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A blog to help me document my journey out of debt.Ceejay74's Personal Finance Blog
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What to do if we sell our rental property?

January 24th, 2020 at 07:12 pm

Advice, thoughts, opinions and experiences welcomed on this one!

First, the situation:

We're finally going to try and sell the UK flat this year. Now that Brexit details are becoming more concrete, we're hoping people will be less spooked and homes will move faster.

We'll probably list it in the spring, when the current tenants' lease is nearly up. It might be listed for 215K pounds but could sell for about 200K. We think management and real estate agent will take 3% of the sale price. We'll still owe about 32K in mortgages that will need to be paid off. We will likely owe about 35K in capital gains tax (the property appreciated in value quite a bit from when NT bought it).

So that takes us to:
200K
-6K
-32K
-35K
A profit of 127K pounds maybe?

That's approximately $160,000 in U.S. dollars.

Assuming we sell and we have $160K at our disposal, I can think of many uses for the money, but here are the two I keep returning to:

1. Pay down our mortgage on our home. Key factors:
- We currently owe about $370K
- We bought for $465K in 2014 and haven't had it assessed since then
- Our payments to principal, interest and mortgage insurance come to about $2100 per month
- We're 5 years into a 30 year mortgage, so we're looking at 25 more years if we continued to pay the minimum.
- We're looking at financing $40K of our upcoming kitchen renovation. We may explore a mortgage refi (for a lower rate or possibly for a 15-year term) once the kitchen is done and the home is assessed

2. Use the money for a down payment on a rental property closer to home. Key factors:
- The UK rental brings in about $500 per month, and we save most of that money for longer-term things (EF, renovations, etc.)
- The idea of having income generated outside of our full-time employment is very attractive for a number of obvious reasons.
- If we bought in our immediate neighborhood, condos start around $200K, single-family homes around $250K, and duplexes/triplexes around $500K. There are of course cheaper neighborhoods in the city.

So that's where I am. If you had to vote, which do you think would contribute more to overall financial security/independence?
A. paying down our mortgage
B. purchasing a rental property
C. you need professional help--go talk to a financial adviser already!

January 2020 debt payments

January 24th, 2020 at 06:25 pm

This post is very late, because we couldn't get into NT's UK account for a couple of weeks, and then I just got busy and distracted!

All our mortgage payments hit in early January:
US: $763 to principal
UK1: $182
UK2: $39
UK3: $40

All in all, $1,024 went to principal this month.

Current household debt:
US Mortgage $373,430
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $29,056
UK Mortgage 2 $6,125
UK Mortgage 3 $6,450

TOTAL DEBT $424,061

2019: CJ's year in review

January 7th, 2020 at 10:43 pm

Only now do I look to my sidebar and realize that I put a spot to track 2019 achievements as they happened! Well, that went nowhere, but I did achieve quite a bit this year, so hopefully I can remember all the highlights without having kept track.

These were my "intentions" for 2019:
- Make healthy choices.
- Deepen friendships.
- Do creative things.
- Chase pleasure.
- Build my career.
- Be flexible when life throws things at me.

I'll start with "Do creative things," because I'm most proud of the work I did in that category.

- In February, I completed one year of guitar lessons. I'm closing in on my second full year with no signs of slowing down! I'm a pretty good basic rhythm guitarist now and am working on learning more complicated stuff too.

- From February to August, I off and on helped a musician work on his bio to be used in promotional materials. It sort of went nowhere, mainly because he seemed to give up promoting himself, but I'm still proud of the work I did to try and learn a new type of writing I'd never done before.

- In June, I self-published a book I originally wrote for NaNoWriMo in 2014! I, much like my musician friend, have sort of slacked off on promoting it and haven't made back the money it took to publish it and print 50 copies. But a couple dozen people have read it and I've gotten some positive reviews (from friends and friends of friends, but still!). I started editing a few others but haven't made significant enough progress on any one manuscript to be able to say when I'll be ready to publish it. But I definitely intend to publish more books at some point! And, yes, try to market them a bit better than I did this one.

- In November, I completed NaNoWriMo for the seventh year in a row!

OK, on to "make healthy choices":

- Healthwise, I kept up pretty well on walking and daily strength training -- until about November when everything got really busy and several sicknesses passed through our household. But I did do a good job with healthy lunches the second half of the year, and overall my weight decreased around 6 or 7 lbs.

"Deepen friendships" and "chase pleasure" got somewhat intertwined (and even dovetailed with "do creative things"!) because I used going to music shows, creative writing and playing guitar as ways to hang out with existing friends and make new ones.

- I befriended people I met on Instagram through music posts, got to know musicians I went to see perform, and got closer to people I already knew because of music and/or writing. One or two friendships faltered this year, but I'm trying to see that relationships ebb and flow, so as long as I'm continuing to connect with most people, I don't need to stress out about a few friendships not becoming as close as I thought they would.

- Overall I went to 88 live music shows in 2019! This is by far a record for me. Most of them were small local shows that were free or didn't cost much, so although I did spend most of my personal fun money on shows, it wasn't nearly as expensive as it may sound! I did travel for a few of them, but that was budgeted through our vacation savings.

Similarly, "build my career" and "be flexible" dovetailed this year. My company went through several rounds of layoffs and I feel its future is far less certain, though things have stabilized somewhat in recent months. So I took the opportunity to update my resume, start making networking connections, and apply for a few jobs. I assisted AS with her freelance business too, and discussed the possibility of joining her instead of having a salaried position. I also applied for an internal promotion, so I'm currently exploring all angles. So my career hasn't necessarily moved in terms of title or salary, but I'm proud of the steps I'm taking to round out my personal brand while staying flexible to whatever may come.

That's it for my intentions! Now for the financial progress my household made in 2019.

Debt decreased from $437,178 to $425,085
Retirement values increased from $406,280 to $541,036 (taking our asset values from $1,046,061 to $1,180,817)
Overall net worth increased from $608,883 to $755,732

We paid off our credit cards in full each month and continue to be debt-free except mortgages! Not too bad for a year where saving and debt payment took a bit more of a backseat to other financial priorities (such as saving for our kitchen renovation, which is currently stalled in the planning phase, but we do have over $30K saved up for it, not reflected in our assets above).

I guess that was my year! Honestly I didn't even think about goals or intentions for the new year, we were so busy/sick/etc. the last two months of 2019. My instinct is to keep going with everything I listed above, because it's all stuff without a definite end point, and it's all things I feel have enriched my life!

There have been tons of challenges over the past year, but looking at my cumulative results, I feel happy, lucky and proud.

December 2019 retirement goal update

December 31st, 2019 at 03:54 pm

Goal: $784,772 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $541,036

November 2019 balance: $517,266

Progress since last update: $23,770

Still needed: $243,736

The new interim goal is based on getting my and NT's retirement to 4x our salaries (currently $75,120 and $64,118) 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
$64,118 x 4 = $256,472
$75,940 x 3 = $227,820

It will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes. (The only exception is I won't lower AS's if she has a lower-income year, because her income fluctuates. So I'm keeping it at the 2018 level because her 2019 income was a little less.)

There are 51 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need to gain $4779 per month on average to meet our goal.

The ultimate goal we're working toward is 8x our annual income by the time we retire at 65.

December 2019 net worth update

December 31st, 2019 at 03:41 pm

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 29,047 pounds ($36,309)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $86,522
NT's Roth IRA: $43,321
AS's trad. IRA: $21,896
AS's Roth IRA: $64,340
AS's SEP IRA: $45,359
CJ's 401(k): $160,289
CJ's Roth IRA: $46,926
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,180,817

Debts:
US Mortgage $374,193
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $29,238
UK Mortgage 2 $6,164
UK Mortgage 3 $6,490
---
TOTAL DEBT $425,085

Current Estimated Net Worth: $755,732

November 2019 estimate: $730,941

Change in net worth: +$24,791

Summary: A really big month propelled us past the three-quarter-million net worth mark! Part of it was AS's quarterly retirement contribution -- she had a huge fourth quarter so I put in over $4K. I know volatility is still on the horizon but it's waited awhile, so I'll enjoy the gains while I can!

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.

Note to self for next retirement goal update

December 5th, 2019 at 04:27 pm

Shoot, I just realized I forgot to factor in NT's annual salary since he got a raise in October! That changes our retirement goalpost. I'll update next month. To remind myself, salary WAS $62,100 and is NOW $64,118.

December 2019 debt payments

December 3rd, 2019 at 04:21 pm

All our mortgage payments hit:

US Mortgage $760 to principal
UK Mortgage 1 $183
UK Mortgage 2 $37
UK Mortgage 3 $41

All told, that's $1,021 of debt paid.

New household debt totals:

US Mortgage $374,193
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $29,238
UK Mortgage 2 $6,164
UK Mortgage 3 $6,490

TOTAL DEBT $425,085

November 2019 retirement goal update

December 3rd, 2019 at 04:04 pm

Goal: $776,700 by March 2024

Current retirement balance: $517,266

October 2019 balance: $506,160

Progress since last update: $11,106

Still needed: $259,434

The new interim goal is based on 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

It will shift anytime our salary/annual income changes.

There are 52 months to go before March 2024, so that means we need to gain $4989 per month on average to meet our goal.

The ultimate goal we're working toward is 8x our annual income by the time we retire at 65.

November 2019 net worth update

December 3rd, 2019 at 03:45 pm

I was so busy last month that I'm late on my update. Therefore some retirement contributions that would ordinarily show up in my December net worth update will be here. This note will remind me not to be disappointed at our progress end of December! Smile

Assets:
NT's UK pensions:
AV: 22,397 pounds ($27,996)
SW: 29,047 pounds ($36,309)
FL: 6,462 pounds ($8,078)
NT's 401(k): $82,940
NT's Roth IRA: $40,895
AS's trad. IRA: $21,198
AS's Roth IRA: $62,163
AS's SEP IRA: $37,479
CJ's 401(k): $154,863
CJ's Roth IRA: $45,345
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
---
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,157,047

Debts:
US Mortgage $374,953
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $29,421
UK Mortgage 2 $6,201
UK Mortgage 3 $6,531
---
TOTAL DEBT $426,106

Current Estimated Net Worth: $730,941

October 2019 estimate: $718,815

Change in net worth: +$12,126

Summary: Another good month, also bolstered by the fact that December contributions got in here as well. I'll enjoy the gains while I can!

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.