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March 2013 Goals and Finance Update

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March Highlights and Lowlights

  • 2013 Financial Goals: Not much progress in March. I’m waiting for some pullback before adding money to baby RB40’s 529 account. Let’s take a look at how we are doing on the year-long goals below.
  • Generate $18,000 in passive income: In Q1, we generated $4,220 of passive income from peer to peer lending, rental properties, dividend and interest. We are a little behind our target, but not too far back. The 4 plex still needs more repairs and maintenance so I think Q2 will be a bit worse on that front.
  • Generate $18,000 online: In Q1, we generated $6,916 online. This is much better than I thought and if we can keep it up, we should be able to surpass the $18,000 goal by the end of the year.
  • 2013 Personal Goals: I finally sat down and put together a sustainable exercise program. When we go to the playground, I can do this workout and start to get back in shape.
  • Defaults at Prosper are starting to slow down. This month we made $58 from peer to peer lending. This is below my $100/month target, but a lot better than the $20 I made in February. Things are starting to look better here.

Net Worth (+6.03% YTD)

The S&P500 Index reached an all time high in March and help drove our net worth up 1.84%. That’s great for one month and I’m thinking I should pull some investments out of the stock market. I really don’t think the stock market can keep this up and I’m sure we’ll see a correction at some point.

If you need help keeping track of your finances, try using Personal Capital to manage your budget and net worth. It can help you keep track of your income, expenses, and net worth, all in one place. Personal Capital is geared for investors and have many great tools. See my review of Personal Capital and how they helped me reduce what I’m paying in investment fees.

personal capital March

Saving (+$6,031 so far)

We did very well with cash flow in March. Our income was great on all fronts except peer to peer lending. If we can keep this up for the rest of the year, I would be very happy. Our expense is a little higher because I paid for some prescription medication for my mom. It’s still within the acceptable range, so I’m fine with that.

Our saving for March is $2,333. We’ll allocate $600 to Baby RB40’s college education and split the rest between travel, fun money, and additional investment/slush fund.

Piggy Bank 2013

  • 529 fund: + $600 = $1,700. The market seems a bit frothy right now so I’m keeping this fund in our savings account. I will send it over when I see a good buying opportunity.
  • Travel fund: +$500 = $1,250
  • Fun money: +$250 = $750
  • Investment/Slush Fund: +$983 = $2,331

Estimated Tax

  • For Uncle Sam: +$1,569 = $3,490. I’m withholding 33% because we have to pay state tax too. First estimated tax payment is due April 15th. Ugh…

Cash Flow

March Cash Flow

Income (target > $4,500)

As I mentioned earlier, our income looked great for March. If P2P income hits $100, then we would be firing on all cylinders. I wish every month would be like this. 🙂

  • Rentals: The tenants in our rental home caught up with the rent so that’s why we have a nice number here. On the 4 plex, we just finished drainage repairs, and we’ll see that payment in April. We also need to repair the the fireplaces so that will cost a bundle too. April and May are going to be bad months for the rentals due to these repair bills.
  • P2P lending is looking much better in March. The rate of defaults and late payments are slowing down. Our ROI is stuck at at 8.07% for now. I guess I can’t complain too much because we are still making money. Here is an update I wrote recently – Peer to Peer lending isn’t as passive as I thought.
  • Dividend and interest: Great month at $1,103.
  • Online income was quite good in March. Anything over $1,500 is exceeding expectations. I had a few articles syndicated over at Yahoo! Finance and they drove up our earnings with CPC and CPM ads. Q1 was quite good overall and we’ll have to see if the rest of the year can keep up.

Expense (target < $4,000, not including tax)

We did well with our expenses this month. If we take out the estimated tax, we spent around $3,300. That’s below our $4,000 target. My mom is staying with us for a while and I’m paying for her cost of living. $3,300 for a family of 4 isn’t bad at all.

Wrap Up March

March turned out quite well for us. Our various income streams are doing well. The rentals aren’t going to look good over the next two months, but we’ll see how it goes.

How about you? Did you have a good month? Any progress on your New Year Goals and Resolutions?

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{ 39 comments… add one }
  • Perry at FinancialFreedomUK April 3, 2013, 1:37 am

    Great month Joe – you didn’t even need Mrs RB40’s paycheck in March, and I think you both have 401k’s to look forward to also?

    This looks like Financial Independence to me 🙂

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:16 pm

      Thanks! March was a good month. Now we just have to work on getting every month to look like this. 🙂

      • Rich Uncle EL April 4, 2013, 10:27 am

        Why did you set the passive and online goals at 18K each?

        • retirebyforty April 4, 2013, 10:21 pm

          It was just an estimate. It’s actually way too high for passive income. I probably should reset it to $10,000.

  • My Financial Independence Journey April 3, 2013, 3:02 am

    Congratulations on having a great March! Hopefully, the rest of the year will treat you just as well.

  • Maverick April 3, 2013, 3:11 am

    Excellent results, Joe. So how did you get syndicated…they contacted you after seeing your post?

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:16 pm

      I write for US news’ retirement section and Yahoo! picks it up once in a while.

  • 20's Finances April 3, 2013, 5:05 am

    Nice work on the goals! I just prepared my Q1 payment and I hate it every time. Hopefully your P2P will bounce back. Mine has been consistent for the most part. I may get my first loan to be charged off. I really like Lending Club’s market place – it allows you to buy after you’ve seen the payment history. You might want to check it out if you want a lower risk option of P2P (IMHO).

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:18 pm

      I’m planning to invest at Lending Club next. Estimated payment is no fun at all. It’s a big bill.

  • Jane Savers @ The Money Puzzle April 3, 2013, 6:13 am

    I can’t wait to try P2P lending if it ever comes to Canada.

    Why do you think the P2P defaults have slowed? Are things improving in your American economy or are you getting better at picking borrowers?

    My net worth is still a negative number. I will not see any great growth until I have rid myself of the $18,233 in debt that controls my life.

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:19 pm

      Perhaps it’s seasonal? The economy is improving, but I don’t think it’s much difference than in December.
      Keep on working on your debt. You’ll get there someday. Good luck!

  • SavvyFinancialLatina April 3, 2013, 8:05 am

    Great job Joe! I need to start keeping better details of our expenses. I have been meaning too, but never do it.

  • Pretired Nick April 3, 2013, 8:07 am

    Wow, Joe, you’re doing great. Wish I was humming along as nicely. Hopefully when I sell my four-plex and reallocate those funds I can get things running a little more smoothly again.

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:21 pm

      Good luck. I’m going to write about the 4 plex tomorrow. It’s not going very smoothly here either. There are way more expensive repairs than I thought.

      • Sidney Levesque April 4, 2013, 7:27 am

        Joe, I’m glad you mentioned the four-plex. I often wonder about rental property and all the expenses and time involved in maintaining and repairing them. And the hassle of dealing with renters. My aunt and her partner own rental property in Seattle and she frequently emails me (but not complaining) about mowing and keeping up the landscaping and painting the inside and getting it clean for new renters, etc.

        • retirebyforty April 4, 2013, 10:10 pm

          The 4 plex article is coming out tomorrow! We have a property manager so we don’t spend a lot of time on it, but it is still a big headache. I’m much happier with our rental home.

  • Moon April 3, 2013, 8:23 am

    We are doing pretty good for March and Q1. March is a 3 paychecks month for us, our expense was slightly over budget due to various things, such as flood insurance due, tax preparation fee, etc. But I am not going to complaint since we still ended up netting over $5500 saving! We also got a few hundred dollars of tax refund this year (but pretty much break even after the tax preparation fee), I totally expect next year we will have to start paying Uncle Sam since we financed our house and our mortgage deduction will be much lower.

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:22 pm

      Wow, that’s great! Congratulation. Thanks for the reminder about the 3 paychecks month. April will probably work out ok for us too then. 🙂

  • Stephen at Simple Economist April 3, 2013, 8:40 am

    That is a strong set of numbers. I hope our spreadsheet will look like that in a few years. I think the biggest thing on our side will be trying to get rid of the house payment in the next year. We have some rental property options that we are starting just beginning to feel out so those might come to fruition later this summer. Good luck and nice update

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:22 pm

      The problem is the consistency though. Next month isn’t going to be pretty. Good luck to you as well on the rentals.

  • Well Heeled Blog April 3, 2013, 9:12 am

    My goal for this term of school wasn’t very finance-related.. I wanted to learn how to enjoy life more, and just be more in the moment instead of always thinking about the next thing I have to do.

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:23 pm

      That’s a great goal. I’m striving for that myself and I think I’m doing much better now than when I was working. There is a long way to go though.

  • Brick by Brick Investing April 3, 2013, 11:54 am

    The numbers look good! That online income is certainly impressive. As for your exercise program have you heard of the Primal Blueprint? It’s written by Mark Sisson over at Marks Daily Apple. Long story short he details how to eat healthy which helps reduce the need for robust exercise programs. With a toddler and a newborn I just don’t have the energy let alone time to drag myself to the gym.

    • retirebyforty April 3, 2013, 11:26 pm

      I think you mentioned him before. We all know we’re suppose to eat healthy. The problem is doing it, right? Toddler and a newborn.. It’s going to be crazy for a couple of years. 🙂

  • Mike April 3, 2013, 12:40 pm

    Looks like you are on target! Yea for getting P2P lending somewhat back on track! That can be a difficult challenge to maintain good, constant returns!

  • You do an amazing job keeping track of everything. Very inspiring to see how well you are then able to analyze each section. Congrats, too, on the internet income!

  • Joey April 4, 2013, 8:34 am

    I think this is a great Blog, quick question for your expense category, where is the grocery/food cost for your household? is it part of the housing expence? if so, what percentage? What is your online income? from bloggin?

    • retirebyforty April 4, 2013, 10:11 pm

      Sorry, it’s in the cash category. I will be more explicit next time. Food is probably 10-15% of our expense. Online income is from blogging and freelance writing.

  • Rich Uncle EL April 4, 2013, 10:25 am

    Hey Joe great job on the income generation now that you are a stay at home dad. A couple of things I want to ask you,
    Do you reinvest the dividend income? Take a check back?
    AT what point did you start a business for this site? Once you made 1 grand or more a year?
    Ever since I started reading your blog, I noticed there are a lot of repairs on the property, have you considered getting a bulk estimate of all the repairs to get it out of the way and then not worry about it for months.

    • retirebyforty April 4, 2013, 10:18 pm

      I reinvest the dividend income manually. I don’t DRIP.
      I just incorporated in 2013. I probably should have done it in 2012, but it’s not a huge deal.
      All the major repairs should be done by 2013, but you never know what’s going to break next… ugh…

  • Vern Hundt April 4, 2013, 11:30 am

    You mention paying off your mortgage before retirement. What if you owe say $100,000 and will have that amount before you retire, but you invest the $100,000 and are getting 9% +. Wouldn’t that be better, and pay the mortgage out of the investment earnings?

    • retirebyforty April 4, 2013, 10:24 pm

      Yes that is better, but can you really guarantee 9%+ ROI? You will have to invest aggressively to get 9% every year and you might not want to do that in retirement. How much of that 9% will you keep after tax? The income from that source also could push up your tax rate as well.

  • Glad to see your renters came thru! Eviction can be an ugly process. Glad you were able to hold off on it.

    • retirebyforty April 5, 2013, 8:56 am

      They are great renters and I would hate to evict them. I think they are cutting it close and probably need a bigger emergency fund though.

  • steve April 5, 2013, 11:26 am

    I’ve owned a 4-plex for 6 years now and the best advice I could give you would be to get rid of the management company. It’s not nearly as much hassle as you think to manage the property yourself, especially since you’ve got a somewhat flexible schedule.

  • Evan April 9, 2013, 12:42 pm

    Wow! $1,100 in dividends. That is fantastic. What does your portfolio look like? ETFs? Individual stocks? Do you actively trade or just accumulate.

    • retirebyforty April 9, 2013, 3:35 pm

      Individual stocks. The 3rd month of the quarter always look great for me. April will be much less though. I just accumulate right now and take profit once in a while.

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