<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
You are viewing: Main Page
 

another one bites the dust

January 20th, 2017 at 01:33 pm

So I've been mostly using redfin to find a house. It's slow going, but it is really picking up. I met a realtor I like and she appears to really know the area I am interested in buying. She's been buying and selling since the 90s in the area and can easily name streets and values and locations. Even gave me an honest opinion about schools/location/value and how it affects home prices. We haven't meet yet and are meeting tomorrow in person.

She insisted on showing us 3 homes to see how we react. And she wanted to meet DH and I both. She's basically going to evaluate how we react.

Unfortunately a couple of red flags went up. Sigh. I am probably going to get a lot of hate from realtors from saying this but I have the emails between this realtor and myself proving it.

She suggested that we use her mortgage person because they will help us win in a bidding war situation. She is doubtful we'll be able to be picky because we are only putting down 25-30% cash and to be really competitive we need to be at 50% down or all cash. She said she usually waives the inspection and mortgage contingencies.

These things has already brought out the worse in my DH. I'm wavering. We might have to step back out of this market and rent for a number of years just because we can't afford to do these things. We discussed it last night and the truth is that my DH says we're being responsible by not letting go of things we think protect us. I think we need to hear her explanations of why she suggests these things to people and it's possible we won't work with her. Solely because we can't stomach the terms.

Right now I shudder at the thought of renting for another few years. I already miss having a dog and want another but we had made an agreement that we would wait until after we moved into out house so we wouldn't have to deal with our landlord and another pet deposit. Or finding another rental that takes dogs. And I don't really want to move the kids.

But what should we do? Just look and see if we can win something? Do it our way and hope we can buy and still stick to our terms? How much do we risk? These next six months is going to be stressful.

Spend everything you make

January 19th, 2017 at 08:59 am

Okay people really do spend everything they make. You think they don't. Or at least I thought they didn't. Turns out people really do spend everything they make and then more.

I've now seen people making incredible salaries, still working, and drawing from a 401k. Paying 30% tax on their 401k withdrawal based on their income and somehow not saving. Being in their 60s and still have a mortgage with interest. I am floored.

It explains a lot about people talking about how will they retire? I mean I work in a tax office where one of the other tax people has admitted to it being too hard to save. So she gets a $8k tax refund to help them through the year make ends meet. She said it was too hard to save for college so they meant to but they never got around to it. Her kids have $8k saved at 16 and 14 and most of it was from her dad's initial contribution into a 529 of $2500. She said everything else just seemed more important.

Or another one said there's no way we'll retire before 65. My husband was hoping 60 but we have so many expenses. Apparently they have a couple of rentals that aren't really breaking even. I wanted to point out that perhaps they should cash in and buy rentals that actually produce income. But they see it as a long term investment of price appreciation. I'm not RE savvy enough but I can't help but wonder if this is a losing proposition? Sure you can write off depreciation and other stuff on rentals, but if you can't cover the mortgage with rent, I wonder if you shouldn't buy a different property?

These are supposedly financially savvy people and the clients who come in are in the top 2-3% of earners in the US. But they have very little savings. They spend it as soon as they make it.

I know we chose to live without income. But I have to wonder don't these people worry? Do they even have 3 months saved in an EF? From what I can the answer is no.

Life is busy

January 13th, 2017 at 11:15 am

Since I started working part-time things have been crazy. I enjoy it. I love getting away from the kids. But the truth is that the money is good too. I haven't done anything with it but put into our account. But it's nice to be having adult interaction and identity away from the kids.

Next step realtor license. I want to work for redfin doing tours. All this is a long term plan after we buy the house.

a new part-time job

January 3rd, 2017 at 01:22 pm

I did it. I started doing taxes for HR Block part-time. I'm not sure if i'll do this long term. I think I'd like something year round. But this was a break into working again after not working since June 2010. It's minimum wage and I'd have to work next year in order to be able to get the minimum wage and then commission on number of returns done. Thus the high turnover rate of 1st year tax preparers. But with the continuing education prep I've at least made $250 and it's paid for the $149 course.

My next step? I am thinking of studying online to get a realtor license and hopefully landing a job as a redfin touring agent. I prefer doing that sort of realtor work than selling or buying homes.

Perhaps i'll end up doing what I trained for again one day. But for right now I'm liking this part-time gigs. The only problem is I'm trading babysitting since I'm working nights from 5-9 and DH has trouble getting home by 4:45 so a friend is watching the kids for an hour and I'm watching hers during the day. Phew.

2016 Wrap up and 2017 Goals

January 3rd, 2017 at 01:15 pm

So we ended 2016 pretty good. How good? Our NW went up $41k. We are still down from our peak NW $120k, I'm still happy where we are. Our retirement contributions were $29k plus $2552 employer match into the 401k and we ended the year up $73k so we doubled our investment. We maxed out our 401k in 4 months. With income and savings we only "spent" $30k in cash from January to August, we didn't get our first paycheck till August 12th.

Our average spending was $80k for the year. $6500k/month including $2400/month rent. Not terrible to live on $4000/month for a family of 4. It was front loaded that we had a lot more expenses without employer provided health insurance. So we spent more on essentials till August then we splurged a lot more on eating out and stuff since we suddenly had more money. NOT perfect but we were okay.

Anyway our 2017? Save $100k and increase NW $150k. Big stretch goals.

Investments out of control

December 30th, 2016 at 12:59 pm

I've allowed our investments to get out of hand and out of control. Because of our move and rolling into a Roth IRA and 401ks and just starting new funds and being concerned about just our overall cash I've allowed our investments to get out of control. How out of control? I have no idea what we're invested in right now.

DH just took his 401k and dumped it into whatever we chose years ago. I didn't pick his new 401k instead he just dumped it into a couple of funds but told me the other day they told him it was super risky. I haven't done a comprehensive overlook at what we should do in about 2 years.

The kids are left in VTI for college. Boring but what else to do? I'm feeling pretty stressed out right now. I started my spreadsheet with dollar amounts and choices.

I think we've been a little to risky because my DH was allowed a lot of leeway in investing in individual stocks for fun. We rarely touch any of this even in taxable accounts we've got invested in stuff. We need to sit and make a better plan.

Goal - streamline and properly invest our accounts.

Odds and Ends

December 29th, 2016 at 11:58 am

I'm struggling with auto-bill pay. I am so annoyed by it. I put things like the internet, cell phone, garbage, water, electric bill on auto-bill pay. The problem is that the CC it's hooked up to keeps getting changed and I have missed payments because I forgot to update the credit card. The real problem is that these credit cards discover, citibank have been compromised so much that we were trying to update our accounts over the summer every month. It's so frustrating.

Plus I'm pissed at Capitol One now for not paying our CC in full even though I have confirmation numbers of payments. So now we are hit with finance charges and late fees and I'm dealing with paying everything manually and calling the card companies to deal with the fees. I'm just annoyed that it's taking so much time. Plus they refuse to help me when I have confirmation payment codes. Seriously? So I've been dealing with all of BS all morning.

I need to still evaluate our investments and rebalance our accounts. I think we're a little to aggressively invested. Of course it probably doesn't matter too much long term. Staying invested is most important.

But TD Ameritrade lost $60k of our money for 2 weeks. They couldn't find the check we mailed for our Roth IRA conversion. But after we called and complained then they suddenly found it in processing. I am ready to shriek.

The US needs to become more automated. They literally cut checks from checking accounts and mail them. Other countries do immediate electronic debiting when you pay bills. I can't help but wonder how the US is so far behind other countries with processing of banking?

At least the year is over and we have some potential good news. DH might not be the executor of his uncle's estate. There might be a will. So he doesn't have to deal with anything. Cheers. So much better because he won't have to deal with any ramifications from being executor. YES!

15% to retirement works!

December 16th, 2016 at 10:41 am

I have a feel good story I thought I'd share. A friend of mine was telling me that saving 15% of her income was the easiest thing when she was working and that it did a lot of heavy lifting for retirement.

Well she started at costco at 18 and didn't go to college. She started saving 10% for the first 2 years then 15% from years 20-38, she only ones part-time now because of her kids. She maxed out at $50k/year and has always saved 15% of her income and she's 39 and has $300k in her 401k. She's now set for life even if she never saves again. All the early saving did it for her.

She said I always tell people starting out to save 15% of their income and it'll do it for them. But most people never do. She looked at me and I said "no worries we're fine."

We missed saving in our early 20s and so we had to save A LOT more money to make up for it. We're still socking it away because of it. But the compounding works!

So it doesn't matter what you make but what you save.

no house

December 13th, 2016 at 09:31 am

Ugh no house. Lost it to someone else willing to pay cash. We were in the midst of doing some due diligence and someone else just came in and got it done.

Oh well. Time to keep on looking. I keep telling myself that spring is the time when more inventory comes on the market. Patience will be rewarded. We had hoped to find something but nothing is really what we want.

It's really hard to bet on finding a house we like and passing on so many we don't. We probably could settle but I find that I don't want to pay a lot of money for something I really don't love or like. That I'm taking the "safe" bet. But at the same time I also think if we bought a house now in desperation there is a great possibility we'd regret it.

I think all financial decisions made out of desperation are bad ones. They cause someone to act irrationally, justify bad decisions instead of actually thinking logically and reasoning out a decision. Or at least that's my justification for not jumping on a house I don't like but should probably buy because it's "good" enough.

But I guess it's like marriage. Should we settle for someone who is "good enough" and the "right" person you should marry but you don't love them? You just like them and it's the right decision? I think no. Because marriage is tough enough that you should really be sure. I do think people need common values but settling can cause people to compromise on those values. Hence I don't want to compromise on a house right now. Or at least these are compromises I don't want to make.

FWIW I feel that some realtors are definitely not working for our best interest. I have one non-stop pressuring me to buy at the top of our budget. That they'll take an offer at the top of our budget since it's been sitting. My response has been I don't love the house and I don't want to spend to the top of our budget if it's not something I really love. But hey it's in her best interest to sell me something.

cross your fingers

December 7th, 2016 at 03:28 pm

Okay at 8:30 am this morning we saw a house. We loved it. It hit everything on the checklist we wanted. So we're going to make an offer. But it's not perfect. There are a lot of problems.

Mostly that it's an unfinished home. But we're working with our mortgage broker and we can do a hard money construction loan, but we'll see what else can be done. I just love the location and the house being new and mostly done DH loves the location and house. I think the yard is small and it backs up to a busy road.

But life is about compromises. Nothing in life is perfect. Everything always has a catch. And I definitely felt good walking into this house. Now we just need them to accept the offer with contigencies mostly the financing and home inspection. My worry is that it's not "livable" and while it's under budget we have to get approved for a different type of loan versus the conventional mortgage we got approved for.

I'm worrying and thinking about it. This is the first house and it might not be the last house I'll regret if we don't make an offer. Everything else we've walked away from and I haven't cared personally. I will care but I will understand if we aren't meant to get it.

Roth Conversion

December 6th, 2016 at 09:28 am

DH rolled his 401k from his old company to his new company 401k. He then withdrew $60k and we are converting that to his Roth IRA. We decided on $60k to max out our taxable income in our 25% bracket. We might as well since we are at that level and going forward I suspect it'll be higher so converting any IRA or 401k money to a Roth IRA will likely not be worth it.

I've been doing a lot of thinking about some saving goals I have. My car is 2010 which isn't old and it only has 90k miles on it bought new. But I'm thinking maybe in 3 more years when it's 10 years old maybe we'd get another car and maybe it's time to start saving so we don't have payments? $500/month for 3 years?

I also think we need to start increasing our college savings. $2k/year per kid doesn't seem like enough. I'm thinking if we increased it to $4k/year per kid that would put us in a better position. It another $325/month for both kids.

I guess since 2017 is about to start it's making me evaluate financial goals. Once we buy a house and settle into a routine monthly budget I think it'll be easier to give every dollar a name.

Have you considered your 2017 financial goals?

Black Friday and Holiday Shopping Savings!!!

December 5th, 2016 at 09:20 am

On Black Friday I saved $100. Literally. There was a sale at Costco on the electronic keyboard I had bought last month with a $100 coupon. So I took my receipt and I bought it again and returned it. It was $449 plus tax when I bought it and $349 plus tax when I bought it on Black Friday. Yes $100 in about 30 minutes of time to buy and return it.

I also bought socks and underwear from walmart and holiday pajamas for the kids for 30% off from target. I love buying these sort of clothes on black friday. Overall spending probably less than $100.

I bought the kids a couple of gifts as well. This year they got Lego Advent and chocolate advent calendars. DK1 got a vtech smartwatch from Target which was on Buy one get one 50% so I got it for $35 regular from $55. I am mailing other to friend. She also got a Gemma shopkins doll for $20, and my little pony from TRU for $17. And I still have to look for $1 stocking stuffers. DK2 got shopkins $11 from TRU, equestria doll $5 from walmart, and troll twins $30 (going to get using my target gift cards).

DH got bose wireless headphones for $350. And now to the teacher gifts $120 - 6 teachers @ $20/pop all to Target. Thank you for the 10% target gift cards yesterday.

I have a few more items to get for people but overall I think my shopping is done. If only I had magic elves come and wrap and send my gifts.

November 30th Net Worth

December 1st, 2016 at 10:00 am

It's almost the end of the year and it's been good. So we hit our peak NW in June 2015. And since then we are down about 12%. From when we moved because we had a lot of costs moving, selling house, etc September 30th 2015 we are down 0.7%. So we have made up the difference. At our lowest point we dipped 19.4% from 6/15 or 9.1% from 9/30/15.

Part of it has been saving and part has been the market. We managed not miss a beat and maxed out DH's 401k and Roth IRAs for 2016 and kid's college funds $4k. We also saved our signing bonus. We hit a new high of $600k+ in retirement savings. To just show what holding steady does in DH's old 401k without contributions after August

June 2015 $332k,
9/30/15 $301k
10/30/15 $325k
1/28/16 $288k
3/24/16 $311k
5/15/16 $314k
6/7/16 $324k
6/27/16 $306k
11/3/16 $321k
11/30/16 $340k

In one year we had quite a ride. So shut your eyes and let it ride. A stretch goal for 2017 will be if market cooperate $700k in retirement.

We are right now in a holding pattern until we settle into a house. It'll be interesting what the next year financials hold with proposed tax reform. I can't say I'm upset because I know we'll benefit a lot. We pay a ton in taxes and this year more than ever.

Goodbye my friend

November 30th, 2016 at 09:48 am

We put our dog down last night. It was time. The cancer had mestatisized to fluid in his lungs. Though his blood work came back fine last week he wasn't eating and having trouble walking. He seemed to rally a little over the weekend but seemed ready yesterday night when DH got home.

First time in almost 15 years we've been without a dog in our lives. It's hard and lonely. The house seems empty and quieter. I don't know if we'll get another friend. I think it'll be awhile. I'm so glad he got to spend his last year in a house that was easier for him to be comfortable in. If I can stop crying. Well the saying is death comes in threes and it has this year for us.

Maybe tomorrow I'll try to donate some stuff to a rescue group. Or sometime soon.

The dog

November 22nd, 2016 at 09:31 am

I'm a little worried. Our dog has been on his "last" legs for over a year. But he seems more tired and lethargic and just sick. I feel like it's getting to the end. I'm very sad and not sure if I'm ready to let go.

People have told me to get another dog but I feel like I'm not interested or ready. I'm not sure when I'll be ready. I just want to not feel ridiculous for crying right now. The kids saw other people's new puppies and said they wanted one. But right now the idea of another dog is just not vibing. I'm just hoping he makes it through Thanksgiving. And yes I'm aware he's a pet but he's been a really good friend for many years and to me he's family. He's someone I walk and talk with quite a bit.

Happy Thanksgiving in case i don't get back before Thursday.

Tax Employer Provided Healthcare?

November 20th, 2016 at 09:54 pm

This article in the Washington Post about how Republicans and Democrats can work together to fix healthcare was interesting.

The first and foremost suggestion is to eliminate the tax free treatment of employer provided health insurance. The majority of Americans are covered by this. The biggest benefit go to the biggest wage earners like how SS tax is capped. I think it would be a good proposal and if we wanted to move to a free market health insurance economy the way to go.

The idea is that people have to buy catastrophic insurance and then if you have money you can buy more layers of insurance and care. Or you can deposit it into a Health Savings accounts for maintenance/prevention. This will help probably the very rich and the poor. But middle class people if I had to guess will end up with the short end of the stick.

I will guess that employers will not pay people more to supplement the tax on the health insurance they provide. Or if they don't need to provide health insurance anymore and EVERYONE has to choose to buy it, that people won't get an equivalent raise. I think it would be interesting to see what would happen if we were all in the same boat of having to buy insurance. The only thing that would have to be left in effect is forcing insurers to cover pre-existing conditions.

But if we all didn't have employer provided healthcare? Do you think it would be better? Are you willing to give it up or pay taxes on it?

i just signed up to kill myself

November 15th, 2016 at 09:51 pm

I just signed myself and the two kids for snowboarding lessons in January. $1000 for 4 weekends with rentals for the kids and 2.5 hours of lessons for four Sundays. Ugh. I know the kids will enjoy it and DH is coming to supervise. But this is my first time back since 2009 probably when I injured my ACL. My DH loves it and guilted me into trying it again. I could do this and try to do a family activity or I could sit in the lodge. I figure I'll give it one more try and then i'll sit in the lodge forever. I am terrible at it. I am inherently clumsy and honestly I'm terrified of the chair lifts. Either way I figure I'm investing $220 for 4 lessons to figure out that I can sell my snowboard and never go again.

This might be why I had kids. So I can send them with my DH to enjoy his sporty past-times. I'm more a summer warm weather person. Wish me luck. When I nearly kill myself I'll refer back to this post.

90k service and then some

November 14th, 2016 at 08:45 am

So my 2010 Subaru Outback has just about 90k miles on it. Wow that went fast. Anyway it cost me $524 for the service and fixing a headlight. Yes my DH could do it but it takes a lot of time to replace the headlight while being really careful with the plastic shield so for $30 he said have them do it. Actually the part was $25 and that's what they charged me free labor.

But they told me the serpentine belt needed to be redone for $115 and front brakes $350. I need to call other dealerships and see if any are having a deal and coupon in the area. Also on the radar is the timing belt to be done at 105k miles which is around $700. Ugh.

But at least by maintaining the car I'll get a lot more years of use out of it. We did buy it new and except for all this routine maintenance the serpentine belt being the only thing that hasn't been "routine", this car has been incredibly reliable and great. I had a corolla for 14 years preivously also bought new and my DH forced me to sell it when we had kiddo #2. Lack of Latch, airbags, ABS made him uncomfortable with me driving it anymore. He'd have gotten rid of it in 2010 but we couldn't afford it.

Recently we got to talking about our plans to keep this car. I laughed and said until DK#1 is driving so 16 years. He said no way. We'll wait newer safety features. I will admit the rear camera and sensors I drove in the rental for the day is nice. I'd also like a 3rd row option. But those are wants and not needs.

How long do you keep your cars? Do you keep them till they break or do you trade them in if your needs change? Do you only buy used and then exchange them when you feel like it?

I found the secret trump voter

November 11th, 2016 at 08:11 am

Laugh I did. My redfin touring realtor yesterday "leaned in" and told me I voted for trump. She is a college educated, white, 45-55 woman living in the suburbs divorced with kids. She leans liberal but couldn't vote for Hillary because she's corrupt and establishment. She said doesn't like anything Trump said or stood for but she pulled the lever because she wanted a change. She said she hasn't told coworkers or other friends, because she was embarrassed. Why'd she tell me? I said I didn't vote for Hillary and Trump. I refused. But then I'm registering as an independent because my values mostly align with a certain independent socialist.

The second was a stay at home mom who also is white, college educated, 30-40 married suburbs. She is pretty conservative and was horrified by Trumps racist bigotry but his stances more aligned with hers. She also was embarrassed to tell people she voted for him.

Both women said he offended them and they don't support his views on race or women or religion. But they just couldn't support Hillary for one reason or another. Neither would have told a pollster they'd be voting for Trump.

So these two women whom pollsters "should" be Hillary supporters were closeted Trump supporters. It cements in my mind that Trump supporters that aren't all racist or bigots. Rather probably a small segment is. Many don't agree but still voted for him for other reasons. People who really disagree actually with his words.

Either way I found it interesting that people are hiding they voted for him. It appears that's why polling was off. Because even exit polls people didn't admit to voting for him.

In an aside a couple of our friends are considering moving and leaving the country. We're saddened by their fear. Praying they make the best decision. Both couples are muslim and I asked recently the moms why did they set aside the niqab? The answer was after they had children they were afraid of being physically assaulted and both had been verbally assaulted while walking with their babies. It had been easier when they were single and younger. But pushing a stroller made them reconsider how they appear and they wanted to fit in more. I wonder if we aren't regressing in our ability to accept people of another race, religion, or sexual orientation.

repealing Obamacare

November 10th, 2016 at 09:54 am

Donald Trump will repeal parts of Obamacare on the first day in office. I believe this will happen with the republican congress. This is absolutely going to fufill their desire and promise.

I'm excited. I'm a socialized medicine supporter and that's not what Obamacare is. I felt and still do Obamacare was better than what we had. But it wasn't what I would have chosen.

I am curious what Donald Trump will replace it with. He has 10 weeks to propose and tell us what is the Republican answer to Obamacare and how it is different. I believe this is exciting.

Why?

Because I think we're about to blow up the American Healthcare system. I think that we are about to cause a catastrophe and health insurance and health care costs will skyrocket in a way the republicans can't even begin to predict. I think it'll spiral out of control faster and unexpectedly and this will cause the US to face the music sooner. Obamacare is actually a system proposed by the Republicans in 90s when hillary proposed socialized medicine during the clinton years. Yet 20 years later they hate it.

CCF you always talk about how bad socialized medicine is with military. But senior citizens have the largest socialized medicine system in the US it's called medicare. Second what do you propose to replace it? I am still waiting on what people propose to replace Obamacare?

Repealing Obamacare will include cutting the subsidies for working and middle class americans. It will allow insurers to lump together high risk people making insurance if I had to guess incredibly expensive for them. But apparently you will be able to buy insurance across state lines.

I am going to guess without being forced to charge the same for high risk preexisting condition people and those who are low risk insurance companies will start to run wild on premiums for everyone.

But this will be a very interesting 10 weeks as we wait to see how this experiment turns out. Do I think Obamacare a success? Yes/No. I think it's great to give coverage to those who couldn't buy it before. But it's not the plan I would have liked.

But now I think Trump will blow it all up by moving toward a free market healthcare. I don't think people really want a free market healthcare when they realize they have to pay for their actual care.

Donald won???

November 9th, 2016 at 08:35 am

Just kidding. I am not surprised. I think of myself as probably an independent in the mold of bernie sanders. I'm more liberal than the democratic party. This entire year I've said I get why Donald Trump wont he republican nomination and I can honestly say I get why he won the presidency.

I didn't think it would happen. But I think that more moderate democrats voted for him than moderate republicans voted for Hillary. I do believe there is racism and hate and sexism in this country. But that's not what propelled him to victory. She didn't lose because she's a woman. She lost because she's a terrible person. I believe if Bernie had won he'd have won the presidency because a lot of people turned off by Trump's message of hate and divisiveness would have voted for Bernie as a outsider (ie independent caucausing with Democrats).

He won Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, the same states Bernie beat Hillary Clinton. How? Because I think people hate establishment and they feel the elites of both parties have left them behind, and they have. I will admit I LOVE his "drain the swamp" bit. I hate the establishment and feel they've lost touch with the regular people and Hillary represented the swamp. Him promising to drain the swamp was great. I think it won him the election.

The democratic party deserved this loss. They cleared the field for her, they didn't give Bernie a fair shot, they deliberately gave her the opportunity she missed in 2008. So she's done stick a fork in her. I think she deserves to go to jail. I also hope she does to prove that NO ONE is above the law because that's what pisses me off. It's why I wouldn't vote for her. I didn't vote for Trump either and yes I voted. The truth is she acted this entire race that she was above the law. She made the rules and didn't abide by them. So she deserved this loss and everything that went with it.

I disagree with Donald Trump policies and what he stands for. They aren't what I believe. But I'll respect the opinion of others who want to disagree. Some of the people I know best are republicans and I can still respect the opinion. FWIW they were horrified by Donald's views.

What I still stew over is the fact my vote doesn't matter. That only a small percentage of people in the US get to pick the president. That only people living in swing states matter. That if you live on the coasts and south you might as well not even show up to vote. I am appalled that the popular Hillary Clinton won. I don't like her but I question whether it would have been more legitimate if she had won by popular vote? Then wouldn't every vote everywhere be equal?

I understand the tyranny of the majority is the reason for the electoral college. But now it seems like we are under the regime of the minority (which we are since Donald lost the popular vote) rather than the will of the majority.

Where is the parity of one vote one person? I think the electoral college is antiquated and we need to switch. It's completely unfair that large swathes of the electorate is COMPLETELY ignored and only people living in areas considered swing are worthy of picking.

But maybe I'm biased since I've never lived in a swing state. Do swing state people feel it's fair? Do they see a problem with being a swing state and that their votes are more important than other citizens?

feeling anxious

October 26th, 2016 at 08:15 pm

I'm found a realtor in one of the areas we liked. She is very good but I find myself again pulling back. I'm feeling pressured. I know I'm grinding my teeth over the anxiety. I can feel myself waking up just thinking and worrying.

Have I mentioned I am using redfin? I really like the touring agents and the method behind touring without pressure. I like how you have to tell the offer agent when you are ready. I didn't like the fact that the offer agent I had didn't respond for 2-3 days when I emailed her. I know it's not full service and I don't need hand-holding I just want a person who responds.

So I switched for one area to a full service agent. And now I'm regretting it. The realtor is very good in the keeping in touch. She's also good about following up with other agents. But I don't think she likes how indecisive I am.

I don't think she likes the fact that I want to see the house more than 1x. That I'm looking at houses with my DH then we want to go back before deciding. Every house we've seen and gone back she's asked and pushed if we want to put in an offer.

The truth is we haven't found the house we want. I was very honest with her today that we are in a lease till July 2017. We decided that we would buy our dream home now if it shows up and if it doesn't we'll wait.

But I don't want to settle now. I'm not ready to compromise and buy a home in the location I am not in love with until March or April. Until then I want to wait and keep watching what comes on. I've yet to walk into anything and been "wow" i want this. Everything has been meh and compromised. I know that I have to compromise, everyone does.

Am I wrong to wait? Do I need to rush? I feel like if I'm going to compromise does it have to be now? Can't it be when we're under the gun and need to move?

Yes I feel my DH breathing down my neck about his commute. Today was another 2 hour commute. But at the same time he's willing to wait because he agrees we haven't found it yet. I don't know what "it" is but all homes have been okay.

What should we do? Since we aren't rushing should I just use redfin and suck it up? I can honestly say we hvaen't seen a house we've kicked ourselves over and said we should have bought. I feel so guilty that this is taking so long and more anxious that I won't find anything.

Suggestions?

My parents retirement plan

October 26th, 2016 at 05:19 pm

I want to strangle my mom. I love her and my parents have more than enough to retire on. But my mom doesn't it. She won't spend her money. I want to smack her so hard and tell her you can't die with it and I don't want it.

My mom is in the car with me as I'm prying out about her she feels she can't buy a house she wants. I say just buy the DAMN house. She says "oh we'd have to liquidate" and how will we afford it? I point out to her she gets SS, my dad gets SS, and she gets a pension.

Her monthly take home pay is says is $3k pension, $2k SS, Dad's SS $3k, and $1500 RMD from IRA because he's still working. She's retired and has been for 10 years and still contributing to a ROTH ira. They bring home at least $10k/month and my mom is still trying to save money.

I don't know what for. I wanted to strangle her. I said please buy a new car. Please buy a house you want or renovate it. Her car is a 20 year old Avalon that the A/C is broken in Hawaii but she just constantly refills coolant. She had a leaking roof for years because she couldn't pick a roof.

I wanted to shake her. I begged her to please stop saving. She looked me in the eye and said "oh it'll go to DK1 and DK2. You don't need it, but it's ridiculously frivilous to spend $10k/month".

I give up. I'm not even sure my mom realizes that they make more than the majority of the population. They are still earning income my dad is 86 today (happy birthday dad). They are only drawing on IRA because they have to. OMG. Why aren't they enjoying it?

This same mentality is why she tells me I have to work. The idea of actually spending what you saved for retirement seems crazy.

Do you savers plan on spending your retirement money? Or do you think when you get there you'll be living only off other stuff?

My thoughts has always been we'd draw on our retirement. I always had a plan to be done working by 50 and FI by 45. Looks completely on track, but my DH has mentioned more and more he'd prefer to work a bit longer he's not ready to jump off the hamster wheel. I get it he loves his job. But I like knowing we could.

But can working/saving become addicting? I feel like my parents have worried too much.

Giving early or later?

October 18th, 2016 at 09:22 am

I'm going to admit to suddenly for once being jealous. In a few different ways. My cousin just bought a house with down payment help from both sets of parents. Neither of them have a good job and yet they can buy $800k home without selling their $350k condo. She's an only and I've heard that he's from a "rich" family. Some envy that they get help.

But I have recently known a lot of people who get down payment help from their families. I know multiple people whose parents gave them the down payment of $50 or $100k or more. Some are even paying/funding college for their kids.

I guess my thought is how are these parents able to give their kids/grandkids money now? I know my parents and in-laws are secure. I don't expect any help nor will we get any. But it's likely they will leave us something eventually.

I guess I'm jealous because how do people know they have enough to give to their children before death? How do they know when they are only in the 60s and 70s and in "early" retirement to know they have enough? I ponder this because I'd like to think that maybe we'll save enough to help our kids.

It's a stretch goal that we are able to pay 100% for 4 years of college, some money for a wedding/house down payment, and a car out of college. In that order I'd like to gift our kids with a leg up. I've really thought about it but we'll be in our early 50s and potentially retiring when they go off and finish college. But how will I know that I have enough? How will I be able to part with so much cash so early in our "retirement" position? Of course if DH chooses to work past 50 then I'm assuming we have a large cash flow.

But how secure do I have to be? Do I think maybe whatever our parents leave behind will be used to be passed on? I think maybe we'll get something but I could be entirely wrong. Our parents have paid for homes and pensions. But I'm not sure much cash on hand, which is understandable why gifting us with anything is pretty much nil.

But how do we get there? How do you know? Have you been gifted a substantial amount of cash from your parents or grandparents? Was it before death? If so why before? How did they know they had enough? If you got it upon death did you expect it? Was it more or less than you expected?

power and prestige?

October 16th, 2016 at 10:35 am

I don't like Donald Trump. I still haven't reconciled voting for Hillary either. I don't want to write in Gary Johnson, but I would write in Bernie Sanders.

Anyway this past week after watching the Donald Trump video and his words. It came up in a group of moms. I am disgusted and his words on the video definitely helps perpetuate rape culture.

More than one mom talked about rape on their college campus and having a friend go through it. I am unsure if it really was "friend or themselves" and they were hiding behind the words. Truth is that many guys talk like that especially guys with money and privilege. I mean look at the Stanford swimmer. The more expensive universities tend to have more kids born like Donald Trump to privilege.

I think that Donald did many actions that definitely were suspect in proper behavior. Because he thought he had the money, right, and power. And women don't talk about it because they are embarrassed and many times feel like they were to blame. I had a college roommate who was "date" rape but she never reported because she was drunk. She couldn't give consent but felt shame because she "brought it on herself". I wasn't there it was a sorority/fraternity party. Yet how much has it changed?

Now do we believe women? Do we say that being drunk is not consent? Or do we still bring up the victims past? My favorite line is Michelle Obama's a strong mand doesn't have to put down women.

I'm disgusted by Donald Trump. It just shows his total disdain for people in general. Actually both candidates do. I don't think either people have any sort of moral fiber. Arrrgh.

Do you think he did sexual assault all those women? Or is it the media? I wonder if more come out if it's really all made up. It's falling into the same line of more women stepping forward like Bill Cosby.

i hate house hunting

October 11th, 2016 at 02:36 pm

I am already tired of looking for a home and I've only just started. It's been exhausting and I think the real problem is that my DH and I agreed I would give homes the first run and then only show him the homes that past the muster. I have found a lot of homes with a some sort of problem. I will admit that I've managed to narrow down what I want in the house.

Location is key. We want a 30-45 minute commute for DH in a good school district. He had 2x last week of 2 hour commutes. There were accidents and the bus just got stuck and he was in at work around 10 am after leaving at 8 am. He also had a couple of 95-100 minute return commutes home when it should be between 75-90 minutes typically. This has made him exhausted. He can't work on the shuttle because he is easily motion sick so he only sleeps or listens to podcasts/audio books. But the truth is it's tiring even just adding those extra hours to his day. He's ready to buy the first house we can because of it.

We also have made a list and managed to define needs versus wants. We need 3 bedrooms but want 4 for guests. We need 2 car attached garage but want 3. We need a yard but want at least 1/4 acre but will likely compromise. We need a den, but want a den and bonus/playroom. We need the bedrooms together. We'd settle for a 4 bedroom and bonus if we could use the guest bedroom for a den/4th bedroom. Of course everything is negotiable based on price and location.

One of the problems? Is I feel like realtors are just trying to sell us any house and don't really care. I've gone out a couple of weekends and two different brokers on two different days in two different areas basically said "hey put in an offer." Nevermind neither house was exactly right, they both felt we should jump on it and just go in with an offer. I feel like both realtors feel like "hey let's get rid of these people with homes."

These were the full service brokers. I've found I prefer using redfin to tour homes not full commission based realtors because the full service realtors give me their opinion as to why a house is great. They don't point out the negatives. Instead they are basically just trying to sell me on every home. I wish they would shut up. Hence touring with the redfin is a lot more relaxing and calm. They are based on tours and I can see what I want and make my own notes and take in the house.

I feel also the full commission realtors don't want to bring me back. With redfin I feel as though I can go back more than once to see a house. I learned from a friend you should go see a house more than once because this is a big purchase. Don't rush and make a snap decision. I need to see a home at least 3x I feel. 1 by myself, 1 with DH, then again with DH at a different time of day.

This is the biggest purchase we'll make and I feel as though they want us to see it for 20 minutes and bam put down money. At least with redfin I don't feel that sort of touring pressure.

I will say that I think the full service realtors are better at figuring out negotiations and pricing. The ones on redfin are honestly BAD. They have no idea how to do comps and really price out an offer.

But right now I've told DH if a house falls in our lap we'll buy it. I've gotten a feel for what he likes. I think that we are going to wait and if we can't find a house we really like then we will settle in March/April. But until then I think we should keep looking until we find a home that hits all the boxes and works out for us.

owning a pet is expensive

October 10th, 2016 at 04:39 pm

So this past year we've spent $7938 on our dog. He's still alive amazingly. He was diagnosed with cancer left september and he torn his ACL and was 14 years old or so. He's a rescue so we're not really sure how old he is but we've had him for 10 years and they thought he might be around 3-4 years old in 2006 when we got him. The acl healed, we did chemo, and he's in pretty good spirits still.

When our other dog died 2010 I would guess I spent even more in his last year of life. I wasn't ready having been pregnant and just had a baby. I wasn't ready to let him go. When he did go I was ready and we'd had a good year with him.

But now I see lots of families who go to school with my kiddos getting a new puppy. For the "kids" to grow up with. I hope they understand what they are getting into. A huge commitment both of time and money. It's expensive to travel and when they get older you don't travel unless they are with you. Hence for now we're stuck driving because he can't handle plane rides anymore and we're too nervous he'd die if we left him at a kennel for more than an overnight. And a dog walker wouldn't work since he'd get upset being left alone so long.

Truth is I get that pets aren't family. He's not my kid. But he is I will admit probably my best friend. I am the one who walks him 2-3x/day. I'm the one who cares for him by brushing and bathing him. He sat next to me on the couch when I cried with post-partum depression. I was medicating halfway through my second pregnancy it was so bad. He walked with me when I pushed the stroller 365 days a year and when I felt lonely. I admit that he's not a person and he's not "family". But he is my friend and I've never admitted what we spend on him or our previous buddy.

I don't think that we'll get another dog anytime soon. Certainly not while he's alive. But seeing the numbers in black and white now before he passes is easier. It's not a pretty number, but it's real. I guess we know where a good chunk of our money last year went. LOL.

If anyone ever gives you a "puppy present" give it back. It's probably one of the most expensive gifts you'll ever get.

Do you know what you spend on your pets? I feel a little sticker shock since I've never added it up.

a year in financial review

October 8th, 2016 at 07:56 am

It's been a great year. I'm doing it now a little late because as of September 1st we spent a whole year in our new life. It's been amazing for all of us. We got to get closer as a family with DH not working for 11 months. He pretty much did not get a paycheck for 12 months. But he was unemployed from August 15 2015 to July 25 2016.

We burned through $91.5k. Yes you read that right in 11 months. Granted $17k was tuition but still that $74.5k. We spent around $6700/month including our fees for renting our place which was $8k up front costs. So we spent around our normal $5500/month rate we had budgeted. Lucky for us a signing bonus helped bump our spending for the year up to $71.5k including the $17k tuition.

Was it worth it? Yes. We had a great time. I think perhaps our spending will force us to delay "retirement" by 1 year.

I forgot that from our $91.5k we direct $4k to college for kids, $11k to Roth IRA so I guess we "saved" $15k out of the $91.5k. Also we're maxing out Roth IRA and 401k this year on a compressed 5 month paychecks. So we're still on track to save for retirement even if we aren't saving our normal cash cushion.

But the real goals were met. Move and be able to be closer to family. Get job that DH loves. Buy a house. Check on first two and working on the third.

Sometimes in life as I'm reflecting on the past year you have to spend money to make money. You have to invest in yourself, maybe start a business, buy a rental property, go back to school and retrain to get to where you want to be. It's a HUGE risk and it can cost you a lot of money. But the rewards can be significant, not just financial but pay dividends in other ways.

I suspect our net worth might be able net zero with gains in our retirement accounts. But back to regular programming of saving now. I have to admit it was REALLY daunting spending all this cash without any income. To go from being a saver to a spender. This could be why my DH and I are not meant to be true early retirees, we are too nervous nellies and risk averse to pull the trigger. We're actually very close to being able to do it but would rather pad our accounts.

What I've been up to?

September 27th, 2016 at 09:15 am

Getting the kids back into school has been busy. I've been ironing out their schedules and it's pretty crazy. DH has been on the hamster wheel getting up to speed on a new job. It's always a big learning curve with a new job. As for me? Well I started taking the HR block tax prep course 2x week at night. It's until December so we're on a kid handoff at night at the park and ride so I can make my 6 pm class!

I'm trying this out as a way to see if I like tax prep and if I can possible land a seasonal tax prep job. I need something on my resume after 6 years out of the workforce to get back in. I figured this is better than nothing. I'm also hoping that perhaps this is a way to landing a part-time job in bookkeeping or accounts payable I see on craigslist.

I'm not looking to go back full time in my field. I think that 1.5 jobs for our family would be best. I've already gotten push back from DH for taking this job because he doesn't think it's worth my time. But I'm hoping to get back next fall into a part-time work routine when my youngest might go to kindergarten. That's not decided yet.

I also won month 5 of my dietbet! I lost my 10%. Now is the real struggle. I don't know if I can maintain it. I find it easier to lose but it's so hard to keep the weight off. I missed month 3 and month 4 from traveling so i couldn't weigh in. But I kept at it and made month 5. Now can I keep it off is the question?

And we're deep in the house hunt. That's the next post. It's so hard to find something we like and finding the time to house hunt. UGH.

I am also on the decluttering challenge of 465 items in September. It is getting rid of 1-30 items over the month daily increasing as the days go on. I am at I think 380s items. I am going to make it. I have an appointment at the consignment store to get rid of 30 items. And they usually tell me what else they won't take. And I sell 6 items there daily. Apparently I've sold over $100+ there in mostly clothes.

So now back to my regular programming...

quick check in

August 29th, 2016 at 10:13 am

I have so much to do. We are back from almost a month away. We have new budget to work on, school to start, and house hunting. I think I am dreading the house hunting.

I need to iron out the kids schedules and figure out where we are with activities. It's weird this year we have so much more to do it seems than last year.

We blew August budget out of the water obviously but it's okay. Back to the grind. I'm so excited we have medical insurance and income again.


<< Newer EntriesOlder Entries >>