Happy February friends! This month has always had a soft spot in my heart because of my birthday, which is tomorrow! I'm entering my last year a twentysomething blogger, but looking back at all of the posts I have written since the blog was born on October 7th, 2008, I am thrilled with how far we've come together.
New Monthly Format
For each of the 64 months since this site was founded, I've shared my net worth detail and have gone into some of the specifics of what I've made, spent, and saved. While I'll still be tracking this and sharing some updates, the focus has moved to be more on side-income and investments, so that's what I'll be sharing more of with less focus on the net worth.
What’s Eric Up To
I'm now at six weeks living in Portland, and I am officially on my second longest stay outside of Colorado since my fifth birthday. I've been experiencing new things, meeting new people, and really do love my new city. I've also gone an entire month without getting on a plane (weird) or leaving the state.
Since I've arrived, I've bar crawled and biked around my neighborhood, toured a submarine, visited an art museum, and tried at least a dozen new beers. I'm drinking more coffee and constantly find myself surrounded by hipsters. Pretty much what I expected here!
But that's not to say I'm not planning any trips. I have plans for Santa Barbara, Denver, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Vancouver, and Denver on the calendar. Yes, that is two trips to Santa Barbara and Denver with a bachelor party and Canada honeymoon in the mix. In only four month, all of my talk about shared finances will switch from theory to practice when I get married!
I also marked an item off my life list this month. I went curling! Yes, like in the Olympics. It was awesome! (That's me in the blue sweatshirt)
This month, I made a big decision on how to position some of my big online projects going forward. You'll continue to get quality finance advice, tips, and idea just like you're used to here, but I am going to open up and share a little more personal finance at my new site: Finance Lifestyle.
So far, I've released a free Finance Lifestyle Manifesto discussing the main ideas of the new site: conquering debt, building wealth, lifehacking, traveling the world, and entrepreneurship. The manifesto is free when you join the community.
I launched the site with a post about how I've paid off my debts over the years and how one man I know owes $400 million in loans.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
- Private Ads, Freelance Work – $550
- AdSense – $18
- Affiliate Payments – $0
- Premium Plugin Sales – $0 (will be reported only when paid by Code Canyon)
- Book Sales – $0 – Buy here or Amazon (reported when paid)
- Freelance Writers – $110
- Freelance Workers ODesk – $0
- Email List – $19 (Provided by Aweber)
- Web Hosting – $21 (Money making sites hosted with LiquidWeb, others with Hostgator – both paid annually)
I was well below my $1,000 revenue goal for the second month in a row, but I'm still solidly profitable. I'm changing up my content generation strategy a bit and will be bringing in more voices on this site.
I created a new WordPress plugin a couple months back to solve a problem I had. I was trying to convert from the Thesis Theme to Genesis (did you notice?) and couldn’t move my Thesis post images as expected. My new plugin takes care of that and is available for $10, of which I get $6 per sale.
Denver Flash Mob – Flash Mob Consulting and Planning
As part of the move to Portland, I was planning to sell Denver Flash Mob. The two serious discussions I had fell through, so I found a local manager to handle things in Denver and I’m handling the communications and promotions from Portland. We’ll see how this goes over the next couple of months as things kick back up.
I have one mob planned and locked in and a couple in the planning stages.
At the end of the year, I made a transfer to max out my Roth IRA for 2013. You can still make Roth IRA investments for 2013 for a couple of months, so it isn’t too late. I suggest all young professionals max out their Roth IRA each year ($5,500 maximum for 2013).
After rolling over my 401(k), I re-balanced my Rollover IRA portfolio to be more focused on the low-fee Vanguard funds I prefer. Even though the market has been on a bad streak for a couple of weeks, investing in the stock market over time has always led to great returns. When the markets are down, you have the best opportunity to pick up stocks at a discount! I'm keeping going strong with automatic investing in my retirement accounts.
The best tool I have found to help me keep my portfolio balanced is Personal Capital. 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.
Outside of the stock market, my net annual returns at Lending Club are 12.56% and I have no plans to withdraw a cent in the near future. I currently have 46 active loans, 0 in funding, and 22 fully paid. Last month I had one loan past due, which I sold on the secondary market for a discount. I have earned $180 in interest, so even if one loan goes bad I’m still doing great.
Now that one month of 2014 is behind me, I've begun compiling my tax information for 2013. I have used an accountant since I was 16 years old, but I'm interested in how you file your taxes. Do you use an accountant or software? Please share in the comments.