The Smartly MBA

I’ve worked in the banking industry for the past 7 years, and while I still believe it’s one of the quickest way to make decent money in your 20’s, I also don’t think it’s a very sustainable career for most people.  The long hours, the stress, and unfortunately the greed tend to take a toll on workers after awhile.  I’ve been considering transitioning out of the industry for quite some time into something more fulfilling, but for the time being I wanted to have the benefit of a stable job while still expanding on my skill set.

I must have been looking up MBA programs online, because I came across an ad (on Instagram of all places) for a free MBA program called Smartly.  Obviously I was a little skeptical at first, but I did some research and discovered that the program is legitimate and completely free, with the company funding the program by placing applicants upon graduation and collecting a recruitment fee.  All of the learning is done online, and while I’ve done courses on Coursera and EDX before, I liked the learning style of the courses in Smartly and ultimately it seemed like something I would be able to stick with longer.

I applied to the program and was lucky enough to be accepted a couple of weeks ago! Considering they claim to only accept 7% of applicants, I’m definitely excited to be a part of the class and think it’ll be a great way to expand beyond what I’ve learned in banking.

Given the company is still extremely new to the education scene (I believe I’m in the 2nd or 3rd class of MBA students) it still doesn’t come anywhere close to getting an MBA from a top school.  However – as more and more people pursue alternative learning options, it’s not crazy to think that someday online degrees will be the norm and will no longer be considered inferior.  Smartly claims that their students performed better than students from HBS, Stanford, and Wharton in an independent academic study testing accounting skills, so the online vs traditional battle already appears to have begun.

I’ll be writing updates on the course semi-regularly to provide as unbiased of a review of the program as possible, but ultimately I’m just excited to be doing something separate from my usual day job.  Who knows – it may even guide me towards my next adventure!

This review is not solicited by Smartly, but feel free to check out their website regardless!

 

April/May Update: Concerts, Beaches and Graffiti

Welcome to my monthly passive income update! For those new to the blog – I own 3 properties, an apartment, a townhome, and an apartment building with five 3-bedroom units.  The apartment is now owned completely in cash, while the townhome and 5-plex have mortgages which I’m trying to knock down as quickly as possible!  Now let’s get to the good stuff!

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It’s been a whirlwind couple of months which is why I’m including my passive income for both April and May together in one post.  While it was definitely busy with work – I had some pretty awesome times as well.

April finally saw the cold weather break, which meant some beautiful days outside exploring the city.  While Tokyo is usually pretty temperate throughout the year, the cold weather definitely gets old and I always welcome the warm spring days.

We also got the opportunity to see Coldplay live! This was one of my bigger expenses for the month at nearly $150 for a ticket, but considering I’d never been to a big concert and have been a huge fan of their music since high school, I decided to splurge a little and go for it.  The concert was amazing and was well worth the money in the end.

May ended up being an even more amazing month, because I was able to book a last minute trip to Hawaii at a great price.  My old colleague had offered up his house in Hawaii to me if I ever wanted a break from the real world, and finally decided to take him up on it.  His house was attached to a great resort on the Big Island, and thanks to his generosity the whole trip ended up being an absolute steal (even after buying him a great bottle of wine as a thank you!)

Our days were basically spent hanging out by the pool, walking along the beach, hiking, and hitting the gym most days.  It was a pretty big adjustment coming back to the real world to say the least…

I definitely could’ve gotten used to these sunsets every night

Pololu Valley hike – absolutely breathtaking views

After all of that it’s time to dig into the good stuff!

April was a relatively easy month with not a whole lot to write about…with May being about as big of a headache as any homeowner ever would like to deal with.

Net Income for April 2017: $2,262

Including Principal: $4,380

The specifics: 

Apartment: $1,200

Townhome: $1,995

5-Plex: $5,860

Total Revenue: $9,055

Expenses by Property:

Apartment: $488

$0 maintenance, $434 association fees, $54 management fees

Townhome: $414

$0 maintenance, $335 association fees, $79 management fees

5-Plex: $1,308

$0 maintenance, $239 electric, $674 water, $395 management

Mortgages (including tax):

Townhome: $1,750

5-Plex: $2,833

Total Expenses: $6,793

Now onto May….

My 5-Plex got hit with two or three pretty painful issues in May – first off we got a letter from the city stating that we were being fined for graffiti on our fence.  Obviously living in Tokyo I’m nowhere near being able to check on these things, and my property manager is generally at the property at least once a week.  He hadn’t noticed the graffiti, but it turned out it was on the side of the fence facing another property, and given the fence is mine, I got hit with a $275 fee to scrape it off of the fence.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the gas bills has been sent to the old owners for the past 5 months, and luckily the gas company was able to track us down, unluckily that was a $2200 expense.  And finally the nail in the coffin was a city inspection which left us with a few small issues to fix.  All in all I’m hoping there aren’t many more months like this, but as any real estate investor will tell you, if you can’t take the bad months then you’re not cut out for it at all.

Net Income for May 2017: $60

Including Principal: $2,200

The specifics: 

Apartment: $1,200

Townhome: $1,995

5-Plex: $5,860 + $291 (laundry room)

Total Revenue: $9,346

Expenses by Property:

Apartment: $488

$0 maintenance, $434 association fees, $54 management fees

Townhome: $414

$0 maintenance, $335 association fees, $79 management fees

5-Plex: $3,801

$275 graffiti wall repair, $200 general maintenance, $208 electric, $886 water, $2,232 gas

Mortgages (including tax):

Townhome: $1,750

5-Plex: $2,833

Total Expenses: $9,286

To read more about my story and more about the properties, check out my original passive income post or read more about me here!