Disclaimer Been trying my best on bring content to everyone this week unfortunately the ground I’ve made up in writing and posting I have lost in reading so I may be silent these next couple days while I catch up on my reading goal for 2019.
Haven’t updated my passive income in quite awhile so I’ll let you know where I am at now and where I am heading. I finished 2018 off with $830 in passive income for the year which translates to just shy of $70/month. My goal for 2019 is to earn $2500 in passive income which equates to $208/month earned. I’m sure you all know that passive income is critical to reaching financial freedom and I would like my passive income to exceed my active or earned income sometime in the future. If you are unfamiliar refer to this article. Until then we’ll be growing the passive income incrementally and aggressively. I calculate my passive income currently as my dividend income, interest earned through savings accounts, and interest earned through Lending Club. As of today, I have earned $101.25 in dividend/stock interest/savings account interest and $205.90 in Lending Club interest, add that together and we are sitting at $307.15. I’ll be conservative and say we have completed 3.5 months of the year which brings the monthly average to $87.75.
That’s not too shabby and I’ll explain why. It’s obviously not the $208/month I’m shooting for and I wouldn’t expect it to be, most of my passive income will be made up in the fall after I start working full-time this summer. With aggressive savings my emergency fund (also my sacred account) will be paying out 2.1% monthly and any other funds I can spare will go into Stash (for my ETF’s), Robinhood (for my stocks), or Lending Club (for my interest payments). I won’t have to pull any more money from my profits in my various accounts so I can get back to compounding my money.
While it isn’t very exciting now these next few months should become more interesting and passive income should start pouring in. My Lending Club performance peaked in November and has been steadily declining ever since which has hurt the passive income performance significantly. I have also sold off several large dividend payers and one being my go-to monthly dividend stock, Realty Income. Pending market conditions, I’ll pick up more dividend stocks as I see fit and as my income warrants.
As always, I am looking towards the future and pending how everything goes in 2019 and pending if I buy real estate before 2020, I’ll be looking at $500-$750 in monthly passive income for 2020 which is $6,000-$9,000 for the year. Not quite a 10X goal but aggressive, nonetheless.
Thanks for reading along, I’d love to hear what you guys are doing to generate passive income, how many passive income streams you have, and what your goals are! If anyone has a suggestion for a side hustle let me know as well, I’ll be working towards that here soon.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hey everyone, sorry for the delay, I just took my last 2 exams yesterday 12/12/18 for school and can finally settle down and get some non-school related work done. So today I’ll be comparing my Lending Club portfolio to what it was on the last update from 9/17/18. Now for those of you who are reading this blog for the first time let me catch you up quick. If you are familiar with me and Lending Club skip down to the horizontal line.
My name is Brandon, I’m a college student if you couldn’t tell by the exams above, I graduate this upcoming May, and already have a job secured so that’s exciting. Lending Club is a peer to peer (P2P) lending platform where, rather than borrowing money from a bank or financial institution, individual investors fund the borrows and receive interest and what not just like a bank does. I’m obviously on the investor side of things so I can’t say much about the borrowing side.
It’s a rather simple platform, I as an investor put in say $1,000 (you can invest with as little as $25 but this is just an example), I can pick which loans I want to fund and fund it into $25 increments (it’s not all or nothing). So, for example, XYZ is requesting a loan for $20,000 for credit consolidation, Lending Club does its due diligence in terms of background information (credit score, credit history, current income, current debt, debt-to-income ratio, etc. etc,), they then assign them a scoring based on the above information in an A-E, 1-5 scale. An A1 rating represents the safest investment while an E5 represents the riskiest investment. Based on that scoring the interest rate is calculated as of today (the rates have changed recently due to rising interest rates in the U.S. and Lending Club has been doing a good job of keeping their investments in line with rising interest), an A1 loan has a 6.46% interest rate, while an E5 has a 27.27% interest rate. The loans come in either 3 year or 5-year lengths and the investors get paid monthly. So in the previous example if I were to take that $1,000 and put the money to work in a variety of loans ($25*40=$1,000) spread over different ratings, I would get paid monthly on all of those and earn somewhere between 4%-7% give or take because of course Lending Club takes a 1%-2% cut or so. Now the loans can always default, or get paid back early, in that case you lose potential interest. So obviously there’s some risk involved as with any investment and even the high-quality A grade loans have defaulted on me before.
My favorite aspects of Lending Club are the monthly principal and interest payments from every loan. In November I collected $75.28 in interest and received about $250 in principal back. I also love the ease of reinvesting at the level I am at. With about $325 coming in from last month divided by the $25/note price tag I could reinvest my P&I 13 times in a month all while earning around 7% interest! Only place you can reinvest quicker is a good savings account and even then, the best you’ll make is 2% (at least that’s what my discover account makes a year)
Alright time to compare the last 3 months side by side. For the following comparisons we’ll do the September data on the left and the December data on the right.
As you can see, we have a significant increase in notes over the almost 3-month period. I mentioned in the previous update that I was waiting on my internship bonus to come in to help fund this endeavor and when it arrived it allowed me to put another $1,500 into Lending Club. Charge offs, fully paid and other scenarios have gone up as they always had.
I did not include the following pictures in my previous update but here they are now. Below is a pie chart depicting my current portfolio by what rating it has. As you can see it is relatively spread even throughout the spectrum except for F and G as they are no longer offered and were incredibly risky. My detailed returns are also shown below.
Moving on, we’ll examine the overall account value as well as return on investment. Since these pictures are long, the September numbers will be shown first, then December.
This shows the adjusted account value and return for my entire portfolio. It is adjusted based off the probability and amount of the various late and defaulted notes in my portfolio. As you can see the account value is dramatically higher as well as the % return. I expected this to happen for a few reasons. For one I mentioned a $1,500 deposit I made to the account increasing its value as well as being able to compound the account through October to reinvest my earnings. As for percent return the account had an influx of new notes at the time as you can see by the first set of pictures. When notes are not issued they add to the account value but not to the profit because they haven’t started paying you yet. This decreases the % return significant and I have seen it every time I make a large deposit. Over time this will drop due to notes defaulting and being paid late.
The next set of pictures show the non-adjusted account values again we will go September then December.
As you can see the percent return and account values are both up and consistent with the previous set of pictures.
So you may be asking what the point of all of this is, like nice bro you made some money, but what’s the deal? Well making money especially passively has always been a huge focus for me, you only have 24 hours in a day and you gotta sleep, so until you can make money while you sleep or while you are not working you will be broke forever. (paraphrased from Warren Buffett) So check that one off the box. I mentioned earlier that I am a college student, I have internships over the summer and I don’t work for the other 9 months of the year, and I needed a way to generate income in a fluid manner throughout the school year. Yes I know I could just stick it all in the bank and withdraw when needed but you don’t make shit at the bank so that’s wasting your money’s potential.
Here’s a bit of background, I moved out of my fraternity house this semester, so I was kinda on my own as far as rent went and I wanted a way to pay my rent and make money at the same time as I have been eluding to in the previous paragraph. I decided to go balls out in Lending Club, utilize the monthly payouts, utilize the return, utilize the fluidity from Lending Club to checking account transaction, and fund my rent through Lending Club.
Overall, I think I accomplished what I was trying to do, if you recall the September update, I mentioned my rent at school was $275 + utilities = approx. $350. I know that’s dirt cheap but it’s a small college town and its not the most glamorous house but whatever I’ve dealt with worse. The total collected amount for principal and interest in November was about $350 so I technically made it, but it doesn’t quite feel like it. I wanted to do better than where I am at now and I am currently in full out withdrawal mode to pay rent, and credit cards, fund my ski trip, buy Christmas presents etc. etc. So, I can’t compound or add to Lending Club any time soon. I believe that if I could’ve started adding to Lending Club sooner this summer (between rent and deposits and just starting work, I was seriously in the hole the first month of my internship this summer) I would’ve had a better shot. I made incredible money over the summer, but I lost the time value of it and the compounding power, because I received about half of my total payment after I left to go back to school. You can read about my internship here
Well awesome guys thank you so much for taking the time to read this, lots more will be coming here in December, we’ve got big plans, big goals, and lots of ambition to get there. Please let me know what you like, don’t like, want to hear more about, if you want shorter or longer posts, videos, tweets, more or less stuff on Instagram etc etc.
I’m here to provide insight and value to all my followers and readers. I want to know what you guys want to hear so I can deliver the best content in the best format possible. Hit me up here and leave a comment, or dm me on Instagram @bsquared.website.
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.
If you at all follow the stock market you know it’s been crazy these last few weeks. Especially with that little correction that we had. What did I do? Warren Buffett’s quote, “Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.” Rang a bell.
On February 6th, 2 days into the correction I took my only positive position at the time (I had recently sold several other positions and reallocated money to make new positions and cost average down some positions) E.L.F. cosmetics and sold all that I had. It was a small position worth $300 and change and I took that and bought AAPL stock at $157.51, it later dropped lower than that in a second dip but prior to that it hadn’t been at that price since October 2017. I cost averaged down my largest position CHK, cost averaged down ATRS, and cost averaged down TTS. Now unfortunately at the time I was not prepared for this correction. I had no extra cash lying around to put into investment accounts, I did not have anything I could really sell to get the cash to take advantage of the correction and I did not pay attention to the market as much as I should’ve, and my attention was directed elsewhere (school).
My actions would’ve been more calculated and drastic had I been prepared and prepped for this event. Let’s see how it panned out though. I sold ELF 15 shares at $20.01 = $300.15, today it trades at $20.84 so that results in a lose of $12.45 had I held the position. I bought AAPL at $157.51 and it currently trades at $173.78 = a gain of $16.27. As you can see I already came out on top had I not invested the other portion of the sale proceeds but let’s look at what that did. I bought 25 shares of ATRS at $1.92 and sold them all at $2.23 on February 15th, a $7.75 gain = 16% short term gain. I bought 27 shares of CHK at $3.12 which has been fluctuating tons since then, but fortunately CHK beat earnings big time and shot up ~ 25% yesterday. As I am speaking shares are at $3.35 = $6.21 gain over the duration of holding them. TTS had the opposite happen and did not do well with earnings. I bought 2 shares on Feb. 6th at $8.44 currently trading at $5.50 – a net loss of $5.88.
So overall a split-second decision and action that I made before class/ walking to class led to a $11.90 increase over 17 days (12 trading days). Now why does anyone give a shit about a less than $12 increase?! They don’t but I also don’t have big money, but that also was a 3.97% increase in under 3 weeks. Extrapolate that out and that’s 85% APY now those are some numbers people can get behind! Now looking back, I probably should’ve held out for 2 shares of AAPL but hindsight is 20/20 as they say.
Hope you guys enjoyed that little victory in my investing career! Let me know what you think or share what you did during the correction.