Hello from sunny Santa Barbara! I’m writing this post just steps from the beach. My wife and I are winding down our travel in preparation for our first child, so we took a short weekend away to visit family and the beach!
What I’m Up To
I spent the last three weeks in Portland with no out-of-state travel, and we had a nice time just relaxing at home. With the
global warming heat wave going on in Portland right now, it has been hard to get outside much. We did take a day trip to the Oregon Coast a couple weekends ago where we visited the Tillamook Cheese factory, Rockaway Beach, and Manzanita Beach. All fun stops!
A month ago, we had air conditioning installed. We used Yelp to find a few top choices and talked to the them to pick a top choice. We also spoke to some local friends about it, and ended up using a suggested company that charged far less than any of the companies we found on Yelp. It still cost quite a bit, but it is nice to save a couple thousand dollars. I call that a #personalprofitabilitybigwin.
I’ve also recently decided to get my private pilot’s license. I had my first lesson last month as an awesome birthday present, and just had my first ground lesson (it was too cloudy to fly) while in Santa Barbara. I plan to start taking lessons in Portland in the coming weeks, but it is an expensive endeavor. I estimate the cost will be between $7,000-$10,000 on the low end. That’s why I work so hard, so I can do amazing things like this.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
I have a goal this year of $40,000 in online income, a big increase year over year. This year has been marked with some outstanding months and some slower months. I am on track to at least match what I made last year, but hitting the $40,000 revenue mark might be a stretch.
I am spending more on outsourced labor than I had before, which is helping me free up time for my incoming baby and other projects. I am hoping that the new help will increase my productivity and income overall and more than pay for itself.
Here’s how things panned out for my online income:
Revenue – Goal: $40,000 in 2015 ($3,333 monthly average).
- Freelance Writing – $1,370
- Web Design & Support Earnings – $1,370
- Affiliate Payments – $153
- Advertising & Partnerships – $325
- Product Sales – $2 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon, eBook here or Amazon)
- Email List – $19 (Provided by Aweber)
- Web Hosting – $13 ($8.33 per month for MediaTemple and $5 per month for Hostgator – both paid annually)
- Podcast Hosting – $12 ($12 per month for Blubrry Podcast Hosting)
- Outsourced Workers – $187
- Domain Fees – $14
- Conferences & Events – $0
- Computers & Software – $109
- Misc – $0
Total Revenue: $2,975, Total Expenses: $354, Total Profit Before Tax: $2,621
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 a great job so far as the Chief Operating Officer / Chief Mob Officer. This month we did a couple of events, both of which were pre-paid in prior months.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $0 (includes pre-payments)
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $200
- PayPal Fees – $0
- Website Expenses – $0
- Business Registration – $0
Total Revenue: $0, Total Expenses: $200, Total Profit Before Tax: $-200 (all July events were pre-paid in prior months)
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. Each time I hit enough for a new stock purchase, I move the funds right to my investment account.
- Total Savings Since Joining: $1,475
- Number of Transfers: 68
- Average Transfer Size: $22
If you’re interested, sign up for Digit here.
My automatic investing in my retirement accounts has been going along as planned. It is nice to see so much cash going into our savings for the future. I have been debating funneling some money into a regular taxable account that could support early retirement, but for now this is the setup I’m sticking with:
- 401(k) Contribution – 6% automatic from paycheck
- 401(k) Match – 3% automatic by employer
- Roth IRA – $5,500 of $5,500 max for 2015 – Made maximum contribution on February 13 from savings
- Roth IRA (Spouse) – $0 of $5,500 max for 2015
- Employer Stock Purchase Plan – 3% with 15% discount on market stock price
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 recently joined their writing team.
Individual Stock Portfolio
For most people, buying individual stocks is not the best way to invest. It is much smarter to just get a low fee S&P 500 index fund and wait it out. But I have extra education in investments and I’m always trying to beat the market. Here is my current list of all individual stock holdings. Over Q122015 , my portfolio gained 8.69% vs. the S&P 500 1.41%. No thanks to WYNN, but I’ll take it!
Whenever I save up an extra $1,000, I transfer it into my investment account. I just moved over $1,000, and I’m deciding between a stock an a REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust.
- AMZN – Amazon.com
- BLK – Blackrock
- BA – Boeing
- CSCO – Cisco Systems Inc
- GE – General Electric
- JPM – JP Morgan Chase
- KR – Kroger
- PM – Phillip Morris International
- SBUX – Starbucks
- TEVA – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ADR
- WMT – Walmart
- WYNN – Wynn Resorts
- Company stock from ESPP
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.
My Favorite Investment Analysis Tool
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 continues to reach new highs and there seems to be little getting in the way of more growth ahead. There are always bad days, but over the long run the stock market has always gone up. If you are new to investing be sure to check out my in depth guide to the stock market to get started with investing.
After my first defaults, my Lending Club account is still chugging along making over 9% interest on my investment. My current adjusted annual return is 9.9%, a much better performance than any bank account and most investments. I have earned $395 in interest, so even with my losses and the potential on the horizon, I am still way up overall. Including cash, my adjusted account value is $1,101.
My Notes at a Glance:
- Not Yet Issued – 1
- Issued & Current – 57
- In Grace Period – 1
- Fully Paid – 39
- Late 16-30 Days – 0
- Late 31-120 Days – 1
- Default – 0
- Charged Off – 5