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Blog Income Wrap Up – 2016


Blog Income Wrap Up 2016Alright, I am almost done with our 2016 taxes! I just need to double check everything and it’ll be ready to go. Good thing our taxes were relatively simple last year. The rentals were occupied the whole year and that made the rental portion very easy. I also sold a few stocks to take profit and offset some gains. There was one stock sale that I had to dig up the purchasing price for from 2005. This one was a speculative solar panel company that my friend was working with as a venture capitalist. Needless to say, I had a 90% loss on that “investment.” At least I could use the loss to offset the gains from my more profitable investments this year. Anyway, the only thing really complicated about our 2016 taxes was my blog income. I logged all the income and expenses in my spreadsheet every month, but I still had to make sure they match up against the 1099 statements from various companies. I got it done to the best of my ability and you can take a peek into my 2016 blog income today.

Taxes highlights

First, let me share a few highlights from our taxes.

  • We stayed under the 15% federal income tax bracket and did not have to pay any taxes on our dividend income. In 2016, we made $10,800 from our dividend portfolio. I love not having to pay tax!
  • Retire by 40 generated about $29,500 last year and I put $22,500 into my individual 401k.
  • I did not take a home office deduction although 90% of my work was done at home. This is because my office doubles as RB40Jr’s bedroom. You can only take the home office deduction if it is exclusively used for business.
  • We’ll get $650 refund. Yes!
  • This one is actually a low light. My blog income was the lowest since 2012, the year I quit working full time. The advertising environment was changing and it took me a long time to adapt.

Blog income history

Blog Income History

Here is the whole history of my blog income. I started Retire by 40 in 2010 to help me focus on my early retirement journey. At first, I was hoping to make a little income, but I never imagined Retire by 40 would help our finances this much. It’s pretty amazing that a simple blog generated over $200,000 in revenue over these last 6 years. Yes, everyone should have a blog. Here is my guide on How to Start a Blog and Why You Should.

My original early retirement plan in 2010 was to live on Mrs. RB40’s income, our passive income, and about $500/month of online income. Back then, we thought Mrs. RB40 would continue to work until she’s around 55. At the time, she recently started a new job and she preferred working than retiring. Now, she’s a bit older and she has seen the benefit of early retirement. My quality of life is a lot better after I retired in 2012 and she wants a piece of it, too. Well, mainly she wants more time to pursue her interests. She likes work, but she just doesn’t have time to do other things that she wants.

Our current plan is for Mrs. RB40 to retire around 2020. Our passive income should be in a better shape by then. We’ll also depend more on my blog income. We’d probably need around $1,500/month so we don’t have to draw down our retirement accounts. Drawing down is fine if it comes to that. It’d still be much less than the 4% safe withdrawal rate.

2016 Blog Income

Okay, here are the details of my blog income last year.

  • Total Revenue: $37,869
  • Expenses: $8,453
  • Net Income: $29,416

The 2016 net income decreased almost $7,000 from the previous year. This is due to lower revenue and higher expenses, not good.

Revenue $37,869

Retire by 40 generates revenue exclusively through advertisement. There are many ways to make money online, but I’m just not ready to branch out yet. More ambitious bloggers use their blogs as platforms to launch careers such as freelance writing, motivational speaking, consulting, and personal finance coaching. I’m not quite ready to do those things yet because I’m a bit lazy in my early retirement. If I was more driven, I’d do more to diversify my online income. After Mrs. RB40 retires, I might try financial coaching because I’d have more time. We’ll see how we both feel in 2020.

Here is how we made money through advertisement.

  • Banner ads: $11,261. These are the banners you see on the sidebar and in the content. I like these ads because the readers don’t have to click on them. In a sense, these are like the ads on TV. Unfortunately, the pay rate from banner ads has been declining over the last 2 years. In 2016, I changed ad networks 4 times until I found one that worked well for us, AdThrive. This year should be a bit better for us in this category.
  • Click ads: $1,566. These are the banner ads that readers need to click on. In 2016, I used ads from Google, Yahoo, and Amazon. We receive a few cents every time someone clicked on these ads. The payout from these ads has really cratered over the last 2 years. In 2014, we made about $10,000 from the click ads. They just don’t work anymore as consumers adapted to them. This year, I’m trying a new ad network (MyFinance) and they seem to be working better so far. Hopefully, we’ll make around $5,000 in this category this year.
  • Affiliate: $17,714. Our affiliate income dropped a bit last year, too. These are the links you see sometimes in a blog post. We receive a referral fee when readers sign up for services through these affiliate links. This year I’m focusing on affiliate income and I’ve added affiliate links to almost every post I published so far (you’ve probably noticed this). I’m also working with more companies this year so we’ll be more diversified. In the last few years, most of the income in this category was from Personal Capital.
  • Brand ambassador: $8,099. Occasionally, we work with companies to build brand awareness. This usually means publishing an article to highlight their products or companies. It’s really tough to make these posts interesting and useful so I’m cutting way back on this one. Google also doesn’t like this kind of thing because they say we are manipulating their search algorithm. Our income will drop to almost zero here and I hope to make it up with the other categories.

Expenses $8,453

Our expenses were quite high in 2016. You’ll see why in a second…

  • Advertising: $588. This is mostly for the email marketing company.
  • Travel: $3,962. Here is why our expenses were so high last year. We went on a retirement research trip and also attended FinCon.
  • Commission: $216. PayPal fee and such.
  • Contracts: $890. This is for our freelance writer, Pinterest manager, and a few other contracts.
  • Insurance: $190
  • Meals: $989. We could deduct 50% of the business meals.
  • Others: $101. Blog software and plugins.
  • Internet: $797
  • Phone: $431
  • Hosting: $688
  • PO box: $86

Overall, the expenses weren’t too bad. This year should be much better because we won’t have an expensive business trip.

2016 Net Income: $29,416

My blog income wasn’t bad in 2016, but it wasn’t that great either. The advertising environment was evolving and I didn’t react quickly enough. That’s okay, though. My main focus was to be a stay-at-home-dad until our kid starts school. Now that RB40Jr is in kindergarten, I’ll have more time to work on Retire by 40. This year I’ll focus on generating revenue so the bottom line should be much better. In fact, our blog income has improved markedly since the beginning of this year. 2017 might even be our best year yet. The year is still young so we’ll see if we can continue at this pace.

So what are you waiting for? If you don’t have a blog yet, you really should start one. It’s a great way to build your brand and explore different ways to make money online. You can get started in just a few minutes by signing up with SiteGround (example of an affiliate link), one of the top three hosting companies currently. See my tutorial on how to start a blog if you need a little help.

Okay, that’s it for today. I’m really glad I’m almost done with taxes, though. It’s kind of fun, but it just takes so much time to go over all the accounting over and over again. Did you finish your taxes?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.
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{ 82 comments… add one }
  • Matt @ Optimize Your Life March 20, 2017, 4:48 am

    I love reading the behind the scenes stuff, so thanks for sharing! After all of the mentions of 2016 being the lowest blog income since 2012, I was expecting a huge drop off from 2015. But it looks like it was pretty close to on par with 2015 and 2013. The 2012 –> 2013 –> 2014 jumps were massive!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:43 am

      2014 was a great year. The internet was flushed with cash. 🙂
      That was also the year the traffic took off. It’s been slower growth since 2015.

  • Go Finance Yourself! March 20, 2017, 4:49 am

    Just filed my state taxes yesterday after completing my federal taxes a few weeks ago. Altogether I netted a refund of about $200, which is probably about as close to even as I’ll get.

    Is there a limit to total contributions to an individual 401k? I believe the SEP IRA limits contributions to a certain percentage of your income, but I’m not aware if there are any limits to the individual 401k.

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:44 am

      There is a limit to the individual 401k. It’s 25% of something… I use an online calculator to help. It’s higher than SEP IRA, though.

  • Al March 20, 2017, 4:54 am

    Great example. Drafted ours. Now waiting for CPA to review and double check our numbers. Every year he finds things to chance and better strategies for filling. Thanks for the Blog headsup. I proceed with caution about this things to make sure of the time commitment and interest. Doing things right is important to me. Always try to add value. Congrats and well done. Getting ready for Lisbon and Madrid trip.

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:46 am

      Enjoy your trip! As for blogging, I think it’s better to just start. You’ll get better as you write more. I was terrible when I first started and I’ve improved a lot since then. Sometime, you have to just do it.

  • The Green Swan March 20, 2017, 4:54 am

    Thanks for sharing all this great info, Joe. It’s nice to hear the perspective from someone who has been blogging for a while. I may need to shop around to different banner ad providers, but I don’t have enough monthly pageviews for AdThrive yet (>100K!).

    But that’s pretty fantastic news how your blog has really developed into something you never expected at the beginning. Kudos to you and here’s to a great 2017!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:47 am

      AdThrive is working a lot better than my previous networks. The pay rate (eCPM) kept dropping. Thanks for the encouragement.

  • D.K. Wall March 20, 2017, 5:14 am

    Great article – thanks for all of the details.

    As a future post idea, I would love to see a more in-depth discussion of the four ad networks you mentioned in the banner ads section (and perhaps others that didn’t make the cut). What did you like / not like about each one?

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:50 am

      I don’t want to mention names. Isn’t that defamation? Basically, they over promise and couldn’t deliver.
      – Pay rate deteriorated or was inconsistent. Same traffic, but less and less income.
      – Fill rate was bad. Some networks couldn’t fill the ad space and default to Adsense. Some also pay 50% or less for the Adsense income.
      – Slow down site too much.
      AdThrive has been much better and I hope they can keep it up.

  • Apathy Ends March 20, 2017, 5:19 am

    Thanks for sharing Joe! Sounds like 2017 is going a lot better than 2016 already so hopefully it’s a temporary dip.

    I still have to do my taxes but they shouldn’t be too complicated

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:51 am

      I’m focusing more on income this year. I have to treat it like a business to generate more income.
      Good luck with your taxes.

  • Fulltimefinance March 20, 2017, 5:53 am

    Thanks for sharing, it’s really interesting to read what’s financially possible from a blog. I’m not really targeting financial return from the blog except being self sustaining, but still you never know.

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:52 am

      Good luck! You’re right. You never know how it will go. Some blogger makes a ton more money than we do. It takes luck and hard work.

  • Justin March 20, 2017, 5:59 am

    As another blogger it’s very interesting to see the financial numbers behind the scenes like this, so thanks for sharing! Root of Good had a year remarkably similar to yours at RB40. Both the top line gross and the bottom line. I haven’t looked closely but I think I’m roughly on track to repeat that success in 2017 (which I’m totally okay with!).

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:53 am

      I’m okay with this too. Mrs. RB40 would like a little more stability from the blog income before she retires, though. She hates uncertainty.

  • Jim @ Route To Retire March 20, 2017, 6:26 am

    I love how you break all this down, Joe. I’m not drawing the amount of traffic you do (yet!), but I get a lot of great ideas from reading these kind of posts. I’ve been toying more with ad placement and started more on the affiliate programs, which has been doing well for me.

    One thing you mentioned was that you put $22,500 into your individual 401(k). That’s something I want to dig into more. How involved was setting that up? Since I’m maxing out my 401 at my job now, I’m thinking I can’t take advantage of it yet. But that would be good when I jump ship in a few years.

    — Jim

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:54 am

      Setting up the i401(k) is really easy. I wrote about it a while back.
      My i401(k) is at Vanguard. It’s been great because we don’t need the income yet. The tax deduction is huge.

  • Stafford March 20, 2017, 6:30 am

    Thanks for sharing this information. As someone who is new to the blogging world, I’m still trying to figure out how all of this stuff works. Really enjoy reading your posts and appreciate how much personal information you share. Good luck in the coming year!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:55 am

      Thanks! Good luck with your blog.

  • Roseanne March 20, 2017, 6:47 am

    Thanks for sharing this info with us Joe. It is due to your encouraging article that I started my blog about quilting just about 4 weeks ago. I haven’t dived into ads or anything yet – I need to focus on building up some traffic first. It is slow going . . . I appreciate all your articles!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:55 am

      Keep at it with your blog! It took us a long time to generate significant revenue too. The first year was very slow.

  • Dividend Growth Investor March 20, 2017, 6:52 am

    Congratulations on your success Joe. I think that in the cutthroat world of online blogging, this income probably puts you in the top 5% to 10%. If you stay at $30,000/year, you can afford to take much less out of your nest egg for living expenses in retirement.

    As a blogger myself, it is also interesting to see what works for others and what doesn’t.

    Thank you for sharing!


    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:57 am

      The really successful bloggers make so much money. It’s really incredible to see people make $100k/month. It takes a lot of hard work and a lot of luck.

  • [email protected] Turtle March 20, 2017, 6:54 am

    That’s a pretty good income! I’d be happy. I just started putting affiliate links on my blog last month. So far I’ve made $60! I’m actually pretty happy with that because I thought it would take months to see anything!

    I did my taxes a couple of weeks ago. Got a total of $600 back. Received the money and immediately put it in my IRA for the year. I love that feeling!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 9:59 am

      $60 is really good for the first month. I think it took 2 years before we made any affiliate income. You just have to try different companies and see what works for your site. Keep at it!
      I know it’s better to be near even with taxes, but I love the refund too. It feels like free money! 🙂

  • Sam @ Financial Samurai March 20, 2017, 7:22 am

    Really cool looking historical revenue and expense charts! Makes me want to do my own.

    What would you attribute to the reasons for the dip post 2014? It sure looks like you will CRUSH your 2016 results!

    Taxes.. ugh. Haven’t started yet!


    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 10:01 am

      Basically, everything went down. The pay rate decreased in every category although the traffic improved a bit.
      Also, we did really well with affiliates in 2014 and hasn’t been able to replicate it. This year, I’m working with more companies and that seems to be paying off. I’m focusing on the income more this year and treating it more like a business.

  • Finance Your Goals March 20, 2017, 7:33 am

    Despite being the lowest since 2012, your blog income is fantastic. Congratulations! I also appreciate the “behind the scenes” information and numbers – as a new blogger, figuring out whether or not to advertise or how to generate income has been the most difficult for me.

    We haven’t yet tackled our taxes. I’ve been traveling for work, living out of a hotel and am just behind where I should be (taxes, blog, life, ha!). But, should catch up in the next couple of weeks.

    Looking forward to reading more about how your year progresses. Best of luck!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 10:02 am

      Thanks! I’ll write a more in depth guide for new bloggers next month. It’s tough to generate income at first because the traffic is so light. You just have to keep at it, though.

  • Wes @ the pursuit of Happiness March 20, 2017, 8:03 am

    Yay, Charts! Its really impressive to see how your revenue growth went over the first couple years.

    Thanks for sharing your numbers with us.

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 10:03 am

      2014 was a great breakout year for us. 2010 and 2011 was encouraging too. Any income is awesome when you’re just starting out.

  • FinancePatriot March 20, 2017, 8:19 am

    Great job RB40 on your 2016 income. I was looking over your amounts and was wondering, are you filing as an S-Corp? This could save you money as you will deduct half of your FICA taxes on your federal income tax return. Also, if you file as an S Corp, ZERO of your solo 401k match will be taxed for FICA.

    I am a bit depressed that your ad income is so low, at least on the click ads. Thanks for sharing all your tricks, I am sure it will help me as my blog evolves. Traffic is picking up already (at least one visitor past my grandmother 🙂

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 10:05 am

      I looked at S Corp when I first started and I think it was too complicated. I will check it out again. FICA really sucks when you don’t make that much in the first place.
      Good luck with your site. It will take a while to build traffic so don’t get discouraged. Keep at it!

  • Mr. Tako @ Mr. Tako Escapes March 20, 2017, 8:24 am

    Yep, all done with my taxes. First time I’ve seen a refund in decades. Early Retirement FTW!

    That’s actually a really impressive online income. I’m impressed! I’m really curious as to how you’ve seen the ad market change in the last few years. Is it because of more “competition” from blogs like my own? Or is it simply too many ad spaces and not enough advertisers? (aka supply/demand)

    I hope your taxes go well!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 10:08 am

      I think readers’ habits have changed over the years. People become ad blind and they don’t click on banner ads much anymore. Companies lower the pay rates and bloggers suffer.
      I’m not sure about competitions. I think it’s good for everyone to have more good content out there. Oh, I think Google points to bigger sites more now. In the past, smaller sites got better search ranking.

  • Mr Crazy Kicks March 20, 2017, 8:28 am

    This is the first tax year where we are staying in the first two tax brackets. It’s funny how the excitement of paying 0% on dividends and capital gains still feels great even though it means we are making much less money 🙂

    Thanks for sharing the charts on your income, its interesting to see those trends and how volatile different income producers can be!

    • retirebyforty March 20, 2017, 10:08 am

      I love being in the 15% bracket. It feels awesome to not pay taxes on the dividend. Free money!

  • David Michael March 20, 2017, 9:44 am

    Great blog post, Joe. Makes me want to enter the world of blogging. Thanks for sharing “behind the scenes” life of writing this blog. Wishing you continued success ingto 2017!

  • Ms. Montana March 20, 2017, 10:12 am

    Great job with the blog income! I think blogging might just be the most enjoyable way to earn $30k in income a year working for yourself from home. =)

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 1:54 pm

      Thanks! Blogging is great. I really enjoy it and the $30k isn’t bad for working from home. 🙂

  • Adeel Sami March 20, 2017, 10:20 am

    Hello, Joe!

    I am here landing from Klout.com!

    And great seeing you have a wonderful 2016 with your blog. 🙂

    I just wanna say and wish you the more prosperous 2017. 🙂

    Keep goin’!

    ~ Adeel

  • Mrs. Picky Pincher March 20, 2017, 10:24 am

    Great job on that modest-yet-useful tax return! We did our taxes a few weeks ago and were disappointed to see we owed $900. But hey, Uncle Sam has to build roads, so that’s the way it is. We adjusted our withholdings so we hopefully won’t have a giant tax bill again. What a drag!

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 1:56 pm

      I’ll probably have to send in the estimated payment this year. Our income looks better so more taxes. Can’t complain too much, though. 🙂

  • Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life March 20, 2017, 11:47 am

    I haven’t done our own taxes in a couple years now, and it’s really weird how I feel slightly guilty about buying back that time. But there’s still a very big part of me that doesn’t want to waste the time that I was wasting in the past, so for this year, I’m sticking with our accountant. Maybe I’ll go it alone again next year.

    We should get them back for review soon.

    Can you not take the deduction for the small portion of the room that you use as an office, or does RB40Jr also play with your desk?

    Thanks for sharing your blog income, though, I do need the blog to start paying for itself and I can add one or two things to the

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 1:57 pm

      I like doing our taxes because it gave us a great overview. We can plan better for next year too. It does take a bit too much time.
      The home office deduction only works if you can close the room off. You can’t share that room. Although, I’m sure most people use the home office for other things too.

  • Smart Provisions March 20, 2017, 12:32 pm

    Thanks for sharing your blog income, Joe!

    Google just released another algorithm update, which might affect us a little bit in the advertisement department. I haven’t done a whole read-up of what Fred actually affects, but maybe it might not affect us at all.

    I’ve done my taxes for 2016, but 2017 may be a bit trickier since I started a blog. I don’t expect any income from it, but maybe in the future.

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:00 pm

      I haven’t paid much attention to Google algorithm updates lately. Hopefully, no big impact this time…
      Your blog shouldn’t complicate the taxes much unless you generate income. It’s just a hobby until you make money. 🙂

  • Tawcan March 20, 2017, 1:28 pm

    That’s really solid online income. I’d be very happy if one day I could get to similar level of online income as you. Need to take a look at AdThrive once I have enough traffic.

  • ReachingTheCrest March 20, 2017, 2:10 pm

    Very interesting to read through. I have visited your site off and on for years. thanks for sharing. Much to aspire to.

  • Jason March 20, 2017, 3:04 pm

    “RB40 JR, you better be a good boy or I’ll turn your room into my office!”

    I really appreciate the disclosure. What kind of service does the email marketing provide for you?

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:02 pm

      Aweber sends out emails (posts) to our subscriber. It doesn’t really provide much value for me at this point, but bloggers are supposed to build an email list. The service is expensive, though.

  • Machinator March 20, 2017, 3:43 pm

    Still great work for a retired guy! You need a giant asterisk next to those expenses, I hope you got a lot out of those trips.
    It does appear that affiliate links are going to be playing a bigger part going forward. It becomes a matter of who you’re willing to sell your soul to apparently.

    All the best going forward,

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:03 pm

      Hopefully, I’m not selling my soul… 🙁

  • [email protected] March 20, 2017, 3:58 pm

    This is so inspiring Joe! I don’t do much of anything to monetize my blog. I just haven’t had time. When I finish working in June, I will have to dive in deeper to see what things I can do to at least get my expenses covered.

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:03 pm

      Good luck! There are many ways to monetize your blog. Enjoy your last few months at work.

  • Mr. All Things Money March 20, 2017, 4:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing. I’m wondering if the blog Ad income in general is becoming something of a diminishing returns as Ad-block software becomes more prevalent?

    It seems you have put in lot of work into your blog over the years and it requires huge amount of drive to be where you are with your blog, so kudos to you.

    As for the taxes, we live in one of the highest taxed states, so the dividends are still taxed at the state level. I wish state would treat capital gains and dividends the same way as federal.

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:05 pm

      I think the diminishing return already occurred over the last few years. The pay rate dropped a lot. I hope it’s a bit more stable now.
      Right, I don’t like the Oregon tax system either. It just doesn’t work well. We should cut back the income tax and add a VAT.

  • Buy, Hold Long March 20, 2017, 6:06 pm

    That is a fantastic income. You should be very pleased with that one. Well done.

  • Capitalcalc March 20, 2017, 6:20 pm

    Thanks for sharing the behind scenes. Best wishes for 2017!

  • Dividend Diplomats March 20, 2017, 7:15 pm

    RB40 –

    Awesome share! Thank you very much, as well as showing what you’ve had to do to adapt/modify your approach to change the performance of 2016 for 2017. This means a great deal to the bloggers out here/there and shows true-examples of the fruit from the labor and the intricacies of the online blogging business! Congrats, as well, as even though it dropped from last year – ~#30K in net income is GREAT. 2017, I know, will be better for you, no doubt. Keep doing you!


    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:05 pm

      Thanks! I think $30k is great too. We’ll keep at it. Good luck to you as well.

  • The Tepid Tamale March 21, 2017, 3:41 am


    Thank you for all the details! I am a long time reader, finally commenting. First, thanks for the reminder, I have to finish my taxes. No good reason for delaying them ….. sigh. Anyway, you have inspired me to start a blog. So, thanks for all your posts over the years. I don’t know much of anything about monetizing a blog, so your article is a great help. I am also much later to the Early Retirement party than you, which will make this an interesting journey.
    Go Joe!

    – The Tepid Tamale

    • retirebyforty March 21, 2017, 2:06 pm

      Good luck with your new blog. It will take a while, but you have to keep at it. The first year is usually very slow for most people.

  • Ty March 21, 2017, 2:29 pm

    Seems like the key to making any money at all is directly tied to blog traffic. And for most bloggers that takes time to build up a sizable readership. I loved seeing your historical expense/revenue charts. Have you ever shared your traffic levels? I’d be curious to see where you’re at.

    Also, you’re cutting out a business trip this year …. is that FinCon? Or will you be in Dallas?

    • retirebyforty March 22, 2017, 9:05 am

      I haven’t shared my traffic for a long time. We get about 150,000 pageviews per month.
      I’m not going to FinCon this year. I can only deal with that once every two years. 🙂

  • Durga March 21, 2017, 11:46 pm

    This was really an informative report shared . It helps the readers in learning what are the expenses a blogger faces and how could e manage his expenses to get the returns. It also inspires us to look after the online income.

  • Rich v March 22, 2017, 7:38 am

    I may have missed it, but do you talk about how many hours you put in to maintaining the blog and writing new entries? I’m trying to get a feel for the return on your time invested.

    • retirebyforty March 22, 2017, 9:07 am

      I usually spend 2-5 hours online per day. It’s basically a part time job. At least, I don’t have to commute.

  • derek March 22, 2017, 11:05 am

    wow man. Very interesting read.

    Thanks for taking the time to write it all out. Very helpful.

  • Joshua Zirilli, CPA March 22, 2017, 11:07 am

    Impressive blog income! Thanks for sharing this report and inspiring other bloggers. I agree with you, when it comes to blogging it’s best to just start. There’s no better time than the present!

  • Michael March 22, 2017, 12:26 pm

    Nice report, Joe! Thanks for sharing such a detailed breakdown. I think you have been doing a phenomenal job with the blog income.

    We filed our taxes. This is the first time I went to an accountant given that my tax return had gotten pretty complicated.

    Wish you all the very best for a great 2017!

  • gfaseed March 22, 2017, 12:43 pm

    Nice post. It’s good to see how your evolving. Maybe the blog fluctuates a lot, but it’s having a nice profit.
    Congratulations! 🙂

  • Stockbeard March 27, 2017, 4:31 pm

    Hey Joe, what does the insurance cover for your blog?

    • retirebyforty March 27, 2017, 9:35 pm

      It’s an umbrella insurance. Usually it covers legal fee and some liability. Check with your insurance company to see what it covers. I should double check with mine too. It might be worth it to get a policy specifically made for bloggers.

  • Song March 30, 2017, 7:32 pm

    Thank you for sharing how you’re earning passive income with your blog. I love the transparency! I only recently started my blog, so yours is like a far away dream I hope to reach one day 🙂 In the meantime I’m focusing on gaining more knowledge, improving my writing skills, and simply having fun with it.

  • Ms. Frugal Asian Finance April 2, 2017, 11:32 am

    Impressive numbers! I just started my personal finance blog. You’re definitely an inspiration for me!

  • Awesome post Joe. Transparency FTW. Even though your income decreased a bit with respect to the last years, I am sure it will increase soon. I totally commend and second you on reducing the number of sponsored posts – even though I understand that they are essential for new blogs to take off. Thanks for sharing!


    • retirebyforty April 5, 2017, 9:01 am

      Q1 2017 has been really great for us. Let’s hope I can keep this up. 🙂

  • Mr Wealth August 22, 2017, 11:13 pm

    Hi Joe,

    In terms of the online income, is retire by 40 your only website that makes income?

    How long per week does this income take to produce (e.g. writing, researching)?

    What methods did you use to get the blog up and running initially (social media, commenting on other blogs, etc)

    Since it has now become a stable income source for you, do you now feel obligated to continue on it or do you still do it because you love it and wouldn’t do anything else?

    Mr Wealth

    • retirebyforty August 23, 2017, 9:23 am

      Yes, Retire by 40 is the only site that’s making income right now. I spend anywhere from 10-30 hours online. I’m not very efficient. You can read more about how I started here.

      I still enjoy blogging and I’ll continue at least 5 more years. If I don’t make any money, I’d probably spend less time blogging.

  • MySmartMoneyBlog November 6, 2017, 8:11 pm

    You continue to inspire me with your success! I’ve been reading your blog for years and I’m just getting started on my blogging journey. Thank you for sharing your blogging income, it blows me away that you’ve made over $200k on your side project!

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