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July 2019 retirement goal update

August 3rd, 2019 at 08:15 pm

Goal: $776,700 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $490,425

Still needed: $286,275

June 2019 balance: $489,155

Progress since April 2019: +$1,270

There are 56 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need assets to appreciate $5,112 per month on average to meet our goal.

Overall goal: saving 8x income by retirement (age 65)

Incremental goal explained: getting my and NT's retirement to 4x our salaries (currently $75,120 and $62,100) by the time we turn 50 and AS's retirement values to 3x her annual income ($75,940 in 2018) by the time she turns 45.
$75,120 x 4 = $300,480
$62,100 x 4 = $248,400
$75,940 x 3 = $227,820

The goal will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes.

July 2019 net worth update

July 31st, 2019 at 09:26 am

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 28,134 pounds ($35,168)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $78,908
NT's Roth IRA: $37,071
AS's trad. IRA: $20,530
AS's Roth IRA: $57,666
AS's SEP IRA: $32,810
AS's cash: $2,259
CJ's 401(k): $148,563
CJ's Roth IRA: $41,376
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,130,206

Debts:
US Mortgage $377,973
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,146
UK Mortgage 2 $6,355
UK Mortgage 3 $6,693
-----
TOTAL DEBT $430,167

Current Estimated Net Worth: $700,039

May 2019 estimate: $698,769

Change in net worth: +$1,270

Summary: Our net worth stayed almost exactly the same. I realized that since I checked June balances on July 6, I already captured July Roth contributions and debt payments as part of the big leap in net worth we had last month, so that makes sense. The existing values of our funds are flat from when I checked them last.

Nevertheless, it was enough to tip us past an exciting milestone--over $700K in net worth!

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.

Self-publishing on a dime (or several thousand dimes)

July 17th, 2019 at 08:52 pm

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've finally self-published one of my novels! And, because we've got so much going on financially (and because I have zero confidence in my ability to sell copies, TBH), I've tried to do it as cheaply as possible. Here's what I've spent so far (and what I've managed to do for free).

Editing/proofreading: Free. (AS did a round and I did several.) Well, I did purchase some book editing software a couple years ago, but I did that before I even had concrete plans to publish, so I don't really count it.

ISBN/barcode purchase: $79. (Well, I bought 5 of each in bulk for $395, but I intend to publish other books so I'm only counting a fifth of the cost for this one.)

Cover design: Free. (I found a free photo on a site called Unsplash, and AS designed the cover.)

Formatting and test paperback copy: $85.24. I used a platform called IngramSpark, which also makes the ebook and print-on-demand paperback available on most bookselling sites.

Marketing/publicity: $19.39 so far. Since I'm publishing under a pseudonym, I wanted an author pic that didn't look 100% like me, so I paid someone on Fiverr to make a line drawing of my photo and alter it a bit. That cost $14. Then I shelled out $5.39 for a review copy that I sent to a site, hoping they would give me some press. (They said they would but haven't so far, so we shall see.) Other than that, I have a Facebook account, Instagram feed and blog under my author name, and those are all free to use.

50 copies to sell personally: $226.13. It would have been about $279 but if I ordered at least 50, I would get a $49 formatting fee refunded, so I did that.

Total cost so far: $409.76.

Total revenue/sales: $0.

So far I know I've sold at least 3 paperback copies through online, but I won't get paid until the next billing cycle, so I'm not counting them. I make less than $2 per online paperback sale, so less than $6 that I know I have coming.

Oh, and I have at least three real-life people who want to buy a book directly from me. I'm going to charge $10 for the book if I sell it personally, and they cost $4.52 apiece to print and get delivered to me, so that's at least $15 net expected.

So I guess I'll make at least $20 on the sales I know for sure? Obviously I need to keep marketing myself, but this is the hard part. I hate boasting, and plus I'm beset with self-doubt about whether the novel is any good. Sometimes I think it is but other times I'm like how can I know for sure? I'm too close to it.

But obviously, I need to get out there and hustle for at least $380 more in net revenue if I want to make up for the cost of getting the thing out into the world!

I'm a published author!

July 11th, 2019 at 08:09 am

Well, self-published, but it's still exciting!

I finally managed to get one of my NaNoWriMo novels edited and uploaded to a self-publishing platform. It's now

Text is available on Amazon and Link is https://www.amazon.com/Viral-T-Berkeley/dp/1733140700/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=viral+berkeley&qid=1562858150&s=gateway&sr=8-1
available on Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback, if you want to check it out! (Warning: It's a thriller and a little bit gory and raunchy, in case that's not your thing!)

I decided to publish under a pseudonym since I'm also a writer in the marketing industry and don't necessarily want my clients to know that I write trashy novels! :-)



There's so much to learn about this process...I've learned many lessons and I'm sure there are more to come. Like, I tried to price my book so that I'd get a little bit of profit, but I found it hard to figure out. So I'll have to wait until I get my first sales report to see if I did it right.

If you're interested in learning more about my lessons learned so far and other things related to the book, I also have
Text is an author blog and Link is https://taberkeley.wordpress.com
an author blog.

Now I'm trying to figure out how to market the thing, and also working on a new book--a financial advice book based on my old Ordinary Savers blog!

June 2019 retirement goal update

July 6th, 2019 at 02:03 pm

Goal: $776,700 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $489,155

Still needed: $287,545

April 2019 balance: $473,628

Progress since April 2019: +$15,527

There are 57 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need assets to appreciate $5,045 per month on average to meet our goal.

Overall goal: saving 8x income by retirement (age 65)

Incremental goal explained: getting my and NT's retirement to 4x our salaries (currently $75,120 and $62,100) by the time we turn 50 and AS's retirement values to 3x her annual income ($75,940 in 2018) by the time she turns 45.
$75,120 x 4 = $300,480
$62,100 x 4 = $248,400
$75,940 x 3 = $227,820

The goal will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes.

June 2019 net worth update

July 6th, 2019 at 01:56 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 28,134 pounds ($35,168)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $78,372
NT's Roth IRA: $37,102
AS's trad. IRA: $20,541
AS's Roth IRA: $57,727
AS's SEP IRA: $32,838
AS's cash: $2,259
CJ's 401(k): $147,663
CJ's Roth IRA: $41,411
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,128,936

Debts:
US Mortgage $377,973
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,146
UK Mortgage 2 $6,355
UK Mortgage 3 $6,693
-----
TOTAL DEBT $430,167

Current Estimated Net Worth: $698,769

May 2019 estimate: $668,102

Change in net worth: +$30,667

Summary: Wow, another huge swing in the other direction! Last month we lost about $12K in net worth, this month we made that up plus another $18K!

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.

July 2019 debt payments

July 6th, 2019 at 01:39 pm

I'm just catching up on finances because we were away at a no-screens lakeside vacation in Wisconsin!

While we were gone, all our mortgage payments hit:
US: $750 to principal
UK1: $182
UK2: $38
UK3: $40

All told, $1010 went to principal.

New debt totals:
US Mortgage $377,973
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,146
UK Mortgage 2 $6,355
UK Mortgage 3 $6,693
-----
TOTAL DEBT $430,167

June 2019 debt payments

June 7th, 2019 at 10:28 am

All of our mortgage payments hit:
US: $747 to principal
UK1: $180
UK2: $38
UK3: $40

That means we put $1,005 toward debt this month.

New debt totals:
US Mortgage $378,723
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,328
UK Mortgage 2 $6,393
UK Mortgage 3 $6,733

TOTAL DEBT $431,177

PatientSaver?

June 3rd, 2019 at 02:12 pm

I don't know if the blogs are messed up, but PatientSaver's blog seems to be retired, with the last entry posted in 2018? Does anyone know anything? Did I miss a farewell or any kind of explanation? Or is this just a temporary glitch, do you think?

An actual life update? Let's see if I can do it!

May 31st, 2019 at 09:27 pm

Jeez, I think the last time I managed a proper blog post that wasn't just updating numbers, it was early March! That's almost three months!

Well, there's no way I'll be able to sum up three months' worth of doings, so let's see how many highlights I can pack in.

- March was bday month. It was great if hectic. We spent a TON on AS's 40th party (she hardly ever wants anything extravagant so I went all out fulfilling her request). We actually had to reschedule because there was a blizzard in early March! But besides that rather big hurdle, it went really smoothly and was a big hit. It was pretty cool; we rented a fancy kitchen studio, invited many people; a few friends cooked and got videotaped and now we have these great videos of our friends cooking in a fancy kitchen! Super fun. Final price tag: Somewhere between $3K and $4K!! (Yes, more than our wedding and reception, I believe! Big Grin)

- In April I took my two solo trips for the year; one to Canada for 4 days and an overnight road trip to Omaha. Both in order to see my favorite band! They were "solo" in that I was the only one in my family going; in Canada I hung out with my Canadian bestie and we saw 3 cities and 2 shows! The Nebraska roadtrip I did with my downstairs neighbors.

- We still haven't resaved up all the kitchen reno money we had to spend on the boiler and other issues in early March. I have had it. We've paid cash for all the other renovations on this house, but I'm starting to explore financing options to cover part of the kitchen reno so we can just get it done already! The last time I went into very temporary non-mortgage debt was for about a year while we were selling our condo and refinancing this home. So I'm not super happy about the idea of taking out a loan, but I'm even less happy about our kitchen. Many kitchen things are starting to break down all at once too, so we may as well do it right instead of replacing them with things that may not fit into the final design. I should know more about financing next week and then our designer can finalize our design and our contractor can schedule a time to get started.

- AS's mom has been having a hard time lately...I honestly don't know how much we've given her this year because it's been a couple hundred here, a couple hundred there...so that's been one of the reasons we haven't been able to save more toward the kitchen reno, but there have been other factors, it wasn't just this. I hope (fingers crossed!) things are stabilizing for her, because this drip of money is unpredictable and puts a kink in my best laid budgeting plans.

- NT's hat business is a lot of fun for him, but over the past year it's gone from being about $1K in the red to nearly $5K...he's invested in a few festival fees for the summer so I'm really hoping he can at least reduce that deficit over the next couple months. As of now we're able to float it in our regular budget without carrying any real debt, but it makes things tight at times in our cashflow.

- NT and I haven't gotten raises this year and no sign of it...both of our companies are struggling just a bit so I'm not really expecting any. AS's freelance business has been a bit slower with income this year; she's doing some great profile-raising stuff and some lower-paying but high-prestige projects as well. I think she'll bounce back and then some, and I'm glad she's taking this opportunity to get the word out about herself more. It can only help.

- NT has two solo trips planned this summer, and AS may do her teaching residency thing again like she did last summer, which was less like a work trip and more like a vacation. The two possibilities for her are California and Ireland, so either or both would be great! They pay for housing and travel, so she'd only have to cover meals. Family vacationwise, we've got a June weekend in southern MN coming up, a July week in a house by a lake near Green Bay WI, and AS and I may take the kids to VA in late July to see our folks. Speaking of:

- My mom is still bedridden and my dad is her full-time caretaker, but they seem to be holding up pretty well considering. AS's mom seems to be doing OK healthwise, although housing and employment have both contributed to financial issues. A visit home would give AS a good chance to assess her condition, as she can sometimes mask her problems over the phone.

- My own spending has gone a couple hundred in the hole this year because I've been getting more and more into live music, and tickets + rideshares + drinks can really add up. Then this week my spending went REALLY far in the hole because...

- I've been editing one of my NaNoWriMo novels off and on all year, and I've finally got it to a place where I'm ready to self-publish it! So I purchased ISBNs (for this book and enough for four others, because it was cheaper per piece like that). Nearly $400. I will also have to pay to create print and e-book editions of my novel, but I'm hoping to sell enough to recoup the costs eventually!

Once I do get the book up for selling, I'll share it with you guys. I'm publishing under a pseudonym because I don't want it connected to my corporate writing, so I don't even have to give my real name here! Smile

OK, I think those are the high and low points of finances and life. Feels good to chat on here again instead of just reading and getting back to whatever other thing I'm busy with!! I'll try not to let 3 months go by next time.

May 2019 net worth update

May 31st, 2019 at 12:56 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 28,134 pounds ($35,168)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $73,847
NT's Roth IRA: $33,922
AS's trad. IRA: $19,371
AS's Roth IRA: $53,813
AS's SEP IRA: $30,041
AS's cash: $2,259
CJ's 401(k): $137,532
CJ's Roth IRA: $38,476
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,100,284

Debts:
US Mortgage $379,470
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,508
UK Mortgage 2 $6,431
UK Mortgage 3 $6,773
---
TOTAL DEBT $432,182

Current Estimated Net Worth: $668,102

April 2019 estimate: $680,223

Change in net worth: -$12,121

Summary: Last month I was excited to gain nearly $22K in net worth. This month we lost nearly half of that. Market volatility is no joke and it just gets more pronounced the more skin in the game you have! Frown

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.

May 2019 debt payments

May 2nd, 2019 at 02:53 pm

All our mortgage payments hit:

US: $745 to principal
UK1: $181
UK2: $38
UK3: $40

In total, $1,004 went to principal.

Updated debt totals:
US Mortgage $379,470
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $30,508
UK Mortgage 2 $6,431
UK Mortgage 3 $6,773
---
TOTAL DEBT $432,182