Geographic Independence: January 2009 update

February 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments

It’s time to pull out the ruler and measure our progress toward our geographic independence goal as of the end of January, 2009.  By which I mean, how much income did we have and how did that match up to the plan?



Our weighted average GI income for the month was $343.78 which puts us significantly further along in the plan than we had expected to be at this time.  According to our original 10-year plan, we were aiming for a weighted average income of $104.20 and weren’t supposed to hit $343.22 until June 30, 2011.  How is this possible?

Well, there are two major components.  First, advertising revenue on (mostly) my wife’s blog has improved greatly since the time we started to piece together the plan.  My own two blogs have made a little income but nowhere near as much as my wife’s blog.  Income from all sites jumped up a noticeable amount by making a few tweaks to ad placement and marketing efforts.   I suspect there is still more we can do in that regard, but growing readership is probably going to have a larger impact.   In the end, our online income was a 39% slice of this month’s income pie.  And the trend line has crossed over for the first time since I’ve started tracking (since Jan 2008) — our online income is the largest slice of the income pie!

The second component relates to our efforts over the past few months to maximize income from our cash savings by focusing on putting it into higher yielding accounts.  Yes, I’ve forced us to do a little bit of rate chasing and opening of new accounts in order to accomplish this, but I think it’s paid off since we’ve managed to keep our interest income the same even as all institutions have lowered interest rates.  Again, I’ll have to give a good amount of credit for that to our CD laddering strategy.

There was also a small, but noticeable income bump as a result of dividends paid on our growing GI investment portfolio.  I’m hoping to grow that faster using a covered call strategy, but it’s still hard to get going with that given the overall small size of the portfolio.  And it certainly doesn’t help that Zecco changed their free trades policy.  We’re still wrestling to come up with a new plan as we wait for the 5-day hold to pass on the funds we had just deposited with them a day before the announcement.  Ugh, what bad timing!

Like last month, writing up the income and matching it up to the plan makes me wonder if we should modify the plan already?  But I think the answer hasn’t changed: we need to see more proof of the trend before making any drastic changes.  Plus, the full 10 year plan requires us to start some new income streams that we really haven’t made much progress on in the past month.  I think those two factors easily cancel out our faster than expected start, so no changes will be made to the plan yet.

Tags: Geo Ind Goal

4 responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Boomer // 2009.02.08 at 1:49 pm

    Hey D. –

    Congrats on your progress. Being the blogger noob that I am, I’m curious about your blog income. I know you’re blog is relatively new so I’m impressed you’re generating ANY income from GI. If you’re so inclined to share your methods, I’d like to know what you’ve done to date.


  2. 2 davmp // 2009.02.10 at 7:49 am

    @Boomer: Thanks!

    Well I’m certainly not generating lots of income from this site, but I am generating a little by the occasional click on the AdSense ads. About $10 in January. By far, the bulk of the online income has come from my wife’s site which gets about 20K visits a month now. She’s been blogging for over a year and we’ve experimented a little with ad placement — both for aesthetic reasons and income reasons. We’ve tried AdSense, Amazon referrals, Commission Junction, LinkShare, and LinkWorth and honestly, the only ones that seems to be consistent for us are AdSense and LinkWorth. But what works for us may not be right for you. I’d suggest experimenting with programs and layouts until you hit upon something that works for you.

    By the way, I would say that income generation from this blog is not my main goal. Yes it helps contribute to our GI portfolio, but I’m more trying to build a record of my thoughts and get organized on tasks at this point.

  3. 3 Boomer // 2009.02.12 at 8:56 pm

    D. –

    Thanks for the insight. I’m with you: blog writing does help me clarify my thoughts and solidify my goals. I suppose that when I get to 20k visits, the income question will be more relevant. 🙂 Congrats to your wife!

  4. 4 Geographic Independence: February 2009 update | Geographic Independence // 2009.03.02 at 5:34 pm

    […] the plan?  In short, we’re well ahead of the plan still, though not quite as far as we were last month.   We’ve dropped down 9 months and are only earning the equivalent of what we had wanted […]

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