Future investment plans

I’m coming up on work here soon and its had me thinking about what I want to invest in and where I want that money to go. Just like a kid at Christmas I get a little giddy inside just thinking about it. If you didn’t know I am planning on saving 40% of my income before taxes however I am hoping my living expenses are so minimal that I will still have excess outside of my cost of living expenses. I am looking to add an alternative investment to my belt known as Ground Floor, a peer to peer hard money investing platform like Lending Club. It has high returns and a shorter time period than Lending Club which should allow for a great ROI and passive income generation. With returns around 8-12% depending on the loan and duration I would like to get $1,000 in there as soon as possible and get the money churning out of that platform. I have about $30 in there now thanks to the extremely low minimum required ($10).

Coming up next I would like to get into the Cardone Capital fund for non-accredited investors as soon as possible. It requires a minimum of $5,000 to invest and it has a 10-year time horizon. They anticipate a 6% return per year with it increasing as time progresses and then a big chunk of profit at the end when they sell or refinance. At $300 a year in passive income that would help me hit my future passive income goals substantially. I could also try and reinvest into the fund if it is still open later down the road and would not be opposed to putting in an additional $5,000 into it and bring the passive income total to $600 a year or $50 a month.

I would also like to bring my Robinhood account back up to $10,000 its currently sitting at $8,050. I wish I could make this happen sooner and take advantage of some of the panic selling that has gone on lately however I expect to see some more of that in the future. I would also like to bring up my Lending Club account significantly and believe once I start making money and no longer need to pull every dollar and cent out of my account that it will compound nicely come August-December and finish the year off strong. I would also like to build my stash account back up again as well from its current $2,500 or so up to $4,500. I’ve depleted it for a while and would like to pick up some good deals and get some dividends coming back through it as well.

One of the last investments I’ll mention is in myself, I plan to buy a real estate investing program from the YouTuber MeetKevin and learn from a realtor and real estate investor exactly what I want to do and how I want to get there. It’s a $300 program or so and I think the knowledge will be extremely valuable in the future when I plan to get into real estate investing.

As you can see most of my investments are passive income related and there is good reason for that. With the next 6 months solely focused on learning and training for work followed by an additional 12 months of inside sales which will need to take up most of my time to be successful. The plan is to establish these passive income sources and let Father Time do the work and I’ll just sit back and collect the interest, dividends, and the rent checks. It will also take massive amounts of action to reach my $2500 passive income goal by the end of 2019, however with a little bit of side hustle and a proper plan we might just get there!

Till next time, B^2

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

How to Invest your first $500

Just a quick heads up, I don’t normally write articles like this, in fact this wasn’t even for my blog. Another Instagram investing page/ blog asked me to write this article and after waiting to hear back from him for 2 weeks and not seeing it posted on his blog either I decided to put this article on my blog since after all it was my hard work and effort to write it.

So, you saved up your first $500 and you want to invest it. First off, I would like to congratulate you on this feat, approximately 78% of Americans (I’m writing this in the United States, sorry to everyone outside the United States that this statistic doesn’t apply to you) live paycheck to paycheck so the fact that you escaped that cycle deserves some kudos. Before you start investing though, we need to get a couple things straight. If you have any high interest debt (i.e. credit card debt) please handle that before you even think about investing. A beginner at investing will have a hard time earning more than the debt is costing not to mention the other ways high interest debt affects your credit score and other financial aspects of your life. So first and foremost, handle high interest debt if you have it before you start investing. Secondly, if you do not have an emergency account or fund, I would highly advise to put your $500 into that before you start investing. Accidents happen, illness happens, the world is an unpredictable place and having extra money in the event of an emergency can be a life saver.

You’ve taken care of step 1 and step 2 and you still have $500 you’re ready to invest with. Congratulations you are about to embark on the path to financial success! Warren Buffett, one of the most successful and renown investors once said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.” That’s what we aim to do! Before we begin everyone should know that all investments carry some sort of risk and have different time horizons to work with. Pending your current financial situation and what you aim to do with that $500 you can take several different routes listed below.

Quotation-Warren-Buffett-If-you-don-t-find-a-way-to-make-money-87-85-65

  1. Invest in yourself

Let me make this clear before you go on a shopping spree, there are ample resources when it comes to free education. YouTube, Podcasts, Free eBooks, Blogs, Written articles, Company financial documents etc. are all at your disposal with an internet connection. Assuming you have exhausted the resources above or are looking for something more detailed I would recommend several investing and financial books and making the commitment to read and follow through on them. To name a few, The Intelligent Investor – Benjamin Graham, Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill, Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert T. Kiyosaki, The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – John C. Bogle. While not all directly related to stock market investing someone trying to invest their first $500 would benefit from the messages in these books. Note that buying 3-4 books will still leave you with plenty of money from your initial savings, I would suggest reading and using the advice given in the books and in this article to utilize the rest of your capital at your own will. An investment in yourself will yield dividends for the rest of your life to come, it is therefore one of the most essential investments to make early on. If the books above aren’t your forte there are several other books centered around general success that may light a fire in your heart to pursue greatness.

  1. CD/High-Yield Savings Account

Holding your money in a CD or a high yield savings account is a great option if you need your money to remain liquid or you have a short time horizon and low risk tolerance. Besides investing in yourself this option carries the lowest risk but also lower returns than can be seen with the other options. I currently use a savings account with a 2.10% yield. This would generate $10.50 a year in a savings account and while that is not a lot there is extremely little risk in this approach and your money is accessible.

CD’s or Certificate of Deposit have a fixed time period to invest over but have higher returns than a savings account. I quickly searched CD rates for 1, 3- and 5-year terms which produced the following yields respectively 2.8%, 2.85%, and 3.10%. (2/11/2019) These were the best rates I could find while adhering to a $500 minimum deposit and would produce returns of $14, $44, and $82 respectively. Now these returns are low, they slightly outpace inflation, but they are safe and rather liquid. I would recommend this strategy if you are new to investing and are trying to combine strategy 1 (learning about investing) and putting your money in a safe modest return investment until you know what you want to invest in.

  1. ETF’s and Index Funds

An ETF index fund may be the best mix of aggressive and save on this list. Let me pull up some definitions real quick to make sure we are all on the same page.

ETF – “An ETF, or exchange-traded fund, is a marketable security that tracks a stock index, a commodity, bonds, or a basket of assets. Although similar in many ways, ETFs differ from mutual funds because shares trade like common stock on an exchange. The price of an ETF’s shares will change throughout the day as they are bought and sold. The largest ETFs typically have higher average daily volume and lower fees than mutual fund shares which makes them an attractive alternative for individual investors.” – Investopedia

Index Fund – “An index fund is a type of mutual fund with a portfolio constructed to match or track the components of a market index, such as the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (S&P 500).” – Investopedia

A S&P 500 ETF index fund provides good returns on average, low expense ratio, little knowledge or analysis required, and it provides a dividend which all contribute to their success. An app that provides these funds for a low cost would be Stash App, in addition to picking an index fund you can also pick a variety of ETF’s including those that track bonds, precious metals, technology companies, banks, etc. For the S&P 500 the following tickers IVV, VOO, SPY will mimic the index closely and save you money on the expense ratio as well.

In this strategy you are investing in the broad market which has experienced volatility recently. The index and ETF’s will experience ups and downs providing more risk but higher rates of return on average. In the event of a market downturn, the investor will not be able to withdraw the investment without realizing losses. If pursuing this strategy, the investor should understand the risk and possible length of this investment as both are much greater.

  1. Individual Stock of a well-known company

This strategy presents the highest risk/reward of the strategies discussed. Buying shares of an individual stock effectively puts all your eggs in one basket which adds to the risk however an individual stock can move both up or down much quicker than an ETF. Companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. are popular options. Some stocks such as Google and Amazon have share prices of $1,000+. In this event you will need a platform that allows you to buy partial shares to be able to purchase these stocks with limited funds. I would not recommend a small cap company, penny stock, or any speculative play.

Whichever platform you choose it should be noted that a platform that minimizes brokerage and additional fees should be desired. With $500 to invest with it is critical to not waste capital on fees. Apps I am familiar with that are friendly toward beginner investors with limited capital include, Robinhood, Stash App, Acorns, M1, and Webull. Like strategy 3 a longer investment horizon is required for individual stocks.

In conclusion, there are multiple strategies to invest your first $500. Based on what your goals, risk tolerance, and investment horizon are you should be able to come to a solid conclusion on what strategy is best for you. Having a realistic approach to investing is vital, expecting 100% returns in your first year is asking for failure and discouragement. Hopefully you found this information useful and can begin your investments on a good note.

Thanks,

B^2

IG @ Bsquared.website

Blog @ Bsquared.website

Email @ Bsquared.web@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Passive Income update 11-4-2018

I’m back at it with another update on my passive income. Two months have passed, and we’ve made progress since I last filled you guys in. To remind everyone I currently receive passive income in the form of interest payments from Lending Club, my savings account, stock dividends, and stock interest payments.

I have invested more money into my Robinhood portfolio, stash app and my lending club account since I last touched on this subject and the results speak for themselves. Two months ago, I had received $233.74 YTD in Lending Club payments, now I am at $343.72. Stock interest and dividend payments have also increased from $186.37 to $260.89. Overall that puts me at a YTD passive income of $604.61 or $60.46/month. This is in comparison to my September numbers of $420.11 YTD and $46.68/month. This shows a 29.5% increase in monthly passive income! Below is a screenshot of my Lending club interest payments by month as you can see we have a dramatic uptick through the fall as funds were added in late summer and early fall showing the strong passive income performance described above.

LC interest snip

Unfortunately, I do not think I will make it to my goal of $1,000 of passive income YTD. The progress I have made will continue to help grow my passive income year after year with the goal of my passive income exceeding my earned income one day.

My lending club portfolio has been driving much of this passive income growth and it has not shown its full strength yet. This month all my notes will be issues and generating income and we will see what kind of profits that machine can churn out. My stock portfolio has been extremely volatile during the month of October as many investors have experienced the wild ride with me. I am optimistic of my portfolio and believe I will be making some sales in the future and picking up dividend stocks and profits along the way. My Stash portfolio also grew with considerable size over the last several months and it is likely that some of those positions will be rewarding me in the future as well.

Exciting things are soon to come as the end of 2018 approaches! Expect another passive income update at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019 to recap the full year and see my future and ambitions for 2019. With graduation, relocating, and adulting there are sure to be some interesting topics to talk about and interesting plans in my future.

I will also be using this post to apologize for my horrendous lack of posting in October, as highlighted in my November goal picture on Instagram I have been off my game to say the least and will be using this first half of November or so to get back on track. For those of you who are curious I only had 1 blog article posted and lacked on my Instagram game as well. This article is already my second of November and many more are to come!

Do you ever get in a rut like I did? If so, leave a comment on how you got out of it or what you did to wake yourself back up. I’m sure myself and everyone reading this could get some benefit out of your words of wisdom!

Thanks,

B^2

 

Passive Income overview 9/5/18

Passive Income is all the rage these days, with ecommerce blowing up, YouTube, podcasts, blogs, investing etc. there are lots of reason why it should be something to think about. Let’ s dive into it and see what it is all about!

Passive income is income resulting from cash flow received on a regular basis, requiring minimal to no effort by the recipient to maintain it. (Wikipedia)

That sounds amazing! Minimal to no effort and receiving cash from it, but its not quite that simple. Passive income often requires either initial upfront energy, effort, and time or initial upfront cash.

My expertise is with the initial upfront cash portion, so we’ll get into that. I have been collecting data on my passive income for over a year now. I currently receive passive income in the form of interest payments from Lending Club, my savings account, stock dividends, stock interest payments, and I guess money saving apps as well. I won’t go into that last one in depth as I am saving that for an article in the future. Hopefully if you’ve been following me for awhile or are at all familiar with investing you understand what a stock dividend is. Essentially you own a dividend paying stock a every quarter or for every month you receive a little gift from the company in the form of a monetary payout for being their stockholder. I also receive some interest payments from my stocks when people short the stocks I own. Between my savings account interest, stock interest, dividends from both Robinhood and Stash I have received $186.37 this year. Not too shabby most would say, but this does come at a price to the tune of ~$12,500 invested in the above-mentioned platforms. The other vehicle I use for passive income is Lending Club. Currently I have received $233.74 in interest payments this year through that platform and that is to the tune of about $4,000 ish invested. A little calculator work later and we are at $420.11 this year in passive income, or about $46.68 per month.

I’m proud of that number to say the least but there’s more to come and in fact my goal for 2018 was to make $1,000 in passive income this year. There is still along way to go to reach that $1,000 mark and less than 3 months till the ball drops and we are standing in 2019.

My plan to get there is already in the works, I have a sizeable position building in Lending Club, in fact there is quite a lot of notes (loans) that haven’t paid me yet because they are so new. When that all comes clicking together and I continue to add to that platform I expect my interest payment payouts to sky rocket. I think I’ll put in another $1,000 into that platform or so and will be reinvesting the principals and interest payments to snowball that passive income stream and make it larger.

The other side of the coin is my stocks and etf’s I own. I have added around $750 into my stash positions and most of those pay dividends. I’ve also added $1400 to my robinhood portfolio and a decent chunk of that has gone to dividend stocks. I plan to continue to add to both and make profits on my positions to reinvest into dividend stocks as well as reinvest the dividends back from where they came from.

The goal for this is to reach financial freedom. There are various definitions to this but for my purpose it is to create passive income streams that are greater than my active income (the money I make from working). When you reach this and assuming you account for inflation, cost of living increasing etc. you can effectively retire. Now of course I don’t plan to retire super early and go live on a beach or anything like that, my mission is much bigger than that, however that is the ultimate plan.

You might be taking a look at this and scratching your head like, “Brandon, you’ve got a long way to go to replace your standard income if you aren’t even at $1,000 a year yet” and you are absolutely correct. My stock portfolio currently yields around 3%, for a modest $40,000 a year to live on my portfolio would have to be around $1.3 million at that same yield to produce that. That’s a lot of motherfucking money to reach financial freedom if you ask me.

That’s why I am looking into investing in real estate when I build my capital up. With real estate’s monthly cash flow and leverage assuming a modest 5% return not accounting for increasing rents or refinancing or anything like that an $800,000 property would yield $40,000 a year and with a 25% down payment of $200,000 you could control that. That looks much more attainable to me.

Using Grant Cardone’s 40% rule, profits from my investments, and existing passive income streams that will grow that should be attainable within a few years if all goes right.

As Warren Buffett said, “If you don’t find a way to make money while you sleep, you will work until you die.”

Now are these passive income streams passive, no. I actively invest in the stock market, I do research on the positions I take, I check lending club frequently and hand pick my loans that I invest in etc. But all in all they are pretty passive. Real estate on the other hand isn’t very passive until you get to the big leagues and can afford a property manager.

Grant’s new real estate investing book is in route to my door in STL and I will be giving that a read very soon and I plan to implement his plan and to go big on my first deal. We’re talking 24-32 units costing $1.4- 2.0 million requiring a down payment in the neighborhood of $500-700k. Like I said large upfront capital or large up-front work, time, energy.

I should also mention what I am doing right here follows that other method that I haven’t gone over. This blog while it does not produce any income and actually never has produced any income for me may be able to one day. Consider how much time I’ve spent (10 months, 60 blog posts, advertising, Instagram etc.) to get it to this point and still haven’t made a dime with it. That’s what I am talking about in terms of up front time, energy, and effort.

It will not be easy whatever passive income route you choose, but with a good strategy and the work you need to put into it the prize is pretty frickin nice.

Let me hear your passive income journey!

B^2

Dividend Update 8-5-18

Dividends have been an important goal of mine all summer, for those of you who don’t know I am a student so for the next several months (August-May) I will produce very little income because I do not work during the school year. I may however pick up a side hustle in the Spring as I will have lots of free time due to a low-class load and less rugby responsibilities. For me to fund my investment accounts and keep things fluid more or less, I need to either A) sell my positions for profit and reinvest the earnings or B) produce dividend income to fund new positions.

Obviously, I do intend to profit from my investments however we don’t always know what lays ahead in the stock market and what opportunities may present themselves, so dividend income is safer bet. Below is where we left off from the 6-3-18 dividend update:


Ticker cost avg percent yield   share # year equivalent
CEFL $17.72 14.73%   11 $28.71
OHI $27.12 9.73%   5 $13.20
AAPL $157.51 1.85%   1 $2.92
PG $74.40 3.86%   2 $5.74
F $11.30 5.31%   60 $36.00
STAG $25.85 5.49%   20 $28.40
O $55.78 4.71%   27 $71.01
CBL $4.56 17.54%   5 $4.00
TTS $6.73 2.97%   15 $3.00
        a year in dividends $192.98
        percent of total 2.41%

 

Forward projection of dividends was $192.98 yielding 2.41% with 66% of that comprised of monthly paying dividend stocks. Respectable but nonetheless I wanted to improve my monthly income as well as my overall dividend income.

As of 8-5-18 here are the current stats:

Ticker cost avg percent yield dividend/share share # year equivalent
CEFL $16.92 14.36% $2.43 16 $38.88
LB $32.36 7.42% $2.40 10 $24.00
T $31.89 6.27% $2.00 10 $20.00
STAG $25.85 5.49% $1.42 20 $28.40
F $11.19 5.36% $0.60 80 $48.00
O $55.78 4.73% $2.64 27 $71.28
PG $74.40 3.86% $2.87 2 $5.74
AAPL $157.51 1.85% $2.92 1 $2.92
        $239.22
        2.81%

 

Forward projection of dividends at $239.22 (increase of 24% in 2 months), yielding 2.81% on the entire portfolio. Approximately 58% of dividend payouts comprised of monthly paying dividends. I should also note that I also improved my dividend outlook on the investing app “Stash” I never crunched the numbers on that, but I added 2 positions that had dividend yields and I have another position I plan to add here shortly.

Overall, I am very pleased with the increase on all fronts, the snowball has essentially started to roll, and we should see significant payoffs in the future. I would eventually like to yield 3%+ on my Robinhood portfolio however my 2 largest positions currently do not pay a dividend.

If you follow my Instagram you may have seen the table that compares 2017 to 2018 dividends per month. (If you don’t follow my Instagram it is @bsquared.website) I started tracking dividends in June 2017 and comparing June and July of ’17 vs. ’18 you can see I have doubled the dividend income in both months and August also posts a double (soon to be triple) return as well.

As you can see we have quite a bit of momentum built up and I am looking to continue that trend. I do believe we will have a tough time achieving the goal of $500 dividend income in 2018. (Currently at $171.49) The progress has been great thus far and I will be adding approximately $1250 to the Robinhood portfolio in the coming weeks and pending the opportunities I see should increase dividends even further.

As always let me know what you think! This is not a strictly dividend portfolio, I try to have some growth and value plays in there as well. As you can tell by my situation however the cash flow and fluidity help my situation tremendously. Feel free to drop a comment of reach out to me on IG or twitter @bsquaredweb10

Thanks!

B^2

Dividend update 3-26-18

I came to you guys almost 3 months ago with an overview of my dividend income and situation. Back then I was bringing in approximately $150 a year in dividends from Robinhood and with all dividends and interest included I was bring in a little over $20 a month. Today this is what we are looking at.

div update table 3-26-18

The above table tracks my dividends from multiple platforms (Robinhood, acorns, and stash) as well as interest I receive from Robinhood. As you can see there is a general trend upward and although there were some bad months (January) I receive upwards of $20 a month in dividends. Here is the table in graph form, the blue represents 2017 and the red represents 2018. As you can see March 2018 has been my best month to date with $31.68, or about a $1 a day.

dividend update 3-26-18

Below is another table tracking my dividend stocks in Robinhood. As you can see I am now making approximately $200 a year in dividends not including stash dividends or Robinhood interest. This equates to approximately 2.5% return on my portfolio in dividends.  I also have small positions in some very high yield dividend stock such as CEFL, CBL, and OHI. I am looking into increasing those positions moving forward and cost averaging down when I can, to increase actual percent yield which is calculated in the table below.

div table 3-26-18

Overall, I am impressed with these results as I have been taking my foot off the gas in terms of investing in dividend stocks. I have been looking more into higher potential returns than higher dividend income recently and we will see how that pays off in the future. Currently my largest position is down big right now (~$750) as that comes up as I expect it too in 2018/2019 and I can funnel more money into my investing accounts I will keep you all updated on my stock portfolio and my dividends.

Please leave a comment below!

B^2

End of February Goal Analysis

Man, that was a quick one, a very short and busy month let to some disappointing results but lets not beat around the bush and dive right in.

IMG_0085.png

Looking at the Instagram items, posts and followers were close to the target, again it was a too little too late scenario and its hard to make up for the days with no posts. Overall, I’m not disappointed with this one, I put a lot of effort into it and it was very close just didn’t want to compromise my content for hitting the target, but I may have already… more on that later. Moving to the blog objectives, 40 blog posts and 400 visitors, yea neither of those were going to happen. Had I continued pushing the paid advertising as hard as I did the first half of February then maybe, but without that the views are organic and very low. As I have said before, writing blog posts requires a lot from me, I must be in the mood and mindset to write these up and if its not there then the writing quality is trash and it’s a slow process.

Related to the blog is the mailing list, and I looked at a plugin for it on WordPress, but I don’t think it was ever implemented, at least when I went on the site I never found a form to fill out. Again, related to the blog, affiliate sales still have never took off, of course its much harder with low traffic on the site. Same applies to the Shopify referrals, I had 10 clicks through the site and I never had one go through with the full signup process.

Changing gears again we look at the two book goals, Sell or be Sold, and Rental Property Empire. I finished and posted on Sell or Be Sold, terrific book, great content, it may have persuaded me to take a sales internship this summer, updates to come soon on that. Here is the link for the article though, check it out! http://bsquared.website/2018/02/28/sell-or-be-sold-how-to-get-your-way-in-business-and-in-life-grant-cardone/ I just started Rental Property Empire tonight actually, so far, its pretty basic information I already knew hopefully it picks up in fresh content though, approximately 15% through it.

Last two girls include credit cards and interviews. Despite the check marks the credit cards didn’t get paid off the way I wanted them to so that was rather disappointing, as far as the interviews, the Spring Career Fair at my school was rough this year. Lots of full-time and co-op opportunities but not much for summer interns so that wasn’t good. I did get 2 interviews though, one for the sales rep and one for a steel company. There may be more opportunities coming up but that’s all I have right now.

About the Instagram issue noted above, I have two screenshots from my account tonight. You can see there is a strong inverse correlation between action and discovery and I don’t know why. I have been posting frequently (probably too much but was going for the goal) and I think that may have something to do with it. But I am looking for more link clicks, engagement, and followers. I am getting them slowly but surely, but I would like to master Instagram to deliver the best results for my blog.

IMG_0095

Looking forward March is a crazy month at my school. I have 2 tests next week, St. Pat’s, another testing week, then spring break. My philanthropy week is also soon after in April and my team and I are putting in tons of work lately to get that all ready to go. I have made accommodations to my goals by covering the whole month of March in this next set. Hopefully I can deliver stellar results to make up for the last couple disappointing performances. At first I set the bar relatively low for my goals, the more I looked at them the easier they looked and I decided I needed to keep pushing myself so I cranked them back up to a tougher target.

As always let me know what you think, and if you have any suggestions or comments those are always appreciated.

Until next time,

B^2

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.

IMG_0412.png

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