The Last Splurge

If you follow Grant Cardone at all he preaches increasing income above all else. The 2nd step in the process is to reduce taxes. I have done a relatively good job of that thus far, my internship allowed me to dictate how much income I make because it was a 100% commission job. I have tracked all receipts and have started researching how to minimize my tax bill this upcoming spring as well. The third step in his cycle is to save specifically “save it all”. This requires you to live your daily life without increasing your cost of living while you increase your income.

We see people violating this rule every day, some guy gets a promotion at work makes an extra $10k a year and goes out and celebrates by purchasing a new BMW. That promotion and pay increase did not make any difference since he increased his cost of living. He probably would have been better off getting a $5k pay increase and not blowing the money on material things.

I never was into blowing my money, here and there I would “treat yo self” but nothing drastic. Last summer at the end of my internship which paid me quite well and was a decent increase from the previous year ($150 more a week) I bought my only watch and a piece of wall art. That was my form of treating myself which came out to be about $250.

This summer by the time it is over and with bonuses included as well as any lingering payments I should avg a pay increase of about $350 more a week (no living stipend though) than last summer. I should be able to reduce my tax bill because of my 1099 status this year substantially. (I received about $1300 back last year, but I also had taxes taken out every paycheck and I am not taxed under my current pay system yet.) So, check box 1 and 2 for Mr. Cardone. I should also note I didn’t upgrade my standard of living during this time. I currently live in the cheapest apartment my roommate and I could find that would be able to accommodate a 3-month lease. It is cockroach infested and is pretty hood for a $400 a person month rent ($450 for 3-month lease). I drive the same car, I wear the same clothes, I buy the same food, I buy the same beer, and spend the same amount at the bars.

Onto box #3 spending: Looking over my expenses which I track to the penny, we’re looking pretty good. I went over them in a blog post about halfway through the summer and you can check them out here. I spent some extracurricular on/with my girlfriend for the vacation and everything like that. I also spent some money at the bars and on booze and other non-constructive habits and vices, but that was minimal. Overall, I didn’t blow any of my money. That is until this upcoming weekend.

I plan to spend a bunch of money when I return to home and go shopping with the girlfriend Saturday. I WANT new clothes, new shoes, a new suit, and some other Knick knacks. I say want and not need because that’s just what they are. The clothes I wear are fine but perhaps a bit dated. Some of my shorts and shirts I often wear I purchased 3-4 years ago and some are not in the best condition. I’d still wear them though, so it isn’t necessary I purchase new ones. Essentially this shopping trip is to purchase my “adult clothes” things that I will need in the future after I graduate college. That is why I call it the last splurge. This theoretically should get me the next two years or so of my life in terms of clothing and what not and would be considered the “treat yo self” portion of my saving.

Some of these purchases have been a long time coming for example the suit I currently wear I’ve owned for about 5 years, and I received a gift card for the purchase of a new suit last Christmas. The watch I purchased previously was intended to go with this new suit I plan to purchase. With upcoming interviews for full time jobs and the networking, events and other occasions I plan to attend you could consider this an investment in my dated wardrobe.

So, what do you all think? A waste of time and money or a much-needed update to prepare myself for what comes in my future.

 

 

Personal Finance Overview 7/17/18

Have you ever taken a hard look at your personal finances? I mean a hard look, like track every transaction, every paycheck, every bill you pay? Two years ago, I started tracking my personal finances during my co-op and internships. It has really opened my eyes to what I spend money on every day and gives me a better idea of where I am at with my finances. Let’s look at how I’ve been doing this summer!

finances

Above is a snip of my master spreadsheet for this summer. It contains all my expenses, paychecks, investments, some of my goals etc. Let’s go over this briefly to get a sense of what is going on. In color coded column is a category, from left to right: food, gas, fun, gym, girlfriend, bullshit. Sorry you’ve got your own column Nikki, but you cost some money and I’m not going to put you down at the bullshit level.

Anyways let’s analyze each column starting with food. Obviously, this is critical as you need food to survive and it’s a very basic need, I have included any eating out (fast food, restaurants etc.) as well as coffee and energy drinks and things of that nature. I work from my car and my job is pretty demanding out in the heat and having considerable amounts of energy is vital to my success so while I could opt for cheaper energy substitutions (majority of my coffee is from Starbucks) it is a necessary evil for me to preform well. Considering all of that, I average just under $300 a month over a 2-month span for my food consumption and it will hopefully taper down to $250 when I near the end of the summer.

Next up is gas, again a very necessary portion of my job is I must drive a lot and I also travel back home and back to school on occasion (200+ mile trips one way). At just under $200 a month on gas, I do go back to STL this upcoming weekend but that should be my last trip home besides actually going home for the summer, hopefully we can reduce that expenditure a tad and I can drive more efficiently.

Fun money! This is the column I try to minimize the most, as you can see I have some of paid subscription services but in my defense, I pay for the Netflix for my whole family and my brother and I use Spotify and I pay for it all. But besides that, you see alcohol and tobacco costs taking up the bulk of this column, I will have a substantial increase here as I will be paying for copious amounts of alcohol this weekend. Its gonna be litty titty.  This column will make its way up to $200 a month without a doubt here shortly.

Gym: If you didn’t already know my health and fitness is very important to me as I am a rugby player and have been lifting all my teenage years. The gym membership was a large upfront cost and I should have enough supplements to get me through the rest of the summer, hopefully this column ends at about $60-75 a month in costs.

Girlfriend: Sorry not sorry but you cost me some money this summer babe. Mainly in plane tickets to vacation but also lots of food and nice little gifts. Again, I wasn’t going to put it in the bullshit column so it gets its own column. There probably won’t be any additions to this column for the remainder of the summer so hopefully ending around $200 a month on this one.

Bullshit: this one is a toughie. To preface, this isn’t all bullshit like obviously I need to pay rent and to live somewhere but that’s what I called the column even when I wasn’t paying rent, so I stuck with the title. As you can see we have a deposit and lots of rent, I am paying 2 rents right now, one for Rolla (college town) and one for here in KC this summer. That started in July and my KC august rent will be low and the Rolla rent will increase slightly so it’ll lighten the load overall, but July rent sucked up a lot of my money. We have electric and internet bills, they both had start up fees, so they have since flatlined and we’ll only need to pay another month of two of those. Some of my supplies for work cost me a decent chunk of change including ladders, shoes, clothes, but those can be tax write offs as well. I also got my first ever speeding ticket this year which cost me $220 to get it moved to a non-moving violation. Anyways this is the largest chunk of my costs but hopefully with august being a short month it will taper down, and I can get my deposit back and we can wash our hands of this.

As of today July 17, 2018, my monthly costs of living is $2,134.50, I’m not sure if that is a lot or a little compared to most of the people reading this. I don’t have kids, I live in a cockroach invested shit hole of an apartment, I am partially paying for two rents, I eat cheap, etc. My assumption would be yes this is very cheap cost of living. I would like to reduce it further though. As I’ve stated above for some of the columns they should not increase anymore and as father time keeps ticking my avg cost per month will reduce. I had the goal of $1500 a month this summer however that was way underestimated and simply won’t be possible, I would like to have a cost of living under $2,000 though I think that would be very reasonable considering the circumstances.

My monthly conversion for what I am paid comes out to $3,033 a month. To me this is extremely low and pisses me off, (salary equivalent = $36,400) because I made $50k salary + living stipend last summer, and I am working significantly harder than I did last summer. My numbers should bump up soon and I will get a bonus as well at the end of the summer which will help. My goal was to make an equivalent of $60,000 salary from this job and I am very very far behind that goal.

As always let me know what you think!

Do you keep track of your personal finances? Do you keep track like this?

Could you benefit from tracking like this?

How do your expenses compare with your income?

Thanks, B^2

 

 

Summer Plans

In my spare time today, I did a little bit of thinking about what I wanted to do this summer as far as my finances are concerned.

  1. I am going to absolutely crush this internship/sales position. I mean crush it! This is the first time in my life that I will get paid on commission meaning every minute I am not working or trying to sell is a wasted minute. That goes beyond the job as well, I also have this blog and an Instagram, and I will continue to expand my social media presence and further build my personal brand.
  2. I want to move away from the umbrella of financial security of my parents. They have done a fantastic job providing for me all my life and I feel obligated to lighten their load. I am making it a goal of mine to work harder than ever before to obtain scholarships and other means to provide for my schooling. My parents have also paid for my housing during college and pending the results of my friend meeting with his landlord tomorrow I should be moving out the fraternity house and plan to pay my rent and all necessary living expenses. I also came up with my method to do so. I have talked about Lending Club before on this blog but for those of you who haven’t read about it yet you can reference this post about it “Lending Club Review”.

 

My favorite part about Lending Club is how liquid it is while you are making money. I get funds transferred to my portfolio nearly everyday as I have 110 active notes currently. This pays me about $100 a month in both interest and principal payments. If I own about 400ish notes I will receive about $350 in payments per month which is coincidentally my rent for this next school year again assuming the conversation with the landlord goes as planned tomorrow. That is all while making about a 7% gain as of this moment. This whole school year I have been pulling out my interest and principal payments to cover my expenses (its not enough however I spend more than $100 a month typically). If I can purchase that many notes however that should cover my rent payment which would be a passive income source for me. As of now that is my game plan for this next academic year. My typical food expenses as I have learned from diligently tracking them through my internship and co-op is about $60 a week or $240 a month. I plan to use my savings and any side money to cover that aspect of my expenses.

  1. I have also began looking at investment properties in my college town, with the hopeful influx of money I make this summer this may finally become a reality and I have also explained some of those plans in a previous post linked *here*.
  2. This will also be the first summer where I will be relatively free while I have been this interested in improving my life for the years to come. On my co-op I did not start investing until very late and then I returned to school and was again very busy with my other obligations. While on my internship I was taking 9 credit hours of summer class which took a very large toll on my time and extracurricular efforts. I lived an endless cycle of work, working out, and then studying and doing homework during the 5-day work week and then my Sunday’s were typically consumed in school work as well. This is another very exciting aspect of this summer that I can hopefully take advantage of.
  3. I intend to learn more than I ever have this summer as well. I have an ambitious reading goal this summer of 10 books which is crazy to think about since I have not read for leisure in years but the value that it has been bring to my life is incredible and I have learned so much already and I can’t wait to learn more. If you have any suggestions I am open to them all but I will most likely need to focus in on something related to what I would like to pursue later in my life, namely entrepreneurship, business, investment property and real estate, and investing.
  4. I would like to make a strong effort to help my fraternities recruitment efforts this summer. Due to the new structure of our recruitment and pledgeship process this summer will be the ultimate factor to our future success and I would like to give my time, effort and talent to this endeavor. Not that I haven’t helped in the past, but I see the high importance of this task, but it will also give a chance to develop my new skills.
  5. I believe this summer will also allow me to network more than I have in the past and I have given up some of those opportunities for my other obligations in the past. Again, with all that I have learned this school year I believe this will be a key aspect in my ultimate success later in life and the more I can network and connect with the others the more opportunities will present themselves.

I’m sure there are other aspects I am forgetting to include but these are just some highlights. I will do my best to update all my readers on what I am up to this summer. Hopefully this last 2 weeks of school won’t drain me to bad, I had the problem occur on my co-op.

As always, I would love to hear all your comments!

B^2

Modern Long Term Stock Market Investing Secrets-summary and review

I’ve been watching the Financial Education YouTube channel for a while now and I really like the content and the enthusiasm Jeremy brings to his audience. Those who pursue success and greatness can relate to him well. He is a very successful investor and admits his mistakes and his errors when they come up proving his honesty to his viewers.

Now onto the book, Modern Long Term Stock Market Investing Secrets!, Jeremy reveals how he went from $0 to $200,000 by age 25 using this stock market investing method. He first goes into how he started considering the stock market. Looking at CD’s, savings accounts, bonds etc. yielded very low returns and real estate investing was out of the question for him at 19 years old making $7.50 an hour at his job. This led him to the stock market and he started reading and learning about Warren Buffett. Jeremy credits most of his success in stock market investing to Warren Buffett and an accounting teacher he had in his schooling.

He then goes into how to buy a stock through a brokerage, and then thinking of the underlying company you are buying rather than the stock ticker. This is right out of Warren Buffett’s playbook by looking at the company fundamentals and longevity rather than the short-term outlook. However, as Jeremy further goes into his method we see the key difference between his method and the buy and hold method Mr. Buffett uses. That is the time frame, in modern long term investing Jeremy works within a 1-5 year span. This is due to the rapid change in technology and growth that we experience nowadays. With the evolution of technology at such a rapid pace, business fundamentals, and company outlooks can change just as fast.

Jeremy then goes into what he looks at to determine if the company fits his investment criteria. The first would be looking at the management team and he uses the hockey reference, a management team that skates to where the puck will be rather than skating where the puck is. This ensures that the company will be making sound decisions years down the line. The next criteria is the balance sheet. He primarily looks at financial security or the ability for the company to make it through a tough time and the company’s ability to grow or acquire other businesses. This involves looking at the debt and on hand cash a company has. Jeremy typically looks at companies with very low debt, lots of cash on hand, and a strong brand name in its industry. The balance sheet is one of the most critical portions to his method and he references that in the end of the balance sheet chapter (chapter 6).

The income statement is the next metric he looks at. Jeremy looks at net income and revenue growth primarily and likes to see them grow by at least 10% a year, and prefers net income to outgrow revenue showing increasing profitability. Along the same lines, Jeremy loves “to look at companies that have an expanding gross margin and a high profit business model!” Obviously making profits reflects in the net income line and high margins allows a company to cut them in tough times without a large effect. Both are key aspects in his modern long-term investing method.

Next item on the agenda is PE ratios, EPS, and quarterly results. Now in the grand scheme of things when investing between 1-5 years a bad quarter is a drop in the bucket when you’re talking about an investment expecting to make it through 10+ quarters. He goes in depth as to what range of PE ratios he looks at and pending those numbers what he looks at in his other criteria. He recognizes that constant struggle between growth and value which is shown in the PE ratio. Warren Buffett is primarily a value investor which is where Jeremy has gained most of his investment background. However, the days of buying and holding are over and greater gains can be achieved for the most part by growth companies over the short term. Growth companies are rarely undervalued though, leading to a challenging terrain of finding a growth company for an excellent value.

He goes into dividends, share buyback, acquisitions and mergers next. He notes the usefulness of dividends however he thinks they are the biggest waste of money since cash is coming out with no return on investment. Jeremy ranks the following from best to worse use of capital: Expanding the business, share buyback, dividends, and acquisitions/mergers being the worse use of capital. He wraps up the book with a chapter talking about thinking outside the box and acquiring all information on a business is critical and could lead to good insight. Followed by a recap chapter, then a FAQ chapter, and finally a definitions chapter.

This article was a brief summary of the book. The information in this book in addition to the Financial Education channel has helped my investments and personal finance immensely. I would recommend this book to any beginning/novice investor as it has lots of fundamental value to add to your personal investing. Below is a link to the book on amazon.

http://amzn.to/2E2fgor

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