Wednesday 29 December 2021

New Year resolutions for 2022

I must admit I don't really make 'resolutions' (as in I'm definitely going to keep them), but instead I tend to make 'to do' lists of things I would like to achieve (and that are theoretically achievable, even if some of them are challenging). I don't beat myself up (too much) if I don't achieve all of them, but then again I'm not the sort of person who feels any great sense of achievement/joy even if I do 'tick off' everything on my list. So my annual new year's resolutions are simply my 'high level' to do list. Hopefully I can tick most of these off at the end of 2022.

For 2022 my 'resolutions' are:

1. Keep working in my full-time job (i.e. hope that I don't get retrenched). If I keep working full-time for the next seven or so years I should have hit the transfer balance cap in superannuation, plus have some additional super left sitting in 'accumulation phase'. This should be enough to provide more than 100% replacement of my current 'take home' pay on an indefinite basis.

2. Complete my margin lending and SMSF specialist courses from Kaplan I recently enrolled in (I had previously enrolled in similar course (now no longer available) from IIT, but never got around to completing them - which was really annoying as I had done all the assignments and just had to prep and record a final 'role play' video to finish them off).

3. Work on my PhD research/training (if I'm accepted and can enrol at the start of 2022).

4. Complete the courses required for CFP and CFA certifications (I will get 'credit' for most of the required courses from completing the Master of Financial Planning degree, so should only have to do one course for each of these certifications, plus revise and do the requisite examinations). This is sort of a stretch goal, as I may do one or both of these in 2023 if I'm too busy with the PhD.

5. Get some paying clients for my financial planning business. I have one 'warm' prospect that I'll need to follow up in the new year, but aside from that I'll need to do some 'cold calling' of phone numbers in local suburbs to try and line up a few free introductory meetings with prospects each week. Paid adverts, letter box drops, and my business website have resulted in only a couple of prospects getting in touch over the past two years, so I need to be a lot more proactive about marketing. If I end up with a handful of clients by the end of 2022 I'll be happy.

6. Continue with my regular savings plans into various investments (an investment bond, gold and silver 'depository' account, and superannuation salary sacrifice). I'll probably stop making regular payments into online savings accounts, as it makes no sense to add to low interest savings accounts when I am drawing down on my portfolio loan each month to fund my fixed business expenses. Closing some small savings accounts will also simplify my monthly NW calculation and annual tax  return calculations.

7. Lose excess weight and do more exercise. Yes, this is the same 'resolution' I have made each year for the past couple of decades. Doesn't hurt to keep trying. I know what to do (and not do), I just actually have to stick with 'the plan' each day.

8. Waste less time on computer games and  TV/streaming. Mostly this is just procrastinating when I don't feel like doing items 1-8 above ;)

There are a few other things I'd like to accomplish in 2022 (some hobby and household projects that have been on my 'to do' list for a long time, getting my lean six sigma 'black belt' certification done at work, finishing some landscaping tasks at the lake house and arranging for an extension to be built there once my parents have moved there), but I have no idea which (if any) of them might come to fruition in the next twelve months.

I don't have any specific financial goals for 2022 though, as my budget is pretty fixed and regular savings occur automatically (If I eliminate some of the monthly automatic transfers into online savings accounts I'll simply switch those transfers to my business account and reduce the monthly draw-down on my home equity loan by the same amount). Most of my investments are in index funds, so where I end up in twelve months financially depends mostly on how the markets perform.


So, how did I go with the 'resolutions' I had recorded for 2021?: I actually made a post about this last year, so I can check off how things turned out:

1. Lose weight and get fit (exercise and weight training): nope, didn't happen. If anything I've put on a bit of weight and am less fit than I was a year ago (and a year older!).

2. Continue with my savings and investment plans: Tick. I hadn't set specific targets, but had hoped that real estate might 'rise slightly' during 2021, and my super balance end up by 5-10%. So far real estate (our house valuation) has increased by 33.4% and my superannuation balance increased by 17.9% over the past year. Last time things looked this good was back in 2007, and we all know how 2008 turned out...

3. Financial Planning qualifications and study. 50:50 - I finished my masters and got the overall GPA I wanted, but didn't do any of the IIT courses I was enrolled in (ADFP, or the ML or SMSF specialist short courses). Overall I completed the important goal and let the secondary goals slide, which is better than the alternative. I probably could have completed the ADFP and ML and SMSF courses as well, but I was quite busy at work and didn't feel like doing more than my masters courses in the evenings and weekends (instead I binge watched five seasons of The Expanse, Andromeda and watched a whole lot of movies I can't even remember....)

4. Financial Planning business. Big Fat Zero. Zilch. Nada clients. I do have one warm prospect that *might* decide to get an SOA done when she 'downsizes' from her current home into an apartment, but I need to work on having a 'pipeline' of prospects in 2022. I like to think this was at least partially due to Covid-19 lockdowns etc. But I didn't make a single 'cold call' in 2021 even when lock-downs weren't in place.

5. Full-time job, Tick. Still have the same job. Was very busy (lots of unpaid 'overtime' working from home in the evenings and weekends) but that is better than things being 'quiet' and worrying about being laid off in the short term. Working from home was quite enjoyable (saved about three hours each day not having to commute), but it looks like we'll be back in the office for 2 or 3 days each week by the end of Q1 2022.

Overall my financial and educational goals for 2021 were met, but my personal and business goals weren't. Hopefully I can do better in 2022.

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Cem said...

I would say finishing your studies was a massive win. Congrats!

I can relate to the weight/health items as since 2020 and Covid, that has been a real struggle for me. This year will be the year :)

I think you are doing great mate. I have read pretty much every post you have and I think you have a sound strategy both for financial and other aspects of your life.

Don't give up on the health resolution, as without our health, we have nothing. said...

Thanks for the kind comments.

Yes, I really want to get my BMI down to around 24 and be a bit more active even while working from home. I've always had a "goal" to live to 127 (which is about the limit of natural human longevity) with a 'stretch goal' of achieving immortality ;) , but unless I lose weight and improve my fitness I won't even live into my 90s like my parents and paternal grandparents, let alone pass 100 like my great-grand-Aunt. Having 'good genetics' doesn't help if you are obese and sedentary ;(

Always important to remember that 'longevity risk' is not just about running out of retirement savings before you die, but also the risk that you might die a lot sooner than you hope/expect.