In this update: my stocks are up, real estate is chugging along nicely, my LendingClub.com monthly update, an interesting item I spent money on, a business idea, and a song or two I’ve been listening to recently. Stocks are back on track and it looks like my Lending Club account is doing a tad better now that I realized that I could save my loan filters and use those in my automatic investing! Overall, August was another great month for my investments. And it’s a good thing, too, because with work travel, weddings, band practice, and side hustle projects, it’s nice to know that I have set up my investments to be successful with a hands-off approach!
Personal Capital has a pretty a fun feature. It tracks “You Index” and tells you how much your investments are up or down as a percentage and compares that to a few other indices such as the S&P 500 and the Dow. Here’s a look at my snapshot for August.
Last month, the stock market went down and I was thrilled to be getting more shares for my dollar when I was investing. This month, the market went up and I am happy that the shares I own are worth even more. It feels good to be happy with the stock market, no matter what it does! For the first time, S&P beat me. It actually beat me by a pretty decent margin. My portfolio still has a few actively managed mutual funds, remnants of a day when I had a less focused investing strategy based on index funds. So some months I will do better than the market and some months I will do worse. It’s hard to complain when the number keeps going up over the long haul, though! And over time, I will continue my transition to a stock portfolio of only index funds.
Disclaimer: Below are the straight income and expense numbers for my real estate investment. Part of the income is being put aside for reserves in case maintenance issues arise or the property is vacant for a period of time. Some months, the cash flow may look extremely rosy, but keep in mind that this is a long term strategy with expected bumps along the way.
Rent Income: $1,025
Mortgage Payment (Including Principle, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance): $424.65
Property Management Fees: $102.50
Total This Month: $497.85
Excellent! My second boring month in a row. I am growing to LOVE boring months. I love them so much, in fact, that I am looking into my second property. Stay tuned as I am planning a real estate post series that goes step by step through the process as I go through it!
For those that don’t remember, last month, my returns from LendingClub.com were down. I was hopeful that they would start to improve though because I had just found a new feature. You can go into Lending Club and search for loans with specific filters (based on credit score, credit history, type of loan, etc). You can then save that search and apply it to your automatic investing. Of course, it will take some time to see if these new loans will pan out and improve my return, but my annualized return is already creeping a bit higher.
August Interest Received: $92.87
August Late Fees Collected: $0
August Losses (due to defaults): $0
Current Annualized Return: 17.67%
Current Lending Club Account Value: $5698.37
In August, there were no new defaults and no new loans that were charged off (aka so far delinquent that they aren’t counted towards my account anymore). There are 4 loans (out of my 254 active loans) that are extremely late: 31 – 120 days, so I may see some defaults soon, but nothing that will absolutely destroy my return.
I am thrilled about a specific $25 that I spent in August. My girlfriend travels for work and in October, her job is sending her to Durham, NC, where I went to college. I am taking the opportunity to join her (and get one hotel night paid for by her employer)!
Now, I’m very much a novice at travel hacking, but I went ahead and signed up for the Barclay Arrival Plus card last year. I hit the minimum spend and got my 40,000 points. I have spent those points (plus additional accrued points) on a few train tickets and small items. But in August, I bought a $225 roundtrip plane ticket down to Durham. I used my points to get $200 credited back to me, so I am headed on a 5 day October vacation for $25! Of course, we will have to pay for our hotel room on days when my girlfriend isn’t working, but we found a good $65/night deal that won’t kill us. All told, the trip will end up costing me under $150 for travel and accommodations! I know people in NYC that spend that much in one night out at the bars in NYC.
If you’re just joining these updates, I post business ideas that I have. From time to time, I have ideas that are fun to think about, but I may not pursue due to some specific hurdle, timing, or a host of other reasons. Hopefully, they get you thinking about your own business ideas!
Sports Podcast Network
Podcasts are blowing up right now. Up until now, entrepreneurs have viewed podcasts as a great marketing tool to drive traffic to their site. However, I think they are starting to become viable businesses in and of themselves. In terms of sports podcasts, currently, there are some one-off podcast shows that break down and analyze your favorite sports teams (college and pro), but they are disjointed. Some of them are good.. Some of them are bad.. Some of them are just radio shows, re-broadcasted with no schedule or seeming rhyme or reason. And some teams don’t even have podcasts at all!
What if a site like SBNation.com started buying up these individual podcasts (just like they have bought up individual fan/news sites for teams) and putting a nice gloss over them, monetizing them all and building a HUGE advertising opportunity across the entire podcast network. Where there are holes (teams that don’t have podcasts that should), they could actively seek out podcast hosts to address those teams.
Of course, this is a big idea. The biggest downside is you either need a TON of capital or a TON of time (or more likely, both) to create this network. It is probably something that a site like SBNation.com would be better equipped to pull together as opposed to an individual like me.
I figured we should shift directions this month. There is a big part of me that loves folk music and banjos – and singer/songwriters who know their way around a set of lyrics. I have a collection for you today of artists that fit this bill that I really enjoy. First up, is Jason Isbell (formerly of Drive by Truckers) with Alabama Pines:
Now we’ve got another one of my favorites, Somebody Loves You by Austin Lucas
And finally, on the more indie, less country side, Great Lake Swimmers – Your Rocky Spine
I have yet to see any of these artists live, but I imagine they all put on great shows! Enjoy these slower tunes as we head deeper into September and I’ll round back for another update next month!
Like this post? Sign up to receive posts via email and never miss a tip for living well and saving money!