November 2009: Net Worth, Real Estate, and Blogging Income
Published 11/30/09 (Modified 3/8/11)
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
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.