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Archive for February, 2018

February 2018 net worth update

February 28th, 2018 at 09:25 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 17,967 pounds ($22,459)
SW: 26,544 pounds ($33,180)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $62,676
NT's Roth IRA: $25,789
AS's trad. IRA: $19,394
AS's Roth IRA: $46,954
AS's SEP IRA: $22,606
CJ's 401(k): $125,603
CJ's Roth IRA: $31,484
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,038,007

US Mortgage $390,423
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $33,213
UK Mortgage 2 $7,001
UK Mortgage 3 $7,373
---
TOTAL DEBT $447,010

Current Estimated Net Worth: $590,997

January 2018 estimate: $596,482

Change in net worth: -$5,485

Summary: We had a good run, but the market correction caught up with us a bit. Even with paying off nearly a grand in debt and adding at least $2K to retirement, we suffered a setback in our net worth. Probably not as bad as it was at its lowest point; I didn't check during those chaotic Dow days.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. (I do have my eye on a comparable listing for the UK flat, but it's been on the market a long time.) UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.25 for every British pound.

Many updates and goals progress

February 16th, 2018 at 01:20 pm

Wow, another week has flown by! Let's see if I can remember what's happened and which goals I've made progress on.

First off, I fell (indoors, not out on the ice) on Sunday and banged up my left thumb really bad. I took a sick day, called the virtual doc, pampered it, and it's gotten a lot better. Still hurts when I move it certain ways, but at least the fact I CAN move it means likely nothing is fractured or sprained!

On the good news side, I reached our EF goal of $10,000! I'll still save NT's rental income as usual but now I'll put it toward our next UK vacation.

AS confirmed a second fall class at another college, taking her booked work for 2018 up over $40K! $13K of that is for the fourth quarter, but still! Actual checks have been slow to come in (speed bumps on a few projects) but the expected money is piling up. Our shared spending is about $3K in the hole ($1800 of that her annual membership fee for the co-working space), but knowing what projects she's recently invoiced or is about to, I'm not worried at all.

Goals:
Creative: I've kept up with some of my fellow students from the novel class via a forum where we give one another advice and support, and I started a rough outline of my plan to finish the novel by the end of the year. I still want to break it out into smaller, digestible steps; I might try to do that this weekend, or Monday (I have the day off from work). I'm also reading a self-published paranormal thriller (actually it's one of Thrift-o-rama's!) for inspiration and to get a better sense of the genre, since that's what type of novel I'm working on but not what I typically read.

Creative: I took my second guitar lesson despite my sore thumb, and I'm still practicing every day. I like it so far, so I'm definitely leaning toward continuing. I'll have to buy a guitar and keep paying for lessons, but so far it feels really rewarding, so I probably will.

Health: I've been keeping up on my Feb. goal of no drinking 2 days a week and no computer/phone time after work 2 days a week. Actually I need one of those today after work, because I meant to have Wednesday be one of the days, but I caved and got on social media after our Valentine's day date, so I need today to be my second one for the week. Guitar practice has been a good addition to the things I do to relax and entertain myself on these days.

Work/professional development: I've continued my Feb. goal of no personal internet at work 2 days a week. If I need to get on for something urgent on those days, I do it quickly and log off again. That flexibility will make it possible to increase the number of days in the future, I think.

Financial: No big milestones but continuing to plug away at adding money to retirement and the kids' funds.

Home: The consultant finally got in touch with us--turns out she'd been very sick for a few weeks. We'll probably be meeting with her next week for an initial consultation on our kitchen.

Things I haven't made progress on for a couple weeks: emergency preparedness, looking for an Agile class, and vacation planning/booking.

Unofficial goals I've made progress on:
-Continued developing new/nurturing old friendships. The co-worker I've started bonding with more got another job someplace else, but I took that as an opportunity to invite him over for dinner sometime, and he said yes, so hopefully his leaving the job won't be the end of our burgeoning friendship!
-Took some photos of the kids and NT wearing his hats that he can use on social media and his website. He really liked the new website copy I wrote and will be updating his site soon with it.

I think that's about it. Lots of fun social things coming up in the next week or so, including a potluck, two music shows, a going-away happy hour for my co-worker friend, the "showcase" the second-graders at the kids' school will put on this year (including a recitation of an original poem by AA!), a committee meeting to change our neighborhood's name, a movie night for my college alumni group, and a community chili-fest fundraiser for our neighborhood. That's a lot when I look at it all together!

Catching up on goals progress tracking and my wonderful but busy year so far

February 8th, 2018 at 09:36 am

I've had a busy week! Heck, it's been a busy year so far. Fun, but hectic. Smile

I finished my January goal of doing one day per week no alcohol, one per week of no personal internet at work, and one per week of no phone or computer time after work. Technically I finished that last goal Feb. 1, but it was part of the last week of January so I'm counting it. Smile

For February I'm increasing that goal to two days per week. So far this week I've done two days no personal internet at work, one day no alcohol and one day no phone/computer after work. Tonight will be my second no-drinking day and Friday I'll avoid the phone and computer after work.

It's a little harder to track because it's basically 6 tasks instead of 3, but so far it feels all right.

My novel class ended, and though I didn't complete all the assignments, I got a lot out of it. I've joined a forum of classmates who want to continue supporting one another in our writing goals (one of mine will be completing the assignments, including making a plan/schedule for the rest of the year). I also purchased a software that makes novel writing easier, and I'm almost halfway through the tutorial on how to use it.

I took my first guitar lesson on Tuesday and brought home my loaner guitar. I like the teacher and don't hate the practicing, though right now it's just basic stuff to learn the strings and get my body used to the right way to hold it and play. I'm supposed to practice about 20 minutes per day. I did practice after class and also last night, so hopefully I'll keep it up. It's only a half-hour class per week, so if I don't practice frequently on my own, I can't expect to get very far. Smile Anyway, it's something to do on my nondrinking/no screen time days, although it doesn't take much time.

I've found a few other outlets on those days besides playing with the kids, reading, drinking nonalcoholic beverages and watching TV: play around on my harmonica and do adult coloring. There's also a partly done jigsaw puzzle I keep forgetting about because it's under the table leaf, but that's another option.

I booked time off work for the two family trips in June/July and August, and we've started discussing what solo trips us grownups might take.

That's it for progress on my stated goals, but I've gotten a lot of other stuff done this week too:
- Continued developing my new friendships!
I message with my Canadian pal nearly every day. She lets me know when our fave band schedules new shows, and I'll be going to two more in MN: one this month and one in May! The May show is all ages, so I can bring my kids. They've grown to love this band, but usually they play in bars, so I've never been able to take the kids to a live show.

AS and I had coffee with the other lady I met recently, and she seems really great and also up for a new friendship. We all bought tickets to two music shows, one this month and one in March, so we'll be hanging out with her a couple more times at least. I really like her--we have a ton in common and she's very funny and warm--so my instinct is let's get together again right away! But I want to take it slow and make sure we really are friend material; if I decided I was getting sick of her or didn't really like her once I got to know her better, it would be awkward. So, baby steps.

- Besides my fave band, I've bought tickets to three other music shows in February and March (including the two we're going to with our new friend). I'm excited that I'm getting more interested in music and branching out a bit beyond my rather narrow musical interests. Of course, my spending money is suffering, but with my raise and AS's busy year, I think we'll all be able to spend a little more on fun stuff (fingers crossed).

- Speaking of AS, she's booked over $33K of work for the year! Not all of it in the first quarter, but cumulatively. And it sounds like she's very close to locking in another $7K+ with a teaching gig, and that a couple of her clients are champing at the bit to give her even more high-paying writing work. So far this year she's only received a very modest $3K in payments, but when I look at future money booked, it's kind of astounding. If this teaching gig is confirmed she'll already be at more than $40K. Kind of crazy!

- AS and I have been helping NT with his branding for his hat business. AS designed and ordered new business cards, and I rewrote his website copy. He tried one of our ideas and got a new recurring customer right away, so it's already paid off a bit! Plus, I kind of count this as professional development because I'm practicing brand strategy in my spare time, which is the area of marketing that I'm growing into with my recent promotion.

- We've got a Valentine's date scheduled, with dinner reservation made and babysitter booked. I haven't started (but I need to really soon) planning out Valentine gifts for our kids and their schoolmates, and figuring out what we'll all be doing for our birthdays in March.

- I've started planning out AA's summer break. This will be her first one not at our beloved daycare, so I'm trying to patchwork a bunch of daycamp activities. It'll be more expensive than daycare and more complicated than just signing her up for the public school system's summer care, but she's a creative kid who gets bored easily, so I want to try and make the summer special for her. I've got a spreadsheet going, of course, and some good options and ideas. Smile

- I've got a few obligations for my alma mater coming up--an alumni board conference call, a social post I need to make for the anniversary of the college's founding, and organizing/sending out invites to alumni for a screening of an Oscar-nominated film at my place (the director went to my college; we won't get to talk to him or anything but it's nice to celebrate another alumnus's success). Matter of fact, I should probably stop writing this post and get some of them done! Smile

Whew, I think that's all. That's enough, anyway! Big Grin

February 2018 debt payments and UK mortgage thoughts

February 2nd, 2018 at 06:39 am

All our mortgage payments hit:
US: $713 to principal
UK1: $180
UK2: $38
UK3: $40

All told, that's $971 put toward debt.

Our debt now stands at:
US Mortgage $390,423
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $33,213
UK Mortgage 2 $7,001
UK Mortgage 3 $7,373
---
TOTAL DEBT $447,010

I was thinking the past few days: We're so close to our EF goal of $10K in the UK savings account. After that I'm going to start saving up spending money for our next UK trip. But now that it's happening later in the year than usual (we intend to fly there 12/26 or so), I know we'll save up more than we need for that.

I started to think maybe I should work on one of those smaller UK mortgages with the extra money. I could probably cut one of them in half before the end of the year even after funding our EF and our next vacay's spending money.

But then I thought, if we want to list the UK place this year, we might need money for sprucing it up. And even if we decide the market still isn't good, we may have maintenance costs that come up.

So now I'm leaning toward saving any extra money this year in a UK maintenance category. The interest rates on those debts are only about 1.4% anyway, so it's not like it's costing us much to carry them.

Progress on a few goal fronts

February 1st, 2018 at 08:46 am

It's been a pretty good week so far of moving forward on 2018 goals:

- Creative: I attended my novel-finishing class's online chat on Sunday. I'm also about 75% done with last week's assignment. This week's is to create a plan for the year, so even if I don't do it within the time frame of the class, it's something I intend to do anyway. That's the last assignment and I have one more online chat. I'm going to download the materials and some of the discussions so I have them for future reference once the class goes away.

- Health and work/professional development: I did my no-drinking night on Tuesday and my no-social-media-at-work on Wednesday. Last night was meant to be my no-phone-or-computer-after-work day, but I had to complete an assignment for work, so I wasn't able to do that. So I'm aiming to make tonight a no phones or computers night. That will complete my January goals on these three fronts! My February goal is to achieve each of these healthy habits twice a week.

- Health: for relaxation/destressing that isn't drinking or screen time, I haven't tried meditation yet, but I did read an entire book this month (which is quite the accomplishment these days!) and found a couple of nonalcoholic drinks I really like: a rejuvenating warm ginger drink and a relaxing sleepytime tea. I've also played with the kids a bit more, which can be relaxing (especially if it's just playing with one of them at a time vs. being referee for both of them).

- Financial: I bumped NT's 401(k) up 1% when I got my raise, so that's halfway to that goal. If he gets a raise this year, I'll bump it up another 1%. (Last year he got a raise around this time, so we'll see.) Our retirement assets got above $400K for the first time, so we do seem to have a chance of hitting the $475K goal this year if the markets don't correct too much or for too long. Net worth is nearly at $600K, so it seems like the $650K goal may happen this year.

- Home: We contacted a designer about a kitchen consultation but she hasn't gotten back to us. I need to get another recommendation and try someone else. I continue to plug money into the savings account for the kitchen reno; we're at $20,375.

- Vacations: NT's Denver solo trip plans fell through, but we've got plenty of other plans in the hopper. One of my sisters really wants a family reunion in June that's all my parents' kids and their spouses and kids. Most of us haven't seen one of my nephews in over a decade, and it sounds like he's in, so I can't very well be the one who ruins it! Smile We'll also be going to Va. in August for a niece's wedding, and tacking some beach time or something onto that. And we're going to shoot for a UK or Europe trip right after Xmas. Other than that, we agreed we'd each get to choose one or two short solo trips (or trips with just one companion, like I did last year with my Wisconsin road trip with AS). So nothing booked, but lots of plans in the works.

January 2018 retirement goal progress

February 1st, 2018 at 07:26 am

Goal: $512,564 by 2019

My salary increased 10% since last month, so our goal is more ambitious now! Which makes us farther behind, but that's OK.

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 (which changes whenever our salaries change) is to get me to 3x my current salary, which is now $75,120, so $225,360; NT to 3x his, which is now $62,100, so $186,300; and AS to 2x hers, which in 2017 was $50,452, so $100,904).

Current balance: $404,682

December 2017 balance: $390,774

Progress: $13,908

A really big month! To reach the interim goal by the end of our birthday month (March) in 2019, that's 14 months, so we'd need to contribute (or have assets appreciate) $107,882 -- $7,706 per month -- to reach it.

Not likely, but we'll keep plugging away!