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  • Writer's pictureNick Heil

My Goals in 2020

Here I go again. Sitting here at the end of 2019 wishing I had kept at this. Wishing that I had been diligently following my written goals all year. Kicking myself in the ass for not just doing it and for getting in my own head.

This post is extremely raw for me. For anyone reading this (I know no one is reading this) you might be guessing that 2019 was a bad year for me.

Far from it.

I'm very grateful for the year I've had and it's been wonderful in many respects. I got a new job that I'm really enjoying, my wife and I bought a new house we love close to dear friends, we welcomed our first niece, Amelia, my businesses and investment portfolios are growing, and ultimately we became wealthier. This is a financial blog after all.

I will tell you it's truly hard to complain, but I'm not a quitter and I'll do it anyhow. What I'm really kicking myself for is for doing the same thing that millions of other people do every year. Forming goals in my head and going through life in a general direction, but not diligently planning, pursuing, and achieving written goals.

Let's face it. WE ALL DO THIS. We think about losing weight, saving more money, becoming wealthy, going on a vacation, buying whatever that thing is that we want. Sometimes we even go as far as actually writing them down. Then a few weeks pass and we forget about them, never to look at them again when life gets busy. Does this sound like you?

I hope it sounds like you, because it definitely sounds like me and if it's only me then I really suck.

This very blog is an example. I started this blog a while ago, wrote several articles, and then quit. I had over 100 good article ideas written down ready to be written. I'm talking actually good topics that I could talk about for hours and hours. Yet, I just quit and honestly I can't tell you why. Other than being lazy of course.

However, recently there has been hope for me. I actually have been losing weight, working out more, investing more, and achieving more. It's because I have been writing down my goals and consciously working towards them every day. Not only that, I've been doing it for more than a few days and haven't returned to indulging in Marvel movies and my cell phone.

So I figure at this point I better put my goals down on a public blog so as to totally humiliate myself both now and in the future if I don't accomplish any of the below goals in 2020. I say humiliate myself now because as you can probably already tell I'm not a good writer and on top of that I'm embarrassed to admit that I'm "blogging" in 2019. So, I won't be telling my friends or family for a while... (I'm literally praying that no one local googles me and stumbles across these, at least for a while)

I'm assuming you know why, too. Everyone and their mother are bloggers now and everyone thinks they are going to become rich from their blog. Frankly it's pretty annoying.

I have no such expectations. I did when I started this blog, but I've lowered them. I still have extremely high hopes for this long-term and I will work to realize those hopes, but honestly if by doing this I can just leave behind a good road map for my future kids, friends, and family to improve their financial lives, then I'm good with that.

So, here it goes. Here are my written 2020 goals and my plans for achieving them.

But first, my current portfolio.

My current investment portfolio stands at 5 properties, 84 portable storage units, over $150K in the stock market (including retirement funds), and my current job as the Business Manager in the City I'm living in is allowing me to build a public pension. Not bad for 28 years old, but I want to do better and go bigger.

1. Purchase 3 more Rental Properties

Current Status and Goal Background

As I mentioned above, I do own 5 properties, but not all of them are rentals. Currently, just 3 of those properties are true residential rentals, which are 2 families each for a total of 6 residential units.

The other two properties include my wife and I's current house and also an 11 acre piece of raw land owned by my portable self storage business, Boxit-N-Lockit. Currently, I keep some of my storage units at that property for advertising and as another location for my business. Eventually, I plan to build more traditional self storage on this land, but I'm growing to that point slowly.

Action Plan

My plan of attack to achieve this goal involves purchasing two of the three properties via land contract and purchasing the final property via the open market.

I admit, this will probably be a pretty challenging goal for me to accomplish in 2020 with all the other things I already have going on, but I will do everything I can to get it done.

I'm choosing to go this route because I really like to keep my investable cash invested in other things like the stock market and my business, when possible. I could certainly save enough for the deposits on three properties and purchase them all on the open market, but that wouldn't be very creative of me and creativity is one of the most beautiful elements of real estate.

By pursuing the goal this way it will pressure me to find better deals and force myself to get creative and reach out to more deal sources.

In addition, my strategy is to get into deals with the least amount of money down as possible. Not because I can't afford to put more down or because I want to be leveraged to the tilt, but because I'm building equity in other financial tools and I live in a cash flow rich area.

Those two factors make it less risky for me to acquire properties that are more heavily leveraged. The cash I earn from my job is being invested heavily into the stock market, building equity, and the money I earn from my business is being reinvested into the business and paying down debt, therefor building more equity.

If I ever ran into issues with my real estate portfolio, all of that equity I'm building elsewhere can be tapped into at anytime to help right the ship. In addition, the properties that I acquire in my market have a healthy cash flow from day one, so it makes sense to use a significant amount of leverage when possible to get into the deal.

It has also been my experience that building stock market equity has really helped me in the lending game, as well. When I hand over my personal balance sheet showing a healthy amount of liquid equity investments that can be accessed within a few days, it really loosens the underwriters concerns.

Complete by:

I’m looking to complete this goal by 12/31/2020.

2. Max Out My Roth IRA

Current Status and Goal Background

Roth IRA's are a wonderful tool to build wealth over time. The current IRS limit for annual contributions is $6,000 and one of my longer-term goals is to max out my wife and I's Roth IRA's for a period of at least thirty years. If our income ever phases us out of contributing to a Roth IRA then I will look to continue the goal by contributing to a traditional IRA or other retirement plan vehicle.

As of right now, I contribute $200 out of every paycheck directly into my Roth IRA account with Vanguard. Additionally, I use $50 of income per month from two rental properties to add to my contributions. That totals contributions of approximately $500 per month, which get's me to $6,000 per year. I say approximately because there are actually 26 pay periods during the year and $200 times 26 gets me to $5,200 and when you factor in the rental income that puts me over $6,000 for the year. I have just made a note to myself to adjust accordingly as I approach the end of the year.

Now to explain my rental property strategy a little further.

Each time I acquire another rental property I set up an automatic investment into the IRA of $50 and reduce the contribution from my paycheck by $50. My goal with that process is to acquire enough rental properties to fully fund my Roth IRA each year from the passive income of my rental properties, allowing me to keep more of my paycheck income to invest elsewhere.

That translates to 10 rental properties at $50 each. Why $50 you ask? Ultimately, I want to reinvest the vast majority of my rental property profits back into the properties I already own and to acquire more properties, however I'm a big believer in dollar cost averaging into the stock market. $50 is a nice round, manageable, and conservative number that I build into each of my deals. To further this goal, I will need to get to 20 rental properties in order to also fully fund my wife's Roth IRA.

Now you have to be careful when using this strategy. Rental income is not considered qualified earned income in the eyes of the IRS. When making contributions to your IRA you are required to use earned income, but you can get around this by having a job or another source of earned income from a business. For example, as long as you work a day job and have income from that job of at least the amount you wish to contribute to your Roth IRA every year then you are okay.

I currently work as the Business Manager for the City of Corry, Pennsylvania and my earned income from that job exceeds $6,000 per year so as long as my earned income from working or my other businesses exceeds this then I can use the funds from my rental properties to contribute to my Roth IRA.

Action Plan

As I explained above I will continue to follow my strategy of automatically investing $200 out of every pay check directly into my Vanguard Roth IRA account. Furthermore, I will continue to invest $50 every month from each rental property I own.

If I acquire another rental property then I increase my monthly contribution by another $50 and reduce the amount I contribute from my paycheck by $50. That will allow me to keep more of my paycheck funds for investments elsewhere.

Complete By:

I will complete this goal evenly throughout the year, so my final deadline will be 12/31/2020.

3. Get out of my comfort zone and begin prospecting more heavily for commercial customers for my portable self storage business.

Current status and goal background

When you read this goal it might not sound like much to you, but it is to me. I'm initiating this goal to help me drive my business, Boxit-N-Lockit, further in 2020. I consider myself to be a pretty solid natural marketer. I'm very active on social media and have grown my business successfully over the years by utilizing it. I post videos and raise awareness of my business through giveaways and shout outs. I ask customers for reviews and send out marketing material. I'm constantly promoting my business in many aspects of my life and I've experienced wonderful growth in my business by doing so.

However, I always seem to find every excuse in the book not to put my boots on the ground and get out there and kiss the babies. I'm talking cold visiting businesses and introducing myself to people in public and intentionally promoting my business. True old fashioned sales techniques that still work today, but most people hate to do, including myself. I'll be honest it's just uncomfortable to me, but I know it's still effective. Sales is simply just a numbers game and every no will get you closer to a yes.

The deeper meaning behind this goal resonates with my desire to earn more commercial business. Currently, I rent out a lot of my portable storage containers to residential customers. People needing extra storage or people on the move. That's great and I love those customers, but commercial customers are also a fantastic market that I need to break more heavily into.

Ever see a Wal-Mart or a Target with about 20 containers out back for the busy season? I have and I see it all the time and I want to be the one supplying those containers! Commercial tenants also tend to be repeat renters, rent for longer periods of time, and rent more containers when they do.

Plus, I believe if I really pursue this goal then I will flat out do more business in 2020 than I did in 2019, and I did a lot of good business in 2019.

Action Plan

I've got a lot on my plate in 2020 between my job, my business, and my investment portfolio so I'm trying to avoid setting myself up for failure. Especially in a goal that I know will be particularly hard for me.

So for this goal I'm setting the parameter that I need to do this at least once per month for the whole year. I will likely complete this goal on the weekends since that is the only time I have any "free" time at the moment.

My strategy will be to form a list of every business I can think of within a 50 mile radius and just start visiting them one by one to introduce myself and hand them a flyer or brochure about my business. I'll try to add a little more value by bringing each prospect a little something, such as a box of donuts or some other gift to help them remember me.

Complete by:

I'm looking to complete this goal by the end of the year, 12/31/2020.

4. Increase my savings rate by 10%

Current status and goal background

Over time it is extremely important to me to increase the amount I save. It should be important for you, too. It makes a huge difference over time. Even small amounts of increases can pay huge dividends down the road thanks to compounding.

Plus, if you don't intentionally increase the amount you save then you will never do it. So many people say they will start saving more when they pay off that car or they pay off their student loans, only to move on to the next financial mistake when they finally do.

The fact of the matter is American's don't save enough and I'm not going to allow that to be me.

Pay yourself first and thank yourself later.

Your expenses have no issues raising themselves every year, so make a point to increase your savings every year and therefor your income.

Action Plan

This one is pretty self explanatory. Currently I save $700 out of every pay check. I invest $400 of it into my storage business and the other $300 goes towards my Vanguard accounts. The money I earn from my storage business and from my rental properties I automatically reinvest 100% of those earnings back into themselves, so I'm not talking about that money here, just the money from my bi-weekly paycheck.

So the action plan is to increase that $700 saved every paycheck by 10% to a total of $770. I plan on putting 100% of the increase into my Vanguard accounts.

Complete by:

I will start saving the additional money with my first paycheck in 2020, however to consider this goal completed I will need to do it throughout the year. So, again the complete by date will be 12/31/2020.

5. Learn to weld

Current status and goal background

I know this goal seems like an odd one for a financial blog, however there is good reason. As I've grown my portable storage business I'm starting to break into larger 40 foot sea containers and I'm looking to add another tool and skill to my business tool belt.

I've always prided myself on having the nicest and most convenient storage units available in the area. A lot of competitors will simply buy old rusty sea containers with heavy doors on them and rent them out without any concern to the customer.

I'm not exaggerating either when I say these doors are heavy and I'm a pretty good sized guy. So how can I expect my customers to operate those doors, especially in the harsh winters we have in the North Eastern United States.

That is not my style.

In order to fix the issue and provide a higher quality product than the competition I plan to customize the 40 foot sea containers I purchase. Step one will be to make sure the containers look good. I'll paint each one in company colors and then I'll move on to step two, which will be to install a roll up door on each unit.

The advantage will be two-fold. I'll offer the customers a much better door and I'll be able to offer my customers doors on each end of the unit.

If nothing else, this is a great skill to have that gives me another option for when I leave my job one day or if my position is ever cut (I do work in local government after all).

Action Plan

I'm fortunate to have a local non-profit dedicated to education in our community called the Higher-Ed Building. They will be offering a welding course in the Spring. It's pretty intensive for a few weeks with 3 hour classes in the evenings twice each week, but it will be nice to knock it out quickly before my busy season really ramps up.

Complete by:

Since this course is offered in the Spring I'm hoping to have this goal wrapped up by the end of June, 2020.

6. Paint two shipping containers I own and install roll up doors in them and put the process on YouTube.

Current status and goal background

This goal falls right in line with the previous goal. I love all the videos on YouTube of how to customize storage containers. It's great to see such an abundant resource being used so creatively all over the place. From storage businesses to restaurants, coffee shops, and mini homes, sea containers are a great way to build something.

Action Plan

Per my previous goal I will be taking a welding course in the Spring of 2020 and I already own two shipping containers at this point. So, after I complete the welding course I will look to complete this goal by the end of Summer.

Complete by:

August 31, 2020.

7. Save $20,000

Current status and goal background

This goal aligns with my 4th goal, which was to increase my savings rate by 10% for the year. Currently as of this writing I am saving $700 out of each paycheck. $400 goes towards reinvestment into my business, Boxit-N-Lockit, and the other $300 is split between my Roth IRA and Vanguard brokerage account.

Doing the math on $700 per paycheck and twenty six paychecks during the year translates to $18,200 for the year. As you will recall from above, I am increasing that number by 10% in 2020 to $770 per paycheck, which translates to $20,020, but to allow a small buffer and to use even numbers we will call it $20,000 for the year!

Action Plan

The action plan is pretty straight forward. Out of every paycheck I will invest $770. To further break it down I will continue to invest $400 of that towards Boxit-N-Lockit and the other $370 per paycheck will be auto deposited into my Vanguard accounts.

$200 of the $370 will be earmarked for Roth IRA contributions, so that means the other $170 per paycheck will go into my brokerage account. I'll invest that money as if it will be invested forever, however I may tap into these funds if a good rental property opportunity presents itself.

You may notice that I'm not talking about savings from any of my other income sources. For example, I earn money from Boxit-N-Lockit, dividends, and my rental properties. However, unless specifically mentioned, my plan with all of those earnings is just to automatically reinvest into themselves.

So the money discussed in this goal is just specifically from my bi-weekly paychecks from my job.

Complete by:

I have to make it through the whole year to collect 26 paychecks so I'll complete this by 12/31/2020.

8. Put out at least 2 articles per month on my blog, and launch my financial education company. Also Make at least one 10 minute video each month for all of 2020 and post to YouTube

Current status and goal background

I'm like so many others. I read Gary Vee's books and got super excited and started a blog. I started to produce content and then I quit. I have no idea why and I have no good excuse. So, I'm trying to make up for lost time here.

I'm super passionate about personal finance and entrepreneurship. I've read just about every book under the sun, my degree is in Finance, I've passed two levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst Program, I started my own successful small business, I invest in the stock market, and I own rental properties so the education and the ability is there; it's just time to produce.

Action Plan

My action plan to accomplish this goal will involve writing at least 10 minutes per day. I love Microsoft One Note and that is where I track all of my daily goals and tasks anyhow, so it will be a natural extension to write there each day and then transfer the completed blogs to the website when I finish.

Complete by:




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