Saturday, December 29, 2018

Income Increase






Hi Everyone, I hope you had a wonderful holiday.  I am still on vacation and enjoying my time off.  I hope to be able to get back to reading and commenting on my favorite blogs soon.  (For some reason the comments from my phone will not post??) 

I just wanted to pop in very quickly and post about my raise. My boss called me on the second day of my vacation to let me know that I am getting a raise starting January 1, 2019.  My salary will now be $90,000 (up from $85,850)  I received my last raise in August of 2017 ($80,850 to $85,850) so I am pleased about the increase in income.  Based on the online calculators, I should receive an extra $118 per paycheck (an increase of $236 per month).  I need to figure out what I want to do with the increase in income for the 2019 year.  Probably a combination of mortgage pay down and savings. 

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone has a wonderful and Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 14, 2018

Lawyers and Suicide 2





This is not really a Christmas-y post, but I wanted to post it before it slipped my mind.  I read a very sad article about another lawyer, a successful one, who committed suicide. Being a lawyer is such a hard and stressful job and even the Florida Bar has initiated several programs directed towards mental wellness. Even successful lawyers take their own lives due to the stress. 

The link to the article is here

I do not necessary agree with all of the statements in the article and I recognize it is one sided, but it gives insight into the practice of law and the mental health of lawyers.  It shows why I want to retire from practicing law as soon as I possibly can. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

December To Do List

It's December!! I'm feeling pretty excited as I only have 7 more days to work this year.I will have about 12 consecutive days off!! December is usually pretty stressful, but I think I am slightly ahead of where I normally am by this time.  I still have a good bit to do, but I don't feel overwhelmed.  Anyways, here are my goals for December


1. Finish Christmas Shopping
2. Wrap presents
3. Finish filing papers in the office
4. Put up Christmas Decorations
5. Clean out Office
6. Figure out 2019 Financial (and other goals).
7. Pull together a post on how I did on my 2018 goals.
8. Prepare a Net worth update. 
9. Read 2 books. 

How are you doing on your year end and/or Christmas preparations? Are you on target or falling behind? 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Mortgage is Under $200k!!!!

I made my December mortgage payment last week and my mortgage balance finally dropped under $200,000!! The current balance is $199,275!! I was beginning to think it would never get out of the $200,000s.  I am ahead of my amortization schedule by about a year and a half.  I'm at 80.7% LTV.  SOoo close to 80% and so close (relatively) to dropping PMI. 

I have one more mortgage payment to make before the end of the year (my 12/31 payment), so the balance should drop down to the $198,000s. My mortgage at the beginning of the year was at 208,908.  So about a $10,000 drop in principal for the year!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Money, Money Money!






Ally has raised the rate on its savings account to 2.00%!!! I love Ally because they have consistently raised rates since I opened mine just a few months ago!

However, MySavingsDirect.com is currently offering 2.35% on its savings account!  I have had MySavingsDirect account, a division of Emigrant Bank, for  a few years now.

Both accounts are fine, but it did take MySavingDirect a while to raise its rates to compete with the other banks.

I still need to check out Marcus by Goldman Sachs, I heard they were a good too and had high rates.  But, on the other hand, 2 savings accounts are probably enough. 

I read a very sad and sobering story about a couple firmly entrenched in debt.  It is a warning to us all to get our money under control.  You can read it here

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

My parents were FIRE





 I don't know how familiar you all are with the concept of FIRE.  FIRE means= Financial Independence Retire Early.  FIRE is an amazing concept to me.  I would love to become financially independent so that I'm not required to work until I am 65.  My job is stressful and it seems it is the type of work which will always be stressful (litigation, trials, appeals, etc).  FIRE has a wide array of meaning throughout the personal finance community.  Suze Orman was on the Afford Anything podcast and caused quite a stir with her views on FIRE.  I like the idea of FIRE.  To me, FIRE means freedom and the ability to have choices.  For me to achieve FIRE I need to have a paid for house, a solid emergency fund and (depending upon the age at which I attain FIRE) a crap ton of cash/investments/savings/CDs, etc. 

My dad served in the air force for 30 years.  He entered when he was 19 years old and retired at 49.  When he retired he received a pension and the military health insurance TRICARE, for life.  He also received health insurance for his family (my mother and us kids). He also received Veteran's Affairs benefits which he permitted us (his children) to use. These VA benefits provided money for college for a service member or his (or her) dependents.  So, in essence, our college was funded. 

I don't have the exact details of his retirement (pay, etc), but I know that it was enough to survive.  We never wanted for anything.  We had elaborate Christmases and birthdays.  However, we never ate out at restaurants very much.  My father never had to work another day in his life after he retired from the air force.  He was able to spend time with his children, pursue his interests and not have to worry about work for the rest of his life.  He died at the young age of 68 years old.  I'm so glad that he was able to have some time to enjoy his life and didn't wait until 65 to retire and then die 3 years later. 

My mother is and always has been a money wiz.  She scrimped and pinched and saved and made the money stretch as far as it could.  She worked throughout the years that my father was in the air force to earn extra money.  She took over paying the bills when he was deployed overseas and made sure there was no credit card debt.  She saved and hoarded cash at every opportunity. 

I never realized that my parents were FIRE until recently.  It was quite a revelation when I thought about it.  I hope to do even half as well as my parents. 


Sunday, November 11, 2018

My Largest Mortgage Payment to Date!!






At the end of October, I made my mortgage payment for November. The total payment was $2,120.  This is the largest payment I have ever made on this mortgage in the 5 plus years that I have had it.  My mortgage payment is normally $1,481, so this payment constituted an extra $639 towards the principal!!!  My goal is to pay off enough of the mortgage so that I can drop the pmi premiums next year.  I should reach 80% LTV in February of next year, but I won't be at 78% until August.  (Based on the original mortgage schedule, I was going to reach 80% LTV in September of 2020).  I'm so excited!! The pmi premium is $115  month, so by August of 2019, I will be able to add an extra $115 towards principal.  This is even more exciting because by August of 2019, I should have about $1,000 a month going towards principal (if I keep the extra $400 principal payments, the 115 additional principal payment and my required principal payment).  

ALSO, my mortgage balance is at $200,152.  SO with my December payment it will finally fall into the $100,000s!!!!!!!!


Saturday, October 27, 2018

What I Would Do If I Won The Lottery


I did not win the Mega Millions Jackpot.  I did spend the $2 to purchase a ticket.  If I did win I would have paid off my house. I also would have opened a series of savings accounts with $100,000 balances.  I would have put a few million into investments.  I would have purchased some long term  CDs.  I would do everything in my power to ensure that I have enough money to last for the rest of my life.

I think I would also build a custom home with lots of security features so that I would not have to worry that someone would break in and try to steal my lottery winnings.  I don't want a big house, but I would like an acre or 2 of land. 


I would give some money to my mother and sisters.  I would also donate money to charity (disaster relief, St. Jude's, my law school, legal services, etc).

I would quit my job and set up a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.  I think I would devote it to provide assistance to struggling families.  This would be for people who struggled due to no fault of their own.  For example, people who were struggling because of a medical condition or medical bills.  You know, like a child that had a serious illness and health insurance did not cover all of the bills.  Or a parent who had a medical condition and could not work.  Running my 501(c)(3) charity would become my new job.  I would also like to help young people who were struggling to get through college because of financial issues.  I would also like to help young professionals who were struggling after graduating from college due to their student loan payments.  Believe me I know law school is expensive!!

Anyways, that's what I would have done if I had won the lottery.  It's fun to dream. 

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Boring Updates




Just a quick update.  We are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, but everyday the roads get clearer and less people are suffering from the power outages.  There are more and more donations centers for the less fortunate.  I need to buy some supplies to donate and find a convenient donation center.  I have a bag of clothes that I can donate too. Additionally, I only spent about $200 for the hurricane preparation (some bags of ice, bottled water, snacks and gas for the generator,etc.). 

I did manage to add another $60 to my retirement account, that means I am $160 over my goal for the year! I hope I am able to add even more money next month. I can't wait until I am saving $15,000 a year without batting an eye. 

I was able to add $450 to my emergency fund.  I m getting closer to my goal of $18,500 for the year.

I was able to add $750 to my furniture fund.  I can't wait to replace this 15 year old mattress and frame!!

Work has been tough lately. I really need some help with all of the cases and projects I am working on.   My boss has not even been working on his cases.  I'm too tired to rant this morning, so I will just leave it there. 

I did buy a mega-millions lottery ticket on Tuesday and I did not win.  I hate wasting money on lottery tickets, but I figured what the heck- I'll take a chance.  It is a super huge jackpot right now. Maybe I will waste another $2 and try again.






Sunday, October 14, 2018

Hurricane Michael




Hurricane Michael was a major hurricane, but I am happy to report that my family and friends seem to have come through the storm without any loss of life or major damage.

There are power lines and trees down all over town.  There are still many without power in my small town.  Our electricity went out about 2:00p.m. on Wednesday afternoon and did not come back in until about 2:00a.m Friday morning. The winds and rain were so bad that we did not get the generator started until Thursday morning.  It was nice to have ice and cold water from the fridge.  We charged our devices and rain a fan.  We did have some bottled water, beer and wine in an iced down cooler, so we had access to cold drinks.  We also had several bags of ice in the freezer to keep the food cold until we could get the generator up and running.  We grilled out for dinner and it was fun, but by Thursday it was pretty hot out.  We were ecstatic to have the power come on early Friday morning.  We were definitely one of the lucky ones.

During the storm we listened to music from our phones (we had those portable charging bricks) and podcasts.  We danced, played card games and read books.  We also had downloaded tv shows and movies from netflix to our kindles.  We were thoroughly entertained. 

We slept in Friday morning because it was nice and cool.  Then we drove over to my mother's house to make sure she had power, clean up debris and make sure there was no damage to the house. Her home was fine, there were just a few downed limbs.  Her electricity was on and no problems were found.

I checked in on my friends and everyone was fine other than having some fallen trees and no electricity.  I feel so blessed and I am very happy to have survived another hurricane. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Third Quarter Update




At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself.  Let's see how I am doing.

1. Add $10,500 to retirement savings with the goal of having $35,000 saved for retirement by the end of the year.  $5,500 will go into my roth ira and $5,000 will go into a taxable account. Come on stock market growth and no recession! Last year I contributed $9,500 so this will be an  increase of $1,000.  PASS.  I am done with this goal!  I have contributed $10,600 to retirement this year.  I plan to continue contributing throughout the year.

2.Increase EF to $18,500. I am slowly adding money to this goal.  My total emergency savings are about $16,800.  I hope to increase this over the next 3 months to meet this goal.  However, that might change based on what happens with hurricane Michael.

3. Pay an extra $290/month toward principal on the mortgage.  My easily reachable goal is to have the mortgage paid down to $200,000 by the end of the year.  The ultimate goal is to have the balance paid down to $197,500 by the end of the year so that the PMI will drop off the mortgage. PASS!  I have been adding an extra $400 a month to the mortgage.  I am definitely on track to have this under $200,000 by the end of the year. I might have it under $200,000 by the end of the month.  However, again, that might change based on what happens with this hurricane.

4. Save an additional $5,000 for my car replacement fund with the goal of having $10,000 in my car replacement fund by the end of the year.  I will be aiming to purchase a new car in 2019.  I hope with a trade in and any money saved in 2019 to have $20,000 to put down for a new car. My car replacement fund is sitting at $7,617 as of the time of this entry. Again, I hope to focus on this more after you know, hurricane michael.


5.  Read 15 books. I have completed at least 3 books this year.  I have been starting books, but  not finishing them.  Hopefully I'll do better for the next report.  

6. Lose 20lbs. I plan to try to lose about 3lbs a month which should place me at 36lbs for the year.  However, I know I struggle with weight loss so I think 20lbs is a good goal.  I also want to commit to exercising 30 minutes a day for 4 days a week and eating more vegetables.  I haven't weighed myself, but I have been getting in 4 days a week of exercise most weeks (Except when traveling). 

7. Donate $300 to charity.  This is up $100 from last year, I hope to be able to donate more than $300, but let's see how the year rolls.  I plan to increase this amount each year. I have contributed $278 to charity so far this year.  I'm actually ahead of schedule for where I should be at this time of year! I can't wait to see how much I actually end up donating by the end of the year.

8. Build medical fund up to $1,000. This is sitting at $0, but I have been using this for various medical appointments.  I need to add to this to cover my dentist appointment at the end of the year and the one I just had. 

9. Continue to build car repair fund up to $1,000. This is currently at $173, but I will need an oil change before the end of the year. 

10. Get more life insurance. No progress here.

11.  Try to figure out a happy medium for the travel reimbursement fight.  I want them reimbursed in 30 days and the firm will wait 60 -90 days to reimburse me.  I think I will argue for 45 day reimbursement and all outstanding travel vouchers to be paid at year end.   I haven't had a chance to even begin to address this.  However, there are a lot of changes coming at work and this might be a bargaining tool for me. 

12. Find a new primary care doctor and receive treatment for anxiety and depression. I have been researching doctors, but I have not selected one yet. 

13. Make a decision about my career and job. No progress.

14. Try something new (or outside of my comfort zone) each month (restaurant, activity or social event). I did pretty good at this for the first quarter, but not so great for the second quarter.  I did try a new restaurant, opened a new savings account for a higher interest rate and continued to tip cleaning staff at hotels. I'm did not do super well with this for the third quarter either.  I HAVE to do better this last quarter. 

15. Increase net worth by $25,000. I failed to do a net worth post at the beginning of the year. I have been adding to my retirement savings and paying extra on the mortgage so I am definitely making progress on this goal.  I am up almost $20,000 since my March net worth update.  


How are you guys doing on your yearly goals?  Are you on track or falling behind?  I feel like tracking my yearly goals helps me make progress.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

October Goals







I have a few October goals, but first, let's see how I did on my September Goals.  My September goals were as follows:

1.  Finish out retirement contributions. Only $1,332 to go!--PASS.  I actually added an additional $100 to that amount.

2. Exercise 4 days a week, for at least 60 minutes. - DONE ISH.  I did this for about 2.5 weeks out of the month.

3. Get rid of 20 items. DONE- ISH.  I have a bag full of clothing items to donate.  They are sitting in my room and I need to take them to Goodwill.

4. Get the Fall Decorations down and put up around the house. FAIL- I did get the fall wreath out of the front closet.  The other decorations are still in the attic.

5. Finish 2 books. - FAIL. I did not finish any.

6. Donate money to charity. PASS- I did donate $25 to my law school.




My October goals are as follows:

1. Contribute another $50 to retirement. This is just because I can and I need to pump as much money as possible into my retirement accounts.
2. Exercise 4 days a week for at least 60 minutes.
3. Get rid of 20 items.
4. Get out the Fall/Halloween decorations.
5. Finish one book.
6. Donate money to charity.
7. Attend at least one social event or activity.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Net Worth Update





Here's where the numbers stand.

Savings-
$11,816 Emergency Fund
 $12,838 Online Savings Account/$7,617 of that amount is for my Car Replacement Fund
 $27,095 Retirement- Roth IRA
  $7,369 Taxable Brokerage (Retirement)


$1,221 Travel Fund (Work)
$753 pet fund 
$5 medical fund
$2,291 furniture fund
$80 Slush fund


Home-
$298,990-per zillow

              Total (not including home): $63,468
              Total (including home): $362,458

Liabilities-
Mortgage $201,262

             
                   Total (not including mortgage): 0
                    Total (including mortgage): -$201,262
 


        Total Net Worth(not including mortgage): $63,468                                             
        Total Net Worth(including mortgage): $161,196

Net worth, not including mortgage, increased by $7,747 from July (last net worth update)
Net worth, including mortgage, increased by $9,967 from July (last net worth update)


Still going the right direction so that is great! This is despite of some recent drops in my retirement account due to the market and a slightly lower value for my home.   Can't wait to see how much things grow by the end of the year. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

2018 Retirement Contributions Complete!!

I haven't had a chance to post, but I wanted to update the blog.  My retirement contributions for 2018 are complete!!!  My goal was to contribute $10,5000 to retirement for the year.  As of Friday, September 14, I have made that goal.

In case you were wondering (and I would because I am a nerd ), I have been tracking my retirement contributions for the year.  They are as follows:

1/15/18    $1,390
2/15/18    $610
3/15/18    $1,270
4/16/18    $765
4/27/18    $55
5/11/18    $55
5/15/18    $1,355
6/15/18    $1,000
7/1/18      $100
7/12/18    $25
7/16/18    $1,000
7/25/18    $25
7/30/18    $50
8/15/18  $1,418
8/30/18   $50
9/14/18   $1,332

$5,500 went to the Roth IRA and $5,000 went to my taxable account.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September Goals


It's almost Fall!! I am looking forward to the cooler temperatures, but not the shorter days that will be here soon. I need to take advantage of the longer days, while we have them, and walk after work.

I hope everyone is taking some time to relax over this Labor Day weekend.  Saturday just flew by. I'm not sure when Sunday got here.  The positive it that, at least I don't have the Sunday scaries! And...next week will only have 4 work days!

 I figured I should make some goals for September, so here they are:

1.  Finish out retirement contributions. Only $1,332 to go!
2. Exercise 4 days a week, for at least 60 minutes.
3. Get rid of 20 items.
4. Get the Fall Decorations down and put up around the house.
5. Finish 2 books. 
6. Donate money to charity.

I am so looking forward to finishing off my retirement contributions for the year.  Next I will work on adding more money to my E-fund.  I want to get the E-fund to $18,500 by the end of the year and I think I am at $16,800 right now.  The ultimate goal will be to maintain a $20,000 E-fund.

I've been pretty good at exercising at least 4 days a week, but only for 30 minutes.  I need to increase this.  I am not gaining weight, but I am not losing any either.

I really want less clutter in my life so I decided to start getting rid of things.  I will start in my bedroom, bathroom, closet first. Then move out to other areas of the house.  I already have a small pile of clothes of donate. 

It's raining and the power is flickering, so time to go!


Thursday, August 30, 2018

Updates


At the end of June I was just shy of $30,000 in my retirement accounts.  Just a few weeks ago, I finally hit $31,000 in my retirement account. Now, at the end of August, I have over $33,000 in my account.  Again, huge surprise, I was contemplating buying some additional shares of VTI and I logged into my account to see how much I paid last time and boom! My balance was over $33,000!

There has been no update on the new work my boss was looking to get.  Still keeping my fingers crossed that he gets it, only because then I can negotiate for a raise.  I would love to get my salary into the $90,000s.  I would really love to negotiate a raise between $5,000- $10,000.  Most lawyers are not as highly paid as people think.  I am hoping to transition into an in house counsel positions, eventually.   I think after all this time, I am tired of litigation. 

I did manage to settle that case that was worrying me.  However, I have a trial scheduled for the end of the year that is worrying me.   I have a few pending motions and I am hopeful that at least one win will take the wind out of the Plaintiff's sails.  Otherwise it is trial preparation over the upcoming holidays.

Payday, for me, is Friday!! I will put a payment in for the mortgage payment today.   Maybe we will get Labor Day bonuses, we have gotten them a few times in the past.   They are usually $100 or so.  If we did get them, I'm uncertain as to where I would put the money??? I definitely need to think about that.  More likely than not, we won't get a bonus.   

I also have some outstanding travel reimbursements about $900 total, but I think about $300 should be paid out to me this week (hopefully).  Some of that money will go towards car repair ($50), some towards my travel (work) fund and maybe a little towards retirement ($50). 

I have not made a charitable donation this month, I will have to see if I have the money to spare to do that.  Maybe I can use some of that travel reimbursement money for giving this month???


Labor day is almost here and I am looking towards my 3 day weekend!  I plan to work on the blog, read some books, exercise, hang out with family and relax.  Do you have any big Labor day plans? 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Epiphany


I had an epiphany the other day about work (i actually had 2, but will only write about one for today's post).  My boss likes to incite controversy.  He deliberately takes jabs at his assistant and uses me as the stick.  Over the years that I have worked at this firm, he and his assistant have developed a very close relationship.  Uncomfortably, close.  Apparently, that is normal for him as he had the same relationship with his previous assistant.  His current assistant has stated that she feels like his girlfriend and his mother. 

For some reason, however, he likes to try to incite jealousy in his assistant.  For example,  a few weeks ago, My boss told me that we needed to talk about a comprehensive listing of defenses for each type of case that we defend.  I went ahead and prepared a memo listing everything I could think of so as to not to waste time.  I left a copy on my boss's desk for him to review.  Well, the next day he comes to talk to me about it and asks a few questions and then leave.  He then tells his assistant how wonderful I am because I, unprompted, wrote a detailed memorandum of all available defenses.  She comes in a few days later, mocking him and telling me what he said.  I told her he was lying and that he specifically wanted the information and I decided to leave a memo on his desk to avoid a several hour meeting about something so simple. 

It made me consider his motivation for lying.  Why lie about something so simple and work related? Why make me out to be something greater than I am?  That's when the lightening bolt hit me.  He did it intentionally to make her jealous.  He knows that she is jealous of me.  (She has said to me that she is jealous of me because I am younger and make more money, etc. The fact that I am a lawyer and she is an assistant apparently does not factor into the analysis?????).  He likes the drama and likes to add fuel to the fire. 

This explains a lot of his actions and comments over the years.  Who knew?  Have you ever had a epiphany like this?  Does your boss like to cause craziness in the office? 

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Unplanned Expenses

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It's always something, isn't it? A few weeks ago I was driving to a mediation a couple of hours away and my tire pressure light came on and began rapidly blinking.  This happened to me once before and so I knew that it meant that the batteries in the tire pressure sensors were dead. However, last time the blinking went away on its own and I did not have to replace the sensors.

Well, I wasn't so lucky this time.  All 5 of the sensors died (yes including the one in the spare tire).  I contemplated not replacing the them because my car is 12 years old and previously, I had driven a car for years without sensors in the tires. 

The problem, for me, became the incessant blinking of the light on the dashboard.  It drove me crazy and I could not stand to look at it for hours at a time while driving around to different cities.  It's a dumb issue, I realize, but I just couldn't take it. So I coughed up $322 at the local discounted tire shop for new sensors.  Who knew they cost that much money????!!!! I did get a free used spare tire in the deal though.  My spare tire was the original that came with the car and although I had asked for the spare to be changed when I got new tires (maybe a couple of years ago), they did not change it.  The guy felt bad and said if they had a used one on the shop that fit my car, they would just give it to me for free and they did.  (I didn't care that it was used because in the 12 years I have had my car I have never used my spare.  I figure my time with this car is short and I likely will be getting a new car within 12-24 months).

Anyways, no more blinking light on the dashboard and a free used spare tire to boot!

The downside is that the expense was not planned for and I had to use money that I had hoped to put in my taxable account (for retirement) to pay for the cost.  That was definitely disappointing, but at least I was able to pay for the cost without resorting to debt.  That, in my eyes, is always an awesome outcome!!

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Another Retirement Update





Wednesday was payday and I was able to put $1,418 towards my retirement contribution goals for the year!  My goal for the year was to contribute $10,500 towards retirement this year.  I only have $1,382 left to contribute in 2018.  I should be able to finish this off in September (fingers crossed that Murphy does not pay me a visit).




In case you were wondering (and I would because I am a nerd ), I have been tracking my retirement contributions for the year.  They are as follows:

1/15/18    $1,390
2/15/18    $610
3/15/18    $1,270
4/16/18    $765
4/27/18    $55
5/11/18    $55
5/15/18    $1,355
6/15/18    $1,000
7/1/18      $100
7/12/18    $25
7/16/18    $1,000
7/25/18    $25
7/30/18    $50
8/15/18  $1,418

I have already been thinking about how much I should contribute to retirement for next year.  I can't decide if I want to do $11,000 or $11,500.  I'm leaning towards $11,500 because well... more is better.  $10,500 is a little over 15% of my take home pay, but I really want to get to 15% of my gross pay which is around $13,000.

What percentage of your take home pay or gross pay do you contribute to retirement?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Retirement!

Just another quick post this morning.  I just happened to login and check my retirement account to make sure that a transfer that I initiated at the end of July fully processed.  I was so surprised to find that the total balance was over $31,000.  Just last month (on 7/20) I was celebrating the fact that I finally reached $30,000.  I know these numbers will continue to ebb and fall, but I love surprises like this. 

Also, just in case you did not know, Dave Ramsey is hosting a contest on his website for two people to win $5,500.  Just the amount needed to max out your Roth (if under 50 years old). I entered because I love free money!!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Ally Raised Its Rates Again!




Ally just raised its rates to 1.8%!! I opened my online savings account in June of 2018 and the rate was 1.65% A day or 2 later Ally raised the rate to 1.75%.  Now less than 2 months later Ally has raised rates again to 1.8%.  I am totally a fan at this point!

This is not a sponsored post.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

This and That




I realized, in June, that I have been averaging a $1,100 a month contribution to my retirement accounts. Towards the end of July, I was $50 short of making that goal for the month. I was really disappointed that I was not going to meet or exceed my new informal goal.  However, on the last day of the month, I received a travel reimbursement and I put $50 of that into my retirement fund.  Goal met!!! I love the little good things like that.

Over the last few months I had been noticing an occasional squealing sound in my car.  I was worried about what else could be going wrong in my now 12 year old car.  Last weekend I washed out my car and cleaned the inside.  I also went for a drive with my mother, opening the vents on the passenger side of the car.  Low and behold, the sound stopped!! #moneysaved

I've made some progress on a case I have been working on at work.  Very bad facts for my client.  The case is difficult and stressful, but I think we are edging closer to a settlement. Hopefully soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me and think good thoughts.   

I think I've made a decision to throw leftover money (budgeted money that I don't spend) into my emergency fund.  It never hurts to have extra money on hand.  Also, there has been talk of an impending recession from the talking heads.  I don't want to get caught off guard. 

I have been thinking about how I can increase my income and what I can do to help myself in case of job loss.  I have started saving up for a rental property.  Just little bits of found money here and there.  I have not fully committed to the idea, but being single means I need diversified income streams.  I think it's a good option for me to consider.  I'm thinking I'll save for about 5 years and see where I am. 

Make some money and meet those goals today. 

That's all for today, friends. 


Monday, July 23, 2018

Secrets and Lies 2





I don't know about everyone else, but throughout my life I often seem to be in opportune (or inopportune) places to hear sensitive, scandalous or private information.  No, I'm not eavesdropping, sometimes people will voluntarily reveal information to me- maybe because I'm the only other person around.  Sometimes it is said in such a place that I am unable to avoid overhearing the information.  

Due to the nature of the information I have been made privy to I cannot disclose it to those close to me as it would ruin friendships, working relationships or simply be construed as gossip.  I'm not the type to want to cause drama in the lives of my friends, family or work relationships. So, your beautiful ears (or eyes rather) will get to hear the random secrets and lies that I hear. I figure my blog can act as my stress relief/venting place for all of the craziness I hear. A lot of these stories also provided valuable financial lessons. 

So this is the second installment of this series.  Let's turn to a co-worker I had years ago, named, "Carol".  Carol was an older lady in her late to mid-50s.  She was married and had been married for around 30 years.  She had 2 kids, one daughter and one son (developmentally disabled).  She made around $25,000 a year as a legal assistant.  Her husband made around $200,000 a year, with bonuses.  They lived in a big house on the north side of town.  She would often host parties at her house and brag about her husband (he was handsome, made a lot of money, etc.). They frequently would scout out potential rental properties. 

Her life fell apart quickly, her husband wanted a divorce, he had been cheating on her with a much younger woman (mid-30s). The history is that Carol was the "other woman" when she first met her husband. He left his wife and married Carol.  Also, he apparently cheated on Carol for years when they lived in Miami (years before I met her), but she stayed in the relationship.  He made good money and she grew up poor.  Carol was not involved in the finances and they had separate bank accounts.  Her husband learned that one of the tenants in their rental properties was vacating the property and decided not to rent out the unit.  He took that as an opportunity to announce his intent to get a divorce and tell her to move into that rental property.  She did.  He stayed in the big house and paid the bills until it was sold.  They had several other rental properties to sell-off too.  Carol was angry, of course.  The family had been through much turmoil just a few years before when their developmentally disabled son had gotten into a bad accident and was no longer permitted to drive.  He would sometimes take his father's car and drive, anyways, to hang out with friends about 1.5 hours away.  He later got into some major criminal trouble which resulted in a major police investigation and a raid on their home.  He was arrested and prosecuted. He did not have to go to prison.

After the divorce proceedings began, Carol started telling her co-workers about how horribly her husband had always treated her and how unhappy she was in the marriage.  She started calling her husband at work and showing up at his office.  She eventually got him fired because she was so disruptive.  Her son would call her friends late at night and tell him how drunk she was.  She turned her son against his father.  She had trouble staying on her budget of $25,000 a year.  She kept one of her husband/soon to be ex-husband's credit cards and charged clothing and purses on it.  She would tell anyone who would listen about how her husband kicked her out of their home.   I'll save you all of the awful details, she was a mess.  Ultimately, she had a decent settlement from the divorce, including half of his retirement money, the proceeds from some of her rental properties and she was fine financially. 

I learned a lot from her situation.  Mostly, if I ever married I planned to be involved in the finances.  That way, there would be no surprises.  I also learned that if a relationship does not feel right, then leave.  Don't suffer along for money or other benefits.  I was very young when all of this happened so it was very eyeopening for me. 

I could go on and on about her secrets and lies, but that is enough for now.  Have  you ever had someone tell you private or scandalous information?  How did you react?  What did you do?


Friday, July 20, 2018

It's Friday!!

Thank goodness for the weekend!! I cannot wait. This is just going to be a stream of consciousness post, so forgive me in advance. 

Monday was payday and I was able to sock away another $1,000 to retirement.  I also made another $25 donation to charity.  I am over $225 in donations for the year. I hope I surprise myself this year and get close to $400 in charitable donations (baby steps people!).  Only time will tell, maybe, just maybe, we will get bonuses this year.  That will definitely up my charitable donations as I believe in spreading the good!  I always give my sister and mother a portion of any bonus I receive.  This year I would also like to give some to charity. 

My retirement contributions so far this year:

1/15/18    $1,390
2/15/18    $610
3/15/18    $1,270
4/16/18    $765
4/27/18    $55
5/11/18    $55
5/15/18    $1,355 
6/15/18    $1,000
7/1/18      $100
7/12/18    $25
7/16/18    $1,000

Those little bits and pieces certainly add up over time.  I have officially reached my $30,000 milestone with this last contribution.  I have only $2,875 left to contribute for the year.

I also have over $2,000 in travel reimbursements pending from work so I might push a little of that money towards my retirement accounts too (when it FINALLY is sent to me).  

I have so much to do this weekend:

1. cut the grass
2. clean the house (including dusting, mopping and vacuuming). 
3. do the laundry
4. wash my car and clean out the inside
5. catch up on some projects at work
6. finish my book- sparkling cyanide by Agatha Christie
7. exercise
8. make dinners and lunch for the week
9. solidify some financial plans/goals- i need a better focus for my financial life

Alright I need to get ready for work.  Have a great Friday!! 



Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Negotiating for A Raise





I probably shouldn't post this, but I am planning to ask my boss for a raise.  Yes, I know that I received a raise a year ago.  No, I'm not being greedy.  Here's the back story: my boss is actively seeking to take on a new client (A company) with a diverse, widespread and large book of business. The company has cases throughout the State.  I have been supportive in assisting him with obtaining this client. He definitely needs to build his brand.   I helped him to submit a proposal, informational paperwork and encouraged him to attend meet and greets with the company big wigs so that he would be awarded the contract. Now, it looks like he pretty much has the contract.  He has intimated that he wants me to run this project.

Undoubtedly, if he secures this contract I will have an even larger work load.  I'm already busy.  I think it's only fair if I am compensated with a raise.  I'm trying to think of a fair compensation arrangement, but that's hard to do without hard numbers.  I don't want to bid against myself by asking for a small $2,500-$5,000 raise.  However, I don't want to ask for a huge raise if the company ends up sending him only a portion of its work.  I'm thinking some sort of commission or quarterly bonus, but I truly fear that he won't be honest about the arrangement (i.e., he will lie about the number of billable hours, number of cases or something else when he decides that he no longer wants to honor the agreement).  I definitely have some thinking to do about the situation. What would you do in this situation?

If he does not want to offer me some additional compensation, I plan on telling him that I can't take on the project and he needs to hire someone else to handle that client. Let the cards land where they may. 

Monday, July 16, 2018

New Savings Account- Update

Another short post!  A few weeks ago I opened a savings account with Ally because it was offering a 1.75% rate.  Right around that time I saw that a company named Marcus was offering 1.8%.  I figured I would stay with Ally for a bit before rushing over to check out Marcus. 

So far Ally seems okay.  It's offering a higher rate than my old savings account so I am pleased.  I was worried for a few days because at the end of June because no interest posted to my account.  As I clicked on various links on the site I saw that the statement cycles ended on the 15th, so I figured I would wait until today to see if any interest posted.   It did!  I received $9.58 for a partial month of parking my money.  That's more than I received for having my money parked for an entire month in my former savings account!

I will keep you updated on how Ally works out for me. 

FYI- this is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Net Worth Update




Here's where the numbers stand.

Savings-
 $11,650 Emergency Fund
 $11,761 Online Savings Account/$6,587 of that amount is for my Car Replacement Fund
 $25,722 Retirement- Roth IRA
  $3,188 Taxable Brokerage (Retirement)


$269 Travel Fund (Work)
$716 pet fund 
$57 medical fund
$1,991 furniture fund
$367 Slush fund


Home-
$299,385-per zillow

              Total (not including home): $55,721
              Total (including home): $355,106

Liabilities-
Mortgage $203,877

             
                   Total (not including mortgage): 0
                    Total (including mortgage): -$203,887
 


        Total Net Worth(not including mortgage): $55,721                                             
        Total Net Worth(including mortgage): $151,229

Net worth, not including mortgage, increased by $4,846 from April(last net worth update)
Net worth, including mortgage, increased by $7,442 from April(last net worth update)


Still going the right direction so that is great! This is despite of some recent drops in my retirement account due to the market and a slightly lower value for my home.   Can't wait to see how much things grow by the end of the next quarter.  Happy Fourth of July!!!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Second Quarter Update





At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself.  Let's see how I am doing.

1. Add $10,500 to retirement savings with the goal of having $35,000 saved for retirement by the end of the year.  $5,500 will go into my roth ira and $5,000 will go into a taxable account. Come on stock market growth and no recession! Last year I contributed $9,500 so this will be an  increase of $1,000.  So Far I have contributed $6,500 towards retirement this year.  $5,500 of that went into my Roth IRA.  $1,000 to my taxable account.  I still have $4,000 left to contribute towards retirement for the year. 

2.Increase EF to $18,500. I added just a little to my EF, but then I had to spend $335 for the garage door repair.  I will focus on this after my retirement savings for the year are done. 

3. Pay an extra $290/month toward principal on the mortgage.  My easily reachable goal is to have the mortgage paid down to $200,000 by the end of the year.  The ultimate goal is to have the balance paid down to $197,500 by the end of the year so that the PMI will drop off the mortgage. So far so good,  I have been paying $400 extra on the mortgage for the last few months.  I am defintely on track to have this under $200,000 by the end of the year. 

4. Save an additional $5,000 for my car replacement fund with the goal of having $10,000 in my car replacement fund by the end of the year.  I will be aiming to purchase a new car in 2019.  I hope with a trade in and any money saved in 2019 to have $20,000 to put down for a new car. My car replacement fund is sitting at $6,587 as of the time of this entry. Again, I will focus on this more after my retirement accounts are funded for the year. 


5.  Read 15 books. I have completed at least 3 books this year.  I have been starting books, but  not finishing them.  Hopefully I'll do better for the next report.  

6. Lose 20lbs. I plan to try to lose about 3lbs a month which should place me at 36lbs for the year.  However, I know I struggle with weight loss so I think 20lbs is a good goal.  I also want to commit to exercising 30 minutes a day for 4 days a week and eating more vegetables.  I haven't weighed myself, but I have been getting in 4 days a week of exercise most weeks (Except when traveling). 

7. Donate $300 to charity.  This is up $100 from last year, I hope to be able to donate more than $300, but let's see how the year rolls.  I plan to increase this amount each year. I have contributed $203 to charity so far this year.  I'm actually ahead of schedule for where I should be at this time of year! I can't wait to see how much I actually end up donating by the end of the year.

8. Build medical fund up to $1,000. This is sitting at $57, but I have been using this for various medical appointments. 

9. Continue to build car repair fund up to $1,000. This is currently at $240, but I will need an oil change in the next week or so. 

10. Get more life insurance. No progress here.

11.  Try to figure out a happy medium for the travel reimbursement fight.  I want them reimbursed in 30 days and the firm will wait 60 -90 days to reimburse me.  I think I will argue for 45 day reimbursement and all outstanding travel vouchers to be paid at year end.   I haven't had a chance to even begin to address this.  However, there are a lot of changes coming at work and this might be a bargaining tool for me. 

12. Find a new primary care doctor and receive treatment for anxiety and depression. No progress.

13. Make a decision about my career and job. No progress.

14. Try something new (or outside of my comfort zone) each month (restaurant, activity or social event). I did pretty good at this for the first quarter, but not so great for the second quarter.  I did try a new restaurant, opened a new savings account for a higher interest rate and continued to tip cleaning staff at hotels.

15. Increase net worth by $25,000. I failed to do a net worth post at the beginning of the year. I have been adding to my retirement savings and paying extra on the mortgage so I am definitely making progress on this goal.  Stay tuned for an updated net worth post. 


How are you guys doing on your yearly goals?  Are you on track or falling behind?  I feel like tracking my yearly goals helps keep me accountable and making progress.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

New Savings Account



Another short post this morning. I just opened a new savings account with Ally.  The rate is 1.65% and the rate on my old savings account  was 1.00%.  I should earn just shy of $200 a year on my savings with this new rate! I know $200 a year isn't going to make or break me, but it's definitely a nice addition to my savings. 

 I also learned that a company named Marcus was is offering 1.8%, but I have not looked into the details yet.  If it is offering no minimum balance and no fees, I might have to open another savings account!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Retirement Goals and Milestones

Another short post today on retirement goals!

Just a quick reminder, my employer does not offer any retirement benefits.  I am currently saving for retirement in a Roth IRA and a taxable account.  My goal is to contribute $10,500 to my retirement accounts for the year.  I will give specific number updates in my quarterly update at the end of the month.

Anyways on to the point of this post, I'm getting so close to my next retirement milestone of $30,000 in my retirement accounts! I am at $29,364, but the market keeps dropping.  Nevertheless, I was pleasantly surprised last week when I made my mid- month contribution and found the total to be just shy of $30,000. Overall $30,000 is so small, but so big in that I've never had that much money saved at one time before! I cannot wait to see the numbers at the end of the year. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

Getting Too Comfortable At Work





Have you ever noticed that some people get really comfortable at work? It's very strange.  My boss takes naps in his office during business hours.  He is the owner of the firm and announces to everyone that he is going to take a nap.  He stores his kids' old toys in the office.  He has also brought boxes of stuff to the office from when each of his parents died. All taking up valuable work space (this is a small office- one floor of an old house).  

We have a paralegal who lists the office number for her physicians, friends and family.  There is a legal assistant who has files for her personal businesses on the firm computers.  She makes personal business calls from the office telephone and personal business faxes from the office fax number.  There is another legal assistant who lets her step children make personal calls from the office telephone.  Sometimes her step-son's friends will call when he is not there which of course requires office staff to answer the phone for a 14 year old. 

I've never been that comfortable at work.  I don't nap at work, I don't list my work telephone number as a contact number for my doctor offices, I don't even email my friends from my work email address.  I try to maintain a strong separation between work and home life.   I don't have personal knickknacks at work, no pictures, nothing.  I don't even have my degree hanging on the wall.  I always think I don't want to have to lug a lot of stuff around if I get fired or the office moves.  Are you that comfortable at work? 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Emergency Fund to the Rescue

I have not had a chance to post over the last couple of weeks.  It's just been a lot of coming and going.  This will be a short post as well.  Last Friday, after I got home from work I was sitting in the living room working on a project and I heard a loud sound.  It sounded like a metal rack had fallen over.  I looked around the house and in a few closets, but I could not find anything that seemed amiss.  The next morning I went out to the garage so I could drive to a local park and go walking with a friend.  I got into my car and pushed the garage door opener.  The garage door partially opened and then closed.  I was confused.  I got out of my car to see if anything was blocking the door...nothing.  Anyways, to make a long story short, one of the torsion springs on the door had snapped.  How inconvenient!  My sister was flying out of town the next day and I was driving out of town Monday through Tuesday.  I called around and found a company that could come out and fix it that day, of course for a premium, due to weekend work.  The total cost was $335 for about 20 minutes of work (I need that job).  BUT....It was totally worth it to pay extra to get it fixed on the weekend.  My EF had plenty of money to cover the expense and I did not have to take time off from work (where I am already behind) to get it repaired.  We have a lot of rain here in the summer and its best to have a car parked indoors (especially for my 12 year old car that often smells like mildew after it rains). 

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Memorial Day

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.  Please take a moment to remember everyone who has fought and died for our freedom.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Killing Yourself For Your Job





I saw a quote on twitter the other day:

"You're killing yourself for a job that would replace you within a week if you dropped dead.  Take care of yourself."

Wow, did that quote strike a note with me!  It's ingrained in me to work hard.  My mother is a hard worker, always has been and always will be.  Her biggest struggle with aging is having to slow down.  My Dad was a hard worker, but he knew how to relax and was not afraid to speak up when he needed a break.  My mom would just go and go and get upset and angry when she was worn out.

As an insurance defense lawyer, my job is based on billable hours.  The more hours I bill the more successful I am in my position.  Working and billing clients makes money for the firm and is the main evaluation tool used by the firm. (but not really because the firm doesn't do performance evaluations.  Generally, the partners will look at the billable hours spreadsheet at the end of the year and complain about the lack of hours- mostly from the partners themselves. Anyways.) Most insurance defense firms encourage long hours and weekend work.

Over the last few years I have been trying to back off at work and do less. I've been so busy this year that backing off hasn't gone well.  Nevertheless, I've still found a few ways to stop taking on so much at work:

1. I told my boss I'm busy and I can't take on any new projects.  That worked for a limited time, until he decided to drop some work on me that he didn't want to do!
2. I refuse to answer phones and greet guests at the front door when all of the support staff leaves early, calls in sick or is working from home.
3. I'm trying to not come in as early.
4. I've stopped putting the burden on myself to save the firm money.  If it's better for my health to stay overnight at a hotel, then I do that.  Even if the hotel charges will not be reimbursed by the client. No more 18/19 hour days for me.



It's taken a long time, but I've recognized that my job is simply a job.  I replaced someone else who worked there and, at some point, someone else will replace me.  I've worked at other places, in other jobs and when I quit I was replaced.  I'm not so invaluable that I cannot be replaced by another lawyer.  Balance is a must in the workforce.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

2018 Roth Maxed!!!



Yesterday was payday and I maxed out my 2018 Roth!!! This is the 4th year in a row and I am so excited.

My goal this year was to contribute $10,500 to my retirement savings. I planned to contribute $5,500 to my Roth and $5,000 to my taxable brokerage account.


In case you were wondering (and I would because I am a nerd ), I have been tracking my retirement contributions for the year.  These are the contributions for my Roth, they are as follows:

1/15/18    $1,390
2/15/18    $610
3/15/18    $1,270
4/16/18    $765
4/27/18    $55
5/11/18    $55
5/15/18    $1,355


Now I only have $5,000 more left to contribute for the year and I hope to be done by September.


How are your retirement savings going?  Are you on target to make your goal? 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Burnout





Guys, it's May.  I don't know what happened. It was late April and now it's May. May 6th.  Time is still flying and I feel perpetually behind.  On everything, work, life,home, etc.  I'm feeling especially burned out at work.  It's been rough lately and I have been working every weekend.  Except this one.  This weekend I decided that I just couldn't go into the office.  I truly could not bear the thought of sitting in the office for hours.

On Saturday, I got up early, went to Lowes and bought some stuff for the yard.  Then I met up with my friend and we went for a walk.  I came home and cut the grass, trimmed 2 trees, cleaned out a very overgrown and messy flower bed, trimmed the grass over hanging the sidewalk, picked up the limbs from the tree, pulled weeds out of another bed out front, pulled some vines that had grown into the bushes, and sweated like a pig.  I took a long nap afterwards.

Earlier today (Sunday), I went for a walk with my friend.  I came home, planted some flowers, trimmed up 3 trees on the side of the house, trimmed some flowers on the side of the house, re-mulched the bed on the side of the house, finished bagging some grass I pulled out of the bed out front, trimmed all of the hedges on the front of the house, picked up and bagged all of the limbs, blew all the grass off the sidewalk and bagged it,  washed part of the side of the house with some house cleaner and then power washed part of the side of the house (still have to finish- it's so much work- so much algae, etc). It's hot here, the temperature reached about 90 both days (I am a beautiful golden brown right now!). I took another nap and a hot shower.  Right now, I'm kinda of considering a walk.  I think the sunshine and fresh air did me good, another shot of it won't hurt. I also need to take the trash out- such a chore- ugh!

 Don't forget Mother's Day, it's next Sunday.  I gotta order my Mom's present because she will be here on Thursday. I also need to buy her some flowers.  Remember to call your Mommy.

I'm definitely not looking forward to work tomorrow.  I'm already kind of stressed about it, but it's okay.  Work is simply a trade off for money.  The money will help me meet my financial goals.  I have to manage it right, save it and make it work for me. 


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Age Old Question: Paying Off The Mortgage or Investing

Credit: Plume Ploume

I've read a lot of interesting articles about this topic.  Some people advocate paying off their mortgage with extra money and others advocate investing the money.  Where do you stand on this topic?  I am totally on board with paying off the mortgage.  This is for a few reasons: (1) I hate having debt, (2) I hate having a mortgage, (3) If something bad happens (like job loss) I would prefer not to have a mortgage payment to make, (4) I don't plan to make this house my forever home and I would like to have as much equity as possible when I sell so I have more money to put down on my forever home, (5) I want to make sure that even if the house market drops again that I will not be underwater on my house in the event that I am forced to sell and (6)I have PMI on my mortgage and I am trying to pay down the balance of the mortgage so that PMI is no longer required (maybe by early next year!).  If any of these scenarios occur, I think paying extra on the mortgage now is the best option for me.

Just for informational purposes my mortgage balance is $206,466 and the interest rate is 3.375%. I have a 30 year mortgage. The payments (without extra principal) are $1,481 (that's principal, interest, insurance and property taxes). 

Now, to be clear, I set annual goals for investing  (See previous post here).  I don't completely ignore my retirement or investing needs, I do plan to add $10,500 to my retirement accounts for the year.  I just budget $400 extra for my mortgage payment. Other people would use that money for investing. After all of my yearly financial goals are accomplished I hope be able to add a large lump sum to my mortgage payment at the end of the year. 

 So what do you do?  Pay off the mortgage early or invest?



Thursday, April 19, 2018

Retirement Savings Update




 Credit: Maklay62

 
This week has gone by so fast!! I haven't had a chance to post.  Work is crazy busy and I just can't keep up right now. My boss, however, strolls in about noon a few days each week.  He's always sure to tell me how he's going to start helping out because he knows I am so busy.  Yet somehow when the partner in the South Florida office asked him to help out with 2 appeals, a pre-suit mediation and a trial...he dropped them all on me.  So much for help.

Anyways, on to the point of this post...

My goal this year to contribute $10,500 to my retirement savings. I plan to contribute $5,500 to my Roth and $5,000 to my taxable brokerage account. 

For April I only contributed $765 to my retirement account (due to my very expensive car repair). That brings my total contributions for 2018 to $4,035 Only $1,465 more to go to fully fund my Roth for the year.  I hope to be max it out no later than May of this year (but probably June).  Once those contributions are complete I will contribute $5,000 to my taxable brokerage account.

In case you were wondering (and I would because I am a nerd ), I have been tracking my retirement contributions for the year.  They are as follows:


1/15/18    $1,390
2/15/18    $610
3/15/18    $1,270
4/16/18    $765


 How are you doing with your retirement contributions for the year?  Frankly, I feel pretty blessed to be able to put any money towards retirement.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Privilege and How My Mom Called Me Out on Mine.






Privilege has been a hot topic in the media. The terms "white privilege" and "male privilege" have been tossed around a lot. I didn't really buy into the whole privilege argument.   I thought it was silly to state that someone was privileged because of their race or sex, especially when so many people struggle regardless of race, sex  or socioeconomic status.  The more traction that the theory gained, the more types of privilege were bandied about in the media and in the personal finance community on twitter ("American privilege", etc) 

And then, just a few weeks ago, my Mom called me out on my privilege. Mom told me that  I was privileged. I was shocked.  How could I be privileged?  We were not a wealthy family when I was child.  I'm not wealthy now.  All of the money that I have saved and the assets that I have accumulated are based on my own hard work.  I went into debt for law school and paid back all of my student loans.  I had debt because my parents could not afford to pay for law school for me.  I studied and fretted and cried about passing the bar exam and becoming a lawyer.  But I did it.  I did it because I worked hard enough to succeed.  Nothing in life was made easy for me.

The reason for her statement was simple.  My Mom said I was privileged was because I told her a story about how my boss was rudely criticizing a youngish/new-ish attorney male attorney for coming to a deposition in a wrinkled, worn dress shirt, no tie and no jacket.  Her comment to me was maybe that was the only shirt he had.  I said, "well he choose to be an attorney so he does need to dress appropriately.   I had to spend a lot of money on suits after I graduated law school and I didn't have any money."  My mom laughed and said "You had us to support and help you.  You are so privileged and don't even know it.  When I turned 19 my Father made me leave the house and I couldn't go back.  He gave me money for bus fare and bought me a suitcase.  That was it. I took a bus to New York to live with my older sister, her husband and kids. No job, no money, nothing. I had to make things work because I couldn't live with them rent free forever. My Father did not have a spare dollar to give me and neither did my sister.  I didn't have a credit card and didn't know how to get one.  If I needed a shirt I was out of luck."  I was quiet for a moment.

Her comment made me think.  To her I was privileged.  To me I was not.  Privilege is relative.  The fact that I was easily  able to get into law school as a African American female was shocking to my mother born in the 1940s.  Her ability to help me if I needed it was a privilege that she did not enjoy any stage in her life.  Someone whose parents could afford to pay for law school for them would be  privileged in my eyes.  It was hard graduating from law school with over $60,000 in debt, making only $46,000 a year.  To not have that burden would have been so freeing. 

I realize now that privilege is relative and it does not mean that your life was easy or that you didn't work hard.  It does mean that maybe you had it slightly easier than someone else.  There's nothing wrong with being privileged.  I am grateful for my parents' help. 

*By the way I don't think the lack of a tie or jacket for a deposition is improper or inappropriate in most cases.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Secrets and Lies




I don't know about everyone else, but throughout my life I often seem to be in opportune (or inopportune) places to hear sensitive, scandalous or private information.  No, I'm not eavesdropping, sometimes people will voluntarily reveal information to me- maybe because I'm the only other person around.  Sometimes it is said in such a place that I am unable to avoid overhearing the information.  

Due to the nature of the information I have been made privy to I cannot disclose it to those close to me as it would ruin friendships, working relationships or simply be construed as gossip.  I'm not the type to want to cause drama in the lives of my friends, family or work relationships. So, your beautiful ears (or eyes rather) will get to hear the random secrets and lies that I hear. I figure my blog can act as my stress relief/venting place for all of the craziness I hear. 

First up--a girl that I work with who I have previously referred to as "Michelle".  "Michelle" is my boss's assistant. She used to live up north, I believe in Illinois.  When I first started working with "Michelle" she shared with me her reasons for moving to Florida.  Apparently, she was working 2 jobs to make ends meet because she had gotten kicked out of the College she was attending due to her poor grades.  Well, shortly thereafter, she got fired from both jobs.  One for stealing money (she was a cashier) and the other for stealing a company laptop and surreptitiously accessing confidential email (regarding plans for the company, payroll and pay raises, etc.).   After getting fired from both jobs she moved down to Florida for a "fresh start". 

Once she got to Florida she began applying for jobs, however, she was not having much luck so she lied on her application about having a college degree (remember she got kicked out of College).  After she made that change she was able to get a job and worked there for about 3 or 4 years.  Well her boss, suddenly, retired and she was out of work again.  She started looking for another job and, again, decided to lie on her resume and put that she had graduated from College.  One of the companies that she applied to actually checked to see if she had graduated from College and found that she did not.  The company wrote her a letter advising her to never apply for a job with them again due to her dishonesty.  I just wasn't sure how to react when she told me this information.  I kinda stared at her with my mouth open.  I have never revealed this information to anyone else because I was worried that it could get her fired from this job. I can't be responsible for affecting the financial well-being of another. 

I could go on and on about her secrets and lies, but that is enough for now.  Maybe, I will another series on this topic later.  Have  you ever had someone tell you private or scandalous information?  How did you react?  What did you do?

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Car Repairs and Maintenance $$$$$$

I had to take my 12 year old car in for maintenance this weekend and boy it was expensive, to the tune of $1,302.  I had an oil change, new spark plugs, rotation, all sorts of fluids flushed, etc.  Don't let anyone ever tell you that aging cars are not expensive to maintain.  Vehicles are costly little buggers.  However, I looked through my old service records and I don't think I've ever had the spark plugs replaced on that vehicle (which now has over 120,000 miles on it).

I plan to pay for the maintenance/repair work out my 4/1518 paycheck which means less will go towards retirement than planned.  I'm okay with that though, because I'd rather have one expensive car repair/maintenance bill  a year over $6,000 in new car payments for the year.  I'm off to work.  Have a great Tuesday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

First Quarter Update

 At the beginning of the year, I set some goals for myself.  Let's see how I am doing.

1. Add $10,500 to retirement savings with the goal of having $35,000 saved for retirement by the end of the year.  $5,500 will go into my roth ira and $5,000 will go into a taxable account. Come on stock market growth and no recession! Last year I contributed $9,500 so this will be an  increase of $1,000.  So Far I have contributed $3,270 towards retirement this year.  All of that went into my Roth IRA.  I still have $7,230 left to contribute towards retirement. 

2.Increase EF to $18,500. I have not added anything to my EF fund yet.  It is still sitting around $17,000. 

3. Pay an extra $290/month toward principal on the mortgage.  My easily reachable goal is to have the mortgage paid down to $200,000 by the end of the year.  The ultimate goal is to have the balance paid down to $197,500 by the end of the year so that the PMI will drop off the mortgage. So far so good,  I have been paying $397 extra on the mortgage since the tax cuts starting showing up in my paycheck. 

4. Save an additional $5,000 for my car replacement fund with the goal of having $10,000 in my car replacement fund by the end of the year.  I will be aiming to purchase a new car in 2019.  I hope with a trade in and any money saved in 2019 to have $20,000 to put down for a new car. My car replacement fund is sitting at $5,757 as of the time of this entry.


5.  Read 15 books. I have completed 2 books this year. 

6. Lose 20lbs. I plan to try to lose about 3lbs a month which should place me at 36lbs for the year.  However, I know I struggle with weight loss so I think 20lbs is a good goal.  I also want to commit to exercising 30 minutes a day for 4 days a week and eating more vegetables.  I haven't weighed myself, but I have been getting in 4 days a week of exercise most weeks (Except when traveling). 

7. Donate $300 to charity.  This is up $100 from last year, I hope to be able to donate more than $300, but let's see how the year rolls.  I plan to increase this amount each year. I have contributed $76 to charity so far this year. 

8. Build medical fund up to $1,000. I have not added any money to this fund. 

9. Continue to build car repair fund up to $1,000. I have not added any money to this fund. 

10. Get more life insurance. No progress here either. 

11.  Try to figure out a happy medium for the travel reimbursement fight.  I want them reimbursed in 30 days and the firm will wait 60 -90 days to reimburse me.  I think I will argue for 45 day reimbursement and all outstanding travel vouchers to be paid at year end.  Right now I have $600 outstanding from 2017.  I haven't had a chance to even begin to address this. 

12. Find a new primary care doctor and receive treatment for anxiety and depression. No progress.

13. Make a decision about my career and job. No progress.

14. Try something new (or outside of my comfort zone) each month (restaurant, activity or social event). So far so good.  I started MTurking, went to South Florida for the first time, left a tip for the cleaning staff at a hotel and made $9 in interest on my savings account (way to go passive income!!).

15. Increase net worth by $25,000. I just did a net worth post and my net worth is increasing.  I failed to do a net worth post at the beginning of the year.  So I'm not sure how much my net worth has increased. 


How are you guys doing on your yearly goals?  Are you on track or falling behind?  I feel like tracking my yearly goals helps keep me accountable and making progress.