What a spectacular year. Just a few of the highlights were that I got married to a wonderful woman, continued and made significant progress on our journey to generate passive income, cleaned up my portfolio to sleep well at night, and continued to grow and develop relationships with readers and fellow writers in this wonderful blogging community. There are so many other accomplishments and positive things that happened this year, but there are just too many to list. Ending the year on a high is always great, and December provided that by becoming my highest passive income month of the year.
This update will share December’s great numbers, but will also take a look at my year as a whole.
December and Overall 2014 Passive Income and Pageviews:
Blog Pageviews: While December dipped down with the holiday slowdown to 6,454, my readership continues to be greatly improved year over year. The growth in readership over the prior year is quite significant. In 2013, my first year blogging, I received 19,931 pageviews with 7,614 visitors. This year, I more than tripled the pageviews and saw more than two and a half times as many visitors with 63,486 pageviews and 19,126 visitors.
Of course, while these numbers were fantastic, only the number of visitors came close to my 2014 goals. My biggest challenge in hitting these goals has been my inconsistent posting for multiple month stretches of no activity. While not new with each of the last two years experiencing lapses in posting as the result of life, this isn’t a good way to hit the goals one sets. However, renewed and ready to continue the trend I’m on since starting back up in late July, I look forward to some goals in this regard for 2015.
Instead of listing the previous month’s posts, I’d like to highlight some of the more popular posts of the last year, listed in order of popularity. Feel free to check them out!
- Building a No-Cost DG Portfolio
- How to Invest in Lending Club and Prosper – My 2014 Investment Criteria
- 2013 Lending Club Tax Guide
- Simple Filters for Investing in Lending Club and Prosper
- How I Report My Lending Club Charged-Off Loans
- Snowball City – Loyal3 Dividends
- Real Estate – Refinancing my Rental Property (still pulling in views from March of 2013!)
- Declined: Credit Card Use Banned at Loyal3
As with most popular posts, this list tends to show posts that are from the beginning of the year, with just two from the last six months. So in addition to the eight listed above, the following two were a couple of my favorites from the more recent months.
Finally, I wouldn’t be where I am without the support of other bloggers and the traffic they send to my site. The following sites were the most instrumental in sending traffic this past year, so a special thanks to your links and sharing of my posts.
On the blogging front, this was a tremendous year, even with some shortfalls in my goals. I’m stoked for what 2015 has in store for WYOR and beyond. Now let’s look at the financial side of 2014.
Lending Club/Prosper: December was a rousing success for me in peer to peer lending. Combined, I achieved my highest total since back in June, pulling in $188.34 of net interest. Given I haven’t added capital since this summer, it was nice to see the interest pile up. Overall, the decline is somewhat expected as interest rates have been lower and my notes age. For all of 2014, my combined peer to peer lending investments generated $1,808.32 of net interest, averaging over $150 per month.
As you’ve seen in the chart at the top of the screen, I am nowhere close to my peer to peer lending goals for either Lending Club or Prosper for 2014. Sadly, this is my own fault for reaching a bit too far and making too broad of assumptions when it came to the capital I intended to add. I plan on rectifying this in 2015 with some regular contributions to these accounts.
Dividends: December is traditionally a dividend investor’s dream month. As for myself, it was certainly the case as I pulled in a record high, passing the $200 in one month milestone, cashing in on $208.91 of dividends. In addition to earning some sweet dividends, I put some cash to work this month while reshuffling my portfolio so I could sleep better at night. Rest assured, I am ready to launch into the New Year with a much larger base primed for dividend increases and stability.
During the month of December, I received dividends from 14 different companies. Below is a list of all my dividends received by company and whether those dividends were reinvested directly.
- Aflac (AFL): $12.12, reinvested into 0.203 shares
- American Realty Capital Partners (ARCP): $15.85, reinvested into 1.940 shares
- Chevron Corporation (CVX): $19.26, reinvested into 0.181 shares
- Coca-Cola (KO):
- Taxable: $12.02, reinvested into 0.293 shares
- Loyal3: $2.05
- Ensco (ESV): $19.33, reinvested into 0.585 shares
- Lorillard (LO): $25.67, reinvested into 0.401 shares
- Main Street Capital (MAIN): $9.90, reinvested into 0.330 shares
- Mattel (MAT): $8.81
- McDonald’s Corporation (MCD): $9.11
- Meredith Corporation (MDP): $14.55, reinvested into 0.272 shares
- Prospect Capital (PSEC): $21.25
- TAL International (TAL): $26.43. reinvested into 0.619 shares
- Target Corporation (TGT): $4.49
- Unilever (UL): $8.07
As with previous months, I am directly reinvesting all my dividends until my annual dividend income falls between $2-3,000 per year in a particular account, allowing me to reinvest more selectively a few times per year. This of course is always subject to change. For the dividends in my Loyal3 Portfolio, they will be selectively reinvested as earned or combined with additional contributions monthly. You can read about the dividend reinvestment options with Loyal3 in my Snowball City – Loyal3 Dividends post. I’ve heard ‘rumors’ that once you receive $10 of dividends from one particular holding it will be reinvested. I’ll know for sure during the first quarter of 2015 as I receive in excess of $10 in a single payment from a stock.
When factoring in my dividend reinvestments, dividend adjustments, and overall portfolio reshuffling during the past month, my forward 12-month dividends ended the year at $2,062.57. This represents a decrease of $27.97 from November’s mark, and an increase of $777.38 from a year ago. The below chart reflects my dividends received, as well as my forward 12-month dividends since the beginning of 2013, when I started tracking things on the blog. I’ve switched this chart back to being a bar graph, as it more clearly shows the quarterly cycling of dividend income.
Positivity aside, I did miss my 2014 goal for dividend income. As one of the three main drivers of passive income, this one missed my goal by the smallest margin. I fell short by just more than $100 of the $1,650 goal I set for myself, closing the year with $1,539.65 in dividends received. While somewhat disappointing, I’ve more than compensated by growing my forward 12-month dividend income to a level several hundred dollars above this goal. Plus, I received over $533.71 above and beyond my 2013 dividends. Can’t complain about 53% year over year growth! I am supremely excited for the next year and the growth in income my dividend producing investments should provide.
Passive Income Summary
During December, I received a record total of $397.25 of passive income, well diversified across my two investment types, dividends and peer to peer lending. Overall, my 2014 total passive income earned was $3,347.97. I ended the year averaging $279 per month in passive income. Another way to look at it is this: A standard work year is 2,080 hours, therefore I earned an extra $1.61 per hour for every working hour of the year. Or, assuming a reasonable wage of $20 per hour, or a salary of $41,600 per year, I “worked” just over 167 hours this year. What does this mean? Four weeks and about of day of “work”, collecting cash and enjoying the fruits of previous labors.
You can find below my updated passive income chart showing my overall passive income for the last two years, since January 2013.
All in all, December was a spectacular way to close a solid year all the way around. While I missed every single one of my goals this past year, I ended up much further than where I was 12-months ago. As the saying goes, “Reach for the stars, and if you miss, you might just get the moon.”
Don’t hesitate to look around; you can find details on the various aspects of my passive income pieces under their respective pages, Lending Club, Prosper, and the completely revamped Dividend Growth Portfolio. Additionally, you can find all of my monthly updates under the Passive Income Updates page, and all my monthly updates and incremental progress towards my 2014 goals on the Goals page.
Flickr: Bill Gracey