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Raise!

September 17th, 2022 at 07:12 am

I walked into my office Friday morning & the first thing my co-worker said was that we got our salary increase. It turned out to be a little over 16% which is better than I expected. I had hoped for at least 10% to make our current (temporary) retention pay of 10% a permanent increase. Once we start being able to fill vacancies due to the increased pay, we'll lose the retention pay. The increase to salary is more important as it impacts your retirement pay, matching for retirement contributions, and more. I am very excited & so thankful. 

I had made some stretch savings goals when I started looking at my budget for next year. I am going to be able to meet that & more. People that were looking to retire are also reconsidering as their retirement pay is based on their high 3 years of salary. We'll be able to retain employees when we've been losing them. Everyone seemed to be in a jolly mood all day.

We federal employees should get a 4.6% increase in January. It will be slightly less for us as we are on this special salary scale, but that is another added bonus. I'm glad that retirement contribution limits are increasing so I can take advantage of this increased income to save for my future.

 

Finance Buff’s Annual Predictions

July 24th, 2022 at 01:55 pm

The Finance Buff has released his annual predictions for contribution limits for retirement plans. As he mentions, so far he has predicted these with 100% accuracy. I enjoy reading his posts every year. 

He is predicting an increase to the 401k contribution limit of $2,000, not the $1,500 I posted recently from another source. And an increase to the IRA congribution limit of $500. That would be an annual increase of $2,500 or a little more than $200 a month. 

https://thefinancebuff.com/401k-403b-ira-contribution-limits.html

Q1 March 2022

April 9th, 2022 at 03:00 pm

I can't recall if I've been using my car value in my net worth as does Mint, but when I calculate it myself I never do.

Investments $1,271,591

Cash $14,888 

Total $1,286,479

Net Gain from February $29,318

My gains include my contributions which are $800 to my TSP every two weeks & $1,000 to my cash savings monthly. The TSP is going to open up an investment window this summer, but I am planning on sticking with their low cost options. I am big on low cost index funds & I don't plan on changing that strategy anytime soon.

We still haven't received the 10% retention incentive on our checks, but I've been training on my PRN job steadily, which means most Saturdays. So there's still some extra income coming in.

Happy Thanksgiving! 🍁🦃🍽

November 28th, 2021 at 04:24 pm

I see the website has been upgraded in my absence. I like what I see so far!

I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving. Ours was quiet as usual. We continued our new tradition from last year of Rock Cornish game hens instead of turkey, along with ham, cornbread dressing, carrot soufflé, and my homemade cranberry sauce. I usually do the fresh snap beans with potatoes & bacon, but my dad said to just cooked the stir-fry veggies we had in the freezer. Fine by me! Everything was delish & I'm eating my leftovers today. 🍗🍖🥕

My last two paychecks have had OT on them & that adds up quick. I'm always surprised by how much of an impact it has, but at a rate of 1.5 pay plus the shift differentials, it is significant. Much better than my pay when I had two PRN jobs. Work is about to get busier as my lab manager retires at the end of the year & I am the assistant lab manager. 

I traveled for the first time since 2019! My friends & I met up with my sister in New York. We had a great time. We saw 4 shows, ate great food, & did a ton of walking. 🍎🚖🗽

I have two more trips booked: Nashville in January & Maine next fall. 🎸🪕🦞⛵️ It is also my parents' 50th anniversary this summer so we may do a family trip.

I thought I might hit a million dollars by the end of the year in my TSP, but then the market pulled back due to Omicron. It still may hit those elusive 7 figures in 2021, we shall see. 

Yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby & Michael's looking for a Christmas tree. I had thrown my tree out last year as it had seen better days. I got a 7.5 ft pencil tree at Michael's and a tree skirt at Hobby Lobby. Michael's was much less crowded than Hobby Lobby. The pencil tree will take some getting used to, but it's decked out in rose gold, gold, & silver this year. It's a very pretty color combination, if I do say so myself. 🎄

My birthday is next week & I will probably have a quiet dinner with my parents. 🎂

 

New 401k Limits

November 8th, 2021 at 01:50 am

Last week the IRS announced new limits for remitrement plans. The increase to $20,500 was already anticipated. I will increase my deduction in December to $800. That will give me 25 paychecks contributing $800, then my last paycheck will be a $500 deduction. I can also contribute $789 to get me to the max, but I always like a nice round number to contribute. Plus, it gives me a little extra cash around the holidays.

For 2022 I am planning to contribute the full amount to my IRA in January. My plans is to save $500 monthly in order to contribute the full amount again in January of 2023, and so on.

I've been working OT this past week again. It's good to have a little extra cash around the holidays, whether to spend or to save. I've continued to put money in my brokerage account from the sale of my condo & that has been doing well. All of my investments are doing well, actually. Knock on wood, I may get to $1 million in my TSP by the end of the year if this continues.

Still Purging & Packing

July 24th, 2021 at 05:16 pm

It's amazing what you can accumulate in a home after 15 years. I moved into this home with only the bedroom set I had in my parents' home. I have accumulated so much stuff, some that I didn't buy myself & never used. Such as a silver gravy boat. I don't even make gravy & if I did, I wouldn't serve it in silver! So that has been my life the past 3 weeks. If anything will cure me of my love of shopping it's weeks of having to give things away. 🛍 

I hope to get repairs done soon so I can list my condo soon after I move out. It's so hard to find reliable people that follow up. 

My rent will be more than double my mortgage, which I can afford & am okay with. Since I applied 3 weeks ago they have already raised the rent by a few hundred dollars. (On another note I hope I don't regret passing up on the 3rd floor unit with the vaulted ceilings & skylight.)

My 401k rollover has been deposited in my TSP. It was only a little over $1k, but I'm glad to have the money consolidated in my TSP. I was being charged a $1.25 fee for what I'm not sure. It's not much, but I try to avoid any fees.

Stocks were up & down this week, but ended up at a high. My accounts are at an all-time high. 

Investments $1.193 million

Net Worth $1.335 million

Coast FIRE

May 23rd, 2021 at 02:43 pm

I follow the FIRE community a lot. There are so many different FIRE communities, but one I follow is the Coast FIRE community. It's basically when you save a certain amount that allows you to no longer have to save anymore to be able to retire when you want. My age is 57. It's the earliest I can retire & get my health insurance benefits. If I retire earlier I don't get the health care benefits. I also get a social security supplement until I reach 62.

I found this Coast FI calculator that says that I am at about twice my Coast FI number. It doesn't take into account my pension or social security. I put in $40k as my annual expenses & that's generous. I spend approximately $3k a month now. That includes $1k to savings (Roth IRA & emergency fund) & my mortgage.

I should no longer have a mortgage when I retire or have to contribute to savings. My TSP comes out of my paycheck so I don't included that in my expenses which I budget based off of my take home pay from just my full-time job, not my additional income from my two other jobs. I want to make sure when I quit my other two jobs (in the next month or two) that I don't start racking up credit card debt again. I even have money budgeted for travel on just that income. I can't live without travel!


I hear some people say that they still save in retirement. I would probably be able to do that as well, but it wouldn't be intentional for me unless there was a tax advantage.

Here's a link to the calculator:

https://walletburst.com/tools/coast-fire-calc/

Facebook Market Sales

April 17th, 2021 at 12:48 pm

I'm going to spend some time this week changing my candles for sale by delivery only to offer shipping. A potential buyer mentioned that you can ship 4 large candles for $22 flat rate shipping. I think it would help me move my inventory a lot quicker. I went to the post office & picked up a large priority shipping box. I packed 4 large candles to make sure that they would fit well with plenty of packing material to minimize breakage. They are insulated pretty well.

I have been paid 6 times already this month. Two paychecks to go. Income surplus is nearly $4,000 now. That will be a nice deposit to savings. $500 to my IRA on Thursday & $750 to my TSP yesterday. 

Investments $1,142,785

 

Biden Tax Plans

April 8th, 2021 at 12:19 am

I was just reading this article:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/07/biden-tax-plan-may-spur-boost-in-roth-retirement-accounts.html?fbclid=IwAR3ktxa8YcXrwoDfM9XMdZ-z-bEmV97gHHwJvnFbSoR5dlbUel-ldHLqqZE

Some of these changes would negatively affect me. The change in tax deductions  on the retirement accounts as well as the estate tax.


I could easily see myself leaving having more than $3.5 million in my estate. Maybe that will just inspire me to spend it down in my old age! Hopefully they will meet somewhere in the middle of $3.5 and $11.7 million.

I also am in the 22% (probably more like 24% - I need to check my 2020 tax year H&R Block documents) marginal tax bracket so only getting a 20.5% credit would lower the tax advatange for contributing to my TSP. In a sense it violates Biden's promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $400k.

I definitely support making saving more advantageous for those in lower income tax brackets, but also know the reality of Americans' savings rates. Will that many more people contribute based on the change? So few contributed to Obama's MyRA program that they had to close it down due to costs.

I'll be keeping an eye out for other proposed changes.

Credit Card Debt Free

February 7th, 2021 at 03:23 pm

Not only have I paid off my credit cards, for a short while I actually had a negative balance as I paid more than my balance. I just did my own Dave Ramsey yell at home.

LivingAlmostLarge had another great survey post. I am resharing my answers below for posterity.

My parents retired with 2 pensions. One for 20 years active duty military. They were able to pay all bills with his military income while earning another pension of 20+ years working with the state. They didn’t need that much money in the bank, but working 20+ years without touching their salaries certainly allowed for it. My mom mostly stayed at home until all of us girls graduated high school.

I don’t envision myself retiring early even though I could. I have enjoyed my career & am looking forward to achieving more. I have the age of 60 in mind, which is still plenty young. I will have 30 years with the federal government so a good pension, SS supplement until age 62, and SS after that if it’s still available. I will probably wait until full SS age to withdraw depending on my health. I should have several million in my own retirement accounts as well. I am on track to be mortgage free many years prior to retirement, but I am planning to sell soon. 

Net Worth: $1,180,104

 

 

2020 Year End Review

December 28th, 2020 at 03:50 pm

It's almost 2021 & time to reflect on the wins & losses of 2020. 202 was a very good year for me with few losses except for a couple of canceled trips, which actually ended up being to my advantage.

1. Paid off my TSP loan. I took out a loan of $30k in the autumn of 2015 to pay off credit card debt. I buckled down to pay it off early in May 2020.

2. Paid off my car loan. I had an accident (not my fault) in November 2015. The insurance company totalled out my 2008 Toyota Corolla. I put $10k down on my Honda CR-V and financed $20k at 2.19% for 73 months. I buckled down to pay it off a year early. I hope to keep this car for at least 5 more years.

3. Probably my biggest debt win this year was the $22k in credit card debt that I had earlier this year. It's now down to $2k and I will pay it off next month. That will mean a lot more money to rebuild savings and explore stock investing. I am recommitting to paying off my cards every month.

4. I worked a lot! I made approximately $30k at my side hustle jobs. Since so many of my plans were canceled: trips, dance classes, theatre season tickets, I was able to maximize my time to earn more.

5. I lost some weight. I've gained some of it back, but am recommitting to healthier eating in 2021.

6. I had $0 savings at the beginning of the year. I now have almost $3k in savings. It's not a lot, but it means I won't have to get a loan from my mom again if I have to replace my A/C or some other home repair pops up. I have recommitted to saving monthly. Again, this will be easier with less debt payments.

7. And finally, I passed $1 million in net worth in September. Earlier this month I achieved $1 million held in investments only, not including assests such as my home or car.

Here's to an even better 2021!

 

Merry Christmas

December 25th, 2020 at 06:40 am

I fell asleep, but fireworks woke me up.

I got my last two paychecks from first & second jobs. We got our performance awards on this paycheck and I maxed out my TSP with a final contribution of $700. Next year I will be back to contributing $750 per paycheck. This year I had decreased, then increased, contributions to accelerate debt payoff. With my debts largely paid off I can go back to my usual equal contributions.

I worked today, which was declared a holiday, so I'll see more pay on my next check. Then I get my step increase & whatever annual increase on the check after that. With the relief bill they are allowing federal employees to pay back the payroll deferral over the year, rather than by April. That sounded good at first, but I think I'd rather pay it back sooner personally.

My lab supervisor from my second job texted me this morning about all the gifts that had been left in my locker. I thought she was texting me to see what days I could work next month. It was very nice all the things she mentioned: gifts cards, earbuds, B&BW, ornament. No gifts from my third job, but I appreciate the flexibility & good pay they provide throughout the year. That's the best gift!

Merry Christmas to all! 🎄🌟

 

Paid off my car this morning!

December 12th, 2020 at 04:35 pm

I always say that I'll let the final payment go through as usual, but like with my TSP loan I couldn't wait. My automatic payment of $200 went through yesterday & I had $180.15 remaining. I scheduled the $180.16 payoff amount for today. She's all mine now! 🚙 

This is my second loan payoff this year & I've moved my anticipated credit card pay off from spring 2021 to January 2021. My balance will never be zero as I don't pay in cash, but it should just be my usual monthly purchases on my balance after next month, rather than recurring debt. I am now down to $3k from $22k earlier this year.

My next paycheck I will contribute $700 to my TSP to max out for the year. I still have $2k remaining to contribute on my 2020 IRA. $500 will be contributed on the 15th. 

I'm so excited for my progress this year. It's like I woke up out of a slumber. Next year I'll be able to focus on rebuilding my savings.

Still no news about whether federal employees will get a raise next year, but I'm still due for a step increase. Of course, we will have to begin paying back deferrred OASDI taxes in the new year. 

I enjoyed my day off yesterday. I ran some errands, did some house chores, & had a belated birthday lunch with a friend. Today will be more of the same. I slept in very late today. I guess my body needed it.

Have a great weekend & happy Hanukkah to those celebrating! 🕎 

Net Worth $1,102,723

Pushed back to Phase 2

November 25th, 2020 at 02:59 pm

Due to our rate of positives our governor has pushed us back to phase two. We were in phase three with up to 75% occupancy, now we're back at 50% occupancy. 

I unexpectedly sold an EBay item on Sunda (it's been a while since I've had a sale) and the two people ahead of me weren't wearing masks even though we still have a mask mandate. That Pfizer vaccine can't come soon enough for me. Fingers crossed that I get selected. 🤞🏾


I really have banged myself up this last week. I have some sort of carpet burn on my side possibly from the Lyra loop, I think I may have broken the same toe again, and I sliced my finger open in the lab fridge door. I'm a walking accident!

The Dow passed 30,000 yesterday! So exciting. I am less than $23k from $1 million in just investments. My home equity & car worth is what is pushing me over $1 million now. I am kind of kicking myself for not getting in on those travel stocks, but oh well. You win some, you lose some. There will be other opportunities I'm sure.

I am home during the day for the next 3 days. I need to go grocery shopping for today's holiday cooking. So happy to have a few days off. I still have to work in the evening, though. I have 3 more use or lose days before the end of the year after this. I will take them the week of Christmas. My sisters are still planning to come home & I pray for their safety traveling.

it is my birthday next Saturday & my early birthday present to myself was buying President Obama's first volume of his presidential memoirs. He is a wonderful story teller & I look forward to reading it when I can find the time. I may lend it to my mom first as I'm currently so busy. It is over 700 pages.

Friday is payday & I only have 3 paychecks left in 2020 as well as 3 payments on my car. My last car payment is my Christmas paycheck. Merry Christmas to me! That's $200 extra biweekly. I love when I give myself a raise through debt payoff. I will also max out my TSP with my last paycheck.

Happy Thanksgiving all! 🦃 

Net Worth $1,077,566

More Income

November 2nd, 2020 at 11:40 am

I haven't been working my third job since August, but on Friday they contacted me to say that they're going to be ramping up COVID-19 testing. They have a new instrument so I would need to be trained on it if they want me to use it rather than the instrument I was already trained on, the BD Max. Both labs that I work at also got a BioFire, but it doesn't seem to be getting much use yet. 

At the hospital we are using the Abbott ID Now. It gets super busy with the seasonal flu testing, as well as the COVID-19 testing. The ER is supposed to be getting their own instruments to run, which will be a huge relief for the lab. 

 

I checked my mail Saturday & I received my settlement money! I mobile deposited it & scheduled 3 more weekly payments to my credit card. This debt will be knocked out in no time!

 

The IRS announced that retirement plan limits will stay the same next year. So I will continue to contribute $19,500 to my TSP & $6,000 to my Roth IRA. 

Happy Halloween 🎃 👻

October 31st, 2020 at 06:54 pm

Happy Halloween! 🎃

We had a fun Lyra photo shoot yesterday evening inspired by Halloween. I got some good pics out of it. My flexibility with Star on the Bar (my favorite pose) continues to improve. 🌟 

Yesterday at the clinic we had a Halloween party. There was costume & pumpkin decorating contests as well as other fun games. Lots of good food as well. It was a fun event. 👻

We survived Hurricane Zeta with little local damage. There was more damage in the New Orleans area with this storm. And we still have another month to go in this very active Hurricane season. 💨

I've decided to start trading stocks within my Roth IRA (for tax purposes). I'm excited to do my research & learn more about the companies I'm interested in. They say you should buy what interests you & I am definitely leaning towards stocks related to travel. 🛩

Cruises are no longer under a No Sail order as of midnight today, but who knows when they will start cruising again. When will people feel comfortable cruising? Maybe not until there's a vaccine & even then maybe only when we've had time to study the side effects. 🛳

I got my third paycheck of the month yesterday. It's nice when you get to make an extra payment on debts. I'll do some end of the month budgeting later today. 💰

I have 4 biweekly payments left on my car loan! Today my cash on hand exceeded my debts for the first time in years, probably. Still on track for total debt payoff by spring 2021. 🙌🏾

Net Worth: $960,559 

 

 

 

 

Post-Hurricane Sunshine

October 10th, 2020 at 05:04 pm

Hurricane Delta has passed & I am relatively unscathed. I lost power for 9 hours & still have no internet, but other than that and the now dry closet leak, all is well. The weather is sunny & dry this morning.

Yesterday was my sister’s birthday & I called to send her my best wishes. I got to speak to my niece & nephew as well. They’re growing up so fast! I can’t wait to spend time with them during the holidays. I still hope that they will be able to travel home for Christmas.🎄

I missed Lyra class this morning. The power was out & I was just not physically feeling up to going, so I canceled my reservation for today’s class. I’ll be back on Tuesday. The studio is doing a Broadway showcase for the various classes. I’m thinking of doing a routine to Masquerade from Phantom. 🎭 We’re also having a Halloween photo shoot which will be fun. 🎃👻

Have a good weekend! Since the clinic was closed yesterday we now have a 4 day weekend due to Columbia Day, though I work tomorrow at the hospital. 🏥

I did a search & there have been no announcements yet from the IRA regarding retirement plan contribution limits for next year. I’ve only seen one person say that the 401k limit will increase to $20k, but I would be very surprised by that happening.

Net Worth $1,007,225




PayDay...Kind Of

August 15th, 2020 at 03:51 pm

I got paid yesterday for my third job. I only worked 4.37 hours due to the kit shortages. I paid 75% of my pay in taxes because I have it set up to take an additional $100 out each paycheck. So I netted approximately one hour’s pay. Oh well. Even though I’ve only worked there 3 months I’ve already made over $10,000 for the year.

TSP says my personal investment performance for the last 12 months is only 6.26% but it sure seems like a lot more with the recent gains.

Net Worth: $969,408

PayDay Review

August 8th, 2020 at 04:14 pm

Yesterday was pay day. I got paid from 2 of my jobs. My third job pays semi-monthly so on the 1st & 15th. This month the 1st was a Saturday so I got paid on the 31st, which was a nice surprise.

My car payment is automatically deducted on paydays. I now owe less than $2k on my car. I also schedule credit card payments at least every other week. My credit cards are now down to $10k as I mentioned in my last blog post.

My IRA deduction will go out next Friday. It is scheduled for the 15th of every month, but the 15th falls on a Saturday this month. At one time I was sending the full year’s contribution on January 1st. I hope to get back to that in 2022 when I’m debt free except for my mortgage. My auto & homeowners insurance as well as my utilities are also due on the 15th. My mortgage is paid biweekly the Wednesday after my two paydays.

Net Worth: $959, 901

Pay Day Friday

June 13th, 2020 at 05:03 pm

I received 2 of my paychecks this Friday. I will receive the third on Monday. My credit card debit is down to $15k with yesterday’s payment. Monday I will send $500 to my Roth IRA. I have set up recurring transfers again on the 15th of every month.

I am contemplating taking a break from my second job in July. The third job is keeping me plenty busy with 20-25 hours weekly. Having a break on the weekends would be nice.

With the lack of gym time I’m looking to make some changes to my diet. I’m speaking to a friend today that has lost a lot of weight through dietary changes. And with my weekends free maybe I can get back to taking my evening walks on weekends at least.

TSP Increase

May 14th, 2020 at 12:01 pm

I had decreased my TSP contribution to just enough to get the full match while paying down credit card debt, but with the new job, the sign-on bonus, the stimulus payment, canceled vacations, & the gift from my parents I decided to increase it to meet my limit again this year. I may have to adjust it again closer to the end of the year to make sure I max it out.

I also will have finished paying back my TSP loan at the end of the month. I sent an extra $500 payment last week. That will give me another $250 per paycheck.

The Revealing

March 3rd, 2020 at 06:26 pm

So through a set of circumstances that my mom is calling divine intervention, almost the entirety of my debt was revealed to her. Of course I was...there is not a word that could accurately describe what I felt. My debt is definitely a source of shame & fear. Not fear in that I can’t pay it, but that it’s a cycle that I’ll never get out of.

So we had a discussion over the phone. She wanted to wait until later to talk since I was at work, but I hate that. When people have something serious to say to me I want to hear it now, not later. Anyway, after the discussion I went in & cut my TSP contributions down to the minimum I needed for my full match. That will put $600 more in my check before taxes. Once I finish paying off my TSP loan in July I’ll have another $250 a paycheck after taxes. Once I pay off my car I’ll have another $150 per paycheck, also after taxes of course. If I suspend my IRA contributions that’s another $500 a month.

I’m going to pull out my Dave Ramsey book & get serious. I may even take the course offered at church. I’m tired of this debt yo-yo & I’m going to nip it in the bud once & for all.

My mom asked me about my travel & will take the next 2 trips that I have scheduled. After that I’m on hiatus. It will be hard to pass up trips with my friends, but I’m so determined to do this. Also, I think my mom is somewhat in shock & I’d like her to not worry. She says that she isn’t, but like me, she’s a worrier by nature.

Stock Market

February 29th, 2020 at 09:25 pm

My investments updated today & I am down more than $100k from recent highs. Oh well, I’m staying the course through all the ups & downs. I sent an IRA contribution in last Friday & I wish that I had sent it in this Friday. But you never know what will happen & can’t time the market.

IRA Follow-up

January 11th, 2020 at 05:29 pm

I finally got in touch with Vanguard & she showed me how to correct the issue online. It was very simple. So I was able to recategorize my contribution from 2020 to 2019. I now have $1k to contribute for 2019 & $6k to contribute for 2020. I will send $500 to my 2019 IRA in February & March.

I owe my mom one last payment of $250 for my AC loan. My TSP loan is now below $4k. My car loan will be paid off in the first half of 2021.

I transferred $100 to my savings yesterday & mailed $20 to the local food bank this week.

I received my Clever Fox budget planner this week. I really like it & I’m well into journaling my January budget. I brought my lunch 4 times this week! That’s a record for me.