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 Post subject: My next 30 yrs
PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2007 8:44 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Hi -

Just registered myself. 31 yr old from Des Moines, IA. I think I am going to try out out this journal as way to try and unscramble my thoughts on how to go about getting my family (just me and wife for now ) a financially secure future. The subject line I chose was on account of me turning 30 last year and coming to realize that I have done absolutely nothing towards become financially secure besides holding down a job consistently. Soi my next 30 yrs is going to be different.

So here it goes...

Background
31 yr old male married for 4 1/2 yrs with my lovely 25 yr old wife

Current Goals
1. Learn about personal finance. (Eric Tyson and his dummies series has been my favorite )
2. Act on the knowledge I am gaining
3. Set our financial priorities

Accomplishment 8) (I know its not much but for me its been quite a change from my old self)

Budgeting
1. Created a budget worksheet and consistently maintained for the last 10 months.

Retirement
1. Opened an Roth IRA account w/ T Rowe price 2040 fund and intend to contribute maximum.
2. Contributing towards 401K 5% since I really didn't like the option available under the plan + no match from the employer.

Current targets
1. Decide between between contributing max towards a Roth IRA for my wife against saving towards a downpayment. I didn't want to do one or the other hence I think I will stick with my current contributions towards retirement and save the rest towards the house. So about $333.33 ( dunno why I am so insistent on the $.33 :) ). Now I need to find a good vehicle to save towards..thinking about treasury MMF or short term bonds since we are giving ourselves about 3 yrs to get ourselves a home.

2. Extremely (financially) jittery about having a kid sometime next year. Can't think of anything else than saving as much as I can - $200 /month for 12 months.

3. Understand insurance. Must finish reading "Insurance for dummies". Revisit my auto insurance, think about life and disability insurance before family planning starts.

Thats it for today. Looking forward to keep this journal live. Feel free to comment :)


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 Post subject: Day 02
PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2007 6:04 pm 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
I think I will have to wait before I can invest into Vanguard Treasury Money Market fund since I don't have the $3000 initial investment. InsteadI am going to just continue to deposit my downpayment into my online savings accounts.

Plan to meet the following targets by year end
1. Get my emergency fund to around 15k
2. Get my downpayment to around 3K so that I transfer it over to treasure moeny fund or short term fund.
3. Get my kiddy fund to around 2k.


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 Post subject: JOurnal Entry 03
PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2007 6:15 pm 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Wasn't the best of fridays I have had....

This is what happened. My Sam's credit card bill for April 24 didn't make it into my mailbox and I missed the deadline. Spoke to someone in Sam's club got the $20 fine revoked and paid of the bill. Then I get a mail today from GE Money Bank - Collection Department telling me I missed a payment.

Called them up things told them that I had already paid and had them confirm that my statement is updated. What I don't know is whether this notice from a collection agency ended up spoling my credit history by any chance. Does anybody know?

I plan to pull up my 2nd free credit report (I am planning to get the credit report from each of the three agencies every 4 months to keep track of my credit history) to see if this ended up on my report. I am little pissed about it - 1st on account me not making sure to have followed up earlier and 2nd since I am planning to go for home soon and didn;t want anything on my credit report.

Well lesson learnt, plus since I don't use my credit card anymore but use the "Envelope system" that was my only and last credit bill..atleast in the foreseeable future.

Have a great weekend guys!


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 Post subject: credit report
PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2007 8:21 am 

Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:11 am
Posts: 1088
Location: Sunny Florida
Since it was GE's error, I would ask them to supply with you a free copy of your credit report. If you are still a customer and have not closed the account you can use that as leverage.


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 Post subject: Thanks Sam...
PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2007 9:22 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
realized that late..I was just too eager to get it over with it that I closed the account.


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 Post subject: Journal Entry 04
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 7:06 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Thanks mossySF's highly helpful post on MMFs and HYSAs (http://www.getrichslowly.org/forum/view ... 33f5305fe2) and the fact that I have finally managed to scrounge up $3000 for a minimum I am finally ready to open up an account with Vanguard Treasury MMF.

I was thinking about categorizing/choosing my accounts based on different savings goals that I have listed in my earlier post. So
1. Vanguard Treasure MMF would hold my emergency and house downpayment fund.
2. HSBC direct would hold my savings towards my for kiddy fund - we are "planning" to have a kid in about a years time and wanted to save something towards the "percieved" cost.
3. My Checking and Market Rate Wellsfargo Savings account - This account requires a combined minimim of $5000 and a minimum of $3500 in the savings accounts and $10 fine if the total goes below that. Any insight as to the pros/cons in keeping this savings account? I want to shut it down and just keep my checking account from where I'll set up automatic transfers to my HSBC, Vanguard and T.Rowe Price (Roth IRA) accounts. One advantage of keeping the account is that its much quicker to transfer money from this savings rather than my HSBC account. Also, I need to check up on whether "downgrading" it only a checking account would end up having me pay some kind of fees for bank to bank transfers.

Reading "The richest man in Babylon". Thoroughly enjoying it. Underlying message is of savings, seeking out advice from the right source and make sound investment choices...nothing new to the folks around here but something I should have read long time ago.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 3:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:58 pm
Posts: 948
Location: Portland, Oregon
I was thinking about categorizing/choosing my accounts based on different savings goals that I have

I do this, and I really like it. It helps me to know that certain chunks of money are designated for certain purposes. I'm fairly good at not mixing funds together. It seemed strange to do this at first, but now that I've been working with the system for about a year, I can't imagine any other way. You may be different, of course, but it cannot hurt to try this.


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 Post subject: Journal Entry 05
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 1:02 pm 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Pointers On Insurance

This is going to be vague question and I sincerely apologize for that.
As I continue to take stock of my fiscal status I am at a point where I am trying to figure out my insurance requirements and take necessary steps to meet them.

If anybody could provide any online references or books, or tips..something that will get me going in the right direction, I would be very thankful.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 3:26 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 4:58 pm
Posts: 948
Location: Portland, Oregon
What sort of insurance, dpillai? Car? Home? Health? All of the above? You might actually want to post this in the personal finance section...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed May 23, 2007 4:56 pm 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
advice taken. I did realize that I should have posted in the personal section but that was after I had already posted in my journal. :) Sorry about that.


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 Post subject: Journal Entry 05
PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:55 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Wow..I haven't updated my fiscal journal in a long time..so I guess its time to get an entry in.

Since the last entry
1. Moved from a 2 bdr Townhome to 1 bdr aprtment (last week)
(Savings - ~$300/month on rent, $80 on water and heat)
2. Got a company phone and cancelled my cell phone service (Savings - $80/month)
3. Got rid of cable and home phone but retained the internet. Had to haggle w/ Mediacom to get it a "discount" price for just the internet(Savings - $90/month)

So total of around $550/ month saving. $333.33 will go towards setting a Roth IRA for my wife and the remaining $200 towards saving. This way I would have setup Roth for both my wife and myself and along with the contribution to 401(k), the total contribution towards retirement would come to about 17%. Now start scrounging for a downpayment, crap!!!

I am also waiting on the underwriter for my 30 yr term life insurance.

Thats it for now.


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 Post subject: Journal Entry 06
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:45 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Fiscal journey continues..no major humps...though I am being quoted 300 bucks my 60k service on our car !! :(

Got the 30yr Term Life Insurance going. Decided to not contribute maximum towarsds my wife's Roth IRA, insterad save towards a downpayment.

HSBC direct has brought down the interest down to 4.50% APY from 5.05%.


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 Post subject: Ooops..
PostPosted: Sat Sep 29, 2007 9:49 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Just read the Personal Finance forum and realized that the note on HSBC is old news. :)


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 Post subject: Final entry for this year
PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:34 am 

Joined: Sun May 06, 2007 7:42 am
Posts: 28
Recap for this year

This year has been a pretty satisfactory year for me as I finally got myself to start thinking about our fiscal fitness and start taking steps towards a better future.

My tiny accomplishments
1. Set up a monthly budget
2. Got a Roth IRA set up for myself and my wife. Maxed out one of the accounts while just putting $100 in the other as we decided to save towards our downpayment
3. Met our target emergency fund of $15K from 5K that we had at the beginning of the year. We may use a portion of it for towards downpayment down the line if needed.
4. Got a 30 yr term life insurance for myself.
5. Got a disability insurance through my workplace.
6. Got better coverage on our car insurance.
7. Continue to pay my wife's monthly tuition w/o taking a loan.

Shortcomings this year
1. Though we did follow our budget for the most part which helped us meet our target emergency fund, dining out seems to be main item (almost only) that we consistenly overshot and I am guilty of this than my wife. Need to keep my gluttony down!
2. We followed the "envelope system" ( you might reference to it in Total Money Makeover book by Dave Ramsey) but what we didn't take into consideration was certain occasional ticket items and that created deviation from our budget. We revisited our budget and added some more items and have set a side some funds/paycheck.
3. This one is yet to happen - but I am going to take a week or two off in Jan and head out for a vacation. I haven't taken a single day off from work this year and HR is not so pleased w/ that. Why a shortcoming, well, I want a change of scenery for my break and if I have to get out of Iowa, I can't think of anything to do which is not going to cost me less than ~$1000 - $1000 that could go towards downpayment next year. May be road trip to someplace..dunnot yet. Any ideas? i was toying w/ having a road trip to may be CorpusCristi or something...all I need is a break.

Books Read/referred this year
1. Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
2. Personal Finance for Dummies - Eric Tyson
3. Investing for Dummies - Eric Tyson
4. Mutual Funds for Dummies - Eric Tyson
5. The Random Walk Guide to Investing: Ten Rules for Financial Success - Burton G. Malkiel
Failed Attempts
1. The Intelliigent Investor - Graham ( will make another attempt in 2008 :) )

Challenges for next year
1. There is only ONE challenge for next year and that is we want to be in our house next year this time. Hopefully we can make it happen. Will focus on saving as much as we can for our downpayment.

Major Events anticipated next year
1. We are expecting our first child end of April and we are pretty excited about it, though secretly I am freaking out!! :)
2. My wife will finish school or if she sits out a semester will almost be done w/ school next year and that wil ease our finances a little bit.

Lessons Learned
These will be pretty common knoweldge for most of you folks and just my $0.02, I am no finance guru but these are thoughts, principles or whatever I tried to abide by this year
1. No point avoiding to looking at your financial state in fear how bad a sate you might be in. Accept it at its face value and move forward.
2. Curb your spending and then start saving. No point saving if you are going to keep using your credit card and just paythe minimumon your debt. Right now we do not have any credit debt.
3. It really doesn't take countless hrs to get a basic finance plan going.
a. Spend couple of weekends/spare time reading a good personal finance book.
b. Set up a budget thats not too restricting. Put aside a little for recreation, if your budget is too restricting its not going to work out.
c. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account into savings and/or retriment accouns as per your budget. Saves a lot of trouble.
4. It takes time for things to turn around. This is more my problem than anything else :) Now, that i am actively trying to better my fiscal fitness I tend to be impatient.

Closing comments
I know there is long way to go but I am happy about our progress this year.

I am hoping all of you have had just as a good a year and do even better next year!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 28, 2007 4:04 pm 

Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2007 9:34 am
Posts: 124
Location: Deep in the heart'a
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4. It takes time for things to turn around. This is more my problem than anything else Smile Now, that i am actively trying to better my fiscal fitness I tend to be impatient.


I completely identify with this statement. Looking back at this past year, a lot of the things I saw as setbacks were actually more positive when I looked at it in a different light. Taking a more active role in my finances has been a real education.

It's hard to think long-term when you've been thinking paycheck-to-paycheck.

_________________
Steal what works, fix what's broke, fake the rest


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