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It is currently Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:18 pm




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 Post subject: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:23 pm
Posts: 14
It was nice reading others' journal posts, and I was inspired to start my own journal.

I'm Vivian, and I am 29. After 4 years of undergraduate studies (psych), 2 years as an AmeriCorps volunteer, 2 years of trying out extremely low-paying child psych research among other things, 1 year of graduate studies (ed), and 2 years of the most hellish nightmare teaching job at a broken inner city school... I have finally found my dream job--as a 1st grade teacher at a well-renowned school district!

Landing this job made me realize something. It made me realize I finally have a shot at reaching my financial goals WITHOUT being miserable. In fact, I can reach my financial goals while doing something I love and find important. This is actually quite exciting for me! After so many twists, turns, stumbles, and falls, I am almost in disbelief that I was lucky enough to land this position (to give you an idea of how lucky I was, over 200 people on average apply for just one elementary teaching position at a good school in this area... it's insane!)

To give this some more perspective, I made little to no money for 7 out of the total 11 years since I graduated from high school, even though I worked while in college and got paid a measly stipend while in AmeriCorps. 2 of the 11 years I made a more generous 22k for year-round work. The final 2 out of 11 years I worked at a place that made me chronically ill, anxious and depressed... but I made $40,800 for ten months of work and had a sizable chunk of my loans forgiven. Given I'm still recovering physically from that job two months into the summer, I question whether it was worth it. I'm just going to tell myself it was.

Now that I have gotten over this tremendous hurdle, I'm ready to buckle down and make some efficient, well-informed choices. I am not a financial whiz, so the advice, suggestions, etc. of others is very welcome! I will start my initial entry out by listing my completed financial goals. The point in doing this is to make sure I don't lose sight of the progress I have already made, despite how much more I have left to do!

COMPLETED FINANCIAL GOALS
    -Pay off undergraduate loans
    -Find a job that pays at least $40,000 that doesn't make me want to kill myself
    -Purchase a home/condo in a nice area I could see myself living in for years to come
    -Buy a car that works well and that I don't have to make payments on
    -Clear my driving accident history so that my insurance is lower (I'm a much better driver now!)
    -Open up an auxiliary retirement account outside my employer (Roth IRA for me)
    -Try out stocks (they're doing pretty well so far, but I won't get too comfortable, lol!)
    -Contribute $50/mo to my HSA

FINANCIAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
    -Pay off graduate Perkins loan (67% to goal)
    -Pay off graduate Avery forgivable loan (50% to goal, will cancel itself after two years of teaching)
    -Save for a small wedding about a year from now (1% to goal)
    -Set-up an emergency fund for 6 months to 1 year (0% to goal)
    -Contribute more to my Roth IRA, maybe double (0% to goal)
    -Pair rental payments with $900/mo towards mortgage to expedite pay-off (0%)
    -Start saving up for continuing education each month (0%)

I do have free-floating money in regular savings, but I'm just deciding where I should allot that extra savings. There are so many options (e.g., retirement, HSA, loans, mortgage, stocks, tuition, etc.)

You may think I'm a little crazy for spending more money to take more classes after going through 5 years of post-secondary schooling and dealing with student loan debt. Well, first of all, let's not lose sight in the fact that the schooling will help me become a better reading teacher for my 1st graders (I plan to pursue a Reading Specialist Certification). On top of that, my salary increase that I will get for +30 credit hours will more than pay off the cost of those classes. I'll only be taking one 3-credit class a semester but will also get occasional salary credits through district professional development. By the end of 2016/beginning of 2017, I'll already qualify for a +15 raise, which is really exciting!

This is probably the most positive thing I've written these past 2 years. I feel like I'm healing more quickly in other ways more than others. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 6:39 pm 

Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 8:04 pm
Posts: 10
Welcome to the forum, Vivian!

First off, congrats on those already-completed financial goals!! I would take pride in knowing that in 11 years of higher education, and low-pay and/or "hellish" jobs, you've been able to complete some awesome goals (buying a house, no more undergrad. debt !!! etc.. )

Second off, you seem to be in a great place to make quick/ steady progress on your new goals. Having a job that you love, is no small thing. I'm in a job right now that I hate, but it pays well, so I'm putting up with it for as long as I can.

The only advice I can think of right off the bat, would be for you to save up for car repairs/ your next car. You may already be doing this, but I just didn't see it in your financial goals. You could probably just use money from the E-fund - but for me, that's not what an E-fund is for.

I look forward to reading your updates in this journal! Best of luck!

~Cedric


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 Post subject: Re: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 9:08 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:23 pm
Posts: 14
Cedric wrote:
Welcome to the forum, Vivian!

First off, congrats on those already-completed financial goals!! I would take pride in knowing that in 11 years of higher education, and low-pay and/or "hellish" jobs, you've been able to complete some awesome goals (buying a house, no more undergrad. debt !!! etc.. )


Thank you, Cedric! You are my first official welcome. And I think the feeling is starting to settle in even though I know I'm not as well off as others. I guess the goal is the become better than your previous self (I guess that's the teacher in me talking too, lol!)


Cedric wrote:
Second off, you seem to be in a great place to make quick/ steady progress on your new goals. Having a job that you love, is no small thing. I'm in a job right now that I hate, but it pays well, so I'm putting up with it for as long as I can.


You are right that having a job you love is no petty matter. I understand being in a job you hate for financial stability, but it really does eat at you. I couldn't tolerate more than the two years I put in (this is a job, though, that people walk out on during the first two months at pretty high rates, so I actually stuck around a while), and I even gambled with potentially being unemployed for an unforeseeable amount of time. Luckily, I got one job offer after hundreds of job applications and too many panel interviews... and, really, the rest is history. All I needed was that one. I'm guessing your "hated job" pays way more than mine paid (mine was only $40,800, but still great in my book for 10 months + loan forgiveness), as your tolerance is higher. What is it that you hate about your job? Is it possibly something that could maybe change in the future?

Cedric wrote:
The only advice I can think of right off the bat, would be for you to save up for car repairs/ your next car. You may already be doing this, but I just didn't see it in your financial goals. You could probably just use money from the E-fund - but for me, that's not what an E-fund is for.


I completely agree about having an "emergency" fund for things like car repairs, etc. I do have the money floating around, but I think I need to actively allot it towards that so I know it is covered. I have seen E-funds mentioned several times in this forum. What exactly is that?

Cedric wrote:
I look forward to reading your updates in this journal! Best of luck!

~Cedric


Thanks! You too!


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 Post subject: Re: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:49 pm 

Joined: Mon May 11, 2015 8:04 pm
Posts: 10
hello3angel wrote:
What is it that you hate about your job? Is it possibly something that could maybe change in the future?

There are a few things I hate: the industry, my really really long commute, my current role (sales), this part of the country, and living in such a small city (when I grew up in a large one). I'm working with my boss to transition into more of a technical role, and to also spend some days at the in-town office to cut down on all my driving time. The change in industry and location will come when I start looking for another job after I've gained enough experience :/

hello3angel wrote:
I have seen E-funds mentioned several times in this forum. What exactly is that?

Sorry, forgive my short-hand - it's short for emergency fund, which you mentioned wanting to set up in your 'Goals for the Future' section. I was trying to say that, I wouldn't dip into an emergency fund to pay for a new car, so you may want to make 'car payments' to yourself into a savings account which you will use to buy your next car. To re-word myself, I would say you could have an emergency fund that would cover 6 mo - 1 yr of expenses in case something happened and you were out of income, but since you know you're going to have to get another car at some point in the future, start saving separately for that as well so that you can buy it in full instead of making payments. One fund (the e-fund) would be for unforeseen future events, while the other (car fund) would be for a planned future expense. You mentioned having free-floating money in regular savings, and having many options for what to do with it, so saving for your next car is what came to mind since I didn't see if you had mentioned that yet :)


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 Post subject: Re: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 12, 2015 8:29 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:23 pm
Posts: 14
Cedric wrote:
hello3angel wrote:
What is it that you hate about your job? Is it possibly something that could maybe change in the future?

There are a few things I hate: the industry, my really really long commute, my current role (sales), this part of the country, and living in such a small city (when I grew up in a large one). I'm working with my boss to transition into more of a technical role, and to also spend some days at the in-town office to cut down on all my driving time. The change in industry and location will come when I start looking for another job after I've gained enough experience :/


I HATE long commutes, especially with bumper to bumper traffic. It just seems like a waste of life. Readjusting to different environments is difficult. Hopefully the transition to a technical role and switching some days up for the in-town office will help with that! Maybe you won't have a to look for another job then if those things end up helping? Unless you actually plan to move to a completely different area. Good luck either way!

Cedric wrote:
hello3angel wrote:
I have seen E-funds mentioned several times in this forum. What exactly is that?

Sorry, forgive my short-hand - it's short for emergency fund, which you mentioned wanting to set up in your 'Goals for the Future' section. I was trying to say that, I wouldn't dip into an emergency fund to pay for a new car, so you may want to make 'car payments' to yourself into a savings account which you will use to buy your next car. To re-word myself, I would say you could have an emergency fund that would cover 6 mo - 1 yr of expenses in case something happened and you were out of income, but since you know you're going to have to get another car at some point in the future, start saving separately for that as well so that you can buy it in full instead of making payments. One fund (the e-fund) would be for unforeseen future events, while the other (car fund) would be for a planned future expense. You mentioned having free-floating money in regular savings, and having many options for what to do with it, so saving for your next car is what came to mind since I didn't see if you had mentioned that yet :)


Thanks! That makes perfect sense to start putting money away separately for a car since I anticipate having to do so in the near future. I guess in the back of my head, I am hoping that doesn't really happen (I love my car to pieces!), and that I could just repair it for a reasonable amount should something happen. But if my car decides to end it one day, I have to be ready. ;(


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 Post subject: Re: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 14, 2015 9:28 am 
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Posts: 1183
@ Vivian
Looks like you have a decent plan in place. Congrats on the new job! And yes education for future potential income is totally worth it. :)

Re: COMPLETED FINANCIAL GOALS
Congrats on paying off your undergraduate loans! That's fantastic!

Congrats on your home/condo. Why purchase a condo instead of a house?

Congrats on buying your car and owing $0 on it!

I love Roth IRAs. Does your job offer a 403b? Or maybe I missed that.


Re: FINANCIAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
First things I'd do is get that emergency fund to at least $1000 or $2000. Then build up to 3 months fast. Emergencies can and will happen. Good to have a rainy day fund for when the rain comes. :)

How much is your interest rate on hour home? Personally, depending on the interest rate I'd probably make sure I'm contributing at least 15% of my income to retirement before I worry about that.

_________________
~ Eagle
www.eaglesoaringhigher.com


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 Post subject: Re: Vivian's Journal: Hard Work Finally Paying Off?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 17, 2015 7:40 pm 

Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2015 4:23 pm
Posts: 14
Eagle wrote:
@ Vivian
Looks like you have a decent plan in place. Congrats on the new job! And yes education for future potential income is totally worth it. :)

Re: COMPLETED FINANCIAL GOALS
Congrats on paying off your undergraduate loans! That's fantastic!

Congrats on your home/condo. Why purchase a condo instead of a house?

Congrats on buying your car and owing $0 on it!


Thanks, Eagle! I decided on a condo because I figured it would be easier to rent out if I needed to leave the area for whatever reason. I also like not having to worry about general outside maintenance, although there is a condo fee attached. I don't mind that though. It beats having to shovel snow and cut grass, lol! So far, finding and holding a renter has been very easy since I needed to leave the state for graduate school in 2013. I have since returned, but I like my renters enough to let them stay for a while, while I live with my significant other. We both plan to eventually move back to the condo whenever it opens up again. We aren't in any rush though. Our rent split is only $425 each, so we can't complain too much, lol!

Eagle wrote:
I love Roth IRAs. Does your job offer a 403b? Or maybe I missed that.


The more I learn about my Roth IRA compared to other options, the more I like it too! My job does offer both a 403b and 457 option on top of the state pension plan.


Eagle wrote:
Re: FINANCIAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE
First things I'd do is get that emergency fund to at least $1000 or $2000. Then build up to 3 months fast. Emergencies can and will happen. Good to have a rainy day fund for when the rain comes. :)


I am definitely going to do this, given every single person has confirmed that this is a must-have next step. Thanks! :)

Eagle wrote:
How much is your interest rate on hour home? Personally, depending on the interest rate I'd probably make sure I'm contributing at least 15% of my income to retirement before I worry about that.


The rate is 4%. Haha! I am contributing far from 15% towards retirement, if you consider my Roth IRA alone (~2%). However, my previous school district pulled about 7% directly from pay. So it's more like 9% at the moment, which isn't too bad. I am not counting interest from stocks, but those have been so volatile lately, I'm not even going to count them. I was thinking of doubling my Roth IRA contributions in 2016. That would bring me closer to my goal of 15%. Thanks for the suggestions!


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