I hit a lot of milestones this year and really refined my investment knowledge. The biggest milestone has been creating a real-time accurate spreadsheet of my assets, net-worth and budget.
I had a lot of big things happen this year, 2 new vehicles a new mortgage and a boy due to arrive in the spring.
DH and I are in the rollover process. I set some goals at the beginning of the year and its funny how subconsciously a person is pushed to reach those goals. I had 3 simple goals, and I know because I take monthly snapshots of my XLS file which is priceless in tracking my performance. It's 20 tabs wide and I have invested hundreds of hours refining it. Tabs include things like accounts, kid, budget, positions, FIRECalc, household, rewards, Taxes, Donations, Projections and the most important, and complex but still somehow real-time as of EOD BALANCE SHEET.
My goals this year were simple:
1. Lower Expenses (I did this by consolidating and picking lower fee funds at VG).
2. Exposing Growth (I accomplished this by indulging in this forum and PM the members of it, and other finance and investing websites)
3. Grow my funds at least 5% (I am at 11% YTD)
4. Maintain and refine my Asset Allocation Strategy (I spent a lot of time understanding what a good MIX of assets would be )
My goals for 2015 are simple:
1.Beat the S&P 500 Index
2. DCA over 20% of NET Income
3. . Finish Rollover and further consolidate into Index and ETF Funds to simplify and lower expenses of overall portfolio @ VG
4. Maintain my aggressive yet risk averse AA
I have some bonus goals to complete and publish my personal investment ebook, start an investment club, open a 529 and complete a WILL since the kiddo is on the way. I already signed up for proper Employer Sponsored Life Insurance that only costs me about $500/year and would cover my funeral and mortgage(s).
I'm debating with the WILL, if I really do need an attorney, or if by clearly defining beneficiaries and assembling and completing the documentation and approvals myself I could save a bit of money. I need to do some more research on this.
Some reflections and thoughts and advice for perhaps others...
Before the year began I had no clue where what my Net Worth was, now I could teach you how to determine yours. The power of knowledge is amazing.
Low fees and index investing is how most of the people get rich the slow and steady way. By continually LBYM and increasing investment opportunity and maintaining a proper Asset Allocation during all market conditions you will realize some crazy compounding.
Don't be afraid to discuss investing...to those who want to or care to listen, for those who do not I wouldn't try to convince them otherwise. I watched a friend pay a front-loaded fee of 8% to move his money to one of those BoxStores, when he could have saved thousands moving to vanguard. I invited him to my investment club and he accused me of a ponzi scheme lol.
I saved thousands of dollars this year consolidating and moving to growth Index and ETF maintaining a desired Asset Allocation. It's fun to track my progress against the S&P. It's fun to watch the IPO's and the Big Dividend and Big Name companies. I am able to watch all of this real-time now using Google Finance which I recommend you guys checkout and setup watchlist and portfolios. I have portfolios setup for IPOs, DogOfDow, SmallCaps, MidCaps, LargeCaps, a WatchList, MyPositiions, etc. and its cool to see how everything turns up at the end of the day.
I record a sentence or two of the market sentiment and big news of the investing community for the day so that I can look back at my balance sheet for that day and see what was going on. This has some great benefits as you attach a historical element to your own personal investing.
My ebook will focus on technology and investing and how average joe like me is getting rich while utilizing the free tech tools we have available through the internet, hopefully that will help some folks. I invest in real estate and that has allowed me to spend a lot of money having fun while still building a nestegg.