Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Retirement Savings...Again

I wrote a post a few months ago about retirement savings.  The gist of the post was how much to save for retirement and whether I was on track.  Since then I have read a bunch about retirement savings on various personal finance blogs and various articles, etc about retirement savings. I noted that many of the articles that I read focused on saving a particular percentage of your income for retirement.  Some indicate 10-15% should be saved for retirement.  Dave Ramsey indicates that %15 should be saved for retirement. I saved $9,500 for retirement this year.  That was 11.7% of my gross income income (before my raise) and 15.6% of my net income (again before the raise). When I started saving for retirement I decided to start with approximately 15% of my net and try to work up to 15% of my gross income. 

However, at 35, I only have approximately $20,900 saved for retirement. Over the holiday break I was working on my goals for 2018 and I wondered if I should increase my retirement saving percentage since I have so little saved.  The increase would be short lived (a year or 2) and only to make up for the lack of savings in my 20s. 

Previously, I had convinced myself that I would make up any shortage by simply increasing my retirement contributions each year until I retire.  I still like that plan, but I feel a bit concerned about that lack of savings right now.

What do you think?  Do you think percentages are the appropriate measure for retirement savings?  Should I save more now and not focus on other financial goals? Or should I just be patient and increase my retirement savings each year? 

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick pop in to say that I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving (US readers)! I had a great time with family and I am looking forward to Christmas!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Future Goals

I guess because its getting close to the end of the year, I have been thinking a lot lately about the future. There are several things I want to do over the next 5 years.  So this is almost a bucket list of things to do before I hit 40:

1. Have retirement savings of over $100,000 by the time I turn 40 (or at least sometime that year).
2. Have the outside of the house pressure washed and painted.
3. Have the inside of the house painted
4. Remodel the kitchen
5. Remodel the master bathroom.
6. Buy a new laptop.
7. Purchase bedroom furniture, including a nice new mattress to replace my 14 year old mattress.
8. Buy a new car.
9. Pay down the mortgage significantly to at least a balance of $150,000. 

I was going over my yearly budget for next year and I wonder where I will find the money to accomplish all of these goals over the next five years.   Do you have any major financial goals that you would like to accomplish over the next 5 years?  What are they? How will you accomplish them?

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Struggle Continues...

Friday morning I went into the garage to go to work and my car wouldn't start.  My sister had not yet left for work and was able to jump my car.  I drove my car to the shop and told the guy I brought my car in exactly a week ago for an oil change (literally exactly one week).  I also told him that when I got my car back from that oil change I had to reset all of the clocks in my car because for some reason the mechanic had disconnected by battery.  I also made sure that he knew that I had paid for a brand new alternator and battery this summer.  (Gotta love 11 going on 12 year old cars!)  Anyways after a couple of hours my car was ready.  It was allegedly a bad battery.  (I'm not so sure that I believe that, especially since just last week they allegedly checked my battery and said it was just fine).  I didn't have to pay anything as every thing was covered under the warranty, but it was inconvenient. 

My new neighbors' dogs continue to bark incessantly.  It has been a bit cool here at night (in the 40s) and they leave their dogs out all night.  The dogs bark and growl all night long.  The other night they barked continuously from 1:30a.m. until 2:30a.m. 

My boss gave me a big project at work (really something he should be doing) and now continues to intervene every 5 minutes to provide some advice about what needs to be done.  Happily, I can state that I have held my tongue and just ignored him.  Normally, I would have sent and email telling him he could head the project himself or provide a complete list of instructions and parameters for the project. 

My other boss called and gave me another project that she had given to the associate attorney in her office.  She did not like the results that he produced. I'm certain his research is correct and I hate being put in that position to redo a co-worker's work.  What if I find something he didn't?

I think I should start doing a post about the good each week too to balance things out. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Travel Reimbursement Saga...kind of?

Another short post for this morning. So I submitted all of my travel reimbursement forms from my recent trip up north.  The total reimbursements owed to me were about $1,500.  I specifically asked that the amount be promptly reimbursed because I didn't want to carry airfare and hotel expenses on my credit card.  The bookkeeper agreed to pay those with my next paycheck. While I still have travel reimbursements outstanding since August and October totaling about $800 at least I will be getting the big portion of the money owed to me before the end of the month. I going to count this one as a win! I don't have to switch money around to cover the $1,500 in work expenses.  I will work next month on my other travel reimbursements.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Tree Trimming Costs

Just a short post this morning.  I called about a week and a half ago (11/3) to have someone come out and provide an estimate for trimming the trees in my backyard.  He came out that same day and quoted $950 (for about 8 trees).  Just a few days later (11/8) he was out here with his crew trimming the trees.  They did a great job! They removed all of the branches that needed to be removed and cleaned up all of the debris from the backyard.  Not one single branch was left.  I wasn't home at the time (but my sister was) and she gave them cold water and snacks.  I didn't know which day they were coming so I didn't leave her with my checkbook or cash (For tips).  Anyways, I spoke to the guy the next day and got the final amount ($950) and wrote him a check for $1,050 (the $950,plus a $100 tip).  I was never so happy to pay someone for a service! He even called yesterday, advised me that he received the check and thanked me for the prompt payment and the tip!  It's hard to find great service like that nowadays!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The mortgage numbers

I purchased my home in 2013 for $247,000 on a 30 year mortgage.  The mortgage was for $234,650, meaning I put down just 5% in order to purchase the home.  I am trying desperately to get rid of the PMI on my mortgage which is $115  per month.  I have been paying an extra $290 per month on the principal since approximately August or September of this year when I got my $5,000 raise.  Prior to that I was only paying an extra $150 per month on the mortgage.

 A sort of secret goal that I had for this year was to pay more in principal than I did in interest on the mortgage.  As of this month (maybe last month, I didn't do the math) I have accomplished that goal.  That is mostly thanks to the raise that I received (half of the net amount of the raise has been going to the mortgage).
Year-to-Date Totals

The current balance of the mortgage is $210,382.  I should easily make my goal of getting the mortgage under $210,000 by the end of the year.  My goal is to get rid of the PMI by the end of next year.  However, if I can get just get the mortgage under $200,000 I will still be quite pleased. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Money, money and the Struggle.

I have had a lot of travel expenses for work these last few months.  I have already submitted over $700 in travel expenses for August, September and October.  Yesterday evening I came back from a trip up North and I have already documented over $1,200 in travel expenses (airfare, hotel, etc.).  I think there are few more expenses I am missing (i.e. checked bag costs and meals).

I am worn out from all the travel and cannot wait until Friday (Veteran's Day Observed), a day off.  However, I will be taking my car in for an oil change on that day. That's more $$$ that I will be spending.  (I wonder how people can travel so much and not be tired). 

I am also hoping to get some trees trimmed in the back yard to the tune of $950.

A mini "The Struggle this Week"
1. I need my travel expenses reimbursed prior to the Holidays. I don't think that will happen. It usually takes about 3 months.  That will be next year.
2. I have at least 2 more work trips before the end of the year and I already incurred approximately $2,000 in outstanding travel expenses.
3. The partner in the South Florida office keeps giving me new cases/projects. My boss doesn't do anything, why doesn't she give him work?
4. I keep getting cases that are outside my area of practice.  My boss is not helpful and provides no guidance. It makes things a lot harder to litigate. I feel slow and uncertain and I hate that feeling.  However, I do like learning new areas of the law.
5. My boss continues not to do his work and drops it on me at the last minute. It's very frustrating.
6. I'm stressed for so many reasons: work, not enough time to do anything, my toxic former friend, etc.
7. I want to spend money mindlessly to soothe myself. 
8. I wonder if I need to be on anti-depressants? I hate taking medication, but I wonder if it will help.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Third Quarter Goals Update

Third Quarter Update - Goals 2017

1. Increase emergency fund from $15,000 to $17,500.-IN PROGRESS
I have $16,005 in my EF currently.  less than 3 months to get this where it should be.

2. Add $9,500 to my retirement with an overall goal of having $20,000 in retirement savings by the end of the year.--COMPLETE
I have contributed $9,500 to retirement this year.  I believe between my roth and taxable I have approximately $20,500 for retirement.  

3. Pay an extra $100 a month on the mortgage, with an end goal of having the balance under $210,000 by the end of the year.- IN PROGRESS.  I have paid at least $100 extra on each mortgage payment so far this year. The last few months I have put $290 extra on my mortgage. 

4. Save an additional $2,500 into car replacement fund with the end goal of having $5,000 in the car replacement fund by the end of the year. IN PROGRESS
I have over $4,547 saved towards a new car.

5. Pay off furniture I bought before expiration of 0% financing period. --DONE

I paid this off in approximately 2 months- no interest paid!!!

6. Read 12 books- FAIL
I have only completed 2 books this year.  So much reading of various books.  Can't seem to finish one!

7. Write a book- FAIL
Lots of ideas- no actual writing

8. Lose 10 lbs- FAIL
no progress, but no weight gain either!

9. Donate $200 to charity- DONE
I have donated $200 this year. I donated $50 to my law school, $50 to legal services for the poor and $100 to a legal fund designed to assist the victims of Hurricane Harvey. 

10.  Get more life insurance- FAIL
Was hoping to lose weight first.

11. Build a separate car maintenance fund. - IN PROGRESS
I have $100 in this fund. 

12. Look into and focus on career options.- IN PROGRESS

I have been looking into other careers outside of the practice of law.