Fall is here in Oregon. The clouds have returned, the drizzles have begun, and winter is not far off. That means a lot is happening in my life in the coming months.
What I’m Up To
In the last month, I've formally begun pilot lessons working on my private pilot license. I've taken a few lessons so far, and it has been absolutely exhilarating. I recently did my first landings, and they were not as bumpy as I would have expected. Getting a pilot's license is expensive, to the tune of around $10,000, so sticking to my budget and working hard on side income is very important to keep this expensive hobby going.
If you are interested in trying it out, you can actually fly a plane in your first lesson. Just search online for “discovery flight” and your city and you can find a local general aviation airport and flight school to take you up. A one-time flight costs around $150 at most airports.
Speaking of expensive things, Baby Personal Profitability is growing and kicking like crazy. We have the baby room about ready, and are expecting our daughter to join us in about eight weeks. I'm almost a Dad! Maybe I should delete those old posts about budgeting for drinking and night clubs?
With the baby on the way, my travel plans are winding down for a while. I just returned from a friend's bachelor party in Chicago, and up next I am going to FinCon, the biggest conference for financial bloggers. This year I am leading an “ask the expert round table” session on running a business as a professional in addition to Ignite FinCon. This year's event is in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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. My income tracker shows how volatile freelance work can be, particularly when doing it part-time.
August results were definitely on the weak side, but September is already promising to be quite a bit better. On a bit of a bright spot, this month I reached the entire revenue I had in 2014. If I don't earn another dollar, I'll beat what I did last year, and there's four more months to go!
Here’s how things panned out for my online income:
Revenue – Goal: $40,000 in 2015 ($3,333 monthly average).
- Freelance Writing – $775
- Web Design & Support Earnings – $423
- Affiliate Payments – $65
- Advertising & Partnerships – $143
- Product Sales – $0 (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 – $72
- Domain Fees – $12
- Conferences & Events – $0
- Computers & Software – $192
- Misc – $0
Total Revenue: $1,406, Total Expenses: $320, Total Profit Before Tax: $1,806
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 a great job so far as the Chief Operating Officer / Chief Mob Officer. We have three events in the works right now, more than we've had at once in a long while.
- Custom Flash Mob Payments – $295 (includes pre-payments)
- 7 Step Flash Mob Planning Workbook Sales – $0
- Outsourced Workers – $100
- PayPal Fees – $0
- Website Expenses – $0
- Business Registration – $0
Total Revenue: $295, Total Expenses: $100, Total Profit Before Tax: $195
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: $1,992
- Number of Transfers: 79
- Average Transfer Size: $25
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
OUCH! That is all I have to say about the market as of late. But as a wise man once said, when people are acting scared, it is time to buy. When people are overly confident, you should be scared. I am following the long-term, value investing mantra and I'm not messing with much right now. I recently bought shares in Google, but otherwise I'm not tinkering.
Whenever I save up an extra $1,000, I transfer it into my investment account. I just moved over $1,000, and I’m deciding between a stock an a REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust.
- AMZN – Amazon.com
- BLK – Blackrock
- BA – Boeing
- CSCO – Cisco Systems Inc
- GE – General Electric
- GOOGL – Alphabet / 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.
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 9.4%, a much better performance than any bank account and most investments. I have earned $408 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 $1,096.
My Notes at a Glance:
- Not Yet Issued – 0
- Issued & Current – 60
- In Grace Period – 0
- Fully Paid – 39
- Late 16-30 Days – 0
- Late 31-120 Days – 1
- Default – 0
- Charged Off – 6