Mia's Financial Plans

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Mia
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Mia's Financial Plans

Postby Mia » Fri Jun 22, 2007 3:32 am

I keep a word document file titled "Financial Plan" and I thought I'd share it here. I like making lists and notes and this file is my way of keeping them all in one place. I also love to see how far we've come since we started actively managing our money.

Here goes -

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Mia
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Short Term Finacial Goals

Postby Mia » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:00 am

SHORT TERM FINANCIAL GOALS

A. Open Vacation Savings Account ($165 per paycheck, *scheduled to begin in Aug 2007)

B. Buy New -used- Car - A Toyota Sienna in 2 years
- 2007 Toyota Sienna is Consumer Reports top rated mini-van
- Need to work on determining how we will save for this & how much to spend on purchase

C. Open & fully fund two Roth IRA accounts by April 2008
- *Am currently saving $308 per paycheck for this
- Save $385 per paycheck beginning in 2008 (new $5,000 limit)
- Need to work on overcoming my fear of opening & managing the account!

D. Keep 401K at 6% for now
-Company matches $1 for every $1 up to 6% of all pay + 4% company contribution
-The maximum 401(k) contribution is $15,500 (does not count employer match).
- Husband is eligible for full SS benefits at age 67 (Oct. 2028)

E. Review in next 3 months (end of Sept.):
*Request energy audit from electric company
*internet, phone & dish tv packages DONE
*home insurance & auto insurance check up
- Aim for a policy with 250/500/100 coverage (bodily injury/limit per accident/property damage)
- Drop the collision damage coverage if car value just a few thousand.
- $1,000 deductible.
- Don't skimp on medical coverage
- 720+ Fico Score gets cheaper insurance
- More about Homeowners insurance at -
http://finance.yahoo.com/expert/article ... eKA6wyt9IF

F. Pay extra $225 per month towards Home Equity Loan - *DONE*
- Allows for a pay off in 87 months (7.25 years) instead of original 179 months (15 years)
- Would really like this paid off even earlier, but how to pay more on this AND save for car?

G. Set up Revocable Trust & an A-B trust
- Also name conservator and guardians
- This is boring, I have the tools to get it done but keep resisting. Get off you lazy butt!!

H. Host a yard sale this summer
- The mess of junk in the garage is driving me insane.

I. Request termination of mortgage PMI in July 2007
- Need to call mortgage co. & find out how this is done

justjen1221
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Postby justjen1221 » Fri Jun 22, 2007 4:06 am

Mia-

I really like how you break down each important topic and talk about timelines on taking action on them. I'm going to have to do something similar I think!

Thanks for sharing!
Just Jen

Taking it one day at a time...

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Mia
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Financial History & Progress

Postby Mia » Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:06 am

We are in our early 40's and have young children. We are a one income family.

RETIREMENT
-$0 Savings of any kind prior to 2001

-Company began 4% contribution to 401K in 2001 and continues to do so;
We began contributing 6% pre-tax in 2004 (the max company will match);
5-year return has averaged over 10%;
I would like the fund balance to triple by 2013 :)

-Began saving in Jan 2007 for two maxed 2007 IRA Roth accounts; will continue contribution each year.

-Total of about 11% after tax dollars are contributed to long term savings (including Roth).

-Small monthly pension from old job begins fall 2026.

-Full retirement age (SS) is late 2028 & 2032 (about 21-25 more years).

DEBT
-No new debt since Jan 2004
-Completed paying off credit card debt & car loan in August 2006
-Home Equity Loan = 15% of net income (pymt + extra principal pymt)
-Mortgage = about 17% net income; last pymt is 2/1/2019
-No other debt

FICO SCORE
January 2006 - 629
June 2007 - 741

COLLEGE
1st child begins in fall 2016 and last child completes in spring 2026.
No current plans for college savings as I don't see how to manage it.

EMERGENCY SAVINGS
We began with contributions of 4% of net income per month.
Currently have 4 months of living expenses in various CD's and don't plan to save more.
Job security is extremely high; we have good life & disability insurance.

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Mia
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Postby Mia » Fri Jun 22, 2007 5:15 am

justjen1221 wrote:Mia-

I really like how you break down each important topic and talk about timelines on taking action on them. I'm going to have to do something similar I think!

Thanks for sharing!


Thanks for the compliment JustJen. Some people (husband, LOL) run when they see my lists. When I decide I want or need to do something I put in in my Financial Plan file and then add notes as I read or learn more about it. I use the time lines because otherwise I would either forget or put them off. It works for me and my way of thinking (hope it will for you, too).

I also use a word file to keep track of bills and budget, and I copy & paste anything with a time line into that. No excuses for not getting it done! :wink:

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Mia
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Reducing Home Gas Water Heater Usage

Postby Mia » Sun Jun 24, 2007 8:39 am

This month I plan on reducing the amount of gas we use, and hopefully reduce the amount of money we spend on this service.

Our home uses two hot water heaters.
-One serves the main part of the home and heats the sinks, shower/tub water, clothes washer water, and dishwasher water. These rooms are heated during the winter with electricity.
-The other serves the too large master bedroom and bath. It heats the rooms air, sinks and shower/tub water.

On our last gas bill we used 36 CCF, an average cost of $1.24 per day for 29 days.
-A year ago we used 41 CCF.

A little researches tells me that these are the main ways to reduce home gas consumption:
    Room heating: Set temp to 62 at night and 70 during day. Set at 60 when away.
    - Reducing from 72 to 68 degrees, should save about 5%.

    Keep the flue/damper closed on the Fireplaces.

    Laundry & Dishes: Hot wash; Cold rinse. Air dry dishes.

    Hot water: Set temp at 115-120 (Our two water heaters only have settings of warm, hot, and very hot).

    Get an automatic thermostat (We have one in the main living area, but not in the master area).

    Insulate the hot water pipes and water heaters if they are hot to the touch.

Most of these we already do, but some we need to work on. Specifically we need to:
    Install one automatic thermostat.
    Check to makes sure the fireplace flues are closed.
    See about insulating the water pipes and heaters.
    I also want to find out what temperature "Very Hot, Hot, Warm" means on our water heaters so we can make adjustments if necessary.

Heating the rooms is not an issue right now (hot, hot summer!) but come winter I hope to aggressively focus on keeping that thermostat temperature down!

Once we've accomplished the above, I'll report back with our new CCF usage.

Does anyone have any thoughts or other ideas for reducing usage? I'd love to hear from you!

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Mia
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Budget Smudget

Postby Mia » Thu Jun 28, 2007 5:38 pm

I've never kept a to the penny budget, not since getting rid of non-home related debt. To me it's one of the rewards of being debt free - I don't have to micro manage every penny in order to get my bills paid. I'm far enough ahead now that I can pay all the bills and never worry about overspending on 'extra's'. My budget now a days looks something like this:

JUNE 22-$ pay check amount
Balance forward -$ left in checking
Other Misc. Income- $
SAVINGS/Investments - $

Mortgage (July) - $
Electric $
Gas- $
Hubby's Allowance - $
Check #111 - swimming lessons

Transfer $ from designated savings for auto insurance pymt on July 6.
Make extra $ principal payment to home equity loan.


Pay day comes and I head to my banks Bill Pay and schedule my payments. When one clears I put an X by it on the list above. Anything else we buy isn't budgeted nor is it listed. If we need gas or groceries we just go get them. If I want to make a bigger purchase then I do check the account balance and decide if I can afford it or if I need to save for it. So far it's worked for us in the sense that we haven't spent more than we earn. But as I get more into planning and making goals I'm realizing that I don't have a clear idea of what we can do with our money. For instance, can we afford to increase the % we invest in our 401K? How much can we save each month for a newer auto?

We use Bank of America for our checking and they now offer the ability to Label all the activity on our account. So now instead of an entry reading "Ing transer, blah blah", I can relabel it to say "Vacation Savings"..... or "Groceries", or "Entertainment", or "Gas Bill", etc. Yesterday I spent a good hour labeling everything from the last month. I hope to use this to give myself an idea of what we're actually spending and help me see where we can make adjustments.

Hopefully it'll work for me - I have a real aversion to spreadsheets or other budget type systems, they just don't gel with the way my mind works so for me they're useless.

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morydd
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Re: Budget Smudget

Postby morydd » Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:38 pm

Mia wrote:Hopefully it'll work for me - I have a real aversion to spreadsheets or other budget type systems, they just don't gel with the way my mind works so for me they're useless.


I have the opposite issue. I love putting things into categories. I have a nasty habit of making categories so small they become meaningless. (Pet food, Pet Supplies, Routine Pet care, Emergency Pet Care...) You know it's an issue when you have more pet categories than you have pets. I'm a very visual person, so I not only want everything in neat little boxes, I also want lots and lots of charts. I think this is part of why I was never good at keeping a check register. My wife is, I think, more like you. We're still trying to work out a way that works for both of us to track the "spending money" sorts of things.

Let us know how your new system is working out.
Image
Father of Aiden Thomas Dec 10, 2004-Dec 15, 2004 and Dean Paul June 12, 2008

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Mia
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Postby Mia » Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:24 pm

Morydd, I used to be like that with our categories, I think it stopped sometime after I had kids (just not enough time for all my quirks :wink: My husband used to manage the finances and he was great about keeping a balanced check register. I on the other hand, favor using my memory or my infamous notes. Whatever system any of us use I think it's important to find what works for us. If we use charts but never enter the information then it does us no good, etc.

I agree it can be hard for two people to figure out a system that works for both. It took my husband and I 3 or 4 years of marriage before we got to a good place, one that easily satisfies both of us. I might write more about that later.


For now, we are off on a week long vacation in the morning. Water park here we come!! 8)

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Postby jdroth » Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:57 pm

<i>To me it's one of the rewards of being debt free - I don't have to micro manage every penny in order to get my bills paid. I'm far enough ahead now that I can pay all the bills and never worry about overspending on 'extra's'.</i>

A couple of anecdotes:

#1 - Last year we went to a nice dinner with a couple of friends. They're frugal folks, and have accumulated a tidy sum. They're wealthy. They're exactly the sort of wealthy people described in <i>The Millionaire Next Door</i>. We split the bill. I took my receipt after signing. The other fellow signed his receipt, but didn't bother to take his copy. "Don't forget that," I said. "I don't need it," he said. I was puzzled. "Does it matter if I take it?" he asked. "I can afford this meal." He wasn't bragging or anything. It was just a way for him to demonstrate his control over money. He doesn't track every penny he spends because he doesn't spend pennies that he does not have. He's careful with his money.

#2 - Driving home the other night, I realized that I hadn't done my finances in a couple weeks. "That's strange," I told Kris. "I always do my finances." In fact, for the past decade, it's been something I do religiously. But that's mainly because I've been living paycheck-to-paycheck, walking a fine line with my bank balance. Now, though, I have plenty of money in checking, and even more in savings if I spend too much. I'm not worried. There's no need for me to be on top of my bank account every day.

Still, in this day and age, it's a good idea to keep close watch on things. If I were to go weeks or months without checking balances, ID theft would hit me hard if it occurred...

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Mia
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Postby Mia » Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:51 pm

Those are good stories JD. "I can afford it," is a great example of being in control over money. I'm so glad the days of money controlling me are over with.

I used to dread checking my bank accounts and doing bills, but now it's actually fun and even exciting. I now look over my finances because I want to, not because I have to.

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Mia
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Postby Mia » Sat Jul 07, 2007 10:55 am

We're just back from a vacation, had a wonderful time and it was refreshing to be able to do all we wanted and pay cash for it.

On the way home I had one of those proud mommy moments - one that makes me feel as if I'm doing a much better job of (financial) parenting than I used to do. We were playing a round robin story game. First it was our middle sons turn and his story started out "Three very old pirates went to Las Vegas and won 30 million dollars playing games. Then they bought a Monster Truck and went to..." It was our little 3yo's turn next, and he said, "They went to the bank!" Hee, it's great to know our kids actually listen when we talk :)


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