Here we are again, my third look ahead. When I look back at 2020 it shows us humans are terrible at predicting the future. Raise your hands if you foresaw a global pandemic! In 2021we must continue to manage the coronavirus but at least there is light at the end of the tunnel in the form of a vaccine. So how do I see 2021? Like last year I want to cover different topics: my income and expenses, my savings rate, personal goals, and finally new this year, blog targets.
Let me start with income and expenses. The two components needed to calculate my savings rate and that are the foundations to reach FIRE.
My salary in 2020 didn’t really change as there was no raise which means I currently have 5200 EUR gross or 2,800 EUR net. While it would be nice, I don’t expect a raise this year either besides indexation. What will change is a tax deduction I will receive because my wife doesn’t have an income.
After marriage, and depending on the income of your partner, a so called marriage quotient is applied. this basically means that while my gross salary doesn’t increase my net does.
The marriage quotient is applied when one married or legally cohabiting partner has little or no professional income. In this case, for the tax calculation, the lowest income is supplemented to a maximum of 30% of the total professional income of the family.
In other words, a deduction. What this means for my specific situation is an increase of about 350-390 EUR per month. (Figures for 2020, indexation for 2021 not yet known).
Adding this increase to my salary results in 3,100 – 3,200 EUR net if I include my on-call bonus of ~250 EUR.
With no major changes, my main total yearly income should be 3,100 EUR x 12 = 37,200 EUR to 3,200 EUR x 12 = 38,400 EUR.
Monthly Savings Rate evolution
With both the income and expense side estimated, it’s easy to guesstimate my average Savings Rate (SR) for the coming year.
With a range for both my expected income and expenses I have the following table for my SR:
|Savings Rate range||Income|
The expected average SR for 2020 is thus between 53.125% and 35.48%. Good. I’d say this is a more realistic range than the last two years. To be honest, I still want to aim for 50% on average for 2021 knowing full well, there will be a few “surprise” expenses over the course of 2021 thanks to the baby (think stroller, crib, etc) even with hand-me-downs from parents.
My stretched ambition is to strive for at least two Savings Rates of at least 75%. With the baby and the move to a bigger place, I’ll be surprised if I can get more than two months. Probably the month of April where I get my profit participation and June where I will get my holiday pay. Anything else will be a nice extra.
Saving and investment goals
If it’s possible to adhere to my self-imposed SR, I should be able to save some cash per month.
In 2020 I put aside a record-breaking 25K EUR in my Savings Accounts to be covered in case something serious happens with my apartment. 2021 brings a new challenge: a baby. She will bring a whole list of new expenses and since I whole-heartedly want to save for our little girl ( 😉 ) the moment she is born it’s tricky to make a good estimate on how much I will be able to invest in the stock market.
Based on the earlier estimated Savings Rate range of 35.48% to 53.125%, I can expect to hoard 13,200 EUR to 20,400 EUR of cash. Thanks to compounding interest even a small amount -saved for our daughter- will grow to a huge mountain by the time she is ~21 years old. Knowing this, I aim to save 3,200 EUR to 5,000 EUR for my daughter and 10,000 EUR to 15,400 EUR for my own portfolio.
New for this year are my blogging goals. I have received some questions in the past and to accommodate that, I will provide a small overview of my 2020 blogging stats to help determine my goals for 2021.
How many pages did I publish?
First of all, how many posts did I actually write that you could read and visit? I originally aimed for 2 posts every week but I usually ended up falling a bit short of that target and only posted 5 posts per month. In the end, I published 57 posts in 2020.
How many of you reached me in 2020?
A whopping 33,000(!) people considered one of my posts interesting enough to click and read it.
The blog also appeared ~0.72 million times in a Google search results.
I also appeared in Google Discover for the first time:
These are amazing results and a good motivator to keep going at it in 2021.
What are the top 3 pages these clicks went to?
Google Search Results
My top 3 clicked links are:
- 24 best European dividend stocks 2020 – 16,637 clicks
- How to Buy US ETF in Europe with PRIIPs ETF Regulation? – 5,081 clicks
- Wrong Payment!? A quick Guide To Get Your Money Back – 1,288 clicks
Note that the top 2 got their title changed and received an update at the end of 2020. Keeping your posts up-to-date really does a lot.
When it comes to Google Discover …
I’m not really sure what to think of that. The top three pages there were:
- Paying too much taxes my Belgian pay-slip explained – 773 clicks
- Money can’t buy happiness but saving helps – 165 clicks
- Frugal with a twist – 60 clicks
But what’s most peculiar, is where these clicks came from:
For the love of God, I cannot find a good reason why my posts reached Google Discover in for example Ghana. If you can think of a reason, please leave a comment.
What did my visitors do on my blog?
|Average time on page||1 m 40 s|
|Percent of Returning Users||11.07%|
|Pages / session||1.92|
Blogging goals for 2021
All of the above metrics are there for a reason, it will be those that I aim to improve in 2021. Besides those, I also have a few broader goals for my blog. Since it’s quite the list, let me put it all together in an easy to read table:
|Description/metric||2020 result||2021 target|
|Create a Logo|
|Write guest articles on other blogs||1||5|
|Have guest writers on my blogs||0||5|
|Average time on page||1 m 40 s||1 m 50 s|
|Percent of Returning Users||11.07%||13%|
|Pages / session||1.92||1.95|
As you can read, I have to make quite a few assumptions. This is only natural since nobody can predict the future. 2020 made that abundantly clear once again.
However, this shouldn’t prevent me from trying to reach my targets. I don’t think I have made it myself easy nor impossible given what I expect to come out of 2021.
Based on what I’ve written down here, I will update my milestones next.