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.
So next year I will be able to contribute $17,500 to my TSP, up from $17,000 in 2012. Next year I will also be able to contribute $5,500 to my Roth IRA, up from $5,000 in 2012. Yay! $1,000 more towards my future sounds awesome to me!
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!
Well I've been waiting for the 2012 retirement plan limits since before the IRS announced the cost of living increase for Social Security recipients. Lost in all that was the increase for qualified retirement plans (401(k), 403(b), 457(b)) to $17,000, though after the SSI increase I was expecting it. Income limits have increased as well for IRAs, AGI, etc.
This is great. It means money that we can put away to secure our retirement. I will increase my biweekly deduction sometime in December to make sure it's in effect in January.
Did the IRS really announce the 2012 limits for retirement plans? I just did a search because I was curious and found two articles. One guessed that they would raise the limit $500 to $17,000 and the other said that the IRS already announced that there would be no increase. Now I'm skeptical of both articles because I don't think we're getting an increase and also because they don't usually announce the limits this early. Anyway, I usually hear something when they do announce the limits. Granted, things feel so uncertain in our country's economy that maybe nobody cared to say much, but this is unusual. I guess I could just check out the IRS website. Like duh. LOL
Just when you think you're finally getting ahead, or even catching up, expenses just seem to keep coming. After getting new tires, I've decided that I've put off repairs around my house for long enough. I'm taking off next week, but I'm not going on vacation. I'll be at home getting things done around the house as well as well as picking up a few extra hours at my other job. That will help with the expenses a little. I need new fans, new light fixtures, check for a leak under my sink, some landscaping. Too many things!
Well, I'm out almost $400 today for a new set of tires. Thank goodness my air conditioning is still holding on. When it rains, it pours.
I'm nervous about what my investments will do when the markets open Monday. This government impasse is making me nervous with every passing hour.
My list of home improvements just keep piling up and I have made no effort to accomplish any of them. I must stop being so lazy! I'm thinking of replacing my sliding doors for French doors. I need two light fixtures replaced, a ceiling fan replaced, and a tree and bush removed from my patio area. I should also get my carpets cleaned and air conditioner serviced. *sigh*
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.
According to Mint.com, as of today my assets are $398,784.74 and my liabilities are $121,391.26, leaving me with a net worth of $277,393.48.
It's May, already! Time flies the older you get. I understand that all too well now. Well, I'm on my same course with my finance with some minor changes. I decreased the amount going to savings to increase credit card payments. I think it's a good move.
I am also back to working my regular schedule at my second job. The hours were never cut short fully as people have been needing time off for maternity leave and what not. So I have all the hours I'm used to having plus some more as things pop up. I am grateful to have not just one, but two jobs in this economy.
In less than two weeks we will travel to Virginia for my niece's first birthday. My mom offered to pay for the plane tickets, but I will pay for luggage fees and other things as I am well able to pay for my own plane ticket, but she insists.
I am going to San Jose in January and my friend invited me on a cruise next July. So I have those trips to pay for as well as my tax bill of $1200 next month. The cruise will be about $1200 and the trip to California I'm estimating at least $1200 as well. Hopefully I'll get good hotel deals once again on Hotwire.
The federal government wants to be sure we pay our taxes on time! Already got my W-2 online this week. I got my retention pay that was shorted on the last paycheck of 2010. I also got my first student loan payment. They put it on my check for tax purposes, but it gets sent directly to Sallie Mae. So now I'm just waiting on my other W-2 from the state. I also need interest forms for my student loan and mortgage, as well as year end contributions from my charities.
CFC (the Combined Federal Campaign for federal employees) is easy as the same amount gets taken out each week on my paycheck and I pledge a certain amount for the year.
ChildFund (aka Christian Children's Fund) takes out a different amount every month depending on whether it's a month that I pledge an additional gift to be given directly to my sponsored child. Usually it's just the $24 sponsorship, but some months they deduct additional as I give gifts for Easter, her birthday, and Christmas, and they then add a gift handling fee on top of that.
I've considered ending my sponsorship with Child's Fund and just giving to CFC. It's hard to do that when you have a child to connect with your giving. You know that child's name, you see her face, you know all about her family.
I'm adding up the gifts that I remembered to track for the year and I'm up to $1,500 so far. I don't mind giving to family and friends and charity. It's a pleasure.
LSU won last night. I fell asleep watching the game. I guess I knew they were going to win at that point. Really proud of Jordan Jefferson's performance last night. I hate all the criticism he gets.
Today the Saints play the Seahawks. I'm worried. They have a lot of players not listed. Seahawks aren't a strong team, but any team can beat any team on any given Sunday, or Saturday in this case.
Starting my fasting on January 10th. I hope that I'm ready for this! I will need a lot of prayer.
Happy New Year! Yesterday and today I reviewed much of my year end finances and made some changes for 2011. Yesterday I updated my spread sheets for my 2011 earnings and savings. Today I made my 2011 deposit to my Roth IRA. My deposit should be processed January 4th. I also changed my exemption from 1 to 0 at my full-time job. Last year I changed my exemption from 1 to 0 at my part-time job. Hopefully next year I will not owe taxes as I did last year and I project I will this year again.
Here's to a prosperous, healthy 2011! I can't wait to greet this new year. 2011 is going to be a great, great year!
Pleasant surprise this morning when my accounts were updated on Mint.com. Received $1456.16 in capital gains and dividends on my Roth IRA at Vanguard. Nice little boost to my end of year account balance. Think I'll send off $5,000 for my 2011 Roth contribution tomorrow. Love doing that! Goal # 1 accomplished on the first day of the year.
Merry Christmas! It has been such a merry one already for me and my family. I hope the same is true for you and yours this holiday season.
I'd love to have a personal goal besides my annual New Year's resolution to lose weight. I still need to lose weight, but I'd like to accomplish something else as well.
In January I'm starting my orientation to become a CASA volunteer. I'd like to give back more. I just hope that my work doesn't conflict with being able to make court dates and such.
A better relationship with God is always a desire. Maybe I can do some more Bible study. I'm always impressed with people that know the Bible well. I remember some stories from Sunday school, but I get embarrassed sometimes with how little I know.
I will have to think more on my personal goals.
Today when my retirements accounts were updated I had surpassed my $200,000 goal. I am very excited. My next goal will be $250,000 or a quarter of a million dollars. I like typing out "million". I am sure that if I stay diligent with my savings that I will one day reach one million dollars saved.
I have had a great birthday and the Saints won!
I am updating my progress on my 2010 goals, which remain unchanged or 2011.
I completed goal #1 in January 2010.
I will complete goal #2 with my last two paychecks this month.
I am working on goal #3, but it's hard to pin down my monthly expenses. I am tracking on Mint.com, but my expenses seem to vary widely from month to month depending on what's going on. So I'm just averaging those expenses. I think $20,000 would be reasonable start to rebuild my emergency fund to, and I'm not far from that.
Goal #4 has not been completed at any time this year. Maybe next year.
I am working on goal #5 and with my employer's help, the graduate school loans will be paid off quicker.
Two hours until my 33rd birthday. Happy Birthday to me!
This week I got some bad news, later replaced by really good news. I guess many saw that there was a proposed spending freeze for federal employees. While not exactly excited about that, I understood it. Then the next day I found out that my expected annual performance appraisal bonus was doubled what I expected. So that extra money will exceed the 1.4% raise that was proposed for next year. What an awesome early birthday present! Our organization must have done really well in our performance indicators. I'm proud of us. Despite what the public perception may be of federal employees, we really do try to go above and beyond for our veterans.
I was feeling a little bored today and decided to do some Christmas shopping. I know, I'm so bad. I really need to get presents for men, but it's always so much easier to shop for women, so that's what I ended up buying. Oh my goodness, the mall traffic was crazy. I didn't even make it to the mall. I just shopped near the mall then I wimped out and left. Besides, my brake tag expired in October and I suddenly remembered that fact. My car was in the repair shop for most of last month due to repairs from my accident in September.
So the moral of that story is, don't go to the mall on the weekend in the month of December. That's just crazy. I need to not forget that lesson next year. I really do not ever remember it being like that before now. Maybe this is a sign of economic recovery. I sure hope so.
I don't mean to be flippant about the economic prosperity I enjoy, but I'm kind of tired of hearing about what's wrong with our country. I'd like to start hearing that we're doing great. Sometime soon please. That will be my wish when I blow out the candles on my cake.
I do plan on switching health insurance plans to a plan with an HSA. I'll contribute another $10 or $20 per pay period in addition to the $750 that the insurance plan will contribute for the year. I won't contribute to the FSA this year. I think the HSA has many advantages over the FSA including that it rolls over every year. So it's a source of income for medical expenses not just now, but also in retirement when I may need it even more.
I decided to buy myself a Keurig coffee maker for my birthday in December. I've been going back and forth about it for a while. It's expensive, but I know that I will enjoy it. I picked up a special 48 count holiday varieties of K-cups at Macy's today. I plan on buying all the components (coffee maker, k-cups, k-cup holder) on sale. I always have 20% off coupons for Bed, Bath, and Beyond. My mom has already invited herself over to my place to use it. She loves to use my older sister's when she visits her.
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