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Archive for December, 2016

Investments out of control

December 30th, 2016 at 08:59 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 07:58 pm

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 06:41 pm

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 05:31 pm

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 11:28 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 05:28 pm

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 05:20 pm

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 06:00 pm

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.