2009 Goal Planning

Well so far it’s looking unlikely that I’ll meet my 2008 goal as I’ve previously mentioned.  So in light of that and the poor market performance I find myself a little unsure how to make some goals for next year.

It occurs to me trying to set a net worth goal is likely doomed to fail.  There is too much volatility in the stock market and even the local real estate market for me to pick a number or % increase that will have any meaning.  So with that metric out of the window I’m trying to come up with a new one.

My current thinking is I will likely focus on building up our TFSA and our taxable investment accounts in light of some of the good deals to be found on some companies stocks right now.  Yes I’m aware I might get sucked into a few value traps if I do this, but that is part of the risk of buying low.  The issue of doing this is the market value of these purchases might decrease further so using anything around the market value of them as a metric would be useless.

So instead I think I’m going to run with a single goal in 2009.  The goal would focus on extra income from distributions and dividends rather than net worth.  Also to reflect the uncertainty going forward I’m going to use a range of values instead of a single number. So far I’m thinking the goal would be: To increase the pre-tax investment income from distributions and dividends coming into my household (less any interest from my HELOC to buy investments) by $750 to $1000 per year by Dec. 31, 2009.

So what do you think?  Is that a reasonable goal for 2009?  Have you thought about what you are going to do next year?

11 thoughts on “2009 Goal Planning”

  1. Unless you’re a day trader, setting yearly goals based on the performance of long-term investments is just a wish. Most of my goals this year had to do with income; focusing on investment income would be one way to go about it, but will this goal encourage you to do things that go against you long-term plan? Maybe it would be better to set a goal for the amount you invest.

  2. I haven’t starting 2009 planning, but I know already that we’re going to have to pay the piper for blowing some budget categories this year. My wife is now fully on board for using a cash budget for food & consumables so I think that will help a lot going forward. Maybe next year I can convince her to do the same for leisure & clothing!

    I had a similar conclusion to Richard, why not set the goal for the one aspect of investing that you actually have control over: the amount of new money you put into your investments.

    The markets are down, so use your amazing thrift and budgeting skills to scrape together even more.

  3. I see your rationale given the market decline, but what if Cdn blue chips start cutting dividends to bring down their yields and preserve owners equity? Will you adjust to account for that?

  4. I tend to set my goals on contributions / debt reduction I can control

    For example, every year is fully fund RRSP, fully fund TSFA (already done thanks to INGDirects offer!), reduce mortgage principle to $xx,xxx, contribute $xx,xxx to non-registered investment accounts etc.

    I will throw a “increase networth by %” at then very end, but its not critical

  5. Thanks for talking about goals today, it makes me want to start evaluating where I am going in 2009.

    I agree with you about the trouble with setting short term goals that rely on markets. That being said, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with doing this longer term. For example I’ve set a portfolio value goal of $175,000 by February of 2014. I set the goal in late 2007. This way I figure that the goal is a little less dependent on the markets especially since I’m not only relying on market growth and dividends but on our ability to save well.

    I agree with all of the above comments.

  6. Another one bites the wall of volatility. Indeed it’s fun to see when people say they increased their net worth by 15% thanks to their contributions, etc. At some point contributions contribute very little on a monthly based compared to volatility. Later they don’t even contribute much on an annual basis. Investment returns become more and more important compared to salary, etc. and so it goes.

    A thousand buck increase in dividend income is reasonable. I’m not a fan of metrics though. It’s too tempting to cut corners to meet them and metrics are usually not the best thing to optimize because they don’t capture the entire picture.

  7. Everyone,

    Excellent comments. I agree that even my initial idea for a goal has more holes in it than I originally guessed at. I suppose I’ll have to think about this a bit more and come up with something that provides direction and at the same time as proving some meaning to me as I track towards the goal.


    Excellent point that gets over looked. As time goes on these goals start falling prey to the law of diminishing returns. What you put in has less and less to do with it, but rather your investment return. Not to mention in the beginning a 15% increase to your net worth is easy (if you only have $2000 net worth), but as time goes on even 5% can be hard to do ($500,000 net worth).

    I also agree metrics can be a two edge sword. You have to make sure its cutting the right way.

    I suspect I won’t decide on exactly what I’m going until I get my first pay statement from the new job about Dec. 15. Then I’ll know what’s possible for next year.

    Thanks everyone,

  8. To be honest 2008 was the first year that I actually followed through with all of my financial goals. Previous years I merely stated a few goals I hoped to attain. In 2008 for the first time I actually made an outlined plan with specific milestones and now that I look back I am pretty content. I have lost a little bit of money in my stock investments but I am glad that I have been on top of paying off my tuition fees (which we all know are very high).

  9. Hi CD: Maybe you could think about starting up a group challenge for you and you readers in 2009. I’ve developed an online site: http://www.goalhunter.com

    You can coach and track your readers along to something successful.

    By the way, I am shot like you for any hope of coming to my goals this year. I was going to quit my job within 2 years, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that the amount I lost from my investments means my entire working pay this year was wiped out. I don’t know what that means, but it isn’t motivating!

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