How to Do an Annual Review for 2013 (Part 1)

So, these series will be in 4 steps of How to Do an Annual Review for 2013:

  1. Revisit 2013 goals and honestly rate yourself
  2. Answer this question: What Goes Well?
  3. Next, answer this question: What Didn’t Go Well?
  4. Proceed basis of goals for 2014

In the first part of the steps, I will Revisit My 2013 Goals and Honestly Rate Myself (as honest as I vulnerably can). Further analysis is intended on next series of posts. It’s my review hence there’s no right or wrong answer (don’t bash please).

Taking cues from Chris, I would like to be more vulnerable (watch Brene Brown’s work) and reflect mine here. The overall theme for 2013 looking back is ‘swashbuckling‘ because I view it as a very successful year in achieving goals with a lot of grit, downturns and emotional breakdowns (I must admit).

I have been doing goal settings since 2010, and failed miserably. This is due to unrealistic amount of goals which made me anxious most of the times. Back then, we are talking of 10 categories with 4 goals each. No wonder I’m such a mess and at some point toyed with the idea of polyphasic sleep to create more time. Over time, I realized that I don’t need more time. Instead, I need to really tune in to what’s important, letting go and use time consciously.

Hence, I have been having less and less goals through the years. In 2013, I only have 4 goals:

  1. Zero bad debt by May 2013
  2. Own 3 Houses
  3. Self-sustained ASB
  4. Savings stabilization

Zero Debt by May 2013

The result: Credit card debt done according to plan on May 2013 with additional objective of personal loan settlement done on Dec 2013

I’m already half-way through to settling my bad debts in 2013. I got to say that this is THE goal, in which my entire being is focused on doing. While I don’t plan to settling my personal loan and focusing only on the credit card bad debt of it; it occurs to me that I had just a few months left to settling the personal loan as well. I took the options of settling it early (surprisingly it’s lower than total amount of payment should you continue paying the rest of the months) and getting no-interest loan from Donut in the process.

Own 3 Houses

The result: We are considering this as victory, although admittedly we have yet to receive any of Memorandum of Transfer done for all the houses.

We are intrigued by Faizul Ridzuan’s story and despite having mountain of debts, I bluntly dared to dream big of owning 3 houses. I know that this is stretching my comfortable limit a bit since we had zero practical knowledge of property buying. I receive resistance from my family members as this is not a conventional debt that we are accustomed to, plus they can’t grasp the concept of being the owner but not living in the house. I guess at the time, we realize that no preparation will ever be perfect and just have a go at it.  Armed with some beginner’s analysis of prices from PropWall, we spent a day to look at more than 15 units in Ampang Boulevard. Of course there’s some process to it, but the key is always doing.

Self Sustained ASB

The result: With living expenditure kept to minimum, I managed to consistently met my ASB loan; looking forward to have it self-sustained by Jan 2014. Considering this as victory as well.

When I started ASB loan in 2012, the plan is always to have it self-sustained somewhere along the line as I need the allocated money for other investing instruments. I take some chunk of 2012’s half year dividend to be channeled to debt-busting so I know I will have to skip payment for some month. With some grit and greatly removing excess, it is magical that I can consistently pay the dues monthly plus having some other savings which will be described in the next objective.

Savings Stabilization

The result: There’s no time stamp for this goal, just to get it done somewhere within this year. Victory as well in the end of putting aside 10% of my take home pay deducted to Tabung Haji before it reach my salary account.

I wrote my annual review in my scribbling book, but I didn’t get the emotions of elated joy with the victories. Mainly due to very minimal reflection on how I felt back then when I wrote the goal in the first place. When I’m forced to analyze my performance here in the blog, I realized that I did said to myself that this goal is impossible. I had no surplus cash, barely sufficient doing debt-busting and sustaining ASB loan. Now, I hope it can be a testament that you actually get what you want. I learnt an important notion from Kiyosaki. He says the key to better financial habits is to pay yourself first. I tried it and it works like a charm. In some way, it’s true – rather than reacting passively of paying the bills, utilities and other people first, I changed to ensure the first step of my monthly blueprint is savings (even starting with RM50). You got those companies who would call you to remind payment dues, but what about yourself? None. That’s why it is too easy to just glide along without saving. It’s hardcore because it’s active and will push you to the limit of sanity. I need to cut off spending, living with barely minimum, selling my unwanted items and actively pursuing any opportunity for offshore visits.

to be continued in Part 2

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