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.

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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.

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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.

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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

2018 Goals

So as December ends and 2018 is fast approaching I’ve been thinking what I want to accomplish this upcoming year. I’m not talking about New Years resolutions or anything, I’m looking at this year as a incredibly critical moment in my life. The actions I take in 2018 could have a significant impact on my life, and could either push me to the next level however you would like to define it, or I could come up short. As I mentioned before in my “Change of Plans” post, I did not get offered the co-op or internship that I thought I had a very good shot at. The co-op would’ve gave me another huge influx of capital and could’ve been a critical asset in my financial life. The missed internship opportunity would have most likely secured a career path once I graduated. So, without either of those I am approaching 2018 in no man’s land. This would be the first time in 2 years that I am going into the new year without a summer job prospect or offer. I did end the Fall 2017 semester very strong, so I have that going for me as well as some good stock positions and prospects going into 2018, but back to the goals. I recently started reading Grant Cardone’s The 10x Rule  which has driven me to set more ambitious goals and to put in more time and effort to achieve those results.

$2500 in my aspiration emergency fund (this would give me the 1.00% APY interest rate)

$20,000 In my Robinhood portfolio (originally shooting for $10,000, hoping some options trading will give me the edge I need to achieve this goal)

$10,000 in stash app (originally $5,000)

$10,000 in Lending club (originally $5,000, would be incredibly useful in the stretch investing method)

Collect over $1,000 in dividends and stock interest (this years projected amount was ~$250, original goal was $500)

Have 5, $1,000+/year income streams by the end of 2018 (Anticipate being Dividends/interest, Lending Club interest, Internship, Drop Shipping, Blog)

150 blog posts by the end of 2018

All these goals are related to the blog and my financial life, I also have goals, relating to my academic life, extracurricular involvement, and fitness. I won’t get into details on these to keep this post short.

So tell me some of your goals and ambitions this year, I look forward to reading your comments.

Stash Investing app

I have been using Stash since November 2016 and I am a huge fan. Stash is an app based platform to invest in ETF’s (exchange traded funds) and offers over 40 of them. ETF’s are a grade investment to help diversify your portfolio and mitigate risk, as well as a sound investment for beginners. When you follow the link https://get.stashinvest.com/brandoni35n0 you will receive one year of free investing (normal fee is $1 a month for accounts under $5,000, and 0.25% APY for accounts over $5,000). Below are some pictures of my own stash portfolio and what all I own.

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The first screen shot is the portfolio screen, here you can see Total Portfolio Value and Total Return. As you can see in 13 months I’ve managed an impressive 25% return, with minimal risk. The screen shot on the right shows my account balance over time, if you have seen my stretch investing article you may recognize the steady ramp up over the summer months and the slow decrease in the fall months as I start to pull out money for large expenses that come up. I would normally sell off portions of my highest return ETF’s and any funds I would receive from dividends or bank transfers would go toward the worse preforming ETF, thus following the sell high, buy low mantra.

As of 12/20/2017 here are my best and worse performing investments over the duration I’ve used the app.

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Unfortunately, the app organizes based on total return in dollars which accounts for the size of the position and not just the % return. Essential Europe is my worse preforming ETF; however, I’ve only owned it since July so a 4.4% return in 6 months would ideally equate to a 8.8% return for the year, being inline with the overall market average historically speaking.

I would highly recommend this app for anyone looking to easily diversify their portfolios, or a beginner looking to get their toes wet. The app also features an IRA retirement account, and articles to help beginners learn about ETF investing and the stock market.

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*Received the summary for the year from stash take a look and let me know what you think.

About Me

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.