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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Thu Dec 30, 2010 10:20 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:11 pm
Posts: 71
As 2010 ends, I find myself in a great deal of reflection. Towards the end of this year I am finally seeing the work/life balance I have longed for and it definitedly ended on a high note personally and financially.

I recieved a promotion last month, which equated a 21% raise totaling over 14K a year boost of my Salary. This is a significant raise and feels great that my hard work has been rewarded.

This month has been something of a personal finance nirvana as my net worth has raised something along the lines of $30,000 between my end-of-year bonus, 3 months of backpay for my promotion and adjustments of a 15-month review cycle, big gains in the stock market, and my grandparents provided me a surprise $20,000 gift to aid in my house downpayment fund. My house fund has grown to near 65k in cash savings on top of my 10k emergency fund and it's becoming a reality that I could buy a house by the end of 2011 if I find something that makes sense for me now and in the future.

I am starting to see my money grow. One of my 401k mutual funds paid a dividend near 500 dollars this quarter! I am up to 11% contribution in my 401k and fully intend on maxing my Roth IRA again in 2011.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 7:46 am 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
What a great year you've had. Congratulations on the promotion and your house fund. Amazing. Happy New Year!


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:54 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:43 pm
Posts: 94
I was reading over your journal. You are doing so awesome and I wish I was as responsible as you are when I was younger. Good luck with the home!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:11 pm
Posts: 71
Long overdue for an update but rest assured I remain "on my plan".

I got word a few weeks ago that I will be receiving a 5% raise this year or, just over $4,000. No promotion, but wasn't expecting one, so I can't complain much with that. My new salary is just over $85,000.

I reached a major milestone this last month as I hit $100,000 in cash savings. This breaks down as 85K house fund, 11.4K emergency fund, some in other targeted savings accounts. My Retirement funds fluctuate with the markets, but those sit just over 62K.

I've run some calculations and have decided to up my current 13% 401K deferral rate up to 20%. This will allow me to max my 401K in 2012 of $17K and should only suffer about a $100 per paycheck hit due to my salary raise. 2012 will be the first year of maxing both my 401K and Roth IRA.

This month will be fruitful as I am expecting about a $3K from the company bonus plan as well as $1K, which is 1/4 (3 months) of back pay for my raise as our review cycle takes 3 months to complete. This will likely help seed my Roth IRA contribution come January, but I may knock off my emergency fund goal as well.

For the last 5 months I have been staffed on a project in Vancouver, B.C. and have been traveling weekly from Seattle. I am getting a boost in income due to a high Per Diem and $0.55 cents a mile from commuting costs. My money hack to handle this situation has been to pay gas like I always have (which is just a bit more than what I was paying commuting around Seattle), but defer the exact amounts of that re-reimbursement into an Auto Account. I use this money for service (such as an expensive VW 40,000 mile service [~$600] and new rear brakes[~$400]), parts, and other auto fees such as insurance and car tabs, and will be my targeted account for a car replacement some day. Although I am coming out ahead in the short term, my car is getting some serious run as I just hit 43,000 on it after having it just over 3 years now. I'm a little over $1,000 ahead in this account to date. What I don't spend in Per Diem is getting swept off into the house fund.

Another goal of mine is to raise the amount my emergency fund. I had $10K stuck in there for a while, which isn't quite 6 months of expenses as it used to be. It's now up to 11,400 and I'm targeting $14K which should not be an issue reaching by mid-2012.

I am also putting in 160$/mo in a vacation fund which will be used to take a trip to New Orleans with my girlfriend in February. This was a target goal of $800 that I started a few months ago, but I should have enough Starwood Rewards points to cover the hotel expenses and the trip should cost significantly less.

Depending on how things are looking I will likely buy a house in 2012. I've had a serious girlfriend for a little over a year and how that goes will likely determine some say in these major decisions. I'm am researching the process and the market in Seattle, and I am not rushing into any decisions as I really don't know what I want yet.

Until next time, track your spending, be frugal, and keep your eyes on your goals.

Current goals from Mint:
House Fund - 85,557 of 100,000 (1500/mo, Sept 2012).
Emergency Fund - 11,400 of 14,000 (200/mo, Dec 2012).
Vacation Fund - 480 of 800 (160/mo, Jan 2012).
Car Fund - 1,046 of 20,381 (300/mo, April 2017).

Total monthly goal of 2160$ saved per month, which is about half of my income.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 7:11 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 04, 2008 7:35 am
Posts: 1148
Location: Maryland
Yeah, I'd say long overdue!

Congrats on all the good news. I would love to be able to max both retirement funds and still have some breathing room, but that hasn't happened yet (or I'm scared to be "poor").

Per diems are great. I used to get them when I was doing consulting work and I had a lot of extra money that really came in handy (for goals). Unfortunately, I missed my dog too much, so I changed jobs. Priorities!

Keep up the good work, and don't be a stranger.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 5:22 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 368
Wow, your down payment fund is amazing! Good for you -- way to save half your income! Good luck figuring out all your living arrangements, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Trying to start out right
PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 2:14 pm 

Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 4:11 pm
Posts: 71
Another thing on my mind lately is my salary. I always had the impression that I was underpaid for my level. This assumption was clarified to me when I asked where I fell in the "range" after getting my new salary figure.

I was given a figure of a Compa Ratio of 81% and had an overall rating of 'Exeeds Expectations'. I did some research on this figure and Compa Ratio is determined by dividing your salary by the mid-point for your level and is a common HR figure to determine raises, promotions, etc. Since I was recently raised to a salary of 85K and a Ratio of 81%, the mid-point for my level is 105K and I'm about 20K under it. My previous Compa Ratio was 77%.

Research I read typically states that employees is the 75% to 80% Compa Ratio range are at a large risk of leaving the company due to being underpaid by such a large amount.

Since finding this out I've been a bit agitated by it and am wondering if I should do anything about it. I love the company I work for, I am very loyal to them, but I feel like I am being paid under the market and I could do better elsewhere or wonder if I should request I be compensated fairly. If I made a request, I would likely seek a ratio of around 90%, which would be a salary of around 94 to 95K.


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