January 2019 Financial Update

Financial Update
5 min read

At the start of each month I share a financial update where I summarize my income and expenses from the previous month along with my current net worth.

I’ve always found it insightful to follow the financial journey of other bloggers, so I hope that readers can find some value in following my own.

Income & Expenses

Here is a recap of my total income in December 2018, along with my income from the previous three months to offer some perspective.

All dividends from REITs and index funds come from my brokerage account. My 9-5 income listed below is post-tax, while dividends and side hustle income are pre-tax since it’s a bit harder to calculate the tax that I will pay on these income streams until tax season.

Monthly Income
  September October November December
Passive
Income
WPC REIT   $106    
OHI REIT     $95
JCAP REIT $56
LADR REIT   $104  
VDC Fund $54 $69
VTI Fund   $69 $172
Ally Bank Interest $28 $24 $11 $12
Side Hustle
Income
Blog Income $1,222 $1,630 $1,478  $1,117
Statistics Tutoring $0 $0 $120  $200
9-5 Income
Data Scientist $4,584 $4,584 $4,584  $4,584
Total Monthly
Income
$5,888 $6,573 $6,288  $6,154
  September October November December

Here is a recap of my total expenses in December 2018:

December 2018 total spending

I saved about 67% of my total income in December, which is a number I’m pretty excited about!

Net Worth

Here is a summary of my account balances as of January 1, 2019:

Money Market Funds
Savings Account $11,005  (+$2,271)
Checking Account $1,955   (-$759)
Total Money Market $12,960 (+$1,512)
   
Tax Advantaged Accounts
Traditional IRA $3,321  (-$371)
Roth IRA $4,271  (+$471)
401(k) $29,824 (-$2,136)
Total Tax Advantaged $37,416 (-$2,978)
   
Non-Tax Advantaged Accounts
Brokerage Account $61,632 (-$3,252)
Cryptocurrencies $700 (-$3)
Republic Private Investment $550         (+$0)
Total Non-Tax Advantaged $62,882   (-$3,255)
   
Net Worth $113,258 (-$4,721)

Here’s a look at my net worth progression since I started tracking it back in August of 2016:

Net worth update

Recap

Although my net worth dropped by nearly $5,000 over the past month, I’m still proud of the progress I made with my cash flow. Namely, I earned $1,570 in income outside of my day job through a combination of blogging, stats tutoring, and dividends. This was enough to cover over 76% of my total expenses in December.

I’ve been thrilled to see my blogging income break $1,000 each of the last four months. I could not have predicted even one year ago that this would become such a serious income stream, but it has added a serious boost to my total income and savings each month. My goal over the coming months is to start earning $2,000+ consistently each month, which I know is possible. 

For those who are curious, I earn income through advertisements, affiliate links, my Excel Genius Toolkit, and my Data Scientist Resume Pack.

I recently wrote about why net worth is probably not the right financial metric to track, since it can be influenced so heavily by stock market fluctuations. We saw a perfect example of this in December, when the stock market took a pretty serious nosedive:

Since nearly all of my investments are in stock index funds, it’s not much of a surprise that my net worth took a hit this past month.

This is why I’m choosing to focus on the things I can control. Specifically, I’m choosing to focus on my savings rate. I’m trying to make the gap between my income and my expenses as wide as possible. This past month I was able to save 67% of my total income, which is a number I’m excited about.

I know that as long as I maintain a high savings rate, I’ll inevitably improve my financial situation over time, despite market fluctuations.

Looking Forward

Looking forward, I plan on continuing to grow my blog income each month. In addition, I hope to monetize my two other sites Collecting Wisdom and Statology over the coming months to increase my overall online income.

I believe that if I can get three monetized sites up and humming along then I’ll be able to generate enough income each month to quit my day job far before I’m able to save up 25 times my expenses and declare myself financially independent. 

Until then, I’ll keep providing monthly updates. Thanks for reading 🙂

Further reading:

Is Net Worth the Wrong Metric to Track?
Why I Can’t Imagine Enjoying Any Corporate Job
Life is About Finding Fulfilling Work, Not Saving Up Enough Money to Never Work Again


My favorite free financial tool I’ve been using since 2015 to manage my net worth is Personal Capital. Each month I use their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track my investments and ensure that I’m on the fast track to financial freedom.

My favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site I created that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.


Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.

7 Replies to “January 2019 Financial Update”

  1. Yay congrats Zach! I think the plan is quite feasible and I love CW! I don’t often say this because I don’t come across this but I definitely can see the 3 sites powering it on it’s own. @ only 24 and with market correction I probably wouldn’t exit out W2 status tho I’m sure 3 sites at start is quite a load.

    Excited for u as I can definitely see feasibility in your plan!

    Happy New YEar!

  2. Great December you’ve had Zach, that savings rate is very nice. I’m also impressed by your blog income, which is something I would like to target this year. How did you manage to grow the site so fast (in terms of visitors, I imagine they drive the income growth)?

    1. Thanks B! The site growth has been mostly due to consistently posting 4+ articles per week for nearly two years. Some months are better than others, but the consistency has lead to some serious growth over time 🙂

      1. Thanks, that’s what I found too. On my first blog (that I ran for a year and a half) I made quite a lot of mistakes, although I was consistently putting out content. On my current blog since October 2018, I’m putting out content 2 times per week on regular posts and here and there I have specials. Next to that I find the structuring the sites better works really well, my visitors are increasing way faster than on my old blog.
        Maybe there were some others things you’re doing really well. Anyway, keep it up, I like reading your articles!

  3. Great December, Zach! Thanks for sharing. Your blog income and savings rate are outstanding. Same with your net worth growth. Good luck with monetizing your other two sites. I look forward to following your journey in 2019.

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