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2021: Midyear Review

Wow, the last six months have flown by.  We had begun the year of 2021 still in this shroud of mystery. There was still so much uncertainty during the Covid-19 Pandemic.  We weren’t sure if we were going to have a vaccine ready and was there going to be enough?  If a vaccine was available, who would be eligible, and would enough people get it? 

Would retail stores and restaurants be opened? Would, what is very important to me, event venues with live music and festivals happen this year?  There was so much we didn’t know.

Hopeful For The Future

We now have hit the mid-year mark of 2021.  There is some light at the end of the tunnel.  I’m feeling a bit excited and hopeful for the next six months, and the year after, and yet after that. 

Let’s review some of the personal, professional, and financial goals for 2021.  We’ll discuss where we are. Are we on track to meet or exceed the goals, or do I fall short in meeting the goals I set for myself six months ago? I did talk about goals with my friend April on the HMM Podcast here

As I started to look at what I had set up back in December/January I do see that I’m not where I’d like to be, and I believe I’ll have to edit my plan to achieve a goal, or perhaps change the goal itself. 

Let’s jump in, and we’ll start with Personal goals, These are self-improvement or goals more about fun persuits, and self-care. 

Let’s Get Personal

Personal Goals:

Goal: Plan & Record a Weekly Podcast – The Thrash Report Podcast
I had started a music commentary podcast with a buddy where we discuss metal news, releases, shows along with interviews. This started as a fun thing to do with my friend to fill the void of us not going to live concerts during the pandemic.  And we have been publishing an episode every week for over a year.  We had missed a couple here or there, because, ya know LIFE! Lol.  We are very happy with how well the podcast is going, and are so thankful and appreciative to the listeners that have supported this podcast. GOAL MET! 

Goal: Plan & Record a Weekly Podcast – Heavy Metal Money Podcast
I have NOT MET this goal.  I felt a bit odd doing this first episode of 2021. This was episode number three, by myself.  I was doing the podcast solo, and feel that the podcast would have a better dynamic, and provide more value with a co-host, in addition to some additional guests. In reviewing this goal, I have reached out to a few friends and colleagues to see if they’d like to join me in a personal finance podcast.

Goal: Begin Estate Planning
This goal does need some more work, but I’m going to count this as achieved. I could get hit by a bus. Prior to myself getting vaccinated, I could’ve contracted covid, been hospitalized, go on a ventilator and pass away. Sorry for the morbidity. Things can happen, and I really need to make sure my kids and estate are taken care of. Finally, I drafted a will and power of attorney.  I have all the documents signed and notarized, in a binder with records of all my account information, beneficiaries, locked in my document safe. I ensured I have Transfer on Death (TOD) on my stock and brokerage accounts as well.  I’d like to make this a streamlined process for my children and avoid probate. The last piece is to record a Transfer on Death Deed with the county, whereupon my death the real property is deed to my children. GOAL MET! 

Goal: 16:8 Intermittent Fasting Plan
This goal has had some starts and stops, and we are back at it upon this six-month mark.  I’ve downloaded a new App called Fastic, to help me track my fasting, and when I break my fast to begin my 8-hour eating window. I have money on the line as one of the goals I’ve added was to lose the Covid Weight.  I’ve talked about that here, and I have to step up my game!

Goal: Walk/Workout 20-30minutes a day / three days a week
I have not been consistent over the overall 6 months, but I have been the most active I have in recent memory. I don’t know of any time in my adult life where I had constantly worked out, in my case I’m walking.  About 1.5-2miles a day.  I have made it to 30 days in a row, and for me, THIS IS A WIN!  I once read that if you were to walk just 30 minutes a day, every day, you’ll be in the top percentile of “healthy” people.

Closing those Rings! Building a Daily Walking Habit.

Goal: Fall in Love
This one I find kind of funny.  Many times in books and articles they have to find their partner, or falling in love as a goal.  I do believe this has a lot to do with chance, the other person (obviously) but so many other circumstances and variables.  And maybe I’m cynical because I’m just a lonely type of guy who feels that love is blind 🙂  I love this movie!

Recently I’ve been feeling that dating apps are garbage. From my perspective, they are fake accounts, bots, or those that are going to catfish and string you along until they ask you for money. Yes. This has happened. Twice. eHarmony sucks big time. My list of potential matches didn’t even have a photo. What the heck!? I contacted customer support and said there isn’t a filter to ensure they have photos, and if so, I’d like my money back. They told me to get bent and live with it. I don’t like eHarmony.

eHarmony Sucks….Out Loud!

Dating was a real concern for me during the height of the pandemic. Everyone is wearing masks, how would you smile at, or receive a smile? It was such an awkward encounter.  I now have some hope, now that most mask mandates have been lifted, and people are getting vaccinated. I will not take for granted the freedoms we had before lives were on hold for 15 months. So, with this being said, I’m doing more to be more outgoing. Saying hello to those at the store or coffee shop.  I’ve been reading, learning, and practicing self-confidence. Working on being the type of man I want to be and what value I can bring to a relationship. While I have not found love…yet, perhaps I’ll come across the cute and fuzzy bunnies and see they can help me find love hahaha, if you know. you know?

Goal: The Luger Foundation IRS Re-Classification. 
In 2020 one of the goals was to establish The Luger Foundation nonprofit Board of Directors, develop a clear mission, define the business plan with the bylaws in place.  This was accomplished in 2020. However, we discovered that upon beginning some fundraising activities that the IRS tax-exempt deduction code was not assigned properly.  This caused some delays. We had to file a form to change this designation, pay a fee, provide supporting documents and a letter explaining why the change.  This was submitted to the IRS in January. We have just now, in June heard that we will be granted the change and receive a new determination letter.  So we are a little behind on this one. But we are on our way!  GOAL MET!

Professional Development

Professional Goals:

Goal: Complete CompTIA Course
I don’t know exactly why I did this.  I’m kind of kicking myself for doing this. Maybe it was a little bit of imposter syndrome and a little bit of thinking that I really do need some formal foundational education. I don’t know. I wanted to take some serious classes to gain some foundational knowledge on some IT Security and Networking concepts. These are some of the things I talk about in my day job but never been formally trained on. I learned what I know from picking it up “on the job”  I enrolled in a distance learning course through a local college to complete some CompTIA Training and paid about $5,000 for the year-long program.  One of the reasons I did choose to do this was that upon completion, I can get my tuition reimbursed through my employer’s education assistance program.  

I totally underestimated what was going to be involved in the classes. I thought to myself, “I’ll watch the lectures, and then take the exams!”  Ummm… yeah, that is NOT the case. There is so much material, the lectures are just scratching the surface. 

We are re-aligning my goal for this.  I’m breaking apart what I need to complete by next February and will complete a class every two months.  I’m motivated to not only learn and complete the course but also get my tuition reimbursed. I mean, this is a finance blog, right?!

Goal: Contribute to some additional projects beyond the role to gain greater exposure in the organization and collaborate with others. 
This is an area where I’m excited and happy I was able to participate in some projects within the W2 job that allowed me to gain some exposure to other groups within the company and I got to work with and collaborate with an expanded team in which I typically wouldn’t work closely.  I was able to participate in customer-facing video, and presentation that is seen by thousands of people. I really enjoy this type of work. I feel very strongly and am passionate about the story we get to tell, and I really, really like being able to tell the story through my voice.  I look forward to other opportunities where I can lead and contribute in a similar fashion. GOAL MET! 

Its All About The Money

Financial Goals: 

Goal: Earn $5,000 in side hustle income to invest, or spend guilt-free
I really didn’t build a system for side hustle income. I attempted to sell Tee Shirts and am still working on that. I’m going to be renting empty space in my garage.  I’ve designed some pretty rad decals that are going to up on my Shopify store too. So we are still working on this. 

I have been continuing to sell many things through Facebook Marketplace. My old cross country skis, water skis, duplicate tools (I don’t know why I had three electric drills) my upcoming post downsizing, and decluttering will go into a lot more detail. But letting go of furniture that wasn’t being used, and just taking up space feels great. If we add up a couple of dressers, chairs, and other household items, I’m at about $2,000 I’ve made just clearing out stuff I already owned. 

Goal: Pay an additional $20,000 in commercial debt 
This was gonna be hard.   Because of Covid, my real estate did suffer a little bit from the economic impact. For example, I had tenets that had lost their jobs and decided to relocate out of state.  If I add up across all the properties, I had 7 months of vacancies, this equates to about $13,000 of lost rents.  All my properties are leased now, however, the management company charges 75% of a month’s rent to find new tenants. In total I have approximately $20,000 uncollected rent plus expenses, and therefore negates any additional principle I could have paid towards the commercial loan.  I had most remaining rents collected to be paid towards the existing loan payments + taxes + insurance. I’ve chosen one rental property in the portfolio to accelerate the debt paydown. While I cannot do so as aggressively as I’d hoped to, I have been doing so by added a simple $1,000 principal payment every month. Therefore, I have paid an additional $6,000 towards debt outside of the traditional monthly payments. Not nearly on track to the $20,000 I was aiming for but every little bit helps. I’m looking at building the reserve funds up during the second half of 2021.  This will put me in a better position to more aggressively pay additional towards the principal beginning in 2022. 

Goal: Generate an additional $1,000 in passive income.
If we look at the second half of 2021, we have all real estate properties leased and will be collecting market rents.  Because I had added two additional properties by the end of 2020, this moves me closer to the current goal of increasing the passive income by $1,000.  If we break down the portfolio it looks something like this:

Total RentsDebt ServiceMgmt FeesHOAsTaxesInsuranceTOTAL
All Properties$11,500$5,500$600$950$1200$235$3015
Cash Flow

My my cash flow is ~$3000/mo also keep in mind a percentage of this is set aside for maintenance and repairs as well as licensing fees and miscellaneous business expenses. 

The two newer units were rented a bit below-market rents.  We’d rather not sit too long without any rents coming in. We did compromise on this and fill the vacancies.  I haven’t met this goal either.  Some added repairs have occurred, and the increase in the HOA fees has held me back from this goal.  This was another thing I wasn’t expecting. The HOA for three of my units is going to be refinishing the driveway, and many of the parking spots. Guess what…? Yeah, they add this assessment onto the monthly HOA Fees. This added $50/mo to three of my units.  With an additional $150 or $12,500 a year for the next two years!!  That totally destroys cash flow.  So, we need to re-strategize. 

The Journey Is The Reward

I continue to learn a lot about myself, and how I set goals. I learn about how to develop plans to achieve them.  I’ll need to do better at making the goals realistic, and reachable.  I discuss a little about using SMART goals over here. 

Like I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we need to sometimes look at the progress we’ve made and the possibility of adjusting the goals along the way.  That’s okay, in my opinion. I feel that as long we continue to learn, and look at ways to improve or be better in any area of life we are winning. 

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