Author

tracking expenses rental properties
Real Estate,

Tracking rental property expenses – can be hard, but there are tricks!

I thought that every real estate investor out there was tracking rental property expenses the same way. Until, one of my clients who bought a property two months ago, confessed me something surprising: he paid for the renovation of the property from his personal account and didn’t record any of the expenses. We had a session last week and I wanted to run some numbers. Turns out he didn’t have any idea of how much money he spent. Please, if you are a real estate investor, please use a better way to track rental property expenses!

How To Track Your Rental Property Expenses for free

If you are investing in real estate, you must know your numbers. Otherwise, it is tough to say whether you’re making money or not! This is a problem if you want to replicate the deals. You gotta know your numbers!

OK, so if you thought I was going to propose you to use some expensive software for real estate investors, you’re mistaken. 🙂 Frugality is still a must at From Cents to Retirement…

Here’s what I do:

  • I record every single transaction on the day it occurred, in a spreadsheet (see below). 
  • I don’t care if we are talking about 20 cents or 20 bucks. Every transaction means every transaction.
  • If I drive to the property, I also record how many kilometers I drove.
  • I also record when I collect rents, including the amount paid, the date and the form of payment (rents are mostly wired these days).

The main advantages of doing this, include:

  • You’ll know your numbers. Good investors know their numbers.
  • This works beautifully for tax deductions. You’ll know exactly the expenses you can write off!

Again, I’ll stress this: if you record your transactions whenever they take place this process becomes much easier. I’ve found it very stressful to try to remember all the expenses – plus if I didn’t, I’d get frustrated.

So, the spreadsheet you should be using should capture ALL your expenses, and then aggregate everything in a very readable way. In particular:

  • Capture all expenses with a timestamp.
  • Automatically sum up the expenses, per property and per month.
  • Provide a clear summary, per property and per month, of the breakdown of the expenses you had.

You can do a spreadsheet yourself, or download one from a reputable Real Estate site. I recommend the following ones:

In particular, I like the second one, from Fast business plan:

Rental Income and Expenses Spreadsheet

Not only it describes the macro and micro information, as it also gives you an awesome monthly view:

Rental Income and Expenses free Spreadsheet from fast business plan
(the images were taken from Fastbusinessplan.com)

Either way, test all of them and choose the one that helps you the most. If you’re looking for a Real Estate pro forma, have a look at this one.

guest post ten factorial rocks
Stock Market,

Investing: Dividends or Index?

I am pleased to bring you a guest post by a blogger who is an expert on the stock market, Ten Factorial Rocks. I follow a free cash flow model (which roughly means that I need to see extra cash at the end of the month) but this may not be ideal for every one of you. Take it away TFR…

Investing: Dividends or Index?

index dividends

In acquiring an education, we graduate through various stages, from primary school, middle school, high school and then, to college and graduate school. Life and personal finance are the same way as well. We mature through every experience that prepares us to take on higher order challenges and improve our ‘qualifications’, ultimately leading to financial independence.

In this article, I will be talking about one such ‘higher order’ topic in investing. It assumes that the readers have mastered the basics of personal finance. Like spending less than they earn (primary school), having a 3-6 month emergency fund (middle school), have no debt or have manageable cash flow/debt ratio (high school), and have invested in or believe in cash flow generating (or) appreciating assets like stocks or investment real estate for their long-term future (college level).

There are excellent resources available about the long-term benefits of investing in equities and specifically, equity index funds.  Separately, there are resources available about dividend investing that a DIY investor can pursue.   I wrote a detailed investing series comparing Dividends vs. Index because nobody truly compared the two investing philosophies from multiple perspectives without the bias of a blind advocate of the method they believe in.

Investing Philosophy Reflects Your Personality

Just like we can choose from multiple majors in college, in ‘higher order’ investing, we can take multiple paths to a secure retirement. One way is investment real estate, which Ben Davis believes in, and another way is equities that I believe in. If you choose the equities path, it becomes necessary to have the lowest costs of investment, in other words, invest efficiently. Even within low-cost equity investment universe, we can choose either very low cost index funds (some as low as 0.05% for US total market funds, and below 0.3% for international index funds) or create a diversified portfolio of higher quality stocks across multiple sectors that pay periodic (and often increasing) dividends.

It is the last point where there are divergent points of view. There are no absolute right or wrong answers once you reach this stage of personal finance – it’s like deciding which graduate school to select. You are already a winner and way ahead of millions of people in the journey to financial independence.

If you are a dividend investor with investment portfolio of $250,000 or more who makes, say, 20 trades a year, low trading costs will actually make your annual investment expenses lower than passive index investors.   This is because index fund fees of 0.1% on $250K is still $250 per year, which is equivalent to 31 trades at $8/trade!  These days, trading costs have declined so much it most online brokerages offer $2-5 per trade, or even less. On the other hand, the index fund fees in absolute dollars will only increase as your account size grows each year.

What is the right investment strategy here?

I am a strong believer in indexing as a strategy to build assets, that is, if you are in accumulation stage of life. You can continue to be an index investor for life, there is nothing wrong with that approach. However, if you are willing to understand how indexes are constructed, you will realize that a vanilla index fund, while it is diverse in terms of number of holdings, can expose you to more sectoral risks than you realize or are willing to tolerate. For example, S&P 500 index fund has 21% allocation to Information Technology sector and nearly 15% to Financials sector. These are sectors that do well when the economy is growing but have sharper declines during recessions than other sectors, like Utilities, for example. Utilities are only 3.2% of S&P 500 and they generally lag during raging bull markets but shine during declining markets due to their relative safety. Utilities and Health care, along with some REITs (not all), are considered ‘defensive’ sectors. 

Better get comfortable with Beta

Collectively, all the market sectors, based on marked-weighted capitalizations, give total market volatility. This volatility is defined by the term beta. It can range from a low of zero (no volatility) to any number based on how volatile a stock’s price movement is. Cash has beta of zero, because its value is completely independent of the market.

By definition, since all volatility is calculated relative to the broader market, the S&P 500 index has a beta of 1.0. So, if your stock portfolio has a beta of 0.9, you should have 10% less volatility than S&P 500. Similarly, if your stock portfolio has a beta of 1.2, you are likely to experience 20% more volatility than the index. According to Modern Portfolio Theory, it doesn’t matter if the 0.9 beta is achieved by owning slightly less volatile stocks or by owning a portfolio of 90% S&P index and 10% cash (which has a beta of 0). The latter portfolio also has a weighted average beta of 0.9, and thus, theoretically, no different than the former portfolio of 100% stocks having a portfolio beta of 0.9.

But the reality that many investors face is different.

Stocks are the best asset class to own in the long run to achieve the highest possible return – on this, there is no dispute. But once you build a sizable portfolio, your focus may shift from wanting to bear the full market volatility. Also, you may choose to allocate different weightages to sectors. For example, you could decide to own dividend paying stocks across sectors such that you have say, 15% allocation to Utilities and a correspondingly lower allocation to Financials and Technology than what S&P 500 has. Doing so will cause your portfolio volatility (beta) to be 0.8-0.9 range, that is, 10-20% less volatile than the market. Similarly, you may choose to select high quality dividend paying stocks across the sectors in such a proportion to give you a dividend yield that roughly corresponds to your withdrawal rate. If you wish to live only on dividends, you can construct your investment portfolio of say, $1 million to deliver $35,000 in annual dividends. In this example, you can engineer your dividend portfolio to deliver a 3.5% starting portfolio yield, with an expected annual dividend growth rate of 5%. This takes care of both your current spending needs with a cushion for inflationary adjustments in the future.

Dividend investing is just a subset of equity investing, and it is not a different asset class that some assume. Dividends are more stable than capital gains, a fact that has been proven over 80 years (Ibbotson study). Also, dividend payers and growers, as a sub-class, have generated better overall returns than the index over the past few decades (Ned Davis Research).

My Dividend Investing vs. Indexing series examines the issue from the vantage point of an individual investor without any of the filters and biases of either camp that has its share of advocates.  The individual investor is often a victim of the financial industry.  I care about the individual investor because that’s who I am.   Hope this series helps you in your thinking about an appropriate investment strategy for your FIRE journey. To understand this topic in greater detail, it would be useful to study my Indexing vs. Dividend Investing Series in detail. They are linked below for easy reference.

Part 1:  This sets the background context and frames the debate from the context of passive income.

Part 2:  This examines the flexibility of passive income in DGI using three investors in different stages of their lives with different objectives.

Part 3:  This evaluates the role of dividend income in total returns regardless of which strategy you like to pursue.

Part 4:  Choosing Indexing vs DGI is not an either/or strategy.  What makes better sense depends on you and where you are in your investing journey.

Part 5:  What about the risk of lagging the index in total returns? We examine this risk of DGI and the impact from both financial and life perspectives.

Part 6:  Can you get the best of both indexing and dividend investing?  Yes, you can.  I share portfolio examples here on how to execute this strategy. 

I would appreciate your comments either here or on my website.

 


BIO: Ten Factorial Rocks (TFR) owner is a 45-year-young corporate manager who values financial independence. Ten Factorial Rocks (TFR) was created to chronicle my journey towards retirement while sharing my learning’s, absurdities and pitfalls along the way towards my search for a more meaningful life. Wall Street finance and stock option riches have one thing in common – they never passed through my life! TFR is not just about financial independence.  TFR is also about self-empowerment while getting to financial independence, and our search for a better, meaningful life (of which early retirement is just one milestone).  We aim to educate, entertain, share life stories and analyze the oddities of the world around us. TFR – why the strange name?

30 to 90 days of
Daily life, Health, Lifestyle, Planning,

30-90 days of… a new set of challenges in my life!

Hey guys!

Today, I want to bring you something I’ve been working on and I am really excited about! I decided that I will try a certain technique for 30/60/90 days, and I will report the results on the blog. I will cover pretty much everything, from money to personal development. For the most part, I will cover health and personal development techniques, though. This will go hand in hand with my new diet, which I expect to maintain throughout the year.

I will try to report everything in a scientific matter (or at least, as much as possible). I will try to record every single time I apply the technique and on what day. Then, I will report the results. Some techniques may produce results after 30 days. Some may only work after 60 or even 90 days. Either way, I will report after 30 complete days of a given technique. Every time I report the 30-90 day experiment and the results, I explain thoroughly why I decided to do it and the meaning of the technique.

Here’s a few things that I am eager to test:

#1: 30-90 days of Deep meditation

I have been meditating for a while, but it is easy to forget about it. Honestly, on most days, I feel I didn’t have time for anything I wanted to do (and I could only do what I had to do). I want to meditate for at least 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes before going to sleep, for 30 days, and assess the results.

#2: 30-90 days of Visualization

Visualization is a very powerful tool that, put roughly, takes advantage of the fact that the brain cannot distinguish between what we are thinking of and what is in fact happening. Logically, if you accept that bad thoughts affect your overall health, then we could use visualization to affect our health in a positive way. That is what I want to do. This is the best video on visualization I ever saw:

the most important part of visualization is focusing on the feeling that you experience when visualizing.

#3: 30-90 days going to bed before 11.30

I will use the time until 00 to meditate and visualize and get to sleep at midnight or even before. The crucial thing is to be on my bed at 11.30, the latest. Ideally, I will try to be there at 11 and use 30 minutes to meditate and visualize.

#4: 30-90 days on Ginseng every single day, twice a day

Ginseng is known to be an excellent adaptogen, which helps with memory and fatigue. I’ve personally used Ginseng with great success, but I will report on it again. I personally like Ginseng from Now Foods as I said many times before.

#5: 30-90 days being grateful for everything I have

In particular, I want to be grateful for what I have every day in the morning, and before bedtime. My research has shown me that our mind is really the catalyzer of life, in the sense that I personally think that a strong mindset it is the most powerful and quick way to change your life for the better. Some scientific evidence has shown that being grateful can translate into things like sleeping better and having stronger immune systems. This source also reports that there is Research by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons (the author of Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier) shows that keeping a gratitude journal can increase well-being and life satisfaction.

Does it look obvious of why I want to do this now?

#6: 30-90 days being super kind to others

…almost to the point where they think it’s fishy, I don’t care. Many people have told me that this works beautifully in making friends and having others being kind to you. You remember the commercial with that guy who waves to those who are pissed and insulting him? That is also part of the experiment. I simply want to check what result this will have on me.

#7: 30-90 days acknowledging and complimenting others

Same thing as #6.

#8: 30-90 days with irreprehensible posture

Living is learning and I am always trying to learn more and more. I recently learned that your posture affects your spine’s health, which in turn affects your well being. I wonder how much this could affect my personal situation. To maintain a really good posture, I will use a posture vest and remember myself every single day to sit straight at the computer – if I dominate that, I will pretty much be on a correct posture 95% of the time.

In this context, this is a pretty good exercise you can do at the gym:

#9: 30-90 days forcing myself to feel

Feel the smells, the air against my skin, the water falling on my body (in the shower), the sensation of success, etc.

In this context, I’ve found 5 things I can do right away to improve and harnessing the power of feeling good now. This challenge is tightly connected with other challenges (#1, #2 and #5) and they all boil down to having the part of our brain that experiences the best pleasures and emotions turned on.

#10: 30-90 days forcing myself to relax

Very connected to #9, and yet a heck of a different one… We live life so up close that it is super hard to appreciate the small moments. When I sit on my couch I do not feel that I am relaxing, yet I am. Feeling the relaxation – noticing it and letting it go through your body – is key! At least I suspect it is. Let me do 30 days of this and report the result back to you!

#11: 30-90 days going for a walk every day, for at least 10 minutes

Did you know that some people think that taking walks might be better than going to the gym?

Just forget about the routine, problems, and simply go for a walk (and enjoy it). I suspect this will free my mind, get my muscles to work and have a positive effect on my day. I am only able to do this during the Summertime (which in Portugal is pretty much 9 months in the year) LINK MISSING, but I am super curious to assess the results.

#12: 30-90 days without Facebook

Being constantly on is clearly preventing my body from relaxing. Facebook is a big part of that – although certainly not the only on. Maybe I will actually cut everything all along, including Whatsapp and other social media I use. As a hard-work blogger, I also check google analytics quite often (and Amazon affiliate/book fees), and I think that I will also refrain myself from checking those.

BTW, you can friend me now, I just created a profile: Facebook.

#13: 30-90 days without coffee

I love coffee. I absolutely love it. A good Italian or Portuguese espresso (which mean great Cameroon’s or Bolivian coffee) is certainly one of the most enjoyable parts of my day.

Coffee has a myriad of health benefits, in case you don’t know. However, coffee worsens my dizziness and therefore I would like to try out a period without any coffee whatsoever and assess the results.

#14: 30-90 days without chocolate

Actually, this is almost part of my new diet, but I want to completely remove chocolate for 30-90 days and assess the results.

Chocolate is another big pleasure that I have, but something I tend to overuse. I typically buy 70-95% cacao chocolate bars (meaning with as little sugar as possible) but this is still something I’d like to use less and less. Usually, raw cacao is preferred over any form of processed cacao for health benefits.

I figured that starting with 30-day chocolate periods is the best start to eventually eat less and less of it.

Lately, I’ve been having some trouble losing weight and I think I am overeating chocolate (really one of my favorite things to eat). Let’s see what comes out.

#15: 30-90 days focusing on others

Someone told me that the best way to feel better – especially if you have a health problem that is tightly connected to your emotions – is to focus on others. This topic has actually gotten quite popular on Quora.

I must admit that I am really going through some of the worse periods of my life. I feel quite sick and dizzy for more of the day, which are two symptoms of CFS. However, I know that this is a tight connection with my emotional status. In fact, I tend to think too much about my problem and I often have thoughts of “this is my worst phase ever” or “I will never be healthy”. Focusing on others (probably together with visualization) may be a good way to flip the switch, and I am willing to give it a shot.

#16: 30-90 days stretching every day after waking up and before going to bed

If you don’t know the benefits of stretching, I think you should have a look at those. To me, the most important one is that it may increase our energy levels. This is the routine I think I will follow (if you have one that is better, do let me know!).

#17: 30-90 days drinking 1 gallon of water every single day

Although one gallon of water may sound like a lot, we need to consider that our body is 60% water.

Now, no one can tell you exactly how much water you need.

If one gallon of water is too much or ideal, no one knows. What I know is that, back in the day, I’d drink close to a gallon a day and feel great, so I will give it a shot. If you think about drinking one gallon a day yourself, consider that a few things may happen in the transition.

#18: 30-90 days doing acupressure every single day, especially before going to bed

I’ve used acupressure before, with success, and it is also part of my lifestyle to fend off CFS symptoms. Some sources claim that regular acupressure will certainly increase immunity against all such diseases. For that reason, I want to give it a shot on a recurrent basis and assess the results.

Here are three acupressure points for overall health.

#19: 30-90 days drinking tea

The first good news about tea is that it can significantly reduce anxiety levels after suffering a stressful experience. This was confirmed by a study conducted by Malcolm Cross, of City University London.

I am not a big tea lover, I must confess. Coffee turns me on way more. However, I know that tea is a healthier alternative and can be used very effectively to treat anxiety and dizziness. I will pretty much drink chamomile and ginger tea in this experiment.

#20: 30-90 days preparing each day the night before

Have you heard that preparing your day the night before comes with a hand of benefits?

I think that the main point for me is that I won’t be anxious to make a break or something similar to that. I will be in control and know what I am supposed to do. I am curious to see how well this will work for me.


The goal of this experiment is quite intuitive, right? If something produces results in 30-90 days, then it will have a heck of a result if we apply it throughout my life. And habits compound too! We’re creatures of habit and I honestly feel I work better if I follow a specific routine. I will test out all these and adopt those that work better.

Let me know in the comments down below if you have any suggestions on what to try out!

my consultancy business
Lifestyle, Planning,

My consultancy business

During the last two months, I’ve been receiving a few e-mails asking about my consultancy business and whether it is replicable, what are the costs, etc. I figured it would be helpful to write a post on it, showing you the nuts and bolts of my business so that we clear the field here. My blog is getting known for being totally transparent and I would like it to continue like that.

If you checked my online income report from April, you’ll see that I’ve made about $1000 on consulting. I actually turned down a lot of work because I can’t fulfill, due to my part time research position. Should I have more time, I would have made at least $3000. I received all kinds of messages regarding how I set up the business, how clients get to find me, etc.

Just so you know, I actually went through all consulting opportunities I had from January until the beginning of April, and those would sum up to over $10k. I turned down all that work, but I honestly didn’t realize it would sum up to more than $10k. If we set taxes aside for a while, this calculates into the nice sum of $40k/year. Needless to say, this income is declared and I pay taxes on it. I explain how in the following.

Note that consulting itself is not where the pretty bucks are. Some of my clients ask me for products that cost thousands of dollars. This is made through my Real Estate company.

…wait, so what is the difference to the Real Estate company?

My consultancy business operates under a small consulting company, which is a different entity than my Real Estate company (which again is different from the entity that holds my Real Estate). My Real Estate company only sells Real Estate and looks for properties to investors, on a 1:1 basis. This service costs thousands of dollars, and can also be sold to the people that consult with me. I have a partner in this Real Estate company.

In essence, none of the money I make through these businesses goes directly into my pocket. They go to the checking accounts of their respective LLCs, into the books, and distributed at the end of the year, as dividends, or kept in the company to grow the company. I cannot keep detailed reports on the checking accounts of the companies in my net worth updates; However, I will keep you guys posted regarding how they do.

The bottom line is that I have 3 businesses, all of them hosted on different entities. My consultancy business, whose income is reported in my online income updates because I find my clients through From Cents To Retirement, is separated from everything else. As I write on the income reports, the figures I present there don’t represent the actual net profit as I have logistic costs to keep the company going. I do most consulting work out of my living room:

my office at home

In case you wonder, I’ve gotten people contacting me through From Cents To Retirement that could have been served directly by my Real Estate company (although I have turned the work down because I didn’t have the time to fulfill). However, most leads I have from From Cents To Retirement are served by my consultancy business. Either way, this is transparent to the clients, as the only difference is really the bank account they transfer the money to, and the company that issues the receipt.

Licenses

I always get questions about licences upfront, because to consult on finance you usually need to be a licensed advisor. Well, not exactly accurate because… that highly depends on where you’re located. Being (now) located in Portugal, I could leverage the local legislation and get away as a financial consultant who doesn’t have any license. I could charge $200/h and still get clients. I’d make so much money I could actually set up a real company (by real I mean with offices and stuff :-P) and hire people at $8/h to do most of the work.

Yet, I prefer to go a much more honest (I am not as much profitable!) way: 1) I am not a licensed financial advisor and although I promise to provide tons of value, I will charge affordable rates and 2) you should see my “consultancy” as mere “sharing of experience and knowledge”. This is a much more honest way to portray my services, and people appreciate my honesty. I am not the ultimate investing guru. I simply acquired so much knowledge (both by reading and practicing what I learned) over the last years that I can put people way ahead of where they are. From my experience, this is in fact what people are looking for.

If you want to have a better idea of what you’d learn from me… Just ask yourself what you could learn from a guy who bought 10 units in less than 2 years and is able to generate great returns on those investments. Or a guy who needed a few months to hit 65k monthly views on his blog. Or a guy who read over 100 books on personal finances and investing. I am not bragging at all – I am writing this so that you could think of you could learn from me.

Services of my consulting business and pricing

As I said, in my consulting business, my work revolves around sharing my experience. That may mean:

  • structuring personal finances,
  • investing in different asset classes,
  • general things about investing,
  • starting an online business
  • and much more.

I’ve had people paying me exclusively to learn from me how to negotiate real estate or buy and manage real estate abroad. I’ve had people paying me to successfully negotiate a 30-year fixed rate mortgage in Portugal, when “the bank told them they couldn’t”. And the list goes on and on.

As for pricing, I started low. My partner in crime (just so I don’t get problems, I must say that I mean business) charges €30/h. I learned a lot from him, so I figured that at most, I’d charge as much as he does. He has already achieved financial independence, so he does it exclusively for fun. I am still trying to retire in my early 30s, so I did start at €30h and slowly moved the needle up.

Currently, I don’t consult for less than €50/h (= $60/h) and if I continue to have this volume of clients, I will soon set the price to $100/h. I’ve seen other bloggers charging between $500/h and $5000/h – so please don’t think that I am stretching the game like nobody… For example, John from Simple Programmer charges a minimum (and “minimum” is actually in bold) of $500/h but if you want 1:1 consultations, it can cost you $2000/h.

I hate translating my time into dollars. I think that my time is worth way more than $100/h, but I am taking clients at $60/h and I spend hours and hours writing posts for From Cents To Retirement that are not returning anywhere near what I invest in them (time-wise). However, I will make From Cents To Retirement a reference in the context of Early Retirement and if this is what it takes (or part of it), then heck – let it be!

Why do people contact me?

I’ve been approached by many people lately. Should I have a perfectly working firm with a few employees and I’d turn all those contacts into revenue. Sadly, I can’t do that because I would be overwhelmed pretty fast.

The channels I get most of the contacts from are my blog (people usually shoot me an e-mail directly, at fromcentstoretirement [at] gmail [dot] com), Quora and a few other sources. Ever since advertised on Quora that I started to consult on REI, I’ve got many requests for consulting services.

Right now, I think that I have a pretty good idea of what it takes to start your an online consulting business. I would also promote it in similar ways to what I am promoting it now, but it would essentially happen much faster are more effectively.

Philosophy

My philosophy revolves around keeping my clients as happy as possible, regardless what problem they have. The key idea is to provide tons of value. I always put myself in my client’s shoes and think “do I think this was a good investment?” and obviously think that the answer is yes.

The obvious benefit is to have a lot of referrals, but this is also who Ben Davis is. I believe in creating standing out value in any business. That is for example what I do through my Real Estate business: have above-average homes renting for below-average prices. Same thing on my consultancy business. Yes, at some point I may charge more (especially with demand going higher and higher) but I will probably be able to help my clients (or at least some topics) in a much more effective manner. Either way, I’ll be above-average charging below-average, regarding my market is the $40/h range or the $400/h.

But why consultancy?

I always loved to coach people, as I said. Consulting was sort of a natural step: I am working part time for a university, and I need to make extra bucks. The blog is growing (although I projected way more) but I felt I needed more money to execute my plan to retire in my 30s. To be quite honest, my third rental property sucked way more money than I thought, as I said over the last months, and I felt that I needed to feed the beast. At the same time, my relatively big pay from Germany was about to finish and I had to reason to believe I would get a contract so fast.

If you’ve been following my blog since the beginning, you know that coaching people is something I like because I actually plan to do it after my retirement. We all love certain things and seeing others succeeding by following my advice is something I love. In fact, I think this is why my consulting business is being successful. At the end of the day, I love doing it and I try my best so that my clients succeed.

My advice for you, regardless you’re planning to retire early, is to do what you love and enjoy life. Always chase your dreams – there is nothing to stop you. I decided to consult because it was a way to make some extra buck, but also because I love it. If I could, I would definitely escalate it and turn it into my full-time job until retirement. In fact, I can see myself becoming a self-employed blogger, who makes most of his money consulting. Let’s see what the future holds!

Toodles!

Ben

three-fund-portfolio
Stock Market,

Why I will set up a trident and a 3 fund portfolio after the next stock market correction

Why I will set up a trident and a 3 fund portfolio after the next stock market correction

If you follow the blog, you know that I’ve been selling out my stocks. While I plan to invest heavily in the stock market as part of my strategy to retire early, I expect a market correction soon. I know exactly what I will buy when the correction happens. That would be a set of simple portfolios including the trident portfolio, a 3 fund portfolio, and Portuguese stocks for tax reasons. The first two portfolios are lazy portfolios, while the latter is a much more actively managed portfolio.

Trident portfolio

The trident portfolio, which I learned from Milos Baljozovic, is composed of US small-cap value stocks, gold and long term US treasuries. The trident portfolio has consistently outperformed many other portfolios. This includes the 3 fund portfolio between 1972 and 2015, as shown here. Some argue that this is mainly due to gold and long term treasuries, which have grown a lot in the past. Long term treasuries are particularly low at the moment, so we should be careful when assessing this data.

The same source, reports the following, based on the portfolio visualizer:

3 fund portfolio three fund portfolio

3 fund portfolio three fund portfolio

This portfolio is specialized on capital gains; Gold doesn’t pay dividends and US small-cap value stocks barely do. The most interest of the portfolio comes from long term US treasuries.

3 fund portfolio

The 3 fund portfolio is composed of a domestic and international total market funds, and a bond total market fund. There are multiple advantages to this portfolio, including its simplicity and tax efficiency (depending on the funds you choose and where you live). Although I don’t plan to move from Portugal anytime soon, I will use the US as the reference for the domestic fund and the world for the international fun. You can check out another more detailed definition of the 3 fund portfolio here.

Most likely, I will go with a vanguard 3 fund portfolio. I think the term “vanguard 3 fund portfolio” is given to the three fund portfolio when it is composed of vanguard funds. The best option for me is, I believe, to go with the “Vanguard Total Stock Market Index Fund”, “Vanguard Total Bond Market Index Fund” and the “Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund”. I will choose their ETF versions, i.e. the funds with the tickers VTI (total market vanguard ETF fund), BND (Total Bond vanguard ETF) and VXUS (total international market ETF) in equal value proportions. Note that these funds trade at different values, so adjustments are needed if you want to have equal proportions (33%) of each one of them.

Reasons

The primary reason to go with these two lazy portfolios is the lack of time. On top of that, their past yields have been interesting. I don’t really have time to keep myself updated of the Portuguese and the US market to make active decisions. I will do an active management of my Portuguese stocks as I like to keep myself well informed with respect to the local market and I will be a customer of many of the companies I will hold shares of.

More details

As a Portuguese tax resident, I have to pay attention to a variety of factors, as the Portuguese tax code is considerably different from the US tax code. First, and more importantly, you cannot defer paying taxes on dividends to the future. This means that if some dividends clear on your account, you must pay taxes on them, even if you reinvest them. As a result, I must pick funds that automatically reinvest dividends so that I don’t pay as much on taxes. If you recall correctly, I follow a free cash flow investing model, which, at first glance, does not match well with this strategy. This means that I have to know upfront that I would reinvest dividends on the same fund even if they cleared on my account.

The trident portfolio doesn’t generate significant dividends (for the reason that small-cap stocks do not pay significant dividends themselves). Long term bonds do pay recurrent interest, but I am not that much concerned with paying taxes on that. The most susceptible tax for both the trident and the 3 fund portfolios would be paid on capital gains during the rebalancing (which is commonly a small part of the portfolio).

I will most likely not buy REITs because although they match my investment model, I already have enough exposure to it. 🙂

rental home renovation costs
Real Estate,

Rental Home Renovation Costs: my experience with RP#3 in Portugal

After spending lots of money on the renovation of my third rental property (RP#3), I had to do a post on rental home renovation costs, as this is the second property that I remodel. I will try to go over the kitchen design and remodel, bathroom remodel and remodeling cost in general. If you are looking on information on house renovation, I hope this post helps you. I will use one of the 6 units of the property as the reference.

Property specs

RP#3 is a 6-unit property that I bought for a very low price. It was clear from the beginning that I had to spend a lot of money towards remodeling this property, but as I said before, I have underestimated this rental home renovation costs twice. Because the property is in the city center, there are no garages and my main target tenants are students and millennials who do not own a car.

The property is divided into two different parts. The first part is a three-story house, where each story is one rental unit. There is a small common area which gives access to the three units. The other three units have independent accesses.

When I bought this property, I knew that it needed a full renovation and no units could be rented out as they were. Surprisingly, I’ve had tenants asking me for surprisingly low rents, and I ended up renting them one unit before remodeling it. I rented this unit for €150/mo, which increases automatically to €200/mo in September 2017. I have also rented one of the renovated units for €275/mo. For this first part of the renovation, I renewed two units entirely and the common area that they share.

Kitchen design and kitchen remodel

We all know that the kitchen sells the house. In rental properties, I’ve learned that the kitchen is also the most important element for tenants. Therefore, I typically spend more bucks towards the kitchen than any other room in the property. As the picture shows, I’ve chosen special tiles for both the wall and the floor. These tiles come out roughly at €20 every 11ft². There are way cheaper options (especially if we are talking about rental units), but I’ve accepted the fact that beautiful tiles do improve the chances of attracting great tenants and so I use them. Either way, the most expensive part of renovating homes is the man labor and so it does make sense to use medium end materials.

kitchen remodel kitchen design

As you can also see, I applied stone countertops (black granite is also way more expensive than the rest and although Quartz is commonly preffered to granite, it is not Popular in Portugal) as I think that it is way better than any other material. Polished black granite is my favorite. This stone you see in the picture came out at €400. An equivalent laminate countertop would cost about €180. Still, stone countertops are way more beautiful and last way longer. That is, in fact, my first reason to choose stone over laminate or wood.

The second unit

The countertop I applied on the second unit is made out of regular polished granite:

kitchen remodel kitchen design home renovation costs

Not as beautiful but way cheaper. This baby came out at €400, but it is way bigger than the countertop of the other unit. As you can see, the cabinets are identical to those in the other kitchen. The cabinets are made out of wood (real wood) and each kitchen cost about €700 – I know how to negotiate if you’re wondering…

I didn’t like these tiles, but it was too late to change when I saw them on. Lesson learned: I will never choose yellow or close-to-yellow tiles for a kitchen. I think that my first choice will primarily be black and white tiles as those I used for the kitchen above, or while all along.

It is very difficult to explain how these kitchens were before the renovation. They were in absolute bad shape and I am pretty positive nobody in this world would like to live there. Now, they look two modern, decent kitchens. I am very happy with the final result – except for the tiles of the second kitchen.

Bathroom remodel

Another big chRental Home Renovation Costs bathroom remodeling Bathroom remodelunk of any home renovation costs is remodeling the bathroom. I personally think that we can renovate bathrooms with style without spending that much money. Unlike kitchens, bathrooms have more to do with how materials are used than what materials are used. For instance, have a look at this “tile window” in the shower, as you can see in the picture.

This is one of the advantages of having traveled so much and stayed at so many nice hotels. I got to see many 5 and 4 star hotels in my life and I copy several ideas. They will be usefull in my goal of owning 100 homes. 🙂

Another thing that helps with the looks in the fancy rubber-tile you see in the window. It is certainly expensive, but I try to buy it from contractors who bought too much for their own renovations. The one you see in the picture cost me about €10.

Lastly, I definitely recommend a fancy shower like the one in the picture. That cost me about €30.

Bedrooms

kitchen remodel kitchen design home renovation costsBedrooms were, by far, the lowest portion of the home renovation costs. I typically use pergo for the bedrooms as pergo is warmer and cozier than tiles. From now on, I will apply the same style for every bedroom I renovate. That is, gray pergo, gray walls and white skirting. I like this combination a lot. The picture on the right side shows just that.

Summary

I didn’t go over the renovation of the property in full detail, as it is impractical to do that in 1000 words. However, I highlighted the main points of this renovation, which was the biggest I’ve ever made. Although the property is very optimized in terms of units, there was a lot of money to be spent on extra-unit parts of the property. For example, the common area of the first three units cost more than €4000.

There is a lot to say about rental home renovation costs, and I feel that I have acquired substantial knowledge of this subject over the past two years. Maybe there is enough content to write a book about it.

online income report income diary report how to make money online
Reports,

April 2017 (Online Income: $1126.71)

Welcome to my income diary. If you wonder how do websites make money and how to make money with a website, you may find my reports useful.

I release reports on my online income every month. In 2017, I am projected to make $15k on online income.


I’ve received many e-mails concerning this matter. Most people ask me “What can I do to start a side online business?” or “What can I do to make a few hundred bucks at the end of the month”? First, know that I offer consulting services for this, on 1:1 consultations. Either way, let me hash out a general recipe here:

0) Choose a niche. Many people choose niches based on keyword search. I highly recommend people to blog about what they are passionate about instead. If you add value, any niche will work out for you.

1) Set up a website. I host my website on Bluehost, which I highly recommend. For one, its cheap, two is highly reliable. If you are interested in starting a blog of your own, I created a tutorial here, to help you start off.

2) Blog. A lot. You may have noticed that I’ve posted twice in the month, on specific months when I started From cents to Retirement. Doesn’t work. It won’t tie people in, it won’t please search engines and your blog will rapidly be forgotten. Note that I am not saying “publish crap”. Do not, if you expect to have loyal fans and grow. But do not forget to publish.

3) Promote your blog. A big part of having your blog out there for people to see is through high-quality posts – eventually, people will share. Promoting your blog will not only get it out there faster but deeper. Promoting your blog can be very hard, but its necessary.

4) Monetize. Adsense is an option. I like Amazon a lot. If you offer consultancy services, as I do, you need to show you can do it yourself first, but clients will pop up eventually.


So, how did I make $1126.71 this month? First, the breakdown:

Bluehost : $0 (vs $100 in March)
Affiliate marketing : $55.50 (vs $35.88)
My book : $21.21 (vs $45.36 – I listed the book for $0 for 2 and a half days to prove a point on Quora)
Consultancy fees : $1050 (vs $0 – finally started to accept consultancy work again! More about this on Friday!)
Google adsense : $0 (vs $2.34 – I removed all ads from the blog)
Paid surveys : $0 (vs $25 in March)

Total : $1126.71

Disclaimer: the BlueHost and the Amazon links are affiliate links, which means that I get commissions if you buy products or services through them. The amounts reported above are before any fees, taxes or expenses. I can’t say exactly how much I will net from this.

Note that although I am committed to release my income diary and help those who want to know how to make money with a blog, if they and blogging for money, my primarily focus is not to make money with blog, but create a very valuable platform that people love.

Expenses

I didn’t have any expenses with the blog this month.

Views

As I said last month, I changed my strategy pertaining to traffic. Although I’ve been having way fewer readers, I am very happy with the direction the blog is taking, and I honestly prefer to have 25k warm viewers than 100k cold viewers. That being said, I still want to achieve 100k viewers until the end of the year! We are obviously talking about a nasty piece of work (especially without redirecting cold traffic as I’ve done before), but I am confident I will achieve it.

As I also said last month, I have focused on increasing the website’s authority, high-quality referrals and growing my social media accounts. I am very happy with the results in April: the domain authority boosted from a shy 10 to a still-not-so-great-but-more-than-double 24 and the page authority went by from 24 to a respectable 37! The best part of this is that I expect massive boosts in the next two months. 🙂 The reason for this is that most of the backlinks that I received in April will only be accounted for in May or even June. I hope that Google recognizes my serious effort here, and boosts my ranks!

All in all, the traffic went up very slightly this month. The key idea is to increase it by at least 50% every two and a half months, on average. Yes, a very hard task, I know. Either way, that is where I want to set the bar at. Let’s see what happens. We all know that being featured on a major site can be a game changer. Honestly, I though that guest posting on <50k sites would still provide considerable traffic, but it turns out I was wrong. :/

blog traffic april 2017

and the number of sessions:

sessions blog april 2017

More sessions, more users, more pageviews, higher avg. session duration, lower bounce rate. It could not be better 🙂

This time the number of new visitors increased to almost 60%. Again, I am happy with the decreasing boucing rate, for which the new blog theme is contributing, I am sure.

My Alexa rank is still good, and I haven’t had a big penalty for “losing” the December stats (although you can clearly see the drop at the end of the month) – Alexa is based on the 3 previous months. Let us see how it will come out next month.

alexa rank april 2017

Social Media

Last month, my Facebook page grew by 99 likes, while this month I was only able to grow it by 71 likes (an increase of about 12%), to a total of 601 likes. I’ve started to use a new technique to grow my number of likes, and I think this is a heck of a good one – plus it will target very good leads! I started to finally believe that the goal of 25k likes until the end of the year is simply impossible, but I still have a few tricks to use, as well as Facebook ads. Not sure how well I will do, but I would really like to grow my facebook page drastically.

As I said before, I am not keeping track of Pinterest, and I will hire a VA to take care of it for me.

The subscriber count grew from 938 to 1029, wich means an increase of about 9% (which compares well to an increase of 4% last month). I like these numbers the better and I know what made by grow “that much” – guest posts! Guest posts work great to increase your subscriber count. I am still convinced that the goal of reaching 6000 subscribers until the end of the year is achievable because I have a few tricks that I will use, and I still expect to be featured on major sites.

Goals for April 2017:

  • Increase the number of likes on my Facebook page to 700. FAIL. Although I’ve done a good job as far as my Facebook is concerned, I am yet to achieve 700 likes.
  • Increase the number of blog subscribers to 1100. ALMOST DONE. Although not quite there, I can’t say I am disappointed.
  • Increase the number of followers on Twitter to 200. DONE. Twitter is not really my favourite social media platform, but I will make the effort to hit 1k until the end of the year.
  • Write at least 14 guest posts. DONE. Yes, I’ve done this. Couldn’t be happier. 🙂
  • Reach at least 40k views on my blog. FAIL. I underestimated how many viewers I’d get from guest posting.
  • Make about $400 online. DONE. I will post more about my consulting business on Friday, but I am very happy for now. 🙂

Goals for May 2017:

  • Increase the number of likes on my Facebook page to 700.
  • Increase the number of blog subscribers to 1200.
  • Increase the number of followers on Twitter to 350.
  • Write at least 10 guest posts.
  • Reach at least 40k views on my blog.
  • Make about $800 online.

In the meantime, let me know if this information is useful to you in the comment section down below.

Your biggest fan,
Ben Davis

net worth update
Reports,

April 2017 (248469.47€)

My current worth is €248469.47 (36.92% of my first goal – €670K).

net worth april 2017

Finally, a net worth increase! Unlike what I thought, April turned out to be a turning point, as far as the direction of my net worth is concerned.

Not a great month, still?

Well, guess what… There were still some bills to pay, regarding RP#3. This was a very expensive property to rehab and although this was a great deal at first, I’ve dropped so much cash there, that I am not sure this will be my best deal ever, unlike what I thought at first. Last month, I said that the bleeding would continue during April (which in fact did), but I was able to stop it as I generated some extra cash this month (see below). 🙂 There will be a last bill to pay, next month, which I estimate to be around €1900. I am confident that this property will yield nice money in the next 10 years, without me to worry much about it, so this was definitely an investment for the long haul.

I was also able to rent out another unit in RP#3, yesterday (the last day of the month!). Another unit rented on the last day of the month! God, there is a pattern here!!! I was able to rent it for €250/mo, but the contract will only start on June 1st. This means that there is only 1 unit free left on RP#3, and so I may consider rehabbing some of the other units in the next months. Yet, my priority is to rent out the last unit (I will try to do this during May) and increase my free cash flow.

Rental income

My tenants from RP#1 asked me for a 1-month extension, which I accepted. Therefore, they will only vacay the property at the end of May. I actually changed plans on this property, as I decided to sell it. My idea is to take €35k to flip another flat in the area and throw €10k to P2P lending. I will NOT move to RP#1 as I was able to get a good deal on a rental for myself, in the same area.

The rental income for May will be €1225, which is the same as I had during April and the highest I’ve achieved in my lifetime, as I said last month. As I was able to rent another unit from RP#3, I will be able to keep this rental income and even increase it before September, when one of the leasing contracts increases automatically by €50/mo. I think I will hit €1500/mo then. As I said before, whatever cash is generated from my Rental Properties is entirely re-invested into the Rental Properties themselves.

Online income

My online income for April was AWESOME. I will comment on this in the online income report/income diary.

My Real estate business

My Real Estate business is dormant, as I am investing a lot of time on the blog. I expect it to gain traction soon, but I can’t project any numbers.

Goals for April

April’s goals were, in general, achieved:

  1. Make at least $500 online and continue to promote the blog aggressively (details in the income diary). DONE. This will be explained in the online income report.
  2. Read two books. FAIL (I invested too much time on guest posts and my consultancy business)
  3. Rent out another unit. DONE!

My goals for May (does not include the goals for the blog – those follow in the income diary):

  1. Make at least $1500 online (aggressive goal).
  2. Read two books.
  3. Rent out another unit.

I also started my part-time research position and I AM LOVING IT. The environment at work is great and I love the project. I think it will take me way more time than I expected, but let us see as time goes by.

Ben

i live where you vacation image
Daily life,

I live where you vacation – my new life

This month I am moving to Portugal (most likely for good). This will change my daily life entirely, and I am finally moving to a country I love to live in, and leaving one that I don’t like that much. Exciting times ahead… after all, I live where you vacation from now on!

I have posted on how crazy beautiful the country is, and why did I invest in Portugal in the past years, as a means to take advantage of geographic arbitrage. Today, I’d like to expand a little bit on how awesome it is to live in Portugal, and why so many people decide to take their vacation here.

Quality of life

As I have written before, Portugal is like a small paradise on earth. The quality of life is very good. In the following, I’ll cover the main points.

Food

One of my favorite points. Food is Portugal is crazy awesome, and dirt cheap. As I said before, you can find you restaurants serving you awesome meals just like this one for less than $5:

cheap meals portugal

What I love to do is to order take away. Portions are always generous and I end up making two meals out of one portion. One takeaway portion like this one usually costs about $5:

food portugal I live where you vacation

Groceries are cheap too. I take advantage of many coupons and discounts. However, I can afford to order food to takeaway, as in many cases I end up making two meals out of a single portion. If you want to have a look at the most typical Portuguese dishes and some parts of Lisbon along the away, check this video from Mark Wiens out:

I am sure Mark agrees that I live where you vacation…

Weather and people

The pictures above were taken in February. Can you notice the amount of natural light there is? I ain’t faking it….

People are also extremely open and helpful to you. I wish you could experience this personally, as words can’t convey this accurately. At this point in my life, it is such a great relief to move to a country where most people are nice.

Safety and drug usage

Portugal ranks 17th in the safest countries in the world. Security reports claim that safety breaches happen primarily at very touristic spots and these are pretty much reduced to the busy tourist season. Violent crime is very rare.

Portugal has also a unique approach to drug usage. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized the usage drugs, allowing every citizen to possess a small amount of drugs. Turns out that this has yielded fantastic results. The number of drug-induced drugs dropped from 80, in 2001, to 16, in 2016. Have a look at these stats: 16 drug-induced deaths in the entire country in one year. Currently, Portugal spends 90% of the available budget for drugs on treatment and 10% on punishment – the opposite of the US. Have a look at this documentary:

My lifestyle

I will be living in Castelo Branco, a small city near Spain, and I will be working in Aveiro.

map portugal

(taken from Google Maps)

As I took a part time position in the beautiful city of Aveiro, I will afford to drive there every week. The way we decided to structure my working time was to work 2 weeks in the month (every second week). In the other 2 weeks of the month, I will be resting at home, and working on my projects, including From Cents To Retirement. I will be driving from Castelo Branco to Aveiro every other week, arriving on Sunday and leaving on Friday (probably late in the day).

Monthly expenses

I will be staying at a nice hostel in Aveiro. I stroke a deal with them, and I will be paying them $280/mo while I am there. Therefore, I expect the following monthly expenses:

  • Rent = €260 (about $280), includes utilities;
  • Food =  €250 (about $270)
  • Health insurance = €40
  • Gas = €150 (about $160)
  • Clothing = €50
  • Entertainment = €25 (about $30)
  • Others = €100

This means that my monthly expenses will sum up to €875. I will earn €1500 from my part-time job. From my salary, I hope to save at the very least €600 (i.e. 40%) every single month. Ideally, I would spend only €500 a month, thus allowing me to continue to save 70% of my salary, but commuting so often and living in a new city will not allow me to do that. My passive income will be completely reinvested into growing my portfolio, so I can forget about using it as well. I will try to do as much as I can in terms of online income and consultation. This income will be used to 1) grow the blog and 2) continue renovating RP#3 and paying down my mortgage on RP#2. I am definitely refining my strategy, but “the vision needs to be re-iterated, I do that a lot“.

Routine

During this period, I will be following the diet and lifestyle that I have described before (LINK MISSING). I hope to go to the gym 3 times in the week and read as much as possible.

I plan to spend 25% of my time blogging, 50% working on my new job and 25% of my time working on my Real Estate and online businesses.

In 2017, I am also making some treats: 1) I will meditate for at least 5 minutes every single day, but I hope to meditate for 20 minutes on Sundays, 2) after May, I will explore the coast on my own. In particular, I will be taking one Saturday every month to do that. I will run along the sea and capture beautiful images. Is there any better definition of “I live where you vacation”?

How others see Portugal

Here’s this couple of brits talking about the prons and cons of living in Portugal:

I agree with 95% of what they say!

investment hunting interview
Interviews,

Interview #5 – Nathan from Investment Hunting

This is the fifth interview of my interview series, where I interview bloggers blogging about Early Retirement, Personal Finance, and related topics. I have published my first book recently, and I am writing my second book, which will be on what I learned interviewing millionaires. As you can see, I love interviewing people.

This time, I bring you Nathan from Investment Hunting.com. I hope you enjoy it.

Q1 – Who is Nathan?

Who is Nathan. How much time do you have. Perhaps I should just have my therapist send you her condensed version of my story ;-). Seriously though, Nathan, better know as Investment Hunting lives in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area. Nathan is married, my 20-year anniversary is in two weeks. Nathan is the proud father of two children. My daughter is 19, a junior in college. My son is 15, a sophomore in high school.

My investment style is pretty simple, I’m currently a dividend stock investor and an options trader. I’ve recently started dabbling with P2P lending and real estate. But the bulk of my investments are in dividend paying stocks. My history is not typical. In 2008, I lost everything and started over. This of course sucked, but it made my family much stronger.

I bounced back and started investing again in 2013. I’ve been able to get my net worth above $400,000 in three years buy saving and investing. I’m putting away more than $50k each year in an attempt to retire comfortably before I’m 65. It will be close, but with a little luck, I’ll be able to retire and enjoy my golden years.

[I think its super inspirational that you lost everything in 2008 and you had to start over. I can see that you have a diversified portfolio, and you know more about Ponzi schemes now, so I am sure that you have been growing stronger and wiser. And great job on those $400k.]

Q2 – Why and when did you start Investment Hunting?

I was inspired to start a blog after reading blogs like Dividend Mantra, DivHut, and Dividend Diplomats. I figured, why not me, I can do this. I started blogging in December 2014 under the name Dividend Dreams. Long story short, I was forced to close this blog because a company owned the name. I launched Investment Hunting in August 0f 2015 and my second blog Options Hunting in September of 2016.

My primary goal is to document what I do, step-by-step for my children and grandchildren. Hopefully they’ll get inspired and start their own journeys towards financial independence. Afterall, if they start investing at 18, the road to retirement has far less bumps in it.

[Never heard of a shutdown because a company owned the name. I am sorry to hear that. Indeed, I can see why you do that and I agree that it will be very inspirational for them.]

Q3 – What is Investment Hunting all about?

Investment Hunting is focused on my journey to financial independence. I track every stock I buy and sell and I list my reasons for each transaction. The site isn’t and advice blog or an affiliate blog. I do have ads on my site to offset hosting costs, but I’m not in this to become a professional blogger. I want to tell my story, not to sell hosting plans or affiliate programs to my readers.

My hope is that readers find new ideas or that they get value out of my stock analysis. Lastly, Investment Hunting is about me. It’s a selfish pleasure. I get to share what I’m doing with the world and get feedback and advice from others.

[and nobody can blame you for that!]

Q4 – What are your favourite blogs?

I visit hundreds of blogs every week. I have too many favorites to list here. My top three blogs are:

Dividend Diplomats

DivHut

DivGro

Q5 – What is your end goal regarding money?

To become a billionaire; we’ll at least a millionaire. My goal is to have enough money to live comfortably and to be able to travel. I don’t need fancy cars or an expensive home.

[I too like to set the bar high and fail then setting it low and succeed. Best of luck!]

Q6 – What do you think you’re good at, when it comes to money?

I’m a good saver. My wife and I both save our money. This saving habit has allowed us to get back on our feet and to rebuild our net worth in a short amount of time. If we can maintain this we’ll retire early. She’s recently gone back to work after a 8-year stay-at-home hiatus. This new income will allow us to double-down on 401ks and invest more money.

[Awesome. Maybe the retirement date will be <65 this way?]

Q7 – What are your goals for your blog and your personal life, for 2017?

I set my 2017 goals back in December 2016. The goals are a mix of personal and investing goals. I’m focused on heavy investing, $50k into the market and $10k into P2P lending. I’m also hoping to $7,500 in dividend income and $7,500 in options income. This income gets reinvested, so if I hit these goals, I’ll add $75,000 in fresh capital this year.

One constant about life is that it always throws wrenches into well thought out plans. My goals this year have changed. I just bought a house, this was unplanned. The house came with a bunch of equity ($400,00), so I couldn’t pass on it. This acquisition will force me to reduce my stock market investments. This transaction was a true win-win opportunity. It’s sort of a reverse mortgage. I’ll write a detailed post about this purchase sometime next month.

My goal for my blog is to start posting regularly. The regularity of my posts has fallen over a cliff the past 3-months. Work has gotten crazy, and honestly, I’ve lost some of my inspiration to blog. I’m working on getting this back and returning to multiple posts per week. Taking part in interviews like this one helps me to recharge my batteries. Thanks for interviewing me.

[As a goal driven guy – see my goals for 2017 here -, I love to read this type of stuff. It seems that you’ll throw a lot of money into growing your investments. Please do let us know about the property you bought and what you gained! I’d like to see more posts from you, so good luck with that. Thank you for being here.]