Three… Two… One… Happy New Year! I hope your 2016 is off to an amazing start so far, and that you're on track for your best year yet. Here's how things shook out for my December, and a taste of what I'm working on for the year ahead.
My record time without travel since September has stretched on for another month. While I'm always bummed to be in the same place for too long, this time we have a good excuse. My little girl is now two months old, and she is getting cuter by the day, which admittedly is difficult.
On a fun personal note, that last trip was to FinCon, the annual conference for financial bloggers. That was also the last day I shaved. I'm not sure my three-month-old beard will make it to February – I have a business trip planned mid-January and may shave before taking off.
Thanks to our wonderful Portland winter weather, I am enjoying the rain but very little flight time. I'm slowly moving forward, but not as quickly as before the rain settled in for the season.
Over the last week, I've been very unproductive thanks to an injured computer. Things are working again, but not as well as before. A word to the wise, always have good backups. My backups saved my butt this time. I decided to double up after this scare, and now I'm doing both a local and a cloud backupgoing forward.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Online Income Projects
The year is done. Now we can see how my final revenue ended up for the year. I started with a $40,000 goal, which I knew would be a bit of stretch. Prior year revenue was $28,000.
I set a minimum goal of $30,000, and a stretch goal of $40,000. That is a 30% increase, so I knew it would be tough to hit.
I'm excited to share that I ended up at $39,263.67. Being less than $800 away, I'm going to call it a pass. I made it!
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 with all of my online income histories since I began tracking monthly.
Here's how the final month of the year worked out. This month I updated the reporting method to match my Quickbooks accounting.
Revenue – Goal: $40,000 in 2015 ($3,333 monthly average).
- Advertising Income (Affiliate + Direct) – $387
- Freelance Income (Website Support & Freelance Writing – $4,741
- Product Sales – $1 (Thesis Post Image Converter, eBook here or Amazon)
- Computer and Website Expense – $187 (Includes ConvertKit Email, LiquidWeb, and Hostgator)
- Continuing Education – $316
- Meals & Entertainment – $19
- Outsourced Labor – $281
- Telecom – $57
- Travel – $833
Total Revenue: $5,119, Total Expenses: $1,819, Total Profit Before Tax: $3,300
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.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $295 (includes pre-payments)
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $150 (inclues payment for pre-paid events)
- PayPal Fees – $9
- Website Expenses – $0
- Business Registration – $0
Total Revenue: $295, Total Expenses: $159, Total Profit Before Tax: $136
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: $3,007
- Number of Transfers: 124
- 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
- Roth IRA (Spouse) – $5,500 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.
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 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.
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.
I have seen a big step up in my default rate, but my Lending Club account is still chugging along making over 8% interest on my investment. My current adjusted annual return is 8.82%, a much better performance than any bank account and most investments. I have earned $457 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 $1,108.
My Notes at a Glance:
- Not Yet Issued – 0
- Issued & Current – 52
- In Grace Period – 1
- Fully Paid – 44
- Late 16-30 Days – 0
- Late 31-120 Days – 2
- Default – 0
- Charged Off – 7