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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 5:44 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Cali
Hahaha mpacuk, it's my lane and I'll do what I want with it! Biking really seems to strike a nerve with drivers here! I can't count the number of times I've seen drivers aggressively pass a biker within a foot or so. Luckily, there's a decent amount of bike paths completely separate from cars on the way to work. I'm liable to get shot if I took a whole car lane, it is LA after all! ;).

Thanks for the kind words though. I like that my name has become a verb lol. And it's pretty wild to see someone following the same path around the country that I took haha. I took a pretty huge chance but it paid off only because I had a great network of friends established here already. I attribute most of where I am now because of that. If you ever do pull a Sula, save up more than you think you need, money doesn't last long out here :(.

Work has been pretty stable so far. I haven't had any overtime in the last 7 months or so. I was actually hoping to get a little of that every now and then. But then I remember how much 12 hour days and 7 day weeks hurt my soul. One thing's for sure, you certainly start to rack up a lot of credits here haha.

I'd love to play a bit of Portal 2 Coop with ya but I have it for PC already and I don't play enough multiplayer to take full advantage of Xbox Live :(. My online gaming consists solely of World of Warcraft with a side of D&D for real life. Uh oh...my nerdery is coming out.

And Vin, I agree with you. Debt is a very annoying ball and chain around my ankles. But I'll put up with the extra $60 in interest from waiting to pay off my smallest loan if it means keeping a healthy supply in the checking account. It'll all be paid off in due time. It sure would be nice to free up that $113 monthly payment though.

Hmm...I have 4 more paychecks coming in this year which is $8,080 after taxes. And I just got paid today. So, I've got $3800 sitting in my checking with about $1500(rent was paid already) in bills/savings that I have to account for this month. $2500 in bills/savings for next month. That leaves...me with about $7,880 in cash on hand for the rest of the year. However, I'd need to set aside January's expenses too(I have all my rent/loan/utilities auto-debit at the beginning of the month) so, really that leaves me with $5,380 on hand. If I were to keep my $2000 cushion, I'd have $3,380 left to spend however I please. That should be enough to wipe out my smallest student loan!

However, there's actually another possible major expense on the horizon. I have to get my wisdom teeth taken out after my dentist strongly recommended it and those who have gotten it done know that it's a pretty major surgery. I'll have to see how much my insurance covers. My insurance is actually really, really good but might still be an arm and a leg. I wonder if this qualifies as a dip into the E-fund, first time for everything I suppose haha. We'll see how it goes.

And as always, thanks for reading :).

edit:I just realized that I'm not worried about the upcoming medical costs. I think you guys might be on to something with this emergency fund idea ;).


Last edited by sula_nebouxi on Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Fri Dec 02, 2011 1:03 am 

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Cali
Medical costs suck :(. I had to get a few procedures done and well, it's not as bad as it could have been. Still, all these bills has totaled around $750 out of pocket(With another $100 with the next followup appointment). And that's with 80% of the costs covered by insurance. Jeez. Not a huge setback but still substantial. I'm so glad I have really good insurance. Even the prescribed antibiotics and painkillers was $1 total. A single...dollar. They were wisdom teeth extractions and they were in pretty bad shape so it definitely needed to be done. I didn't expect to have them extracted but, I'm questioning whether to replace the money with my emergency fund. The cost isn't breaking the bank and I don't *have* to transfer it over to make all my other bills. So, is it really an emergency?

In other news, overtime is starting up again. I haven't had any overtime since February and dang it felt nice. We're starting this weekend with 8 hour days every Saturday until further notice. There's also talk of making 10 hour weekdays mandatory. I'm pretty sure I'll be skipping this weekend to recover from the surgery(I just had it earlier today). It's nice that we'll get some extra cash but man...I sure will miss those nice 40 hour weeks. If I do 10 hour weekdays and 8 hour Saturdays, It comes out to about an extra $600 per paycheck after taxes. Nothing to scoff at, and I could always use a bit extra.

Anyways, that's it for my small update. Till next time.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Sun Jan 01, 2012 1:16 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Cali
2011 Year end recap:

So I thought I'd post my progress over the last year, the first year of earnestly paying off my debt. I think I could have done a bit better so my New Year's resolution is to improve upon the amount of debt that I repaid and see how much I can pay off :).

Start of 2011:
All Assets: 9382.39
Debts: 101,494.69
Net Worth: -93,348.30

Start of 2012:
All assets: 15,921.08
Debts: 94,676.77
Net Worth: -78,755.69

Over the past year, I had a net worth change of +14,592.61! Not too shabby I think. I paid off 6817.92 of loan principal. I really think I can improve upon that number. I actually set a goal a while back to eliminate the smallest/highest interest rate loan I had but I think I set the bar a bit too high. I did manage to send in $3150 in extra payments towards it but it wasn't enough to eliminate it. I could have but I didn't want to empty my checking to do it.

Loan Balances (Start of 2011)
Balance
Citibank loan #20 19824.62
Citibank loan #21 19102.00
AES 21774.58
Direct Loan Consoldation 35418.03
HESAA 5648.42

Loan Balances (Start of 2012)
Balance Monthly Payment
Citibank loan #20 18565.15 174.77
Citibank loan #21 18544.36 125.52
AES 20860.86 133.35
Direct Loan Consoldation 35005.57 190.73
HESAA 1778.05 113.26

It's nice to finally get to see a year long progress. I know that I can comfortably pay at least $3000 extra every year and even more if I really tighten the belt.

The next question I'm asking myself is which loan to pay off next after the HESAA loan. If I go strictly by highest interest rate, I'd go after the Direct Loan. But that's fixed at 4.75% while the others are variable. The Citibank loans are currently at 3.5 and 4.5% while the AES loan is at 3.45%. I'm expecting the interest rates on those to increase steadily over time so it seems to make more sense to me to pay those down a bit while their interest rates are low. I could also work on the debt that I hate the most (Citibank, which I also expect to have the highest interest rate in the future).

I'm expecting to pay off the HESAA loan by March. I'm currently paying an extra $500 towards it each month but I may lower that amount temporarily. One of the reasons I've been holding off on completely paying it off now is because I'm still waiting to see if I'll be attached to a new project after this one. My current contract ends at the end of March so we'll see what happens.

Work is starting to slow down a bit. There's always this constant dread of losing your job when you're doing contract work. I'm seriously looking into something more long term. I don't want to deal with the hassle of moving to another job again, at least for a long while. Until next time :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 01, 2012 9:50 am
Posts: 98
Can't find whether you've already bought a bike or not, but I would absolutely recommend getting a cheap one for the first year or so. Trust me, I'm a Dutchie, we've got more bikes than people in our country (literally, about 21 million bikes versus 17 million people at last count).

If you can lift up the back of the back about 30 cms drop it, and it doesn't make any weird noises, and doesn't fall apart, you can drive it. The nice thing is that you don't have to spend a lot of money out of hand while you're not 100% sure you'll keep up with it. And really 5-6 miles, eventough it seems like a lot to start with, is really not far. So wait with the big investment until you need it.

Then, helmet? gloves? You absolutely need lights, cars won't see you in the dark without. Don't risk your live. But funnily enough, you're more likely to get hit if you wear a helmet on your bike than if you don't. Of course unless it's obligatory, I wouldn't bother with the helmet either. And as you're working out, you generally don't need gloves either. I know there's special shock absorbant gloves that are supposed to help against carpal tunnel. But I, and every classmate of mine spend at least 15 years biking to school back and forth every single day and I've never heard of anyone getting wrist pain from it. So if you get gloves, for warmth only, that's really all you need for biking.

Either way, good for you to think about your health and cycling! Kill that debt :)


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Mon Feb 13, 2012 10:08 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Cali
Thanks for the advice Sonja! Sorry I didn't get back to you earlier. When you wrote that message, I had already bought a bike :(. I didn't go for a super expensive road bike/touring bike or anything. I did buy a new one since I wanted a warranty and a bike shop to bring it to for free tune-ups. It was actually difficult finding a bike that fit my small frame...it definitely limited my choices. I ended up buying a bike plus all the necessary equipment for about $800. It handles amazingly well compared to other bikes...and I'm having fun learning to ride on it :).

In other news, it's been quite a while since the last update. I seem to be saying that a lot. I'm still working at the same studio which has offered to extend me into September. However, I've actually been looking at other places in my spare time. Lately, I've been feeling a little mentally exhausted. I don't feel as though the work I'm doing is opening up career paths for me anymore. I think I've actually hit a sort of ceiling. So, I decided that I need to move on.

And then, I did something about it. I asked around, sent some emails and out of all the feelers I've sent out, one came back with a hit. I got an interview with another studio that seems to be quite interested in me. This is not just any studio though. This, is the *BIG* one. It's one of the places I've been dreaming about for years. It's the place I've been striving to reach for with everything I've done up to this point. I probably shouldn't mention which one just yet since I haven't actually interviewed there yet, but I'm sure you'll know of it.

I'm anxious as hell. I'm probably not doing myself a favor by repeating how important this interview is to me. I'm also not sure if I shot myself in the foot by telling my manager about this interview. I may have put myself in a list of people that will get canned should there be layoffs. But contracts were in the process of being approved and I didn't want them to give me one until I knew the result of this interview. Sigh...I just need to focus on the good things that have happened so far, I can't dwell on the bad. I have to count my blessings. This is an amazing opportunity that's come up and I'll be damned if I let this one slip by.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:25 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
Go get em, stay positive!

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:40 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1569
Sula,

Don't make yourself nuts over this. You've gotten yourself as far as you have by taking risks and things have worked out really well for yourself. And this newest thing is far less risky than when you initially came out to SoCal. Back then, you didn't have a job or income. That is not the case now.

So don't sweat it. Sometimes you have to take a risk. And if you don't get this particular job, remember that you aren't losing anything because you didn't have this job in the first place. You have a shot at this job; take your best shot and see what happens. Good luck.

And BTW, wanna do brunch some time? Maybe I can talk the wife into coming out this time so you can meet her. Drop me a line.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:49 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Cali
Thanks guys. So I went through the interview yesterday and I think it went alright. I think I could have answered a few questions with more detail and without stuttering but I did the best I could. I think I impressed them by bringing more to the table than they were expecting, which isn't a bad thing. Hopefully I'll hear back by the end of next week since my current manager needs an answer to whether I want to stay or not. And you're right VinTek, I was working myself up over nothing. The interview was pretty relaxed and straightforward. No trick questions and very honest about length of contract and such. But yeah we should get together again, I'll PM you some times when I'm available.

So I actually realized something about the CG industry. It's like an outlier when it comes to interviews and work experience. So far I've noticed a really important point:
- Amount of time spent at a company is not as important as the fact that you worked there at all. 2 months at a company is treated as a valid and notable amount of time.

The reason I mention this is because the contract is a "run of show" contract. Which means when your part of the movie's done, you're done. It's a 3 or 4 month contract which I was originally hesitant about. I have a somewhat steady gig right now. But, my choices are to continue with something steady and decently paid or, go with my heart and go for the short contract. If I do get this new job, I will undoubtedly switch to the short contract job. Even though it's so short, it will open a slew of new doors for me. If my two month stint at a well known Previs studio has proven anything, it's that a well-known name can work wonders. But not only that...this place is freakin' magical.

I've taken lots of risks ever since I left Florida and they've mostly turned out for the better. But I always try to think of the risk vs. return and this risk carries with it a lot of reward. I think it's the right choice for me. So here's to hoping for a chance at a dream.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:47 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 10, 2009 6:57 am
Posts: 358
Good luck! Fingers crossed...


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:57 am 

Joined: Sat Feb 12, 2011 5:47 pm
Posts: 87
Location: Ontario, Canada
CecilyC wrote:
Good luck! Fingers crossed...


Mine too. Keep us posted.

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Kate


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:02 pm 

Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:06 am
Posts: 50
Hope you get it!

I'm not very good at taking risks with my career, but the few times I did I've been very happy with how it worked out.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2012 7:37 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
No worries, you got this! :clap:

I love your gusto, I need to copy cat and get some of my own. :(

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:00 pm 

Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 4:28 pm
Posts: 131
Location: Cali
Well...unfortunately that interview didn't pan out :(. I probably should have figured that out after getting no response for about a week. Figured that if they wanted me, they'd have called me right away. They wanted someone with more experience and with focuses on certain skills. Oh well. I did glean some useful information about what I need to do in the future though. I'd have to either find any opportunity I can in my chosen specialization or I need to start doing something outside of work. At this point, my only real choice is creating more side projects to show off what I can do. The most important thing I realized is...my demo reel(just a short video of my best work) just isn't showing enough of what big name companies want to see. I'm just not getting enough opportunities to do that at my current job.

So, I did some research and found an interesting program in California called ETP, or Employment Training Panel. I can actually take some classes on VFX subjects at The Gnomon School (which is a very well known school for training professionals in certain areas) for free. I think this will be the biggest boost for my reel. Since I can do it on my own time and it really doesn't require the years and years of experience some places want. I'll take what I can get.

So, right now, I'm seeing if I can get a contract extension with my current company. I should have something lined up for me for the next few months. They have me on hold right now, and they're seeing if they can attach me to a project. Employment pretty much depends on whether there's immediate needs. I should hear back next week about that.

In other news, I'm searching for another apartment since rent prices are going up all over the place and we need to downgrade. I'll be paying an extra $90 a month which doesn't sound like a lot but it still adds up to a $1080 increase over the lease. I think my roommate is in agreement but he does like to spend a bit so I'll have to come up with some sort of compromise.

Also, I'm getting LASIK! I had forgotten about this benefit that my company gives which is that LASIK is covered by our medical insurance at 80% of a reduced in-network rate. Fantastical! So I'm getting my eyeballs cut and melted next week. Without insurance it's $5600. I'm not sure what the reduced rate is but, either way I'm going to be paying peanuts compared to the full price. And that means I'm all over that opportunity.

Anyways, I'm sorry if I disappointed everyone :(. I'll try harder next time :P. There's a few other things I'll look into but, timing is everything. I'd have to be at the end of a contract so that I could leave on a good note and there'd have to be an opening at that same moment. Realistically, I won't see a change in job for months. Unless something amazing comes along and makes me break a contract. Here's to hoping that something good pops up in 6 months. Fingers crossed.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 7:31 am 

Joined: Wed Oct 07, 2009 4:16 pm
Posts: 959
I am so jealous (I want Lasik too).

Don't worry about the job, the fact of the matter is now you know what you need to work on.

I love the fact that you took what some could see as a negative and turn it into a positive.

Keep pushing on!

_________________
Be what you want to attract.


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 Post subject: Re: Fixing old mistakes, student neck deep in $100k of debt
PostPosted: Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:51 am 

Joined: Fri May 04, 2007 8:14 pm
Posts: 1569
Hey Sula,

You took a risk. This one didn't pan out. Sometimes that happens. Ty Cobb has the highest lifetime batting average in the major leagues at .366. That means he failed almost twice as much as he succeeded.

I think taking on risk is necessary for most of us if we want to succeed. That risk should be taken on intelligently (taking risks we can't afford isn't too good) but it's still risk. Yes, I'm disappointed, but I'm disappointed for you. I'm not disappointed in you. Big difference.

So now you wait until your next turn at bat. And if there's a good pitch, you swing at it. That's just the way things work.


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