April 2017 Passive Income Report: Digital Nomad in Bali to Barcelona

This is new chapter for, and for myself as the author. I've been writing monthly income reports since July of 2014 which is almost three years without missing a single month. It originally started as a one time thing, but somehow became a three year commitment that took longer and longer each month to write. These past few months instead of spending a few hours writing the monthly post, I started them a few days in advance as they started taking 8 or more hours to actually put together. Logging into each individual account, taking screenshots of the dashboards, adding up the totals, and blurring out any personal information took time. But I did it because I knew how beneficial it was for people following my journey to see actual numbers and follow along.

But the reason why I'm taking a break from detailed income reports is because of two reasons. The first is because I'm taking a break from business altogether and taking an early retirement, at least for now. And second, most of my passive income streams have been pretty steady for the past two years, so it isn't a good use of my time to spend half an hour logging into my kindle or youtube accounts to show you that I made pretty much the same as I did last month and the 14 months prior. But the reason why I'm committing to writing some type of monthly report still is to let you know if there are any significant changes going up or down with my passive income, and more importantly, talk about any lessons learned, goals, or share what has worked the month before. I hope you enjoy this new format, make sure you leave a comment below to let me know you're still following along.

Where I've Travelled

This is a fun section that i'll be keeping on the blog, as it's a nice recap to see where I've been this past month. The photo above is from the Komodo National Park, on a small uninhabited island call Padar. That photo was actually something I saw a travel blogger take when I was researching things to see in Komodo and I knew I had to go to the same spot as it was an epic view and photo opportunity. The rest of the month in Bali was so so as if you've read my guides to the island it has pros and cons, with a lot more downsides than even the magical upsides. However, that being said, Komodo was incredible and a must visit. Unfortunately, 99% of people who visit Bali never go there, and sadly a big reason why is because most people are too broke or don't the freedom of time to make the trip out there. This previous sentence will piss off a lot of people and stir up comments like "money doesn't buy happiness" or "your definition of success is wrong."

But the fact is, most of the so called digital nomads in Bali aren't actually nomading at all, they're just living in once place on the smallest budget they can get by with. But the truth is, there are tons of incredible places in the world that require time and money to get to. It's perfectly fine to bootstrap and put your head down while you're building your business. It's something I did for the first 2 years I when I first started my online business, but I would have been lying to myself if I thought living as a local in Indonesia was what would truly make me happy. It's true that money doesn't buy happiness, but money lets you travel to incredible places, experience things that others only see on TV, and gives you the freedom to find whatever happiness is.

Views from the top of Padar island in Komodo

Views from under the sea, swimming with Manta Rays

Living Off Savings

I'm so fucking grateful that I was smart enough to bootstrap away 75% of my income from these past few years into savings and investments. When I filmed my video on youtube explaining how I made $325,000 last year, I had people commenting on youtube saying that they called bullshit because I was using an old looking microphone or that I was wearing a cheap t-shirt and shorts and not designer clothes. Well good for them, but I'm so so so happy that I didn't blow my money on crap I didn't need as those savings are what is allowing me to take as much time off as I need to rest, recover, figure out what I want to do next and spend time with loved ones. 

I'm super glad that a lot of my income is completely passive and I will still continue to make money each month even though I'm no longer working. But the fact is that no one likes to see their bank accounts go down regardless of how much they have total. This is why guys like Sam joke that they're rather have $5,000 a month in passive income like I do, than millions in the bank that might be just sitting there depreciating every month. I honestly thought I would be okay with living off of savings and letting my bank account slowly get withdrawn from and retiring early but even after just this first month I already know that my retirement is only going to be temporary. It's nice to have the option to just live off of savings and passive income for a few months, but I also like the option to be able to visit expensive cities such as Barcelona where I am now and not have to worry about being able to afford it or not.

When I was living the good life on the cheap in Thailand which I wrote about in 12 Weeks in Thailand, I was happy, genuinely happy. But that was a stage in my life that even though I'm glad I went through it and was completely content during that time, I never want to go through it again. I want to have the option to fly business class on long international flights and spending $4,000 out of my savings is a lot different from spending $4,000 out of earned income. 

I loved the tank top and shorts lifestyle of SE Asia, but it's time to move on!

Passive Income Earned

Instead of spending 6 hours taking screen shots of my dashboards, I just quickly went through my accounts to make sure everything was still set up to be running. Good news is everything is pretty much running smoothly.

I'm still making around $170 a month from my book sales of Life Changes Quick and 12 Weeks in Thailand. A bit less than $100 from my Youtube Channel. $273 from my Udemy courses, and a bunch of money from my affiliate income that I talk about inside the case studies section of Earnest Affiliate.

The only stream of income that has changed is the fact that I've sold my dropshipping stores from an upfront payment instead of running them every month on my own. So in theory, for the next 27 months, I will earn $3,335 from my dropshipping stores each month. But in reality that money is already invested into real estate loans through PeerStreet, which means the $90,000 I got from selling my dropshipping stores will actually be worth $110,000 after the two and a half years.

If you want a more detailed breakdown of how much passive income I earn every month and from which sources, read my Year End Income Report. I'll be sure to write another one at the end of 2017, but this is by far the best way to see where my passive income came from.

My 2016 Passive Income Breakdown

My April Expenses

It's been a fun month. I started it up in Ubud, Bali where I had some crazy adventures just getting to and from the place I was staying which required driving through narrow footpaths on a scooter just to get in and out of the place. Honestly Ubud is a magical, beautiful place and I can see why people love it. Living there is like living in a whirlwind. My expenses this week were actually pretty low as I was staying with a German girl that I had just recently started dating. She had a small place just outside of town that she was renting for the month and since she had stayed with me for a few days in Canggu, she offered I stay with her in Ubud. 

My trip to Komodo was the biggest expense of the month as it involved two flights and staying at the scuba diving resort. The airfare were about $200, the taxis were about $50, the boat tour and hostel was another $50, and the total cost of diving and the resort was close to $500. The entire trip was done on a budget but still ended up being around $800 which honestly wasn't bad as it was an experience of a lifetime. I also spent a ton of money staying in hotels in both Seminyak and Kuta, Bali as I stayed at the same hotels as my sister booked for her vacation. Including my hotels in Canggu the total was 13 nights at on average $40 a night making it another $520 in expenses.

Last but not least our flights were $666 from Barcelona to Spain, $20 for the taxi to the airport, and $55 each to get into the business class lounge during our super long layover, making it another $800 out of pocket for the month. That added to my food costs of another $900 as eating non-indonesian food is expensive. My total expenses this month including the other random things not listed above like surfboard rental, massages, and haircuts was close to $2,500 for the month.

That added to the $1,000 I'm giving my mom every month, my expenses for April 1st - 30th, 2017 was around $3,500 not including business expenses and the other donations I make on a monthly recurring basis, makes it a bit over $4,000 this month. 

Podcast Editing Expenses: $600
Coworking Membership: $0
PDF hosting with e-junkie: $5
Web hosting with SiteGround: $14.95
Payment Gateway with SamCart: $99
Email Marketing with Aweber: $50
Email Optins with OptinMonster: $16.59
Email Accounts with GoogleApps: $8

Donation to Muay Thai Isaan (monthly recurring for children)
Monthly Check to Parents (To my Mom $1,000.00)
Donation to Warm Heart Worldwide (biochar project - $15,522 raised so far)

Total Expenses for April: $4,300

Eating out with friends in Canggu, Bali

My first Tapas meal in Barcelona, Spain

Goals for May

I'd really like to get my expenses back in order and ideally under $2,000 a month but since I'm now traveling in Europe and no longer in cheap cities like Chiang Mai, Thailand it's going to be a bit difficult to keep my expenses down that low. The good news is the girl I'm traveling with is on a tight budget herself and since she's German, she insists on paying her half most of the time which is nice. It's actually perfect timing that we started dating now as we both don't mind traveling light and staying in cheaper places which is good for both of our budgets. 

My goal for not only this next month but also for the next few years is to never have to dip into my savings. Even though I've managed to save $500,000 over the past four years, I don't really consider that money mine to spend and don't want to ever see that amount dip below that. That money is for my future family that I want to someday raise, and for my parents so I can continue to take care of them as they are getting older. I know it might sound silly or even stupid to some people reading this, and thinking that having half a million dollars makes me rich, but the reality is, unless I want to start another business or get chained to a desk back in the corporate world, I can't touch that amount and the most I can do is live off of the interest and growth which at 5% is only $25,000 a year, which is actually just a bit over $2,000 a month.

My goal for May is to get used to living and traveling on a budget again, while taking some time off to really enjoy life for at least a month or two before I take on another project. I will continue to write blog posts on topics that I really enjoy writing about such as the ones I wrote this month on Location Independence (Flight Hacking), Life Fulfillment (3 hobbies), and Travel (Komodo Guide). I will also continue to make travel videos for my Youtube channel as I really enjoy making them and sharing cool places I've been with the world. 

best youtube videos
All the videos from My Youtube Channel

The Master Plan

Watch this month's video update for more info on what my plans are for next months as well as my thoughts for this month. It was filmed on the streets of Barcelona. 

Monthly Wrap Up

I hope you guys enjoyed this month's end of month report. I know it's different from my usual dashboard screenshots, but hopefully people actually read it this time instead of just scrolling down to see the big number at the bottom. My goal for this blog has always been to share my journey and help others learn along the way as I do. I've been so fortunate to have stumbled onto things that changed my life, from first reading The Game which somehow lead me into the world of self help, which somehow lead me both to Rich Dad, Poor Dad, as well as the 4-hour workweek. And if it wasn't for that strange journey of book recommendations from people I've met online, I'd most likely still be working a corporate job that I hated, be trapped by having way too much stuff, and be living a life where I didn't have choice or true freedom like I do now.

I don't know where this blog or my life is going to turn next. I'm at this strange fork in the road where there are infinite possibilities. Part of me wants to buy a plot of land somewhere and build a sustainable organic farm and build a tiny house. The other part of me wants to continue traveling the world, seeing more and more. While another part of me thinks why not start another drop shipping store in a different niche to grow, flip, and case study again. The good news is that we have endless opportunities and possibilities, the bad news is that we have to choose just a few to focus on. 

Keep following this blog and keep subscribed to the email list. I have a feeling that there are going to be a lot of exciting updates coming in the next few months depending on which direction I end up taking with my life.  Just out of curiosity, what would you do if you were in my position?  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Passive Income for April 2017: $8,865.84

Warm Regards,

Johnny FD

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Post a Comment

  1. Some say there's more in life than just money. Well, there's more in life than just to make ends meet, pay bills and put food on the table.
    Golden Johnny, haters fuel you

    1. I don't know if they fuel me, but I've learned that the biggest revenge is success. =)

  2. Robert Kiyosaki keeps saying "Savers are losers" because the Fed can just print more money. He loves using "debts and taxes".
    Johnny, I am so glad that there's an independent and mindful woman in your life. Johnny Jr. is somewhere in the future waving hands to you.

  3. Great write up, first time on your blog. Diving and being digital nomad got me here :)


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