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Archive for September, 2016

September 2016 retirement goal progress

September 30th, 2016 at 10:28 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: $290,052

May 2016 balance: $285,018

Progress: $5,034

To reach the goal by our birthdays in 2019, that's 29 months, so we'd need to contribute (or have assets appreciate) $6,546 per month to reach it. We had virtually no help from the markets, but we managed to put quite a lot away for retirement this month!

September 2016 net worth update

September 30th, 2016 at 10:25 pm

NT's UK pensions:
#1: 17,105 pounds ($25,658)
#2: 20,501 pounds ($30,752)
#3: 5,523 pounds ($8,284)
NT's 401(k): $45,820
NT's Roth IRA: $13,236
AS's trad. IRA: $15,662
AS's Roth IRA: $29,882
AS's SEP IRA: $10,964
CJ's 401(k): $93,365
CJ's Roth IRA: $16,429
NT's flat: 180,000 pounds ($270,000)
CJ/NT/AS house: $470,000 (value -6%)
Total Assets: $1,030,052

US Mortgage (duplex) $402,270
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1: $43,551
UK Mortgage 2: $9,180
UK Mortgage 3: $9,668
Total Debt: $473,669

Current Estimated Net Worth: $556,383

August 2016 estimate: $550,362

Change in net worth: +$6,021

Summary: The market remained mostly flat, but we contributed a bunch to retirement and paid off nearly $1K of debt, so we saw a nice bump.

Notes on the numbers above: House value estimates are approximate. UK pension values updated about once a year. UK asset values and debt amounts are calculated figuring $1.50 for every British pound.

Current wants list covered! and other notes

September 26th, 2016 at 09:49 pm

AS got a big check from my job with most of the outstanding invoices paid (only one is a holdout and it's a small one from May -- $146.25).

One project that we had listed as $350 actually paid $500, so it's almost like we got that May invoice as well!

She got $2602.50 total and netted $1,691.62 after taxes and retirement. I sent $825 to savings, bringing our U.S. savings to $4,150. (This is after just two months of saving so I'm really happy with that total!) Of course this money is slated for spending eventually, but it feels really good to have it there as a de facto emergency fund until our EF is built up more.

AS is due to get her first teaching payment on Sept. 30, and if so, this will be her top income month since she went freelance in late 2014! Of course if my job had paid on time, the money would have been spread out more over months, but it's still exciting (and the money is greatly appreciated).

I went through and subtracted approximate amounts for everything on our wish list, and we have just enough shared spending money to cover everything on there. Of course more wants and needs will come up as soon as we check these off! But for now, everything is in balance.

One other interesting note: NT came up with a creative way to decorate a baseball cap, and he made a few different color combinations and started shopping around to friends and acquaintances. Well, there's been a good bit of interest and he's already sold a few for $15-$20 each! At this point he's just trying to make back what he spent on supplies and equipment, which was about $300, but he's about halfway there with the 7 or so he sold and he's got lots more made and ready to sell. He set up an Etsy store and also talked to a local hip-hop clothing boutique.

So that's kind of cool! Hopefully he makes back his capital expenditures and turns a little profit.

Spendy weekend, more spending to come

September 25th, 2016 at 11:25 pm

It's funny how whenever we have a shared spending surplus vs. deficit, things keep seeming to come up. Smile Obviously it's because we're more likely to find a workaround or refrain from temptation when the money isn't there.

During the week, little things came up like:
I worked late Wed. and had to pick up our CSA box, and AS was teaching a night class, so I suggested food delivery instead of cooking -- something I hardly ever do. $65

We went over budget on the carshare. One item was unavoidable -- $35 for a car to a client meeting for me. NT gets those reimbursed but I don't (I'm pretty sure being able to get to client meetings is in the job requirements; usually I can hitch a ride with someone else so it hardly ever comes up). $45 total overbudget

We let the kids spend some of their spending money. At this point we don't actually save all of the money -- we just record how much they have via a website that automatically pays their allowance, then if they want to spend it, it comes from somewhere else. Next year this is going to be a regular budget item. We did have some of the money but needed $20 from shared spending.

I needed socks and tights -- $23

NT's activist group had a stall at a street festival, so we went to listen to live music and hang out with him. A nearby vendor was selling ice cream and funnel cake, so bye-bye $21

We went to various stores today and checked off a lot of wants and needs:
3 adult winter coats
2 kids' Halloween costumes
4 Halloween decorations
1 prescription and 2 other medicines
bowls, plates and butter knives

All told, we spent about $200 today, which isn't bad considering how much we got! The winter coats were steals at the thrift store, nearly new and ranging from $12 to $25 each. Including a Columbia one and a DKNY too!

Our shared spending surplus is down to about $170, but AS expects some more freelance payments next week. We added some new things to the wants/needs list, but considering we did an assessment of winter needs, not too bad. We basically have doubles of everything the kids need, except gloves and scarves. That means no coats, snowsuits, boots or hats are needed! Those years always make me happy. Big Grin

new athletic shoes for AS (+inserts), CJ ($200?)
Syl 2 gloves, scarf; Astrid 1 gloves, scarf ($40)
Anitra dread maintenance ($100?)
toilet seat ($30?)
food processor bowl, Roomba part, fridge filter ($75?)
handheld steamer ($35?)
door handles ($50?)
NT jeans, work shoes, trousers, underwear, tank tops ($150?)
babysitter for party ($60)
plumbing stuff (leaky shower, running toilets) (?? $50?)
AA & SL's mutual funds ($100)
AA & SL giving ($70)

What is that, $960? Wow, really adds up! But I may have overestimated on some of those. AS is expecting over $4K of freelance jobs yet this month, and about $1400 should be able to go toward these wants, so we should be OK, with $600 to spare for any other wants that come up.

Shared spending back in the positive! Plus added to both savings

September 19th, 2016 at 08:41 pm

AS got some more money from my company today! Not everything they owe her, and not the most overdue payments, but at least it was a good chunk of what she's got coming. She got $1805, and I was able to put $550 to savings and still get rid of the deficit in our shared spending category. We now have just over $160 (and a big list of things we need and want, so that won't last long).

AS is expecting a few grand more this month, so hopefully it'll come in and we can keep ticking things off our list without going in the hole.

And of course, keep adding to savings! With today's transfer our U.S. savings is up to $2900. I checked the UK account and our rental income had come in. It's a light month probably due to management fees, but I still managed to transfer 125 pounds to savings, bringing our UK account (which is also our emergency fund) up to 1350 pounds ($2025). That's just over 20% of the way to our EF goal of $10K!

It's exciting to be saving again. I forgot how good it feels to be saving up for things vs. playing catchup on unforeseen expenses or overspending. After our U.S. account has had time to accumulate some serious funds, we can start talking and deciding what our next big project or purchase will be.

Freelance money trickling in

September 16th, 2016 at 08:07 pm

AS has gotten three freelance checks this week, to the tune of $2290. One of them was from my job, but they still owe her a ton, including for two jobs that were invoiced BEFORE the one she got a check for. Weird and annoying, but at least they sent her something.

We would have made up the deficit of our other purchases except it was time for me and AS to put together our fall capsule wardrobes. We both chose some new colors and both temporarily retired black, so we had quite a bit to get. We spent about $500 between us and the average price per item was about $15.

With the freelance checks received so far, we have a shared spending deficit of $403.84. That's with sending nearly 50% of the net payment to savings every time (I round down to the nearest $50). Our U.S. savings is now at $2350!

Hopefully some more of the late checks come through soon so we can clear our deficit. There are winter gear purchases and Halloween costume stuff that will be purchased when we need them regardless of whether the checks have come, but it would feel much nicer if shared spending were in the positive again! And I might break down and buy some of the little household things we want soon.

Oh well, we know the money IS coming, and we have plenty of float in the checking account, so it'll all come out fine.

My list

September 16th, 2016 at 06:00 am

Thanks to Gramma Ray for starting this! Sorry I'm so verbose and can't keep it brief. Smile

Here is my list:
1. I am married, officially to one spouse, unofficially to another, for coming up on 10 years. Technically we're "polyamorous" though I'm not crazy about that term because it covers a huge range of different lifestyles.
2. Dating wise, I've been with my now-wife 19 years and we've been with our husband 11 years.
3. I have 2 daughters, age 6 and 4. One is mine and my husband's biologically, the other is my partner and my husband's biologically. But we each legally adopted the kid that wasn't ours biologically, so in MN they have 3 legal parents.
4. I work full time at a job I have been at over 10 years.
5. I have blogged here for 9 years.
6. I believe I have prosopagnosia (face blindness), which makes it very difficult to remember people out of context. I also have fairly severe fear of death (thanatophobia).
7. I have two FIV+ rescue cats.
8. I'm one of the biggest Simpsons fans ever. The old stuff was better, but I'm a faithful viewer still!
9. I've been a mostly-vegan for about 23 years, since my sophomore year in college. I love to cook.
10. Shortly after college in 1996 I was in a life-threatening car accident and spent 6 months in a wheelchair. I still have a surgery scar that runs down the length of my midsection.
11. I have only traveled to the US (including Puerto Rico), Mexico, Canada, England, Netherlands and recently Spain. I hope to gradually expand that list. My bucket list destinations include Italy, Greece and some more tropical places like the Caymans.
12. I was raised without a TV and have a hard time not bingeing on TV just because I can! Instead I listened to old-time radio shows on NPR growing up. I only know Gunsmoke the radio show, not the TV version! I also love old movies the best, partly from my parents and partly from film history class in college.
13. I am a huge fan of old-time country music and rock 'n' roll. My idols are Jimmie Rogers, Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash and Elvis. I like other types of music but this is what's at the core of me.
14. My No. 1 cause is alleviating racial inequality (economic and other) in this country. No. 2 is helping people figure out personal finance.
15. I still don't see a clear path to retirement, but I'm working on it more and more!
16. I love to throw parties -- big blowouts or small dinner parties or anything in between. I was an introvert but have become something of an omnivert over the years.
17. My mom was nearly 40 when she had me and my next-youngest sister is 10 years older than me. All my kids' 11 cousins are young adults. My brother is 20 years older than me and I feel like I barely know him.
18. I have lived in 6 houses, 4 dorms, 3 apartments and 1 condo during my life, and have owned 3 cars. I currently own a duplex and no car.
19. I've written fiction on and off in my life but never been published outside of school literary magazines. I'm a copywriter so have produced lots of marketing copy on web and in print, though not under my name.
20. I have met 1 fellow SA blogger. I hope to meet more!

Home value estimates ...

September 14th, 2016 at 07:38 pm

... are crazily different! I still feel unsure we have enough equity to refinance -- which is a real bummer because mortgage rates are climbing now. has stayed steady at $474,269.

Zillow's estimate continues to rise and is now at $586,363! They're now over $100K apart.

If we paid all closing costs including escrow, we'd still need to be valued at $502,838 to qualify for a private loan with no mortgage insurance.

Credit scores

September 8th, 2016 at 02:50 pm

It seems like credit card companies just give away credit scores like crazy now! I remember when they were hard to come by without paying. NT's is always available on our Amex card, mine is now available on my Capital One, and I checked AS's old Capital One just now to make sure it got canceled -- although the card is canceled and account closed, they offered me access to her credit score anyway!

I don't know how "official" these scores are (whether they're estimates or the actual credit bureau's score), but I assume they wouldn't bother too much with inaccurate quotes.

So we're in pretty decent shape:
AS: 784
Me: 784
NT: 781

I think (ironically) all the credit checks during the refi consideration process may have caused us to dip. Also we've gone through a lot of new credit cards this past year reaping rewards and then closing them out. But these are good scores.

September 2016 debt payments

September 2nd, 2016 at 02:16 pm

All our mortgage payments have hit.

US: $679 to principal
UK1: $215
UK2: $45
UK3: $48

That's $987 of debt paid.

I also contributed $1245 to AS's SEP and $2750 to NT's Roth, and probably my and NT's regular 401(k) contributions hit today, so I'd say our net worth jumped about $5K today. Big Grin But I don't calculate until the end of the month, so a market dive could change that by Sept. 30.