It's been almost a year of blogging and a lot of stuff has happened during 2014 and I thought it was time to have a short retrospective.
Unlike many of the serious bloggers out there, I didn't write down any goals except than in my mind. I surely talked about my mid-term and long-term financial goals, but nothing more concrete for the short-term period.
Let's try to fix that together and get through my 2014 objectives.
Goal #1 - Start a blog about my journey towards early retirement / financial freedom in Switzerland - CHECKED
It's 01:48 AM and I actually can't believe that I'm still typing stuff late at night on the same blog than the one I created one year ago!
I'm really proud of that as I often started or wished to start blogs but never managed to keep them up on the long run.
I actually figured out why: it's because the previous topics I talked about weren't interesting/motivating me enough to write every now and then about it.
In case you want to start a blog, my advice would be that you really take some time to figure out if you would like to still talk about this topic in 1 year, 5 years, or even in 10 years. Because really, you need to have hundred(s) of blogpost ideas in mind. You need to wake up during the night with the idea that will make you featured on rockstarfinance.com. You need to open up Things while on the toilets to write down your next task to improve your readership reading experience with some nice graph tool you just discovered! I will stop there and keep Evernote and my other secret productivity + blogging tools for a future blogpost!
Something that got me to start this blog was actually to document stuff in CHF for people living in Switzerland and willing to reach early retirement / financial freedom. I think you got that here we talk about chocolate, luxury watches, and a weird foreign currency where you put the symbol before the figure!
I really hope this will inspire some people to start saving money to reach early retirement / financial freedom here in Switzerland!
Goal #2 - Don't give up on the blog after the first months - CHECKED
As said above, I'm amazed to be able to say that I'm actually a blogger. For real. And one that survived his first year of existence!!! Champagne! Long live mustachianpost.com!
Goal #3 - Write at least two blogposts per month - FAILED
Although I kept this blog alive, I hardly reached fifteen blogposts in a year. That's a bit more than one blogpost per month. Let's say it's not too bad for a start and that I actually preferred to focus on quality rather than quantity.
I will surely increase that in the awesome 2015 year to come!
Goal #4 - Average 35% of savings rate - ALMOST CHECKED!
I already hear some of you telling me that a SMART goal can't be "almost checked". And you're right!
But I'm actually so surprised and proud of this number, that for this time, I will allow myself to have a goal "almost checked"!
I never thought that one optimization after the other would lead our household to average 35% of savings rate over 2014.
So trust me, if I could achieve it, you definitely can as well!!!
Goal #5 - Increase net worth up to CHF 85'000 so to support mid-term goal (i.e. buy our home) - FAILED
This one I can't flag it as "ALMOST CHECKED" because we are currently lacking about CHF 8'000 to be on track.
See below the nice graph update that I pictured lately:
In case you want to save money for a specific goal, I can only recommend you the method of pinning a chart in a place that you can't miss everyday. Like your bathroom or your fridge in the kitchen. I tend to prefer the bathroom as it's kept more secret to all people who visit us.
Goal #6 - Start investing for real, and document it on the blog - CHECKED
Oh yeah, this is checked!!! Special thanks to Jesse from YNAB (referral link) who helped me hop on the investing train back in February 2014.
Although Swissquote does its broker job (while pumping too much fees out of my savings), I can't wait to see the new low-fees Swiss broker MoneyVane opening its beta during this Q1 2015! I'll definitely keep you posted as soon as it launches!!!
Goal #7 - Lower Internet and mobile household monthly fees - CHECKED
When I remember our old bills reaching CHF 325 per month, this makes me laugh (nervously)... Thankfully, we applied simple yet very effective tips and tricks to our communication habits which helped to reduce our household monthly spendings to CHF 105 per month!
Goal #8 - Scrunitize interesting Swiss credit card opportunities, and document them - CHECKED
This one was very interesting because I always dreamed to fly for free like these serial travel hackers. My dream ended suddenly once I crunched the numbers and realized that the American dream wasn't working in Switzerland...
Nevertheless, this investigation helped me to reduce my overall banking fees and get some real cash back instead of these dummy bonus points you usually win.
Goal #9 - Reinforce my (our) cooking muscles and keep saving money on our lunches - CHECKED
For this one, I clearly saved money during the December's challenge but I must thank my wife for the help she provided me when I was too tired in the evening to cook for our next day lunch.
I definitely need to keep this habit, and over all to learn new recipes because my current list isn't the most advanced one!
Goal #10 - Simplify our banking setup (too many accounts opened at various banks) - CHECKED
I can't remember who said that one should have the lowest number of bank accounts to keep it simple so to not lose time managing them all and instead, to use this time to do more relevant and valuable stuff.
I followed this advice and leveraged the opportunity to optimize our banking setup, ending with way lower fees.
Now, we are having only one bank and it feels really less complex. No more transfer between this savings account to this check account for that transaction! We just use YNAB to budget everything which is stored in our single bucket, easy!
I also closed some accounts we had in France earlier last year. I kept them mostly because of the good interests they provided. But it was painful to transfer this money, always waiting for the best currency rate to happen. And since I learnt how to invest, I didn't want to let the real interests going into the bank's pocket!
Goal #11 - Get a blogpost featured on rockstarfinance.com - FAILED
Although I tried several times amongst my small amount of posts, none of them was ready to be featured on this financial-blogger-grail website.
I will continue to improve my writing skills and keep bringing as much value as I can to the FI/ER community during the year to come - while hoping secretly to see a peak into my Google Analytics one morning!!!
Goal #12 - Build an online presence for mustachianpost.com - CHECKED
While starting a blog is the easiest part, it gets complicated when you try to get people actually read what you write!
My first focus was initially Twitter and the forums of YNAB and Mr. Money Mustache which helped me spread the word that the Mustachian movement trend is having at least one supporter here in Switzerland, hopefully not the last!
As we talk about this, I also thank all my Twitter followers who reached a new record today by being 400 persons willing to know more about financial freedom and early retirement in Switzerland! Thanks a lot, this really keeps me motivated!!!
Even if I'm not a big fan of Facebook myself, I recently tried to open a page to notify you when a new blogpost is published. I hope it helps some of you who are more familiar with this media than the blue bird!
Last, in order to be part of the FI community, I enjoyed commenting on interesting articles from all around Europe such as on the NMW's blog from Belgium, Weenie's blog from UK, and TFS' blog from UK too.
Goal #13 - Start building a list of all European blogs who seek Financial Freedom and Early Retirement - CHECKED
As I got more and more into the FF/FI/ER topic, I had to face one rude reality which is that most innovative trends or ideas are first coming from the US... And so was it also true for Financial Freedom.
But thankfully, Europe is taking off and dozens of blogs have emerged. So I decided to dedicate a specific page to find them more easily.
If you should be but are not in there yet, please let a comment with your name and blog URL and I will add you right away!!!
Goal #14 - Be the first CHF blog listed on rockstarfinance.com net worth list - CHECKED
I hate lists with thirteen items (thank you superstition), so I chose this easy goal. I say easy because when I discovered rockstarfinance.com, no other blog in CHF currency was present on this website. So I just had to create a net worth page and link it there.
By the way, a good news on this front is that our household should reach the CHF 100'000 step during this 2015 year!!! I simply can't wait for it to happen! Of course you will be the first noticed ;)
Pheeew! What a long article we've got here!
I hope to not have lost you around. Thanks for reading anyway and hope to see you back here during this year!!!
Don't forget to let me know what you managed (or not) to achieve in 2014 in the comments section below!