Hello! I’m back from hols and feeling refreshed and focused today as I write my review of how I did in 2015 and what I’d like to achieve during the coming year!
I wanted to take a little time to think about what I really want to push for during 2016 because last year, I didn’t meet all the targets I set for myself. Some were a bit optimistic I think…
Below is an outline of my 2015 personal goals and how I did:
1. Set up some kind of regular savings for retirement – PASS(ISH)
I did set up a meeting with a financial adviser as planned and I did try to research UK pensions in an attempt to figure out what would be the best way for me to save with me being self-employed. I just haven’t actually taken the plunge and invested yet although I do have the money set aside in savings.
I just don’t want to have to pay the financial adviser a fee for setting a pension up. (The cost is equivalent to the first year’s pension contributions – I have no idea whether that’s normal?) But I’m still not that clued up on doing it myself hence why I’ve hit a roadblock with this.
My husband has his own business and is now required to offer pensions to all employees, so when this happens in the next few months, we are anticipating that he will pay into his own workplace pension instead of setting up a private pension like I will need to.
We did decide that our rental property would not form part of our retirement plans and have been trying to sell it since June!
2. Invest £1000 – FAIL
I just couldn’t bring myself to take £1000 from the house deposit fund to do this. I know that I really need to start somewhere, but currently my savings are earning 3% APR in the bank. That probably doesn’t sound like much, but here in the UK where interest rates are at an all-time low, it’s not bad when it comes to savings. And of course, unlike investing, there’s no risk involved.
3. Save £50,000 for a house deposit by November 2017 – ON TRACK
Technically we should have saved £16,666 by December 2015 to be on track, however we hit some big financial problems with our rental property and we needed to pay off some family debt from years ago, so our savings account was basically emptied at one point.
With that said, we’ve been busy saving almost everything that I earn, since we can now live off my husband’s wages. Our savings pot is now back up to around £14K and I’m optimistic that we will achieve our goal of £50K by November 2017, especially if we can sell our rental property (former home). With any luck, we could get £10K from the proceeds.
4. Lose 10lbs and get fit – FAIL
I have to admit that the situation when it comes to this goal has become marginally worse than last year. I think I’ve put on another two pounds. Not happy! I failed because I didn’t put the effort in and forgot about how much I wanted to do this.
5. Increase passive income to £1000 per month – FAIL
The main reason for this fail is down to lack of time. My freelancing career has really taken off and I’ve been so busy in this respect that I haven’t had time to focus on passive income streams. I want to earn more money passively, but at the same time, I need to focus on paid work too. It’s a tricky one!
6. De-clutter my home – PASS(ISH)
I have made a good start on this – we definitely have less clutter than last year. But this is a major operation and it’s taking a bit of time.
7. Keep on track with my self-employed accounts – PASS
Yes, I finally got an accountant so I’m not worrying about my tax return anymore. I’m keeping my accounts up to date and have a few working spreadsheets to keep track of invoicing and expenses too!
So, in a nutshell, I did fail at some of these goals, unlike my blogger buddy Mel who did brilliantly with all of hers! If there’s one lesson I will take from seeing Mel succeed, it’s the fact that she holds herself accountable to her goals every single month. Checking progress is super important!
Personal goals for 2016
This year, I want to keep my goals really simple. I may have more chance of succeeding in this case! So I’ve decided to fit my goals into three areas of my life where I want to make improvements – financial, personal happiness and health.
1. Financial – increase my self-employed income by 50% this year compared to last year
In terms of my self-employed income, I’m thinking about all avenues of income here – freelancing, blogging, passive income and any other stream.
From January to December 2015, I earned approx. £15.5K ($22K) before tax. 2015 marked the start of my freelancing career and the first six month’s earnings were quite low. Now things are going well (at the minute anyway), so I’m hopeful I can achieve this realistic income target of £23,250 ($34K) in my second year of freelancing.
If I can increase my income, I’ll have a good chance of achieving the house deposit savings goal and making sure I can set enough aside for retirement. I already work full time (more than full time really I guess), so with that said I need to work smarter not harder and increase my fee (again) for new clients. If I can achieve this, I will also need to look at dropping lower paying clients so that I’m not working myself into the ground.
2. Personal happiness – do more things I enjoy
I feel like I’ve been worrying about getting out of debt for so long – and then making sure we have enough money to survive and achieve our other financial goals to make up for lost time – that this financial focus has taken over my life in some ways.
I’ve sort of forgotten how to do stuff that I enjoy! I know that sounds crazy but honestly, the pressure of that massive debt we used to have has been stifling and getting ourselves into a better position financially has been all-consuming mentally. We’re forever thinking of ways we can do better, to earn more money, to spend less but at what cost mentally and emotionally?
I’m not trying to contradict my financial goal above but I want to be happy too and so I’m going to try to take more time off to do more things that I like (working smarter not harder). I’m a crafter at heart and I love reading but I haven’t done any of these things for ages. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a fiction book and read it for the pure simple pleasure of reading rather than trying to learn something new.
So my goal here is to read one fiction book per month and spend at least one hour per week on a passion project, craft related or other. In addition, I want to take more time off and try to take a couple of low cost mini breaks throughout the year. Hopefully this won’t be just wishful thinking!
3. Improve overall health and fitness
This is something that I really need to work hard at. I work at my desk every day and although I walk my dog a couple of times a day, it’s not enough to get me into shape, especially now that I’m the wrong side of 35. I need to stop snacking on rubbish, eat more healthily and do more exercise.
And although I personally think the government’s new guidelines on how much alcohol we should (or shouldn’t) be consuming is a bit too stringent, I realise that I need to cut back there too. I’ve gotten back into my old habits of having a glass (or two) of wine most evenings to relax.
So the plan is to be more aware of what I’m eating, spend less money on wine and more on fresh fruit and veg. I’ll try to do some form of exercise 3 times per week. I have a bike and I just need to find time to go out on it!
With all of my goals, I actually need to take some time to reflect on them throughout the year to make sure that I’m on track and also to make sure that I’m still achieving what I really want to achieve! As that may change too!
What are your goals for 2016? Are any of them financial or mostly personal?