Friday, March 14, 2014

Drum Roll - New Goal reports that the number of millionaires has hit a new high.  Which got me thinking, because this survey of millionaires excludes their primary homes in the asset count.

So, the new goal is to hit the million dollar net worth mark without counting our primary home.  And, looking at our numbers we are not too far from that mark.  At present, our net worth is at $1,380,755 and our primary home's value is listed at $399,000 (value from our last appraisal in 2012).  Which means that we are about $18,000 away from having a million dollar net worth without including our primary home.

Not too shabby.    

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Interesting Tool

Interesting calculator from MIT that calculates a living wage based on where you live and your life circumstances (number of kids, adults in a household).  Also, provides typical expenses for your area as well.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Royal Screw Up

So, I have a pretty good system set up for our personal finances.  I have a system for paying bills and for our savings that works off of our spending plant.  But, every once in a while things go surprisingly wrong.

At the end of last month, February, I was getting ready to do some work travel and I made the decision to pay our home mortgage March payment in February.  What was I thinking, well it seemed like I had lots of cash laying around our joint checking account, I knew I was traveling and I figured let me just take care of that big bill now instead of later.

Big mistake!  Several auto transfers and other obligations drafted after I made this payment and I, of course, came up short.  And further, of course, I had to try and fix this mistake while traveling.  Ugh, ugh, ugh.

Two weeks later, I am still undoing the damage that was incurred.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

2014 Savings Goals - Feb. Update

(1) Max out 401k(s) -        $4,644   13%  (goal is $35,000)
(2) Max out IRA(s) -         $4,327    39% (goal is $11,000)
(3) Add to e/r fund -          $1,600    16% (goal is $10,000)
(4) Roof project -              $1,205    24%  (goal is $5,000)
(5) Vehicle replacement -  $5             0%  (goal is $5,000)
(6) House projects -          $400        13% (goal is $3,000)

Total:  $12,181  18%  (Goal is $69,000)

I finally got my Excel document from Mr. Sam.  Yay!  We are a bit, $239, ahead on our 2014 goals.  I have been swamped at work, hence the lack of posts.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

401K Held Hostage

Interesting article from the NY Times about 401k accounts caught up in a company bankruptcy for more than 5 years forcing the employees to face tax penalties when they couldn't withdraw, and to continue working into retirement because they could not access their retirement funds.

Mr. Iyer, who has glaucoma and diabetes, retired last fall. He said he continued working far longer than planned because he could not withdraw any of his retirement savings — 41 years’ worth that he had earned at a variety of companies but had rolled over into his Penn Specialty account. He was also upset by the $49,728 in administrative and legal fees extracted from his account while it was in limbo.   Mr. Iyer said. “It is interesting to note that the fees I ended up paying exceed what Penn Specialty Chemicals contributed on my account. I have learned never to trust a 401(k).”

Scary stuff.  Like most people, my professional career has not been with one company.  Rather, I've been with three companies and during that journey, started 401k accounts with each employer.  My last company, let's call it Company B, had some financial strife and is actually no longer in existence.  Shortly after I left Company B, really shortly, I rolled over my Company B 401k to Company C (my current company).  I departed Company B with a group and some of the folks did, later, have some challenges in rolling over their 401k to Company C.  The reason, like Penn Specialty, Company B ended up in bankruptcy and that delayed the ability of some of my co-workers to roll over those monies.

Now, my first 401k remains with Company A.  The reason I leave it there is because I have access to some very highly rated, and low fee, institutional funds.  However, I have thought about rolling it over to Company C.  Now, after reading this article, it almost seems safer to have more than one 401k account.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

$300 Rule & $100 Rule

As I have previously posted, I have a long standing goal to have plantation shutters installed in two bedrooms in our home.  But, since plantation shutters are very expensive I decided that I would update my plan and just get some new, nice shades for these two bedrooms.

I have done quite a bit of research, measured the windows, priced out my options and then I settled on a plan which will run about $800.

But, in our home there is another step I had to take and that was to discuss the project, the expense, the source of the funds (we have this money sitting in our house project account) with Mr. Sam.  We have a rule that anything over $300 has to be discussed and agreed to between us.  Most of the time we reach agreement pretty quickly, but not so this time around.  I've talked to Mr. Sam about this project several times, gave him the pricing, told him about my research, but he thinks it is silly to spend this kind of money on custom shades.   If we can't reach agreement then we don't go forward that is our rule.  We imposed this rule back in 2007, because we were trying to throw every extra dollar at our debt.  But, we have kept the rule because we believe that we should be in agreement that expenditures above $300 are necessary or a mutual want (vacation) or one of us convinces the other.

We did finally agree or he finally gave in, but we did reach agreement.

The other rule we have is the $100 rule.  When we are spending more than a couple of hundred dollars we have to wait a day for each $100 of the purchase.  So in this instance, if we are spending $800 on custom blinds we have to wait 8 days before we actually make the purchase.  This waiting period prevents expensive impulse purchases.

I haven't yet ordered the blinds because of the waiting period rule, but will do so next week.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Wrap Your Mind Around These Numbers reports that the richest 85 people in the world now hold the same amount of wealth held by 3.5 billion (yes, B - billion) poorest in the world.  Said another way, half of the world's population, the poorest half, holds the same amount of wealth as the 85 richest individuals.

Mind is boggled.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Florida Unemployment Compensation - Follow Up

During Mr. Sam's unemployment, I posted about how difficult it is to obtain unemployment compensation.  It took several rounds to just get through the application process and we were amazed at how it seemed like the State was making it almost impossible for the unemployed to obtain benefits.  Mr. Sam, with a MBA and a reliable internet connection almost could not obtain benefits.

Well, the unemployment system in Florida was replaced, on October 15, 2013, with a new system.  But the new system has a whole host of problems.  Well now the Department of Labor is heading back to Florida to investigate the new system.  The DOL estimates that Floridians have lost $20 million in benefits due to the faulty new system.