We all want it – more time fishing, less time working. Would you like to make money in a way that lets you fish more, travel more, and feel good about getting out? No, I’m not talking about becoming a fishing professional (sure, go for it – just know the opportunities are highly competitive). What we’re talking about here are things you can do today to earn a little more, even while you are out fishing, that leverage your time and result in income you can count on.
In this series I share my own experiences and a number of ways that I earn money. As you know, I’m not shy about it – I’m relentless about earning and saving money in ways that let me pursue my outdoor passion – fly fishing. Part 1 covered making money while you actually fish – “active income.” In this Part 2 we cover the type of money makers that personal finance pros call “passive income” – that’s basically earning while you do other things (like more fishing!) and even while you sleep. If that sounds too good to be true, then you are missing out on some real earnings that leverage your time.
If that’s not enough, in Part 3 I’ll show you some side hustles you might not have thought about. All things you can do part time around your busy fishing schedule. Then finally enjoy the $$$ you earn – in Part 4 we’ll tackle the tough choice of how to spend it on that new rod or reel you’ve been eyeing! That’s the good problem to have, so we’ll cover some of the “best value” fly fishing gear there is on the market that will help you stretch your dollars while fishing more and catching more.
Photo credit: RogueFishing.com
Build A Fishing Trip Fund
What it is: This one is my favorite, essentially building a fishing trip fund by paying yourself first in small monthly payments, then leveraging the power of time and compounding to increase your trip fund balance to pay for future trips.
Example: My brothers and I started a trip fund over 15 years ago, and it’s paid for some awesome trips. Summer before last we used it to fish 3 rivers in Oregon for 10 days – guided trips fly fishing for giant smallmouth on the Willamette River, on the central Deschutes river fishing for the famous “Redsides” deep red rainbow trout, and ending the trip by camping near the Salmon river after driving through Crater Lake national park with natural forest fires and firefighting activity all around us. The awesome thing was, we have only contributed $25 – 50 per month each to the fund, and it grew and grew over time so now we can use it not only for our own trips, but also family reunions and the like.
How to do it: Set up an automatic monthly deposit each month into an account with a brokerage house (we use Charles Schwab), and “pay yourself first” a small amount that you won’t miss that much but will be substantial over time. Or, use one of the apps we describe below. To really make it easy, have it go automatically into an automated mutual fund setup (or “Intelligent Portfolio” as Schwab calls it) to keep fees down and have it automatically invest in a way that you specify (level of risk tolerance). Then just sit back and watch it grow over time! Here’s the important part – when you do tap it to take a trip, be sure not to tap it too much at a time, so the principal balance can continue to grow or weather a temporary downturn in the market. A rule of thumb I use is no more than 10% of the balance gets used in any one year.
What you’ll need: Checking account to pull from, brokerage account to pull funds into, and an investment vehicle that suits your time horizon and risk tolerance. If you are young with lots of time, invest more in growth stocks that will have higher appreciation, but also will fluctuate more with market changes. If you will use the fund soon or are older (like me), invest in more conservative dividend stocks and bonds that’ll fluctuate less, and may grow less rapidly, but you can count in it to be there when you need it.
Photo credit: Tahoe Sport Fishing
Use The Latest Apps
What it is: These apps make it easier than ever to save and invest. Finding money to save can be tough, but leveraging the power of technology can make it a lot easier. What this means is you don’t have to have a lot of extra money around to start, and you can do it with others instead of by yourself. Using one or more of these money-saving apps, you can get started with saving today.
Examples: Apps that help you save more to an investment account: Acorns, Max My Interest, Robinhood, Stash. Apps that help you save more to a savings account: Digit, Qapital, SmartyPig, and Tip Yourself.
How to do it: Take the time to review and select which app seems to fit you best. Download it, run through the setup process, and off you go! Or even try a couple till you discover more about what you prefer, say one for savings and another for investing. Also, remember there are other financial apps to help you stay on top of your credit, budget, track your spending or pay down debt. By pairing finance apps and using them regularly, you can get a holistic look at your finances and meet your money-saving goals.
What you’ll need: A smartphone or computer with web brower.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
What it is: Peace of mind, by aying down your higher interest rate credit cards, credit lines, and loans. This one might sound a little preachy, but important – if you run these up you are in essence robbing yourself of money (that could go to your next rod, reel, or trip) by paying it to someone else in interest. Many credit cards and lines have interest rates of 16-19% or even higher! So it’s counter-productive to be investing in something like stocks or real estate with a normal return of say 8-10% if at the same time you’re paying it out the door to credit card companies at a higher rate.
Example: Think about it – if you carry even a $5,000 average balance at 17% for a year, that’s $850 out of your pocket in interest – which could have been a top of the line rod, full new set of gear, or a pretty nice trip to a new fishing hotspot location. I have credit cards and lines that range in interest rate from about 12% to 19% – Capital One, Bank of America, and others. One card (Chase Sapphire which I like for the super flexible travel points) even has 3 different interest rates for different types of purchases or cash withdrawals. So watching how you use it can save you a lot of money, and knowing which one to pay off first is your best way to attack it.
How to do it: First, identify which credit cards have what interest rate. Second, target paying down the highest interest rate card first. Chopping cards up or leaving them at home is one strategy, but remember your credit score is higher when you constructively use credit but pay it down promptly and keep lots of capacity on your cards. Third, monitor your purchases carefully so you don’t chase your tail – make sure that every month you are paying down overall balances.
What you’ll need: A focused and realistic plan, perseverance, discipline, and monitoring your progress every month.
What it is: Anything you can rent will provide income you wouldn’t otherwise receive. Renting leverages your other income and generates more value from something you have. While the obvious ones are rental real estate such as a separate house, if you don’t own one have you thought about the many other things you have to rent? Consider finishing the basement of your house with a separate entrance, finished attic, “mother-in-law” apartment above garage, a portion of your farmland, other land for hunting & recreation, rent your home / apartment through AirBNB or VRBO.com while you are away, rent out major equipment you may own, etc. Get creative – the idea is to more fully generate value from what you already own. No matter what you rent, generate more income to pay for your gear or give you the money to travel and time to fish more.
Example: Strapped for money in our first jobs out of school, the first thing my wife and I rented out was a duplex we moved into one side of ourselves, renovated ourselves, and rented out the other side. This had the benefit of getting a better interest rate and lower down payment with “owner occupied financing.” We totally repainted and renovated the side we lived on, and then did the same for the other side. We could do this as a series of little projects because we lived right there, saving a lot of money instead of contracting it out. Once the rents were up from our renovation, we could cover our mortgage and expenses, so we moved out and on to another property and did the same thing. Even though we moved out, we still had the attractive owner occupied financing on the property, so generated positive cash flow right away, along with appreciation and the benefit of the renters paying down the mortgage. Yes, that’s right – 3 ways of generating from one investment – positive cash flow, appreciation, and renters paying down the mortgage for us. We held onto the property long enough to sell it for a $250,000 gain! Starting with our own sweat equity, we turned it into passive income and eventually a strong capital gain we could then invest in our next venture.
How to do it: If you have a place, or portion of a place ready to go, awesome! More likely, you’ll need to assess how much work and what the cost will be to improve it to the point of renting. If it’s real estate or a room / apartment you are renting, be sure any renovations you make are made to local building codes, and get a quality lease that is compliant with your state’s laws and has been reviewed by a qualified attorney. Calculate your total cost to do things the right way, and evaluate what you think rent will be. We always liked to rent a little under the market – better to keep people in there without vacancy or turnover costs, than to push the rent up too high. Finally how long is your payback period – how long till you recoup your initial investment and when / how much will your positive cash flow be. If it looks good, go for it. But be critical too – if it will be too much effort or investment for the return, then move on to the next idea.
What you’ll need: To prepare a property for renting, carefully assess the tools, skills, and materials you’ll need to make it a success, or whether you prefer to contract (or partially contract the more complicated items like plumbing or electrical work). Be certain that your lease agreement is solid, compliant with rental laws, and attorney reviewed (some websites such as RocketLawyer.com and UpCounsel.com provide this service now for much lower cost than before). Be certain any renovations are code compliant (for example some places now required a carbon monoxide alarm in addition to a fire / smoke alarm). If you are renting land or major equipment or even your vehicle, same principles apply just modify to the situation at hand.