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Maybe in 5 years...

April 6th, 2010 at 07:54 pm

BB and I got to spend a few days together this week. I went down to FL for 3 days over the Easter weekend and then he followed me up to Savannah because he is off Mon-Wed due to a break between Spring Training and the regular season.

BB and I went to a barbeque hosted for the minor league coaching staff. It was …different. Many of the coaches are…older. So the party was pretty laid back, the music was not my preference, and there was a lot of watching MLB on the TV (opening day and all). After partying with the players for the last 7 years…partying with the coaches was like aging 15 years. But that’s ok. BB fit right in. He’s always had a mature mindset when it comes to hanging out with people- I think that’s why the coaches all like him.

Anyways- that culture shock moment aside- BB and I had a good conversation last night. We were back here in Savannah and talking about the future. I was talking about how 1 coach tried to caution me that a coaches life is “very hard because they travel so much.” I replied that I will gladly take the traveling over the constant fear of BB getting injured or released that we experienced when he was playing. BB said the coaches feel their career is tough because they only see their families half the year. Many of the coaches played in the Big Leagues so they really don’t need the money. They do it to be a part of the game- or to have a 2nd career because they are in their thirties with no job. But they tend to burn out quickly because living away from your family 6-7 months a year gets old quickly. Especially if you don’t need the money.

A new coach is currently in this exact situation. He and BB get along really well- but the coaches family and kids live in the Mid West and the coach will be living in New England all summer. The guy made close to a million dollars a year for several years...and now he pulls in about a tenth of that. BB is predicting he will last a year or two and is kind of sad about that- since they get along so well.

So this spurred me to ask BB how he is doing without me. We are used to this lifestyle, but I know it still kind of sucks for us both sometimes. BB is doing well, he knows this is his dream job, and he knows this is how it is. BB & I threw out some different scenarios about different teams he could work for that would be closer to home. But that’s a bit unrealistic to expect to be able to hop over to whatever job is the most convenient for you.

We were able to throw some numbers around…and maybe if we keep saving and living as we are now…I might be able to “retire” in 5 years and go back on the road with him. Obviously this is only if nothing happens to us financially between now and then (and something always does come up). But if we save at our present rate and the rentals generate the income we expect- once the construction is finished with The Impulsive Purchase- we might be able to live off his income and put my income into the mortgages. We owe $118k on one house…if I put $25k a year into the mortgage for 5 yrs…we would almost have it paid off. Once that one is paid off- I could “retire” and the rent collected from the other unit would pay about double the mortgage due on it every month. So we could aggressively pay that mortgage off as well while living on BB’s salary alone.

Of course the variable factor is a kid. That’s why I would “retire” in the first place…and why BB would want me on the road with him. So I would not have to put the child in day care and he can see our child more than 5-6 months a year. And it is this “kid” that would likely throw our expenses into havoc and make me unable to retire in 5 yrs. (BB has baby fever…I have to be a bridesmaid in 9 months so I don’t want to get baby fever until after I have to fit into the dress.)

So we’ll see. We have 9 months to play with the numbers before we go into maybe baby land. The cool thing was that during our conversation the money/saving concept really hit home with BB. Like…hit him like a ton of bricks. He said it never even occurred to him that I might be able to quit working because I am always harping on him not to spend money. I am always stressed about how the bills are going to get paid. It’s because I pay us FIRST (and I pay us well) by putting a large chunk into savings every month…and that leaves the budget with little room for error every month. I told him that if we keep living as we are living now, and we do not make any large want based purchases between now and 5 yrs (I see a boat in BB’s want future)…I think the numbers could work. However- it would only work if we do not add anymore monthly bills/ commit large sums of money to a purchase between now and then.

BB understood and said that he likes working towards allowing me to go on the road with him. He wants to live frugally now if that is in his future. He finally understood how strict discipline now will pay off big at a later date. He finished off by saying that the other coaches will be scratching their heads trying to figure out how BB...never got past double A ball can afford to do this when they spent years earning a million or close to it and cant get it done.

Cheating on you

March 28th, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I feel like I cheated on I spent the better part of today scrolling the internet reading other people's money blogs. Savingadvice is my one true love and I will always be a lifelong loyalist. It's just that I wasn't getting what I needed to fix a temporary financial need.

Since the Impulsive Purchase I have been swinging back n forth wondering if it was a "Big Mistake, "mini mistake", "good idea" or "GREAT Idea". Depending on the specific circumstances of my day -I swing rapidly around between "Great idea" and "Bad idea". I am craving thai food but my credit card is at the limit for the month and I just spent $10,000 on a down payment last month- so I have no extra cash to use to satiate my thai craving...this Impulsive Purchase was not a very good idea. An hour later I pass by a very pretty Salmon colored house and think about how the Impulsive Purchase would look in that color...buying it might have been a Fun Idea. And then tonight I am counting down the days till we collect rent from it and I can see how the rent compounds and maybe it was a Good Idea.

So I have still not decided...Impulsive Purchase: Best or Worst idea ever? The key to our future wealth or the turning point to losing it all?

I drive myself batty sometimes.

So I went out in search of other peoples experiences. I needed to know- how did their investment properties pay off- (or not pay off)? This search evolved into a more...How am I doing (relative to other bloggers that I found in my age /lifestyle group)? How are my decisions/knowledge/lifestyle measuring up against others? I have my own long term goal- what are other peoples have their decision to do this that or the other impacted their goals and financials?

I know all these answers can be found here at this blog site. But since I have been blogging here for almost 2 years- I feel almost too close to all of you to be able to see any of your situations objectively. Each blog here is so unique because I know all the decisions and factors that make your situation what it is today. So it's almost incomparable. I needed to go out and find a random guy blogging somewhere and use him as a reference point.

And boy did I learn some things! First off- there is some aggressive blogging out there. You can almost feel the financial frenzy. There are people blogging their net worth every month. I appreciate their blogs, but I myself couldn't get so caught up in writing that my networth is up .03% from last month (especially because I have learned that those tiny losses and gains are zereoed out after a few months). But sometimes you need to read those blogs. To see what they are doing, planning and achieving.

Also I think that some people are better at maintaining their annynimity than I am and they can let it all hang out like that. They can talk about their focus to earn a million dollars in the next 5 yrs, or 10 yrs or one person made $7 million dollars in 7 years! - but they can do that because their blog's sole focus and goal is to achieve this particular objective. Me- I think my blogging style is to just document my life. My own personal interest happens to be personal finance- how people choose to spend the money they make- how their life turns out as a result of their financial decisions- so I enjoy the blogs here at Savingadvice most of all. No one here is particularly "showy", "flaunty" or agressive. No one is looking for the fast track to a high end lifestyle. Everyone is pretty open minded, receptive to ideas and slow and steady. I like that.

But this weekend I needed the other type of blogs. The more focused blogs that simply revolve around a particular financial theme.

I learned...that no one knows yet. No one knows if buying real estate is a great thing or a bad thing. No one knows if investing $2400 a month into retirement will mean you can retire early (I do not invest this amount into my retirement- but I read about a blogger who does.)

Some people are very confident in their decisions. Some bloggers think their method is the track to their sucess (and they have multiple charts to predict it). Some bloggers were very confident and agressive in 2005-2006...and you can actually see them slam on the brakes and re-evaluate EVERYTHING in 2007-2008. And some take the current financial recession as a sign of the times, a "well so I lost 30% of my net worth, so did everyone else" attitude. Others are fighting tooth and nail to get back lost net worth. Some are desperately hanging onto their old system- convinced that it was (is) a good method- in bad times. Others are defeated and suddenly start talking about how money is not everything.

Reading blogs in other areas of the internet- where I am not emotionally invested in the outcome because I dont "know" them (as I know all of you LOL)- was refreshing.

So I learned that no one knows. No one knows if investment properties are a good idea or a bad idea. No one knows if there is any sure-fire method to retiring early. And that makes me feel better. Time will tell if the Impulsive Purchase was good or bad. Right now- today- it's whatever I make of it.

A few blogs I really liked and might continue to follow:

2010 Goals

December 30th, 2009 at 06:12 pm

Christmas caused me to get out of my regular blogging routine. I miss my routine. I am back now- and I am back with 2010 goals.

Now that BB has a salaried job- making goals this year was fun. I have no idea if these are achievable or optimistic- but these are my well thought out/well planned out goals for next year.

By December 31st 2010:

1. Have at least $5123.00 in 401k.

2.Save $7000.00 for eventual house renovation.

3. Get windows for the entire house reballasted, insulated and painted.

4.Save $2400.00 towards new car for BB.

5.Have $5024.00 in emergency fund.

6.Have $5000.00 saved towards purchasing another property.

7.Start horseback riding again

8.Save $13840.00 for eventual 1st rental property renovation.

9. Still be married.

10.To weigh the same that I weigh now. (unless I am pregnant- which is NOT a goal!)

Evaluating my 2009 goals

December 9th, 2009 at 02:40 pm

Well, 2009 is about finished for me too. I am thinking ahead to 2010 now.

I guess it is time to look at old goals- see how I measured up, then think about some new ones.

Well, 2009 goals:

1)Save ALL eBay income in 2009
-Nope. Didnt happen. Too many good deals to be found on ebay. I did manage to make alot more on ebay than I spent though.

2)Get a full time job
-YES! This started in June.

3)Begin saving rental income for eventual rental renovation.
-YES! I started this in July and have the money direct deposited into a savings account that I dont touch. I want to save up $30k for the CA reno and think I will need to continue saving through 2011 to meet my goal.

4)Buy a house with 20% down
-YES! I accomplished this! My favorite goal to achieve!

5)Build a $4k Emergency Fund
-Nope. I got to just over half that amount. I plan to revise and work on it some more next year. (The good news is that I didnt need to touch the emergency fund in 2009.)

6)Save 10k towards a back deck, backyard landscaping, and kitchen redo.
-Hahaha, Not even close. I saved up just over 10% of my goal. Another thing to achieve next year.

7)Save $2k toward new car for hubby.
-Nope. We saved nothing for a new BB car. It's on the agenda for next year.

8) Pay $50 month extra on the mortgage.
-Yes! We paid an extra $107 a month.

Looks like I accomplished 50% of my goals. I can live with that.

And then down below are my 2008 goals for 2010. I'll continue to have them in my list of goals- but I have some more I want to add.

On a side note: I noticed I "repeated" a 2008 goal. In 2009 I rescued ANOTHER dog and paid in full for him. No regrets!

Long term goals *start by 2010*
[ ]Live on one income/bank the other income
[ ]Start an IRA for Baseball boy
[ ] have 1 NSD a week

new job starting tomorrow

July 19th, 2009 at 01:30 pm

I start my new job tomorrow. Everyone keeps asking me if I am excited. Not really.

My last day at my old job was Friday and I really hated to go. I did really enjoy the job and for once I quit before I was burned out! So that was a rather sad day.

I start the new job tomorrow and will be in the library training all week. I know learning the process of financial aid will be tough and I actually am not looking forward to the brain strain all week.

I am looking forward to meeting more people because there were about 6 of us hired together and we will be working together on a new graduate program the school is going to start in the fall. I think I am the only financial aid person- but we will still be working very closely together to get the program off the ground.

I am looking forward to wearing the cute clothes I bought yesterday to prepare for the job. I spent $150 yesterday at the mall. Sadly only $70 of it was on work clothes. Even sadder the $70 only covered 2 tops and a pair of shoes. The rest of the items were tank tops and t shirts.

And finally I am looking forward to the new paycheck. After revising my budget I learned that I will be able to start saving $200 a month towards the big home renovation we want to do in a few years, I will start putting $165 a month away for retirement and receive a company match, my regular spending account will increase by $115 a week, and I will be able to put another $90 a month away for the 4 travel trips BB and I have planned for this year, starting in September.

2009 Game Plan

January 1st, 2009 at 03:01 pm

2009 Goals and Game plan:

1. Bank one source of income.
Our household currently has 3 sources of income and with the big move in February we might possibly get 5 sources of income. Though 1 source will be lost for a time while BB builds up a new lesson client base. With all these income sources I really want to just save one entire income and not allocate it to savings for anything. In 2009- I am starting small. EBay. Right now, eBay is our second largest income producer, but once we move I think it will become our smallest. So starting TODAY- all money earned from eBay stays in my pay pal money market account and WILL NOT BE USED IN 2009. (That's a scary declaration to make.)
*So in 2010 we should have $3,000+ in eBay money market.

2. Pay extra on our mortgage. My goal is to pay off the mortgage as soon as possible but with this being our inaugural year in the house I will start small. An extra $50 a month will create one extra mortgage payment. So that's the goal for this year.
* So in 2010 we should be used to the extra $50 a month and be ready to pay an extra $100 a month.

Top Priority (Feb/March):
3. Get a job. With eBay no longer providing a major income, I will be forced to get off my lazy ass and get a job. I am moving to a new city where I will permanently reside, we have a house to pay for- no more excuses Gamecock. Once unpacked, priority number 1- look for a job.
*Better be full time employed come 2010.

When I can/Some point this year:
4. Save rental income from unit #1 for eventual renovation of unit #1. My rental unit in CA is pure 1970's. I was planning to renovate the unit once my tenant vacated and either sell the unit or rent it for a better rate. However, the $$ I was going to use for renovations became my down payment money on our first house.
The tenant has resided there for 5 or 6 years now and seems to have no intention of leaving. Now that the renovation money has been spent I need to start saving again because she is eventually going to leave. Currently I depend on the income to live, but once I have a job I can then put the rent checks into a "Unit #1 renovation" savings account.
* Hope to have $6,000+ saved for eventual renovation.

Once we are moved into our house:
5. Start saving for home improvements. I have not researched the costs involved yet, but would like to get these big ticket items accomplished in '09 or '10 so better start saving/planning. In order of my preference, we want:
1. A back deck add on to the house.
2. To enclose and landscape the backyard.
3. A new kitchen.
BB has promised to send $1,000 a month during the baseball season to save for home improvements. However- he has a very very poor track record for following through on promised payments-so I am not going to plan for his money right now.
Our mortgage, taxes, insurance is covered by rental unit #2, leaving me to handle utilities and bills. But once I have a job I will be able to allocate a large percent of my take home pay to savings for these items. IF BB sends home the $ he promised, we might get 2 out of the 3 done this year.
*Hope to have $10,000 saved for these improvements by 2010.

Other things to do in 2009:
Get umbrella insurance
Stay out of credit card debt
Save $2,000 for a new car for BB- his truck has 120,000 miles on it.
Build/maintain $4,000 emergency fund
Maintain spending/tracking logs
No credit card debt.
Have become smarter/more efficient with money.

I am sure there is more- but I am just overwhelmed by what I already wrote. That seems big enough for one year.

me and my fiance and our money outlooks

September 23rd, 2008 at 01:11 pm

I am trying to get my fiance to be more financially minded. He fights me on it but has made some progress. In return I have learned some communication skills and reasoning coming from the male mind (more like a version of a 4 yr old. "But I wannttt itttt!")

*I introduced the concept of No Spend Days to him over the summer. He discounted the theory until I started challenging him by saying "Lets have a NSD today." So now he has grown to hate NSD rather than feel they are empowering- as I do. ("See commercialism- you are not as smart as you thought with your pretty colors, gimmicky ads and giant signs.") So I need to change that association from hate to love. That was a mistake on my part. The progress is that when I suggest a NSD (about 2x a month)- we have a LOW spend Day. Generally just 1 thing will be purchased. So that is progress. Goal is to have a NSD (a true one) every week.

* I introduced the concept of 'financial freedom' to him rather than 'budget'. He gets confused and calls it 'financial independance' and it makes me laugh. But I think he liked that term. I need to work it into our everyday vocabulary more.

* I THOUGHT this gigantic wedding was a good stopper for all spending "we are not buying a pizza because I am paying over $20,000 for this wedding next month!" - and for about 2 weeks it did stop the unneccessary spending. - but yesterday he pulls the "If you can spend $20,000 for a wedding- whats one lousy pizza going to do?"...and I was unprepared for that. I had no answer. We got the pizza. Afterward I felt bloated and fat and told him I wished we had never gotten it. He felt the same way. sigh.

SOMEONE on this board had a GREAT idea of posting something on their fridge to 'show' the husband what was being spent, or how the small purchases were draining the account- and I cant remember the idea! If anyone knows it, please share. I remember thinking it would work for BB...but then forgot about it. ...maybe I will create a spread sheet with the total balance of our house deposit..and include all deductions made from that account to see how this pizza is affecting things. Problem is we rarely deduct from that account...hmmm.

Book reviews...and a moment of clarity

August 24th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

While living in Texas and living with little internet (yup- out by the pool again), I have taken up some financial readings.

First- I committed the cardinal rule for people trying to save/keep their money. I bought two books-brand new-from a bookstore. Had I been in FL, I would have gone through ebay, I swear! But right now I cannot rely on the mail system to keep up with me.

I bought one book by a man, I forget his name (some random finance man)called "Money and the People You Love"- good title, same old, same old information. I THOUGHT it would be about issues I struggle with now with my fiance. Issues like: getting on the same financial page, making saving money a priority for both of us, not letting ourselves get caught up in spending because we are 'together' and feel we want to spend money for 'quality time together.'...but no. The book with the great title was about mutual funds, annuities, 401K's and just basic explanitory stuff. The author said he named the book "Money and the People You Love" because a majority of people want money so they can take care of the people they love. Hmmph. I feel cheated. I read the book anyways. I'll sell it on ebay when I'm back in FL.

The second book I bought was "The Millionaire Women Next Door"..I thought it was by the woman who has a great "Millionaire Woman" blog out there that I have read a few times. I dont know-I thought she kind of owned the term 'Millionaire Women" or something. Silly me..Had I looked at the cover I would have seen it was written by a MAN! Some Stanley Ph.D who also wrote another millionaire book. Well...this book reads a bit like one of my grad school studies.

It's a study of Women who are millionaires and the author attempts to extract common threads among the women- not so the reader can become a millionaire- more so that the reader understands millionaire women. I read that too. I didnt really like it. It's a bit one sided to me. The author profiles only women who became millionaires on their own, no help from anyone, and only talks of their virtues. Kind of subtly exhaults the women.Since this is supposed to be an objective study using percents, averages, and high tech formulas, I didnt like how ethnographic it got in the middle of the book.

One tidbit I pulled from the book, a bit of an "Aha!" moment was stating that a big indicator of future millionaires is living on one income in a two income partnership. I.E.Living 50% below your means. Kind of "Duh!" but it worked for me. Rather than trying to save 10% of Baseball boys salary, and I save part of mine..and we both actively deduct the amounts each paycheck...I think it might be better to just bank the paycheck that is smaller.

I brought it up to Baseball boy today and he is fine with the idea. (But then- he is fine with "ideas"- its when it cuts into his fast food and video games that my ideas suddenly become problematic.)

P.S.- one reason I *think* this might be possible for us is because Baseball boy currently makes so little money. He netted a little over $10,000 last year- so for readers who are not familiar with my ongoing chronicle of life- we are not currently living off several thousands of dollars a month that will be drastically cut down. Once I get a full time job- I think I should AT LEAST be earning the same amount he does.

Of course, saving one paycheck is a bit off in the future...I need to get a job first. We need to clear the hurdle of this massive wedding first. We need to track our spending so we can "see" how much money we need- and if this will work. But I am thinking it might be a good thing to get off the ground before we get a mortgage. The first year of homeownership will likely mess up this plan-alot- so if we can get into a routine first, we might get a lesser standard of living going.

Or I am thinking I might have to wait till AFTER our first year of home ownership. So we are not creating goals we can not remotely reach.

So I have listed it as a long term goal so I do not put to much pressure on us. Merch was wanting me to get some long term goals going...and I like this one. Alot. I can't implement it now- at all- but I think if I have it in the back of both our minds as a long term goal...we can reach it within a few years. I think I am lucky I am trying to get a sucessful money lifestyle going now- before the mortgage and kids- because with either of those two loads on my back- I dont see how this would be possible (going from 2 incomes to 1). But without those two biggies- Baseball boy and I can plan to accomodate the 1 income and buy a house accordingly and plan kids accordingly. I hope.

Thats my piece. One other thing. I dont really want to be a millionaire. I mean- I wouldnt mind it. But it's not one of my lifetime goals -to die a millionaire. I really just want a lifestyle that is more 'fun' than 'work' and think that developing sucessful habits with money will get me there eventually. I just thought it interesting because this "Millionaire" author kind of wrote like being a millionaire is an ultimate achievement- rather than a piece of the process for living a great life.

He defensively states that the millionaire women live greatly satisfied lives (to the attack that they work all the time)-but not that they live great lives and are also millionaires. See what I'm saying? Anyways..I could be picking on this poor author because I am jealous of these women profiled. One symptom of jealousy is rejecting the item/person you are jealous of.

Also- one last piece before I sign off- The author admiringly states that none of the women have ever paid more than 300,000 for a house (he was explaining their frugal lifestyles)- but all women he profiled were close to 50 yrs old or older (much older). Now, I think thats alot misleading considering the price of real estate has drastically increased in the last 10-15 years-(Doubled? More?)and this author is implying that it is excessive to purchase a home for more than 300k. He implys- "Hey..if the maximum amount spent on a house is 300k is good enough for our millionaire should be enough for you-dear reader who does not come close to the wealthy status of these smart people."

My Goals!

July 30th, 2008 at 04:03 pm

Well, Merch seems to think that if I developed some goals then I wouldn’t be using Baseball boy’s parent's approval as a benchmark for whether I have achieved success or not. I agree, but wow, creating goals seemed like such a monumental task. And then the confusion that would set in if things changed on me!

But by assuring me that it is possible to have crazy things happen like get married, lose/gain jobs and have kids, and STILL be able to work towards goals, I have decided to take on the task.

To the left, you will see all new information. They are my 2008/ 2009 goals. They are really what I was planning to do all along, but now they are on paper rather than in my head. I tried to put them in a timeline order to organize them. And I am not sure if they are kindergarten-y and 'not real goals' or not. 'Buying a house with 20% down' is a real goal. 'Adopting a pet and paying all costs upfront' is...kind of common sense for a person who lives in SavingsAdvice-land. But each of those little goals is a $4-500.00 expenditure, so it will be a little tough for me to come up with the money over and over in the next 5 months.

I must say that it was easier than I thought, and much more satisfying than I thought it would be.

I thought that because my fiancé has such an unstable career, and we moved around a lot, and I am not sure what or where my lifestyle fits in, that goals would be impossible. Right now, Baseball boy's job is priority number 1 and everything else kind of falls into the cracks.

But I was able to make goals! And just to brag a little, but I am impressed with myself for being in a position where I think I can get these all done. I am excited to get started. I can see the upcoming financial roadblocks now, and I can actively plan for them, rather than know it's some expense coming up in the not to distant future. And I can see how faltering at each of these roadblocks could set me on a path to debt, so maybe these goals are important to overccome.

I think there is something to say for writing down goals and accomplishments.

Thank you Merch. I know I need long term goals too, but I am taking a break on the goal thing for a little while. And thank you everybody who has taken the time to read my thoughts and give me honest feedback.