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Archive for January, 2016

Timing the market

January 29th, 2016 at 09:55 pm

Last post I said avoidance is what I am practicing. I'm going to avoid looking at our investments for the year or until I need to. Everything is just being left alone.

But I've realized my DH and I time the market not deliberately but accidentally. We sold in 2005 at the peak in southern California and bought at the peak but it worked out. Southern California still hasn't recovered but where we were did go up. Now I think like the last bubble you won't be able to tell until you are able to look back at the market. Did we sell at a high point in the market at 2015? Who knows.

I do know the stock market did go down. I know we didn't invest any home equity because we might need it. So some timing is happening to us but it's not on our decision but rather circumstances. Twice we've not wanted to be loud distance landlords.

But this stock market downturn did cement the idea that you don't invest money you can't afford to lose or ride out staying invested. We used to invest most of our emergency fund and have only 2-3 months of cash. But before we moved we cashed in about 18 months cash and home equity. We decided the risk wasn't worth it. Turns out that was a good assumption

What do you think about the housing market? And the stick market?

avoidance...your best friend

January 29th, 2016 at 05:44 am

Okay so I've been avoiding until today looking at our retirement and investment accounts. It's not pretty.

So our cash is down $30k but that was planned expenses for the past 5 months. We moved and budgeted around $5k/month with some unexpected expenses and moving costs covered. Very planned.

What was unplanned. Tanking of the market. Our retirement savings in June 2015 hit a peak of $575k. We are currently with our contributions ending in August (we maxed out the 401k) as of today at a balance of $496k. Now in October 30th, 2015 when I checked we were down from $575k to $562k. So we had a small hit. But in 3 months we've lost about $70k in our retirement accounts and that's without me moving a penny. I left everything as is and avoided looking at it until today.

I swallowed really hard right now writing this but I am staying the course. I have a diverse asset allocation of stocks all in retirement and our taxable account right now we had it mostly in cash/cd/bonds and it's around $10k down from October. With our cash heavy position from home equity and cash for living expenses we decided to leave our retirement alone.

I'm a little sickened but I'm staying strong and I'm going to ignore it. We weather 2007-2010 and I know there were years we were losing money after contributions and company matches but by contributing and not changing our allocation (cheap low cost funds) it turned out and began to pay big dividends.

I guess the only thing left to do is avoidance. Avoid watching and worrying and realize we aren't touching this money for another 20 years. We'll survive this and start pulling in big gains soon enough. Ugh.

How are you doing?

Car Update

January 28th, 2016 at 06:04 am

Yes they are fixing the car, not sure when it will be done, but it will be done. Of course it's not cheap and I am betting when they open the car up it might be more than $8k estimated repairs. But it does make my life and decision making easier right now. Right now we also have to replace both carseats. I'm really glad I don't have to worry about a new car for a bit.

Another thing is that we are still torn what do about the tuition. My DH leans to paying cash and using our home equity instead of a credit card. Well actually just spending down our cash cushion and tapping our home equity cash sitting in our checking account online if needed. It's earning 0.9%.

Decisions, decision.

financing boot camp

January 26th, 2016 at 07:40 pm

So my DH's boot camp starts in 2 weeks. Guess the vacation had to end sometime. LOL. It'll be $16k for the bootcamp and he's put down $1k deposit. They do offer loans, but I'm wondering if instead of paying cash we should do a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchase on a credit card.

I'd like to contribute to a Roth IRA for 2015 (we held back because we hadn't qualified for a few years and had been doing back door Roth IRAs). But now we can contribute and we have until April 15th. This year we can do a direct contribution.

So $11k to 2015 Roth IRA is on the table, $15k for bootcamp and our cash in hand is $70k. I'd rather not cash out any taxable accounts right now but at the same time we don't have any incoming income. That could change in 12 weeks and is likely to do so, but I'm wondering if we shouldn't try to finance the bootcamp ourselves (i don't like the rate they are offer at 6%) and instead hold onto the cash until June?

I wish I had a crystal ball. We are discussing cashing out stock from our taxable account but it's losing money right now to put into our Roth IRA. I also don't believe we'll get a tax refund or owe like we usually do.

Our goal is to get these numbers finalized this week and rough draft of the taxes done.

funny thing

January 22nd, 2016 at 06:24 am

Our neighbors that we aren't on best terms with are moving in June. How relaxing now. Now we don't have to avoid them as much. Bonus if we choose to rent longer we won't have to worry about the two kids being in class together next year. I know I said we'd rent but I hated the idea of my kiddo in class again with our neighbor's kid. This way we are set to not ride the bus or see them again after June. Say la vie! Bye bye to trouble.

In case I forgot to mention over the holidays my neighbor accused me of making her life difficult by reporting the incident between our children. She felt I should have come to talk to her about her son hitting my daughter on the bus instead of dealing with the school and transportation department. She was forced to do a ton of paperwork because of my reporting the issue. I don't know the repercussions but she said that "kids will be kids" and I shouldn't have overreacted. I should have come to let her deal with it.

Truth is that I reacted to seeing a kid hit my kid through the window of the bus. I didn't stop to think I should talk to his mom. I just went and talked to my kid and the school. Second I probably would have reported it anyway after talking with her since this was the second incident with her child. She obviously hadn't dealt with her child after the prior incident of drawing on my child's face. And no I did not tell her that, but I just told her I was sorry that she had a lot of trouble with the school and bus. But that I had done what I felt was in my child's best interest. I explained I was just following the rules and I understand that they are children.

Truth is that moving classrooms has been great for my kid. She mentioned when we said they were moving "great that neighbor S is moving. He's mean on the playground and I avoid him as much as possible." Say la vie.

proud mommy moment

January 21st, 2016 at 04:31 am

Tonight my 5 (soon to be 6...counting down the days till monday) kiddo and I went and volunteered for the first time since moving. Before we moved we would volunteer at the food bank in town and we did an organization that threw birthday parties at shelters for kids. Well tonight we went to another shelter and helped host another birthday party for the kids at the shelter. I usually take my 3 year old but my DH suggested we check this out before committing regularly with my 3 year old.

It was a great party and my kiddo did AWESOME. I think she's matured a lot and really developed into a thoughtful kid. She understood why kids were there and really got into helping and running games and handing out gift bags. In the car we discussed how the children living were without homes and probably without money to have their own party like the one we're throwing for her. It really hit home and she asked if we could donate some of her money to the organization to buy cakes or ice cream (we donated the cake and ice cream this month). She earns money by doing chores and homework and knows she's getting some for her birthday.

I had a tear in my eye as I write this. I am sure everyone reading this understands how hard it is to be financially responsible. But how much harder it is to be a parent and raise a both a financially responsible child with empathy. To know that I'm trying to raise my kids with and understanding of how privileged and affluent we are. How we have so much more than so many others and that we are so fortunate. Trying to be "frugal" yet sharing what we have with those who have less.

It's a really delicate balancing act. Coming from a less privileged background I really worry about my kids having too much. That they'll just lose appreciation for anything.

Tonight really helped me feel proud. That I think perhaps I'm doing something right. A moment in the torture that is parenting.

cars my kryptonite

January 20th, 2016 at 09:06 pm

I hate cars. I think cars are my krptonite. Got rear ended yesterday and thankfully I am fine, no one got hurt, but now my car is in the shop. Not only rear ended but rear ended into someone else. So I should say that I have damage on both ends.

The problem? Well yes insurance will cover. I may still have to pay my $500 deductible because I did damage the car ahead of me potentially. I also was hit by someone new to the country who was renting a car and no they don't have insurance. They had something called self-insurance form. So I'm crossing my fingers that the woman bought insurance from Avis. Otherwise who knows? My agent told me that they will collect for me being rear ended but I still hit the person in front whom I braked and had a handspan between our cars, hence why I went right into their trailer hitch!!!

Of course it's being called potential total. ie the value of the car will be worth less than the repairs. I hate that idea. I mean yes the car is worth probably $10-11k. But it's great and no way can I find another subaru outback with 72k miles in that condition. I am so pissed over the situation.

I know we were thinking in another year we'd get a different car potentially. But that was after we figured out more things about our lives. Third kid? Where we'd live, etc. We'd know if we wanted a minivan or a SUV with third row. If we didn't mind staying with same size. And no way can we buy the same car with same mileage and condition. UGGGH.

Who knows how this will unfold. Or how long it will take to resolve.

Are we in a recession?

January 11th, 2016 at 06:20 pm

Are we in a recession and don't know it? A few of my friends have had close calls with their jobs. They've had layoffs and survived. One friend went back in the middle of maternity leave because her boss called her and told her layoffs were coming please come back so he could save her. She did and she was saved.

I feel like more than a few of my friends in different industries and different jobs have mentioned feeling insecure and looking or switching jobs. It's weird because gas prices are down but food prices are up. The housing market is supposedly still really "hot" but it's hard to tell with the seasonal market and if it hit a peak.

How is the economy where you are? How is the housing market?

2015 lookback

January 10th, 2016 at 02:19 am

2015 was a wild and crazy year for us. I just looked quickly back and I know that in January 2015 I was in completely a different place. We had spent new year's eve with friends who were telling us of their plans to move and sell their home. They were needing to change due to circumstances of childcare, etc.

We had had a plan to move in June 2016. But in January 2015 I was so jealous of my friend's plans and feeling like I was "killing time, being patient, planning," but others were moving on. Little did I know that less than 10 weeks later all our plans would be disrupted and our life would radically change.

Has it been for the better? Absolutely. Have you found ourselves settled? Yes and No. We love where we live and are super happy.

I wish I could upload a photo of how beautiful today was. Sun was shining, mountains with snow and perfect trees. It was stunning. I said to my husband today "I can't believe we live here. It doesn't feel real" My kids were laughing in the backseat and my DH said "neither can I."

I mean literally 12 months ago I was sitting in the same chair counting the days. But then one small change and everything got turned upside down.

I don't know still if this was the right financial move for us. I may never know. Why? Because I think that being financial responsible we'll make it work no matter what happens.

No matter what our future salary is, what we make, what we earn we'll somehow learn to live within our means. Perhaps we'll take a very serious, very permanent paycut. Perhaps not. I just don't know.

We are about 17 weeks away from finding out if the gamble we made 18 weeks ago was correct or not. I have started to stress a little. To learn whether our planning skills in life sucks or turns out that we are one of those people who can control our destinies. My DH says he's betting on us winning this gamble.

Cross your fingers. Our kids are so young they have no idea what we've done. I wonder if perhaps we've gamble the opportunity to pay for college 100%. Or perhaps we've made the right decision and college 100% paid for is more achievable than ever. I just don't know.

But every week for the next 4 months until we know, realize friends/readers will be nerve wracking. While I know that many friends had a rough 2015, I hope that 2016 turns into a better year for them all.