Now that I’m posting my investment and side income updates monthly, I’ve been looking at ways to generate additional passive or side income. For those of us living frugal lifestyles with a goal of financial freedom or debt repayment, we know that cutting expenses can only take us so far. Once you’ve cut unnecessary expenses from your budget and simpliduced your lifestyle as much as possible you may start looking for ways to grow your income stream.
Enter the side hustle.
Whether you are selling your old baseball card collection on Craigslist or walking dogs in your neighborhood, the side hustle lets you bring in a little extra cash to put towards your financial goals. Continue reading
One of my financial goals for 2014 is to increase my dividend income by continuing to invest in dividend paying stocks. In reality I have a mix right now of index ETFs and individual stocks that provide dividend income. In an effort to provide motivation for myself and to be accountable in terms of my stated goals, I plan on posting about my progress regularly (hopefully monthly, but we’ll see how that goes).
I’ll also include here updates on any side or passive income.
Well another month has come and gone. February was not an exciting month all around. Not only did we have to put up with freezing temperatures and snow, but it is also a lite month for dividend payments in my taxable account. I, for one, welcome March with open arms as spring will officially appear before it is through and with it the promise of warmer weather in the not too distant future. Continue reading
I’ve been thinking a lot about the investment fees I pay both in my retirement account as well as my taxable brokerage account. I put together a spreadsheet to illustrate the differences between investments with varying fee structures to help myself out and I’d like to share the results.
I first discuss the results from comparing the fees that could be paid in a retirement account investing in mutual funds. Then I look at the fees that might be paid in a taxable brokerage account where I’m purchasing stocks and compare this to the alternative of investing in an ETF instead. Continue reading
As my husband and I were driving the other day I was telling him about a recent investment I had made in our Vanguard brokerage account. I told him I had purchased some more shares of one of my favorite Vanguard ETFs. His response was “Oh, that’s great.” Then after a pause he asked, “So what is the difference between an ETF and a mutual fund?” As I answered his question it occurred to me that he’s probably not the only one to be confused by the two. So I thanked him for helping me come up with my next post topic!
Mutual funds and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are similar as both are comprised of a group of securities which make up the fund. Because of this grouping, an investor can purchase shares of a mutual fund or ETF and gain broad exposure to a market index or sector. This can be an efficient way to diversify an investment portfolio. Without these funds, individual investors would have to buy hundreds or even thousands of different securities to achieve this diversification. Continue reading
We’ve just returned from a sort of parental rite of passage. We took our son to see Sesame Street Live at the theater in a nearby city.
My son had a blast. I was a little concerned that there might be a moment or two of panic on his part as the larger than life characters made their way into the audience to greet the little ones, but my son was very brave in the face of the giant fuzzy characters and so a fun night was had by all.
Attending the event, however, did provide for plenty of observation of the spending habits of other families. Being that my family and I are on a path to financial freedom we are very conscious about the spending decisions we make. As I’ve written before we were always pretty careful with money but have recently been viewing consumption from a more philosophical angle than ever before. From this perspective I often view the spending of money to purchase “things” as wasteful of more than just money and life energy but also wasteful of our planet’s natural resources. Continue reading
Posted in Kids
I hope you enjoy the following guest post from Troy Bombardia. Troy describes himself as a trader, adventurer, and avid tech guy. He trades for a living (stocks, commodities, and sometimes bonds), but when he’s not working, he enjoys exercising and is looking forward to his first marathon. Good luck Troy!
A couple of years ago, I worked for an investment bank. My job, like most first-time employees, consisted mostly of getting coffee for the professionals and generally doing squat. But when I wasn’t wasting my life trying not to spill the coffee all over the rug, I was phoning clients to sell to them our mutual funds. (Sounds fun, doesn’t it?)
Like any industry that’s not all black-and-white, the mutual fund industry is full of its dirty little secrets that investment advisers like my boss don’t tell you. For the sake of privacy, I won’t disclose the name of my boss or the investment bank where I worked.
So basically, in this post I’m going to shed some light on things that investment advisors DON’T tell you about mutual funds. Continue reading
Posted in Investing
One of my financial goals for 2014 was to increase my dividend income by continuing to invest in dividend paying stocks. In reality I have a mix right now of index ETFs and individual stocks that provide dividend income. In an effort to provide motivation for myself and to be accountable in terms of my stated goals, I plan on posting about my progress regularly (hopefully monthly, but we’ll see how that goes).
I’ll also include here updates on any side or passive income as I work to earn extra income.
January was a busy month as I added a few investments to my portfolio in my taxable Vanguard brokerage account. The markets were down for the month with the S&P 500 losing about 3.5%. Are we headed for (or creating) the market correction that everyone has been worried about? It’s certainly possible as markets continued to slide in early February, but since I have a long-term investing horizon I see the market decline as a buying opportunity. My equity purchases for January include: Aflac (AFL), General Electric (GE), Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM), and Vanguard REIT Index ETF (VNQ). Continue reading
I try to run a pretty tight ship when it comes to cutting expenses and reducing waste in our household. I feel pretty strongly that it’s a lot of small (usually easy) changes here and there that can add up to surprisingly large monthly savings. The extra cash you save can be used towards your own financial goals, whether that means paying off debt, taking a vacation or retiring early.
The kitchen is a perfect place to look for ways to save since a large part of most budgets includes food expenses and kitchen appliances can consume a lot of energy. Here are some of the ways to cut costs and save money in the kitchen: Continue reading
When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money to spare. I wore my brother’s hand me down clothes, which was certainly not always ideal for me as a girl. After my parents’ divorce, finances only became more of an issue as my mother entered the workforce to bring in some extra cash. I can remember being teased for the clothes I wore and being embarrassed about receiving the free lunches at school. I know both my parents were doing the best that they knew how to do at the time, so I won’t go down the road of different choices that they could have made. The fact is, they made the choices they did and my brother and I were a product of it, for better or worse.
But I learned a lot about money and the managing of finances from my experiences. Besides having it instilled in me that:
- Money does not come easily and;
- Money provides security
I learned a great deal from my mother as she looked for ways to increase her own income stream (one such way was to rent out a room in our house) and thereby provide a level of financial security for us.
To a great extent, the subject of money management and finances is missing from the US educational system. As parents, we need to fill in that gap. I’d like to think that we’re doing a good job but just seeing friends and neighbors who struggle with money issues shows me that there is a lot we could do better. Continue reading
In response to what was believed to be a lack of consumer protections in the years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The agency is charged with protecting consumers in the market for financial products and services by focusing directly on consumers, rather than on bank soundness or on monetary policy.
As stated on the agency’s website “the CFPB consolidates most Federal consumer financial protection authority in one place”.
So what does the CFPB have to offer? Continue reading