January monthly progress review of my 2018 goals

I haven’t posted anything for the entire week, which was mainly a result of having an unbelievably busy week at work (2 social events) and my consulting side hustle landing a big project. However my saving grace is that I have drafted 3 blog posts so far. My speed to review, edit and publish seems to becoming the new bottleneck!

1/12 of the year (or 8.3%) has already passed us by. I’m going to perform a quick review of how it went versus the goals I set myself at the start of the year.

1. Pay rise – NO

Well this hasn’t yet materialised. I am due for my pay review later this month so I will find out.

2. Rent increase – YES

Done and dusted. Reached the £2500 per month target. Want to know how? Find out here.

3. Increase dividend income by £100 per month – NO

The stock market is overvalued by historical standard (as evidenced by the recent correction) therefore I held fire and only bought a small position in a high quality REIT. My plan is to hold more cash to top up my ISA (a tax free savings account) in April before deploying them in order to maximise the tax benefit.

4. Develop another source of income – YES!!!

This is a fun one. As some of you might know, I recently started as freelance management consultant on Upwork as a side hustle. I won 2 contracts in January with a net earning of $520 ($650 gross). This translates to £361 in today’s exchange rate.
So far in February I have already completed a $180 ($220 gross) contract with a further $1,700 ($2,000 gross) in the pipeline. Bizarrely someone sent me an unexplained offer of $400 for a mysterious pricing project and he has been silent since then. Unsure if I should take up on that!
Not bad for a starter! I will do a more thorough review on Upwork in due course.

5. Save £20,000 into ISA – YES

Well on track, fund is prepared, just waiting for Apr 4th (start of a new tax year) to come.

6. Save £800 into SIPP per month – SORT OF…

For those of you unfamiliar with Self Invested Personal Pension or SIPP, it’s a self saving retirement investment account in the U.K., similar to Roth IRA in the US. I will do a review of it shortly but the key benefit is that all incomes and capitals gains are tax exempt until withdrawal (even then, currently drawing down of the first 25% is tax-free) and each contribution will attract an automatic 20% tax credit in the form of account balance top up from the HMRC (IRS-equivalent in the UK) and depending on your tax situation, a further 20-25% tax refund is available at the end of each tax year that can be used with discretion.
My current contribution is £750 per month, however I received a handsome tax refund from the government in January 2018 from my contribution in last year, which I immediately pumped into my SIPP, creating a virtuous circle of more tax relief and refund for next year.
So at an aggregate level I have achieved the additional £600 per year (£50 per month) contribution. However I still plan to increase it once my pay rise has come through.

7. Have a baby – YES

WB40 Junior is currently living happily inside of Mrs WB40, waiting to come out at the end of May. So far so good.

8. Blog twice a week on WB40 – YES

I managed to write 15 blog posts in January, which exceeded the 8 posts per month target. This was entirely unintentional as my commuter train had been repeatedly delayed in January, leading to tons of idle times on the train, thus turning me into a writing machine! Hopefully my February commute can be slightly more on time.

9. Have a tropical holiday with my family – NO

No progress made, although I dream about it every morning when I’m out cycling in the British winter. Need to get cracking.

10. Do 2 office-station runs per week – NO

No progress made. Currently the weather is too cold and I’m already cycling 20 km per day. I will get started once it warms up in April and I no longer have to carry that much clothes (they don’t fit into my small running rucksack).

Wrap up

Not a bad month. Long may it continue! How are your 2018 goals progressing? Please comment away.