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.

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  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

 

 

 

 

2019 Goals

Looking into 2019 I have some goals and aspirations and I plan to look at them closer than I did last year. After all, it’s critical to know where you are going and remind yourself what your targets are. I mentioned previously that I graduate in May and begin my full-time job in Mid-June. I’ve calculated potential income with my salary and decided to shoot a little higher than that. I would like to have a net worth of $75,000 up from my current net worth of $26,500. While building up my net worth I plan to put at least $10,000 to my emergency fund in my discover savings account. I make a nice 2.10% APY on that account leading to a $210 yearly passive income generated from that account alone. Overall making money while I sleep is nice and I would like to make $2500 in passive income this year. On average that is $200 a month and from there we’ll keep bumping that number up. With the eventual goal of surpassing my active income. To help get that income up so I can invest more I aim to have a side hustle that will generate $5000 this year. With all of that in mind I plan to buy income generating real estate at the end of 2019 or invest significantly with a syndicator.

Money isn’t everything so on the note of building my personal brand and learning more I have several goals related to this. I would first and foremost like to have 150 blog posts in total by the end of 2019. This comes out to writing about 1.5 posts a week. In addition, I would like to have 1500 visitors and 2500 views on my blog in 2019 organically. My other large platform is Instagram and is probably how you are reading this article. I would like to finish 2019 with 750 Instagram posts and 3000 followers. The blog goals and Instagram goals will go hand in hand as they both stimulate each other. The last of my goals involve learning, I aim to read a book every month of 2019, 12 books in total. I’m aware this isn’t a whole lot however I will be learning and studying for school as well as work for most of the year and you can only cram so much into your brain at once.

I know this is very late to be talking about 2019 goals however it took me awhile to decide what I really wanted to go for this year as well as taking the time to sit down and write this out. Feel free to leave a comment below about your 2019 goals or post your comments on Instagram!

B^2

Stock Portfolio Update 1/23/19

Today I’ll be giving an update on my stock portfolio. The previous blog post about my stock portfolio can be found here* it is from September 14, 2018 and will be briefly recapped below.
Last time I had $9,750 funded in my Robinhood portfolio, today we are sitting at $11,500 funded. This was done by putting my income from the internship into the stock portfolio in late September and October. Previously I had profit and dividends of $670.92, today we are sitting at $1,132.90. Several large sales were made to attain this profit including selling the entire O, Realty Income position. While the numbers above show profit, all earnings have been reinvested back into the account and my account value is below the funded portion not to mention the $1.1k profits in their as well. I have several positions that require more maturity and I believe in 2020 I will be in the black. Below are pictures showing my account, for all side by side pictures, the picture on the left will be from September while the picture on the right will be recent.

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As I am sure you are all aware the markets have been volatile lately and performance hasn’t been the best as of late. As I mentioned earlier in September the account was funded at $9,750, while currently the account is funded to $11,500.

Below I will highlight some of my positions.

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My largest positions is also one of my worst preforming. This is a company and a situation that is getting better but I wouldn’t get my hopes up till 2020 or later. I have cost average down this position substantially and plan to wait on it to recover.

I mentioned ULTA on the last update however the situation hasn’t changed much. Its gone up, down, and sideways and I have used that to my advantage by skimming some profit off the top and buying back the share when it fell. Still waiting for it to reach new highs, price target is going to be reduced from $335 to somewhere around $315-$320 or so.

I sold O, Realty Income, and my total gain is around 22% according to a back of the napkin calculation including dividends and appreciation. While it may not have been the smartest move since I try to stick with my dividend stocks I felt that at the time it was towards the high end of the spectrum and I needed to cost average down other positions. Most of the updates this time around revolve around cost averaging positions. As we approach the end of this article take a look at the final two tables and look at the average price per stock in some of these positions. With the stock market shakeout/weakness I tried to take advantage of the sale and buy where I thought I could expect future appreciation.

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Apple was a hot topic back in September with my screenshot showing a $221 stock price. We all know how that turned out and I’m still holding and collecting dividends on it.

Ford is another position I cost averaged down on, it also helped supplement my dividend income from the sale of O. In September I was holding Ford at $10.74 @ 100 shares, today I’m holding 150 shares at $10.00 yielding 6% on the dividend.

I always gotta harp on my best pick of 2018 so far, P&G still killing it after a good earnings report. Wish I had bought about 10 shares instead of 2 but we live and we learn and I have made some pick mistakes in my investing career that’s for sure.

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Dividends are rolling in strong for 2019 after an incredible December. Look for an update on those soon. Other notable mentions as far as my stock portfolio. I cost averaged JD and BABA on weakness as well as FB, and ROKU. I believe these will be great positions in the future so long as I hold while the markets do their thang.

It’s been a rock end to 2018. Here’s to hoping 2019 goes better. Couple of quick notes, thanks you for reading this as always, feel free to drop a comment in the blog or on IG. Pending how my taxes go there may be some changes my accounts will have to undergo. I will keep you all updated and try to keep Uncle Same happy.

Lastly, below are the full spreads of m Robinhood account

Thanks

B^2

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stock port

NEW

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2018 Goal Review

About a year ago I wrote a blog post titled “2018 Goals” an article which I reflected over my recent short coming and looked to 2018 with open eyes and tried to make the best of my situation. Recently inspired by Grant Cardone’s “10X rule” I set lofty goals and set a series of plans in place to achieve them. Today we’ll review what happened to all of that and what I intend to do moving forward. Below are the goals followed by a bullet point explanation as to what happened.

Goals:

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

  • This had quite a turn of events occur. First off, I no longer use Aspiration as my savings account, I upgraded to a Discover Savings Account which pays out 2.00% APY and may increase with the recent federal rate increase. Overall, I fell very short of this goal and ended up with $900 saved (was $1,000 but Christmas fucked me). I focused on adding funds to accounts that would make more than the 2.00%. I do have a joint savings account my parents started for me when I was very young, if I transfer that account over I would be able to hit my goal as shown above.

$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)

  • I hit the original goal of $10,000, in fact I will finish 2018 with $11,500 and I have recently been getting destroyed in the stock market. $20,000 was an incredibly lofty goal in terms of being able to generate that much profit from the markets and I was unable to achieve that. I did increase my portfolio by $3,500 but I turned my attention towards Lending Club.

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

  • I believe Stash topped out at $3500 at some point this fall but has since dropped due to stock market performance as well as several withdrawals to fund my ski trip and other activities that I have going on. I was able to increase this portfolio by $1700, but again primarily focused on Lending Club.

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

  • I have preformed rather well in this category this year. My plans continually shift, and Lending Club became my primary target in terms of funding this Summer and Fall. I topped out the account at $6,381 as far as my records indicate, in pursuit to stretch invest my rent this school year. While $10,000 was quite ambitious that may be my new goal for 2019. In total, I added over $4,000 to this account this summer and fall.

Collect over $1,000 in dividends and stock interest (this year projected amount was ~$300, original goal was $500)

  • This one is a constant battle for me. I love passive income, I love making money while I sleep, but I also need to generate positive returns in the stock market too. My investing strategy constantly shifts but I also look at growth stocks that could deliver amazing returns and not just dividend stocks. Between lack of funding in my Robinhood portfolio and investing mostly in growth and value stocks rather than just dividend stocks I was unable to hit my target.

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

  • I honestly don’t know what I was thinking on this one, perhaps, diversifying my income streams more however my summer required extreme focus to achieve the desired results. My most lucrative income streams in order:
    • Internship $22,200
    • Lending Club interest $419 (still waiting on December results so approximately $500)
    • Stock profit $375 (approximated)
    • Dividend income $300 approximately
    • Various odds and ends of selling unused things or doing odd jobs might come out to $200/year or so

As you can see my alternative income streams just did not come together like they needed to.

150 blog posts by the end of 2018

I thought I was going to make impressive headway during this summer but that was not the case. With my line of work, I was working 6-7 days a week and had no set schedule which hindered my blogging. My goal is to finish 2018 with 75 blog posts and this one will come in at #69 (nice) (gang gang gang) (RBP).

Image result for ross bolen podcast

As you can see, none of my big goals of the year were accomplished however that is not always a bad thing. I would rather go big and come up short rather than go small and have no ambition in what I am pursuing. The 10X mentality may not translate perfectly into my academic life or my internship as well as it would to a post graduate’s career and starting out his or her life. You can’t 10X your GPA from a 4.0 to a 40.0. There is a finite amount of time and resources as an intern to try and compete with targets and goals set by full-time coworkers that can work 9 months compared to your 3 months.

The good news is I will be making that transition this summer to a full-time employee and be finished with college. While I will be training for most of 2019 and will not have control of my income like I will when I really get into sales, I will have access to more income than I have in all my life. With that all in mind, I plan to make some big moves in 2019 to make the most of my opportunities. Keep your eyes open for that post!

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

Thanks, B^2

 

Lending Club Update 12/13/18

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.         lending club notes       LC notes snip 12.13.18

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.

note composition 12.13.18 note details 12.13.18

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.

lending club adjusted

LC interest 12.13.18

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.

lending club no adjust

LC interest non adjust

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.

Here’s the link to Lending Club Update 9-17-18

Thank you everyone!

B^2

Summer Plans Review

On May 1st I wrote a post titled “Summer Plans” today I will review what steps I took to achieve these goals and aspirations and how you can too. First and foremost, to achieve these goals and aspirations you of course have to have these goals and aspirations and not just in your head but somewhere written down where you will see it often. If you follow me on Instagram @bsquared.website you can see I write my goals down in my notes and I post and look at them constantly. If you have good goals that are designed to get you to your end goal you will be in good shape.

  1. I am going to absolutely crush this internship/sales position. I mean crush it! This is the first time in my life that I will get paid on commission meaning every minute I am not working or trying to sell is a wasted minute. That goes beyond the job as well, I also have this blog and an Instagram, and I will continue to expand my social media presence and further build my personal brand.

In terms of Instagram and this blog I build my Instagram presence from 142 posts to 266 currently. I went from 39 blog posts to now 59. I wish I could’ve bumped up the blog post number quite a bit but it’s a process and takes some time. As far as the internship is concerned we will highlight later as I am still collecting checks and making sure everything goes as planned. How did I do this? I kept setting goals to increase these two metrics. Not the best strategy ever but I wanted more content, I will build on this content later and add more value for my viewers, that will be in the goals for the first half of September. 

2. I want to move away from the umbrella of financial security of my parents. They have done a fantastic job providing for me all my life and I feel obligated to lighten their load. I am making it a goal of mine to work harder than ever before to obtain scholarships and other means to provide for my schooling. My parents have also paid for my housing during college and pending the results of my friend meeting with his landlord tomorrow I should be moving out the fraternity house and plan to pay my rent and all necessary living expenses. I also came up with my method to do so. I have talked about Lending Club before on this blog but for those of you who haven’t read about it yet you can reference this post about it “Lending Club Review”.

 I was unsuccessful in obtaining scholarships, I realized I missed the time frame for most scholarships that would cover the 2018-2019 school year. I am living with a roommate and am no longer in the fraternity house. I am still working toward using lending club as my vehicle for funding my rent and utilities. I am currently making about $165/month from this method and I am still funneling money towards it. I mentioned in an IG post that approx. 31% of my portfolio I have not collected payments from because they are so new. This just goes to show that this takes time for it to materialize. Ideally by October we will be near the target and will let the monthly cash flow pay for my rent. How did I do this? I had a problem – paying $350 for rent and utilities a month ( I know some of you wish you had this problem cause Rolla is dirt cheap) . I wanted to find a solution that would make paying this easier and be able to make money while still paying. I was already using the vehicle (Lending Club) and I just had to commit to it. It had to have certain criteria (safe, familiar with it, monthly cash flow, easily withdraw-able etc.) then I put the money into it and I am still putting money into it. 

  1. I have also began looking at investment properties in my college town, with the hopeful influx of money I make this summer this may finally become a reality and I have also explained some of those plans in a previous post linked here.

This is just a little bit out of my reach, with a 20% down payment we are looking at $20,000 or so and I just don’t have that unless I were to liquidate all my funds. I also didn’t make the stock gains and investment gains that I planned to. I am focusing most of my money and energy into other forms of passive income like Lending Club and dividends. This will keep paying me over the school year and keep making money and fund all my activities. How did I do this? I didn’t sometimes you just need to know when to much is too much. I’m all about pushing hard for your goals and what will bring you closer to success but there’s just not enough to go around. 

  1. This will also be the first summer where I will be relatively free while I have been this interested in improving my life for the years to come. On my co-op I did not start investing until very late and then I returned to school and was again very busy with my other obligations. While on my internship I was taking 9 credit hours of summer class which took a very large toll on my time and extracurricular efforts. I lived an endless cycle of work, working out, and then studying and doing homework during the 5-day work week and then my Sunday’s were typically consumed in school work as well. This is another very exciting aspect of this summer that I can hopefully take advantage of.

This did not happen as planned. In theory when you are only door knocking 5 hours a day that doesn’t sound too bad. However, all the time I spent on returning phone calls, text messages, emails, keeping everything updated and documented was sizeable. I didn’t push myself as hard as I should have and I did my fair share of sleeping in and slacking off.  Why do I do this? Because knowledge is power. The more I know the better decisions I can make. The better chance I have of succeeding. 

  1. I intend to learn more than I ever have this summer as well. I have an ambitious reading goal this summer of 10 books which is crazy to think about since I have not read for leisure in years but the value that it has been bring to my life is incredible and I have learned so much already and I can’t wait to learn more. If you have any suggestions I am open to them all but I will most likely need to focus in on something related to what I would like to pursue later in my life, namely entrepreneurship, business, investment property and real estate, and investing.

I did learn quite a bit this summer from my internship, podcasts and books I read. The numbers won’t show it in terms of books I’ve read but I continue to learn and I am putting more effort into that during the school year. Refer to above italic text.

  1. I would like to make a strong effort to help my fraternities recruitment efforts this summer. Due to the new structure of our recruitment and pledgeship process this summer will be the ultimate factor to our future success and I would like to give my time, effort and talent to this endeavor. Not that I haven’t helped in the past, but I see the high importance of this task, but it will also give a chance to develop my new skills.

Unfortunately, I did not put as much effort into this as I should have during the summer and during the fall. I did a lot behind the scenes in terms of creative thinking and problem solving. I also set up events, but I did not really kill it like I did the year before in terms of actual recruiting. I believe this was just me getting older and wanting to have some fun for occasionally. Why did I do this? Because I feel obligated to share my knowledge and experience in this position to help out the current Recruitment Chair. I also think the ROI on the time and effort is well worth it. 

  1. I believe this summer will also allow me to network more than I have in the past and I have given up some of those opportunities for my other obligations in the past. Again, with all that I have learned this school year I believe this will be a key aspect in my ultimate success later in life and the more I can network and connect with the others the more opportunities will present themselves.

I did network when I could with my fellow interns, coworkers, and customers. Again, with my work schedule and other obligations it wasn’t as much as I wanted to. I do have 2 great references for my resume which will be key in my job hunting here to come, my immediate supervisor and my sales manager. Two of the best references I have had so far all created by networking. Why did I do this? Its not what you know its who you know. Ever hear that saying before? While I think what you know is important the message is clear and my references I listed in my resume will help me out dramatically and all the connections I have made will help me in the future. 

We are still pushing hard towards the end of the month. Keep your eyes open for more blog posts, more Instagram posts, more money and hopefully no problems. I’ll keep you guys updated!

As always, I would love to hear all your comments!

B^2

 

Strategic plan ahead

I took this from a homework assignment I completed today. Its a pretty raw form and I rambled and the grammar isn’t great. It does give a general overview of what I plan to do and how I am trying to get there.

My strategic plan for the next 20-25 years looks like this:

(Ages subject to change, general outline given)

Age 22: Where I am at currently, game plan is to graduate S&T in May 2019 with the Eman and Mechanical degree and have a technical sales job with a competitive pay plan and great benefits.

Age 25: Build a solid foundation from the first job and possibly move to another company or make moves in the company I start with. Begin building a real estate portfolio (investment properties) and build a passive income stream while maintaining solid performance at my new job or the higher position I am moved to.

Age 30: Continue to build passive income through the real estate portfolio. Increase passive income to a point where I could maintain a minimal lifestyle with just the earnings from that portfolio. Start own business or seek new ventures as the opportunities present themselves at that time (2026).

Age 35: Build out the side business/own business/ new venture to create another sustainable stream of income. Ideally have at least 3 high flow streams of income with 2/3 being relatively passive. Begin giving back to the people and organizations that made me who I am. (parents would be first ideally when I am 25ish, SLUH wrestling, Sigma Chi Fraternity, Boy Scouts of America, philanthropic endeavors etc.)

Age 40: Ideally many streams of income have formed by now between stock portfolios/dividends, real estate portfolios, 2 or 3 businesses, any job that I still work, etc. Continue to give back to philanthropies, organizations, start to mentor or guide those that could benefit from my knowledge and experience. I’m sure kids are already in the picture by now and set them up for success.

Age 45: Passive income would be enough to sustain a comfortable lifestyle if I choose not to work. I would still in some way shape or form work as that’s just who I am. Continue with multiple streams of income, various companies or side businesses I’ve started partnered with. Consult for other businesses, organizations etc. again benefiting from my various roles and positions and knowledge I have gained throughout the years. Continue to give time, energy, and effort to those around me to ensure their own success. Be a family man. Make a difference in the world, not just those around you in the present but for those that are in the future and still to come.

The Last Splurge

If you follow Grant Cardone at all he preaches increasing income above all else. The 2nd step in the process is to reduce taxes. I have done a relatively good job of that thus far, my internship allowed me to dictate how much income I make because it was a 100% commission job. I have tracked all receipts and have started researching how to minimize my tax bill this upcoming spring as well. The third step in his cycle is to save specifically “save it all”. This requires you to live your daily life without increasing your cost of living while you increase your income.

We see people violating this rule every day, some guy gets a promotion at work makes an extra $10k a year and goes out and celebrates by purchasing a new BMW. That promotion and pay increase did not make any difference since he increased his cost of living. He probably would have been better off getting a $5k pay increase and not blowing the money on material things.

I never was into blowing my money, here and there I would “treat yo self” but nothing drastic. Last summer at the end of my internship which paid me quite well and was a decent increase from the previous year ($150 more a week) I bought my only watch and a piece of wall art. That was my form of treating myself which came out to be about $250.

This summer by the time it is over and with bonuses included as well as any lingering payments I should avg a pay increase of about $350 more a week (no living stipend though) than last summer. I should be able to reduce my tax bill because of my 1099 status this year substantially. (I received about $1300 back last year, but I also had taxes taken out every paycheck and I am not taxed under my current pay system yet.) So, check box 1 and 2 for Mr. Cardone. I should also note I didn’t upgrade my standard of living during this time. I currently live in the cheapest apartment my roommate and I could find that would be able to accommodate a 3-month lease. It is cockroach infested and is pretty hood for a $400 a person month rent ($450 for 3-month lease). I drive the same car, I wear the same clothes, I buy the same food, I buy the same beer, and spend the same amount at the bars.

Onto box #3 spending: Looking over my expenses which I track to the penny, we’re looking pretty good. I went over them in a blog post about halfway through the summer and you can check them out here. I spent some extracurricular on/with my girlfriend for the vacation and everything like that. I also spent some money at the bars and on booze and other non-constructive habits and vices, but that was minimal. Overall, I didn’t blow any of my money. That is until this upcoming weekend.

I plan to spend a bunch of money when I return to home and go shopping with the girlfriend Saturday. I WANT new clothes, new shoes, a new suit, and some other Knick knacks. I say want and not need because that’s just what they are. The clothes I wear are fine but perhaps a bit dated. Some of my shorts and shirts I often wear I purchased 3-4 years ago and some are not in the best condition. I’d still wear them though, so it isn’t necessary I purchase new ones. Essentially this shopping trip is to purchase my “adult clothes” things that I will need in the future after I graduate college. That is why I call it the last splurge. This theoretically should get me the next two years or so of my life in terms of clothing and what not and would be considered the “treat yo self” portion of my saving.

Some of these purchases have been a long time coming for example the suit I currently wear I’ve owned for about 5 years, and I received a gift card for the purchase of a new suit last Christmas. The watch I purchased previously was intended to go with this new suit I plan to purchase. With upcoming interviews for full time jobs and the networking, events and other occasions I plan to attend you could consider this an investment in my dated wardrobe.

So, what do you all think? A waste of time and money or a much-needed update to prepare myself for what comes in my future.

 

 

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