Wednesday, January 2, 2008

December update; 2007 in review

Happy New Year! The holidays are over, and we've all rung in 2008, so it's time for my month-end review.

First off, here's how I did with my December goals:
  • Grow my Emergency Fund to $1,160 - I made this goal almost without going above my $25 bi-weekly contributions, but with a small top-up, I ended December with $1,162.96 (including accrued interest). I deliberately set this goal at just above my auto-pilot amount, because of the financial strain of the holidays.

  • Reduce my revolving debt to $23,400 - Once again, I set this as an easily attainable goal, essentially saying "don't get derailed by Christmas". When all is said and done, my revolving debt finished the month at $23,397.71, which makes this my first cash-only Christmas in a long time. That feels pretty good.

  • Blog 25 times in December - Now we move onto the less rosy side of my December goals. I only managed to blog 17 times. I could offer up excuses, but it all boils down to this: I got distracted by the holidays, and by the year-end crunch at work, and I wasn't able to focus as much on my blogging as I would like. The lesson here is to identify busy periods in advance, and plan for them. One option would be to "stockpile" posts, so that when I hit a crazy patch, I can publish my already-written drafts. I'll have to figure this one out.

  • Finish my review of Getting Things Done - As with the 25-post goal, I totally dropped the ball here. No progress on the review. I'm not getting this thing done as well as I'd hoped.

  • Continue to blog once per week about productivity - I've said it all by this point; I didn't manage to write about productivity at all.
December ended up looking a lot like September, in that I met my financial goals, and completely missed the mark on my blogging goals. It's understandable that my first Christmas as a blogger took me by surprise, but I should still try to learn what I can from this, and do better next time. I think the issue is that I put so much emphasis on avoiding new debt from holiday shopping, that I lost focus on the other aspects of keeping the blog running. It was probably unrealistic to expect myself to meet these three goals this month, but that makes a nice challenge for next December. We'll see how I do.

Now, on to my month-end update:

Online Savings - $2,001.63
Self-Directed RSP - $39,630.67
Employer Group RSP - $2,363.00

Credit Cards - $3,573.29
Line of Credit - $19,824.42
Student Loans - $30,098.68

Net Investable Assets: ($9,501.09)
Net Liquid Assets: ($51,494.76)

My liquid savings took a hit, due to holiday shopping. Disappointing market performance meant that my retirement investments grew only marginally. Combined with debt reduction, my net investable and net liquid assets increased by $1,375.27 and $1,036.04, respectively. My NetworthIQ profile has also been updated (including loose cash, home, car and mortgage).

2007 in review

My progress during 2007 has been pretty well documented in a slew of six month updates, so I just have a few milestones to note for my "year" in review (May 1-December 31):
  • My utilization rate on my credit cards and line of credit has gone from 53% to 42%. This is mostly due to debt reduction, although a recent limit increase on my primary MasterCard also helped.

  • We've paid off $4,571 in mortgage principal (plus the remaining $1,472 of our CMHC premium), and $3,589 in student loans. This is all due to our automatic bi-weekly payments, with no lump-sum prepayments.

  • I've increased my retirement savings by $5,906, through a combination of regular contributions and market growth. These savings are now mostly in the form of low-cost index funds, with a small position in my employer's stock.

  • My net worth has increased by $21,234 (254%), while my net investable and net liquid assets have increased by $15,190 (62%) and $9,283 (15%), respectively.

  • I've made a small amount of income from a paid advertisement. While monetization is not my primary goal with Loonies And Sense, it's nice to see some actual dollars generated by my efforts.


Starting this month, I've decided to set out my monthly goals in a separate post, rather than as part of the month-end update. This will make it easier to refer back to them as I update my progress. Look for my goals for the month of January, and for all of 2008, later this morning.

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