Well, we are down to the last day of 2014! So, just before we flip the page and go “out with the old, and in with the new”, I would like to take some time to reflect back on the goals set earlier this year. 2014 was an incredible year all around — From my vacations, to the new job, to all the rental property purchases, to buying dividend stocks again… a lot happened!
Let’s see if I was able to hit my goals for this year!
1) Acquire Two Additional Rental Properties
- Closed Rental Property #5 in February.
- Closed Rental Property SH #1 in August.
- Closed Rental Property SH #2 in September.
- In contract for Rental Property SH #3 in December.
When 2014 first began, I told myself that Year 3 of the early FI journey would be a year of conservation. Well, I guess you could say things didn’t quite go according to plan! Instead of only acquiring just two properties, I was able to close on three rentals, and currently am in the process of closing another one.
Rental Property #5 closed in February. With that one out of the way, I proceeded to shift gears and got back into investing in the Bay Area (primarily for future price appreciation). Since buying property in the Bay Area is no small task, I had to get creative and find some partners. It took some extra work, but the end results were worth it! The team and I took down some great deals in some prime locations by locking down Rental Property SH#1 and Rental Property SH #2.
To date, Rental Property #5 has cash flowed tremendously, and the Bay Area side hustles are about break-even each month. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results for this goal.
Hopefully, we can kick-start 2015 by adding another rental and by closing Rental Property SH #3! 🙂
2) Forward Looking Semi-Passive Income of $3,000/month
By the end of 2014, I would like to own six rental properties. If everything goes right (I’m aiming high), I should be close to, or just at $3,000/month in forward looking semi-passive income. If I can get to this point, I will have a lot more confidence in being able to pull off my retirement sometime in 2015. As a refresher, we closed 2013 with a forward looking income stream of $1,573.87/month. I still have some aces up my sleeve that I haven’t fully revealed to readers just yet… although the next moves to get to “checkmate” would be pretty obvious to anyone reading comments, and following along on some of the discussions I’ve had in the past.
Well, I came close… but no cigar! To hit this goal would have required me to purchase Rental Property #6 in 2014. Half way through the year, I decided to pursue some Bay Area side hustles, instead, which don’t contribute anything to the net cash flow. For all intents and purposes, those side hustle properties are break even, so I omit their numbers entirely in each month’s Cash Flow reports (in actuality they are slightly in the green each month).
Here are the final cash flow numbers for 2014:
Total net income came in at $33,285.13. The monthly semi-passive income checks in at $2,773.76.
So, I’m definitely within striking distance of $3,000/month in net cash flow! Hopefully, I’ll be able to bridge this gap in 2015 with some more investments (either through real estate or dividend growth stocks).
Actually, if I factor in the dividends received in my 401k and Roth IRA, I’m able to clear this benchmark. The retirement accounts generated $3,468.78 in passive income for 2014. This works out to be $289.07/month.
Combining with the rental income, this gives me a total of $36,753.91 for 2014, or $3,062.83/month!
Still, for accounting purposes, I’m going to chalk this goal up as a FAIL!…
3) Cash Reserve of $40,000
By year’s end, I would like to have $40,000 in straight cash, or in a dividend portfolio. It’s very important to stay liquid, and I will definitely need a strong cushion before I am even comfortable with the thought of attempting early retirement. There are so many things that can go wrong, I need to be as prepared as possible.
I look at it this way — If I attempt early retirement and things go wrong, I’ll have cash to hold me over. Since I’m planning on starting my adventure overseas in a cheaper country, I really don’t anticipate spending much money. I’m thinking less than $1000/month in expenses will be entirely doable. I might even aim for $600/month. If you do research into some of the countries in SE Asia that I’m looking at, you’d be amazed by how little most folks get by with.
It wasn’t easy to save up funds on the side of all these real estate deals, but I was able to pull through and make it happen! When accounting for both my stock portfolio (currently valued at around $23,000) and emergency reserves, I have over $40,000 in liquid funds!
Prior to checking out and declaring early FI, I would like to be closer to $100,000 in liquid funds. As always, better safe than sorry…
500 1000 Visitors/Day on Blog
I’m not going to set any monetary goals for this blog, but I would like to build it up some more and attract more traffic. I really appreciate all the readers that follow this site, and I would love to grow it even more. I’m hoping to get to
5001000 visitors/day by the end of the year. No, it doesn’t have to be unique visitors, just total visitors. I’m already thrilled with the number of visitors I get now. 🙂
I didn’t make as much progress blogging as I would have liked to. Things were going pretty well in the first half of 2014, but unfortunately life became more difficult throughout the course of the year. After landing a new job in September, I’ve been unable to allocate the time needed to expand this blog.
Marketing, for one, is an area that I’m still very weak at. I also wasn’t able to write as many guest posts as I wanted to… Not to mention, I’m still behind on a lot of updates on this site!!
Honestly, I don’t see much progress being made in the near future. My current job just consumes way too much time and energy… I’m doing my best, and still hope to grow this blog in the future.
As always, thanks to everyone who reads and follows this site! I greatly appreciate the support, and you all motivate me to keep going on this journey! 🙂
5) Be Happy!
This goal is generic, but so important. I think it’s easy for us to get lost in the hustle and bustle of work… With enough time, we can even forget something as important as happiness. Happiness is essential to life… without it, there’s really no point in living. You know, I had a wonderful time in Hawaii. I loved slowing down the pace of life, enjoying my daily breakfast, and just being at peace for once in a long time.
For this year, I want to continue and make strides in this department. I want to take what I got out of Hawaii and carry it over into my day-to-day life in fast pace Silicon Valley. More specifically, I want to focus on my health. I’m starting to take breathing/meditation classes and am already feeling more calm and relaxed. I’m not going to sweat work so much anymore, and am even planning on taking some unpaid days this year. I will travel more and see what this great country has to offer.
2014 had its ups and downs. For the most part, I would qualify it as a good year. Outside of just working and investing, I had a pretty fulfilling social life.
I went out more than I’ve done in years past, and took the most time off thus far! I wouldn’t say I have found the perfect work/life balance (impossible when you’re working 40+ hours each week!), but I’m making do with what I’ve got…
I got to visit: Maui, Oahu, Boston, New York, Tokyo, Bangkok, Rome, Key West, and Miami this year! I’m big on traveling and got to mix up both domestic and international travel.
Once I get to early FI, I’m going to indulge on the traveling far more… I hope!
Well, that’s a wrap everyone. I hope you all had a tremendous 2014, and were able to make huge strides towards early FI.
2014 was a great year… Let’s make 2015 even better!
How did you do in 2014? Were you able to meet your goals and expectations? What lies ahead in 2015 for you?