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Archive for June, 2016

June 2016 net worth update

June 24th, 2016 at 10:43 am

Doing this early since I won't get to it while we're on vacation in England ...

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
#1: 17,105 pounds ($25,658)
#2: 20,501 pounds ($30,752)
#3: 4,452 pounds ($6,678)
NT's 401(k): $43,051
NT's Roth IRA: $10,168
AS's trad. IRA: $15,289
AS's Roth IRA: $26,367
AS's SEP IRA: $9,485
CJ's 401(k): $89,389
CJ's Roth IRA: $13,246
NT's flat: 180,000 pounds ($270,000)
CJ/NT/AS house: $470,000 (value -6%)
---
Total Assets: $1,010,083

Total Debt: $480,832

Current Estimated Net Worth: $529,251

May 2016 estimate: $519,476

Change in net worth: +$9,775

Summary: Boy, what didn't happen this month?!? I revised our U.S. home value up, but also added $4K of debt to our friends (see previous post for explanation). I changed the British pound exchange rate from $1.60 to $1.50 in light of the EU nonsense. (Current rate is $1.37 but I do believe it'll stabilize from there, so I went with the general average of the past few years.) So NT's retirement and home values decreased. However, all our U.S. retirement accounts were up this morning (no doubt the Brexit panic will be reflected in tomorrow's balance, so I snuck in just in time!)

Lots of ups and downs, but overall gain of nearly $10K. And our assets are up over a million for the first time since we sold the condo!

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. I don't have a way to check NT's UK pensions or flat value, so their values stay static for the purpose of this update (unless I happen to get some info by chance). UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.50 for every British pound.

Update on tax/dental bill: surprise house payment!

June 24th, 2016 at 10:22 am

So this is rather strange... My neighbor downstairs, the lawyer who was going to draw up a contract for me to review for part ownership of the house, had gone silent on this. I hadn't heard anything about it for maybe a year. I kept thinking about asking him about it, but I've been personally concerned that he needs to clear up a big tax issue (basically, he hasn't paid taxes for years--five or so? and he's self employed, so it's not like taxes are getting withheld from his paychecks). I really want to know that's cleared up before I enter into a big financial agreement anyway, so I haven't asked about the part-ownership thing.

He still hasn't done the tax thing, though I've started gently asking about it now and then so it doesn't get swept under the rug. He'd recently gotten a huge freelance payment, and his husband now has a second part-time job that pays as well as his full-time one, so he keeps saying it's a good time to clear up the tax thing, but he was kind of wrapped up in building a web business.

Well, last night he brings us $4,000 cash, and says he's quitting the online business idea because his supposed partners keep flaking on him. Now he has all this money he was going to invest in it, and wants to give another installment on their down payment for the house.

I think it was partly wanting to move forward on something, and partly because he's no doubt heard me grumbling about money this year. But it took me aback. First, I told him we should get the contract part figured out before he gives me any more money. He says he'll get that done really soon now that he's not working on the business, so he feels comfortable paying some more on the house. Then I say maybe he should keep the cash until he makes sure he doesn't need it for sorting out his back taxes. He says he has plenty more money for that.

So, I took it. At first I thought, I should put it toward the mortgage, since this means either we're $4K more in debt to him or we have $4K less home value (once the agreement is signed). (I mean, that's not how the agreement is structured, but it's how I'm going to calculate things.)

Then I thought, no, I should use it to start an EF. We realize that things would be a lot less bothersome if we didn't have to cashflow all unexpected stuff out of our budget surplus and AS's freelance inaltcome, so that is something we've been talking about doing once our tax/dental budget deficit is cleared up.

But then, AS and I agreed that we just really want this budget deficit gone. So even though I'm counting this as debt, I'm just adding it to the budget to take the deficit down. At least I'm increasing our home value in my net worth calculation, so it will be more than made up for (although I'm also going to downshift our pound-to-dollar exchange rate this month, so that's going to give our retirement values a pounding).

Well, long story short, I'd rather my neighbor had waited until he cleared up his taxes and finalized the purchase agreement, but it's not like we weren't planning him to pay for the house, so I'm just going to take it as a welcome windfall. And I do plan to pay it back should the house agreement fall through, as I plan to do with the original $5K they contributed to the down payment.

House down payment from neighbor: $4,000

Current deficit: $1,822.27
Projected future surplus: $7,661.99

Update on tax/dental bill: Uhhhh

June 19th, 2016 at 08:18 pm

Whew. Some planned hits, and several unexpected ones.

Unexpected: We reserved a car for the UK thinking it would just be a hold on the credit card and we could pay with the UK debit card. Nope, they charged us. We may bring cash home from the trip to pay it off, but for now counting it as an expense from our U.S. finances. $470.83.

Expected: Date night while the kids were at the daycare sleepover. We had a great dinner at a new vegan restaurant and drinks and snacks at another place we'd never been to before. It was a beautiful night. I had $55 stashed for the night but we spent $104.37 over that.

Unexpected: An escrow shortfall meaning our mortgage payment will go up $312.54 per month, starting Aug. 1! (Supposedly not permanently, just until the shortage is made up...) Since I've budgeted the shortfall/escrow through the end of the year, that means $1,562.70. Oof, that hurts. The only bright spot is that it's coming later, and in small increments, so I'm only taking it out of future surplus, not current deficit.

Expected: Father's Day festivities. NT wanted lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant, a day at the movies (Finding Dory: excellent by the way!) with snacks included, and we stopped by the grocery store for berries (were going to get ice cream but everyone was stuffed and sugared up). $160.98 -- almost exactly the same as date night, I just realized!

Anyway, the two expected expenses were totally worth it for the fun we had, and the two unexpected ones were unavoidable, so it is what it is.

UK car rental: $470.83
Date night: $104.37
Mortgage payment increase Aug-Dec: $1,562.70 (affects future surplus only)
Father's Day: $160.98

Actual deficit: $5,822.27
Projected future surplus: $3,661.99

Boo hiss.

Update on tax/dental bill goal: AS freelance jobs

June 15th, 2016 at 10:36 pm

AS booked two new gigs today: a $500 writing assignment from my job and a $1250 distance teaching gig (advising one student on their writing project) at one of the two colleges she works for.

Since she's only booked the work, not received the money, this only increases the future surplus, doesn't affect the current deficit.

AS freelance writing job net: $325
AS freelance teaching job net: $812.50

Actual deficit: $5,086.09
Projected future surplus: $5,960.87

We have an upcoming date night Friday (the kids are sleeping over at daycare) and Father's Day Sunday, so we'll probably pull from shared spending from both of those, increasing the deficit and reducing the surplus. But AS is also due about $1100 in checks, so hopefully those will come in yet this week.

Zillow value

June 14th, 2016 at 09:51 pm

I never know how seriously to take Zillow, so I rarely check it. But it seems like every house in our area gets snapped up within a week or two (or less) of the "for sale" sign going up. So I decided to check our property's estimated value.

When we bought in late 2014, Zillow valued it at $369K and we got it for $465K (only a bit less than it was listed at). Does that get used as a baseline measurement for Zillow then? Because it seems like it's been a constant climb from that price point (with just a few dips) and the property is now valued at $530K.

Overall the value has stayed above $500K except for three small dips since Sept. 2014. I don't know whether that's a safe value or not. Anyway, it doesn't really matter, but I'm curious.

Update on tax/dental bill: AS freelance check

June 14th, 2016 at 10:58 am

My company is behind schedule on paying AS for a couple of jobs (frustrating!), but one of the checks ($500) finally arrived yesterday.

Since this was an expected payment it affects only the actual deficit, not the projected surplus.

AS payment net: $325

Actual deficit: $5,086.09
Future projected surplus: $4,823.37

Tax/dental goal update: Medical bill

June 10th, 2016 at 10:46 pm

Ever since the NYC trip, I've been managing to handle unplanned expenses with budget maneuvering. Flex spending, line items in the budget we ended up not needing the money for, random bits of credit card rewards, etc. But AS got a medical bill I can't swing any way except to add to our current deficit. Ah well, it was a good run!

Medical bill: $218.89

Actual deficit: $5,411.09
Future projected surplus: $4,823.37

It's frustrating hovering in the $5Ks after making such steady progress from the $10K mark. But looking at the future surplus, we're still doing OK. We'll get there.

NT got a raise! Upped 401(k)

June 9th, 2016 at 09:50 am

NT let us know yesterday he'd gotten a 5% raise! A conservative estimate is $60 more per paycheck, but we'll see once it kicks in; supposedly it's effective June 1 but will appear in the June 31 paycheck, which I find a bit confusing. But not complaining! Big Grin Counting AS's teaching raise and my recent one, we've all gotten them this year!

I went ahead and upped NT's 401(k) contribution by 1%. With all the crazy expenses this year I was going to wait to do that, but since it'll come out of raise money and we'll still have a net gain, I figured I could at least do a little. He's now contributing 5%, with a 2% company match, so at 7%. Eventually we'll get that up to 10% and someday 12% or 15%, but this is a good baby step.

We are now at 7% for him, 9.5% for me and 10% for AS, plus we hope to max out all three Roths for the first time this year.

AS's retirement funds surpassed $50K!

June 7th, 2016 at 02:59 pm

I put in her Q2 SEP IRA contribution and it put her over the mark. Big Grin I'm very pleased that we've built her retirement funds up from virtually nothing over the past several years. And she is 5 years younger than me (6 younger than NT), so I think it's a pretty good milestone for her age.

Update on tax bill: NYC spending; AS freelance check & job

June 6th, 2016 at 12:37 pm

So the NYC spending comes out of shared spending, which means it increases our current deficit and lowers the future surplus. A big hit to both, but we got some good news today too: AS received a big check we were expecting ($2500) and found out her teaching gig gave her a tiny raise of $180 for this coming semester.

NYC spending: $913.50 (affects both actual and future #s)
AS freelance check net: $1625 (affects only actual deficit)
AS teaching raise net: $117 (affects only future surplus)

Actual deficit: $5,192.20
Future surplus: $5,042.26

Some upcoming challenges to our tax bill goal: We want to take the kids out tomorrow for dinner and bowling to celebrate AA completing kindergarten, and the adults will want a date night next Friday, since the kids are going to be at a daycare sleepover. I'm going to see what I can do to scrounge up CC rewards and other money so we take as little as possible from the above future surplus. I think there are some little adjustments to the budget I've been meaning to make that we could use to help pay for these two nights out.

Trip to New York, including spending

June 6th, 2016 at 08:42 am

Ah, we had a wonderful time in New York! I got to catch up with many of my best college friends and attend some thought-provoking events such as seminars and lectures.

About the only negative was I drank too much the final night of the reunion. I thought I was OK until I woke up the next morning and had to throw up. I haven't done that in years! I gradually felt better, but I didn't sleep well any of the nights I was there. Too much drinking every day was part of it, plus being in a strange bed, plus probably my mom senses being a little fraught from not having the kids around. This was the longest we've ever been away from them--from Thursday morning (we left before they woke up) to this morning (we got in at 2 am after our flight was delayed a few hours, so we didn't see them until around 7am when we woke up to get them to school and daycare).

We got to spend some time in Manhattan Thursday and Brooklyn Sunday, on either end of the reunion (which was in Bronxville). Even though the expenses added up more than I would have liked, we had a great time. And some of the places we ate and drank were actually really reasonable, on a par with or slightly cheaper than comparable offerings in Minneapolis!

One thing AS realized was she was feeling a little shy of talking in the seminars and feeling a little stymied vs. inspired by everyone talking about all the stuff they do. Over the course of the weekend, we realized that working at home all the time may be having a negative effect on her. So once we pay off the tax and dental bills, we're going to look at co-working options so she can get out of the house and be around others when she works.

So on to spending. It wasn't a crazy amount, if a bit more than I would have liked. We had prepaid a number of things, so those won't come out of the current deficit on the tax bill goal:
Reunion registration $495 (included lunch & dinner Fri. & Sat. plus several cocktail receptions and other events)
Donation to college: $500
Hotel 3 nights: $611.04
Airfare (after CC rewards used): $20.80

So $1626.84 for those in-advance purchases. Then the actual spending on the trip:

Money to one of our friends to help pay for childcare expenses (food, activities, transportation): $100.00
Took our downstairs neighbors out to dinner as a pre-thanks for watching the kids the other 2 days: $67.00
Took out cash for the trip (ended up spending it on subway, used books from an outdoor stand, lunch at a place that didn't take cards, and various other small purchases): $120.00
Lyft from home to airport: $22.07
Checked luggage: $25.00
AS in-flight snack: $5.00
Airtrain from airport +subway fare: $8.00 x3=$24
Luggage storage Thursday while we explored NYC: $10.00
Thursday lunch: $35.60
NT purchases at a record shop: $51.18
Drinks Thursday afternoon: $45.00
Thursday dinner: $140.00
Train from NYC to Bronxville: $46.50 (I bought 3 round trips but we all misplaced our tickets and had to buy new ones Sunday, so wasted $23.25!)
Taxi from train station to hotel: $14.14
AS snack at hotel Friday: $7.08
Hangover snack for me Sunday (fries and soda): $6.51
Train from Bronxville to NYC: $23.25
Subway fare from NYC to Brooklyn: $3.00 x3 = $9
Coffee: $6.36
Airtrain fare back to airport: $6.00 x3 = $18
Checked luggage: $25.00
Drinks at airport: $38.40
AS snack at airport: $10.88
Souvenirs for kids (my impulse purchase): $17.40
Airport snack for NT: $3.58
Taxi home: $42.55

So total additional spending for the 4 days: $913.50

All told, $2,540.34. That comes to a little over $200 per person per day. I suppose that's not too bad for a trip to New York!

Debt payments for June 2016

June 6th, 2016 at 07:51 am

Just recording our mortgage payments, a bit later than usual because we just got back from our NYC trip. More on that soon, including a detailed breakdown of spending!

All our mortgage payments hit:
US: $673 to principal
UK1: $224
UK2: $46
UK3: $50

That's $993 to principal this month.