Thursday, February 5, 2015

Goals Update

Here is a progress report on some of the goals that I created for 2015.


Since I plan on reaching FI within four years I think that it would be good to lay out at least a basic framework of how the next 35 years might look. Even the best laid plans have flaws and need adjustments from time to time. Without a basic plan, success rates diminish so it I at least needed to put the FI ball in play. I think I came up with a conservative, attainable FI plan and will tweak it from time to time. This plan is not perfect, but it's a good start. As always any suggestions or recommendations are certainly welcomed.

Here is my FI Hybrid Model.

The Lending Club plan as I mentioned last month is a no go in Texas so I will look at some other ideas to diversify my income streams. I do qualify as an accredited investor, so that may open my options to some alternative investments. I still hope that Lending Club will become available to Texas residents sometime in the near future.

18K in forward passive income and 16k in passive income received is on track. I will continue to take it easy as I exhausted myself and my a lot capital last summer and fall chasing my 14.5k in forward income goal. It's too early to say, but I think my heavy investment in energy companies is going to work out pretty well. Once I make it past tax season, I will ramp up the purchases and hopefully the markets will provide some good opportunities.

Another financial goal I made some progress on last month was to improve the quality of companies I invest in going forward. I think my purchases in TD, CAT, and JNJ will help towards this goal. I plan to continue adding higher quality companies throughout this year. Also I sold my entire position in ARCP and replaced it with NOV.

Health Goals

My largest goals involve running and a lot of it. During the middle of last year, I reached a personal best of 6.2 miles or 10k. Shortly afterwards I suffered a high ankle sprain which sidelined me for two months and when I started running again in September, my right knee started to bother me. That has never happened before and while the pain disappears within a few days it comes back if I try to run over 3 miles.

Recently I decided to just keep running since the pain is more of a nuisance than an injury (so I think) and I felt my left knee starting to hurt. I'm pretty sure that this was caused my trying to compensate for my right knee. The following day both knees were really sore.

I plan on resting them a few weeks and then try a different running pattern. I am beginning to think running exclusively on the track is causing problems because of all of the turns that I have to make. This is just a hunch, but that is why I plan on running straightaways and on dreadmills in the future.

If I see no improvement with my knees, then no big deal. I will swim, bike, hike, or something else. What I won't do is do is give up on cardio as my blood pressure and lower standing heart rates are very important. Nothing can replace good health and of course that includes protecting my knees as well.

Turkey, tilapia, salmon, and a lot of green vegetables are being consumed regularly so without question my diet is improving.

Education goals

I read The Choice by Og Mandino which is about a man who gives up a great career in management for the opportunity to chase his passion for writing and spend more time with his family away from the chaos of the rate race.

Og also wrote an excellent book called The Greatest Salesman in the World which I have read many times and is an excellent book whether you are in sales or not.

I also read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham which is fantastic as well, but it is not casual reading. Also the copy I read had somewhat annoying commentary from Jason Zweig which I mostly ignored.

I found this website called Coursera which offers free online course covering a variety of subjects from many different colleges and universities. I am currently taking a course on Microeconomics and find it very interesting. There are music courses, computer courses, physics (puke), and many others. I will definitely look into taking a few more throughout the remainder of this year.

Fun goals

Unfortunately I haven't made much progress in this category, but I have reduced my work schedule from six days a week to five and a half. Today I left at 12:00 and spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching movies with my wife who was sick really she was sick not just playing hookie. :-)

Anyway the Horns baseball season starts in a week or so and I look forward to making the short drive from Houston to Austin to watch a weekend series soon. There is nothing like being outside watching or playing baseball in the spring.

Professional goals

Everything is going great at work and the team is kicking ass. We increased sales by 8% over last January and net profit rose by 28%. It feels great getting the year off to a good start primarily because January can be a tough month due to weather, taxes, and possibly some economic problems in Houston due to falling energy prices. I have seen no effects yet.

Overall I think I am off to a pretty good start and plan on reaching a few more goals by the end of this month.


  1. Looks like a pretty awesome start to the year MDP. Certainly a buzzkill about P2P lending, however as an accredited investor, you certainly have a world of opportunities available to you that the rest of us don't. You might check out some of the more prominent crowdfunding RE sites like Realty Mogul.

    I'm looking forward to the day I can "play" with some of the big dogs as I've had a few opportunities pass me by because of my non-accredited status.

    Of course, if you know anyone outside of Texas (family or something) that is in a state that allows P2P lending... you can always try and use that as your 'home address'.

    1. W2R,

      I'll have to check out Realty Mogul. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.


  2. Hey MDP. It's great to see you have laid out your plans. Once it's jotted down... We will hold you accountable my friend. :P
    Well, keep it up. Everything seems to be going rosy for you and I hope it stays that way. Life's too short. Have a good time and spend time with that lovely wife. If you don't date her someone else might... lol.

    Take care my friend.

    1. Hustler,

      I love accountability, that's why I write down my goals and let others know what I hope to accomplish! You are right about the date nights. I don't want her looking for a boyfriend!!! :-)


  3. Ya I was going to say the same thing on the lending. I can't imagine they verify that much? I'm in the same boat as a fellow Houston resident (need to get some beers soon).

    1. Adam,

      Thanks for stopping over. Hopefully LC changes their policies soon.


  4. Hi MDP,

    Great news on your sales team. I manage a sale team in the UK, and we're rocking this year too, it feels fantastic when the team are firing on all cylinders. The extra capital's always appreciated for additional investments. Sorry to hear about the lending club situation in Texas. DO you have any ideas on what you alternatives are at the moment?

    On the running front, have you tried running on grass? It made a big difference to a knee issue I had. I noticed that it started to come back when I did a lot of turns (like a track), and when the time under tension was around 25-30 mins and upwards. I kept running on grass and did sprints instead and it worked like a dream. The HIT made me feel better than a standard jog, and the workouts were much shorter and it didn't affect my knee.
    I also experimented with cycling, which to be honest is much better for your knees than running, but I don't find it as enjoyable as a form of exercise. I cycle to work everyday too, so I don't fancy jumping on a bike to exercise on top of that.

    It's nice to hear the financial goals are on track. I hope you have many more solid months!

    All the best

    1. Huw,

      It is a great feeling leading a team and even better when its a winning team! As far as running goes, I was thinking about running on the field instead of the track or maybe bike riding. I'll rest it for another week or so and then come up with a new exercise plan.


  5. MDP,
    Your goals are the most extensive set of goals Ive seen on the blogosphere...thanks for sharing them.
    Looks like you are well on track in achieving most of them and some hiccups on a couple.

    I love the courses on Coursera. I took one in 2013 on Accounting and learned a lot. I saw the one on microeconomics that you are talking about and wanted to sign up on it - its probably the most interesting one to me right now. I just need to find the time to do it. Work has been keeping me busy with long days stopping me to take on more education load - so, im hoping work will let up a bit after this month ends...and I can finally sign up for that course.

    ALso looking forward to see what you add as an additional income stream.....we dont have access to P2P markets here and I am exploring other ideas as well.

    Best wishes

    1. R2R,

      Thanks for the kind words. I have a lot of things that I wish to accomplish and experience so I will do my best to achieve all I can.

      Coursera is so cool and I never knew it existed. It appears that the lessons are pretty in depth and I look forward to some challenging subject matter. The best part is there are many different courses available.


  6. Your goals are great. Health is important to take are of. If your knees are hurting from running it's probably a good idea to back off or finding something else to do. Have you tried biking?

    1. Tawcan,

      Biking is climbing my list rapidly! I really like running because you can do it anywhere without an equipment. Biking is a bit more cumbersome especially when travelling.


  7. Good morning from the Netherlands,

    The last 12 months I read your blog at least two times a week.
    And Yes I read as a dutch citizen on your blog, the dutch ads., l.o.l.

    If I am well informed you are making long working hours.
    And what amazes me and everyone else is the amount of money you are able to invest in a week.

    You wrote us also on your blog that you have read : “The Intelligent Investor”;
    written by Benjamin Graham.

    Warren Buffett said: “ By far the best book on investing ever written”

    I bought that book 15 years ago and I have to say, you have to read that book more than 10 times to comprehend it.

    Please pay special attention to the invaluable advice in Chapters 8 and 20 you will not get a poor result from your investment.

    Please read those chapters 8 and 20 more than 10 times.
    It will open your investment mind extra.

    Oh I have a tip for you.
    Warren Buffett is by far the greatest value investor in the world today.
    He is already 84 years old .
    I hope he will be many years between us on earth, but time waits for nobody.
    Warren knows that.

    If i were you I would buy one Berkshire Hathaway share.
    The cheap one , I meant the stock : brk-b for $150

    Take two or three days off and attend the 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting.
    The meeting will happen on Saturday, May 2nd.

    I guarantee you you will never regret it.
    You will meet special people. And you will share thoughts and investment opinions.

    Jogging and hurting knees.

    I like running as well biking.
    Every year I am buying new sneakers.
    I go to a special running shop.
    I have to run on a treadmill with cameras.
    With help with the video analysis they can advice me better which running shoes I should buy.
    Nike or Adidas for example.

    I am not a doctor , but in the past I had an injury but with those cameras and with professional advice I do not have any injuries anymore.

    Your investment approach.

    I read those dividend blogger websites and I think there is too much focus on dividend income.
    Nothing wrong with dividends but also focus on Share repurchase or Stock buyback
    And last but not least put x% aside for life time opportunities.

    I bought many years ago the stock Nike.
    Today you are paying over 90 bucks.
    But, if Nike falls to 45 dollar I will buy extra Nike stocks.
    The same for Starbucks and other leaders.
    I buy only leaders and buy extra if the leaders are sold below its intrinsic value.
    Patience is the key for me.

    Your dividend income is WOW , but you could selling call options to earn extra income.

    If I were in your position I had opened an Interactive Brokers account.
    And I would use a little margin.
    I see it as running a real business.
    A Business uses also credits to operate efficiently.
    But, only using a little margin if the bull market starts and not in the current situation.
    We have already for many years a bull market.

    OK I like your blog and will keep reading it.

    Met vriendelijke groet,

    G T

    Nederland /Netherlands

    1. G T,

      Thanks for the comprehensive comment. Thanks for the heads up on chapters 8 and 20. I read the book fairly quickly and planned on rereading it more slowing and focusing on certain parts I found interesting.

      It would so cool to attend a Berkshire meeting. I noticed Jason from Dividend Mantra is planning on going this year for his honeymoon. That is a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

      I like your idea of biking and will probably get a bike fairly soon if my knees don't get better. Also I picked up a new DREADmill yesterday as my old one died on me. It had the ability to incline which I think could allow me to run less but get the same workout. Maybe that could help ease some of the stress off my knees.

      Nike is a great company and if it falls to $45 we might have some greater market problems. I will probably stay away from options and margin trading as that is too complex for what I am trying to accomplish.


  8. "I also read The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham which is fantastic as well, but it is not casual reading. Also the copy I read had somewhat annoying commentary from Jason Zweig which I mostly ignored."

    I am in the middle of re-reading the book and I really like the commentary from Jason Zweig. It is amazing to me that after 30 years there is still pretty recent applicability which Jason points out.

    Have you had a chance to ready The Snowball? It is amazing.

    1. Evan,

      I have read half of the Snowball and have thoroughly enjoyed reading about Buffet and Graham.

      Jason Zweig is ok I guess, but it seems like he is fixated on the 2000-2002 bear market and uses that time period in a lot of his examples. No doubt he is right about the valuations during that time period, but it is easy to look backwards to make assumptions about the future and try to use those results to justify an opinion about things. I wonder how he was investing during 1999-2002.


    2. "fixated on the 2000-2002 bear market and uses that time period in a lot of his examples"
      - But that is the best part for me! It shows that the shit that was being spewed in the past never really changes and you, as an intelligent investor, needs to see how this crap keeps repeating

    3. Evan,

      I do seem to remember GE trading around $60 in 2000. It's strange to think that while I'm sure EPS has grown significantly over the last 15 years, the stock price is still down over 50%. I think the late 60s through early 80s also had many companies that doubled or tripled EPS while watching multiples actually dropped 50% or more. If only it was 1982 again. :-)