Why I Share My Financial Reports
I've spent and incredible amount of time reading about financial topics over my career. One thing that has always bothered me is the lack of transparency many financial writers offer.
To view a list of the financial books and blogs I recommend, click here.
They are quick to provide advice about what you should do, yet reveal very little about what they actually do and what they are actually worth. Many of them are simply trying to sell you something.
I can understand why many don't share this information; it's a sticky topic. Something that most people choose not to talk about and even ignore.
However, I believe as a financial writer that if you are going to be an expert on a topic and have any credibility then you should be transparent about it. You should share with your readers everything you are going through financially so they can see how you grow over time and learn from it. They should understand that even financial "gurus" still make mistakes with money and it's all about long-term discipline.
Additionally, I'm not some high paid online financial guru. I don't make a million dollars a year from my YouTube channel or my blog. I don't make a million dollars a year as a real estate agent or anything abnormal you see so many financial writers doing.
I'm a normal guy from a normal small town with a normal income trying to show how I build wealth over time. I want to show everyone that wealth can be created by anyone, even when starting with nothing.
Now I understand that as my net worth grows over time, so will my income. And to some of my readers this may seem unattainable once it gets to larger numbers, but I want to provide a means for someone to look back over time and see how possible it really was.
So please understand when I show these reports I'm not trying to be boastful or douchey. I know and read of many people in a better financial situation than I am and I know many who are in a worse position.
These reports are simply to be transparent with what I'm working with and to show my readers that anyone can build wealth over time.
December was a big month for me in the dividend department. I earned $1,508.93 in total dividends. Some of this is traditional dividends and some of this is from fund short term and long term distributions.
100% of this income was reinvested.
Most of the stocks and funds I own pay dividends on a quarterly basis. This means that four months of the year is mostly where I earn all of my dividend income. The rest of the year my monthly dividend income tends to be light because of this.
Considering December is closing out the end of the fourth quarter I expected to have a nice month here.
December was another good month for real estate. I collected all of the rent on time from all of my tenants and there were no surprises. Although there were no expenses during this month other than my mortgage payments, this is not the norm. It just depends when those other expenses come. Some months have them and some months don't!
Every month that my real estate business remains profitable, I simply reinvest/save the profits to fund further growth. I'm trying to acquire more rental properties at this time and I'm still working a full time job, so I don't need any of the real estate income to pay for expenses.
I'll be honest, I haven't checked my pop machine recently and I don't very often. It's not a huge money maker for me; maybe a few hundred dollars a year.
The reason I still keep track of it here is that this pop machine has a lot to do with why I fell in love with personal finance. It was the first income generating thing I ever did, thanks to my grandpa.
He kept it around to help teach his grandchildren about money. To read more about this, check out my blog post about this pop machine here.
It was another solid month for my business, Boxit-N-Lockit. December is generally a slow month for me, thank goodness. Many of my customers who have units will continue to rent through the winter and not need any units moved, but it's also a time of year where I usually don't pick up a lot of new customers, because let's be honest who wants to work on projects or move during the winter?
If you're new here and you're not familiar with my side business, check out my website www.boxitnlockit.com.
I currently maintain a full time job working as the Business Manager for the City I live in. This has been a great experience so far and is really helping me learn a lot about local government.
In addition, it's helping me build upon my financial skills. I am constantly working on and checking on the budget in this job, which forces me to think about my own financials more and has helped me to become better at tracking my overall financial position.
My current salary in this job is $61,360 per year. A lot of people would call me crazy for posting my annual salary, but since it's a government position my salary is publicized anyhow, so it doesn't bother me to post it publicly on a blog no one is reading!
A salary of $61,360 translated to net earnings after taxes and deductions in December of $3,449.15.
From those net earnings I was able to make contributions to my various investment accounts of $1,783.20. That equates to a savings rate of 51.69%.
As you can see from the graphic above, nothing has changed this month with my investing. I'm a big believer in dollar cost averaging and paying yourself first from every pay check. I consistently invest in my Roth IRA and brokerage accounts at Vanguard and I'm also pumping cash into my storage business.
In addition, I also track my pension contributions at work. As a government employee I do not have a traditional 401(k) that most have, but I do have a pension that I contribute towards. I really want to keep track of this because in order to be eligible to collect from my pension in the future I need to be there for at least 12 years to vest 12/20th's of the pension.
If I want to collect a full pension I will need to be there at least 20 years to do so. If I don't stay long enough, then I get all of my contributions back, interest free. That is the big reason for tracking it, so I always know what I would get back if I didn't continue working there. It also helps me understand the opportunity cost involved.
The fact that I would only get the money back interest free is a big deal. The longer I work there the larger that opportunity cost grows if I ever leave the job because the money does not grow like it does if it was in an investment account. Always know your numbers.
Thanks for reading today!
How did you do in December? Are you tracking your financials in a similar fashion? Let me know in the comments below. Personal finance is a long game and it's important to stay consistent. Always pay yourself first and make investing as automatic as possible. Never give up!