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April 2016 Earnings and Investments Update

This is my last week working full-time for someone else! Friday is my last day with my day job, and I’ll be working online full-time starting next week! Here’s how my last month of dual employment went, and what I have planned for the near future.

April Earnings and Investments -

What I’m Up To

The saying goes, when it rains, it pours. I was feeling a little antsy lately, and business has come back in full force. Over the last few weeks, we took a two-week road trip scouting homes in California (we decided our new home will be Ventura, CA), I worked on the beach, we came back to Portland where we sold our house, I’ve been scrambling to finish my pilot’s license, and we are getting ready for several trips and a big move. No boring days at the Rosenberg house these days, that’s for sure!

Preparing to Move and Go Full-Time Online

Last month, and in a recent podcast episode, I shared that I gave notice at my full-time day job and will be moving to California and working for myself full-time online doing freelance writing, website design and support, and of course running this site. I am revved up and ready to go with self employment. I didn’t bring in quite as much online income last month as I had hoped, but I was still working two jobs at the same time, so I am not too concerned about the outlook at this point.

We listed our home with RedFin, a technology based real estate agency that lets you sell a home for 4%, rather than the traditional 6% fee. For our home, that saved us a whopping $11,000! If I had any doubt about going with RedFin, it was quickly erased when our home sold three days after listing with an all cash offer at asking price! And, our home sold for about 20% more than we paid for it 15 months ago! BIG WIN, BIG WIN, BIG WIN!

With that, we will be departing Portland by April 20th for our new home in California, which we have not exactly found yet. I am lucky to have amazing in-laws that I enjoy spending time with and are willing to let us crash at their place for a little while as we search for a home in Ventura. Our living expenses will be going up in California, so I have to get to work quickly adding even more clients so we can afford to live there!

Travels and Adventures

Since a month before my daughter was born in October, I have been on a travel break other than a quick work trip to Atlanta and the road trip to California. That is all about to change. Here is what we have coming up in the next few months:

Pilot License – I finished my required flight hours last week, passed my written exam yesterday, and all that is left is passing my check ride, which I plan to do on Friday evening. With that, I’ll be a licensed pilot!

Florida trip – On Saturday bright and early, we are taking our baby girl on her first plane ride. It is a long trip from PDX to Tampa, but we are excited to spend the week in Sarasota celebrating my mother’s birthday, and are adding in a day at Disney World to make it extra fun. Thanks to the Southwest Companion Pass and miles, our flights cost $11.20 each for me and my wife round-trip, and my 5 month old daughter flies free.

Moving to California – Our house is on the way to being packed up, which is important because we only have a few days back in Portland before the moving truck comes to get our stuff. We plan to take a couple of days to drive down this time, so we can enjoy fun stops along the way. We are thinking of adding in stops around Bend or Crater Lake in Oregon, somewhere in the beautiful natural wonders around Mount Shasta and Lake Shasta in California, or skipping that and driving down the coast for some or all of our trip from Northern Oregon to Southern California.

London/Paris trip – We will have about a week in California before our next adventure, a two-week trip to Europe! We used miles to book an open jaw flight nonstop LAX-LHR, then we will spend a full week in my favorite cosmopolitan city. We’ll take the Chunnel train to Paris and spend a few days there before flying back CDG-BOS-LAX. The cost for our flights was $87 each round trip, our luxury Marriott hotel in Paris cost less than €15, and we are working on a combination of free nights and Airbnb for London. Want to know how we are flying to Europe for $43.50 each way and got a €450 per night room for €5? Check out my mega guide to travel hacking.

Aspen/Chicago – After a month back in California, we will take a family vacation to Aspen for the 4th of July week. When the family heads home, I’ll be off to Chicago for about five days for the Podcast Movement conference and a little R&R with friends in the area.

FinCon – This year, FinCon is in sunny San Diego, California. I’ll be driving (or taking the train) down from my new home in Ventura. It is only about four hours away. I have one free ticket to give away to a first time attendee. If you forward me a plane reservation or hotel reservation showing that you are going to be at FinCon and have never attended before, your ticket is covered!

Business Update

Moving states and going from part-time to full-time, it is time to change how my business is structured. Until now, I have always operated as an LLC, where the business taxes show up on my personal tax return. I have decided to switch to an S-Corp and will register in California. In the past, I did everything myself to save money, but this time around it is much more complicated, so I decided to give LegalZoom a try.

Making over about $40,000 per year, an S-Corp has financial benefits over an LLC. As an LLC, every dollar I earn is subject to the dreaded “self-employment tax.” With an S-Corp, the business will pay me a salary, which is taxed similarly to earnings with self-employment tax. Over that salary, the business will pay owner dividends which are taxed at a lower rate. My friend Sam at Financial Samurai wrote a great post explaining more about how this works.

Project Updates

At Money Mola, my new family and friends lending business, we are getting back into high gear getting our production site live. We have two major hurdles left before we are open for business. We decided to switch from Asana to Trello, because my co-founder uses it more. I’m happy with it so far. For my other projects, I am still using Asana.

In the last month, my PHP learning has slowed down with all of the other business. I still have more work to do, but a working version of Kosher Fish is live and working. So far ads on have brought in under a dollar. Not much, but it’s a start. Even Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg earned their first dollar somewhere!

Because it is my primary income source starting on Saturday, freelance writing is getting the majority of my attention for the time being.

APRIL 2016 Earnings and Investments

Side Business Income

Narrow Bridge Media – All Online Income Projects

Personal Profitability Project

My online income tracker shows my entire history of online income since I began tracking, and it shows how volatile freelance work can be, particularly when doing it part-time. I update the page monthly when I remember with all of my online income histories since I began tracking monthly.

I set a revenue goal of $52,000 this year for my online businesses. That is $1,000 per week. Let’s take a look at February to see how I did. I used to build this report manually each month, but now use my QuickBooks report center for monthly updates. These categories match my business accounting structure.

Revenue – Goal: $52,000 in 2015 ($1,000 per week average).

  • Advertising Income (Affiliate + Direct) – $172
  • Freelance Income (Website Support & Freelance Writing – $2,995
  • Product Sales – $0 (Thesis Post Image Converter, eBook here or Amazon)


  • Computer and Website Expense – $233(Includes ConvertKit email service, GoDaddy and other registration fees, and BigScoots hosting)
  • Legal Services – $593
  • Outsourced Labor – $195
  • Telecom – $57
  • Continuing Education – $0
  • Meals & Entertainment – $0
  • Travel – $0

Total Revenue: $2,903 Total Expenses: $1,074, Total Profit Before Tax: $1,829

This was a very weird work month for me, doing the day job and freelance work remote, traveling a lot, and packing up the house and finishing my pilot license. It’s time to get things in super high gear! I need to make enough to live on, and $1,829 before taxes is not livable where we want to live in California. I’m not too worried though, since I am still in the transition period.

If you are new here and want to see more history, check out my earnings by month since 2012 at my online income tracker.

Denver Flash Mob – Flash Mob Consulting and Planning

My wife has officially taken over duties running Denver Flash Mob, which is giving me more time to work on freelance projects and this website. She’s doing an excellent job so far as the Chief Operating Officer / Chief Mob Officer. We have run into some schedule issues being remote owners, but we’ve been working through them. Not much happened in the last few months, but we always have an uptick in the spring.



  • Outsourced Workers – $0 (includes payment for pre-paid events)
  • PayPal Fees – $0
  • Website Expenses – $0
  • Business Registration – $0

Total Revenue: $0, Total Expenses: $0, Total Profit Before Tax: $0

Automatic Savings

A few months back I signed up for Digit, and automated savings account that you manage via text message. Here is how my savings have added up with zero work on my part. The more I use it, the more I love it for how easy it is to use. With the demise of my 401(k), I may use this as my new saving source for our Roth IRAs.

  • Total Savings Since Joining: $4,081.04
  • Number of Transfers: 159
  • Average Transfer Size: $26

If you’re interested, sign up for Digit here.



If you have a full-time job and can get a 401(k) match, always take advantage. Since I am moving to the world of self-employment, my retirement savings are changing a lot. Here is a snapshot of my long-time automatic investing in my retirement accounts.

I am temporarily pausing retirement account contributions while we save up a bigger nest egg and the business income grows.

If you have an opportunity to get any employer match, make sure you are taking 100% of that, or you are leaving free money on the table. If you have any old 401(k) plans from former employers, make sure to roll them over into an IRA where you can save on fees.

If you are not sure where to start with retirement investing, be sure to check out Betterment as an option. I have been a customer myself and love the ease of use of their product. I’m also a member of their writing team.

Individual Stock Portfolio

While I think most people are better off investing in low-cost funds or through a service like Betterment, I have a lot of financial education and do my best to make what I can in the stock market. I’m not perfect, but I’ve done pretty well. If you want to learn more about investing, check out my complete beginner guide to the stock market.

I have my individual stock portfolio details below. In addition, I have (much more sizeable) investments in diversified funds for retirement and a holding of my full-time employer company stock in an employee stock purchase plan account. Last month, I picked up a few oil stock while they are way down. This is the “buy low” part of “buy low, sell high.”

April Portfolio Update

In addition to Charles Schwab, I have an account at Loyal3. Loyal3 offers 100% fee free trades and the ability to participate in IPOs, also with no trade fees. Here is a post all about how Loyal3 works.

If I did not have such great benefits from Schwab, I would seriously consider moving my primary investment account to TradeKing. I met their team at this year, and their product has grown to be a top-notch investment account offering. And trades are less than $5!

My Favorite Investment Analysis Tool – It’s Free!

The best tool I have found to help me keep my portfolio balanced is Empower. The site helps me track and manage my bank accounts and credit cards too, but the site has helped me save hundreds of dollars per year by showing which investments are charging the biggest fees and how to balance my portfolio for my goals and risk tolerance. The site is completely free.

The stock market has taken a beating so far this year, but that doesn’t mean all is bad. The stock market moves in cycles, and time and again we see that timing the market doesn’t work. Instead, remember to focus your investments on the long-term return. If you are new to investing be sure to check out my in-depth guide to the stock market to get started with investing.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

After a multi-year amazing run with no defaults in my Lending Club account, I have been disappointed to see more losses lately. Even taking out past due notes, my net annualized return is still an impressive 9.11% return on my investment. This is much better performance than any bank account and most investments. I have earned $488 in interest, so even with my losses and the potentials on the horizon, I am still way up overall. Including cash, my adjusted account value is $1,136. Because of recent losses, I have been holding onto the cash in my account while deciding on a new plan. I am looking at an investment management service just for Lending Club, and will share it with all of you if I decide to give it a go.

My Notes at a Glance:

  • Not Yet Issued – 0
  • Issued & Current – 41
  • In Grace Period – 1
  • Fully Paid – 52
  • Late 16-30 Days – 0
  • Late 31-120 Days – 3
  • Default – 0
  • Charged Off – 9

If you want to know exactly how I make consistent returns with Lending Club, check out my in-depth guide to making money with Lending Club.

8 thoughts on “April 2016 Earnings and Investments Update”

  1. Wow Eric, things are really moving quickly in your life, with lots going on!

    Congrats on selling the house so quickly and for a nice profit! The Portland area is really on fire when it comes to real estate. All cash offer, wow! What area were you in again? We bought in Vancouver, WA in Oct 2014 and we are up 11% just across the river so we aren’t doing too bad over here either.

    Totally agree on RedFin. We bought our last two houses using RedFin. I found it to be the best, most up-to-date real estate app/website out there. Love it. I actually used one of their buyer’s agents but didn’t have a good experience and moved to someone else.

    Having spent most of my life in California, it will be interesting to see how you like it. I look forward to reports. After living in PNW, I could never go back.

    Good luck in all your travels.

    1. Hi Mike! This real estate market has been crazy over the last couple of years. Without making as much as we did on the house, buying in California would be a real stretch. With the extra cash in hand when we leave, things will be much easier while transitioning.

      RedFin is a unique real estate experience, but one that they seem to have down pretty well. With so much savings, it is a no brainier after the experience we had. I regularly wonder if I am crazy moving somewhere so expensive, but there are big perks to living near family. And you can’t beat the weather (or proximity to the beach).

      Great things ahead! Thanks!

  2. hollyatclubthrifty

    Congrats on your last few weeks working as an employee! It’s all up from here!

  3. Great job with your house. Next time we sell, we’ll check Redfin first. Nice saving. Great job with your earning as well. You’re off to a great start. Good luck with the pilot license.

    1. Thanks Joe! Life is a whirlwind right now, but we definitely did well with Portland real estate. I hope to see you at dinner before we take off for California!

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