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Archive for June, 2018

Did AS just book a $32K freelance job?? and other news

June 27th, 2018 at 08:16 pm

Hello friends! I haven't been very bloggy this month, though I've kept up on all your posts.

It's been such a busy year! I'm having tons of fun but sometimes feel overextended. I continue to ponder work-socializing-rest balance and try to make sure I'm only doing things I really want to do. To that end, I might back out of an alumni board conference call next month. Two hours on a summer Saturday listening to a cacophony of people and not learning anything new doesn't seem like a good use of my time when it's at such a premium these days.

Anyway, not to bury the lede too far down, AS messaged me the other day that a Fortune 500 company she's been in contact with wanted to hire her for about 320 hours of writing work over the next four months. (Which would average out to about 20 hours per week.)

I was stunned because she bills $100 per hour for writing. I checked my calculator to make sure I wasn't hallucinating--nope, sounds like she just landed a $32K project!! (For comparison's sake, the biggest single job she's ever booked was $7500. And the most she's ever made in a year is $57K.) She has already earned or booked over $48K this year, so that could potentially take her to $80K or more for 2018! I'm the current high earner in our household at $75K!

Of course, if it's hourly there's a chance it won't end up being that much. And as she pays self-employment tax her taxes are higher than mine and NT. But still! Holy cow!

None of my other news really compares, but since I haven't checked in for a while, here goes:

- I've been shirking all my goals except guitar lessons. But I've been rocking those: I'm actually taking TWO lessons a week for 8 weeks this summer! Then I plan to go back to one per week. I love learning guitar more than I could have ever predicted.

- Speaking of goals, I may rejigger those. Or at least rethink how I structure goals next year. I might not need formal annual goals, since some of my biggest successes this year have been things I came up with along the way, such as broadening/deepening my friend base. AS said something interesting the other day about having intentions vs. hard goals. Sometimes a hard goal is helpful and important (like for paying down debt etc.) But I could also see intentions helping with things like forming good habits. So we'll see. I'm by no means close to being a perfect person, but I do feel that over the past decade I've morphed into a better, happier version of myself. I'm more confident, more productive/industrious, enjoying life more, more financially stable, more creative, and on balance a little healthier. And I'm certainly never bored or at a loss for things to do! So maybe I'm getting to a point where formal goals don't have as important a place in my life anymore. Still pondering.

- Among my adventures this summer, just this past weekend I just took two overnight bus journeys on consecutive nights in order to see my fave band (and meet up with a friend) in Chicago! The whole trip cost only a little over $200: $65 for the bus, $30 show tickets for me and my friend, and about $120 for food, drinks and other incidentals. I arrived back in Minneapolis Monday morning and walked 3 blocks from the bus stop to work, and managed to have a full and productive day despite having had hardly any sleep! Tuesday was rougher than Monday in terms of tiredness; I guess euphoria from the concert kept me going for a while.

- I have another trip coming up to see the same band in Des Moines in August, this time a 2-night road trip with another friend, and we'll be meeting up with my new Canadian friend there. So far I've only spent about $120 on that trip for 2 nights at an Airbnb (which my friend will chip in a bit for); my friend is driving so I only have to cover gas for transportation, and the show is outdoor and free! So other than that my expenses will be just some meals and maybe museum fees or shopping.

- But first, I have 2 trips to Va. coming up! We leave this Friday for a 6-day trip to hang out with family, and again in August we have a 7-day trip to see my niece get married (and we'll do other stuff TBD, of course). I realized the other day that I've only taken 2.5 days of PTO all year: one for a snow day in January, one for my bday in March, and one to hang out with my 8-year-old during her first week of summer break this month.

- In other travel news, we booked airfare for a UK family vacation! Shorter than our usual 14-day trips, this time we leave the day after Xmas (Boxing Day) and come back Jan. 6. I wasn't expecting to buy our tickets so soon, but I saw a nonstop flight deal for about $800 per person and snapped them up. Usually it's more like $900 and nonstop isn't always affordable. We also booked the car and travel insurance, and NT's mum and sister will work out accommodations, so we're pretty much set for that trip!

- We've done some preliminary planning for our kitchen reno, but our designer hasn't replied to the last email I sent her a few weeks ago. That's OK since we probably don't have enough money for the reno we want yet. But we'll keep saving up and maybe it'll happen later this year, or maybe we'll start it next year.

- Our reno savings are doing pretty well (around $23K) and our EF is steady at $10K, but our travel savings are virtually depleted as a result of booking the UK trip (and NT booked hotel and car for one of his solo trips). That's OK, we'll build it back up.

- Our shared spending is once again in the hole, about $3800 this time! As you may recall we took $5K out of reno savings to cover a shortfall earlier this year, yet here we are again. About $1630 of it is due to a letter from MN State Revenue letting us know AS isn't eligible for a property tax rebate our tax guy claimed for her. So we won't get $820 this year, and we'll likely have to pay back $816 from last year. So I already took that out of the budget. Another $500 or so was from medical bills and related expenses. And the other $600-700 was just general overspending: Father's Day, date nights, kid outings, guitar lessons, etc. AS is expecting some checks, of course, so that will patch up part of the hole. And if she's able to bill regularly for this $32K job, which starts in early July, we may be able to get back in black by August!

I think those are the major pieces of news. Work's great, social life's great, family is great, home life is great (even if I don't get much down time)! Very few complaints overall. Smile

June 2018 debt payments

June 3rd, 2018 at 12:20 am

All our mortgage payments hit:

US: $721
UK1: $181
UK2: $37
UK3: $40

All told, $979 went to principal.

May 2018 retirement goal update

June 2nd, 2018 at 10:30 pm

Goal: $512,564 by March 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 $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: $411,632

January 2018 balance: $404,682

Progress: $6,950

Finally we have more retirement worth than we did in January! We didn't have any progress in February, March or April, so this isn't as good as it looks. To reach the interim goal by the end of our birthday month (March) in 2019, that's 10 months, so we'd need to contribute (or have assets appreciate) $100,932 -- $10,093 per month -- to reach it.

We rarely come close to that, so it's pretty unlikely. But I'll keep tracking anyway.

May 2018 net worth update

June 2nd, 2018 at 08:42 pm

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): $64,604
NT's Roth IRA: $27,429
AS's trad. IRA: $19,383
AS's Roth IRA: $48,321
AS's SEP IRA: $25,687
CJ's 401(k): $129,635
CJ's Roth IRA: $32,856
NT's flat: $212,500 (200,000 pounds value x1.25 -15%)
CJ/NT/AS house: $427,281 ($454,554 value -6%)
TOTAL ASSETS: $1,051,413

US Mortgage $388,270
Loan from friends (duplex) $9,000
UK Mortgage 1 $32,669
UK Mortgage 2 $6,886
UK Mortgage 3 $7,251
TOTAL DEBT $444,076

Current Estimated Net Worth: $607,337

April 2018 estimate: $596,325

Change in net worth: +$11,012

Summary: Finally some real recovery in our retirement accounts! We passed another net worth milestone, $600K, which means we have an average of $200K per person 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.