Sunday, January 28, 2018

Unispired Updates

I have a multitude of ideas for posts, but I lack the motivation and the inspiration to write about anything complicated.  So instead I will write about how my January has gone towards meeting my 2018 goals.

I managed to finish one book this month, Camino Island, by John Grisham.  It was a quick and easy read that slightly held my interest.  I got through it based upon my goal of reading at least 20 pages a day.  I have started a new book by James Patterson, Cross Justice.  It's a rather lengthy book and I don't know if I can read throughout it.  I may switch to a shorter Agatha Christie book.

As far as retirement, I contributed $1,390  this month.  Next month's contribution won't be so robust as it's my mother's birthday, HOA fees are due and my escrow shortage (again!) will be due.

My charitable giving was kicked off with a $50 contribution to St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

I managed to get some exercise in everyday this week, but my eating was less than nutritious.  I should probably do some exercise tonight, but I most likely will not. I will do some in the morning.  I feel very tired and I am a bit concerned about getting sick. 

A $140 went towards my emergency fund.

My something new for the month was I started M-Turking.  I have made $23 so far this month.  I plan to put this money towards the furniture fund.

It's been a pretty expensive month, I have some work related events coming up and I needed some new clothes.  I'm pretty sure I went over budget, but I'll wait until next weekend to add everything up.

Get some beauty sleep tonight all, it's Monday tomorrow!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

2017 Goal Recap

 Let's see how I did on my 2017 goals.  (I know this is super late as it is almost the end of January.)

1. Increase emergency fund from $15,000 to $17,500.-FAIL
I only got my EF to $16,845 by the end of the year.  Close, but no cigar.  I gotta do better with this for 2018. 

2. Add $9,500 to my retirement with an overall goal of having $20,000 in retirement savings by the end of the year.--PASS!
I contributed $9,500 to retirement for the year. I believe between my roth and taxable I ended the year with approximately $22,000 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.- PASS
I paid at least $100 extra on each mortgage payment for the year.  After my raise, later in the year, I  put $290 extra on my mortgage each month. 

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. PASSISH
I had $4,972 saved for my replacement car by the end of the year.

5. Pay off furniture I bought before expiration of 0% financing period. --PASS.
I paid this off in approximately 2 months- no interest paid!!!

6. Read 12 books- FAIL
I have only completed 5 books for the year.  Sad, just sad.

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- PASS
  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. - PASS
I funded a care maintenance fund, but I don't believe it ever got above $100.

12. Look into and focus on career options.- PASSISH
I did a lot of research, but never settled on any specific plan.

I did a lot of travel last year and helped care for an ill family member.  Those 2 items were major triggers for overspending to me.  I need to do better this year and make sure I don't spend emotionally.  I hope you all did better on your 2017 goals than I did.  Let's make 2018 a great financial/goal year! 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Retirement 2018 And Other Goals

Yesterday I made my first contribution to my Roth for 2018.  It always feels good to put money away for retirement.  This first contribution totaled $1,390, so only $4,110 to go to fully fund my Roth for the year.  I try to blog about each contribution because I like to track how much I contribute (And when).  Also, this is a watershed year because this is the first time I have not had to finish funding my Roth from the previous year prior to the April deadline.  After I fully fund my Roth I will add $5,000 into my taxable account for the year.  I am considering putting any tax return towards my Roth this year.  (Any tax return could go towards my Roth, car replacement fund or furniture fund.  I just can't decide whether to do all 3 or just 1.)

Yesterday, I made a $50 contribution to St. Jude's Children's Hospital to jump start my charitable giving goal.  It really felt good to start working towards my yearly goals in January.  I love progress and I hate standing still.

I have also been working on my reading goals.  I am making myself read 20 pages a day to make sure I get 15 books read this year.  I should be able to get 1 book completed every two weeks or so.  This will get tougher as my schedule is starting to fill up quite a bit.

I still need to do my 2017 recap, I hope to get that post drafted this weekend and up next week.  There is always so much to do! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Have You Ever Asked For A Raise?

Have you ever asked for a raise?  In my 13 years of practicing law I have only formally asked for a raise once.  I was surprised at how infrequently I have asked for a raise.  At the beginning of my career, I switched jobs fairly frequently (about once every 2.5 years) in order to increase my pay rather than wait for pay increases.  I wonder how common it is for others to request raises.  

I began my career making approximately $46,000 working for the State of Florida.  I received a raise (really 2 at the same time) and began making approximately $52,000 after about a year and half.  I left after 2.5 years (total) to work in a private law firm making $57,500 (private law firm "A").  I worked at private law firm A for about about 3 months (it was horrible).  I then went to another private law firm (private law firm "B") for the same salary ($57,500).   Private law firm B was run by a sole proprietor who did not like to give raises to her employees. Private law firm B was the only employer from whom I ever formally asked for a raise.  I worked there for approximately 2.5 years without a raise. I thought certainly after 1 year I would get a raise, definitely after 2.  I always received lots of praise for my work and voluntarily took on more work, but never received an offer to increase my salary.  After 2.5 years, I asked her for a raise.  It took a long time for her to finally come talk to me about a raise or even acknowledge that I had asked for a raise.  I think it was 2 or 3 weeks before she acknowledged my request.  We met in her office to talk , which I thought was odd.  She was a sole proprietor and she could decide, unilaterally, whether I should receive  raise and how much.  After about a grueling hour of a cat and mouse game, I finally just asked for a small $5,000 raise.  (She wanted to be sure not to name a number first and I did not want to either, but after 1 hour, I gave up.) She willingly gave it to me as she thought I would as for much more.  My salary increased to $62,500. I left approximately 6 months later for a job paying $70,000 (private law firm "C").  That was the only time in my career that I formally requested a raise.

At private law firm C, I received  a 10% raise after about 1 year and a half.   My second raise came a little over 2 years (maybe 2.5 years later).  My third came just last year (approximately 2 years after the previous one).  My second two raises were not as large as the first.  While I am not pleased that my salary increases average about 2 years apart, I am happy to receive any increase at all. I recognize that in small businesses it is difficult to increase payroll every year. Moreover, I don't agree with giving employees raises every year just for the sake of giving raises (but cost of living increases are a real and important condition of employment).  I have taken on significant amounts of permanent work and projects for the firm over the years, that is the type of event that I think triggers a significant salary increase.

Just a final note, I wanted to be clear that while I have never formally asked my current employer for a salary increase, I have always been very vocal about the fact that I expect salary increases in the future.  I will not tolerate staying at the same salary for years and years on end if I am excelling at my job and continuing to take on new projects.

What are your thoughts on salary increases? Do you expect one every year? Every six months?

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Charitable Giving Shame

I included in my 2018 goals a that I wanted to increase my charitable giving to $300.  I almost didn't want to include my charitable giving goals in such a publicly available forum because I felt ashamed.  My charitable giving goal last year was only $200 and this year only $300.  I make over $80,000 a year and I am debt free (except for my mortgage).  There are people who make substantially less than me, but give 10X what give.  It's shameful and embarrassing to admit my low giving percentage.  

So why did I share my number?  One, I wanted to make sure that I track how much I am giving financially.  The only way I can improve the number is to add to it every year.  This blog will keep me accountable.  Two, I want to be honest and truthful on this blog.  I have a low charitable giving rate and it needs to improve, drastically.  Three, I want to relate to other people in this situation who are also ashamed.  It is our civic and moral duty to take care of the less fortunate.  However, sometimes we fail in this regard.   I know I tend to be of the mindset that I will give more later once I am in a better position. (Once I pay down my mortgage, once I get my retirement savings up to par, once I get enough money saved for a care, etc, etc.).  I also think,  "well I volunteer a couple times a year so that also helps my charitable giving rate so I am really giving more than I think."

Every dollar that we give helps and it is important to remember that fact.  If you can do more then you should do more.  If you can only give a little that's okay too.  Every year strive to do a little more. 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2018 Goals - Struggling to build Networth

At long last, here are my goals for 2018:

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. 

2.Increase EF to $18,500.

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.

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.

5.  Read 15 books.

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. 

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.

8. Build medical fund up to $1,000

9. Continue to build car repair fund up to $1,000.

10. Get more life insurance.

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. 

12. Find a new primary care doctor and receive treatment for anxiety and depression.

13. Make a decision about my career and job. 

14. Try something new (or outside of my comfort zone) each month (restaurant, activity or social event).

15. Increase net worth by $25,000.