June 2015 Financial Reports

Half of 2015 is in the books. Most of us would say, “OMG, where did the time go?!”

Not me. This past New Year’s Eve in NYC, huddled in a cold cafe and slowly dancing with the wife and baby, seems like a distant memory because I live every day outside of any semblance of a routine.

Also much improved from that moment in the cafe is my financial situation, which I’ll update you all on in the paragraphs that follow. June wasn’t our best month, but it was certainly a good month. Forward passive income (which is the average passive income I’ll earn each month going forward), trekked higher at a solid rate, increasing 3.4% above last month. Dividends paid were just over $700 and the third-highest month ever. Net worth climbed by 0.8% despite a down market. Expenses came back to reality and we’re but one month away from being entirely free and clear of the apartment from our NYC Year-long Experiment.

The Path to Financial Independence

The ultimate graph of financial independence (above) shows that my forward passive income plus side hustles covered 14.7% of our expenses in June.


I re-entered the uptrend, and will hopefully not falter like I did in May. If you look at my updated Retirement Roadmap, I’ll be on track if I can cross 20% expense coverage by the end of this year.

Passive Income



See Investment Portfolio for Full List of Holdings and Details

Paid In June: $708.76
Previous Forward Dividend Income: $724.48
New Forward Dividend Income: $750.36 (+3.3%)

June was a solid month, although I was surprised to see that my dividends are heavier in the 2nd month of each quarter. I was a relatively active trader this month, taking advantage of some strong pricing in some of my growth stocks. I sold a handful of Netflix (NFLX), and my entire positions in drone-maker Aerovironment (AVAV) and organic-LED maker Universal Display (OLED). I also sold my spun-off shares of South32 (SOUHY), as the reported dividend will only be about 2% (whenever it’s announced) and I have plenty of mining giant BHP Billiton (BBL) as it is. With those proceeds, I doubled my positions in toy maker Hasbro (HAS) and pipeline toll-taker Kinder Morgan (KMI). I also upped my stake in the regional-to-national Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) story, and initiated a long-overdue position in Johnson & Johnson (JNJ). I also did my normal 401(k) deferral.

In June we saw increases from Realty Income (O) and Walt Disney (DIS)–the Disney increase was a nice surprise, as their dividend increased by 15% and they began semi-annual payments (from their normal December annual payout schedule). Forward dividend income increased 3.3% this month–which is great. If I can average 2% per month for the rest of the year, then I’ll hit my goal of $850 in forward dividends.

Sometimes we in the financial community get swallowed up in numbers, and forget what power they really have. For many Americans, $750 in income for doing nothing is significant. At the current minimum wage, you’d have to work over 100 hours to bring in that much income–my money made that for me while I slept, and I’m really very grateful to live in a society advanced enough where I can so easily invest bits and pieces every month, allowing this passive income to grow so quickly.


Paid In May: $0.00
Previous Forward Interest: $41.74
New Forward Interest: $41.99

My annual interest payment for my annuity occurs in April. I’ll continue contributing a little bit each month to this account.


No change from last month. Our consumer debt situation from our vehicles needs to get squared away first. The pending tax refund and a withdrawal from our annuity will pay off one vehicle, which we’ll be able to sell once we receive the title. Those dollars will be used to purchase a family-friendly vehicle, and the excess will go to paying off our other vehicle (and subsequently selling) and paying down our no-interest CC debt. After that, we’ll look into the rental game. I hope to have this all done by Thanksgiving.

Side Hustles

sh1“All quiet on the western front,” says the side hustle section of Retire29. Nothing went up on SeekingAlpha in June, although my Stock Analysis Framework post was syndicated on July 1st, which got a good reading and increased my SA followers to over 150. At four articles in six months, I’m behind my goal of getting 10 done this year.

Retire29 had about 110 views per day–a 10% increase from May. A week into July, I’m averaging over 250 per day, so that’s exciting. My 2015 goal for the blog was to hit 5,000 views a month. I’m going to set out to make that happen this month. I’ve come to the conclusion that views don’t just happen on their own, so I’m really making an effort to connect and comment with other blogs–it pays huge dividends. There are always those blogs where dropping a comment or two will pull a lot of readers over simply because they’re monsters in the industry: Budgets Are Sexy, Rockstar Finance, Financial Samurai, Retire By 40, or Dividend Mantra. However, it pays to frequent a lot of (relatively) smaller blogs, too, since their readership is probably a bit more dedicated and connected. This is why I love to check out No More Waffles, The Wealth Brick Road, Income Surfer, or Cashville Skyline.

Retire29 had its second-straight profitable month! With $6 per month in operational costs, any month over $6 in ad revenue (which is all I get right now) is a profitable month. My hourly labor rate is probably around 2-3 cents per hour, but hey, nobody said this was big money. It’s a labor of love to you…my fine readers.



June saw a return of rational expenses. Baby29 got a lot of great toys, a tablet, and diapers this month; the house is bursting at the seams with fresh diapers (just in time for potty training)–we seriously have another 1,000 diapers sitting in boxes and drawers. I bought some discounted gift cards from Lowe’s for some landscape work (Thanks, Dad!), which is where the home/other costs come in.

The easiest place for expense optimization is the food and dining categories. I’m a habitual money waster when it comes to food. I tend to justify it because the costs are so small–a McChicken here, a wasted dish there, a Monster Energy Drink here and there. These costs add up, though, and I bet I could easily cut $100 off of our food and dining budget by just not mindlessly spending a few dollars each day. I’m going to implement that in July and see if the results are noticeable.

Other than the auto costs, which will end the year closer to $150 or so, this is about what you can expect from my expenses. There will be constant reductions in some areas (food, utilities), as life gets more efficient, but right around $5k is about what I’m expecting.

If you look at my expenses compared to my passive income, my passive income would have paid for all the expenses between Home/Other and Gifts/Charity, and would have partly paid for Travel. That’s kind of a fun way to look at it. I could retire once that passive income can work all the way up to the top.


Net Worth

As always, Net Worth is a rather poor indicator of one’s financial independence, however, people like using it for comparative purposes, so I oblige. My net worth rose 0.8% this month to $342,381. That is a ~$2.5k increase. The market had a tough month with the S&P down 2.5%. But, my contributions and dividends offset all of that and I increased investments by about $1k; the rest came from debt and mortgage paydown.


I have no specific net worth goals. I reckon my Net Worth will be somewhere around $700k by the time I retire, however, that is just an approximation. Far more important is that little line chart at the very top, showing by passive income as a percentage of my expenses.

Thanks for reading and following along, as always!


Previous Financial Reports:

2015: Jan Feb Mar Apr May

2014: Dec


  1. Hello Eric,

    Congrats on growing the readership in the blog! I’m one of the new viewers and I wanted to say that I really enjoy your writing. You are able to blend the technical details with every day language. Congrats on continuing to make gains towards your goal!


    • Thanks Erik! And thanks for commenting.

      I appreciate the laudatory comments from another blogger. I try to write like I’m talking to my brother or something, very informal.

      Thanks for stopping by and I’ll definitely be checking out A More Successful You.


    • Lol, Thanks Amber tree. Yes, blogging isn’t exactly a cash cow. My total compensation from the blog is now something like $40, which is roughly 2 days of dividends or what 50 shares of JNJ pays out every quarter like clockwork.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!


  2. That is a sweet dividend pay out. Congrats on having a positive month despite the market fiasco I keep hearing about.

    I am totally with you on page views, I think Im going to get 5k this month. I had just under 5k last month and it was my first full month of ever blogging. Lot to learn about blogging and its super time consuming but I love it!!

    Hope you hit your goals!

    • You’re starting off much faster than I did. I averaged just a couple hundred views for the first several months of Retire29–I didn’t do anything to get the word out, though. You took a much more aggressive and disciplined approach.

      Your blog is great, I’m already reading through most of your stuff.


  3. Looks like you’re heading in the correct direction 29. Expenses seem to be be declining and net worth (along with passive income) is climbing. Good work! Super cute picture of the kiddo also

    • Thanks Income Surfer, and thank you for commenting. Passive income and expenses is the name of the game, and what’s the mantra…”you get what you measure.” Hopefully the trends continue. Financial freedom is simply an inevitability at this point, which is reassuring.

      Thanks for commenting. And yah, that kid is stinkin’ cute, I appreciate it.


  4. That passive income to portfolio ratio is astounding. I read the stock analysis article as well, and I can see why you’re successful. The fact that I find analyzing stocks so arduous is a big reason that I pretty much do a handful of sector/region based mutual funds and real estate.

    • Hi Hannah,
      Thanks for reading and commenting. My total portfolio has a yield of about 3.3%, and you can see the whole portfolio here with the link in the header. 3.3% is slightly less than I’ll expect to have in retirement. I still have a huge allocation to no/low-dividend tech stocks, so I’ll slowly divest those over the coming years and move all in on dividend growth.

      Stock analysis is only hard because the financial industry makes it seem that way. If results were correlated with effort, then most hedge funds and mutual funds would outperform the indices–but they consistently do not.


  5. Looking good! We all have a tough month once in a while. It looks like you’re getting back on track pretty quickly. Your cost of living is pretty high, but it’ll be much better with lower rent. Have you read Root of Good? Their monthly expense is ridiculously low. I’m always jealous whenever I see their monthly report.
    You’re doing really well with passive income. Keep at it!

    • Yah, cost of living is going to be high as long as I’m working. We could move houses in the interim, but it’s a high COL area (DC Suburbs). Luckily, we have ample opportunity to drastically cut mortgage costs in retirement with a little geographic arbitrage. Thanks for stopping by, Joe. It’s awesome to see a big dog like you around here.


  6. You do have a nice downward trend going on your expenses. I imagine moving to VA certainly helped with reducing costs. Couple that with accepting a new job and raise, this should help you build a larger gap for adding to your investments and passive income.

    Congrats on the $6 blog income. 🙂 If it was easy, everyone would be doing it!

  7. A nice detailed coverage of your income and expenses; and the path you’re on. It’s always interesting to see how others approach their financial planning. Great share!

  8. Am impressed by how you have been able to achieve tremendous financial stability and independence without much great effort in the past half of the year. That is by all means very commendable. All the best in increasing the viewership of your very informative blog.

    • Certainly the biggest thing was moving to Virginia from NYC. Then, I just autopilot 401k deferrals and work at removing passive expenses. I’m really excited for results over the next few years, though. Thanks for commenting!


  9. Great update Retire29 – you’ve clearly got a fantastic handle on your finances and side hustle metrics, which is the most important step for actually doing something about improving them!

    All the best for the coming months, hope 2015 ends up being a great year for you!



    • Thanks much, Jason. You certainly get what you measure, so that forward passive income and website revenue are my big concentrations. Thankfully, it’s a long-term game, so I just like seeing incremental improvements each month.


  10. You have some great goals here!
    I’m the same age, with a 2 and a half year old daughter and another on the way in September. We’re also in MD! Definitely good to see like-minded youngish people out there. My goal is retire by 40, and we keep trucking away. I’m not into dividend investment (other than the ones that VTAX gives me), but the savings and spending are the most important things. The rest is mostly out of your control. Looking forward to following you and your family as you get closer to your goal!

    • Captain Div,
      Purchased right before the dividend increase, too. I like the transport and storage space in energy more than any other, so KMI is natural fit at this point in the cycle. I’m too scared to add to my integrateds and drillers at this point.


    • Yah, KMI is awesome, and in a relatively good spot in low-energy environment. I’d add more, but I’m getting overweight on energy. I never thought oil would still be under $45. Crazy.

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