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Mid-Year Progress Report (July 29, 2014)

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2014 is more than half way over, so I thought now would be a fitting time to update readers on all the progress made so far this year. We are now in Year 3 of the journey to early FI, and it’s time to reflect back on the goals set earlier this year!

Rebuilding Cash Reserves

As was stated when the year first began, one of my primary objectives in 2014 is to rebuild cash reserves. By the end of the year, I would like to be sitting on $40,000 in cash.

At present day, I have about $15,000 in my emergency fund. So, I am less than half way there, with only five months remaining in the year! Will I be able to reach this goal? Well, I do have some bonuses and ESPP coming down the pipeline later this year (September and October), so I am still somewhat optimistic that this goal is sill attainable…

It won’t be easy, but I’m eager to take on this challenge!

Acquire Two Rental Properties

Rental Property #5 closed in February. It was a 2-flat in Chicago. One down, one to go…

Since I have my round-the-world expedition coming up in August, I’ve decided to postpone adding another investment property until after I return from my overseas trip.

As of the last net worth update in June, I have over $23,000 in investment funds. Right now, I’m still uncertain about what to do with that capital… One option would be to purchase another single family home (SFH) in Indianapolis. This would not only increase my semi-passive income stream, but it would allow me to meet my goal of acquiring a sixth rental property.

If I do not elect to go the out-of-state turnkey route, another option would be to try and find a clever way of getting back into the Bay Area. Most likely, this would mean partnering up with other local investors… It’s difficult finding deals in the Bay Area, but I haven’t shut the door to this possibility… Any Bay Area investment made would be for an appreciation play into the future, not for immediate cash flow.

Passive Income of $3,000/month

On a perfect month, the cash flow from my five rental properties (seven units) is able to surpass $3,000/month in semi-passive income. However, this goal is supposed to take into account all vacancy and maintenance items as well. In other words, by the end of 2014, I would like to have all the rentals generating $3,000/month in net income…

Without adding a sixth rental property, this goal is not possible… I am currently battling an eviction right now, so that will force me to tap into my reserves account. Adding a cash flowing rental that could contribute an additional $300 to $400 in net income each month to the semi-passive income would go a long ways towards helping me achieve this goal.

I still have time to make another move this year…

1000 Visitors Per Day

I’ll be honest, I’m still not very good at marketing this website. On a really great day, this site will pickup between 600 to 700 visitors. I have yet to clear 1,000 visits on any given day yet, but I still have a few months to figure this one out! 😉

From an income point-of-view, this site pulls in about $80/month in ad revenue. Not very much at all at this point in time, but that has never been the main focus of this blog. With that said, I really do appreciate everyone who stops by and supports the website! Eventually, it would be nice if I can get the blog income to supplement the other income streams (work, real estate, dividends, etc.). Lots of room for improvement here!

For the most part, I need to be more consistent with posting and networking with other bloggers. I know it’s a really lame excuse, but a lot of times I do blame work for my inability to better promote (and grow) this site! There’s only so much time in a day…

But really, there’s no one else to blame but myself. I should mention, I truly and sincerely appreciate all the readers and followers of this blog, and everyone who comments! I also love receiving e-mails, so please keep sending them! I just feel like we’ve only begun to scratch the surface, and there’s still a lot of room for improvement.

Also, at this time, I would like to thank my brother, Living Proof for his recent contributions and awesome travel hacking articles! This is a person who truly has a zest for life… as clearly evident by his exuberant writing style. 🙂

In the near future, do expect to see me lurking around other sites as well. I want to give freelance writing a shot!

Be Happy!

Man, for this goal, I’m seriously putting in the bulk of my efforts and concentration to try and meet. It’s tough… Sometimes I’m successful, and am genuinely happy… On other days, I just feel burned out and depressed… and alone.

So, it’s been mostly a rollercoaster ride so far in 2014. But I’m trying to remain positive and optimistic! Further, I’ve even made a conscious effort to embrace my fears, and immerse myself in discomfort.

The highlights this year for me:

  • Indulging in the sights, sounds, and food of Maui and Oahu.
  • Visiting my awesome cousin in New York and sight-seeing in Boston.
  • Getting to meet up with Dave, Dana, Queenie, and Joe in New York, and Matt in Boston.
  • Co-hosting 2x Bigger Pockets Meet-Up events and interacting with other local investors.
  • Reconnecting with my old elementary school buddy.
  • Hanging out with my boys in San Francisco.
  • Union City hang-outs with college buddies.
  • Spending time with family.

The lowlights this year for me:

  • Work…
  • One crappy date after another… haha

There’s still a lot of time left this year, though. Keep riding the highs, and as always, let’s try to make the most of everyday. Life is beautiful! 🙂

Fight On!

{ 37 comments… add one }
  • Charles@gettingarichlife.comNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 12:48 am

    Six months closer to your fi date. You might be going through crappy dates as you’re raising your standards to join you in your journey. Not too many women willing to go along.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:38 am


      Yeah, this year has gone by pretty fast! Since I have a big trip coming up soon, I’m not going to complain at all about that 🙂

      I’ve been unlucky in the dating game I guess… haha, maybe this is something I can get better at post-Fi!

      All the best!

  • BrianNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 1:10 am

    Hey FIF,
    I am also trying to increase my cash reserves to buy a 2 unit investment property. I plan on living in one of the units. Assuming that I bought a home at 120k I am looking to save the 25% down or 30k. I currently have 10k sitting in a high yield savings earning 1% APY. I earn about $10 monthly in interest and I am expected to have saved the full 30k in 12-18 months. I know your really good with numbers and real estate so I have a few questions on my outlook. First do you think it is wiser to allocate some of the cash reserves into stocks earning a little more yield, but still keeping a 6 month emergency fund? And then withdraw the amount I need on the gainers when it’s time to buy a home. My other concern is that the interest rates will go up by the time I am ready to buy so some people suggest the FHA with a 10% down payment instead. When I was pre-approved the rates were 3.5% and I think they are 4.25% now in MA. I know that putting a 20% down payment can lower your interest rate as well as having a 15 year fixed mortgage. Are there any other tips on getting a lower interest rate? Or do you think I should try to focus more on the positive cash flow vs. what I will be paying on interest?

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:44 am


      In general, interest rates are still near historic lows, and I think you still have some time to get in.

      With FHA loan, I believe you can purchase with as low as 3.5% downpayment? With FHA, you’ll be looking at larger monthly mortgage payments, and the need for PMI as well… an extra cost.

      If possible, I would aim to save 20% and that way you can avoid PMI altogether.

      In regards to putting some of the capital into stocks… that one is a bit tough to answer because it really depends on how much risk you are willing to take. The stock market (in general) is sitting near all-time highs… Could it correct and pullback slightly in the future? That’s anyone’s guess, but equities aren’t exactly selling for a huge discount at today’s prices…

      Then again, if the market keeps rising, that will help you shortcut the time needed to come up with the downpayment.

      Yes, I wish I had a crystal ball! I’m facing that same dilemma as well! 🙂

      All the best!

      • BrandonNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 11:45 am

        Just wanted to throw this out there as well – PMI on an FHA loan is more expensive than PMI on a conventional loan. It can be about half. (In case someone can even come up with 5-10% if not the 20-25%.)

  • PaulNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 1:35 am

    Re: $80/month in ad revenue – Have you tried using BuySellAds rather than adsense? I think it would work better for a site like yours.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:46 am


      Thanks for the tip! I’ll have to look into that and learn more.


  • JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit.comNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 5:56 am

    Those are some pretty great goals and I wouldn’t worry about being a bit behind on some of them.

    One of the big highlights for the 2nd half is definitely going to be your trip. That’s an amazing trip and the fact that you got so much of it through miles/points is awesome.

    Just keep doing what you’ve been doing and you’ll continue to improve on your goals.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:48 am


      Thanks for the support! Yeah, I’m not exactly accelerating through these goals, but I didn’t think they would be easy to meet, even when I was first setting them. Part of the fun, I guess!

      Yes, the trip is only 2 short weeks away and I am absolutely stoked! Can’t wait to blow open my mind and enter into a whole new world.

      This is the stuff I live for! Mind opening experiences and opportunities to grow as a person.

      All the best!

  • Jason @ Islands of InvestingNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 6:31 am

    You’re doing fantastic there FI Fighter! I’m really impressed with the way you’re balancing that determination for FI with having some great fun along the way – your experiences this year with travelling, friends and family all sound fantastic, and still another exciting trip just around the corner!

    I hope you keep that optimism, enthusiasm and happiness going – it really shines through in your writing, and is such a pleasure to read! Best of luck for the rest of 2014 with achieving your goals (especially being happy!).

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:50 am


      Thanks! Yes, this year I really made an effort to better balance work, fun, investing, and everything else.

      It can be draining at times, but it’s been one crazy year already!

      Best of luck on your own journey! Let’s close out 2014 in style! 🙂

      Take care!

  • Andrew@LivingRichCheaplyNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 6:38 am

    Just read about your planned round the world trip…man that’s pretty awesome. Hope you have fun! Looks like you’re doing pretty well. I don’t know if I mentioned it but I read your blog almost in it’s entirety…I’ve been getting very interested in buying rental property. But hoping to close on a coop as a primary home first…not sure I would have been able to sell it to my wife that we should continue renting while buying property elsewhere. Plus, I think we got a good price in a good location. Too bad the co-op doesn’t allow sublets.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:53 am


      Yeah, I’m really excited about the upcoming trip. Just purchased my unlimited rails pass for Japan! 😉

      I hope you are finding the blog, and older entries useful… There’s definitely a lot to consider when purchasing real estate, especially since it is not the most liquid investment out there.

      I hope you find what you are looking for! For a first investment, it would be nice to start local, if possible, and hopefully you can find something good.


  • Will LNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 7:12 am

    Sounds like you’ll be a lot happier once you reach FI! I know the feeling!

    Most of your traffic comes from search engines, I assume?

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:54 am


      Yes, definitely. Work is consuming too much of my free time and energy, unfortunately.

      In regards to traffic, yes, I think search engines contribute a lot… That, and referrals from other bloggers, guest posts, etc.

      All the best!

  • DoneByFortyNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 7:54 am

    You’re well on your way for most of those goals. If you can buy more in the Bay Area, that might solve one of the earlier conundrums you were facing: about wanting to get capital appreciation along with cashflow. More properties, more options.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 8:57 am

      Done By Forty,

      Yes, another Bay Area property would definitely help balance the appreciation/cash flow…

      I would have 3 properties for appreciation and 3 for cash flow… Opposite ends of the spectrum, but hopefully they would all pan out! 🙂

      I think balance is a good thing to strive for in investing… and life.

      Best wishes!

  • Dividend MantraNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 9:53 am

    FI Fighter,

    You’re doing great, bud. Keep fighting! 🙂

    I’m sure you’re going to love that round-the-world trip! That’s so exciting. I’m really jealous.

    You’re far ahead of where you thought you’d be by now, I’m sure. One day at a time. You’ll be FI before you know it.

    Best wishes!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:33 pm


      Thanks for the support! Yes, I’ve definitely come a lot further than I ever imagined just 3 years ago…

      I’m trying to enjoy the journey as I fight ever harder to reach the destination. You’re doing amazing yourself!

      All the best!

  • Mrs. FrugalwoodsNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 5:47 pm

    Nice! Congrats on doing so well and, your honesty about the lowlights is refreshing. I’m super jealous of your round-the-world trip and looking forward to seeing the photos! And, as I’ve said before, I love your immerse-oneself-in-discomfort attitude: nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:34 pm

      Mrs. Frugalwoods,

      Thanks! I try to keep things real. 🙂

      Yes, I can’t wait for the trip and I will have a ton of photos to upload!

      Take care!

  • No Nonsense LandlordNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 7:54 pm

    Keep building cash. A landlord without enough backup capital is no longer a landlord. It can go just as quick as it came. A single bad tenant can cost over $5,000 in vacancy and other expenses.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:35 pm


      Good point. Cash is king and a bad tenant can be brutal on the returns… as I’m learning first hand.


  • LeighNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 10:26 pm

    Enjoy Japan! It was pretty amazing, so different from the US.

    Ehhhh dating is overrated. I can’t stand it much myself, but then again I don’t see much fun in meeting new people over and over again. Sometimes I’m a little jealous of the fact that my boyfriend never went on a first date. (We’ve been friends since college.)

    My spreadsheets always tell the same story – 6-8 years to go to full FI. Not too bad for someone in their mid-twenties though 😉 I should stop playing around with them unless I lower the income requirements or increase my net income.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:36 pm


      Haha, yeah dating… I wish it were easier for me, but it’s something I still have to go through, unfortunately, until I find someone good! 🙂

      6-8 years is no time at all… and you’re so young that you’re sure to get there with many, many, many good years remaining.

      Keep up the great work! Your progress is astounding!


  • JohnNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 10:58 pm

    Keep on fighting the good fight! Like you, I’m struggling to rebuild my cash reserves/emergency fund (seriously depleted by my house down payment and closing costs). It’s getting better, but it’s been painfully slow. Given that my investing goals have been rather aggressive this year, my savings have suffered for it. Still, I’m on track to achieve my 2014 goal of an average monthly dividend income of $500. Whooo-hooo!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:37 pm


      Rebuilding cash isn’t the most exciting of things, but absolutely necessary. Yeah, closing costs aren’t cheap, as I’ve seen a few times now!

      Great job of getting to the $500/month mark. That’s awesome progress!

      All the best!

  • LeighNo Gravatar July 29, 2014, 11:04 pm

    Oh! My boyfriend moving in should reduce expenses enough to bring it in to 4-6 years to go 🙂 Woo!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:38 pm


      There you go! Everyday it seems to move in closer and closer with you!

  • The First Million is the HardestNo Gravatar July 30, 2014, 9:43 am

    Good to see things are going well. I’ve really enjoyed the travel hacking posts lately as well. Enjoy your trip in August!

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:38 pm


      Thanks! Looking forward to the trip! Glad you are enjoying the travel hacking posts as well.

      Best wishes!

  • MaryNo Gravatar July 30, 2014, 8:06 pm

    Not pertaining to this post but a general question.
    Who do you use to get your DP3 insurance for your two properties in the bay area? I’m looking for a good but cheap insurance for my next investment property.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:39 pm


      Send me an e-mail and I get fill you in on more details regarding insurance companies.


  • AlexaNo Gravatar July 31, 2014, 9:08 am

    I love what you’re doing here!! I flipped one property several years ago and made 9k in just a couple of months but never did it again. I’m currently saving for another investment property (I found a great foreclosure, waiting for the bank to do something with it.) So I’ve been browsing your blog and reading all of your posts for the past several weeks. 🙂

    Also, I get around the same traffic as you do on my blog (around 30k pageviews per month) and I usually make anywhere from $250-$500 per month in Adsense. What I did was took my three most popular posts and placed ads in the middle of them. It really helped boost my ad income just by doing that.

    • FI FighterNo Gravatar August 1, 2014, 6:40 pm


      That’s awesome! I’m a big fan of real estate and would love to flip something in the future!

      Hope the blog posts are proving useful to you.

      Wow, thanks for the tips, that’s awesome! I’m going to have to reach out to you to learn more!!

      Take care!

  • RefinerrNo Gravatar August 4, 2014, 9:14 am

    How exciting! Congrats on your progress and don’t sweat the terrible dates. Dating is just dressed up and more expensive interviews and no one likes those. Could be worse – you could be dating in the OC!=)

  • Dave @ The New York BudgetNo Gravatar August 4, 2014, 11:01 am

    Oh man – it was awesome having you visit NYC as well! Sorry I haven’t been around for the past couple posts of yours. Something funky is happening with my site’s email account and I can’t seem to get it fixed – so I am missing out on all your posts in my inbox!

    I am hustling to get that fixed and in the meantime, will try to remember to just check up on your site from time to time.

    I just read about your next investment as well. That’s awesome! Good luck with it!

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