The 40% Rule

As many of you know I am a fan of Grant Cardone with a lot of his stuff and one of the key takeaways I look forward to applying to my life is the 40% rule. The 40% rule was documented in the Great Depression where the wealthy were saving 40% of their income, and its just that simple.  The 40% rule is saving 40% of your income before taxes, so if you make $10,000 a month that would require you to save $4,000 a month. If you start looking at the math you’ll realize after taxes and expenses that it is very difficult to achieve the 40% rule, and it is. Income is a priority for the 40% rule, you can’t save what you don’t make, and you must pay yourself first. I will show you a real example using my actual projected salary for my full-time job starting in June.

For my full-time job I have a $57,600 salary ($4800 monthly), a $5,000 signing bonus paid in first month, and a $500-month stipend for the first 18 months. It is a salary and commission pay plan however I will only account for the salary part since I don’t know how much I will sell yet.

Because I start mid-June, I calculated my gross income as half of my monthly salary ($2,400) + $5,000 bonus + $500 stipend = $7,900

June July August September October November December Total
4800 $7,900 $5,300 $5,300 $5,300 $5,300 $5,300 $5,300 $39,700
save 40% $3,160 $2,120 $2,120 $2,120 $2,120 $2,120 $2,120 $15,880
tax $1,738 $1,166 $1,166 $1,166 $1,166 $1,166 $1,166 $8,734
budget $3,002 $2,014 $2,014 $2,014 $2,014 $2,014 $2,014 $15,086

Looking at the table you can see my budget is around $2,000 and it will be less than that when you consider my 401k will also be pulled out of my income. I did assign a tax rate of 22% which is the bracket you would be in for this income however your marginal tax rate is less than that, either way I prefer to be conservative with my estimates. (I calculated my marginal tax rate to be 11.5% which would add $570 to my budget every month or $570 more to invest every month) For reference, I take data on my spending habits every summer when I am on internship or co-op. This summer I had no living stipend and was completely on my own, my monthly spending came out right at $2,000, though that includes some extraneous cost that most likely will not happen in the first 6-months of my full-time job. I also will be living at home or my girlfriend’s house during the first 6 months of my full-time job as I will be traveling 90% of the time during training.

Realistically looking at the first 6-months I will have extremely low expenses and may be able to save even more aggressively than what I have shown. Any extra income I can save will be put into my other investing accounts (Robinhood, Lending Club, and Stash). Ideally, I would like to save around $20,000 from my full-time job in 2019, which will help me achieve my $75,000 net worth goal. I would also like to try and purchase a 4-plex or duplex at the end of 2019 assuming all goes according to plan.

Looking at 2020, the saving and income numbers look the same as the later half of 2018. Commission will be included assuming I make sales and as my commissions come in, I plan to add those additional funds to my investment accounts as stated above. Looking at 2019 and 2020 I plan to save $40,000 with the 40% rule and invest additional income in my investing accounts. I plan to save in my Discover Savings account which earns 2.10% APY, which will add to my saving goals as well.

2020 will be difficult to keep in budget, I will then be paying rent and will be living full time in St. Louis. The $2,000 I lived on during internship was living like a poor college student for the most part, as I enter the real world, I expect my standard of living from the food I eat to the activities I participate in to be more expensive as well. However, I at least have an idea of what I spend monthly in preparation, I suggest to everyone to start documenting your spending to get an idea of your habits. If you need help or would like to look at how I do it, I cover it in THIS article.

As I mentioned earlier in the article, income is critical to achieving this aggressive saving plan, for your convenience I will run an example with a salary of $40,000, and I will use a marginal tax rate to ensure accuracy. I included above my actual budget above when marginal tax rate is considered ($2570/month).

June July August September October November December Total
$40,000 $3,333 $3,333 $3,333 $3,333 $3,333 $3,333 $3,333 $23,331
save 40% $1,333 $1,333 $1,333 $1,333 $1,333 $1,333 $1,333 $9,332
tax $283.31 $283.31 $283.31 $283.31 $283.31 $283.31 $283.31 $1,983
budget $1,716 $1,716 $1,716 $1,716 $1,716 $1,716 $1,716 $12,015

As you can see with $850 less a month in your budget that makes things considerably more difficult depending on your life style and where you live.

I hope you learned some valuable information about budgeting and saving money, I’d love to hear about how you save and what your targets are!

Thanks, B^2

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

 

 

What I keep track of and Why

So naturally as an engineer I am very numbers and data driven. Fluff is not my game, numbers, charts, graphs, hard tangible data is where I thrive. I started tracking my spending while on co-op and internship, I figured it would be good practice for when I got out in the real world on my own and needed to be financially responsible. So, at that point I created what is now my most useful tool that I use to track my finances and goals, the co-op money breakdown google sheet. Doesn’t sound exciting but contained in these 8 pages excel spreadsheet is a lot of cool stuff. We’ll start with what started it all, the daily tracking of my finances.

color coded

I color coded my categories of expenses, from left to right they are Food, gas, fun money, fitness, Significant other, and other costs. I would track every cost that came in with running totals at the bottom, weekly amount spent on each category as well as the percentage of my costs it represents. This helped figure out where I was over spending and what needed to be adjusted. Next, on the same page of the excel sheet right next to the color-coded spending category is my income category. Here I would track my income (mainly paychecks) as well as how much of that income I saved. I also tracked my 401k contributions on every paycheck and kept a running total of that as well. Yes, I had a 401k through my co-op company at 20 years old, it was pretty frickin cool. Moving on, I would run totals on all of that, run percentages for amount of money I was saving compared to making and how much I was investing compared to how much I made in total etc.

Date: Income: Net profit Savings Invested (401k)
5/24/16 tax return $74.00 $7,629.20 $900.00 $378.00
5/27/2016 paycheck $660.50 $925.00 $345.00
6/10 paycheck $1,192.00 $548.00 $395.80
Baseball tickets $45.00 $507.00 $42.09
6/24 paycheck $1,234.00 $562.00 $384.72
7/8 paycheck $1,097.00 $106.80 $388.87
7/22 paycheck $1,014.00 $600.00 $339.00
Amazon $80.00 $889.00 $375.00
8/5 paycheck $1,124.00 $551.00 $123.30
bonus $106.80 $295.00 $324.00
8/19 paycheck $1,099.00 ** $550.00 $622.12

After that I believe I started tracking my net worth in specific categories. As you can see below I would track it every month and I have a nice little graph and everything, but I would track cash, emergency fund, P2P lending, Robinhood stock account, Stash and acorn, and finally my 401k. Add all that up in a couple different columns and there’s my net worth tracking.

networth

Another critical tool that I use on this spreadsheet is my Robinhood portfolio spreadsheet. Shown below it contains all the information on my stocks, shares, cost average, value into the position, market value and then the gain/loss with percentages. Also, the conditional formatting is a nice touch to quickly assess the portfolio. I usually update this sheet twice a week or more if I make big moves in the portfolio which I have recently.

Ticker shares cost average value in market value gain/loss gain/loss %
CHK 399 $4.92 $1,963.08 $4.00 -$367.08 -18.70%
ULTA 7 $241.25 $1,688.75 $227.69 -$94.92 -5.62%
O 25 $56.23 $1,405.75 $54.21 -$50.50 -3.59%
F 50 $11.38 $569.00 $11.64 $13.00 2.28%
BPMX 1624 $0.30 $483.46 $0.13 -$272.34 -56.33%
OHI 15 $27.12 $406.80 $27.41 $4.35 1.07%
STAG 15 $26.77 $401.55 $25.69 -$16.20 -4.03%
ATRS 130 $2.42 $314.60 $2.26 -$20.80 -6.61%
ELF 15 $19.87 $298.05 $20.05 $2.70 0.91%
AMBA 10 $52.94 $529.40 $50.25 -$26.90 -5.08%
CEFL 10 $17.72 $177.20 $17.95 $2.30 1.30%
T 5 $33.64 $168.20 $37.82 $20.90 12.43%
IP 1 $57.54 $57.54 $64.75 $7.21 12.53%
TTS 5 $9.48 $47.40 $9.75 $1.35 2.85%
JD 0 $41.82 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 -100.00%
BAC 0 $23.95 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 -100.00%
BABA 0 $0.00 $0.00
cash $4.35
updated $8,515.13 profits and dividends -$796.93 Current Value
1/18/18 money in $8,000.00 $515.13 current market ROI
started face value ROI 6.44%
12/2/16 net annual profit $456.37

Following the stock portfolio, I have two tables for dividend tracking however I’m only going to show the monthly counting dividend table. Below is a table showing how much I’ve received in dividends by each month and then sum it all together for the yearly total. As you can see I was relatively close to my goal this past year, a lot of my money was tied up in bad positions that didn’t pay dividends which ultimately hurt my portfolio as well. The other table features all the stocks I own that pay dividends, their payout on a yearly basis, how many shares I own, total yearly dividend income from those stocks, etc. I believe I am right at the $200 a year in dividends mark as we are speaking, that is not including interest payments I receive from Robinhood or the dividends I receive in stash.

Dividend tracking 2017 2018
January $0.00 $12.32
February $0.00 $3.10
March $0.00
April $0.00
May $0.00
June $12.54
July $6.39
August $5.55
September $20.68
October $17.86
November $23.12
December $28.13
$114.27 $15.42
Goal: $125 $500

I also use 2 tables for my Lending Club portfolio, the one below just tracks the interest I receive each month as it says on the account statement I get. Very simple and easy to fill out, nice little tool to figure out how the portfolio is doing overall at a quick glance.

Lending club interest collected
month amount
April 2017 $0.00
May 2017 $11.04
June 2017 $29.03
July 2017 $21.33
August 2017 $37.25
September 2017 $38.81
October 2017 $40.66
November 2017 $41.20
December 2017 $35.15
January 2018
February 2018
March 2018
April 2018
1 year gain $254.47

This next one is a bit more intimidating. This is a detailed depiction of the Lending Club portfolio, I fill this one out biweekly and the immediate return column is the only one that is self-calculated, everything else is straight from the Lending Club dashboard/summary screen. I use the immediate return to gauge my APY % as it comes in rather than the speculative NAR % return.

Lending Club info deposited account value NAR % return date immediate return monthly payments
active notes $1,500.00 16.50% 6/5/17
70 $1,700.00 $1,720.00 16.74% 6/19/17 1.176%
103 $2,500.00 $2,534.00 14.70% 7/7/17 1.360% ?
107 $2,500.00 $2,546.72 17.58% 7/21/17 1.869% $91.48
128 $3,000.00 $3,063.65 15.72% 8/4/17 2.122% $92.13
129 $3,000.00 $3,066.90 13.95% 8/29/17 2.230% $111.66
128 $2,900.00 $2,963.39 11.41% 9/15/17 2.186% $111.74
127 $2,850.00 $2,931.35 10.05% 10/3 2.854% $110.83
127 $2,800.00 $2,905.65 11.78% 10/17/17 3.773% $110.83
125 $2,650.00 $2,765.00 12.28% 11/1/17 4.340% $109.00
123 $2,600.00 $2,729.38 11.79% 11/15/17 4.976% $107.18
121 $2,500.00 $2,628.97 11.32% 12/1/17 5.159% $105.49
121 $2,450.00 $2,615.00 11.84% 12/16/17 6.735% $105.49
120 $2,400.00 $2,558.22 10.76% 1/1/18 6.593% $103.63
122 $2,400.00 $2,591.66 12.54% 1/15/18 7.986% $105.00

Finally, I track my blog statistics and posting schedule on my spreadsheet. As you can see I have tracked my advertising costs as well as the WordPress cost of the blog. I also track my views, visitors each month. Now if you are familiar with blogging or have one already you know that jetpack tracks this all for you currently. I just like the convenience of pulling up this spreadsheet and having all the numbers and data I’d ever care to know about right at the tip of my fingertips and easily analyzed. I think It is worth the extra time to fill out the spreadsheet.

Blog sheet blog was created 11/24/2017 Blog stats 2018
Date expense Month: November December January
11/24 $46.98 wordpress 1 year views 3 81
1/5/18 $3.00 IG promotion visitors 2 7
1/12/18 $20.00 IG promotion Revenue $0.00 $0.00
1/15/18 $3.00 IG promotion expense $46.98 $0.00 $29.00
1/17/18 $3.00 IG pormotion NET -$46.98 $0.00 -$29.00

Like I said, just a schedule of what I’ve posted and when, I also anticipate a posting schedule but that is never correct, I always have too much on my plate or other things that need my attention before this. The yellow highlighted posts are blog posts that have the potential to profit through affiliate sales, referral codes, etc. I have a column next to it with the amount they’ve made so far. Unfortunately that’s a big fat goose egg right now.

Schedule content
11/30/17 future real estate investment
12/3/17 Stretch investing
12/7/17 side money challenge
12/11/17 lending club review
12/12/17 change of plans
12/17/17 stock portfolio
12/20/17 Aspiration|Summit
12/20/17 stash investing
12/21/17 acorn investing
12/27/17 Discover Credit Card
12/27/17 Dividend update 12/27/17
12/28/17 2018 Goals
1/3/18 stock market book FE
1/5/18 review Robinhood
1/5/18 side money update 1
1/16/18 status update
1/22/18 airsoft entrepreneur

As always let me know that you think!Hope you got some useful information from this post, and may apply some of the ideas and concepts to help organize your finances or something else important to you.

Thanks, B^2