Goals for 2018

For once, I’m gonna try to set clear goals for this year! I’ve set up a nice spreadsheet for my goals for this year (credits to retirebyforty for the spreadsheets idea):

I’ve tried to not see goals that are too high but still strive for better than this year. This is my first attempt at setting yearly goals, so maybe I’ll add new goals during the year, but I’ll not remove any goal nor downsize any goal.

Financial goals

The first goals and probably most important goals are the financial goals.

  1. Save 10’000 CHF: This was already my goal last year but I failed. This a really important goal for this year but I don’t know if it will be possible since I’ll have some big expenses planned.
  2. Monthly expense < 4500 CHF: I want my average monthly expenses to be below 4500 CHF this year. Again, given some very large expenses that are planned this year, I don’t think this is possible, but I’ll strive for it anyway.
  3. Max out my 3rd pillar (3000 CHF): Since I have a 3b life insurance, I can invest only 3000 CHF in my 3rd pillar directly, but this is something really important. I don’t think this will be an issue. I already did it last year.
  4. Dividend Income 500 CHF: I’d like my dividends to give me 500 CHF this year. I think it’s pretty doable with my new portfolio, especially if I’m able to save enough money to contribute to it.
  5. Add 5% EUR Bonds to the portfolio: I plan to change a bit my portfolio in order to add 5% bonds from the euro zone. I haven’t decided on which ETF to choose, but it will probably be an ishares.

Blog Goals

I don’t have great ambition for this blog, it’s more a hobby and a motivation tool for me, but I’ll try to develop it a bit more this year:

  1. Blog 24 times: At a minimum, I would like to blog around twice a month on this blog. This will probably be easy, but I didn’t want to put this goal higher in order to avoid pressure to post mediocre content.
  2. Get the blog out of wordpress.com: Currently the blog is simply a sub domain of wordpress.com. I plan to buy a .com (or .ch) domain for the blog. I don’t yet know if I will host the blog myself or get it hosted at wordpress.com, but I’ll see to that later. I’ll also do some SEO in order to give the site some visibility, but nothing fancy either.
  3. Add DEGIRO referral link: I plan to add DEGIRO referall link to the website as a small monetization tool.

Personal

A few personal goals, somehow related to this blog:

  1. Finish scanning all documents: I started scanning all my documents to store them safely in PDF format. This will save me quite some space at home and will also help me to find these documents if necessary.
  2. Get a new job from 01.08: My current job will finish the 31.07. By the end of March, I would like to have a contract signed for the next job.

Conclusion

That settles it for these goals. I think having clear goals like these will help me focus my effort during the year.

If you have comments on these goals, don’t hesitate to let a comment 🙂

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December 2017 Update + 2018 perspectives

Hi,

Happy new year to you all!

It is time for the last monthly update of 2017.

December 2017

December 2017 was quite good in terms of saving. The savings rate for this month is 34.67%. There was a lot of expenses with all the insurances and parking arriving at the end of the year, but I also got half of my 13th salary this month, which obviously helped.

In terms of spending, I have been able to keep it very low. I have been three weeks in the army, so I haven’t been going out a lot and haven’t needed a lot of food since I’ve been fed for free (at least one advantage to the army). I bought a few gifts and new gaming headset for my computer, nothing really fancy.

Here is an overview of my spendings:

  1. Insurances: 255.00 CHF – average
  2. Transportation: 1373.60 CHF – well above average (insurances and parking)
  3. Communications: 186.80 CHF – average
  4. Personal: 503.76 CHF – below average
  5. Food: 162.65 CHF – well below average
  6. Apartment: 1783.05 CHF – well above average (power and caution)
  7. Taxes: 705.45 CHF -average

As for my earnings, I’ve received a few gifts for Christmas (200 CHF) and the first dividend from my portfolio (50 CHF).

Portfolio

I’ve almost finished moving my portfolio to DEGIRO. Still one fund to sell from PostFinance, that I’ll sell when it gets back to earning.

Here is what I settled on for my portfolio:

  • 55% World Stocks – Vanguard Total World
  • 10% Swiss Medium Stocks – UBS SMIM
  • 10%  Europe Stocks – Ishares Europe
  • 10% High Divident – Vanguard High Dividend Int.
  • 5% Tech – Vanguard Information Technology
  • 5% Pacific – Vanguard FTSE Pacific
  • 3% Bitcoin – XBT ETN
  • 2% Ethereum – XBT ETN

I’m pretty satisfied of this portfolio except for the cryptocurrency part. I’ve been investing in cryptocurrencies for only one month and I already don’t like it. The volatility is way too high. Once they are back to earning, I’m going to sell both and transfer to an European bond ETF, probably from Ishares.

In total, my net worth is now 54’279.49 CHF.

2018 Perspectives

Starting from February, I’ll be finally be paid at 100% (from 85% now) since I’ve finished my Ph.D. This will make a nice increase in revenue. Moreover, this year, my company will increase very slightly the salaray, so that’s also a nice bonus as well. In August, I’ll very likely change my job, but nothing is final now, so more on that later. In any case, I’ll have a better salary from August. My current expenses should not increase in 2018, but there will be some big expenses in 2018, we’ll see how bad it turns.

As for January, it should be good, just a few gifts to buy. I expect a good saving rate, but I’m often wrong about that, so we’ll see about that.

 

November 2017 Update

Hi,

It is time for the monthly update.

November 2017 was not bad in terms of savings, but a bit lower than I was expecting. The savings rate for the month is 14.25%. It’s not perfect, but still much better than last month. My objective is to go to 25%, but probably will need a raise to go there (I’m still gonna try without the raise).

I had a few spendings while I was in China at the beginning of the month. Moreover, I also bought plane tickets to go back to China in February. It’s a very fair price (598.50), but still puts a big dent in my savings.

Here is an overview of my spendings:

  1. Insurances: 255.75 CHF – average
  2. Transportation: 140.43 CHF – below average
  3. Communications: 163.35 CHF – average
  4. Personal: 1318.56 CHF – above average (plane tickets)
  5. Food: 297.47 CHF – below average
  6. Apartment: 1300 CHF – average
  7. Taxes: 805.45 CHF – above average (firefighter tax)

I have started to transfer my investments to DEGIRO. I still need to transfer quite some money and I still need to sell some PostFinance funds, but they are at a loss now, I’m still waiting before I sell and transfer. I still have to decrease my cash and bonds, but that will done slowly in December. I’ll post an update once my portfolio is updated and ready. Once my portfolio is more or less ready, I’ll also include my net worth in the monthly update.

December should be quite good since I’ll have half of my 13th salary. However, there will some big expenses as ever at the end of the year (already paid 245CHF today for parking at my company). Moreover, I’ll be three weeks in the army. Even, if it’s not an happy deal, I’ll still save some money on food. I’ve done some effort to reduce the recurring monthly expenses. Indeed, I’ve reduced my rent and changed my car insurance.  Moreover, Iv’e also changed my Internet provider contract, saving about 50 CHF per month starting this month!

Save 53CHF per month by asking for a reduction of rent!

I just got confirmation from my building manager that they accepted the reduction of rent that I asked for (they answered more than two months later than my request…). My base rent goes from 1175 to 1122. This will only start at the next term of my lease, on April 1st, but this means next year, I’ll save 53 * 9 = 477 CHF.

In Switzerland, rent prices are index on a reference interest rate. When the interest goes down, you can aks for a reduction of rent. Unfortunately, this is not an automatic process, so you have to ask yourself to your house owner or building managers. On the other hand, you can be sure that if the interest rate rises, it will be an “automatic” process…

Don’t forget to check if the interest rate decreased since you signed your lease. If you haven’t asked for a reduction in many years, this could be a large reduction!

Overall, I’m still quite happy, this is more than 50 CHF per month saved next year!

Save 350CHF per year by changing car insurance

This year, I’ve checked again the car insurances for my car. Until now, I was with AXA Winterthur. When I got this offer almost 5 years ago, it was the cheapest offer. Unfortunately, it’s the not the case anymore and I didn’t think to check again before this year. I’ve now changed my car insurance to Helvetia. Before, I was paying 668.95 CHF each semester, now I’ll pay only 492.20 per semester, this is  353 CHF savings per year. Once I’ve got a better salary, I’ll also stop paying per semester in order to save 30 CHF each, but for now, it’s a bit too much to pay at once.

For now, my car has still only few kilometers (less than 40K), so I’m still keeping my complete Casco insurance. Next year, I’ll reconsider this. I may also consider increasing my deductible to reduce the fee.

This time, I used a insurance advisor (free) to check the fees for me, but it seems that even if this is much better, this is still not the cheapest possible. Next time, I’ll do the check first online to make sure I’m not getting ripped of.  This time, I cannot change insurer for a few years, but I can still change details of my insurance such as deductible and remove some parts of the insurance.

Don’t forget to check if you can save some money by changing insurances. In Switzerland, the prices of the insurances are quite unstable, and therefore it’s often a good idea to change, even if it’s a bit a pain in the ass to change the insurance.

Overall, I’m still quite happy, this is about 30 CHF per month saved next year!

October 2017 Update

Hi,

This is the first monthly update on this blog. I’ll try to do this every month and normally earlier than this (I was in vacation).

October 2017 was not really good in terms of savings, but a bit better than I was expecting. The savings rate for the month is 8.15%. It’s not really good but I was expecting a loss, so it’s not so bad.

Even though I was in vacation in China, this is not what made my budget so bad. The only really expensive stuff was the plane tickets but they were paid earlier. I had to pay almost 600 CHF for dentist and 450 CHF for Billag. On that latter note, I really hope the “No Billag” initiative will pass next March, that would be a very nice improvement to my budget, especially since I don’t watch TV and don’t listen to the radio.

I have started to review my portfolio with better investments. I still have around 60% of my assets in cash, 11% in international stocks, 10% in domestic stocks and 17% in bonds. I plan to decrease the cash this month, especially for my retirement savings third pillar.

November should not be very good since I have to purchase new plane tickets to China, but this will hopefully be the only big expense of the month and therefore the  savings rate should be better. I plan to be very frugal this month. I also plan to reduce a few of my monthly expenses (more on that later). I will check again all the expenses on my budget and try to come up with solutions to reduce the overall spend that is still too high.