January 2016 Review

Time to check in with how well I did in January!

Let’s start with the negatives and end on a high note.  Below are all of the things I didn’t explicitly budget for but fell under my catch all budget pool.

Expenditure Cost
Gifts for others $85.74
Convenience $6.46
An event I didn’t want to attend $12.89
Worst lunch in the history of lunches $28.63

Most of the discretionary money I spent this month was spent on other people or because of other people.

  • $85.74: spent on gifts for other people.  It’s a lot and thankfully this doesn’t happen every month.
  • $6.46: spent at a coffee shop with a friend because we simply needed a place to meet up and felt awkward not buying something once there.
  • $12.89: spent to attend an event that I didn’t particularly want to attend, but a friend really wanted to attend.
  • $28.63: The one expenditure on that list that irritates me to no end was this lunch.  My lunch didn’t actually cost that much, it’s just that this one awful person who I absolutely cannot stand decided to just not pay.  There were 6 people at this lunch and demanding we get individual bills would’ve been a hassle to the waiter, so we just all sucked it up and let the jerk have his moment.

$133.72 spent on things I did not benefit from in the long term.  

Welp, that’s stinks. Moving on to the happier parts!

I met 100% of my investment goals, 100% of my oh $h*t fund goal, and managed to walk away with $72 leftover from my $250 pot of discretionary money.

All in all?

Saved 64% of my take home!

Not too shabby January.  Not too shabby.

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.

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.

Accomplishments in FY15

That last post was pretty negative and while accurately reflective of my life at the micro level, I thought I’d follow it up with some awesome successes I’ve had at the macro level in 2015 so far:

  • Discovered FIRE!  I never knew this community existed and I had no idea early retirement was even possible.  I immigrated to this country from a place where everyone worked into their grave so my big privileged millennial-American goal for years was retirement by 65.  Since discovering FIRE, I’ve realigned my goal of retirement to 45 (or sooner) and couldn’t be happier about it (I’m 29 now).
  • Paid off the last of my $37,136 in student loans after 3.5 years.
  • Increased my annual income by $15K with a new job.
  • Started tracking my net worth, debts and retirement vision in a series of elaborate google sheets that I love geeking out over.
  • Started saving aggressively towards retirement with a maxed out IRA and 401K.  FY16 will include the added maxing out of an HSA and the introduction of saving the tax savings into a brokerage account.
  • Established a 10+ year financial vision!  This is a bit redundant with what I’ve said before, but I wanted to reiterate this separately because it relates to a target state of saving $750-$900K to retire.
  • Learned about the perks of maxing out traditional retirement accounts for the tax savings and then investing those savings.
  • Started seriously saving towards an emergency fund.
  • Adopted a more minimalist lifestyle that doesn’t involve eating out every day (which I’ve done for years now) and discovered the joys, trials and tribulations of cooking/baking.
  • Started paying attention to my investment fees and almost immediately rolled over my previous employer’s 401K from Fidelity to a Vanguard IRA.
  • Minimalism! Still working on optimizing this one, but I have drank the coolaid.

I consider myself very lucky for what 2015 has given me so far and I am pretty stoked to see what the next decade holds.

FIRE!

Hi there!

My name will heretofore be Trying and I am brand spanking new to the FIRE (Financial Independence/Retire Early) community.

What’s with the title?  It’s mostly to poke fun of myself.  I can get competitive and be harsh on myself when left unchecked, so the title is a reminder for me to take it easy and not give up if I make a mistake (which I absolutely and without a doubt will).

I’m starting this blog on a particularly low note for me financially.  My mint account looks to be soul crushing and the absolute worst it has been in years.  November is bad.  Here’s what I mean:

– Checking: -$2930
– Visa: -$766
– IRA: $0
– Car Loan: -$7755
There’s are reasons for all three of those misery inducing numbers.  The checking is due to a monstrous eff up (for the third time) on behalf of Amex that has compelled me to lose all faith in them.  They’re working on it.  The Visa is locked up in the money that Amex is currently holding.  The IRA is currently in transition.  You see this is my rolled over 401K which is currently a check that is on its way to Vanguard to become an IRA. Add to that the fact that I got a contract an hour and a half away from my home for the next 8 months which means my plan to sell my car and the seller I had lined up with an agreed upon price are both on hold for the time being.
November is bad.
My relatively modest net worth took a ~67% nose dive in a single month.  I guess this is as good a time as any to get this blog started!