February 15th Goal Update

Hey everyone, first off, I just want to say I am so sorry for this coming out as late as it is. I had a couple tests, the career fair at my school, fraternity and philanthropy matters that were taking up a lot of time, and unfortunately it isn’t going to get any better. I had a function this past weekend and forgot my laptop charger and put me very far behind and has caused some of the time issues that led to the above-mentioned items to take priority. Excluding that hiccup this has been the busiest semester I’ve ever had and them I’m adding to that with this blog and everything else I’m trying to do. If you have any suggestions or advice I’m all ears because this quite a serious matter.

Anyways let’s get to it! Below is the goal screenshot.

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Like I mentioned above I had the career fair at my school which is a huge deal and I needed to get myself out there and try and get a job for this summer. I decided to have my resume revised and getting applications out early would help me out tremendously and added those items to my goal list and accomplished both. I’ve been trying to build my brand/establish my presence in the world and I feel like Instagram is a very good platform to do that in for what I am doing and what demographic I am targeting so that’s why my current and future goals will revolve around it. I came one post short for my Instagram goal and that really came down to me scrambling the last 3 days trying to post useful content and taking time to find that great content. I did hit my followers goal though! On that note I would like to ask my readers, do you have any issues with losing followers on significant levels? I’ve seen a drop in 5-10 followers on some of those days and it was extremely puzzling so if anyone has any suggestions or advice on that again I am all ears.

Moving on I finished The 10X Rule and I am so happy I did, it was an incredible book with great content, advice, ideas and I believe it will be the foundation of my success for the future. I wrote a nice little review for it as well so if you would like to check it out click the link here. http://bsquared.website/2018/02/08/the-10x-rule-the-only-difference-between-success-and-failure/

I also finished 10 Ways to make Passive Income, not the same level of book but the link for the article is here as well. http://bsquared.website/2018/02/13/10-ways-to-make-passive-income-financial-education-youtube-channel/

Reading the 2 books above and the one I am currently reading, Sell or be Sold, has rekindled my passion for learning and reading that has been gone for quite some time now so that was refreshing to experience. I encourage everyone if they think a book would benefit them and I’ve read and reviewed it to check out the review before you buy it and get an idea if it is for you or not. I also think honesty is crucial and I will also tell you if you should buy the book or not regardless if I affiliate link it or not.

Next goals I will cover regard the blog, 35 blog posts and 100 visitors. Let me tell you first and foremost I occasionally dread writing these posts. I’ve never been much of a writer, but I am passionate about teaching and this seems at the current time the most effective way to get my message across under the given circumstances, so that’s why I blog. On that note, 26 blog posts are very short of 35 and I realize I set my goals on the upper end of the spectrum. I would have normally said I set my goals too high, but I really didn’t take enough action to create the content to write 35 blog posts worth of material and to do the actual writing itself. You can find that life lesson in The 10X Rule. The back half of this month’s goals will be posted at the end of this article, but you can see I did not take a very ambitious approach with blog post goal for the reasons mentioned above. I crushed the 100-blog visitor goal…. But it was mainly due to paid advertising through Facebook. Which is good, people are reading my posts and I’m getting a few clicks for the affiliate sales, but I need something sustainable obviously and you will see that in the next set of goals.

Next up affiliate sales. Oh man these have been rough, I had goals of 1 affiliate sale and 30 clicks across the board. We landed at zero affiliate sales and 17 clicks, I failed to reach either goal. These have continued to struggle since so I am asking my readers again, if you have any suggestions or advice for these please let me know. I really need to get some research in on how to best set all of those up when I get some time.

The side money challenge has more or less fallen off the wagon. I am quite simply trying to do too many things at once and I’ve always heard its better to full-ass one thing than half-ass two things. So, while I am still tracking it and I was at $227.50 / $400 it has not been my main priority at all. Investing referrals! I failed to get a referral for the following investing apps I use, Robinhood, stash, and acorns. I think I am simply late to the game and incorrectly targeting my audience. My main demographic is already people who invest so that doesn’t help me get referrals typically. At least those articles are out there forever, and the links still work so one day someone might stumble upon them and start using the app.  The last item on the goal list was to pay off my Discover credit card. I paid off the equivalent amount on my Visa instead because the due date is sooner, so I’ll call that a win in my books.

My next set of goals are below, if you follow me on Instagram you’ve already seen these. I realize this isn’t very productive since these goals end in 5-6 days since it’s a short month but nonetheless this can give you an idea of where I was coming from and where I am going. They are up to date as of the morning of 2/23/2018. As you can see there is a long way to go and I got a bad start with the above mentioned time commitments mentioned in the first paragraph but I am determined to make a sizable dent in those goals.

So tell me what kind of goal setting do you do? Do you write your goals down everyday like Grant Cardone? Do you set short term goals like I do? Are you a New Years’ Resolutioner and quit about this time of the year?

Comment and let me know, I’d love to hear your feedback!

-B^2

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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

Status Update

Hey sorry everyone, I was out of town on a ski trip this last week and didn’t have a chance to post anything. I’m back at school now and while its been hectic getting back I should be able to post more frequently, my goal being every other day or thereabouts. I have a friend that will write an article on Lyft or drop shipping here shortly and he’s had incredible success with both so keep your eyes open for that.

Other than that things have been relatively uneventful. My stash portfolio has been doing incredible its up about $100 in the last 2 weeks (portfolio value of ~$2150 so ~5% increase) and I started an Instagram account for the blog you can follow it @bsquared.website. I’ve been experimenting with Instagram advertising and trying to promote my articles and posts through that. Look for a review of that in the future as I learn more about the subject and experiment with different methods to drive traffic and revenue.

I’ve started reading Grant Cardone’s The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure, and I would highly recommend that book so far. Look for a review of that here shortly as well as well as some drastic action that I will take as a result. I would also recommend checking him out on YouTube,  he offers lots of advice and motivation and is a great source for information regarding Real Estate if you choose to go that route which I intend to do when I get some more capital.

Also I have several posts that have the opportunity to make me revenue through the blog, including the book review for stock market investing, Discover It credit card, stash app review, acorns app review, Robinhood app review etc. Unfortunately I haven’t made any revenue from these opportunities yet but I think we are getting closer and I expect to make my first dollar from this blog by the end of January. I will of course keep you all updated on that as well.

In summary, buckle up ladies and gentleman, 2018 is going to be a phenomenal year filled with handwork, hardship and opportunities and we should all try to make the most of it.

Best of Luck, B^2

Robinhood investing app review

I’ve been using Robinhood since December of 2016. At the time I had a surplus of money from my co-op (extended internship) and I had been researching about the stock market for weeks. I found Robinhood and it fit my criteria at the time of a cheap easy to use mobile stock trading platform and I started trading on it. At first, I deposited $150 and started playing around that. As I am writing this now I have $8,000 deposited in Robinhood and plan to add more as funds become available.

Robinhood offers an easy trading platform with no commissions, hidden fees, or up front opening costs. Under the free service with the Robinhood Instant upgrade (still free) you can trade during normal operating hours, instant deposits up to $1,000, and immediate access to funds from selling stock without waiting 2 days for settlement. These features make Robinhood an ideal platform for investors with limited funds or those who are just starting to invest for the first time.

Using traditional investing platforms limited fund investors would get ate up by $5-$10 commissions on trades. Another feature I love is the real-time notifications and alerts to the market, for example if one of my positions gains or losses 5% during intraday trading I can get a notification on my phone. These notifications can help a beginning investor capitalize on certain opportunities without being glued to his or her phone or computer screen. The detailed account statements every month help keep track of transactions as well as the detailed, filterable activity menu.

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Robinhood does lack in some respects, one of those being its information and news to the stocks. Investors would be better off using a different investing platform or website to gather news and information on the stock as Robinhood’s information is sometimes delayed and not up to date. This in addition to slow refresh times makes Robinhood a less than ideal tool for research and due diligence.

We are still waiting for the web platform and options trading to come out in 2018. I believe these two aspects would make Robinhood a well-rounded platform and further increase its usability. Robinhood also has a monthly subscription feature called Robinhood Gold, which allows users to trade on 2x margins, trade pre-market and afterhours, and have larger instant deposits. I do not use Robinhood Gold nor do I ever plan to. I do look forward to the options trading feature coming out soon, I believe Robinhood would be a great inexpensive platform to dabble in options trading.

Look for updates and more reviews to come as features are added.

If you use the referral code below for a chance to start your new account with a stock like Apple, Facebook or Microsoft for free! Refer to the image for details.

http://share.robinhood.com/brandob394

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My Stock Portfolio

Hey guys,

As you may know I am invested in the stock market via Robinhood and I am planning to give a review of the app and services here soon, but in the mean time I wanted to show you what stocks I currently own.

Again like everything I do, I track my portfolio and its contents diligently in a comprehensive excel spreadsheet, as shown below.

Ticker shares cost average value in market value gain/loss gain/loss %
CHK 479 $4.92 $2,356.68 $3.54 -$661.02 -28.05%
ULTA 7 $244.08 $1,708.56 $218.37 -$179.97 -10.53%
O 17 $57.20 $972.40 $57.40 $3.40 0.35%
BPMX 1964 $0.33 $646.94 $0.11 -$424.03 -65.54%
BAC 25 $23.95 $598.75 $29.14 $129.75 21.67%
F 45 $11.14 $501.30 $12.57 $64.35 12.84%
ATRS 135 $2.42 $326.70 $2.01 -$55.35 -16.94%
OHI 10 $27.17 $271.70 $28.20 $10.30 3.79%
STAG 10 $26.71 $267.10 $28.03 $13.20 4.94%
DE 2 $126.27 $252.54 $150.87 $49.20 19.48%
T 5 $33.64 $168.20 $38.28 $23.20 13.79%
ELF 4 $19.64 $78.56 $22.47 $11.32 14.41%
CEFL 0 $17.65 $0.00 $17.85 $0.00 1.13%
cash $263.12
updated $8,412.55 profits and dividends -$1,026.97 Current Value
12/17/17 money in $8,000.00 $412.55 current market ROI
started face value ROI 5.16%
12/2/16 net annual profit $396.27

Let me know what you all think! As you can see its kinda ugly up there at my larger positions. I’ve been cost dollar averaging some of  my positions for sometime now so hopefully that pays off in the near future. The cash on the side is actually for CEFL which already has its own spot in the spreadsheet. I’m hoping that will help bump up my dividend income to keep my financially fluid while I do not make any income until May or so.

Thanks