If you missed it, be sure to check out our end-of-year review for all of 2013 here!
This is likely the last month that I'm going to do the monthly LTNE report in the same format that I have since I began this blog in 2012. I'm not sure what that means exactly at this point, but by next month I'll have my mind settled on what I'm going to continue to share each month.
Here's what's on my mind; we've gone from massive debt to a positive net worth, even with remaining quite upside down our our rental home mortgage after the housing bubble burst. For those who've followed us closely since the beginning, we've done this mainly by cutting our spending, increasing our active and passive incomes, paying off our debt very aggressively, becoming a one-car family, and becoming very intentional with the way we've handled our finances; the details of this we've highlighted here in a very transparent way for everyone to see.
We've also occasionally talked about other topics, including health and wellness, other personal goals, some thoughts on transitioning from one career to another, and our efforts to work to make our family life as best as we can, plus anything else that struck our fancy.
I'm also knee-deep in the midst of a PhD dissertation, which I will complete and defend in August.
Why mention all of this? First, because it offers some much-needed perspective for what we're trying to accomplish, but also to begin to make clear our need to focus LTNE in a few areas and then do those areas spectacularly well. I've been happy with LTNE as a sort of "generalist" blog, but I'm not sure that is best in the long run.
Also, it just doesn't make sense to continue to post charts showing our growing net worth; I'm happy that we're growing that, of course, but the systems we've used are proven and those sorts of charts will soon grow gratuitous.
In addition, after a bunch of research and a short conversation from Sam at Financial Samurai, I likely should be including the value of my pension in my net worth calculations (for instance, at an annual benefit amount, divided by 4%, as the capitalized value). Once I do that, my net worth looks a whole lot better anyhow.
I have a month to figure out exactly what this means before my next monthly report, but I'd love to hear from you in the comments about what you do and don't find value in with these monthly reports. Undoubtedly, your thoughts will help drive my planning.
So, let's get on with it!
Passive income this month hit a new record, with a total of $926.43 generated. This nearly doubles our monthly goal for 2013, but we're still a little bit shy of that psychologically important $1,000 milestone.
This chart shows our monthly and total passive income since we began this site:
Sources of this month's affiliate income (each is a clickable affiliate link):
Amazon Associates: $142.05
Dollar Shave Club: $12.00
Prosper Sign-Ups: $42.00
We also generated $100.67 in cash rewards using our cash rewards credit cards. We have generated a total of $883.30 in cash rewards income since moving to cash rewards credit cards (these links go to our article about using our cash rewards earnings to pay for this year's Christmas).
With over $25,000 currently invested in peer-to-peer loan investments, we are generating $359.77 in monthly interest income.
For more on our P2P loan investing strategy, feel free to check out these articles.
Our net worth continues to increase, though the rate of increase continues to be slowed by the loss in our rental home's value according to Zillow.
Monthly visitors to this site are still increasing! Thanks for continuing to visit!
So, what's next?
1. We're continuing to hold down our spending with our targeted spending strategy.
2. We're investing $1,500 monthly into our Vanguard funds (VFIAX and VTIAX).
3. We're investing $1,000 monthly into our Prosper investments, while reinvesting all of our profits from existing loans at both Prosper and Lending Club. Our investments in both are now on auto-pilot (see this article I wrote about Lending Club Prime).
4. We're building savings toward future investments in other Vanguard funds (VGSLX, VSGAX, and VWESX) to complete our balanced portfolio there.
5. We're also finalizing our life goals for 2014, as well as our plans and goals for LTNE. More on that later.
Thanks to all who use our affiliate links. That's how LTNE makes money and we definitely appreciate it!
Thanks to everyone who leaves comments. It is very encouraging. Few things are as discouraging as writing a kick-ass post and then getting no interaction.
See you soon with our 2014 goals! All the best to you and yours in this new year!