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Archive for January, 2019

Financial Fitness

January 29th, 2019 at 03:30 pm

People ask me all the time how to save more money. I say at work, while doing taxes, stop spending it on crap. That's me being blunt. The other part I say is just put it on 10% and save it before it hits your account and you won't see it. Again nothing fancy.

But honestly a bigger problem? A lot of people have trouble saving money because they have a lot of bills. What sort of bills?

A really expensive mortgage. Instead of 33% PITI it's 50% PITI. It's hard to get ahead when have your income is gone. Or other people are spending $1k/month or more on a car payment. Or 2 car payments. Having bought a $28k minivan and $26k subaru legacy with 3 year payments of $500, I can see how if you drive a $50k/car you are paying $1k/month for 5 years! Um wow. And that's one car. again it's hard to get ahead and save if you are paying say $3k mortgage, $1500 on cars. Then private school or after school care for another $1-2k/month.

Then suddenly all your income is already mostly spent before you even start paying for things like cell phones $100/month, internet $100/month, gas for cars, groceries, etc.

The real problem is that even watching these other categories which are flexible and can be minimized if you don't have enough money after paying all your set bills you can't save. You can't build an EF. Of course not. I mean who would? No one.

So when I see clients making $20k/month gross but then struggling and telling me so. I can easily guess it's the house, car, or private school/college.

So my tip is curb the spending to 50% needs, 20% saving, and 30% wants. If you do this you'll be fine.

What's your number one financial advice?

my troop update

January 16th, 2019 at 10:45 am

I managed to talk to my troop program manager a woman who works for girl scouts. She had to talk with her supervisor. She said that I am to tell the mother she can no longer drop off her child. She must stay. I must ask her to take the child if she can't stay or another friend or family member can stay with the girl.

As much as she needs this there are other liability issues and things that have to be also considered including the safety of the other children. I have to write an email and ask if she understands since she still hasn't responded since Friday.

All the parents I emailed haven't responded. However I have to follow up and see they understand. But in this case the mom can't just drop and run to therapy or any other business. It's not so simple. While she needs help and support unfortunately we can help to the best of our ability.

This has been a wild ride this year.

collections agent

January 15th, 2019 at 03:02 pm

So I got a call from a collections agent. I'm not sure what to do. I refused to pay a $200 bill to frontier because I returned a set-top box and cancelled cable. They said it never returned. However whenever they use the prepaid mailing envelope and search for it they find it. So this has been going on since July 2018. I refused to pay and keep on writing down who I talked to.

Anyway now they turned it over to a collections agency. I'm debating if I should even bother talking to them? Frontier are obviously jerks and terrible customer service. I am not paying for something I don't owe.

I wonder what they can do?

my girl scout troop

January 11th, 2019 at 11:08 pm

So I know this is a financial blog but I just need to vent. This year leading a girl scout troop has been a nightmare. Today it took the cake.

So where do we start? Guess the easy one. A mom brought her dog into the school to pick up her daughter and the dog pissed on the floor. I was appalled. I had to send her an email saying don't bring your dog into the school. I thought this was pretty standard. But I guess I was wrong. Common sense/courtesy is dead. They didn't even clean it up.

Second kid was poorly behaved. This is the 2nd time and I had to email the mom that she needs to start staying and helping at the meetings to focus her daughter. I don't know how this mom will react. She didn't react to the first email I sent about behavior.

Third situation a mom gave me a restraining order against her husband. They had a domestic violence incident in public, he went to jail, they are being sued. The TRO is for her and the kids. Apparently if he shows up I should call the cops. I emailed her and told her I wasn't comfortable with her leaving her child in my care and expecting me to deal with 12 other girls and her daughter. She needs to be present to deal with the situation. I don't think she's going to like me or the situation I required.

This year I find it incredible difficult with many of the new girls being difficult. They are rude, I've been talked back to, and ignored because they are unable to sit, focus, and listen. They sort of have been acting like very young children.

I am not making up how awful some of these kids are. I was sent an email from the secretary of the school I attended and she said that there have been noise complaints from teachers working late about the noise and disruption from our troop. Hence why I sent out the email last meeting. And this meeting I really cracked down. And now I have to pull parents in more for 3rd graders!

Okay enough venting. This was just me blowing off steam. My husband said it's a volunteer position and this is how it is.

2018 recap

January 7th, 2019 at 05:21 pm

I finally have time to write about our 2018. I still have to rebalance our portfolio. I should have probably have done it in December but I was so busy I didn't have time.

Well I already maxed out our 2019 Roth IRA contributions today. I had it transferred and will roll it into the Roth IRA next week. I also interesting made DH's company match be after tax dollars into his 401k. I will discuss with DH the ESA contributions for the girls at $2k each.

So we are in a conundrum in 2019. Should we contribute more to the 401k after tax? And roll it into our Roth IRA? Or should we do taxable investing? Hard choices.

We increased our net worth for 2018 by $27k. Mostly by paying down our debts.

We lost around $1000 on our retirement savings after contributing $36k including the company match. UGH. So we lost $37k on our retirement accounts.

Our taxable accounts we lost $21k in value. So we were down $58k in our investments. Our cash decreased $12k for the year. So how did we increase our net worth?

Paying off our debts. So we officially saved $28.5k to retirement and everything else went to debt. We paid off a ton of debt. Our car on lease we bought out $18k, but started year with $21k in December. Paid our home renovations $35k the 2nd half that we had started paying 9/2017. We also paid off $10k I owed my mom for college I had forgotten to pay for years. She had my written IOU. We also paid private school tuition $7800, $5000 braces for DH and DK1 and our mortgage went down $20k and $5k on minivan through regular payments.

Since the stock market was wild and down for 2019 I obviously A LOT of bang for our buck paying down and cash flowing all those debt. Perhaps long term we might have done okay investing close to $75k cash but we also would have lost say 10% or $7500 this year and had to have made it up somewhere. This way instead we have a paid for car, a forgotten student loan paid, and all medical bills free and clear.

All in all I am satisfied with 2018. My goal for 2019? Bulk up our savings and not spend all that money we used paying off debt to pay off more debt