Quick 2015 Mid-Year Review




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At the beginning of this year I set goals like I do every year. Except this year I decided to theme my goals as you will see below. It’s always a good idea to check in to see how you’re doing towards those goals. I encourage each and every one of you to run through the same process. In all honesty I should have probably been looking at these a bit more closely before now.

My 2015 Goals: Themed around Connection, Contribution, Vitality, & Serendipity.

  1. Get back into the best shape of my life at 187lbs with 8% body fat (my 2012 personal best). [Vitality]
  2. Start my MBA in the Fall of 2015 at my Alma Mater CSUF. [Contribution]
  3. Take 3 weeks’ worth of vacation with my wife & friends. [Connection]
  4. Make room for serendipity to do its thing. [Serendipity]
  5. Add an additional investment property to our portfolio towards the middle of the year. [Contribution]
  6. Pay additional principal payments towards our primary mortgage to stay on track for our 7-year pay off plan. That means increasing our payment by an additional $800/month in 2015. [Contribution
  7. Max out 401K with $18,000 (new limit in 2015). And contribute $5,500 to Wife’s IRA. [Contribution]
  8. Add $6,000 in 12-month CD’s to our portfolio through Navy Federal at a 3% interest rate. [Contribution]
  9. Add $69,000 to Net Worth in 2015. [Contribution]
  10. Publish 100K words on Blog [Contribution]

Goal #1 – 187lbs at 8% body fat >> hello abs, it’s been a while!

I have been seriously slacking on the fitness goal to get down to 187lbs at 8% body fat. This is all my fault and I could come up with 100 different excuses. However, the root of the problem is that I have not made it a priority. At the beginning of the year I weighed in at 221lbs at 17.5% body fat. As I write this on July 7th of 2015, I weighed in this morning at 212lbs with 14% body fat. Based on my goal to lose 34lbs, at the halfway point I should be down closer to 17lbs, but I am only down 9lbs. Still progress, but I know I can do better, especially since I have not really been working out on a regular basis.

In order to hit my goal I need to be averaging 2.83lbs of weight loss a month. Now that I am behind I am going to need to step up my game sin order to average 4lbs of weight loss a month. This is still more than doable at about 1lb a week. So today I am making a commitment to my readers that I will be down to 200lbs by the end of September.

Goal #2 – MBA

This was a goal that I struggled putting on my list, because frankly I really didn’t want to get my MBA. But somehow with the help of others I talked myself into making it a goal and even went as far as getting my company committed to pay for it. Then in late March I made the decision to not pursue my MBA, because it just didn’t interest me. I felt as if I was following someone else’s plan and not my own.

I also was not willing to give up the time I spend on this blog and other activities outside of work. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge proponent of education and a perpetual student. However, formal education is not always the best route.

So this goal is off the list and is one I am no longer pursuing.

Goal #3 – Take 3 weeks of vacation

This goal is certainly on track. The reason I set this goal is that I have a tendency to always be on and I tend to miss out on taking enough vacation to rejuvenate. Here are the trips I have taken already:

  • Vegas – In February we took a 3 day trip (remember the crap I got from the office time keeper). We stayed at the Wynn and had a blast. We are not really night club people, but we do enjoy the food. We also spent the day at the day spa, another one of our favorite things to do on vacation.
  • Lake Hemet – In May we finally used our camping gear for the first time on this 2 day trip.
  • Vegas (again) – In July we spent another 3 days in Vegas for the 4th of July weekend. We didn’t have plans and our timeshare was open, so we decided on a last minute trip (serendipity at its finest). We even had some friends join us last minute.
  • [Planned] California Coast – We are taking off on an 11 day road trip up the coast of California in August.
  • [Planned] House Boat @ Lake Mead – My wife’s family has a house boat at Lake Mead and we are planning a 3 day trip for Labor Day weekend in September.

If you add all that up, you will see that I already have 22 days’ worth of vacation lined up. We also might be spending another 4-7 days out at the house boat for Thanksgiving, but we are not solid on those plans just yet.

Goal #4 – Make room for Serendipity

I have definitely been open to some last minute and unexpected plans to come together. This is probably a bad goal because it is hard to measure.

Goal #5 – Additional Investment Property 

We have done a slight pivot on this goal. Instead of adding a single family home to our portfolio, we decided to gain exposure to commercial real estate through a REIT that is paying a 7.5% dividend. This particular REIT also has a 5 year exit plan with total returns of 12% (assuming dividend reinvestments).

Goal #6 – Pay additional payments towards principal towards our primary residence

2015 is year 1 of 7 in our accelerated plan to pay off the mortgage. In order to stay on track with the plan we have devised I set up an automatic payment that is sending $800/month extra to our mortgage company specifically to pay down principal.

Next year this number increases to $1,600. However, we are currently considering to just keep sending the additional $800/month to the mortgage company and banking the other $800 in a separate account. The last thing we want to do is get too much money tied up in our mortgage and not be able to access it in an emergency.

If we follow this path we will have to alter the way we report this goal. We will also need to decide whether we make periodic lump sum payments, or wait until we have the entire sum to finally put the mortgage to bed.

Nonetheless this mortgage is well on its way to the grave much faster than the 30 year life it was promised at origination.

Goal #7 – Max out retirement accounts

When I originally set this goal I was only planning to max out my 401K for $18K and start contributing to an IRA for my wife and max it out for $5,500 for the year. Doing this would had resulted in contributions of $23,500 for 2015. However, before we filed out 2014 taxes in April of 2015, we made the last minute decision to go ahead and max out her IRA for 2014 in order to reduce our tax bill.

All that to say that we are now on track to contribute a total of $29,000 this year. Besides the onetime lump sum contribution for 2014, our 401K and IRA contributions have been automated with monthly amounts that ensure we max out.

So this goal is on auto pilot for the remainder of the year.

Goal #8 – Add $6,000 to CD’s with our credit union

We happen to bank with Navy Federal Credit Union who happens to offer CD’s paying 3% with a 12-month duration. It is promotional so there is a limit of $3,000 per person. It was cash that was going to be sitting in our savings account anyways, and the rate was high enough to justify locking it up for 12 months.

Again this goal is on auto pilot for the remainder of the year. If they are still running this promotion when these mature, we will probably do the same thing again. But hopefully interest rates will have increased a bit to get a better rate. However that is looking unlikely with Greece and China at the moment.

Goal #9 – Increase net worth by at least $69,000 in 2015

As of our June Financial report we have realized a net worth increase of $38,949 for the year. This has been mostly through contributions alone as the markets find themselves flat on the year. At the rate we are going, we should have no problem hitting this goal.

With contributions alone we will add about $80,000. The only thing that could derail us is a serious decline in the stock market. But even then our risk is limited since we are sitting in so much cash right now.

Goal #10 – Publish 100K words on Gen Y Finance Guy

This seemed like a much bigger goal than I thought it would be when I set it. But we are half way through the year with 71 posts published as I write this review and the average post length is 1,500 words. That means to date we have already published 106,500 words.

However, I have gotten a little help from the Freedom Fighter interview series. To date we have published 7 such interviews accounting for 10,500 words. And Mr. CEO has also contributed two posts with another 3,000 words. That said, there is no way I don’t self-publish another 13,500 words in the next 6 months.


Overall, I am really happy with my progress at the half way check point. The only goal I need to focus on to get back on track is the fitness goal. I will probably check in again once the 3rd quarter is behind us to make sure I stick to my commitments I made to you and to myself.

How are you tracking to your 2015 goals? Is there anything that has changed since you set the goal? Sometimes things that we thought were important are not as important as we thought they were. Because of this we have to leave room in our goals to make pivots. No reason to pursue a goal that no longer matters to us.

 Gen Y Finance Guy

Gen Y Finance Guy

Hey, I’m Dom - the man behind the cartoon. You’ll notice that I sign off as "Gen Y Finance Guy" on all my posts, due to the fact that I write this blog anonymously (at least for now). I like to think of myself as the Chief Freedom Officer here of my little corner of the internet. In the real world, I’m a former 30-something C-Suite executive turned entrepreneur turned capital allocator. I am trying to humanize finance by sharing my own journey to Financial Freedom. I believe in total honesty and transparency. That is why before I ever started blogging, I decided that I would share all of my own financial stats. I do this not to brag, but instead to inspire motivate, and also to hold myself accountable. My goal is to be a beacon of hope, motivation, and inspiration, for you, the reader, by living life by example and sharing it all here on the blog. My sincere hope is that you will be able to learn from me - both from my successes and my failures! Read More



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25 Responses

  1. I understand the change on the MBA. Sometimes you hit a career path where it is not really needed (even when some people are convinced it is). I am glad I finished mine, but it was more of a stepping stone than a learning experience (many of the students were recent grads and had no work experience, so their input was nil).

    Automatic deductions are the way to go, that is for sure. We are on pace for a six figure net worth increase, mostly from adding to investments and eliminating mortgage/solar/car debt. It feels good to know that it will go up even if the markets go sideways or down a bit. I don’t keep nearly as much in cash as you do, but I think if we had a 20% correction, I would actually try to increase my stock investment.

    1. Vawt – If I do eventually decide to pursue the MBA, it will be in the executive or working professional program. The program I was looking at had a 5 yr industry experience requirement. Because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t stuck with a bunch of recent undergrads with no work experience. It’s not off the table for ever, but it is off the list for this year.

      I love automating as much as possible.

      Congrats on the 6-figure increase in net worth this year. Looking at our pace and somethings that I know are coming up over the next few months, I think we may achieve a 6-figure increase as well.

      I agree that a nice correction would make me feel more compelled to put more of my cash to work.


  2. Congrats on working towards your goals and it looks like you are on your way to getting most of them done!

    With regards to #2, have you read the book “The Personal MBA”? The author of the book advocates that MBA’s are a waste of time and while a person will increase their network and open more doors, if you are interested in learning business and finance from a managerial level, self-study is more efficient. In his book, he lays out the basics of business, finance, and human psychology. It has been very beneficial for me since I thought I would go for my MBA. Maybe I still will, but for now, this book has opened my eyes to business.

    Have a great day!

    1. Thanks for the comment Eric!

      I have actually heard of that book, and it might actually be on my Amazon wish list. I will have to double check and add it if it isn’t already there.


  3. GYFG, respecting your goals, as well as your systems! Scott Adams’ ‘How To Fail At Almost Everything, And Still Win Big’ has a significant section on this subject. Coupla three thoughts for your consideration…

    Goal#1 – is admirable, and NOW is the time to do this. It doesn’t get easier as the years go by (as a Boomer, I subscribe to the Soren Kierkegaard quote, “Life can only be understood backwards, but must be forward”) You have the time and motivation now, and the flexibility to adjust your diet, workout times, and durations.

    Goal#2 – my thought is you can approach this with a long view (a ‘slight edge’). It took me chipping away for five years to get my MBA; I’m glad I got it, and having somebody else pay for it is the best. Employers in your future will always consider it a plus. At one point it seemed like a questionable use of my time and the 20% of tuition my employer requested that I pay, and I wanted to stop. My father, who also attended a night program, but at a very prestigious school, encouraged me to stick with it. It did make a difference, and while it might seem that MBAs are a dime-a-dozen it shows people who don’t know you (on LinkedIn, resumes, professional groups, etc.) that you can do something hard, see it through to completion, and improve yourself after the semi-mandatory 4 years of university. If you aren’t feeling it, you don’t have to do it. But before you cross it off your list, consider moving it out a year (or more).

    Another alternative would be to pursue something like Toastmasters, where you can improve yourself and your speaking skills (potential employers always asked about this on my resume) and you can participate with a lot more flexibility than a formal MBA. Certification in Project Management, i.e. PMI is also a worthwhile possibility that is a transportable accomplishment.

    Loving the financial goals, you are really shining up the future for you and Mrs. GYFG! Continued success to you!

    1. Hey JayCeezy,

      Always excited to see a comment from you.

      The MBA is not off the table forever, but is off the goals list for this year. I have had some big changes take place that are going to change the course of my career in a good way.

      When/If I do circle back to an MBA, it will be more about what I want vs. what my boss was really trying to push on me.

      Looking forward to sharing the big news and changes in the next couple of weeks.

      Toastmasters sounds like a good thing to look into. My wife and I had joined a group in early 2014 and then moved when we bought our new house and never found a new group.


  4. This reminds me of a “discipline calendar” that me and a friend did earlier in the year. We each made a spreadsheet with 10 boxes per day (10 goals), and the person who had the most boxes checked at the end of the month had to buy the other person dinner.

    My life is so hectic right now I’m not able to have such a comprehensive goal plan at this time like you, but it’s nice to see somebody where I eventually want to be. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hey Simon – I like that “discipline calendar” idea. Most of my friends don’t really believe in setting goals, but I do have one that is as serious as I am that I might just propose something like this to invoke a little competition.


  5. Hey GYFG,

    Reviewing goals is a good habit. I plan to do this during our ongoing holiday.

    There is some progress you made on goal#1 I hope you find the time and motivation to pick it up and make sure you can complete that goal. Being in good body shape is worth really a lot.

    Goal#3: way to go…spending time with the people that you love and like is a must do. No matter what the office time keeper thinks. I really like to do this myself. I try to keep my weekends free for the wife and kids, and limit the time I spend on work and the blog to the times that I feel that it is appropriate

    Your financial goals look like they are well under control.

    Keep up the effort and 201 will be all ok

    1. Thanks AmberTree!

      Looking forward to reading your review if you post it on your blog.

      I am really stepping it up to high gear to make goal #1. I appreciate the extra accountability.


  6. Nice goals. From my observation, MBA’s from top 5 schools make financial sense if you want to go into investment banking or private equity. On the other hand, I’ve seen plenty of people get MBA’s because they don’t fit in the workforce well and do better in an academic setting.

    1. Thanks Nelson! I don’t plan to go into either investment banking or private equity, although the money would be AWESOME!

  7. Congrats on the great progress! Looks like 2015 is shaping up to be a great year for you.

    On an unrelated topic I saw a sponsored ad for your site on facebook today! Let us know how the advertising there turns out.

    Shortly after I saw an ad for Gocurrycracker on FB several months ago, Jeremy reported that their site had the highest volume of traffic they ever had.

    Keep up the great posts and good luck for the rest of 2015.

    1. Thanks Mike!

      Will keep everyone posted on my experiments. Planning a follow up post on the 1 year anniversary coming up in about 60 days (follow up on 6 month check in).


  8. GYFG,

    These goals are great, and congratulations on all of your progress! I definitely think the 3 weeks vacation and spent time to rejuvenate with your loved ones is key. Something a lot of us take for granted – paid vacation time! This year I decided not to do one list of goals at one time. In the past when I used to I found myself looking at the list, and getting frustrated if I didn’t accomplish them. Now, I set a goal or two here and there continuously throughout the year (like finding a new job & applying, completing my second half marathon, starting a blog, etc.). I also keep an achievement journal to write down things I unintentionally accomplished (kind of ties in with serendipity)! I’ve been really enjoying this approach so far. Although, keeping a list with new goals in a year definitely holds you accountable to reach them!

    1. Thanks Alyssa!

      I have been known to skimp out on vacation in the past. Or when I do take it, I have a hard time relaxing and turning “it” off if you know what I mean. I am always in production mode. But this year I have been making a real effort to not only take the time, but to also be present with my friends and family. It’s okay to take a breather every now and then.

      An achievement journal is BRILLIANT!!!

      Too often we forget to celebrate everything we have accomplished through out the year.


  9. MBAs are always tempting, especially when your company will pay. Every semester, I re-think the possibility, but I can never justify the opportunity cost. At the end of the day, I would rather just read the books.

    1. The MBA is off the table for this year, but the company is still willing to pay for it should I change my mind.

      For now I will just stick with the Constant And Never Ending Improvement that comes from self education.

      Jim Rohn used to say “a formal education will make you a living, but a self education will make you a fortune.”

      My undergraduate degree got me into the door, but it has been all the educational stuff I have done outside the office that has really allowed me to increase my value in the market place. Not saying that an MBA would not do that.

  10. Just an FYI, on the MBA. I completely agree. I’m in the same boat. I don’t want one but have been told by a friend “you’re just leaving money on the table!” I said nope, I’m not leaving any money on the table. I’m gaining my life back. That’s a huge time commitment for something that I don’t want to do long term!

    1. Props for taking a stand and not succumbing to peer pressure. Plus people forget that an MBA doesn’t come with guarantees.

  11. I’m back on the bandwagon with reading your articles man!
    Can say that I’m loving that you’ve smashed most of your goals here & hope that this continued for you in 2015..

    I’ll catch up one of these days too 😉 haha

    1. Hey Jef – Glad to see you back on. You are still only a year behind 🙂

      The good news is that you will soon hit a spot at the end of 2015 where I reduced my publication schedule from two posts a week to one post a week, that should help you catch up.


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