New Years Resolutions and 2017 Review

It’s that time of year again, where we can reflect on 2017 and look ahead for your new years resolutions in 2018.

new years resolutions

It was a tough year with respect to the engineering consultancy side. For the majority of the year, it was 6 day weeks in Asia and back to back weekends in Europe. Good old fashioned hard graft.

The year also ended with a near 2 year, long distance, broken relationship. Long-distance might work for the celebrities, but not for The Canny Contractor. Another country is one thing, a different continent is something else.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom…

Investment/ Passive Income Portfolio

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

Investment ISA

I sat back and let this one do all the heavy lifting i.e. I enjoyed the power of compounding. The growth is slowing down on this one, after a rollercoaster ride. So, I may sell next year and sock into the dividend growth stocks. Because eventually, the focus is on the dividends, which I call my own little cash flow generator

Dividend Growth Investing

I increased my dividend growth portfolio from 15 dividend growth stocks to 36 dividend growth stocks in 2017. I didn’t always stick to S&P 500 Achievers, Aristocrats or Kings (one of my resolutions for 2016) but ultimately companies that focus on dividend growth.

I devised my own ranking system for dividend reinvestment and this seems to be paying off…in dividends (excuse the pun).

SIPP/ Pension

One of my goals for 2017, was to start a lazy, DIY index fund portfolio. However, after much deliberation, I’ve acted against this. As my SIPP is an index fund, I didn’t see much point in starting another index fund.

I’ve tried to remove the dullness from pensions and make them more glamorous. As they are an integral part of any passive income portfolio.

P2P Lending

2017 was my second year for peer to peer lending.

I dissolved my Twino and Ratesetter accounts as the net return didn’t cut the mustard. Plus, I’m trying to cut down on admin/ too many accounts.

The Mintos platform also acts 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

I organized a PR team to stay at my short-term rental in Cyprus and became a property partner with HomeAway, after nearly 10 years with them. This has proved a positive experience with more exposure, hence my bookings have shot up.

The rentals have compounded over time due to more positive testimonials, dealing with constructive feedback effectively and fast communication.

For more background on these asset classes, their double-digit returns and what’s under the bonnet, go here


Engineering Consultancy

new years resolutions
I completed a challenging (the environment more than the work) project in India in June, after spending a total of 18 months in Asia.  It was a rewarding time where I started to really get my shit together. But more of that in another post.

After this project I enhanced my wellbeing with a full body check in Northern India (medical tourism), followed by Panchakarma treatment in the Himalayas.

After a few weeks off, I then started working in mainland Europe again.

Financial Independence Blog

new years resolutions

It was the 2nd year of the FI blog. It’s taken a while to take off but after several posts and a little promotion, it’s starting to make traction. Although I may not be getting the traffic I desire, the DA has gone from a DA of 1 at the end of 2016 to a DA of 13 in 2017.

I want to give a big shout to Mr and Mrs W of Whatlifecouldbe and their new brainchild, Fire Hub. FireHub is a central point of contact for all things FIRE-related in Europe. It allows people living in Europe to quickly access information, blogs, and blog articles about FIRE-related topics.

It addresses a nice gap in the market. As much as we love American personal finance blogs, we were getting tired of reading about 401K’s and Personal Capital etc (which is of no use to us Europeans).

Lifestyle Design

new years resolutions

After spending so much time in Asia, I encountered a dilemma. Where shall I base myself? Europe or Asia. It was a close call and it’s inspired me to write another post on this very subject. Watch this space.

Travel is a big part of my life and naturally fits into the lifestyle design element. I managed to jet into Sri Lanka earlier in the year for a week’s Surfing in the Indian Ocean.

I swung by Dubai on my way back from the Panchakarma retreat to visit a friend. More of an overnight really.

And visited family and friends over in Palma and Brussels respectively for a long weekend, later in the year.

You must be thinking, what about your saving’s plan Canny Contractor? What’s with all this galavanting across the globe?

And you’re right. What if I told you I never paid for any of the flights (or even some of the accommodation).

Contractors, sometimes get a flight allowance for flying home. This time I was fortunate to get a flight allowance I can use for anywhere. Hence all the travel.

New Year Resolutions Ideas

Finally, some New Years resolutions ideas that can be implemented for 2018:

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. Securing a base overseas/residence plan is number one on my list. Because, without a base, I don’t have an identity. In my 2017 goals, I talked about buying a place and securing something for 2017. But, let’s not jump the gun. Renting is fine until I know this place is for me.

I got distracted by a young Asian lady and life got in the way in 2017, hence the residence goal was not achieved last year.

2. Enhance my fitness regime. I’ve been cycling almost every day since Summer 2017, but it’s not enough. As much as I detest gyms, I’m going to join one. Especially as it’s only 20e per month, where I currently am.

The thing is, you can have 10 Million in the bank and wake up to Miss World every morning. But if you haven’t exercised, you’ll feel like crap, no matter what the circumstances. Nothing in the world can replace that.

3. This kind of ties in with number 2. I want to start training for physical challenges i.e. Camino de Santiago as an example. Maybe even set a challenge up, sponsor it and give back to charity. I need a focus for the end of each year and start giving back.

4. Be more sociable/ meet more like-minded people. As frugality sets in and we super save, it’s way easier to shun a social event. I want to join the likes of Internations and Meet Up groups to meet folk who are on this very path. I may even host/ co-host an event.

5. Keep on writing interesting blog posts that add value.

6. I have two items left to address for 5 flag theory. Residency is one of them and protecting your assets is the other. It’s something else I can post about later in the year.

I’m going to leave you with a quote to mull over for 2018, as we all love new year resolution quotes…

new years resolutions

And I wish all my readers a prosperous and exciting 2018.

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 from 2017?

How are the New Years resolutions coming along?

Let us know in the comments…

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