I like to start with the good. The transition from being a teacher to a district administrator is one of the most difficult to make. Everyone wants an experienced administrator, because it's in many ways an entirely different skill-set than being a highly effective teacher. Managing children is completely different than managing adults. Many of the skills evaluating programs, teachers, hiring, budgeting aren't part of the day-to-day job as a teacher. I was lucky enough to become a first time administrator this year. Sure it came with some costs -- losing the direct interaction with the kids. What I gained is incredible. I get seat at the decision-making table and the ability to affect real change beyond the four walls of a classroom. I have people looking to me to make a difference, parents, teachers, and students. I feel like I'm planning five weddings every day, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
All that excitement comes at a cost -- time. I have less time for everything. My kids are in daycare entirely too long. My house has never been messier, I have a mother with a terminal illness that I don't see enough, and by the time my wife comes home from work, I spent from work and then watching our children after work. It makes it clear to me why so many 20 and 30 somethings are trying to build portfolios that will let them retire in 10 years or less. Time is the one thing you can't get back.
This has been huge for me. The new job came with a higher salary. I finally could pull my weight in terms of my finances. My post tax salary increased by about $1,000 per month. It's amazing what salary based healthcare will take out of a paycheck. Also that didn't mean I had $1,000 more to invest. Renting a townhouse, with two kids in a corporate daycare costs money. We had been dipping into our savings account (with investments we were still able to add to our net worth overall) a little in order to cover the bills. So $600 of that $1,000 went to a higher rent contribution. This allowed us to maintain our savings, gave my wife a little breathing room and pay the daycare increase. So surely I invested the other $400 per month? I wish. I did double my Roth IRA contribution, But I also invested in the teachers that worked for me. Little things like cakes for long-time teachers that moved onto new jobs, bagels and fruit salad during large meetings. Believe it or not when working with a large staff, that adds up. It's also important. I'm nothing without these people. If I want to be effective at this new job, I need to show them I appreciate them. Also I had to upgrade my clothing. The new job requires me to be in a suit most days, and they aren't cheap. I didn't mind this because the bulk of this cost is upfront. My Robinhood account which I use for my dividends continued to grow as well (somehow). I went from making a regular deposit of $40 plus whatever I could side hustle, to making a regular $50 deposit plus whatever I could side hustle. The side hustles always have been the bulk of my deposits into this account. It comes from a lot of different places: dividends, rewards card purchases,payments on old Lending Club notes (what a mistake that was), and frugality.
Review of 2017 Portfolio Goals
By every measure I achieved my goals. I was hoping to grow my dividend portfolio to 4k. Barring a catastrophe in the next couple of days, I'm finishing the year with nearly $6,400. I set out to make $100 in dividends. I earned $151.39. I wanted two holdings of $500. This was mainly because I was getting too buy happy and way too many positions of 1-2 shares. I have 3.
On the surface these goals seem modest. An 8k portfolio, when I already have nearly $6,400 and project for at least $210 in dividends without investing a dime, would normally be way too safe. At my current pace I easily make that goal. Same with the goal of $250 in dividends and a holding of 1k. I do hope I can shatter these goals, but I'm not changing them. The main reason is goal number 1 is a house. I'm very committed to not liquidating my dividend holdings for a deposit. I believe we have enough saved and our credit is good enough that it won't come to that. But without knowing exactly what my mortgage, taxes, moving costs, etc. I think it would be irresponsible to include a projection for 2018 that involves ramping up my investments at this time.
I think something would also be amiss if I didn't include some non-financial goals. I want to continue to be a fantastic father to my two little ones. I want to carve out some more time for my wife. I've heard of too many relationships that end because of this. I'm not sure anything is a greater cost on finances, children, and myself then divorce or a bad marriage. I love my wife. I'm a product of a divorce. I don't want my children to go down that road. This is probably the goal that needs the most work. I also want to continue to grow in this new position. I've wanted this for so long, I can't allow myself to fail. It's a ton of work, but it's a dream job. I also hope to continue blogging, it keeps me focused on my financial goals.