Is anyone here a certified financial planner or thought about becoming one?
Viewing the 'General Musings' Category
I have increased payments for my auto & TSP loans, as well as my mortgage. Those few dollars won't be missed, but over time they will really add up towards paying down my debt sooner. I am now very close to breaking even on my principal vs. interest amounts. Very soon I will be paying more on principal that interest. And I have more than 50% equity in my home. I wish that I had increased payments sooner, but better late than never.
I am going to enjoy this long Memorial Day weekend. Yesterday I got up early to take my car in for service. I purchased the tire care package when I bought my car & I have made good use of it. I think this is the second tire that I have had replaced already. They found a small hole that couldn't be patched.
Then I came home & napped, which I have needed. Last weekend I worked 24 hours while fighting a cold. Then yesterday evening I dropped by my co-workers' son's 16th birthday to give him a card and some cash for his gift. They had a ton of food. I ate some there & they send me home with a plate of shrimp, my favorite.
Today I am just being lazy until it's time for church this evening. I will eventually do some much needed cleaning. The gym is not closed tomorrow for the holiday so I won't get out of my run.
At home I have several ceiling repairs to be done due to roof leaks & a tub leak from my second floor bathroom. The plumbing repairs of nearly $700 I had to pay for, but the damages will be covered by insurance. It's so hard to find contractors at this time.
Oh, updates on my other passion besides personal finance...travel! I am going to New York & DC over 4th of July. Taking a short cruise this autumn, traveling to England & Scotland after Christmas, and Greece in the spring. I'm turning 40 in December & celebrating all year!
We had a nice market rally while it lasted. I have read that Jack Bogle expects about a 4% return from the markets over the next decade or so. That's definitely not the the returns we've been fortunate to see since the market recovery, but it's still good to contribute when markets are sluggish. I certainly have no plans to alter course.
I did go into my TSP and do some re-allocation. I was in one of their Lifecycle funds which was 90% stocks when I first bought into it, but has now crept down to 84% stocks. I'm a more aggressive investor so I backed out of the Lifecycle and did my own allocation of 90% stocks and 10% fixed and goverment securities. I will stay there for the foreseeable future. At lease until age 50.
I got a survey at my job about federal employee benefits so I filled it out & returned it. I then got a call for a free consultation on federal employee benefits. Of course, he tried to sell me a whole life policy at the end. He told me that I am carrying way more life insurance than I need right now, but since the rates are so low at my age I do max out my life insurance coverage.
Not that the money can replace a family member, but it would be nice if something did happen to me to leave my parents a really nice amount of money. As the rates for coverage creep up I will look into a smaller amount in term life insurance. Even with that I really only need to leave my family enough to bury me & pay my home off. I don't have a spouse or children, but I can see that it would benefit my family to have my home paid off until they can get it sold.
Vanguard sent me a check for over $7k for the excess contributions from last year & a little income for this year. Of course, I'll have to pay both the state & federal about $1700 combined for the payment. Next year I will have to go through the process again as they won't send me back the payments for this year. Yes, I could adjust my contributions, but I'd rather get the money dedcuted from the Vanguard account as I explained in my last post. This year's contributions are only a little over $2500. I tried to get them to not deposit the last transfer when I realized the tax issue, but they released it anyway.
I'll use the amount left over after paying my taxes for debt repayment. I don't plan on sending in my taxes until April for the federal & May for the state. Might as well hold on to that money for as long as I can. It would have been nice to have the $2500 returned to me as well so I could also pay down some debt, but at least I'll see more in my paycheck now that I've stopped the 75% contributions to the 401k.
This year I contributed the maximum amount to my TSP & IRA. I also contributed $6900 to my 401k since August at my new job. I made well over $14k in just 5 months (despite having more than a month without any hours). I will have to consider putting more into my 401k. Right now I contribute 50%, but can contribute up to 75%.
In not so good news, as least for the moment, I still have not received my raise after 5 paychecks. Also, the year end bonus was not on this check. So all that extra income will fall into the new year. Even more reason to be more tax efficient with my extra earnings. Tonight I will be working a 12 hour shift & I just found out that we get time and a half after midnight. Yay! I wasn't expecting that as a PRN employee.
Happy New Year all!
P.S. I will someday get around to posting those pictures from Dublin.
In New York for the night en route back from Dublin. Will fly back home tomorrow. I had a wonderful trip, though our time was short. We did the 48 hour hop on, hop off bus which made it easy to see a lot of the sites. I saw almost everything that I wanted to see, with the exception of Kilmainham Gaol (sold out in advance) and Jameson Distillery (closed for renovations until St. Patrick's Day 2017). At the price we got our trip for on Groupon Getaways, I'm okay with making a return trip. Maybe next time I'll see the coastal towns.
I see stocks continue to rise. I still thinking we're in for a recession soon, but I'll enjoy watching the gains until then.
I'm less than $500 from reaching $500k in retirement. My birthday is December 5th & I hope to reach it by my birthday. If my 401k contribution wasn't still floating out there & had been deposited into my Vanguard account I would have reached it yesterday. I'm not sure that these market highs will hold for much longer so I may not reach the goal by the time my contribution shows up. This is a goal I've had in mind for several years & now it's almost a reality. It's very exciting to see it come to fruition.
I'm also excited so see that according to Zillow, I'm almost at 50% equity in my home. Thanks in part due to the fact that my home didn't flood in August, so it increased my home value by about 10%.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! May you and yours continue to have abundant blessings in the seasons to come.
This has been a difficult week for many of us. I just wanted to recognize that finances seems very small considering the other things going on in our country. Having said that, I will focus on one bright spot in this week for me.
We got a raise at work! It works out to about a 6.7% increase. Not the percentage that was advocated for when the salary survey was done, but still, it's a raise. In addition, in January I will receive this year's annual increase of 1.6% (thanks Obama, even though you froze our salaries for years). Also, I'm due for my step increase in January. So what does all that mean, bottom line? An over $7k increase! I am so grateful! I know that I am so blessed & I am already thinking of how to use it wisely.
I am considering increasing my contribution to the 401k at my second job from 50% to 75%. Also, I will increase my flexible spending account contribution to finance getting my LASIK redone next year. My eyesight has finally gotten that bad again.
As in all things in life, this week had some good & bad. Next couple of weeks I will pick up some more hours at my second job as one of their full-time techs is out for surgery. It will be good to get some hours in before December.
My schedule is so busy that I won't be getting as many hours next month. My birthday, a trip to DC & Ireland, and a lot of fun things on the agenda. I'm looking forward to it all!
Blessings to you & yours on this beautiful Sunday.
Not quite 3 months since I've started my new part-time job & I've already made nearly $10k. And that includes 2 weeks of not working post-flood. I won't be getting in many hours at all in December so I may as well work as much as they need me for now. I think I will settle into an every other weekend schedule next year. It would be nice to get 40 hours every paycheck, but 24 is more than I was getting before.
Two months into my new second job & I feel more squeezed than ever. Maybe having a second job gives a false sense of wealth. I have somewhat over-extended myself with my increased savings.
I am contributing 50% to the 401(k) & $500 to my Roth IRA every paycheck. I had not contributed anything to my Roth IRA since last year. If I contribute $500 for the last 11 pay periods of this year & the first 11 pay periods of next year, I'll have met my maximum contributions for this year & next year. Then I'll have $500 more every pay check.
I'm excited that I'll be able to max out 3 retirement plans next year: my Roth IRA, my TSP, & my 401(k). I am making a lot of hours, but I don't want to complain as I have been searching for another job for some time. This job is a blessing & I see how my retirement savings have grown these past 2 months. Now to decrease the debt.
I can't believe that it is almost September & this is my first blog of the year. My last blog was over a year ago about an interview for a job that I didn't ultimately get. But today, I'm writing to say that a month ago & finally started a second job. This job means so many opportunities for me. The opportunity to max out another retirement plan, to pay off debt, and maybe down the road, to buy some income properties. Unfortunately, a natural disaster curtailed my work hours as the hospital closed due to flooding. But more importantly, I was spared any flooding. I'm feeling so blessed lately!
This week I had only my second interview this year. I'm optimistic as I used to work with the manager, but she's interviewing several more people - who also probably used to work with her. Pay is not great, but I'm motivated & the work is largely on the weekend: 5a-1:30p. I would still have most of my weekend to do as I please or need.
In other news, I had an employee leave to pursue educational opportunities so I'm short-handed & will be hiring - hopefully soon! I'm excited to be able to interview & hire someone who fits in with my vision of what we need. My other employees I "inherited". I realize what a huge game changer adding a new employee into the mix can be, so I hope to choose wisely.
I continue to apply & have promising leads, but nothing comes to fruition. I had a promising interview several weeks back, even worked with some of the employees, and I never heard back. It's hard not to be discouraged, but I press on. I am determined to find another income stream & I'm open to any credible possibility. If anyone has any ideas, feel free to share.
I have had some ups & downs since my promotion, but I'm grateful for the chance to grow professionally.
Yes, finally. Finally, my promotion is on record. My last paycheck was supposed to my first for my increased pay, but that wasn't done in time. So this week's paycheck will have a double increase. I've stepped up my credit card payments & have applied for PRN jobs to provide additional income to get my debt paid off for good.
The things that I usually shop for I've been abstaining from. It feels good. I've made a few clothing purchases (caught an 80% off end of season sale) to supplement my work wardrobe. I plan on advancing my career every chance that I get. I'm taking all the classes I can & networking every chance I get. I've never been more motivated. This promotion has been a very good thing & I'm so grateful.
I thought that I had posted this last month, but apparently not. I got offered a promotion at work after applying & interviewing for the position. Now, that was 3 weeks ago but I still haven't started in my new duties or increased pay. I don't know what my increased pay will be, but it will just be used to pay current debt. Still, I'm so excited, and this is the answer to many prayers. I've been working towards this position since I joined my agency & finished graduate school years ago. I can't wait until I can officially put that new position on paper.
Because I don't have any blog entries for 2014 & it's been bugging me.
The 2nd job has not materialized due to the administration moving very slow. I've remained in contact with my interviewer & she's very interesting in hiring me so I remain optimistic. One thing I know, is that I will not fritter away that second income like I did with my previous second job. I am on a mission like I never have been before.
I am also very hopeful to have good news to share about my current job in the coming months. Fingers crossed & prayers lifted up. 2014 has already been a very blessed year for me.
My trip to China is done & in the books as the best adventure I've ever embarked upon. We had a great time. I never thought I would go to Beijing, but now I can say that I did that and so much more - like walk on the Great Wall! We were leaving Beijing the day after MH370 disappeared, but I am thankful for a safe journey.
Next trip is to visit my sister's family in May to celebrate my nephew's first birthday & her husband's retirement from the Navy. I'm really looking forward to that.
Spring is here & the weather is beautiful. I'm going to enjoy it for as much as I can before the weather & humidity gets stifling hot!
I am enjoying reading about everyone's goals for 2014. It inspires & excites me for what is ahead in the coming year.
I told myself that I was content with working one job, but as I look at my goals, I decided to apply to work a part-time job again. I may not get it, but it would be incredibly convenient as the hospital is located just down the street. It would also help me meet my savings goals & re-build my emergency fund. And the more I work the less time I have to spend money.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. I am very thankful to be so abundantly blessed. Too many blessings to list them all, but a few stand out at the moment.
I have had a great year at work. I recently was awarded a peer award by my colleagues. I also have the highest rating level possible. Bonuses are tied to ratings. I don't know what my bonus will be this year, but I am grateful for whatever I get in these difficult economic times. Also at work this week I won our Biggest Loser competition. It was nice to have some extra cash in my pockets, not to mention the benefits of getting healthier.
My birthday is Thursday & I'm looking forward to the coming holidays. I just know that this coming year will be an exceptional year for me!
It's pretty cool when you meet & surpass a goal without knowing it. It was a pleasant surprise when I logged into Mint this morning & was able to mark a goal completed & set a new goal. Two major goals met in one year. Pretty stoked about that.
As we head into fall, I was thinking about reaching this year's goals & looking ahead to next year's goals. This year my main goals are retirement & debt repayment, as they are every year. I always meet my retirement goal, as I will this year. In January I funded my Roth IRA with the maximum $5,500. I don't know if I'll be able to do that this January. I may have to fund it throughout the year, since my savings have been somewhat depleted to pay down debt. I will continue to fund my retirement account at work with my maximum contribution. I have not read if they're anticipating another increase in limits next year, though. A $500 increase would only mean an extra $20 biweekly though.
Last year I transferred the majority of my credit card debt to a card with 0% interest for 18 months. I started out paying $200 weekly, but now pay $100 weekly since I have one job. I still plan to have that paid off before the 18 months of no interest.
On a lighter note, I am going to enjoy this 3 day weekend by taking some time to cook, relax, and visit with family & friends.
I was watching the news the other day, on the 50th anniversary of MLK's March on Washington & his famous "I Have A Dream Speech". They pointed out that while he is celebrated today, when MLK was assassinated he was seen as a very divisive figure. He was hated by many who saw him as a race baiter, rabble rouser, & just a generally bad American. And I was thinking, don't they do the same thing today? Hate you for your politics, hate you for your skin color, hate you for your religion, accuse you of doing what they are guilty of themselves? Then I thought, people can say whatever they want about you. The test of time will judge your actions in the correct light, not the view tainted by people's political agendas or bigotry. If you just keep on doing the right thing. What a legacy MLK left by not letting the naysayers deter him from speaking the truth boldly. Your critics of today are temporary & will be soon forgotten. Just keep pushing on.
The stock market has had some record setting highs this year. More than any other year I believe I read. I'm always happy to see my investments increase.
I'm managing on one job just fine & enjoying all the free time. I've started working out 5 days a week & started back training by jogging. I can't wait to see my progress. One thing about running, you can really see the improvements early on & they keep on coming.
My employer is officially no longer paying on my student loan. I believe the money was misappropriated/lost. I've always made the payments & will continue to do so. This repayment plan was just extra. I'm sorry to no longer have it, but prepared to pay it myself regardless.
Two weeks since my second job was eliminated & I'm more tired than ever. I feel like I need to get a second job again just to get some rest!
Some changes I made thus far this year:
1. Started off the year with a spiritual Daniel Fast & it made all the difference. Also, it forced me to stop eating out & enjoy cooking healthy, whole foods at home.
I went into 2013 with a renewed sense of hope & the fast just really opened my heart to what God has in store for me in every area of my life.
2. Transferred my credit card debt at Capital One to Pentagon Federal @ 0% interest for 18 months.
3. Attended the inauguration & visited with family. I had a wonderful time.
4. My second job that I have held for 4 years will end in April due to the hospital closing. I have worked at this hospital in some capacity since 2000. I'm just waiting & praying to see what I should do on that.
I've been wanting to start a small business for some time now. I am excited to see what the future holds on that.
I'm anticipating that I will get some extra income in the next month from working during the hurricane. This will help fund my vacation & the hours I will miss working at my second job while on my vacation. I will save the rest in my savings. I plan to fully fund my Roth IRA in January with cash in savings.
I got a somewhat unexpected raise this paycheck. I knew it was coming, I just didn't expect it quite this early. I was very happy to see it. I've been very blessed financially. Also, I'm hoping that my student loan payments by my employer gets sorted out soon. It's been 9 months of back & forth trying to get the paperwork fixed. It is ridiculous that it's taken this long, but I'm grateful for the payments still being made in the meantime.
The stock market has been doing really well lately. I can't believe it's almost time - again - to reassess my finance goals for the year. Where has this year gone?
I've been a busy bee traveling here & there. I have a few more trips planned, but will settle down next year. Traveling isn't free unfortunately. I want to get back to blogging, but not much is happening with me. I'm in a steady state of paying off debt & saving. Same strategy as always.
I will probably lose my second job soon so I'm looking for a replacement. Last month I paid off my car so that's $327 less in monthly loan payments for me. Yay!!!
New limit of $17,000 to TSP ($16,500 to TSP in 2011)
$5,000 to Roth (EFT completed today for market open on Tuesday, have always maxed out my IRA)
Pay off credit card debt completely (this is the big one, and I'm determined to see this one completed by the end of the year)
Pay off car (on track to have my car paid off long before the end of the year, can use the money to help pay off other debt)
Continue to pay off grad school loans with the help of my employer's student loan repayment plan.
I'm not too worried about paying additional on mortgage until I complete the previous goals.
I am so excited to see this new year. I have a lot of hope and wishes for this new year and I believe some prayers will be answered in a big way. God has been faithful to me and my family.
I have spent most of the day going over my financial status and making plans for this new year. My net worth for 2011 increased by $38,000, mainly due to retirement contributions. Pretty good. I think my net worth will increase significantly again this year.
My one financial resolution was to stop shopping. I think this will have a big impact on my financial standing as it will allow me to pay down debt rather than just maintain my credit card debt level as I did this past year.
Increase savings + decrease debt = a recipe for success in 2012!
My mom and I went to the Parade of Homes yesterday and today. We saw some absolutely beautiful homes that made me appreciative to even be a home owner, but also made me dream of the possibilities. These homes that we saw, particularly yesterday, were spectacular, custom built homes with all sorts of amenities. I could only wonder at the cost and time to keep those homes looking so show ready. I can barely keep my home up and have a growing to do list. But then again, if I had one of those homes I could afford the help to keep it up. My mom and I had a lot of fun. It was good to enjoy ourselves after burying my uncle this past week. We needed a weekend like this, it was an escape.
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