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November 2009: Net Worth, Real Estate, and Blogging Income

Published 11/30/09 (Modified 3/8/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Time for another one of my networth updates and progress reports to check up on how well or bad I've done for myself during the preceding month. Based on my current online bank and investment account numbers, things are starting to look up since the previous month when my stock portfolio took a slight tumble due to lingering market price volatility and recessionary jitters. In terms of the American economy finally emerging from this punishing recession, we are still not quite there yet as overall consumer spending remains pervasively sluggish and unemployment rates continue to rise (albeit at slower rates of worsening than before). But based on the trickle of positive signs I've been seeing coming out of the housing industry in the way of increased new home sales spurred on by governmental tax credit incentives and historically low home mortgage rates - it would seem that we are at the very least, heading towards the right direction.

However, this is not yet the time to start high fiving or fist bumping each other, or be reveling in premature optimism. Rather, this is the time to start placing your financial bets in a strong, but calculated way in anticipation of an eventual economic recovery. There are still a large number of unforeseen factors and worldwide catastrophes that could easily derail the economic momentum train off its tracks. Because we now live in a global economy where all established and developing markets are interlinked and highly inter-dependent with one another, it's crucial to recognize that there are many worldwide factors beyond our control that still have strong sway on the economic lives of those that live in the states. Certainly we can lower interest rates all we want, issue as many economic stimulus checks as the public demands, or extend unemployment benefits for as long as jobless folks need them - but if other major countries whose high expansion rates and growth we've been counting on to boost our own economic markets are not able to successfully salvage their situations and ensure social stability among their populace, we are likely to suffer as well. Let's hope our federal government can continue to promote the natural worldwide growth of free markets, continue to adopt favorable tax rates, and not resort to protectionist agendas that serve only to stifle the efficient and orderly expansion of the world's interlinked economies.

As an investor for the long term who anticipates a gradual economic recovery in the coming years, I'm particularly intrigued by the availability of powerful growth prospects overseas, especially in the so-called BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India, and China. A great deal of my present stock investments are focused on these developing nations as well as centered on sectors in the United States that have been especially beaten down by the 2008 and 2009 recessions such as the financials and the real estate housing stocks. While many risk averse investors continue to seek out so-called safety stocks by investing in gold, I prefer to bet on the future rather than on the short term. Flee to the safety of gold investments and buy gold bullion holdings if you must, but I'm personally placing my bets for the distant future now, rather than hiding in assets that will only offer short term security. The emerging markets, particularly China (with its ginormous billion strong population and growing appetite) will emerge from this global economic recession as the new focus of worldwide economic growth for many years to come. Whatever qualms we may have about China's human rights track record and censorship activities are unlikely to detract from the country's importance in our own future plans for economic prosperity. Strange and surreal as it might be to fathom - but the Communists will ultimately pull all of us out of this capitalist nightmare (who would have thunk it).

My Current Net Worth and Financial Status Update Compared To Last Month

Assets Balance $ Change % Change
Cash $140,414 $32,940 30.65 %
Stocks $431,350 $19,865 4.83 %
Bonds $0 $0 -
Retirement (401K, Roth, IRA) $13,660 $779 6.05 %
Car and Vehicle Value $0 $0 -
Real Estate and Home Value $9,000 $0 -
Other Real Estate (Deposit) $29,824 $4,824 19.30 %
Total Assets: $624,248 $53,584 9.39 %
Debt and Liabilities Balance $ Change % Change
Credit Cards $1,586 $1,139 254.81 %
Car Loans $0 $0 -
Home Mortgage $0 $0 -
Student Loans $26,130 -$109 -0.42 %
Total Debt $27,716 $1,030 3.86 %
Total Net Worth
$596,532 $52,554
9.66 %

My Financial Blogging Business Income Continues To Grow

Amidst the backdrop of Thanksgiving, I feel quite fortunate, lucky, and blessed in the income department. While the economy continues to struggle through the worst economic recession we've seen in decades brought on by the housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis, my income has remained fairly steady over this period of time with just a slight bit of retrenchment. I currently generate my monthly income through a small collection of online and so-called real life sources. Only about 4 years ago I was still working a regular full time day job as an associate attorney. Not long thereafter I went through a chaotic period of my life when I jumped from one temporary legal assignment to another as an attorney for hire. There was even one brief but unforgettable period of time when I wound up as the lackey slave for a miserably oppressive female attorney who ran her solo practice like a mafia. With numerous un-fulfilling and miserable stints as a "real attorney" under my belt, about two years ago, I decided to entertain the prospect of running a solo legal practice of my own. Around the same time, I randomly and rather fortuitously stumbled upon blogging and internet marketing as a way to generate passive income online. The rest is history. Years later, I continue to work for myself, running my own small legal practice as well as running a few online based businesses on the side. While I continue to make money online by blogging and generating revenue through a variety of income producing niche sites and by earning fees through online consulting work, my hope one day is to either make everything completely self automated or sell my entire business so I can finally retire from the rat race.

Progress and Status Report Of My New Single Family Home Construction

With a recent CNN report indicating that almost 1 in 4 current homeowners are underwater, meaning that they owe more on their home mortgages than their homes are actually worth - it truly does feel like you're potentially signing your life away when you become a new homeowner nowadays.

I recently became a first time buyer and owner of a brand new construction 4 bedroom, 4 bath single family home - and thus far, the journey from location scouting, to price negotiation, to pending construction has been a rather disconcerting experience for me. While there have been lots of great highs experienced such as the awesome feeling I felt when I walked through a beautifully constructed model home for the first time, there have been many ongoing lows as well. Lately, I've been plagued by a bit of buyer's remorse, and while I don't seriously doubt my new home purchase to a critical degree, I do wonder at times if I might have prematurely and hastily locked myself into the largest investment of my life. After all, by purchasing such a pricey home, I'm officially chaining myself to a certain geographical area and lifelong home mortgage contract for many years to come.

As I run my home business and legal practice from my home office, my living location is actually quite flexible as I don't necessarily need to be located near public subway transportation sites for example. Thus I have occasionally pondered the prospect of living in another state or even living overseas for a short while to experience something different in my life. But now that I've locked myself into a new home with monthly mortgage payments to be forthcoming when the new construction home is finally delivered sometime in March 2010, it looks like I'll be staying in the Washington D.C. suburban area for some time now.

Other persistent issues that continue to nag at me include the home's somewhat close proximity to electrical powerlines and the home's location away from the city center. But after having worked through these lingering doubts in my mind, I am ultimately comforted by the fact that I made a good purchase as far as real estate investments go. I purchased the home in the latter half of 2009, at a time when local and national home prices have already plummeted 20-30%, and during a time when mortgage rates are presently at historical lows and free government homebuyer tax credit incentives are abundant. Furthermore, despite what worries I may continue to have, perhaps the very most comforting aspect of owning my own home at this time is the fact that I will now have a place to call home, and can finally put an end to my formerly nomadic lifestyle of moving from rental apartment to another every few years. I will finally have a place to designate as my permanent home base, and a primary residence where no landlord or management office can tell me what I can or cannot do in my own home.

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17 Responses to “November 2009: Net Worth, Real Estate, and Blogging Income” 

  1. Modder says:

    Good job!

    You should read this book: The Intelligent Asset Allocator, William Bernstein.

    What kind of consulting business do you do - help turn improve commercial effectiveness of on-line properties? If yes, pls send me a ping - may need you help in the next few months...

  2. Financial Samurai says:

    Good job on the growth!

    Just wondering with your income of about $500,000 gross a year as well as your age, do you feel you are a little behind in terms of your net worth at $596,000? If so, how do you think you can better improve on your net worth to get yourself a higher capital to income ratio?

    Many of my colleagues also earn around $500,000 a year, but their net worth figures are all over $2 million (ages 33-36), so perhaps you can share with us some of your mistakes or things that have kept you back.

    You're on a great path now, so keep up the good work!

    Best,

    Sam-urai

  3. Raymond says:

    Financial Samurai,

    Thanks for tracking my financial networth progress over the last few months. Well, I don't feel like I need to compete with higher networth individuals just for ego competition sake. I work hard at building my networth primarily for the future stability and financial freedom that I am hoping that having a high net worth will be able to someday afford me and my family (when I have one). I guess time is the only thing I need more of. The more time that passes, the more time is allotted to allow the power of compound interest to take its course.

  4. Modder says:

    I think he hasn't made any mistakes, but that he is still relatively new to such high income.

  5. Raymond says:

    Modder,

    Yes you are correct. I am very new to such higher levels of incomes as reflected by the fact that I have yet to properly create the most advantageous business entity to minimize my tax liability (formation of an LLC to be taxed as an S Corp). I have also yet to set up a proper SEP-IRA account for self employment retirement planning purposes. These are things I plan on executing within the next few weeks!

  6. Financial Samurai says:

    Hey Raymond - I didn't realize you just came to this income earnings stream. That would explain why your low capital to income ratio. Congrats on the new income stream! You'll want to look into tax optimization for sure given Bush's tax cuts expire in 2011.

    Good luck with your progress, and don't get tempted to splurge! :) I wouldn't compare yourself to others as well. Just know your balance sheet looks fine, and continue to build that capital base. You should be able to join the ranks of the millionaires in 3-3.5 years of you keep it up!

    Best,

    Sam-urai

  7. Modder says:

    I guess if he keeps up his cash flow he will be a networth millionaire within 12-18 mos.

  8. Sims says:

    I've been following this personal finance blog for a long while now and I have yet to figure out how the blogger manages to make so much money online with this website alone. Is he getting his income from this blog through advertising alone or is he only earning a small portion of his total overall income from this site and getting the bulk of it from his lawyer business? I've also noticed that his networth has only recently started soaring within the last 1-2 years. Before that it seemed rather flat. Was he just not reporting his income and assets accurately at that time? How is this possible his net worth would suddenly start taking off out of no where???

  9. Larry L. says:

    Well if you look at the web site stats:

    http://www.quantcast.com/moneybluebook.com

    approx 7k of visitors hit this site monthly. Let's assume it's 140 click through (2%)

    Based upon his stated 100k year (or $8333.00) monthly that makes each click approx $60, which sounds about right based upon the banners and affiliate links he's going after.

  10. Larry L. says:

    Sorry I read the stats wrong. It's 154k monthly or 1540 clicked links (if doing more realistically 1%) or $5.40 a click, which based upon some of the affiliate links sounds kinda low, but might be with all of the Google AdSense, and he also said it was at least 100k annually.

  11. Sims says:

    How do you know that's how much this blog makes? Has he ever actually said he makes $100,000 a year from this blog alone? I don't know how much credibility those online stat trackers have in showing actual website traffic.

  12. Larry L. says:

    @Sims: the stats are accurate as the blog has JavaScript on the bottom of every page. So this web site is directly reporting to Quantcast.

    Yes he has stated the income he makes from the site. It's in another posting, I believe about blogging or maybe a net worth statement.

  13. Raymond says:

    I appreciate the interest in this blog's income and web traffic, but just to let you guys know - the information found on sites like Compete, Quantcast, and Alexa - are generally inaccurate. They serve as good reference points on a particularly website's success in terms of traffic generation, but they are not good pin pointers of precise unique visitor and page load counts.

  14. Evan says:

    Raymond,

    Longtime since I been on your site, I am happy you are doing so well! Its going to take me a while to catch up on everything

    Evan

  15. Michael says:

    Raymond,
    Curious why your retirement savings so low compared to cash...

  16. finance says:

    looks like he got a very high income and How could we have a blog income like that. All I could say is wow...income...

  17. Jamel Rose says:

    I am new to such higher levels of incomes as reflected by the fact that I have yet to properly create the most advantageous business entity to minimize my tax liability.

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