My financial goals for 2017

In my professional life I’m a big believer in having clear objectives.  I want these objectives to be SMART – i.e. measurable, timely, relevant and so forth.  I first practised what I preach on my investing side last year, and found the exercise helpful but flawed.  So I’ve been pondering what goals to work towards this year.

Last year’s goals: no longer useful

My three goals last year (debt reduction, sticking to my target asset allocation, income) reflected the major change I made to my portfolio in January 2016.  I had taken on significant debt, which I wanted to know I could control.  I had shrunk and restructured my portfolio, and wanted to know it could generate a certain level of income.  And asset allocation is probably the single most important aspect of managing my (any?) portfolio so that needed to be in there too.

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My performance in Jan ’17 – Trumping begins

What a month.  First of all we get Theresa May’s Brexit 12 point plan, a.k.a. rebranding Great Britain as Global Britain (despite its lack of resonance with voters). Next we get the Trump inauguration.   Then we get Trump’s hyperactive first two weeks.  Never mind the hackneyed First 100 days of a new POTUS – Trump has done more damage to the USA’s overseas reputation less than 14 days into the job than Bush / Obama / etc managed in their first year.

Amidst all this the equity and bond markets have struggled to form a view.  USA equities are up a bit, UK bonds are down a bit, not much else to report.  Phew.

The USD has fallen a bit, thanks to concerted talking down by Trump and his putative administration.  They are accusing China of being a currency manipulator (which appears to be broadly true, albeit in the opposite direction to their claims), Germany of being an EU hegemon and currency abuser (for which there are quite good arguments, so I watch this meme with interest) and Mexico of, well, I’m not even going to go there.

For some reason the AUD has risen against the pound.  I’m not sure why. Combined with the USD fall this is quite a big shift in the terms of trade between Australia and the USA.

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