I have published a passive income monthly update for the last seven years. For more than the last decade, I’ve published goals that have been updated… sporadically. Some of those goals are money and business-related. Others are personal or family-related.
This year, I’m going to merge them.
It will ensure that I am accountable for my goals at least once a month. It should be much better than looking at them once a quarter and thinking, “F^$^#, I didn’t do any of these.”
Now, I can say that twelve times a year! ?
All joking aside, putting goals in a spreadsheet and regularly updating it is very powerful. I’m incredibly proud of what I accomplished at the end of every year. Before I had this structure, the annual John Lennon lyrics, “So this is Christmas… And what have you done?” stung me to the core.
Steal this idea and make it yours. I make an absurd number of goals I know I’ll never complete. It gives me the flexibility to fail on some things as long as I’m making progress on others. Most people would do the opposite, focus on fewer goals, and aim to get them all done. It’s much less overwhelming.
I have three side hustles with a passive component: a dog-sitting business, this blog, and I manage a website for a non-profit. They all require some active work. However, I can get paid by all three even while working a full-time job. I do some other hourly work that isn’t passive income. That isn’t included here, of course.
In the past, I’ve written a whole monthly article on this passive income. I’ve decided to cut out much of the fluff and give you the numbers. If this area of passive income seems off or confusing, perhaps the last full article will make more sense.
Dog, Blog, and Web Income
In January, dog boarding was very good. Usually, people don’t travel much, but we had steady dogs all month. I’d say this is an excellent sign for 2024, but we have a lot of openings the week before the February school vacation.
Blog income was poor. That’s normal for January – advertisers spent all their money on the Christmas shopping season. The good news is that we made more than last January. I’ll take it.
The non-profit website I manage doesn’t pay much, but I love being part of the organization. I hope to add more in 2024. Last month’s dog, blog, and website income was:
The previous month it was $5,304.59. It’s great to be close to December’s numbers, which is tremendously better for dog boarding.
Because all of these require some work, I only count half of it as passive income.
Rental Property Income
We have two rental properties. We still have mortgages on them, so the rental income isn’t much more than breaking even. We’re almost done with mortgages, though, and then they’ll make much more money (around $25,000 a year).
For the purpose of this report, I calculate their income using the following formula:
(Rents After Estimated Expenses) * (Equity Percentage Owned) = Passive Income)
Estimated expenses are insurance, property taxes, condo fees, and estimated condo maintenance. Equity Percentage Owned (EPO) is our total equity divided by the property value in Zillow. (Zillow is very accurate for our condos.)
Zillow thought our properties were worth almost 1% more than the previous month. We also paid off about a thousand dollars of mortgages. They both help our EPO.
The rents after expenses are $2,218/mo. In January, we owned 79.50% of the properties. Using the equation, this would be $1,763 in income.
Last month, it was $1,755. This only goes up a few dollars unless the real estate market soars.
Managing rental properties requires some work – a few days a year. For this reason, I only count 80% of this number as passive income.
My wife and I have been nearly maxing out our retirement accounts for a couple of decades. With investment growth, we’ve got a nice nest egg.
I don’t track the exact dividends from all the accounts. That’s a lot of work. Instead, I assume we could invest the money into an ETF that conservatively pays a 2.5% dividend.
I also have profit-sharing income with a private company in which I own a small stake. I get a check each month that behaves like a dividend – it’s just taxed a little differently.
The markets are doing very well lately. Our dividend income is at an all-time high. For January, it was $4,448.
Last month, it was 4,349. That $99 of growth is a lot. We rarely see the numbers go up that much.
Unlike the previous two sections, this income is 100% passive. For this reason, I don’t have to adjust the numbers.
Total Passive Income
Dog/Blogs: $4,692.17 – Adjusted to $2,346.09
Rentals: $1,763 – Adjusted to $1,410.40
Dividends: $4,448 – Remains at $4,448
Dogs/Blogs Blue Line
Rental – Red Line
Dividend – Yellow Line
Total Adjusted Passive Income: $8,204.49
Here’s a graph of the adjusted passive income since 2017, when I started keeping track:
(The blue line represents the monthly total adjusted passive income. The Red Line represents the 12-month average. This removes some of the seasonality of dog boarding.)
My wife continues to work as well. She has over 24 years in the military and will be getting a pension that may double all this passive income.
I can’t think of anywhere else to put this information, but our net worth grew 1.42% last month to another all-time high.
Business and Other Money Goals
Personal Income ($85,000)
Two years ago, I made over $98,000 in side hustles. Last year, I made $88,000. I’ve recently cut back on dog boarding a bit, so I’ll aim for $85,000 this year. In January, I made about $7,000, and I’m on a $75,000 pace. That’s good for one of my worst months.
Complete Estate Planning
I need to do some serious estate planning… the kind that involves lawyers and financial/tax advisers.
Last year, I read More Than Enough by Mike Piper and contacted him about estate planning. We’ve got an initial meeting scheduled in a few days. I might be a unique client for him as a personal finance blogger.
Kid Wealth (Goal: 50,000 Page Views)
For the third year, I hope to get 50,000 page views on Kid Wealth.
In 2022, I launched Kid Wealth and wrote a lot of articles. It had 4,200 page views that year. In 2023, I got involved in other projects, but I tripled traffic to 13,708. Another triple won’t be enough, but it only takes one article to go viral.
I don’t have any money goals for it right now, but I’d love it if I had a few people support it on Patreon with $1/month.
I’m looking for more website work, so I need to set up my website to show off what I can do. I also need to update my LinkedIn profile. I haven’t updated it since about 2006, I think? It will be fun explaining a nearly 20-year gap while I’ve been blogging.
I’m putting a lot of focus on health this year. As you can tell from the above, our financial situation is good. Now, we just have to be healthy enough to enjoy a few decades of spending it.
Lose Weight and Body Fat (Goal: 175lbs, 22.5% body fat)
I started January 1st at 192.5 pounds. That’s four pounds over my average (188.5) for last year. Most of that holiday weight, so I knew it would be easy to lose. As I’m writing this in early February, my weekly average is 184.5.
(For those wondering, I get this information automatically from my ten-year-old Fitbit Aria scale. Looks like Fitbit’s newer scales discontinued body fat.
How did I lose the weight? Read on…
Health Points (Goal: 350)
This year, I’m tracking my health by giving myself a grade at the end of the week for diet and exercise. The best score I can receive in each is 5 points.
When I give myself a five, I am saying that I generally had the reasonably best week. I can only have a couple of off meals a week and still get a five. The rest of the time, I have to eat with a purpose, such as half fruits and vegetables or half plant protein.
For exercise, I’d have to put in a very solid effort every day to get a five.
With 52 weeks, I can earn a maximum of 260 health points each for diet and exercise.
For the first five weeks, I scored 24 out of 25 possible points. There was one week when we went out to a couple of restaurants. On the exercise side, I earned only 7 out of the 25 possible points. I only did a little elliptical for a couple of weeks.
This is working really well for me. The Fitbit daily weigh-in in the morning gets me motivated. The weekly scoring helps me see trends without making me manually log each day. That’s a pace that I can’t keep up with.
I am looking to do several health appointments this year.
I have to do some serious dental scaling. My dentist canceled my appointment last year and sent me back to the line. I really like the time there, and they are the only place capable of billing my insurance, so I’m sticking with them. I got half of my mouth done last week and another half coming up in a few days.
I also have an ADHD appointment scheduled with my general practitioner. I did an assessment at ADHD Online because managing insurance and booking local testers is insanely difficult.
The online test covered some mental health stuff, too. Ironically, I feel like I’m in the best mental health I’ve been in for years.
Telehealth should be the wave of the future. We’ll see how it goes in a few days.
Finally, I bought a bunch of body scans at DexaFit after watching You Are What You Eat on Netflix. The samples online look impressive. I’m also getting a VO2 max test for cardio fitness and an RMR metabolic analysis. I bought enough for my wife to get them all, too.
Stay tuned for more on this.
(That show seemed like an infomercial for eating vegan. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was sponsored by PETA. There were still some good takeaways.)
All month, I’ve been writing down little things that I’d like to learn how to do. Some of these are productive hobbies that may bring in an income at some point.
I almost never get the time to do any of these things. Below are just some of the ideas:
- Learn AI
I want to become really good at being a “prompt engineer,” with a stretch goal of getting paid to be one. You might see some AI artwork here.
My kids use Canva at school, and they are better than me. That’s just sad. I need to up my game when it comes to creating and processing better images. I might find that Adobe Creative is better.
- 3D Printing
We got a 3D printer for Christmas. It’s still in the box.
- Rubik’s Cube
Last year, my 10-year-old mastered the Rubik’s Cube. He’s not a full-speed cuber, but he can solve it in about 2 minutes.
I can do it, but I need to have the algorithm in front of me. The goal is to do it without needing the algorithm.
- WordPress Blog as a Journal?
I should be keeping a journal of some kind. Lazy Man and Money is my money journal. The goal is a journal for everything else.
- Program in Python
I want to make a toy program to get my old software engineering skills going again.
- Learn to fly a flight simulator
- Learn to play Backgammon
- Play a modern song on an ukulele
Hopefully, there are enough options there to find a few that will stick.
Declutter and Organize House
Every year, we have some home improvement goals on the list. Last year, we got new carpets and interior paint.
This year, we are looking to declutter and organize the whole house. In January, I did one junk drawer that had stuff like a Burger King coupon that expired in 2015. I did a couple of clothing drawers, too. It’s been slow as my wife has been traveling for a couple of weeks.
We hired a friend who is a designer to be our enforcer on this. My wife doesn’t need it, but I certainly do.
Our big March trip is a Royal Caribbean cruise from Florida and several days at Disney World. The cruise is going to Mexico, Honduras, and the Bahamas.
In June, we’re booked on our annual trip to Block Island.
In December, we’ve reserved our timeshare for Aruba, but we may switch it up and go somewhere else.
The big change this year is that we don’t have a late August trip planned. My wife is looking to conserve vacation days, so we might just stick around and save some money.
Every year, I always had a grand plan for the kids. Maybe we’d work on a YouTube channel or specific sports.
This year, I don’t have a lot planned. They’ll do most of what they’ve done in the past.
It will include the same theater and sailing camps which I am planning now.
It will include karate, Lego Robotics, and maybe a couple of racket sports.
I’m still trying to get them some kind of in-person coding class, but it isn’t going well.
In the next update, I’ll flesh this out a little more.
I didn’t realize how much work it would be to put all this together. I usually have a spreadsheet to track goals, but I haven’t been able to put that together yet. It’s more important to get this published. After all, it’s late in the year to make New Year’s resolutions, right?
I also usually have some personal notes to add of things we did in January. I usually include a few pictures too. Last month, some of the family got sick, so those were a little limited. We did have some events though. We celebrated my son turning 10. The navy base had a kids golfing clinic. We got a little snow to go sledding. We went to the movies a couple of times before they closed the town cinema ?.
I’ll get to adding a spreadsheet and a more personal narrative in next month’s update.