My first job at 13 was at The Popcorn Stand. I made $5.50 an hour and cherished every hundred dollar paycheck. I was the Popcorn Godfather!

Times have changed over the years but I’ve always loved the making and collecting of money. The spending part has never been my interest. In general, I love this man-made invention of green paper and how it impacts our society.

“Money is not everything but it enables everything.”

There are infinite articles about how to make money but a complete absence about what you do once you get it. It’s something I constantly ask wealthier friends what they do so I can improve my own.

I am going to share what I do with my money in hopes that we all can share and learn with each other.

Everything for me starts with my monthly Google Spreadsheet.



(these are not my real #s)

Every month I make a copy of the spreadsheet and manually update it. I like the intention that I have to do check all the different sites and it makes me feel confident I’m seeing the real numbers.

There are automation options I recommend like Mint and Personal Capital. A lot of guys in our Sumo office really like Digit for automated savings or Robinhood for buying stocks.

Here’s how I break out my money:

  • 45% – Cash
  • 25% – Real Estate
  • 25% – Long-term (stocks)
  • 5% – Risky

Cash

Most of my money is in cash since I like KNOWING where my money is at ALL times. When the economy goes bad, the people with cash in hand will be in charge. Yes, I know inflation blah blah, whatever the F that is. But, it gives me flexibility for opportunities to make large cash purchases vs requiring a loan from anyone.

Long-term (stocks)

Let me just say it. I am the worst stock investor ever. You should create a fund that just shorts everything I buy. Here’s a list of some of my “best” stock buys:

  • KKR – I liked the company from Barbarians at the Gate book, lost $4,000
  • Shake Shack – Hardly ate there but supposedly they are always crowded, lost $3,000
  • Chipotle – Hello Ebola, lost $1,700 (so far)
  • BlockBuster – Don’t ask

Clearly, you can see I’m the greatest stock picker ever.

So I buy a few stocks that I just love like Amazon, Google, Tesla, and 2 with great dividends: AT&T and Verizon. I don’t plan on selling these stocks and hold them for the very long term.

What Warren Buffet famously suggested and I do is move the majority of my market investing to index funds. Why? It’s been consistently shown that index funds outperform many individual stock pickers + hedge funds.

This money is specifically in Vanguard Small Cap and Vanguard Wellington Large Cap.

Every month $1,000 from my paycheck is automatically withdrawn to buy shares of the above index funds.

I don’t think I’ll live to 65, so I prefer to put my money directly in the above investments instead of a 401k or IRA. If you are a small business owner yourself, check out the SEP IRA if you think you’ll live longer than me 🙂

Real-Estate

How many people can buy real estate? Almost EVERYONE.

How many people think they are great at real estate? Way too many people (and most of them aren’t).

How many people are pretty darn good at online business? Very few.

Thankfully I’m one of them. Lesson: Play to your strengths. I’ve come to recognize real estate is good but as a profit center, it’s not the best use of my time.

I have 4 properties. There, I said it. “Wow, he must be so rich” you’re thinking. But in reality, the amount of money I make a YEAR in real-estate is way less than what we make in ¼ a month at AppSumo.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a better return than just leaving it in my checking account. But that comes at the cost of dealing with A/C issues, tenants being meanie weenies and other distractions.

In addition, I use RealtyShares.com, which is a way of giving money to professional real-estate investors. I’ve put in around $60k so far and make around 10% cash on cash return from that. Not a guaranteed return but a way of diversifying my real-estate amounts without the hassle of the day-to-day involvements.

Risky

This is money I don’t mind losing at all. It’s money to invest in myself and learn about new things. If it makes money, all the better.

Here’s what I’ve done with it:

Invested money in Teachable.com and Buffer.com. Both are companies I highly recommend. I get insight into how they run their company, financials and more. It’s like an advanced Ph.D. class that is WAY cheaper than paying for college.

Another risky investment was giving a friend $40k for him to try out AirBnB in Los Angeles. I was curious how the business model of renting out places worked. I made that money back and now get 15% profit from one of the places, thanks, Zack!

I gave a friend $1,000 who’s making a fitness product called the Fit Fly shaker. If the money doesn’t come back, that’s fine. I’m happy to support and learn more about physical products.

Lastly, an acquaintance was buying a church in San Antonio and I wanted to learn the economics of commercial real estate so I decided to invest in him. Made back around 5% so it’s not been a great return, but seeing first hand how a pro real estate person works has been worth it.

Hope this helps you learn something for you to improve your own personal finances.

This article was originally published on OkDork by Noah Kagan.

Noah Kagan is the Chief Sumo at Sumo.com and AppSumo.com, where they help entrepreneurs do more. Before that, Kagan worked at Intel and was employee #30 at Facebook and #4 at Mint.

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