New Year Resolutions Ideas and 2016 Review

2016 was a very interesting year indeed, as I never really had any New Year resolutions ideas to start with. What started out as going with the flow, turned into something more productive.

new year resolutions ideas

After some sort of weird epiphany, I really got my act together and put a proper plan in place for my finances AND my life. Most of my cash has always been tied up with investment property, however, 2016 was the year of diversification and more importantly…recreating myself.

Don’t get me wrong I always dip in and out alternative investments. But no on one accumulates any wealth that way.

Also, it is time to get my act together with regards to finding a proper base.

Investment Portfolio

Some of the best passive income comes from investments. This can accelerate your early or semi-retirement date. Hence, focus was on the asset classes below:

Investment ISA

The first thing I did was use my full ISA allowance. Yes, this is nothing new. I’ve invested my cash into numerous ISAs before, but have always pulled out the ISA to fund some property deposit or something.

This time the cash is staying put and I’ll enjoy the power of compounding, tax-free.

Dividend Investing

I already had some experience with dividends before. This time I wanted to build a portfolio of dividend growth stocks that pays me an income. In fact, I invested in half my portfolio and bought 15 dividend growth stocks in 2016.

P2P Lending

2016 was the first year for venturing into peer to peer lending. I had a lot of cash sitting in premium bonds doing nothing, apart from making 25 pounds sporadically, a few months of the year.

I also want to kill two birds with the one stone and use one of my platforms as an emergency account. Access to cash is fairly flexible with p2p lending and my money will grow healthily, compared to a high street bank account (and premium bonds).

Real Estate

The biggest accomplishment in 2016 was paying off my mortgage for an overseas home I possess. The interest rate was 3% including libor, so felt I needed to wipe this monthly direct debit out my life.

My other property in Ireland is fortunately on a tracker mortgage (0.75% above base rate). So, that more or less pays for itself.

Business

Engineering Consultancy

I started a new project in India this year, after almost a year contracting in South Korea. Let’s just say it’s a new level of contracting for me (perks included).

The conditions are very challenging, to say the least. No proper pavements, numerous power cuts (including wifi interruptions), limited funds/ very long queues at ATM during the cash crisis (Modi removed the 500 and 1000 rupee notes overnight to reduce corruption and tax evasion),   5-hour drive to Delhi Airport etc.

And you can only leave the country during specific periods of the project. But that’s why we get paid the big bucks. It certainly isn’t for everyone.

new year resolutions ideas

Re the hourly rate, you have to grab them while you can.

To reiterate, it’s not about the money. Money is simply a by-product now. I use the consulting money wisely to build wealth…So I can retire early and live a good lifestyle for less.

As I say, I plan to reduce the engineering consultancy to 3 months per year further down the line. To concentrate on my other investments, lifestyle and potential businesses.

Offshore Banking

I initiated the start of my 5 flag theory plan. First up was offshore banking.

Offshore Company

The 2nd part of 5 flag theory is setting up a legitimate offshore company. I’ll provide more detail in another post.

Financial Independence Blog

This blog was a seed in my head, a little over 10 years ago. Back then I had just purchased some gold and invested in some property etc. I was keen on investing, but never really had the wisdom, knowledge or mindset to build a blog centered on financial independence.

new year resolutions ideas

The problem was, I wasn’t that interested in financial independence back then. I was more into a materially rich life.

Over 10 years later, I’m a reformed character, cannier investor and have learned from my failures.

The concept of the blog was incorporated in May 2016 and it took me a few months to get an angle, domain name, article ideas, and site structure etc. So here we are.

I look forward to providing you with some interesting articles from now on in…if there’s anything you want me to cover, please let me know?

Lifestyle Design

It’s been a busy year for travel, notching up 6 new countries (8, if you count countries I’ve flown to before). A chunk of that travel funded by the client.

These are; Cambodia, Hong Kong, North Korea (Yes really!), Hungary, India, and Madagascar.

new year resolutions ideas

I’m really integrated into the digital nomad lifestyle now, working on my blog, investment portfolio (and sometimes engineering consultancy) during my travels.

I also have a passion for Windsurfing and Snowboarding and it’s important to keep these hobbies alive. So, I’ll incorporate them into my travels, whenever I can. Or build a lifestyle around them.

2016 was the year I officially left the UK. I guess I carried out my own little Brexit.

I’ve been dotting backward and forwards for years. I did live in Ireland for roughly 8 years, owned an Irish Ltd Company and an apartment. But the recession soon took care of that.

However, I make a decent rental income on that apartment now and it’ll make a major contribution to my investment portfolio (once it’s fully paid off).

Going back to what I was saying, I’m never back in the UK, as I work overseas a lot.

Hence, I wound down the UK Ltd Company this year and set up offshore. This took a lot of research and effort. So, I’ll officially be turning non-resident for tax year 2016/17.

In 2017, I will let you know how to set up an offshore company legitimately and other solutions you can implement.  Because it’s getting harder to bank your cash. Everybody wants a piece of the pie.

New Year Resolutions Ideas

Finally, some New Year resolutions ideas that can be implemented for 2017.

The overall goal (what I’m striving for most), is to fuel my investment portfolio with the income produced from my consulting business (engineering contracts).

Then to use that income from my investment portfolio to pay for my expenses (everyday living).

And when the income from my investment portfolio exceeds my annual expenses, something magical happens. It’s called financial independence…

1. Finalize the dividend growth portfolio (as in holding 30 dividend growth stocks). Half the portfolio was built in 2016. My focus now is to buy only Dividend Kings, Dividend Aristocrats or Dividend Achievers. And reinvest any dividends back into the highest-ranking stock, using my dividend ranking system.

2. Trickle feed into the P2P platforms and grow them slowly. This asset class will contain the lowest proportion of my cash, as I don’t think it’s as robust as the SIPP/ Dividend Growth Stocks and Index Funds.

3. Trickle feed into the SIPP, as I piled in a few years back. I’m fairly content with the fund amount, plus I can’t access it until I’m 58!

4. Initiate my lazy, DIY index fund portfolio. I’ll start to talk more about passive investing in 2017.

5. Build 10 pages on the blog and install a cleaner Word Press theme by the end of Q1, 2017. Obtain 500 unique visitors per day by the end of 2017.

6. Produce more relevant articles on the blog, on a frequent basis. Which includes a newsletter.

7. Buy another investment property in Europe, with a decent ROI.

8. Research my residency plan for my new base or forever home.

9. Cement some relationships. The most difficult thing about contracting (especially overseas), is maintaining and building relationships. I shall make a concerted effort this year.

And I wish all my readers a prosperous and exciting 2017.

Hope you reach your professional and financial goals, you’re in good health and you build strong relationships.

Now I would like to hear from you.

What were your biggest takeaways? How your 2016 was and your New Year resolutions ideas?

Let us know in the comments…

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