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Archive for May, 2017

Retirement goal progress

May 31st, 2017 at 09:33 pm

Goal: $494,743 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 (which changes whenever our salaries change) is to get me to 3x my current salary, which is now $68,291, so $204,873; NT to 3x his, which is now $62,100, so $186,300; and AS to 2x hers, which in 2016 was $51,785, so $103,570)

Current balance: $330,279

April 2017 balance: $324,735

Progress: $5,544

An OK bump, but not as much as we need to gain monthly to reach our interim goal. (At least it looks like we'll pass our 2017 mini-mini-goal of $350K before the end of the year!)

To reach the goal by our birthdays in 2019, that's 21 months, so we'd need to contribute (or have assets appreciate) $164,464 -- $7,832 per month -- to reach it.

May 2017 net worth update

May 31st, 2017 at 09:28 pm

NT's UK pensions:
AV: 17,967 pounds ($22,459)
SW: 20,398 pounds ($25,497)
FL: 5,534 pounds ($6,917)
NT's 401(k): $53,055
NT's Roth IRA: $19,166
AS's trad. IRA: $17,339
AS's Roth IRA: $37,755
AS's SEP IRA: $16,239
CJ's 401(k): $107,705
CJ's Roth IRA: $24,147
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
Total Assets: $970,060

US Mortgage $396,768
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $34,844
UK Mortgage 2 $7,345
UK Mortgage 3 $7,735
TOTAL DEBT $455,692

Current Estimated Net Worth: $514,368

April 2017 estimate: $507,869

Change in net worth: +$6,499

Summary: Slowly working toward the million-dollar mark on assets. Not sure we'll get to $600K in net worth since I devalued the homes last month, but maybe.

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.

Added to savings (US & UK); halfway to EF goal!

May 27th, 2017 at 12:46 am

This was a good money week! As I mentioned earlier, I got a $100 Amex gift card from my job. The next day, NT got a $500 mini-bonus check from his! And AS got paid for a freelance job for NT's work much earlier than expected (netting $400). We have about $70 in CC rewards that I can redeem, and we finally got the "secure key" replacement so I could log in to NT's UK account and transfer rental income into savings.

So, of the $1070 in U.S. dollars, the $100 gift card will be used for our next date night, $350 went into reno savings, and the rest went to make up some of the shared-spending deficit we have right now. (I decided to go ahead and book our airfare for AS's solo trip to NYC and our August trip to Va., knowing that AS's booked jobs will pay eventually.) Our deficit is now only $260, with more money expected soon.

Our reno savings are up to $8300! We have quite a ways to go if we want to do the kitchen next. Or we could decide to do a smaller project.

And, I was able to transfer 450 pounds ($562) into the UK savings account. That brings our EF savings to $5500, over halfway to our $10,000 goal!

19 down, 31 to go on the new meals goal

May 25th, 2017 at 04:04 am

Whew, it's been a crazy few weeks at my job. I traveled for work 4 days last week, and this week is me playing catchup. Plus it's our main client's fiscal year end on 5/31, so it would've been nuts without being mostly out of commission for four days.

The bad: Yesterday I came home from work, made dinner, then pretty much worked until 1:30am on a project I totally hadn't wanted to take, because I had more than enough on my plate. And it was for this PowerPoint where I'd presented an outline that the client got really confused about and thought it was meant to be the piece itself, so she thought I'd really "missed the mark."

The good: I got a really big compliment from two clients yesterday, emailed to an account exec. She forwarded it to all the execs and supervisors, and today I got a nice note from my two direct supervisors and a $100 Amex gift card! Oh, and the client that was confused about my outline yesterday was really happy with the actual writing I stayed up late to do, so I fixed that little snafu.

Anyway, I came on here to record progress on my new meals goal. I knew it was going to be busy this week (though I couldn't have guessed HOW busy) but wanted to try a new meal. So I decided to do "loaded fries." Essentially it was frozen fries, baked in the oven, topped with lots of cheddar cheese partway through. Then people could add chili (heated up from a can), green onions, veggie bacon and tofu sour cream. It actually went over really well, even with AS who's not crazy about chili and our youngest who's not big into fries. Oh, and I roasted some cauliflower so we'd have something healthy with it. Would definitely do this again for a week when we're busy and/or not trying to spend much! That's 19 new recipes tried, 31 to go.

Nice surprise "bonus" and some spending

May 11th, 2017 at 09:53 pm

I noticed that AS's healthcare premium payment hadn't posted for May 1, so I asked her to look into it. Turns out there was some kind of discount from the state (she's on Obamacare), and we don't owe anything this month! So that's a $351 bonus we totally didn't expect. I also redeemed $33 in credit card rewards while I was at it. As usual, I put one-third into reno savings, one-third toward future travel and one-third to shared spending.

The shared spending portion went to make up part of our current deficit. We were about $500 in the hole and now we're $369 down. AS's income has had a dry patch where she's booking lots of work, but no checks have come in this month and she's not expecting any for a little while. We've scaled way back on shared spending; we've only splurged this month $75 on getting delivery (first unplanned eating out all year, I believe) and $90 for a ticket to a show NT goes every year. But we were already in the hole from April; a $100 budget mistake that I had to take out of shared, plus $70 for contacts for AS, plus $175 for kids' swim lessons, and some spring wardrobe items for each of us had put us in the red.

When the money does start rolling in, we'll be all good again. AS has nearly $10K worth of work booked through mid-June, and some of it has already been worked so some money will hopefully come in this month.

And it's important to note that we're not *actually* in the red; I have $7675 saved up for renovations, $200 for painting and other small improvements, and over $600 saved up for travel. So any of that could be used to make up our shared spending shortfall if need be.

Which is good, because we have a couple of fun things planned this weekend that I'm planning to take out of shared spending. A friend visiting from out of town, so we're hiring a babysitter Saturday and going out for drinks with her. And boozy Mother's Day brunch for me and AS on Sunday Smile. Oh! That reminds me I need to figure out what we're doing for OUR mothers. Big Grin

Oh, and we've agreed to split the cost of a handyman/yard worker with our downstairs neighbors; they've found someone who does odd jobs for $15 an hour and is eager to get more work, so we'll be hiring him to mow the lawn, help us plant our garden, and do other general outdoor work. So that type of stuff will come out of shared spending.

But, on the plus side, we've got about a $700 surplus in the June budget that I haven't applied yet. And it looks like AS's healthcare discount may be for the whole year; the way they applied it was about $88 for every month of 2017 so far, so it seems like they may be giving us that discount for every month of 2017 going forward. Not sure why, but pretty cool! (Maybe because she made a little less in 2016 than she did in 2015, and the premium was based on her 2015 returns?)

Oops, I realized it's about time to leave work! I think that's most of my money news anyway. Smile

Progress on new meal goal

May 10th, 2017 at 02:49 am

I tried two new meals this week, so that's 18 down, 32 to go!

First, I had a bunch of cooked lentils left over from the last new meal I cooked; I'd thrown them in the freezer until I thought of what to do with them. With some advice from a friend, I cooked them last night with curry flavors and made lunch portions with rice.

It wasn't a recipe per se; I chopped some garlic, onions and carrots and sauteed in olive oil until they started to soften, then added curry powder, garam masala, coriander, salt, cayenne and black pepper. When they started to smell fragrant I added some water and mock chicken broth powder and cooked until the carrots were really soft. Then I put the cooked lentils in and simmered for about 15 more minutes.

It tasted great and had a real spicy kick. A good lunch option I'd make again!

Then for dinner tonight I made Thai-style tofu wraps with ginger peanut sauce, shredded carrots and slivered red bell pepper, and a side of fried Thai-style potato-corn-chili-cilantro-lime patties. All the chopping and prep took quite a while, but the results were delicious! If I had someone assisting, or had extra time and energy, I'd definitely make both again.

Upstairs bathroom before and after pics

May 5th, 2017 at 12:26 am

I never did post photos of our bathroom reno, which was completed a couple months ago! Part of the reason is because I lost most of my "before" pics when I ruined my work phone. And also, it took us a few weeks after the reno was done to buy matching towels, curtain etc. And also, we kept meaning to buy more matching stuff such as shampoo bottles, hairdryer etc. but never did.

But I do have two "before" pics that I posted on Facebook. And it looks really good even without all the matchy-matchy accessories we planned. So here goes!


I did have some photos of in-between but lost them all. The room was down to bare boards. Our contractor completely redid it with new drywall, paint, tile, floor, tore down the shower and built in a bathtub, and added a glass panel so we could still take showers in the tub. It's sooo nice to be in now. It was one of my least favorite rooms and now it's one of the best!


It cost about $9,000 counting accessories.

May 2017 debt payments

May 2nd, 2017 at 02:20 pm

All our mortgage payments hit:

US Mortgage $695 to principal
UK Mortgage 1 $181
UK Mortgage 2 $39
UK Mortgage 3 $40
All told, that's $955 to principal this month.

Current debt is now:

US Mortgage $396,768
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $34,844
UK Mortgage 2 $7,345
UK Mortgage 3 $7,735
TOTAL DEBT $455,692