We are approaching one of the busiest months ever in my life. While I do not have any travel scheduled, we are a different kind of busy. Baby watch has officially begun!
What I’m Up To
I am writing this on Sunday morning on October 4th. In exactly two hours, I will be making my first solo flight! That's right. I have come far enough in my flight lessons that I am going to fly a plane by myself. No instructor sitting next to me.
From there, I will start training on “cross-country” flights. While the name makes it sound like I have to fly to the East Coast, that is not the case. A cross country is any flight to an airport at least 50 miles away from where I start. I'll be zipping around the Pacific Northwest over the coming weeks and months to finish up my private pilot's license.
Speaking of major milestones, my wife and I are on baby watch. Our due date is November 6th, just a month away. With the baby coming soon, I have zero travel plans booked right now. That is a first for me in the last few years. I am not going to be farther than a 45-minute drive from my wife at any point until the baby comes.
Everything else is lined up. The baby room is all set. Stroller ready. Car seat installed. I have everything but the coveted ‘Dad Bod' checked off the list. Any last minute baby prep tips? Drop them in the comments.
Side Business Income
Narrow Bridge Media – All Blogs and Online Activities
Now that the year is half over, I can look at how I’m doing toward my $40,000 revenue goal with some idea of where things will land. Revenue so far this year is looking like a $30,000 year, not where I wanted to be right now, but still feel triumphal to have this online income!
Nonetheless, I still came in near $5,000 of revenue this month. This was much better than last month, and I am already on track for a solid October.
My online income tracker shows how volatile freelance work can be, particularly when doing it part-time. I updated with every prior earnings report I have ever posted, and it worth a look if you're into online income.
Revenue – Goal: $40,000 in 2015 ($3,333 monthly average).
- Freelance Writing – $4,014
- Web Design & Support Earnings – $290
- Affiliate Payments – $313
- Advertising & Partnerships – $200
- Product Sales – $1 (Thesis Post Image Converter available at CodeCanyon, eBook here or Amazon)
- Email List – $19 (Provided by Aweber)
- Web Hosting – $13 ($8.33 per month for MediaTemple and $5 per month for Hostgator – both paid annually)
- Podcast Hosting – $12 ($12 per month for Blubrry Podcast Hosting)
- Outsourced Workers – $39
- Domain Fees – $25
- Conferences & Events – $405
- Computers & Software – $79
- Misc – $369
Total Revenue: $4,818, Total Expenses: $960, Total Profit Before Tax: $3,858
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 two events in the works right now, more than we’ve had at once in a long while.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $454 (includes pre-payments)
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $50
- PayPal Fees – $0
- Website Expenses – $0
- Business Registration – $0
Total Revenue: $454, Total Expenses: $50, Total Profit Before Tax: $404
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: $2,109
- Number of Transfers: 90
- Average Transfer Size: $23
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 – Made maximum contribution on February 13 from savings
- Roth IRA (Spouse) – $0 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
The markets are going crazy right now, which is great for my freelance writing but not great for my investment account balances. I am holding a big loss on WYNN, which I knew was a bit of a game going in. Other stocks have performed very well.
- AMZN – Amazon.com
- BLK – Blackrock
- BA – Boeing
- CSCO – Cisco Systems Inc
- GE – General Electric
- GOOGL – Alphabet Inc / Google
- JPM – JP Morgan Chase
- KR – Kroger
- PM – Phillip Morris International
- SBUX – Starbucks
- TEVA – Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ADR
- WMT – Walmart
- WYNN – Wynn Resorts
- Company stock from ESPP
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
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.
After my first defaults, my Lending Club account is still chugging along making over 9% interest on my investment. My current adjusted annual return is 9.59%, a much better performance than any bank account and most investments. I have earned $422 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 $1,109.
My Notes at a Glance:
- Not Yet Issued – 0
- Issued & Current – 59
- In Grace Period – 0
- Fully Paid – 40
- Late 16-30 Days – 0
- Late 31-120 Days – 1
- Default – 0
- Charged Off – 6