Welcome to the second edition of my quarterly alternative income reports! Inspirational Monday post, let’s go!
If you had missed my first edition, click here. I feel that this is a nice balance – quarterly updates gives that familiar feeling, and yet not-too-frequent like monthly ones with nothing much to talk about.
In addition, these reports can also serve a dual purpose as summaries for what I have been up to in the past few months. If you are wondering on how to start building new streams of income, I wrote a blog post on my various streams of income
New alternative income reports starting 2020
A tiny change moving forward is that instead of having an income report that covers purely blog-related activities, this is going to branch out to include all income that result from non-salaried work.
This means that even without my full-time job, I will be able to maintain these sources of income – and likely to be able to generate much more because I would have a lot more free time to indulge myself with.
This is an important metric for me to track because in the event that I am no longer participating in a full-time salaried employment, I would have to rely on these alternative income streams to sustain my lifestyle – be it the Luxe edition, Cruising edition or Crisis edition of my budget.
My alternative income streams now consists of these four categories:
- Ad revenue
- Affiliate partners
- Portfolio dividend / fixed income
- Crypto income
1. Ad revenue – Mediavine
Coming from being a long-time user of Google AdSense and Monumetric from many years ago, I have since made the switch to Mediavine as my ad partner this year and it has turned out to be an fantastic decision.
For the whole of 2020, I did not accept a single sponsored post on my blog (again) and therefore, all ad revenue are generated from placements that you see on my blog. Thank you for not blocking the ads but if you did, no worries – I understand why you would do so.
It hasn’t been easy to find an ad partner that places the interests of (often small) blogs at the forefront, and focuses on professional support, higher quality ads and optimum loading speeds for better user experience.
To paint a realistic picture, blogging is definitely isn’t the case of getting big numbers every single day.
There are quieter days and weeks too – and it’s OK.
Nothing has changed on this front and I’m just doing what I have always done – writing. Well, perhaps putting a little bit more effort into search engine optimization (SEO) when it is applicable.
At the end of the day, regardless of having money or not, I enjoy blogging and writing about stuff that’s often related to personal finance. Some may be informational, whereas many are personal to myself. At other times, it may be on investment, travel or just my thoughts.
If you are reading this, thanks for the support and and hope that this makes an inspirational read.
2. Affiliate partners – newly added Syfe and Singlife
This blog will always be free for all – I promise. Blog revenue will be primarily responsible for paying for web hosting and any paid services that I’m using.
When it comes to the sometimes controversial topic of affiliate partners, an alternative perspective that I want to put forward is that in the current business environment, especially with the threat of the global turmoil, there are plenty of amazing products and services that may not survive the competition.
I’m doing what I can to support the businesses that I’m using, and especially those that I find significant value in.
I have been extremely careful in terms of engaging in any form of affiliate programs. As I have mentioned before, I thought a lot about this before deciding to start having affiliate partners that I am willing to work with.
It is not an easy task get into my trusted list – the number criteria is that I must personally be an active user of these products and services.
Below is a list of some of my trusted affiliates – of which new entrants will be gradually added e.g. Syfe (my $20,000 portfolio) and Singlife (my $10,000 deposit), whereas products and services that I’m not longer using will be removed.
I do feel that there is a certain amount of reputation on the line (however little my blog has) when I even write about them. This is why my angle has always been very clear – I blog about what I’m using, how they have helped me and provided value, but I don’t out-right suggest or recommend that anyone else use them.
Any actions have to come from their own free will. Skin in the game – that’s the least I can do, I suppose.
By the way, I created these swanky new grey-background logos for my new referrals page. I thought that it would be a good idea to house all of them on a dedicated page and all it takes is one glance to know the products and services that I’m using.
3. Portfolio dividend / fixed income
The most straight-forward and traditional income stream is one that comes from investment instruments. Invest in equities that pay out dividends or distributions consistently and simply collect the income.
The economy was absolutely battered in the second quarter and as a result, we have seen a slew of dividend cuts. Some companies even opted not to pay out dividends at all.
Besides stocks and REITs that provide regular payouts, I also included other options in use that generate some form of payout. As long as the payouts reach my bank accounts, they will be included.
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
- Singapore Savings Bonds (SSBs) : Approx. 2.0%
- High-interest accounts : UOB One (0.75%) and Singlife (2.5%)
Interest rates have been dropping and it doesn’t look like the situation is going to improve anytime soon. At the moment, it still looks like my back-up options would likely gravitate towards robo-advisors and their cash management options.
I have max-ed out the first tier $10,000 that earns 2.5% interest rate for Singlife in my hunt for yield. There are a couple of new players in the market but as always, I don’t blog on anything that I’m not currently using.
As mentioned, automatically re-invested components e.g. robo-advisors will not included in my tracked numbers. An example of this would be my AutoWealth robo-advisor that automatically re-invest dividends.
4. Crypto income
It is no secret that I have a “small-ish” portfolio for moonshots, and that has materialized in the form of crypto-currency. As with common advice, a tiny fraction of my net worth and never put in more than what we cannot afford to lose.
Wait – did you say “moon”?
Crypto income is mainly generated from two forms of activities – proof-of-stake (as opposed to proof-of-work) activities and crypto lending.
This blog post isn’t meant to focus on the topic of crypto so I shall not elaborate too much on it. My crypto assets that are staked and lent belonged to the category that are not in cold-storage.
Crypto Staking –
- Cosmos (ATOM) 9.85% : Cosmostation App
- Crypto.com (CRO) 16% : Crypto.com App
Crypto Lending –
- Bitcoin (BTC) 6.0% : BlockFi
- Ethereum (ETH) 4.5% : BlockFi
- USD Coin (USDC) 8.6% : BlockFi
Disclaimer – this section is not an indication to buy any of the listed tokens.
Total earnings for 2020 – second quarter (S$2294.72)
Due to the nature of my earnings, a significant portion of it are denominated in US dollars and I’ll use an exchange rate of US$1 to SGD$1.37 for this post.
The earnings in foreign currencies are typically received and converted via (horrible exchange rates provided by) PayPal.
Crypto earnings are typically converted and sent to my MCO Visa Card and converted into SGD credits for immediate use. I am generally satisfied with how my crypto portfolio looks like at the moment and have no intention of adding to my holdings.
Despite the headwinds, I was able to count my blessings in the sense that my different streams of income have pulled their weight and even out-performed expectations.
My total alternative income for the second quarter of 2020 came up to a grand total of S$2294.72 this quarter or an average of S$764.90 each month.
This is an increase of $130.97 compared to the last quarter, which came as a bit of a surprise.
- April 2020 – S$473.89 (-$48.22)
- May 2020 – S$939.47 (-$51.34)
- June 2020 – S$881.36 (+$230.53)
I remember sharing in my Zombie Apocalypse budget template post that it meant I am basically on survival mode – no travelling, no shopping, no allowances for parents etc. To be perfectly honest, this amount is sufficient to cover my basic expenses – I’m a simple man.
To put it another way, the implication is that I can work as whatever I want, whenever I want, earn some spare cash and still live life rather comfortably. Not luxuriously and with sacrifices, but still – the idea of strengthening the foundation of financial security is incredibly important to me.
Currently busting my ass off this third quarter before chilling a little bit for the year end period. It hasn’t been easy without a tangible way to take a real break at some pool villas, for example, but that’s life this days.
Getting my alternative income high enough to cover my comfy-cruising budget is my next goal right now. Needless of say, this is an important part of any FIRE journey and this is why I’m sharing mine here.
Question to ponder over – what would you do with an extra $765 each month?
My regular schedule for reports
Rather than write adhoc report posts like what I have been doing for the past years, I intend to follow a more consistent schedule moving forward.
Regular reports actually serve an excellent purpose as reference and learning points for people who are pursuing the same goals.
This is going to be the few format of quarterly and half-yearly reports or what many also know as status updates:
More than just a static update of numbers and figures, my reports will actually include relevant information for the respective topics they are addressing.
As always, leave me a comment or private message if you want to chat! Have questions? Ask away!
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Oh – did I mention I have a brand new shop?
It is basically an upgraded version of my dedicated referral links & codes page and some are exclusive offers. In my virtual store, I penned down my thoughts and listed some awesome products and services that I’m already paying for that helped to supercharge my financial journey. Check it out – it might have something you want!
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Hello! I’m Kevin, Turtle Investor
At the age of 30, I am the personal finance blogger who laid claim to a negative net worth of minus $25,755.
Seven years later in 2019, I hit CPF Full Retirement Sum (FRS) of $176,000 without making a single cent of CPF top-up. More tidbits about myself here if you’re curious. My blueprint for financial independence can help give you a headstart in your own FIRE journey.
I am married to a lovely wife and that means dual income with no kids. In my free time, I chase miles so that we can fly in business class. My hobby is making pocket change off this blog and sharing everything I know with you!
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