Happy May everyone. It feels like summer is on the way! I might be a little over excited about this month, though. I am getting married in two weeks!
What’s Eric Up To
Well, I spilled the beans in the intro. My wedding is coming up fast! May 18th is my big day. We are already starting to plan out our packing list for our big wedding trip that will take us to Santa Barbara, California for our wedding, Vancouver, British Columbia for our honeymoon, and then right to Denver, Colorado for a friend's wedding. Lots of travel coming this month!
Early this month, I was in Las Vegas for my bachelor party (free flight thanks to Southwest miles!), then a week later my Mom was in town for her first visit to Oregon, then Passover, and last weekend I was in San Diego for a friend's bachelor party (free flight thanks to British Airways miles!).
To say that this is a busy season for me is an understatement, but I love to travel and celebrate wonderful times with friends and family, so I've been in my own happy place jetting around North America.
Selling My Condo
I don't want to jinx anything by writing too much here, but my condo is under contract (knock on wood) and scheduled to close on May 28th. Assuming the sale goes through as expected, I will be 100% debt free for the first time since 2007, but I will also be giving up my membership in the “I own my own home” club.
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). Like a big grownup house with a yard and room for guests and future kids kind of a house. Serious business.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
Over the last month I worked through an in depth, online course on HTML and CSS. I am working hard to advance my skills for web design and increase my freelance work outside of my main job. I re-branded my web design site, and you can view it at Narrow Bridge Media. My personal homepage is now moved to EricRosenberg.me.
- Freelance Earnings – $1,125
- Affiliate Payments – $26
- AdSense – $17
- Advertising & Partnerships – $0
- Premium Plugin Sales – $0 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon)
- Book Sales – $0 – Buy here or Amazon
- Freelance Writers – $240 (got some advance work done to cover my wedding vacation)
- 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 – $92
- Conferences & Events – $163
- Misc – $30 for premium WordPress themes and niche site logo
Total Revenue: $1,168, Total Expenses: $565, Total Profit: $603
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!
- Flash Mob Down Payments – $97
- Flash Mob Final Payments – $242
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $16
- Flash Mob Manager – $0
- Choreographer – $0
Total Revenue: $355, Total Expenses: $0, Total Profit: $355
I just hit 90 days at my new employer in Portland, and I was able to register for my new 401(k) account with Fidelity. I will be 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.
Once my condo in Denver sells, I plan to increase my savings. I am paying rent in Portland and mortgage and HOA in Denver, so cutting my costs will let me invest a lot more. Before I moved, I was contributing roughly 20% of my income in retirement accounts and would like to return to that level.
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 11.7%. I currently have 50 active and current loans, 1 past due, 1 in funding, and 24 fully paid. I have earned $213 in interest, so even if one loan goes bad I’m still doing great.
My cash flow has been tighter than normal since I moved to Portland. I am still paying for two homes even though I only live in one, so I am not saving like usual. I have paid all of the moving expenses and now I'm just waiting for the condo to sell in Denver to re-balance my automatic cash flow process.
If you are interested in how I found the condo and plan to look for my next home, check out my guide to home ownership from search to move-in.
I update all values monthly with the exception of my car value and my condo value, which is updated annually with the value from Zillow.