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Archive for September, 2009

choosing retirement stocks

September 30th, 2009 at 01:38 pm

Well I have had a retirement 401k account for 2 weeks now. I have lost .27 so far.

I was checking the account because I was getting a head start on my monthly net worth stats. I was having trouble opening the website and asked a coworker (CPA) to help me. He saw my pie chart of all my stocks that I chose and cautioned me they were all very very safe. I guess I am in mostly mutual funds.

I must tell you I had no method to my madness when setting up the account. I was presented with a list of 3 catagories (agressive/moderate/cautious) consisting of about 15 stocks to choose from for each catagory. I decided to go moderate and chose 8 different stocks and alloted somewhere between 10-15% to each stock.

I never really looked up the stock- what it did- or anything. I knew I wanted variety so I got some foreign stuff in there.

Now my co-worker warns me I am being very cautious. In this market I am ok with that. I dislike losses more than I like gains. I still think another big stock crash is coming...a loss of .27 is okay by me.

We'll see how I do next month.

BOO!! HISS!

September 24th, 2009 at 10:00 am

My company took away the facilitator job oppertunity. My boss's boss told my boss it was a conflict of scheduling because she wanted me available on Saturdays (news to me) for when our program gets really busy. The facilitator job is on Saturdays.

I am sooooo disapointed. I am sooooo annoyed. My boss is annoyed too because that means he has to do the job- only he wont get paid.

So I told him to keep me in mind if we could work it out and he asked me to keep in mind anyone I know with a masters degree who would be willing to do it.

grrrrr....$1200 a month income taken away from me so I am available to work Saturdays with no extra pay.

Masters degree came in handy today

September 23rd, 2009 at 02:55 pm

Whoohooo! My Masters degree is worth something!

The job I currently have requires a bachelors degree. My collegues all have bachelors degrees. Although I was the first person hired for the new "team" that the company was creating, my higher degree was not necessary for the job. Though I do believe my masters degree gave me the edge over the 300! other applicants.

And I really enjoy my job. Even if I am overqulaified.

But! My company has recently had an opening for a "class facilitator" position that requires a masters degree.

The facilitator position is only 20 hours a month, but it pays nearly double my hourly wage! I jumped on it and my boss gave it to me!

Whoohoo!

how much money should you have before buying a horse?

September 22nd, 2009 at 09:43 am

In response to Whitestripe's entry , I am posting my own recent thought process in a different area.

My friends have all bought horses this year. Seems odd given the economy- but that made these "golden" oppertunities.

One friend paid $225,000 for 2 horses. The owner was divorcing and was behind on her horse bills- so she sold her 2 imported horses at a "bargain basement" price. My friend snatched the 2 up even though she was planning to first sell her current horse before buying a horse (not 2). So now she has 3 horses. And she is suffering. The bills have gotten much higher than she was expecting and she cannot sell her original horse (horse went lame at about the time the 2 new horses were shipped in).

My other friend got a horse from a racing farm that was "going out of business" and foreclosing. The owner told the barn staff to "get rid of the horses". In order to save the horses from the slaughterhouse- the barn staff spread the word that the horses are free and need to be gone within a few weeks. My friend heard about it and picked herself up a horse for free. Forget that she didnt need another horse- cant ride this horse- and a thoroughbred was not what she wanted for her next horse.

I want a horse. I love horses. But I cant afford it. They are expensive! I talked with another friend of mine who wants a horse but has resisted the impulse so far- and I concluded I would want $15,000 in the bank before I got a horse. The money would be set aside for "horse emergencies" and that amount would cover a few years of basic basics for a horse in the event that I lost my job- and I couldnt afford the horse. My friends- they do not plan for the cushions.
I know my thoroughbred friend lives paycheck to paycheck. I know my other friend relies on her boyfriend to pay for her horses. I cant help but shake my head at how risky they are being...but they get to wake up and ride a horse everyday. As my friend put it "if I worried about the consequenses of every purchase I made, I would never buy anything."

BB is going back to school

September 15th, 2009 at 12:33 pm

I set up an admissions appointment to get BB started in school again. He left college with 1 semester to go to play baseball. His MLB team promised in the contract that they will give him $14,000 towards completing his degree if he returns to school within 2 years of finishing playing baseball.

So it has been 8 years since he left school, we no longer live where he was working on his undergraduate...so I dont know how long it will take him to complete his degree.

I am now working at a private university that provides my immediate family 100% tuition reimbursement after 1 year of work.

We are hoping the MLB team's $14000 will cover the 1st year and my employee reimbursement will cover the rest for him.

My university does not offer sports management- the degree BB was working on-so enrolling into a new program will set him back further as well. At this point I kind of cringe thinking so few of his classes will transfer over. Right now we dont even have his unofficial transcripts to go off of, but he admissions rep is going to pull them for us and should have them in a few days. One less thing for us to worry about.

In addition BB must only go into the online degrees, since he retired from playing baseball this year- he is hunting for a full time job in baseball and the only thing we know at this point is he will not be here in Savannah. (No baseball jobs here.) I am worried because BB has limited computer skills and online classes are hard. I recently edited a class format for an online MBA degree and there are essay assignments due 5 or 6 nights a week. I worry that if BB is living in another state (away from me) then his schooling priority might start to fall by the wayside. But he says he is excited to get started.

At least we have options to hopefully make this degree no cost to us. My job has perks and I am grateful to be able to take advantage of them!

Since we are a private university, the admissions reps have quotas to fill and a lot of pressure is placed on them to get enrollments. This helps them provide excellent customer service, but it was nice also knowing I was helping make someones job a little more secure by enrolling with them.

Costs of friendship

September 14th, 2009 at 02:38 pm

A friend of mine recently: got engaged, moved to a new state to live with fiance, quit one job, got a new job, started school for a Masters degree and bought a horse. All within a month (except the getting engaged part).

Bad idea. She is completely overwhelmed and miserable.

I am going to fly up to her next month and try to put some fun back in her life.

I dont have the immediate money to do this. And if I was living paycheck to paycheck I wouldnt do this.
But I do have the money to do this. It's just assigned to "savings". Although this is not an "emergency" "retirement" or any other issue I have that money stashed away for- I think this is one of those times that you just have to be thankful you can afford to do this for a friend and recognize that although this kinks up your financial plans- the benefits to her outweight the hassle and inconveinence to you. So I will buy a plane ticket tonight. I am considering myself lucky that this was my unexpected cost...much more fun to me than a broken applience or medical bill.

Redecorated the bathroom

September 9th, 2009 at 01:07 pm

I spent this weekend working on our bathroom. Really- decorating the bathroom. It is the guest bath and it was pretty ugly with odds and end fixtures, weird buttery colored walls, and builder basic everything.

So BB and I:
painted the walls a midnight blue color. (his choice since it is his primary bathroom.)

repainted the trim in off white.

We replaced main light over the mirror.

added a sconce to another wall.

replaced faceplates for light switches and electrical outlets in a brush nickel finish.

Bought a ivory shower curtain and bathmat.

Total cost $270.00

yes. It was! Where did the money go I am not sure. $90 for the 2 lights...$15 shower curtain...$15 bathmat...

...it was the stupid paint. First I bought a white sage color that looked HORRIBLE in the bathroom. The we bought the blue...but I only bought a quart. Then we needed another quart. Then a third quart. And a quart for the trim. Adds up I guess.

And to top it off...I still dont like the bathroom. The layout is very weird, and I never had the plaster walls refinished so they are very very textured. With the textured walls, the bathroom walls look sloppy. And there is no window, so no natural light. And because the walls are plaster- BB will not allow me to put up shelving/towel hooks or pictures because he does not want to ruin/start a messy project with drilling holes in plaster.

In addition- BB picked te paint color. But its a very formal color that would do a nice job to show off higher end finishes that we just dont have. So I am trying to like the bathroom. But mostly I just dont know if I like it or not. I am confused by it.

On the plus side: The walls look SO TALL! with that formal dark paint color. You walk in and the walls are framed by white tiles on the floor and a white ceiling...so the ceilings just look so much higher than the ceiling of the rest of the house, although they are the same height.

Baseball payday

September 4th, 2009 at 06:03 am

Wanna hear about crazy baseball?

A friend of mine was in the big leagues for a week 2 years ago. He appeared in 1 game for 2 innings (Though he did well).
The next year he is with a new team and injurs himself in spring training. He spends that year rehabbing, before ultimately deciding to get surgery.
His MLB team is kind of shady about awarding him workmans comp, so he decides to sue the team. (This is a HUGE no-no if you ever want to play baseball again.)
He just went to court and the results: He is given $50k in back pay, and for the rest of his life, any year he is not earning over $80k (in any job in any industry)- the MLB team must pay him to make up for the deficit.
Sometimes I cannot comprehend how much money MLB teams actually have.

My freind has a money tree and now I want one.

September 1st, 2009 at 02:11 pm

A good friend of mine thinks she is broke. She feels broke because she cannot find a job and had to move in with her mother. She does not have enough money left over at the end of every month and is constantly left shutting down all lifestyle activities until her next check arrives in the mail.

She inherited 7 million dollars a few years ago.

She did not blow through 7 million dollars. She inherited it in the form of a trust fund that gives her large lump sums twice a year and a fixed allowance every month.

So twice a year she blows her large lump sum on something that she has been wanting, and every month she blows through her allowance and is left with no money in the bank at the end.

Good money management skills she never learned.

And without getting into pondering why she never learned to manage her money or ponder why she STILL does not mange her money..I think I found out that she has an actual money tree.

It's the end of the month. So yes my freind called me whining that she only has $10 to last her the whole weekend, and that she hates living with her mom but cant afford to get an apartment. And once again I tried to figure out how a girl with 7 million dollars does not even have enough money to fill up her car with gas.

It seems that with the current economic crisis, her trustees have cut her monthly allowance nearly in half in order to preserve the money to make it last for both her and her young daughters lifetime. So my friend who is terrible with money to begin with, has not handled the paycut very well.

But while listening, I was caught up in a vision of a tree made of money. And every month the tree would produce little fruits that were harvested and given to my freind. She consumes the fruits of the investments which is interest...but she can never get at the main trunk of the tree which is made up of the principal. (And to listen to her complain- you betcha she has really tried to get her hands on that tunk!)

Anyways- my friend has a money tree! One of the most saught after but elusive mythical objects of all time. And my friend has one.

And of course she doesnt even know it. I was envisioning her money tree as she was complaining about what was happening to her. I was picturing the tree all green and healthy with a halo around it.

Funny- she understands the CONCEPT regarding why her allowance was cut down- she agrees that it does need to happen in order to keep collecting the allowance for her lifetime...but she cant really comprehend her role in this story. Like, that she should adjust her lifestyle to accomodate the changes. Or that if she had saved some of it, she would not be hurting now. Or that if she had planted her fruit in investments of her own- she could have a second money tree for her discrecionary use!

Anyways, I didnt have much to say to her. She just looks for sympathy. She doesnt ever want advice or to learn anything. But I did get amused at the little vision that popped into my head as she described what had happened to her.

And- I do love her. I truly love this girl and think she has a lot to offer. But her money management skills- I shake my head because I have never seen anybody so lazy with their money.