Happy turkey month everyone! I hope you had a fun Halloween and are charging into the new month full steam. I have some personal financial news to share and want to give you guys a preview of a new project I'm cooking up.
What’s Eric Up To
Nearly a year ago, I packed up and moved across the country to Portland, Oregon from my hometown in Denver. It was a pretty big change. Within a year I had a new job, new city, and got married. Lots of life changes. Thing have slowed down a bit, but our lease is going to expire soon on our rental, which we love, and we have been deciding what to do next. We were on the fence on whether we should buy a home and really stick some roots down in PDX, whether we wanted to stay in our rental, or maybe even move somewhere else.
Well, I'm excited to share that we have made a decision. We found a great real estate agent through our friend Kathleen (the amazing blogger behind Frugal Portland) and took a look at a handful of homes. One of them was amazingly gorgeous, new construction, roughly in the area we wanted to live, and within our budget. So, we made an offer. And they made a counter-offer. And now we're under contract!
Watch out Portland! It looks like we're going to be sticking around for a while. If you're interested in what it takes to find and buy a home, be sure to check out my Home Buyer's Guide: From Search to Move-In.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
Since starting my new job a couple of months back, I have had less free time and flexibility to work on my freelance projects than I did before. That said, I am working hard to keep both existing and new clients at Narrow Bridge Media happy. I have yet to ever miss a client deadline and always work to deliver quality work consistently. To help with some scheduling and growing pains, my wife J has taken a little bit bigger role in the “family business” too.
Last month I set myself a $2,500 per month goal for online income based on recent trends. I used to challenge myself to make at least $1,000 per month online, but have beaten that so many months in a row that I decided it was time for an upgrade and a new challenge.
- Web Design Earnings – $385
- Freelance Writing – $1,480
- Social Media Management – $559
- Affiliate Payments – $0
- AdSense – $14
- Advertising & Partnerships – $511
- Premium Plugin Sales – $62 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon)
- Book Sales – $.30 – Buy here or Amazon
- Outsourced Workers – $0
- 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 – $116
- Conferences & Events – $179
- Hardware & Equipment – $798
- Misc – $16
Total Revenue: $3,011, Total Expenses: $1,149, Total Profit Before Tax: $1,862
Denver Flash Mob – Flash Mob Consulting and Planning
This month while doing a few updates and tweaks to the DenverFlashMob.com website, I found about five months of emails that I hadn’t received sitting in my site database. This was a massive hit to revenue because for the entire peak summer season, I was not getting any of my customer inbound emails!
It took a lot of work to fix everything, contact all of the people I missed messages from, and got a few events in the works. Some were past the event date and I will never be able to make up that revenue. It always pays to have extra eyes on your tech if you have a service based business, and my eyes were so busy with other projects that I didn’t even notice that the emails were sitting there.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $0
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $0
Total Revenue: $0, Total Expenses: $0, Total Profit Before Tax: $0
I am all up and running with my automated investments at my new job. I am taking 100% of my available 401(k) match, which requires I put 6% of my pay to receive a 3% match. I am also taking advantage of my employers stock purchase plan to buy stock at a 15% discount, as I believe that is a great investment. I also maxed out my Roth IRA for 2014 with side income earnings before starting at this job. Read more about my automatic investing in my retirement accounts to see how it all works.
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. I just rolled over my 401(k) from my old employer to my Rollover IRA account at Charles Schwab last week.
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
For most people, buying individual stocks is not the best way to invest. It is much smarter to just get a low fee S&P 500 index fund and wait it out. But I have extra education in investments and I'm always trying to beat the market. Here is my current list of all of my stock holdings. I have not shared a full list like this in a long while, so drink it in!
- AMZN – Amazon.com
- BLK – Blackrock
- BA – Boeing
- CSCO – Cisco Systems Inc
- GE – General Electric
- JPM – JP Morgan Chase
- KR – Kroger
- PM – Phillip Morris International
- SBUX – Starbucks
- TEVA – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ADR
- WMT – Walmart
- WYNN – Wynn Resorts
Loyal3 Portfolio – 100% Fee Free Trades:
- BRK.B – Berkshire Hathaway B Shares
- GPRO – GoPro
- SBUX – Starbucks
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. Loyal3 also just announced that investors will be able to participate in the Dave & Buster’s IPO through their Loyal3 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.
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.
Outside of the stock market, my net annual returns at Lending Club are 11.5%. I currently have 52 active and current loans, 1 past due, 32 fully paid, and one charged off. I have earned $274 in interest, so even with my one loss and another potential on the horizon I am still way up overall.