So I actually had this post written and ready to be sent on Saturday, but then Jetpack crashed and I lost the post because I didn’t save it and it was just a mess. But we are back up and running now so moving forward, February should be an awesome month for me. This blog was started in late November, did not have much success with it in November or December. Its the tail end of January and as I write this I’ve had 125 views and 75+ visitors! My Instagram account @bsquared.website was started in early January and has been picking up momentum. I’ve been experimenting with Facebook and Instagram ads and I think I just found winner!
In summation, January has been all about laying the foundation for what is to come. I’ve been pushing myself really hard in terms of school work, fraternity obligations, and all my side endeavors including this blog. I believe February will be the month to capitalize on the work that has been put in during January.
Only time will tell though, expect a lot more to come including book reviews, portfolio overviews, dividend updates, stock market moves I’m making, and a Lyft and/or drop shipping guide.
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.
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.
5/24/16 tax return
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.
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.
profits and dividends
current market ROI
face value ROI
net annual profit
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.
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
1 year gain
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
NAR % return
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 was created
wordpress 1 year
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.
future real estate investment
side money challenge
lending club review
change of plans
Discover Credit Card
Dividend update 12/27/17
stock market book FE
side money update 1
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.
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.
Hope everyone had a good holiday season as we are wrapping up December now and 2018 is right around the corner. Today I want to look at the Discover It card. Now I’ve had this card since September of 2017 and I am absolutely in love with it. To start it has 5% cashback in certain categories every quarter for up to $1500 spent. So, this quarter October to December 2017, Target and Amazon were the 5% cashback categories which went well with Christmas shopping and what not.
January- March 2018, gas stations and wholesale clubs
April – June, Grocery stores
July- September, Restaurants
October – December, Amazon and wholesale clubs
That is on top of the 1% all purchase unlimited cashback. Now I use a Visa Signature card in addition to this credit card and between the two I can cover most of my purchases in either a 5% or 2% cashback category. While you’re racking up all that cashback you may be wondering what you could use it all on. Well there’s statement credit which is typical of most credit cards, there is also discounted gift cards (You pay $20 and get a $25 gift card from their selection), and you can use your cashback as Amazon credit. Oh, and while you are making it rain on all the cashback Discover will match your first year’s cashback. So, over the course of a year if you receive $250 in cashback, a year from your account opening you will get $250 cashback from discover. Another huge perk of this card is you can check your FICO credit score at any time. As a 21-year-old a FICO score may not be on the forefront of my concerns, however upon graduation and a career, house, car etc. that FICO score becomes relevant very quickly. Also, every year as a student you are eligible to receive $20 cashback for maintaining a GPA over a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, for up to 5 years, through their good grade reward program. Unfortunately, I didn’t get this card sooner and I only have about a year left of college. Below is a pie chart spending analysis from the last 3 months which is common among various credit card providers.
That’s the brief overview of this amazing credit card, in addition the app is easy to use and informative as well as their online website. Like I said I use this card in combination with another credit card to cover as much cashback opportunity as possible. This card also features no annual fees and competitive interest rates.
Lastly Discover is offering a $50 statement credit for opening this card after the first of the year. Refer to the pictures below for details and follow this link https://refer.discover.com/s/44b6u
Another investing/saving app I use is Acorn. I’ve been using this app since November 2016, and haven’t used it nearly as much as Robinhood or Stash. Acorn is an app that uses your rounded up spare change from purchases on credit/debit cards to fund the investment portfolio ($5.63 is rounded up to $6 and $0.37 is deposited into the account). Due to my very different stretch investing method I’ve been using recently, I stopped using acorn in July 2017. In that short duration of time I was able to make a 4.3% return in about 7 months using the aggressive portfolio shown below. Extrapolating that return into a APY yields approximately 7.4% return. The conservative portfolio is shown below for comparison.
Between my age, tolerance of risk, and a reliable fall back plan allows me to invest in the aggressive portfolio worry free. The app has you put in your financial information and goals and recommends the proper portfolio you should invest in. Based on the app I was actually supposed to invest in the moderately aggressive portfolio, but changed to the aggressive portfolio.
Below are my returns and the “Found Money” page.
The “Found Money” page is essentially the rewards portion. When you make purchases on your linked cards they will redeem the rewards which are paid out in flat rates ($5, $3 etc.) or in a percentage of your total purchase. I currently have a pending “Found Money” reward from the Wall Street Journal for a 2-month trial to their subscription for a $5 amount and the subscription fee cost me $2 for a net $3 gain. Along the lines of free money, when you use the invite code below you will receive $5 in your acorn portfolio.
Overall, I would say this is a great app to start saving more money daily. The platform of the app is simple and easy to use providing graphs and detailed information where you want it and an overview where you don’t. There is also a “grow” section which is their article and information area. They post monthly articles from Warren Buffet advice, to basic investment information. I would highly recommend this app to beginning investors and savers as well as anyone that could use a little kickstart on saving more money.
I just recently opened another savings/checking account through Aspiration. Aspiration has been in the news lately with its Glassdoor reviews and recent awards. I am using this new savings/checking account as my emergency fund. Aspiration is known for its high interest rates specifically, 0.25% APY for accounts below $2500, and 1.00% APY for accounts above $2500. My short-term goal is to reach the $2500 amount by the end of 2018. In the future I would like to use their IRA, and investment account options. Another perk of Aspiration is that they will allow you to use any ATM and they will pay the transaction fees. This proves extremely useful in the context of an emergency account. That along with the high interest rate gives Aspiration the dynamic duo I was searching for.
I will provide further review as I become more familiar with the platform and explore some of its other features and investment potential.
I encourage you to take a look at this great banking option.
Aspiration Referral Program
Every time a friend or loved one opens an account using your invitation link (linked below), you both will receive $25 Do Good dollars to donate to the charitable cause of your choice. So lets start the new year off right!
Hi my name is Brandon and this is my financial and investing blog!
A little bit about myself, I am a 22 year old college student, studying in the engineering field. I currently invest in ETF’s, stocks, 401k, and peer-to-peer lending. I am looking into real estate investing, options trading, and drop shipping in the future.