Money Diaries: Anthony Bourdain, Spike Lee, Kylie Jenner, and Other Interesting People

wsmoneydiaryIt’s been more than a decade since I started this site because I had no other outlet to talk about financial independence. Talking about your money in public remains a mostly taboo topic. The idea of financial freedom through an aggressive saving rate remains a niche interest. I suppose the anonymous nature of the internet makes it the ideal place for like-minded people to share information and experiences.

Robo-allocator WealthSimple runs a series called Money Diaries, in which “interesting people tell the unvarnished truth about their financial lives”. I don’t really know if I would call it completely unvarnished (can it be if you have a publicist?), but at least they’re sharing something personal about money! It can be reassuring to hear other people talk about how their childhood experiences or other struggles with money have shaped their lives.

I’ve been gradually working my way through them. Here’s a sampling:

  • Anthony Bourdain

    Before he was the guy from Parts Unknown, he was 44, never had a savings account, hadn’t filed taxes in 10 years, and was AWOL on his AmEx bill.

    […] Since that time, I am fanatical about not owing anybody any money. I hate it. I don’t want to carry a balance, ever. I have a mortgage, but I despise the idea. That was my biggest objection to buying property, though I wasn’t in the position to pay cash.

  • Spike Lee

    Here’s what I’ve learned, though: It only takes one yes. No matter how many people say no, you only need that one yes and you’re off and running. You can’t let the nos defeat you. Because that’s all it takes—just one yes.

  • Kylie Jenner

    That’s not to say I don’t splurge from time to time. The money I spend is mostly on cars. I have six of them right now. Six is probably too many, I know. But my number one jam this summer is this cherry red Rolls Royce Wraith that I’ve been driving all over the place. What can I say? I love it.

  • Jay Allison (NPR, All Things Considered)

    I went into college as an Engineering Major and came out with a Theater degree. This was 1973. My family didn’t love me any less, but they clearly thought I was making a foolish choice. But I’d bought into a sort of ‘60s Peace Corps-style idealism. I wondered, “What does wealth have to do with personal fulfillment, with happiness, with a well-chosen path through life?”

  • Brett Loudermilk (Professional Sword Swallower)

    Here’s the thing: I know nothing about money. I just know how to monetize this weird thing I do. I often joke that I want to be making a living while doing the least amount of work possible. But it’s not really a joke—it’s a real thing. There are tons of people in the world who do very little work and make more money than I can ever imagine, and I want a piece of that. And the reason is, with my free time I want to create art and performances that will make people happy. I love gigs where I can do 15 minutes of work and make a ridiculous sum of money that I can live off of for six months while I explore my own passion projects and weird fanciful ideas.

  • Maria Bamford (Comedian)

    There’s so much shame attached to discussing finances. I don’t totally understand it. Why can’t we all know what everybody’s earning? When I get booked to do a stand-up show, I can gross $20,000 or more in a night. That’s my current market rate.

    […] That’s when I found a 12-step group dealing with money. L.A. is the 12-step capital of the world, so it wasn’t hard. I love 12-step programs—any kind. I started going to them when I was younger and struggling with eating issues. I think that there’s huge power in a group of humans coming together, getting out of isolation, and helping one another think of new ideas. It’s a weirdly miraculous thing. And there’s always free coffee!

RealtyShares Review 2017: Wisconsin Apartment Loan One-Year Update

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Here’s a one-year update on my $2,000 investment through RealtyShares, a partial interest in a loan backed by a 6-unit apartment complex in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. RealtyShares is restricted to accredited investors only. Here are the highlights:

  • Property: 6-unit, 6,490 sf multifamily in Milwaukee, WI.
  • Interest rate: 9% APR, paid monthly.
  • Amount invested: $2,000.
  • Term: 12 months, with 6-month extension option.
  • Total loan amount is $168,000. Purchase price is $220,000 (LTC 76%). Estimated after-repair value is $260,000. Broker Opinion of Value is $238,000.
  • Loan is secured by the property, in the first position. Also have personal guarantee from borrower.
  • Stated goal is to rehab, stabilize, and then either sell or refinance.

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Property details. I chose this property because it is different from my other past “experiments”. I have never lived in or visited Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I have never invested in an apartment complex. Where I live, parking spaces have sold for more than $200,000. All units are 2 bed/1 bath, currently fully rented for ~$600 a month each. I don’t know all the numbers, but this place earns roughly $43,000 in gross annual rents with a purchase price of $220,000. Annual property taxes are $3,000 a year. Even if half of the rent is spent on expenses, that is still a cap rate of 10%. To be honest, I have had some second thoughts about this borrower (after a few late payments) that s/he is juggling too many investment properties using crowdfunding websites.

Initial experience. This specific investment was not “pre-funded” by RealtyShares. That meant that I had to wait until they secured enough committed money before the deal can go forward. I committed to this loan on 12/21/15 and $2,000 was debited from my Ally bank account on 12/29/15. However, the funding goal was not reached until 1/13/16 (before which I earned no interest) and I didn’t receive my first interest payment until 3/4/16 (for interest accrued 1/13-2/10). There was essentially a 3 month period between the time where they first took my money and I received my first interest check. I did receive my second month of interest shortly thereafter on 3/17/16.

Since my initial investment, RealtyShares has started offering investments on a pre-funded basis. You should also know that you don’t have to deposit any money into your account first before investing in any deal. You should link an account, but you can sign the papers and they will debit the funds when the investment closes.

What if RealtyShares goes bankrupt? RealtyShares investments have a bankruptcy-remote design. RealtyShares, Inc. is the platform. Your investment is held within a separate special-purpose LLC with a designated trustee which would continue to operate even if RealtyShares, Inc. goes bankrupt.

Payment history. I’ve been earning my 9% APR interest on my $2,000 initial investment, which works out to $15 a month. Below is a screenshot of my interest payments, which I have elected to by deposited directly into my bank account. You can see that I have received 12 payments over the last 12 months (March 2016 to March 2017). The borrower has had a few late payments, but always seems to catch up eventually. There was a mention of late charges potentially being charged, but none appear to have been paid out to my account. I need to follow-up on that (I assume it was within the allowed grace period).

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Recap and next steps? My real-estate-backed loan through RealtyShares is now a year old, designated my Real Estate Crowdfunding Experiment #3. I have received my 9% interest as promised, and the loan is current although some past payments have been late before becoming current again. The borrower has exercised the 6-month extension option and the loan now has an expected maturity of 5/20/17, so it remains a continuing experiment to see how/if/when the borrower pays off the loan in full. I definitely like that my loans are backed by hard assets, and a small part of me is still curious as to what would happen if the borrower just walked away.

Please don’t take any of my experiments as recommendations as the entire point is that I don’t know all the angles. I am sharing and learning. Also, I don’t know your situation. If you are interested and are an accredited investor, you can sign-up for free and browse investments at RealtyShares before depositing any funds or making any investments.

Experiment #1 was with Patch of Land (accredited only) and single-family residential property in California, which was paid back in full with a 12.5% annualized return. Experiment #2 is ongoing with the Fundrise Income eREIT (open to public), which holds a basket of commercial property investments and has been paying quarterly distributions on a timely basis.

Lemonade: Homeowners & Rental Insurance With No Incentive To Deny Your Claim?

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Right or wrong, many people view insurance companies with suspicion. Even though you pay them money every month for protection, you’re not really sure if they are truly on your side (despite what the commercial says). The problem is that with most … [Read the rest]

Fidelity Brokerage and IRA Bonuses for New Asset Transfers

Fidelity Investments has a few different bonuses if you transfer a certain levels of new assets over to them. These are handy if you want to move money out of an old 401(k) plan or are looking to try out a new broker. Besides a cash deposit, you … [Read the rest]

Dollar Shave Club vs. Dorco USA Razor Price Comparison

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Dollar Shave Club and Harry's are supposedly "disrupting" the shaving industry. Honestly, I don't get it. Buying a razor is like buying shampoo, soap, or toilet paper. In other words, I buy them in bulk when Costco has a coupon for it. ;) Last … [Read the rest]

Fundrise Income eREIT Review 2017: One Year Update

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Here's an update on my $2,000 investment into the Fundrise Income eREIT. Fundrise is taking advantage of recent legislation allowing certain crowdfunding investments to be offered to the general public (they were previously limited only to … [Read the rest]

High-Cost Index Funds and Low-Cost Actively Managed Funds

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Here's a Vanguard Blog post called Mind fund details, not labels by Frank Kinniry that includes some good reminders about the mutual fund and ETF industry: Low-cost vs. high-cost is more important than actively managed vs. passively managed. … [Read the rest]

More Experience = Less Complexity?

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When we had our first child, it seems like we were prepared for the apocalypse whenever we stepped out the door. Below is a visualization taken from Pinterest, while we actually had this $60 SkipHop diaper bag filled to the brim. Compare … [Read the rest]

Groupon Deal: Sam’s Club Membership + $10 Gift Card for $30

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Groupon has a Sam's Club Plus membership deal where for $30 you get the following: One-year Sam’s Club Savings membership ($45 value) Complimentary membership card for a spouse or other household member $10 e-gift card valid online or … [Read the rest]

USAA Limitless Cashback Rewards Visa Signature Card Review: 2.5% Cash Back

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USAA, which serves members of the U.S. military and their immediate families, has a new cash back rewards card called the USAA Limitless™ Cashback Rewards Visa Signature® Card. This card is currently in an online pilot program and is only … [Read the rest]

Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard Review: 1.5% Cash Back + $100 Bonus

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Barclaycard has a new cash back rewards card called the Barclaycard CashForward™ World MasterCard® which earns a flat 1.5% cash back on all purchases with no earnings cap. There is also no annual fee and an upfront sign-up bonus. Here are the … [Read the rest]

2017 IRS Federal Income Tax Brackets Breakdown Example (Married w/ 1 Child)

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In a continued attempt to better explain the 2017 federal income tax brackets, here is a graphical breakdown of a simple scenario for a married filing joint couple with 1 dependent. See also my previous examples for a single filer with no … [Read the rest]