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Catching Up & Checking In

June 9th, 2018 at 01:13 pm

A few weeks ago I wrote a pretty long blog summing up my past few months & it appears it was never posted. Don't you hate when they happens?

My last entry was in February & since then the following things have happened:

Took a trip to Greece & New York in March. It was a wonderful experience, perfect weather in Greece. I got to experience my first St. Patrick's Dqy parade in New York & take in some great Broadway shows including the preview shows of Mean Girls & My Fair Lady. Also saw, Chicago which never gets old.

I filed my taxes and owed over $4k. Ouch. I'm on a 120 day payment plan & have to pay it off by the end of July. I knew I would owe, but wasn't planning on paying nearly that much.

April was fairly quiet. Last month I had two deaths in the family, one expected as my grandmother was in the final stages of dementia, and the other unexpected as my younger cousin died suddenly. It was a rough couple of weeks there.

I'm hoping that June will be better.I am not planning on taking any trips this summer. I am preparing for my biannual lab inspection & planning some fun in between working my two jobs.

I have a couple of trips planned for the fall, to Seattle & Vancouver, and possibly a winter trip to NYC.

Back from my Grand British Adventure

January 6th, 2018 at 09:26 am

I got home late last night. Still recovering as I came home with a little cough & sore throat. I had a wonderful time. I left on December 27th for London, then traveled to Edinburgh January 2nd. I had such a great time. The original purpose for the trip was to attend the musical Hamilton that opened at Victoria Palace last month. Other things I did included touring Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, Hampton Court, Windsor Castle, Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh Castle, Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Whiskey Experience, & Mary King's Close. We also attended an abbreviated changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. This was my second trip to London and also my second trip to Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, and Buckingham Palace (I still have not been there during the short period to tour the inside of BHP yet). In two months were are traveling to Greece!

In financial news, Vanguard refunded me most, but not all of the money in my 401k. Strange, as all monies were to be returned to me. When I contacted them they said that the money remaining was from a 2016 contribution. Problem with this is that the balance appears to be over double what that contribution was, I had already received the withdrawals on 2016 contributions in early 2017, and there should be no money remaining in this account since both years contributions were to be withdrawn. So we will see what they do next. I'm starting to be less than impressed with Vanguard lately. I might need to start looking elsewhere.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

December 22nd, 2017 at 08:26 am

Happy Holidays to all! My family is flying in today. I am looking forward to spending the next several days with them. We both fly out on the 27th. Them back home, me to London then Edinburgh.

My gym is going up $1 in January. I decided to cancel my membership. It will be $50 a month & I can get a membership at a 24 hour fitness club for much cheaper. I am also looking to cut my cable next year. I guess my New Year's resolution is to be more vigilant about my spending. I don't plan on cutting out vacations so I will look elsewhere. I barely watch television anyway.

My goal was to have $500k by age 40. It seemed a very lofty goal at the time, but I have not only accomplished that goal,I have surpassed it. Now for the next goal. Is $1 million by age 45 out of the question? Maybe not, but it will require some dedication to cutting expenses, getting rid of debt, and continuing to save a good percentage of my income. $750k seems too conservative, but if we run into a bear market it may be an optimistic goal.

I'm excited for what the future holds in many ways.

Cruisin' to the Keys thanks to Nate

October 14th, 2017 at 06:16 am

Last week I went on a 4 day cruise. It was planned to port in Cozumel, but due to hurricane Nate we ended up detouring to Key West. This was awesome for several reasons:

1) I had never been to the Keys.

2) I had been to Cozumel 3 times prior.

3) We were given a 50% refund for the itinerary change.

4) We were given a 50% credit towards a future cruise for the itinerary change.

What wasn't awesome was the sea sickness I experienced on our first sea morning, but once we were out of rougher water I was fine. I really enjoyed Key West - which looks pretty darn good considering the short time since Irma - and I hope to return another time.



Natural Disaster Overload

September 10th, 2017 at 03:15 pm

It seems that our country if experiencing a natural disaster overload, or fatigue. They seem to be nonstop & devastating. I pray that you are all well and not suffering the ill effects of the hurricanes, floodings, and wildfires ravaging our country at the moment. I am happy that my area was spared after the devastating floods last year.

My retirement accounts did bounce back to $600k and even exceeded that amount. That was nice to see. I am looking forward to meeting with my Bogleheads group next month & discussing the recent market moves.

I am going to order A Random Walk Down Wall Street to read. It seems to be a popular book among investors & my group. I also plan to order some travel books for my upcoming trips to London & Edinburgh, as well as Greece.

Spendy Week

July 23rd, 2017 at 09:06 am

This has been a spendy week between paying off one trip, booking another trip, and having to replace my laptop that died on me. And yes, I could kick myself for not having backed up my computer before it finally died on me. Oh well, I will have to get someone to try & recover those files or call them a loss. Nothing is irreplaceable I don't think. Most of my pictures I upload to my FB account or have in my phone.

I ended up buying the Dell Inspiron 11" 3000. It's a 2-in-1, which I finally figured out is like a laptop & a tablet combined. I don't do much besides browsing the web on my laptop & keeping track of my financial goals in Excel spreadsheets so it's probably more than sufficient for my needs.

I've noted that the big boost that my home value got in the months following the flood has disappeared so I have adjusted for that. I also finally got my insurance claim settled for my plumbing leak damages so we scheduled the repairs for next month. I'll be so happy to not have to look at holes in my ceilings & walls!

I had a wonderful vacation in New York & Virginia earlier this month. We saw several shows. I personally saw Bandstand, Hello Dolly, Sweeney Todd, The Great Comet, and 1984. We also visited the Met & the Cloisters. On Sunday I got to go to Hillsong church which I also did last year. I took the train from Penn Station to Union Station and spent 4 days with my sister's family. I really enjoyed my time with the kids.

I am looking forward to my cruise in October and my trip to England & Scotland after Christmas. In March I have a trip planned to Greece. I can't think about booking anymore trips for a while. I am working more hours at my second job in between my trips. Fun comes at a cost!

Increased Loan Payments

May 28th, 2017 at 08:58 am

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!