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First Quarter 2018 Goals Update

Every quarter I’ll be reviewing how I’m doing against the goals I set for myself in 2018.

While originally thinking I would include this as part of my Net Worth Updates, looking through I’m realizing that these reports are already fairly long and adding to that might be excessive.

This way I can also go a little further in depth about what I’ve done and am doing to accomplish these goals.

After working over 60 hours these past 5 days (on top of my hour and a half daily commute) I’m exhausted and my brain is mush so this post is coming a bit early (and a few days past schedule) as I’ve found that writing about my life is much easier than other posts!

With only a week left, I’m thinking not too much should change, though the recent market fluctuations could move my Net Worth around by my official month end Net Worth Update.

Without further ado, here’s where I stand through the first quarter:

Financial Goals

Max out my 401k/HSA

While I’ve never maxed out my 401k and this is the first full year with my HSA, this goal is one I am determined to hit.

Right now I’m slightly behind on the 401k contributions, but am on track to max out the HSA.

With my annual company raise going into effect next month (which I am fortunate to have), the 401k contributions will automatically rise with it, and I will likely adjust my contributions a percentage or two higher to ensure I hit my target.

Status: On Track

Max out Roth IRA OR purchase a property

As of last months update, my cash reserves have been growing steadily. I’m currently at the point where I could easily make the full contribution to my Roth IRA and max that out.

This is the avenue I’m leaning towards at the moment, and may do as soon as next week (especially with the markets down as low as they are).

While I’m still very interested in owning a rental property, there’s just a lot more that I need to learn in order to be comfortable and make that a success.

I think I would benefit from waiting at least another year where I could spend more time reading and speaking directly with others who have done this before.

Status: On Track

Savings Rate of 45% (stretch 50%)

I’m proud to report that I’ve been crushing this one so far. With my YTD through February savings rate sitting at 58% it’s been a great start.

While I haven’t calculated out March yet since there’s still one week, I have to imagine I’ll be north of 50% for the third time in a row.

Even though it’ll be an expensive month, why do I have so much confidence? Simply put, it’s a 3 paycheck month for me! This happens twice a year, as my company pays bi-weekly, or 26 total times a year. (LOVE these months!)

We’ll see if I can keep the momentum going in the Spring, though I have a 10 day trip to Europe looming, which is bound to give me a lower savings rate in April, at the very least.

Status: On Track

Reach $115K Net Worth

Starting the year off around an $83K Net Worth, this seemed like a huge increase, but one I could do with at least an average return from the market.

Looking at Personal Capital, I’m sitting in the barely-$90K range right now, with my 3rd paycheck of the month still to come.

With the market down on the year so far, it may be tough to reach unless it rebounds. If I could find a way to generate more income, that may be able to help get me to this!

Status: Needs Work

Create a third source of income

With me likely punting the idea of buying a rental property to next year, this goal definitely became a bit harder.

I’ve had several ideas of ways to make money on the side, though most of them would require a lot of time and energy right now to succeed. I’ll need to re-evaluate going forward whether I want to take these ideas seriously, and get started on them.

In the meantime, I’ve entertained the thought of doing an easier side hustle on a smaller scale, a la Financial Panther’s reports, that wouldn’t bring in a ton of money, but would definitely be something.

Status: Needs Work

Personal Goals

Workout more consistently

This was one of those goals where I started off really well, then totally fell off the wagon.

Through about mid-February I was consistently going to the gym after work about 3 times per week.

Since then?

Not good. There’s been a couple weeks where I haven’t gone at all (like this last week) and the rest of them have been 1-2 times max.

Things have gotten super busy at work this past month. Since I’ve been working later hours, I’m tired by the end of the day and have no motivation to work out.

It’s definitely an excuse – I could always adjust my schedule to workout in the morning – but with running the blog and writing posts, everything is piling up and my bedtimes have been later to the point where I’ve been exhausted.

Bottom line, I need to make this more of a priority and not let the excuse of being busy get in the way of being healthy.

Status: Needs Work

Read more books (at least one per month)

This one’s also a fail. I’ve only made it through 1 ½ books so far. Perhaps I can finish the current one in the next week to make it 2!

What’s the deal? See “being busy” above.

It’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing, but a lot of the time I would be spending reading books, I’m reading other Personal Finance blogs. Everyone needs to hold off on all the great content!

Sometime in the next couple months I’m going to try an experiment where I don’t look at any electronics for an hour before bedtime. I’m hoping this helps me to unwind, while also getting me to read more and aid with a couple other of the below goals.

Status: Needs Work

Meditate, Yoga or stretch every day

This one has more or less been a success!

I’ve made it a point to at least stretch out before going to bed every day. There’s maybe been a couple where I haven’t, but they have been outliers.

Stretching and yoga can kind of be seen similarly, as flexibility is a huge part of yoga.

What I haven’t done much of is meditation. As noted above I hope to experiment more with this when I attempt that challenge in a future month (thinking May, since I’ll be in Europe for a third of April).

Status: On Track

Volunteer somewhere at least once a quarter

Also a success!

I volunteered with Wreaths Across America in January to help take down all the wreaths that were put up over the holidays at the Arlington National Cemetery.

I need to begin looking for more opportunities to volunteer, and maybe even find somewhere I can make it a recurring thing.

Status: On Track

Stress less

This one has been more of a mixed bag.

While overall, my stress levels have been around the same as they’ve always been, I’ve at least been more aware of it and taken actions to feel less stressed.

When I’ve felt stressed I’ve taken the time to really think about what’s causing the stress. Thinking about it in terms of whether this is something I can control or not has really helped.

There was also a personal health matter that popped up in the last couple weeks that really spiked my stress levels. The unknown of something health related was really tough to deal with.

While I received both good and bad news on that front, the bad news is at least something I can deal with. Though there’s nothing further I can do about it at this point, accepting that fact and moving on has lowered all stress related to it.

This also hasn’t even mentioned the stress of blogging and trying to ensure I’m consistently writing good, quality posts for you all!

Overall, going forward I think I’m in a good position to handle and deal with stress as it arises, so I’m giving myself an “On-Track” for this one 🙂

Status: On Track


Whew, this was a much longer post than I was anticipating!

Overall a mixed bag, with things I have done well, and others that clearly need work. It’s been a good experience to reflect on these so that I don’t lose track of the bigger picture!

Here’s to much more “On Tracks” the next time I have an update 🙂

How are your goals going through the first quarter of the year?

11 thoughts to “First Quarter 2018 Goals Update”

  1. Sounds like lots of good progress on a number of fronts:

    “I’m currently at the point where I could easily make the full contribution to my Roth IRA and max that out.”
    >If you’re planning on maxing out the Roth IRA, is there a reason why you haven’t put the funds into the market now? Are you timing to see if markets fall further or do you want to leave the door open to explore rental property purchase for just a bit longer?

    “I think I would benefit from waiting at least another year where I could spend more time reading and speaking directly with others who have done this before.”
    >I think Bigger Pockets (particularly their podcast) is a really good resource for learning about US property investing. Personally, one other thing which has been helpful for my property investing knowledge is attending a property meetup in person. If there’s one in your area that can be a good way to learn about what other people are doing in this area.

    “Things have gotten super busy at work this past month. Since I’ve been working later hours, I’m tired by the end of the day and have no motivation to work out.”
    >I’ve always been a fan of morning workouts for precisely this reason. I guess that I’m a ‘morning person’ now after all these years of getting up early. But I prefer to get my workout in during the morning and arrive at the office feeling like I’ve achieved something instead of shuffiling across to the gym after a bruising day at work. My thinking was that it’s easier to build fitness in the 20s and maintain it going into the next decade rather than waking up one day realising my body is in a bad way and then having to undertake a painful transformation programme.

    “Sometime in the next couple months I’m going to try an experiment where I don’t look at any electronics for an hour before bedtime.”
    >I’ve been trying and failing with a 30 minute moratorium on electronic devices for some time now. I think that the blue light that many phones / laptops emit can disrupt sleep but for digital natives this is a difficult area to adjust behaviour!

    “Stretching and yoga can kind of be seen similarly, as flexibility is a huge part of yoga.”
    >I bundle this with the morning workout. Always stretch immediately afterwards. Don’t want to hit the later years in life and realise I’ve got zero flexibility left because I forgot to stretch…

    Stress less
    >Work in progress for many of us. If you find something that works well please let the readership know – we can trade stress busing tips 🙂


    1. Thanks for the comment HH!

      I think in the back of my mind I’ve wanted to keep the option open for the rental, but I’ve really already made up my mind so I just need to transfer those over! I think I will do that today 🙂 I’ll start listening to Bigger Pockets to help out with the learning!

      I used to do morning workouts in college (for football) and thinking about this post all weekend, I’m going to start that back up tomorrow (Monday). Something needs to change and I figure it can’t hurt to try going back to this to get me back on track!

      The no electronics will be tough! And yes absolutely I’ll let you know if I find something that really helps dealing with the stress 🙂

  2. Nice progress, sorry about the 60 hr. weeks, that’s not fun. I would be careful setting net worth goals simply because of all of these goals it’s the one that’s not fully in your control. You could save more than ever one month and have your net worth go down because the market goes down.

    And a 58% savings rate is killing it!

    1. Thanks! That is a great point, I think this will be the first and only year I have a Net Worth goal for exactly this point. It’ll be fun to track, but there’s so much that’s out of my control which makes that difficult and doesn’t make sense.

  3. This post is a great idea, it will help keep you on track! Glad to hear the mostly positive news.

    I will have an interesting April coming up! In the process of getting a mortgage for a vacation condo in another state. The amount of paperwork is insane!! I’m looking at it as an investment with an eye on maybe moving to that area someday. I feel I’ve locked in a good rate and am comfortable with the payment. While this is not necessarily a rental property (it may be from time to time, who knows?), I would agree with your thought process. Max out your Roth IRA first and then study up on the rental property process and all that is involved in owning the place. I admittedly don’t know it all but am thankful I have trusted people guiding me through the process that I’m going through with the condo.

    On top of that, I did my taxes yesterday and got the nasty news of roughly a $2K combined tax bill between the federal and state. 🙄 Nothing like getting penalized for capital gains in the market and getting bumped into a higher marginal tax bracket as a result….. Then I have my car insurance 6 month payment due in April. Ahh!!

    I’m thrilled with my savings rate right now but that will be changing in April. Going to be a tough month but if it’s one out of 12 and the other 11 are good, I won’t be so disappointed. That’s life.

    I also need to look into an additional source of income but I’ll have to balance that with the time commitment. I don’t want to spend most of my waking hours working. This will have to be something I really enjoy in order to make it worth it for me.

    Personally, I’ve been staying on top of my fitness goals going to the gym 3-4 times a week after work and one or both weekend days. My routine of late has been strength training on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday (one of those three nights off) and pickup basketball (for fun and cardio) on multiple days between Thursday and Sunday (usually two or three). I have never been a morning person (I sleep as late as possible every day, haha) so I go after work or in the afternoons on the weekend. There are days though where I have to push myself to get motivated after a long day or just feeling tired in general. It’s hard sometimes but I do think I can push through it more often than not.

    Hoping your health issue is not serious and that you’ll bounce back. Best wishes!

    1. Wow that’s awesome! Congrats on the getting that and best wishes there’s no issues with closing. Maybe that will be me next year!

      Tough news on the tax bill… that’s definitely no fun. Exactly though, one bad month doesn’t define the year, it’s all about the consistency and how it averages out over the entire year.

      Nice work on the fitness goals! I’m not a big morning person either but I’m gonna give the morning workouts a try this next week to see if it helps me to gain some consistency.

      Appreciate the thoughts! 🙂

  4. I see this post is already outdated (😉) as you just maxed out your Roth IRA! Congratulations, that’s seriously awesome, and something I’m hoping I’ll be able to do this year.

    It’s frustrating how difficult finding side hustle opportunities that’ll work for you actually is. It took me MONTHS before I found my second job (and could therefore let some of my other ideas keep percolating. Maybe in some mythical future when I have more time and energy haha).

    Volunteering is awesome and something I seriously need to add to my rotation. So is stretching at all regularly! I’m also failing at the reading more books, and even, lately, at working out consistently. Maybe next month or quarter, whoops!

    Here’s hoping for a less stressful Q2! 🙂

    1. True and thank you! Writing this inspired me to just get it done this weekend 🙂

      I hear you on the side hustles! I just keep hoping like magically a perfect opportunity will come up for me 😂

      Sounds like we both have a few things to work on though 😉 and less stress sounds good to me!!

  5. Really convenient that the three paycheck month lands on an expensive month for both of us! Feels like cheating to hit 50%, because we certainly wouldn’t otherwise. I actually ran three times this week for the first time in who knows how long.

    1. Haha totally cheating, but I’ll take it! Nice work on the physical activity! As my work gym is closed for repairs this week I’ll be really focusing on getting back into it next week!

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