I'm an uncle! That is two big months in a row! Married in May, uncle in June. I think I might take it easy on family changes this month.
What’s Eric Up To
I spent last weekend in Santa Barbara meeting my new (week old) nephew. I may be biased, but oh boy is he cute! I totally love that little bundle of joy. This is my first time being an uncle, so it is new and exciting! Lots of fun ahead. And I will take my role as his personal finance teacher happily.
I flew from PDX-LAX using Southwest miles and brought Mrs. NBF home with me using my Southwest companion pass. The total cost for my round-trip and her one-way was about $15 out of pocket. Not too bad for a quick weekend away.
Summer is also going into full swing here in Portland. They told me when I arrived that summer really begins 4th of July weekend, so I'm excited for lots of sunshine and bike rides ahead.
Selling Sold My Condo
My condo closed right on schedule on May 28th, and I am now 100% debt free in every way. No credit cards, no student loans, no car loan, and no mortgage. We are now back to the simple days of just renting, but we love where we live and the move was great for us.
We are thinking about a few options for when our lease ends in December. We are considering staying put in our rental or buying a new house in Portland (link to an interview about buying a new home at Learnvest). We are not rushing to decide what to do next, but if we don’t buy we will almost certainly stay in our rental for another year.
We have been doing a bit of research on the market here. We've seen houses we love that are out of our price range and too far from restaurants and shops, but we loved otherwise. When looking to buy a home in a new market that you have not lived in for decades, like I had in Denver, there is a lot to learn before you start thinking about making an offer. Here is my guide for finding a new home that I put together when I bought my last place.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
Over the last couple of months, I have been getting bigger and better freelance projects. The difference can be clearly seen in the numbers. Re-branding my freelance business as Narrow Bridge Media has been great for business too! This was a pretty slow month, partially due to some work I did ahead of time in May for my freelance writing gigs. Things will get back to normal and start picking up more in July.
- Freelance Earnings – $185
- Affiliate Payments – $43
- AdSense – $31
- Advertising & Partnerships – $338
- Premium Plugin Sales – $0 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon)
- Book Sales – $0 – Buy here or Amazon
- Outsourced Workers – $110
- Email List – $19 (Provided by Aweber)
- Web Hosting – $21 ($15 per month for LiquidWeb and $5 per month for Hostgator – both paid annually)
- Domain Fees – $9
- Conferences & Events – $0
- Misc – $0
Total Revenue: $597, Total Expenses: $159, Total Profit: $438
Denver Flash Mob – Flash Mob Consulting and Planning
Denver Flash Mob is officially back online and things are going great. Lots of fun happening in Denver! I paid my flash mob manager this month from revenue collected in a prior period, which makes it look like Denver Flash Mob is losing money in June. That was just a timing issue.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $195
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $200
Total Revenue: $195, Total Expenses: $200, Total Profit: $-5
I bought into the IPO of GoPro, the company that makes cool video cameras for extreme sports, through my Loyal3 account. With Loyal3, I was able to buy into the IPO (that link is to a post on how IPOs work) without being a millionaire and without paying any trade fees. I signed up for $200 in the GPRO IPO and was allocated $108. Not much, but a good way to test out how it worked. I was thrilled with the Loyal3 IPO experience and my stock has doubled since IPO day in less than two weeks!
I have also increased my automatic payday investment in SBUX and BRK.B in my Loyal3 account, which, like the IPO, has no trade fees. Here is a post all about how Loyal3 works.
I am currently investing with a two part automated investment plan in my retirement accounts. I am investing 4% of my pre-tax income with a 100% match of that 4% by my employer. I am also investing $211 per paycheck automatically to max out my Roth IRA. Read more about my automatic investing in my retirement accounts to see how it all works.
Before I moved, I was contributing roughly 20% of my income in retirement accounts and would like to return to that level now that I have sold my condo. Living in Portland is more expensive than my old Denver condo each month, so I am going to wait a bit before going back up to the same level as before.
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.
I have been very happy with my most recent stock purchases. My most recent three buys are Starbucks, Amazon.com, and Wynn Resorts. I have no plans to sell at any point in foreseeable future, and I plan to keep riding these up and up. Remember that most people should not start investing by buying individual stocks. Broad index funds like an S&P 500 fund are best for getting started.
My most recent stock pick is for a company called ASSA ABLOY. The company is the owner of the company that makes HID entry systems. You know those little beepy fobs and ID badges that people use to get into offices and apartments? Those things. The problem is that the company is traded on the Stockholm stock exchange and doesn’t have an official ADR in the United States. That means the buying cost is significantly higher than the typical $9 trade fee I normally have at Schwab. The fee is more like $60 to buy it directly via an over the counter intermediary. I am deciding if it is still worth buying without an ADR. If you don’t know what an ADR is, you can read my primer on the subject.
Outside of the stock market, my net annual returns at Lending Club are 11.61%. I currently have 51 active and current loans, 1 in funding, 27 fully paid, and one charged off. I have earned $237 in interest, so even with my one loss I am still way up.