A transcript from a conversation with myself, inspired by my 2008 financial goals, after reminded me to follow up on them:
Brip: So, Blap, I understand you made some financial goals for 2008. It looks like they were pretty ambitious! You said you’d like to achieve an average monthly income from alternative sources of $1000 by the end of 2008. I’m sure you know that accountability is a great motivator, so let’s take a look at how you did. Have a seat.
Blap: Uh, right now? (swallows)
Brip: Yes, why not – we’re all here, aren’t we?
Blap: OK… (sits, shuffles papers nervously) Just let me get my notes organized here…
Brip: You mean you haven’t been keeping track of your progress on this goal?
Blap: No, no, no, I have, I just, I’m… (continues to shuffle papers) I’m just a little disorganized.
Brip: OK, then. How are we doing?
Blap: Well, let’s see. Our alternative income falls into three categories: investments, blogging and other. That’s good, right?
Blap: Well, for investments there are a couple of ways we can look at it.
Brip: Sounds like you’re trying to wiggle out of something already.
Blap: No, but you can look at investment income on a cash basis (as it rolls in the door) or an accrual basis (as you earn it, even if you GET it months later). On a cash basis January was very good, with more than $300 dollars in investment income. A lot of it was earned over the fourth quarter of 2007 and just paid out in January, though. Plus, we bought a car for cash, so that cash that had been generating some hefty interest went down.
Brip: Ah, I see.
Blap: Now, in terms of blogging revenue, it was minimal – less than $100. With no Adsense, and a decision not to accept a number of other ads because they were, well, for bad things made this a real disappointment.
Brip: I agree. But if you decided not to accept ads for various products because you wouldn’t use them yourself, you’re just making a choice that you hope will pay off later – namely, some integrity in advertising.
Blap: That’s the hope, at least.
Brip: Well, OK. Other income?
Blap: We managed to generate a few dollars through writing, and we have some good leads on some other possibilities, but less than $50. We started lending through Prosper but have received less than $1 in interest so far, and we have funded a Lending Club account but haven’t started identifying loans yet. We’ve had dozens of people sign up for Prosper but they aren’t lending yet, so we haven’t received our referral fees for that, either.
Brip: So you’re telling me – excluding investment income – your income through alternative sources was less than $150?
Blap: Er, yes.
Brip: Whew. (taps fingers on desk)
Blap: Yep. (drops head)
Brip: Blap, it’s a good thing you and I are the same person or I’d fire you right now.
Blap: Hey! Don’t forget that this is an average over 12 months. I still have time to make it up. I am trying to work on increasing the income from blogging, but I’m having a lot of trouble with ads. You agreed with my decision not to litter the site with text ads or ads for junk products. Don’t worry, the blogging income will come. And the “other” category will pick up if you finally start doing something about moving your book along and develop that independent consulting practice.
Brip: Well, I’ll believe it when I see it. What were you doing all this month?
Blap: I did spend a lot of time with our cars – shopping for a new one took a lot of time. Plus the other one needed repairs. Cars are completely money suckers. At least we didn’t finance the new car, since we had saved up for it.
Brip: True. (mutters to self)
Blap: And the playoffs were on. And we have been doing very well at work, what with the rate increase and the potential referral bonuses.
Brip: The playoffs? Get out of my office. You have a lot of work to do.
Blap: Yes, sir.
(leaves room, dejected)
Brip (to self): Well, the playoffs were good. WE STOMP YOU OUT!
photo by Erik Charlton