in any business. Overall I'm just glad that I'm doing this 'start-up' business as a side gig and am not paying rent on office space.

My 'plan' for 2020 is to get my first few paying clients - ideally a hand-full of clients that would provide sufficient revenue to at least cover the $15,000 pa in fees to stay registered as a financial planner.

5. Full-time job

I'm still at the same job I've had for over 20 years (although the original company was taken over by a multinational a few years ago), so I hope I keep my job during 2021. My 'plan' is to stay at this company until at least 2023 so I can arrange financing for the off-the-plan unit I purchases last year (due for completion in Q2 2023).

So, my goal for 2021 is simply to keep my job!

It will be interesting to review these goals next Christmas and see how things have gone during 2021.

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