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Archive for December, 2016

2016: Year in review

December 30th, 2016 at 10:12 pm

Let's see what progress we made this year ...

Assets end of 2015: $986,118
Current worth of assets: $992,419

Debt end of 2015: $482,768
Current debt: $460,445

Net worth end of 2015: $503,350
Current net worth: $531,974

Emergency fund end of 2015: $0
Current EF balance: $3,312

Not bad, especially considering we had to downgrade the worth of our assets due to Brexit gutting the pound's value.

2016 goals and results
- Fully fund a trip to my 20th college reunion in New York for me, NT and AS. DONE!

- Fully fund a 2-week trip to England late June-early July for all five of us. DONE!

- Fully fund a side trip to Barcelona for me, NT and AS during the England trip. DONE!

- To continue home renovations. NOPE. We did renovate the basement bathroom because we were required to by the County. That and other expenses made it impossible to do any of our desired renos.

- To max out our 2016 Roth IRAs. DONE!

- To get my and NT's 401(k) contributions up to 10%. Not quite: Mine is up to 9.5% including match, and NT's is now at 8% including match. So we did up them both a bit but not quite to 10%.

- To continue exploring the possibilities of selling part ownership of the duplex to my downstairs neighbors, and of converting our garage into an accessory dwelling unit. Not quite. I concluded the ADU wasn't financially or practically feasible, at least not for the foreseeable future. And my neighbor promised several times (but did not deliver) the first draft of the sale document. Anyway, I'm not going to agree to anything until he sorts out his back taxes, renters insurance and other financial issues, and we have not had that conversation yet.

Non-financial goals, Make every month a "do something" month in 2016. In other words, to come up with a creative or outside-the-box goal for each month of the year. SORT OF. Some months were more successful than others, but I did do something extra about 6 of the 12 months.

Other notable occurrences in 2016:
- NT's collarbone surgery (about $3500)
- AS's tooth replacement (first half done, about $1,500)
- Basement bathroom renovation (our share about $2,000)
- Tax bill (about $10,000 more than we expected)
- NT became a U.S. citizen!
- Had TWO trips away from the kids: 3 days in New York and 5 days in Barcelona & Oxford
- Conversely, hosted their first sleepover, with 2 6-year-old guests. Intense!
- NT got 2 raises (1 in June and 1 this month, effective Jan. 1) and a big bonus (net $4,500)
- NT started a hat business that has possibly broken even by now (I don't track his bookkeeping)
- AS got a few $100-an-hour clients; hopefully portending good things for her 2017 earnings
- I completed my 4th novel during NaNoWriMo
- Saved up enough money to do our next renovation (upstairs bathroom), hopefully in January, as well as getting insulation for the house
- Kid milestones: AA graduated from kindergarten, lost three baby teeth and learned how to tie her shoes. SL learned how to read (at age 4!) and write a bit, and has a loose tooth.

December 2016 retirement goal progress

December 30th, 2016 at 08:39 pm

Goal: $479,875 by 2019

(As a reminder, this is just an incremental goal along the way to 8x income by retirement. This mini-goal aims to get us to a milestone by the time I turn 45 and AS turns 40.

The milestone is to get me to 3x my current salary, which is now $66,625, so $199,875; NT to 3x his, which is now $60,000, so $180,000; and AS to 2x hers, which this year is projected to be $50,000, so $100,000)

Current balance: $297,419

September 2016 balance: $289,384

Progress: $8,035

Another big bump this month, though as I mentioned in the previous entry, I take it with a huge grain of salt.

To reach the goal by our birthdays in 2019, that's 26 months, so we'd need to contribute (or have assets appreciate) $182,456 -- $7,017 per month -- to reach it. Oh, and when NT's raise kicks in, the goal will get more ambitious so we'll need more per month to reach it. Oh, and I'll raise AS's salary on the next calculation since she made over $51K this year. Yeah, that's probably not going to happen, but I'll keep doing the best I can!

December 2016 net worth update

December 30th, 2016 at 08:34 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
#1: 17,105 pounds ($21,381)
#2: 20,501 pounds ($25,626)
#3: 5,523 pounds ($6,904)
NT's 401(k): $48,507
NT's Roth IRA: $16,222
AS's trad. IRA: $15,918
AS's Roth IRA: $31,858
AS's SEP IRA: $13,510
CJ's 401(k): $98,042
CJ's Roth IRA: $19,451
NT's flat: 180,000 pounds ($225,000)
CJ/NT/AS house: $470,000 (value -6%)
---
Total Assets: $992,419

Debts:
US Mortgage: $400,222
Loan from friends (duplex): $9,000
UK Mortgage 1: $35,751
UK Mortgage 2: $7,536
UK Mortgage 3: $7,936
---
Total Debt: $460,445

Current Estimated Net Worth: $531,974

November 2016 estimate: $522,994

Change in net worth: +$8,980

Summary: Our assets are almost back up over a million again. The market was pretty strong this past month, but I'm not counting on this as long-term gains. Irrational exuberance that there's going to be a big economic boom thanks to destroying environmental regulations and workers' rights. Don't buy that it's good for the economy long term.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. (I do have my eye on a comparable listing for the UK flat and one for the US duplex, but no movement on them as yet. Their sale prices [if they sell] should give me a good idea of both properties' true worth.) UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound.

Merry Christmas!

December 25th, 2016 at 04:37 am

Hello SA friends!

Just checking in to wish you all happy holidays. I've had a pretty good one so far; I got a 24-hour bug Tuesday but it had cleared up by Wednesday, and so far everyone is pretty healthy! First time since like 2012, I think.

I technically had Thursday and Friday off work; I went into work for a bit on Thursday and did some work from home Friday. So work didn't stop, but it did slow a little. I technically have Monday through Thursday of next week off, but I expect to work from home at least a little bit every day. Several projects had inconvenient deadlines and it's stuff that's hard to explain/hand off to a backup person, so I'm going to try and handle it myself.

That's OK. Today I did no work except read a couple documents and respond to a couple emails, and tomorrow I won't even look at my work email. It's a good year to look like a hero because some senior people are semi-retiring at my company, so as people move up the rungs there might be room for me to move too. Or at least a nice merit raise, hopefully!

Friday night I took the kids to the winter festival that's become our usual tradition, but about 20 minutes after we got there, SL gave us a scare by wandering away from my friend who had taken her over to see a display. Another 20 minutes or so went by before she was found talking to a policeman who'd been called over by some concerned fairgoers. So we had to take the kids straight home; A) I wasn't in the mood for fun and B) we had to make it very clear how bad and dangerous that was. Anyway, no harm done except for a spoiled tradition, but we have lots of other traditions during the season, so no big deal.

Today was productive but fun; I ran some last-minute errands, did a lot of cooking, helped AA clean and declutter her room. We got both girls to put a ton of stuff toward Goodwill to make way for the mountain of toys about to descend on their rooms (they have 5 sets of grandparents plus us and some aunts and friends who also like to give them gifts, so it's kind of unavoidable).

We had Xmas Eve dinner downstairs with the neighbors (we all contributed dishes) and they'll have dinner upstairs with us tomorrow. The Xmas Eve food changes every year, but this year it was pasta and related Italian dishes, and that was a big hit with everyone, so we may keep that theme and just switch out the pasta dishes for variety. I made slow-cooked green beans in garlic and tomato and there were four different pastas, plus three desserts.

Tomorrow is more "traditional"; vegetarian tofu turkey two ways, potatoes two ways, parsnips, stuffing, sweet potatoes, and a few more veg. Oh, and AS is going to try her hand at a savory mushroom bread pudding.

We've got the Santa stuff set out, so now I'm just cooking for brunch. Usually we do a breakfast pasta casserole, but I knew we wouldn't want that after pasta dinner the night before, so I'm making refried beans for breakfast burritos. Then all I need to do tomorrow is chop veggies and cook hashbrowns and we can make ourselves burritos pretty easily.

We've been pretty frivolous with the money this year; we kept gifts within budget but spent extra on lots of other things, including snacks and donating and gifts for others and taking Lyft whenever we feel like it (vs. only when it's the only good alternative). Luckily AS had some of the freelance money come in so we've got a good surplus in shared spending.

So pretty good overall. Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays too! (Or at least hanging in there -- thinking of you, Thriftorama!)

Catch you on the flip side!

NT's bonus! and money to savings

December 15th, 2016 at 05:58 pm

It was a big'un this year: $7000, of which we netted $4530 after taxes and 401(k)!

We came to an easy agreement on how to use it:
- $450 tip for our daycare providers
- $550 to make up our shared spending money deficit (AS's checks are still slow to come in)
- $200 to get gift cards from our fave pizza place (they have an offer where you get $125 worth for $100, so we'll end up with $250 of gift cards)
- $150 each for fun money ($450 total)
- $800 to partly pay for the CSA shares we prepaid
- $80 for some needed winter gear for AS
- $2000 toward a bathroom renovation

In addition to the $2K toward US renovation savings, NT's rental income hit the UK checking account and I put 400 pounds ($500) into our emergency fund (we're 1/3 of our way to the $10K EF goal!). So now our savings stand at:

US (renovation fund): $8,950
UK (emergency fund): $3,312.50

Total savings: $12,262.50

Note to self on pension value

December 12th, 2016 at 07:07 am

AS was going thru some paperwork and found two statements from this past summer for NT's pensions. So this is a note for when I update our net worth at the end of the month.

Pension #1 (Aviva): was 17,105 pounds ($21,381)
Is now 17,967
Pension #3 (FriendsLife): was 5,523 pounds ($6,904)
Is now 5,534

NT's getting another raise! and other money stuff

December 6th, 2016 at 10:33 pm

NT's company is doing phenomenally well lately. Although we haven't heard confirmation of a year-end bonus, they've gotten big ones on just regular years, so we're hoping for a nice sized one to be announced soon.

But they DID let everyone know they're getting a 3.5% raise in 2017! I'll be upping NT's 401(k) another percent when that happens, so we'll only see 2.5%. I'm conservatively estimating another $30 per paycheck after taxes, or $60 per month.

Also, our mortgage randomly went down $40 this past payment! It looks like the escrow shortage amount was less. Assuming that stays the same until the escrow is caught up, that's another $40 per month. So $100 per month in the 2017 budget just from two random occurrences. Pretty sweet! It doesn't make up for our healthcare increases, but since I'd already factored those in, it feels like a win.

AS is still cranking away at her freelance work; should be a pretty big month for receiving checks. If not, then January will be big. We've now got nearly $7K saved up for the bathroom renovation. We're thinking it'll be $12K-$13K total. So we're getting there. I think 2017 is going to be the year her business really takes off; she's now got a hundred-dollar-an-hour client who sounds like they have a lot of work. She can probably shed some more of her lower-paying clients and less pleasant work.

Let's see; I did finish NaNoWriMo; did I say that already? Despite getting really behind the first part of the month, I finished earlier than I ever have before.

I haven't even looked at Xmas shopping yet. Right after NaNoWriMo I dove into an editing project helping AS out for her class, then was really behind on my regular job so have been playing catchup ever since. Plus we've all been taking turns getting sick for the past month or two. AA was the latest, staying home with strep yesterday.

In between all of that I went to NT's work holiday party, my college alumni holiday party, and our 10-year anniversary dinner. All were a blast! I got such thoughtful anniversary gifts from NT and AS. I didn't set us a budget for gifts for one another, but we each stayed within $60 to $200, so it was really reasonable but felt extravagant because there was no dollar limit.

Now those things are back in balance, we will probably get a lot of Xmas stuff done this week. And walking! I want to get back into nightly walks. Too bad I missed the mild November and early December weather; now it's probably too cold to walk and I'll have to do it on the treadmill in the basement.

Hoping things will be settling down now so I can come back here and participate more regularly!

December 2016 debt payments

December 3rd, 2016 at 07:29 pm

All our mortgage payments hit:
US: $685 to principal
UK1: $181
UK2: $38
UK3: $40

All told, that's $944 to principal. Total debt is now $460,445

November retirement goal progress

December 3rd, 2016 at 06:13 pm

Goal: $479,875 by 2019

(As a reminder, this is just an incremental goal along the way to 8x income by retirement. This mini-goal aims to get us to a milestone by the time I turn 45 and AS turns 40.

The milestone is to get me to 3x my current salary, which is now $66,625, so $199,875; NT to 3x his, which is now $60,000, so $180,000; and AS to 2x hers, which this year is projected to be $50,000, so $100,000)

Current balance: $289,384

September 2016 balance: $280,625

Progress: $8,759

To reach the goal by our birthdays in 2019, that's 27 months, so we'd need to contribute (or have assets appreciate) $190,491 -- $7,055 per month -- to reach it. Yeah, that's probably not going to happen, but I'll keep doing the best I can!

November 2016 net worth (a bit late)

December 3rd, 2016 at 06:04 pm

I haven't worked on my budget since mid-November, so I'm catching up on a lot of tracking! Hopefully I get it all done today.

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
#1: 17,105 pounds ($21,381)
#2: 20,501 pounds ($25,626)
#3: 5,523 pounds ($6,904)
NT's 401(k): $47,324
NT's Roth IRA: $15,873
AS's trad. IRA: $15,593
AS's Roth IRA: $31,168
AS's SEP IRA: $10,935
CJ's 401(k): $95,549
CJ's Roth IRA: $19,031
NT's flat: 180,000 pounds ($225,000)
CJ/NT/AS house: $470,000 (value -6%)
---
Total Assets: $984,384

Debts:
US Mortgage (duplex) $400,907
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1: $35,932
UK Mortgage 2: $7,574
UK Mortgage 3: $7,976
---
Total Debt: $461,390

Current Estimated Net Worth: $522,994

October 2016 estimate: $513,295

Change in net worth: +$9,699

Summary: The market showed some gains this month, so we regained about a quarter of the net worth we lost last month due to my downgrading the value of the British pound. Two more good months and our assets should be up over a million again.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. (I do have my eye on a comparable listing for the UK flat and one for the US duplex, but no movement on them as yet. Their sale prices [if they sell] should give me a good idea of both properties' true worth.) UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound.