December 2015 Earnings and Investments Update

December 2015 Earnings and Investments Update

With a month of fatherhood under my belt, I’m clearly an expert, err, getting the hang of it, umm, have kept my daughter alive. Even with the cost of a whole bunch of diapers, our net worth is on the way up and I had great online income. Here’s how the cookie crumbled in November.

December 2015 Earnings and Investments Update

What I’m Up To

I have not taken a trip since September, which may be the longest I’ve gone without a trip in the last five years. But when I get home at the end of the day, I have a wonderful little girl waiting for me, and it is all worth it. Still no travel plans for now, but we have had plenty of visitors come out to see us here in Portland.

I’ve been getting back into my flight lessons with a weekly flight (I’ve gone on my first solo cross country (50 mile+ flight) and last weekend I did a local solo and flew over my house (and waived to my wife).

Overall, though, I’ve mostly just hanging out with the family. No complaints there.

Side Business Income

Narrow Bridge Media – All Online Income Projects

Personal Profitability Project

Down to the last month of the year, it doesn’t look like I’ll quite make my $40,000 goal, but I’ll be pretty darn close. I’m busting my butt this month to see what can happen!

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

Revenue – Goal: $40,000 in 2015 ($3,333 monthly average).

  • Freelance Writing – $1,900
  • Web Design & Support Earnings – $145
  • Affiliate Payments – $243
  • Advertising & Partnerships – $2,644
  • Product Sales – $43 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon, eBook here or Amazon)


Recurring Costs

Monthly Costs

  • Outsourced Workers – $201
  • Domain Fees – $18
  • Conferences & Events – $16
  • Office Computers & Software – $0
  • Misc – $230

Total Revenue: $4,975, Total Expenses: $500, Total Profit Before Tax: $4,475

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.



  • Outsourced Workers – $250 (for pre-paid events)
  • PayPal Fees – $0
  • Website Expenses – $0
  • Business Registration – $0

Total Revenue: $302, Total Expenses: $0, Total Profit Before Tax: $302

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. Each time I hit enough for a new stock purchase, I move the funds right to my investment account.

  • Total Savings Since Joining: $2,717
  • Number of Transfers: 114
  • Average Transfer Size: $24

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

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.

Charles Schwab Portfolio 12-05-2015

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 FinCon, 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 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.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

I have seen a big step up in my default rate, but my Lending Club account is still chugging along making over 9% interest on my investment. My current adjusted annual return is 9.22%, a much better performance than any bank account and most investments. I have earned $448 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 $1,114.

My Notes at a Glance:

  • Not Yet Issued – 0
  • Issued & Current – 53
  • In Grace Period – 2
  • Fully Paid – 43
  • Late 16-30 Days – 0
  • Late 31-120 Days – 1
  • Default – 1
  • Charged Off – 6

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.

2 thoughts on “December 2015 Earnings and Investments Update”

  1. Nice work, Eric! And, hey, falling slightly short of $40K in side income is still pretty damn awesome. I’m still navigating the waters of side income. And very little of it is passive at the moment. But I’m happy for the work!

    1. Thanks Kate. The year isn’t over for another three weeks. There’s still time for a last-minute burst of revenue! You’re right on the big picture. If I miss $40,000, but only by a few thousand, it was still a tremendous year for online income for me!

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