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2020 Review: A Weird But Successful Year?

Last Updated on January 21, 2021 by Mr. FightToFIRE

With 2020 over, a review of not only my portfolio but also the milestones I set myself is in order. Throughout 2020, I updated my milestones, but now it’s time to hold them against the light and see which milestones I reached in the end.

This post contains affiliate links to products I bought or used.

In 2020 a number of things happened that had a large impact on my goals.

First, we went to visit my wife’s family in her home country at the end of January. This was right before the pandemic broke out in full swing so we got very lucky. During this trip, I took the opportunity to propose to her at sunset in the desert. This was not foreseen when I did my Milestones for 2020, that’s for sure!

Like I said earlier, we got lucky because as we took the plane back home the first signs that this coronavirus was about to become pervasive surfaced. Lo and behold, a month later, in March, the Belgian Lockdown was a fact. It brought life as we knew it to a complete halt.

Financial milestones

SUCCESS - 10,000 EUR Portfolio Deposits

Surprised. If I had to put it in one word how I felt when I received the inheritance from my grandmother. After her passing, she made sure her grandchildren all received something. That something was a life insurance divided over her 8 grandchildren. In absolute figures, each of us received ~27K EUR.

You probably won’t find it hard to imagine then, that instead of the planned 10,000 EUR, I deposited 15,000 EUR into my personal LYNX investment portfolio.

FAILED - Average Savings Rate

I’ve been working from home since mid-March. Ever since then I haven’t been to the office. You’d think I would be able to save a great deal by not going anywhere, especially since I literally couldn’t go anywhere for several months due to the lockdown. You’d be wrong.

Now, that isn’t to say I didn’t have some spectacular months -in particular, May because of the inheritance- but I had more sub-50% savings rates. Adding all of my Savings Rates up gives me an average Savings Rate of 45.59% in 2020.

FAILED - Dividend payout

A pandemic leaves a lasting impact. Because it put life on hold for most of us, it also left many companies with a serious headache. Some companies, such as my employer, could make everyone work from home. Other companies, like those in the entertainment sector, had less flexibility. This duality also shows in my dividend payments.

While I have stocks that kept paying dividends (real estate specifically remained consistent), Kinepolis scrapped their dividend for the unforeseen future. Finally, there were those that lowered it. As a result, I also missed my target for the dividend payout. I stranded on 328,19 EUR for 2020; 71.81 EUR away from my target of 400 EUR. Lets do better in 2021!

My personal milestones

Unlike last year now also my personal milestones had some success!

SUCCESS - Learning Spanish

I subscribed and started my first Spanish classes! I had classes every Monday evening for 3 hours till December. On the 18th of January 2021, I have exams. This will determine if I can continue to the next level or not.

The aim is to go to the next level, but to be honest, together with the baby that is coming, the moving to my grandmother’s place, this blog, and work, it’s hard to find the time to also learn Spanish, even with a Spanish speaking partner. I’m determined to make it work nonetheless. Wish me luck on the 18th!

Guy reading a book in the library, something I didn't do.
This is what I didn't do during the year, reading books!

FAILED - Reading 4 books

Eventhough I started reading 2 books:

  • The Common Sense on Mutual Funds
  • Your Money or Your Life

I didn’t finish either. That’s anything but amazing, I know.
My intentions were good though! But that doesn’t mean anything now at the end of the year. I have nothing to show for it. So what’s next?

Just like last year, I won’t give in. I actually made progress. I’m halfway through Your Money or Your Life, so I need to keep pushing and overcoming my procrastination.

Next up: a detailed look at my financial progress in 2020

While I have covered my 2020financial and personal milestones, I didn’t go into the nitty-gritty of my finances, specifically, I didn’t cover my personal portfolio nor the other funds I hold over different banks and brokers.

Rest assured, that is coming still this month so pay attention to your mailbox. Oh, you aren’t subscribed yet?

What about you? Did you start what said you would do at the beginning of the year? Did anything come from those lofty New Year’s resolutions or is there just a pile of smoldering ash left from what was once a passionate fire?

I'm a developer for a major financial institution in Belgium that is present in over 40 countries. I have over 8 years of working experience in the development of customer applications focussing on all aspects of banking. This helped me gain a deep understanding of the inner workings of a commercial bank. All of this experience in both banking and life culminates in this blog about personal finance and my fight towards FIRE.

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