Sunday, July 15, 2018

Over 400K invested

Our family finances have just hit another major financial milestone.  Our investments have now surpassed $400,000 in value!  This includes money in our 401Ks, Roth IRAs, taxable accounts, and 529.  This does not include money in our checking accounts, savings accounts, home equity or rental property equity.
We track all of our investments with Mint and Personal Capital.  We manually track our spending with ClearCheckbook.
Even with the recent stock market volatility, our investments continue to produce a healthy amount of returns.  A little over a year ago, I shared how our investments surpassed $300,000 in value (June 5th, 2017).  Four years ago was when our investments first surpassed $100,000 in value (June 2nd, 2014).  It’s incredible watching these investments compound.  There are days where investment returns exceed an entire paycheck.  Most of our investing occurs automatically and involve very little maintenance.
We continue to steadily invest in our 401Ks, IRAs, taxable accounts and 529.  Sometimes we contribute as little as $50 at a time.  When it comes to saving for our future, the most important thing we do is consistently invest - no matter how the stock market is doing.   When we reach financial freedom, we want to look back and thank our past selves. 
We are Bogleheads and our investment policy is quite simple.  We invest in index funds, which allow us to easily diversify our investments with very low costs.  We stay the course with our investments and never try to time the market.  We make steady contributions through stock market highs and lows. 
We currently aim to have around 90% of our investments in stocks (70% US, 30% international) and 10% in bonds.  As we get closer to financial freedom, we will gradually reduce our exposure to stocks and increase our bond allocation. 
There’s been a lot of talk from financial pundits saying that a stock market crash (>30% loss), correction (10% loss) or lower expected returns are coming up.  I’m sure one of these events will happen someday – maybe even this week.  Many investors are sitting on the sidelines with their cash, since they don’t want to buy at a market peak. 
The problem is that there is no way to predict the future with certainty.  When losses in the stock market occur, they have historically been followed by a recovery and then yet another all time high.  The stock market can also move sideways for many years.  Over the long run, the market always goes up.  Staying in the market long term allows your investments to continue compounding.  Your time in the market is much more valuable than trying to time the market.  The important thing is to have an investment plan and stick to it.  Don’t believe me? Read about Bob, the world’s worst market timer.   
We focus on the things that we can control, such as steady contributions, diversification and low investment costs.   In addition to consistently investing towards our financial freedom, we try to focus on pursuing a life of meaning and happiness.  If you don’t find happiness now, you’re not going to find it when you reach financial freedom.
How are your investments coming along?  

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Side hustles June 2018

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Once a month (usually on the 1st), I like to post a short summary of our personal and financial situation for the previous month.  Here I’ll share some of what’s been going on with our lives and our side hustles. 

Welcome to July!  Did everyone have a good month of June?  It’s been another activity filled month for us.  Our son just turned 3 years old.  He has so much energy and loves to explore.
We started the month off with a mini family vacation to Seattle, and used travel hacking to cover most of our expenses.   
We spent a few hours looking at animals and exploring at the Santa Ana Zoo.  Our son enjoyed the train ride that passed through many animal exhibits.  He enjoyed seeing the monkeys, snakes, eagle, and other creatures.
We brought our son to the Fullerton Arboretum, where he got a chance to see flowers, trees and various animals like rabbits, turtles, carp and birds.  There are several small streams of water and ponds in the arboretum.  It was very relaxing being surrounded by nature while hearing the birds sing.
We enjoyed a day at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  Our son loves visiting aquariums.  He already knows the names of most sea creatures.  On this visit, he touched sharks, stingrays, and even a horseshoe crab.  We will probably get a membership to the aquarium next year.
We still go on walks around our neighborhood often and our son is now enjoying the swing set and playground.  Chasing him around keeps us fit and active.  We want to enjoy our journey towards financial freedom as much as possible. 
Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of June.
Cash Back
On 6.4, I received $10.23 deposit in my Discover Cashback Checking account.  This is a 1% cash back on my mortgage payment for our rental property mortgage, which allows for debit card purchases.
On 6.12, I received a $50 statement credit in my AMEX SimplyCash business credit card.  They offered a promotion of 10% cash back on purchases made at Staples.  I used my credit card to buy $200 worth of Shell Gas gift cards and $300 worth of Amazon gift cards.  We mostly use Amazon to purchase everyday items, saving us a trip to the store. 

Survey Income
On 6.19, my wife received a $10 Amazon gift card for doing a Chase survey.
On 6.28, I received a check for $75 from TDG Health for doing a medical survey.
On 6.29, I received a check for $20 from My Impact Network for doing a medical survey.
Rental Income
On 6.5, we received a net profit of $430 from our rental property.  We are glad our tenants are paying rent on time.

Side Jobs
On 6.18, I received a check for $162.50 for teaching at the local university. 

Monthly Totals:
We earned $60.23 from cash back
My wife earned $105 from survey income
We earned $430 from rental income
I earned $162.50 from my side job

All of this totals $757.73 from our side hustles for the month of June.  This isn’t as much extra income as we usually bring in, but every bit still helps us push towards our financial freedom!
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