Wow! Time flies when you are having fun! It’s already February! Here is my fifth Income, Expenses & Goals Update – January 2018:
January didn’t start very well with my rentals. One of the units had a burst pipe in the last few days of December and another tenant let me know they were moving out. You can check out the full story at The Frozen Pipe That Broke The Landlord’s Back! But the rest of the month has been uneventful. Still not update on my pending layoff and it is starting to really affect my mental health (no-no I am not going crazy!!! Just very frustrated with the entire process).
FI (Financial Independence) INCOME – $2,113
This is the income I will rely on once I finally reach Financial Independence (FI).
Dividend & Interest Income: Over $1,000 AGAIN!!!
I though December was amazing and didn’t expect January to be above $1,000 again, but it is! I forgot about an annual interest payment I get on a Canada Post Corporate Bond. Some of my stock purchases I started last March are finally paying off.
My dividend income is generated with 17% of my total Net Worth. I can’t invest my GRRSP (Group Registered Retirement Savings Plan) in dividend paying stocks (not an option thru work) and the rest of my Net Worth is in real estate.
Here are the stocks/ETF I received dividends from in January:
My Stock “moves” this month:
- Dividend stocks:
- Increased my position in CJR.B (Corus Entertainment). Stock tanked since but I am not overly worried yet. Well since last week everything tanked anyway!
- Purchased shares of BPY.UN (Brookfield Property Partners).
- Growth/opportunity stocks:
- My last move was in November when I bought GE and I am feeling the pain!
I have a few index funds but most of my portfolio is individual stocks (it is just a preference).
Background: I have three rental units, all condos. I wanted to invest in rental properties but I wasn’t ready to take on the full the risk of home ownership on my own, so I opted for the condo option. It is probably not the most cost-effective option but it is a personal choice and it works for me. Condo fees are high but so far I have taken full advantage of being a condo owner (new doors, windows). My insurance is also lower due to the condo status. My goal was not to create additional income while I was still working but to build up equity and to sell all units when I reach 55. Being a landlord can be stressful and I am not sure I will want the extra headaches when I retire.
- Property tax payments started again in January. I will need to look into it as it looks like the amount is slightly less than last year, and we all know property taxes never go down!!! The installments go from January to October to cover the full year taxes. I find it easier to manage my cash flow that way.
- Unit #2: After the basement was flooded in December, the insurance and condo corp.
wastedspent time arguing about responsibilities. Work finally started last week and should be done by the end of this week. My deductible is $1,000 but I haven’t paid anything yet!
- Unit #3: Tenants gave me their notice last month but they changed their mind several times since! They are now staying until April 1st and will let me know what they plan to do by March 1st. I was considering selling the place and buying a different one, we will see. This unit was supposed to be a flip originally but I kept it.
I estimate the time spent on rental this month to be around 6 hours; between the calls and emails to the contractor and the adjuster, the visits to the townhouse, meeting at the carpet store, shopping for new appliances and managing the ad process to find new tenants (before I knew they may stay).
I decided to try to keep track of my time on the rentals after reading one of Drew’s “Landlord Report” at Guyonfire, where he calculates is hourly rate as a landlord. I like the idea. You should go check out his latest report: The Landlord Report January 2018.
Side Hustle Income:
- Nothing new on the blogging income, I am still working on increasing traffic and it is quite challenging. But I did sign up for Steve’s free course on How to start your own money blog.
- Once again, there were a few opportunities for the mystery shopping gig I registered for in October but they didn’t pay more than $20/visit. Didn’t seem worth it.
- One of my daughters managed (again) to net a profit on her University books! $200! She is really good at this. I sold one of the many calculators we had in the house for $35. I still have a few items listed but not much interest so far, I may have to drop the prices. Find out how to declutter and make money!
Side Hustles are great and could allow you to retire much earlier. Check out my post Get a side hustle and retire earlier if you are looking for side hustles ideas.
CPP (Canada Pension Plan) Survivor Benefit:
This is an amount I will receive until I start receiving my own CPP (any time after I turn 60).
EXPENSES – $2,971
I started keeping track of my expenses in detail in October 2017 so I could figure out how much I would need once my kids move out and I am retired. I am only interested in the minimum amount needed for now while keeping my current lifestyle. The goal is for my FI ratio to reach 100% without kids’ related expenses. With my pending layoff, I am more motivated to find out how much I will really need to work next year! (You can read all about it at Could getting laid off be the right opportunity for me to retire earlier?).
Tip: Update your spreadsheets regularly otherwise it becomes overwhelming. I try to do it once a week.
Categories from Household to Cell phones are consistent each month so I will stop commenting unless something changes. You can refer to the last post with all the details December 2017 Expenses.
- Kids (Main) :
- I owed a third payment for my son’s Track & Field Program $340! It’s expensive but still worth the money.
- Spend $40 for one of my daughter’s haircut. I was in a generous mood so I also paid for my oldest daughter’s driver’s license renewal ($63). Both were thrilled about it because they didn’t expect it!
- Health: Expenses covered by my current work health plan that won’t be covered once retired.
- Other (Main):
- $63 to get three pair of shoes/boots repaired. They should last me for another few years and they look like new.
- $67 for TurboTax. I can finally start working on my taxes
- $38 for Lebanese food take-out the day it took me 2 hours in traffic to get home!
Summary – FI ratio is 99% this month!
- Core expenses (post kids): $2,134
- FI Income $2,113
- FI ratio – 99%.
- Based on current spending – with kids, my FI ratio is 71%. This means that once I am
unemployedretired, I would only need to make up for $838 this month.
I didn’t expect to reach 99% FI ratio this month! I should probably account for the $1,000 deductible on the insurance claim but I may not have to pay it until March so I will wait. The spring will be tougher on the rental income front if my tenants move out. Some of my annual expenses such as car insurance only get recorded in April so monthly FI is not a good reflection of my needs at this point. Year to date numbers will be more valuable.
- Reduce Grocery bill by 30% or $200/week (the equivalent of $865 a month for a family of five – all grown kids). I am slowly making progress. Watch for my upcoming post on my progress and check out the last one: My December Grocery Challenge Was A Fail.
- Increase my dividend to $12,000: January was way ahead of what I planned.
- Increase my savings to 60% of all income so I can prepare myself better for next year when I no longer get a regular paycheck. I am making progress on that front too but with the kids it is harder to reach that goal.
- Make it to One year. I know it doesn’t seem like much but I have considered packing it in a few times already. Blogging is fun but it is very time-consuming and can be a lot of “work”. I want to make it to one year at least! Check out my post on what a job posting for a blogger would look like: Personal Finance Bloggers Wanted!
- Increase traffic by 20% every month. I reached that goal with flying colors this month but I started off with very little traffic. I think going forward it will be harder.
- Reach 1,000 twitter: As of a few days ago, I was just under 250. Some bloggers seem to be adding followers very quickly. I guess I am not doing it right but I am still happy with that number.
- Look into Tailwind: I looked into it yesterday and I am so confused! I think I need to find a good tutoring video. I am just not getting it!
- Cut back on Sweets: FAIL! FAIL! FAIL! I suck at this, I just love chocolate too much:( I will keep trying. Today I was going to stay away from junk and somebody brought chocolate cake to work! Arghhhh
- 8,000 steps. Got my new Fitbit Flex 2 and so far love it. But my average daily steps are only 5,200. Nothing to brag about. I have just been VERY lazy.
A new goal purely based on how I feel. No SMART goal here! Totally subjective. I want to enjoy every single day and not let s**t get in the way! This month , I didn’t do that well, I allowed our office shut down and the cold weather to get to me too many times. How I feel is all about attitude and, apparently, I need to start working on mine! Stay positive no matter what!
How about you, how did you do in January? Do the winter months get you a little down?