Finances,  Investments

2018 Financial Report

After a huge amount of struggle I finally located an online tax service that would handle the K-1 statement that was giving me so much trouble. I spent $95 to use the service but I consider it money well-spent. They not only managed to increase my refund, they saved me the bother of having to track down someone locally to do my taxes.

That said, I will definitely have to consider the merits of hiring a professional to do this stuff in the next few years, especially when I start investing in real estate.

Income Comparison

2017 Adjusted Gross Income: $5,631

Income sources for 2017: Part-time cashier at a grocery store and book royalties.

2018 Adjusted Gross Income: $9,964

Income sources for 2018: Part-time cashier at a grocery store, book royalties, stock market dividends and sale proceeds.

Income Increase/Decrease: $4,333 increase, or 77%.

Amount Invested in 2018: $2,153 (Includes reinvested dividends and sale proceeds)

Percentage of annual income invested: 21.6% of AGI.

2019 Income and Investment Summary

I did quite well last year! I knew that my public job income had increased due to my raise and additional hours worked but I had no idea that it had almost doubled.

My book royalty income took a serious hit last year but I only published a book or two of fiction. Those are under another pen name. I did them for practice and didn’t expect much. I can’t recall offhand if I published a nonfiction book last year but I doubt it. I’ve got a nonfiction book in progress at the moment that I’ll continue to tinker on as time allows. Hopefully that will give my income in this arena a boost. That income source is still pulling a profit so this website will remain active for yet another year. At this point I will probably keep it active whether it is pulling a profit or not, simply to chronicle my progress on this new adventure.

The current value of my stock market investments is laughable but I knew they would be. Not only am I still learning; I’m also using contrarian investment strategies and a long-term outlook to maximize my investment. I’ve not lost any money yet; based on my research that is what truly matters so I am satisfied.

Lessons Learned

I’ve learned the value of patience. I jumped too soon on my Corus investment; while I expected them to cut their dividends, I had no idea just how negatively it would affect their stock price. If I had waited until after the dividend cut I would have doubled the value of my investment when it slowly ticked back up; as it is I’m barely breaking even on stock price. While I’m not concerned (I’m still receiving dividends), it taught me a valuable lesson concerning how the market moves as well as the value of patience.

I’ve learned that while diversification is a good thing that right now I cannot afford to diversify too much. It is much better to own more stock in fewer companies than a little bit in a bunch of companies. As a result, I now locate a company that I like, work out the highest price I am willing to pay for the stock, and invest in it until it reaches my high limit before moving on.

This strategy not only maximizes the earnings potential of my investments, it greatly reduces my trading fees. It also drastically reduces the amount of research I have to do to locate potential investments.

I’ve learned from experience just how beautiful dividends can be. I have roughly a week’s wage coming in each year through dividends now. I repeat that feat 51 more times and I will be financially free once more. I don’t intend to simply focus on dividends, however. Before I will even consider quitting my day job I want to have at least two sources of passive income that will cover my living expenses. This will protect me if one of my sources takes a hit (like my book royalties have–lesson learned!), and will allow me to live on one income source while investing the other so that my income will continue in an upwards direction. I want to ensure that I have the inevitable cost of living increases covered with money to spare when I decide to retire from working a public job.

Plans for the Future

I want to slowly improve my quality of life over time. While I have no issues with living cheap, I want to grow my income to the point where I no longer have to out of necessity.

I’m also curious. Just how high can I grow my income since I’m starting at the bottom? Can an old woman with barely a high-school education, who brings in between $600-$700 a month from book royalties and part-time work become a millionaire?

Is that even physically possible? Can I read a few books and learn enough about investing to pull off such a feat? If so, how long will it take?

I don’t know, but I’m definitely going to find out.

Because if I can do this, if I can start from rock-bottom and work my way to the top, that will prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the American Dream is not dead. It will prove that, no matter who you are and where you’re starting from, that you can improve your financial life as well.

On a personal note, it will prove that this “waste of humanity,” this woman who has been called crazy more times than she can count, isn’t quite as dumb as those around her thinks she is.

I don’t care if that’s childish; I still want a bit of vindication. I’ve been laughed at so many times over this past year that it’s starting to piss me off. I’m getting to the point that the anger inside of me is pushing me to work harder.

For now I’m going to take a break. I am going to enjoy the rest of my evening so that I can wake up bright and early tomorrow morning and get back to work. Have a nice night!

8 Comments

  • Linda Sand

    Personally, I think you are one smart and capable woman! The things you are able to do amaze me!

  • John Grebe

    Annie, As far as I am concerned you are already successful both as a writer and an investor. Steven King once famously said something along the lines that if you write something that another person is willing to pay money for with check that does not bounce than you are a successful writer that is quite talented as far as he is concerned. The same thing holds for your investments. If you continue to save as much as you can for your investments while writing and working part time and the end result comes out to the dividends income giving you an extra 1-2 Social Security checks a year, then you would still be a successful investor. Every little bit counts for something and it adds up over time. While people might laugh at you now for putting in the extra work now, later on a few decades from now even that amount would be enough to make them jealous I’m sure.

  • Carla

    Hi Annie, your words are refreshing to me once again. Although I am occasionally looked at sideways for being a bit mystical….permit me to blurt out some thoughts. There is a spiritual teaching that I have heard in christian realms as well as in self-help realms and success stories and that is basically this:

    When someone is close to a breakthrough…the devil, or the “infrastructure” that has kept one stagnant rises up to reclaim it’s obedient servant. That
    being or “infrastructure” has a voice…..it says things like this:” Why bother to reach for something unknown….you might fail…you might lose everything! Why reach to learn something new…..no one else around you is reaching to learn anything new. Stay the same as the average person around you….stop making them uncomfortable with your insatiable intellect and boundless enthusiasm. Stay passive. Stay stuck. Don’t grow. Stop moving forward!!!”

    Ok, I think I’ve given that “voice” enough screen time. Time to focus on what I would say to you if you were right here having a coffee with me across this cherry colored wooden desk. I’d say “ANNIE” in all caps! ANNNIE!!!! Don’t you dare give up on your dreams. You are the dream maker. you are the CAN DO QUEEN!
    You have made so many people feel empowered to survive and feel capable in the midst of poverty and challenging family situations. You have taught people to write and publish their words. You have taught people how to budget and live within their means. You have broken complex tasks into simple steps that we have been readily able to absorb and apply to our own lives.

    Now, you have ventured onto a new path. An unknown path. But an incredibly exciting and unlimited journey. Yes, there will be mysteries and a multitude of questions along the way. But it is the journey and the struggle that brings joy. No struggle…..no joy.

    Kind lady, live life to the fullest, and your kids will live to exemplify your resilience and prosperity in all it’s forms.

    • Annie

      Have I told you just how much I adore you, Carla? I needed to hear that. Thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Please don’t ever feel that you have to censor your spirituality around me; I find it both refreshing and helpful.