Would this never happen if you weren’t here?

It sounds like the start of a dystopian synaptic misfire, but it’s actually how I keep my housing costs down.

I live in the fourth most expensive rental market in the United States but I pay less than $700 to live in my place with my two roommates.  My living arrangement is something of a struggle for me.  Am I happy here? 80% of the time, yes I am.  But man does that 20% get under my skin.  Don’t get me wrong, my roommates are wonderful people, but I doubt there are very many people who wouldn’t get under my skin if I were living with them.

Our place is next to public transit, includes our utilities in our rent, gives us free parking, with free access to a gym, a pool, tennis courts, etc.  The amenities are great.  The location is great.  The price is great.  The management is great.  Despite all that, at least once a week I find myself trolling the internet for apartments.

I am a loner and extreme introvert by nature, so living with two extroverts can be emotionally draining.  This is why I devised this question that I ask myself every time I find myself getting irritated with my living arrangement: would this never happen if you weren’t here? In other words would the dish rack never be packed to the point of near collapse? Would the bathroom floor never be wet? Would the trash never be overflowing? Would the freezer’s contents never come sliding out when you open it?

The answer is always no.  These things would still happen if I were living by myself.  Past me is a notorious a**hole to present me.  She stays up late, rarely turns down dessert, lazes around in bed, puts off important errands, and drinks a ton of water before long car drives.  In college, past me used to crank the air conditioning to an extreme just so the trash wouldn’t stink and she’d get a few extra days before having to take it out.  She used to leave the towel on the bathroom floor and would always hang too many scarves on the back of the closet door making it impossible to open said door if one or more of these scarves fell off.  For crying out loud, past me took out student loans and bought a brand new car when she had no business doing either!

For a little over 4 years now, my answer has not changed.  It continues to tip further and further in the direction of yes, but for now, I will continue to enjoy my cheap (for my area) rent and breathe my way through my occasional frustrations.  This won’t last forever and living alone can wait a little bit longer.  After all, I have a roof over my head, a warm bed, and a fridge full of food.  My current living arrangement is not a consolation prize by any stretch of the imagination.

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2016: 56%, $34,000 and 5 books

Happy 2016!

With the dawn of 2016 upon us, I thought I’d share my financial goals for myself over the next year.  In short, my goals are: 56%, $34,000 and 5 books.
I’ll elaborate.

56%

This is the percent of my post tax income that I would like to put towards investments in 2016.  Just investments.  The amount will include maxing out my 401K, IRA and HSA, as well as some additional (variable) investments into a private brokerage account.  The first three are automated and I do not think about, but that last one is where I will need divine intervention.  If I can get $6500 into that brokerage account by this time next year, I will be thrilled.
This number (56%) does not include all of my savings as it excludes my contributions to my “Oh $h*t Fund”, which is what I lovingly call my emergency savings, and my contributions to my transitional/short term savings, which is where I save for things like clothes, new tires, car maintenance, random expenses, etc.  Those collectively will account for ~8% of my income and can be found in the table below.  I opted to leave them out of the 56% because they are fleeting.  This is money I am explicitly setting aside to spend and, as such, I keep entirely liquid.

$34,000

When it’s all said and done, I should be able to sock away ~$34,000 this year, which would be wonderful considering that this, in addition to my current net worth, would mean I’m 10% to my retirement fund goal of $750,000.

5 books

I read my fair share of FI blogs and fiction books already, but I’d like to move towards reading finance books.  I have the following on my list currently:

  • The Millionaire Next Door
  • Rich Dad, Poor Dad
  • Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security
  • I Will Teach You to Be Rich
  • Early Retirement Extreme

I’d also like to do some research and reading into developing other streams of income.  The nature of my job is demanding and restrictive in the ways of non-compete agreements, but I do have some down time that I’d like to commit to other ventures and I’d like to explore what I can do with that time.

 April and September* = 3 paycheck months.

2016!

I will reassess my plan once more this summer for a few of reasons:
  • I hope to get a raise/bonus in June (this is why I split up the 56% and $34K goals into two separate goals, as those numbers may change mid-year)
  • I hope to have my ‘Oh $h*t Fund’ goal met by May freeing up $200 a month to drop into investments
  • I hope to get moved onto another project at work that would not require a car, which would then allow me to sell my car, freeing up another ~$450 a month
That’s quite the rosy picture, ain’t it? the truth is I’m terrible with goals and foresee myself messing up somewhere.  But all in all, I’m feeling quite happy with the picture I’m seeing.  The goals are difficult, but not insurmountable, and part of this process is teaching myself to stick to goals and tame impulses.  I just have to keep reminding myself that any effort I make is better than nothing.