New start in a new country

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peaceofmind
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New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:51 pm

I've just moved from the US to London, and am attempting to reset my financial life in the process (build better habits, etc). I am single, no kids, and have a full-time job. I do have a house in the US that is being rented out.

My UK budget is still in a bit of flux, as I'm still sorting out the living situation and haven't been here long enough to know how accurate my numbers are. However, I'm hopeful that I've overestimated in a few categories.

Code: Select all

-----------------------------------------------------------
INCOME
-----------------------------------------------------------
US                              UK         [£34,000/Yr]
Rent              $1,150        Job          £2,115
-----------------------------------------------------------

EXPENSES
-----------------------------------------------------------
US                              UK
Property Manager    $115 (N)    Rent           £650 (N)
Mortgage            $950 (N)    HELOC          £300 (N)
Home Insurance       $45 (N)    Groceries      £175 (N)
Home Warranty        $40 (N)    Bills          £100 (N)
                                Cell Phone      £25 (N)
                                Medical         £15 (N)
                                Pets            £50 (N)
                                Transport       £50 (N)
                                Misc           £100 (W)
                                Clothing        £40 (W)
                                Dining Out      £60 (W)
                                Entertainment   £50 (W)
                                Gifts           £20 (W)
                                Gym             £50 (W)
                                Savings        £430 (S)
-----------------------------------------------------------
Total Expenses    $1,150                     £2,115

Money Balance (UK only as US cancels out)
Needs   (N): £1,365 (64%)
Wants   (W):   £320 (15%)
Savings (S):   £430 (20%)

ASSETS   [$242,975.09 + £360.02]
-----------------------------------------------------------
US Checking           $1,917.23
US Savings              $656.25
US IRAs              $24,901.61
House               $215,500.00
UK Checking             £350.02
UK Savings               £10.00


LIABILITIES        [$202,368.67]
-----------------------------------------------------------
Mortgage            $174,298.59 [4.99% 30yr fixed]
Home Equity LOC      $27,010.08 [4% variable]
Credit Card 1              $480 [0% until 07/29/10]
Credit Card 2              $850 [0% until 06/01/10]

NET WORTH:
$40,606.42 + £360.02

The minimum payment for my HELOC is 1% of the balance (currently $270), but I've chosen to aim to pay £300 (currently $452.76, but will fluctuate depending on exchange rate) each month. I would really like to knock this out in the next couple of years.

I will be paying off both credit cards once their 0% rate ends.

My budget for London was based on earning £30,000/yr and I ended up with a job paying £34,000/yr. Therefore I planned to "bank the raise" (£230/mo)...turns out I can save more (assuming my budget is correct, anyway).
Last edited by peaceofmind on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:20 am, edited 4 times in total.

peaceofmind
Posts: 113
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:56 pm

1. 3-month Mortgage Fund $3,500
2. 3-month Emergency Fund £5,500
3. 2010 Property Taxes $3,000
4. Home Maintenance Fund $1,200
5. 2010 Roth IRA (Stretch) $5,000

Total: $12,700 + £5,500

These are my goals for 2010...I would like to have 3 months' of expenses (in both countries), have my property tax fund full by the end of the year, and start up a home maintenance sinking fund. If I have extra room to save, I'd like to put something into my Roth IRA for 2010.

Current numbers: (Pretty sad, but pay is 1x/month here so I've been living off savings for the last 6 weeks...payday is Friday, yay!)
1. $11.53 (0.3%)
2. £10 (0.1%)
3. $53.07 (1%)
4. $0 (0%)
5. $0 (0%)

Total - $65.40 + £10 (0.4%)

peachy
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Location: Maryland
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peachy » Tue Mar 23, 2010 4:26 am

Sounds like you have a good plan going.
It's hard to budget when you don't really know how much stuff will cost you, but at least you have put something in place.

Enjoy your new country! Sightsee as much as you can. ;)

peaceofmind
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:59 am

Thanks! I've been busy finding a job (and now a place to live), so I haven't had much time to sightsee, but I definitely plan on exploring quite a bit. (I'll probably end up splitting up generic "Savings" to include a travel fund so I can check out Europe.)

DoingHomework
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby DoingHomework » Tue Mar 23, 2010 12:05 pm

peaceofmind wrote:Thanks! I've been busy finding a job (and now a place to live), so I haven't had much time to sightsee, but I definitely plan on exploring quite a bit. (I'll probably end up splitting up generic "Savings" to include a travel fund so I can check out Europe.)


Will you be an EU resident? Depending on your age you might be able to get really good travel deals as a resident (as opposed to if you are a US resident.) Many moons ago I lived in Europe long enough to be considered a resident. As soon as I qualified I could get really good rates on rail passes. Much better than the rates available to Americans.

peaceofmind
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:29 am

DoingHomework wrote:Will you be an EU resident? Depending on your age you might be able to get really good travel deals as a resident (as opposed to if you are a US resident.) Many moons ago I lived in Europe long enough to be considered a resident. As soon as I qualified I could get really good rates on rail passes. Much better than the rates available to Americans.


I'm a UK/US dual citizen, so yes. :) I haven't looked into travel (other than within London) yet, but I've heard month-long Europasses are pretty cheap, so I may go with that and do some long weekends various places.

peaceofmind
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:05 pm

Payday arrived. :) I got paid "extra" because the UK tax year begins in April so I wasn't taxed on my March paycheck (as it was below the amount you get tax-free). I put that difference (£458.80) plus my planned £230 into savings. I've also put more into savings, but am not necessarily counting on it staying there as it's my "wants" budget items.

As a (small) bonus, since I moved into my flat on April 2, I got £21.67 off my rent for the month.

Payments on my US debts have gone through, so I have updated numbers.

Status:

Code: Select all

-----------------------------------------------------------
ASSETS   [$243,025.49 + £2,058.53]
-----------------------------------------------------------
US Checking           $1,825.33 (-    $91.90)
US Savings              $382.05 (-   $274.20)
US IRAs              $25,318.11 (+   $416.50)
UK Checking             £889.73 (+   £539.71)
UK Savings            £1,168.80 (+ £1,158.80)
House               $215,500.00


LIABILITIES        [$201,778.90]
-----------------------------------------------------------
Mortgage            $174,073.38 [4.99% 30yr fixed]
Home Equity LOC      $26,385.52 [4% variable]
Credit Card 1              $470 [0% until 07/29/10]
Credit Card 2              $850 [0% until 06/01/10]

NET WORTH:
$41,246.59 + £2,058.53 (+2,338.68)

Goals:
1. 3-month Mortgage Fund $3,500
2. 3-month Emergency Fund £5,500
3. 2010 Property Taxes $3,000
4. Home Maintenance Fund $1,200
5. 2010 Roth IRA (Stretch) $5,000

Total: $12,700 + £5,500

Current Numbers:
1. $11.53 (0.3%)
2. £1,168.80 (21%)
3. $53.07 (1%)
4. $0 (0%)
5. $0 (0%)

Total - $65.40 + £1,168.80 (6%)
Last edited by peaceofmind on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

peaceofmind
Posts: 113
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Tue May 04, 2010 3:42 am

So, a few changes recently…

- quit my job (unexpectedly), so now I'm job hunting...hope to settle on something by the end of the week (and if it's the opportunity I'd like, will include a significant pay increase, yay!)
- put 1 mortgage payment into my US savings account to bump that up a bit
- used up almost all of my "extra" savings from April...managed to have £20.20 leftover

May payments have gone through, so another numbers update.

Status:

Code: Select all

-----------------------------------------------------------
ASSETS   [$243,946.67 + £2,038.31] Net Change: +900.96
-----------------------------------------------------------
US Checking             $746.58 (- $1,078.75)
US Savings            $1,243.14 (+   $861.09)
US IRAs              $25,456.95 (+   $138.84)
UK Checking           £1,318.46 (+   £428.73)
UK Savings              £719.85 (-   £448.95)
House               $215,500.00


LIABILITIES        [$201,132.34]   Net Change: -646.56
-----------------------------------------------------------
Mortgage            $173,847.20 [4.99% 30yr fixed]
Home Equity LOC      $25,975.14 [4% variable]
Credit Card 1              $460 [0% until 07/29/10]
Credit Card 2              $850 [0% until 06/01/10]

NET WORTH:
$42,814.33 + £2,038.31 (+1,547.52)

Goals:
1. 3-month Mortgage Fund $3,500
2. 3-month Emergency Fund £5,500
3. 2010 Property Taxes $3,000
4. Home Maintenance Fund $1,200
5. 2010 Roth IRA (Stretch) $5,000

Total: $12,700 + £5,500

Current Numbers:
1. $963.54 (27%)
2. £719.85 (13%)
3. $53.17 (1%)
4. $0 (0%)
5. $0 (0%)

Total - $1,016.71 + £719.85 (9%)
Last edited by peaceofmind on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

peaceofmind
Posts: 113
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Thu May 06, 2010 3:27 am

So, good news all around…

- I start a new job on Monday :D It's a contract gig, so may not last forever, but it also pays £300/day so my paycheck should more than double! I'm still planning on using the £30k baseline to live on and throw everything extra into savings/debt reduction.

- My last big asset in the states sold, which should net me $5,225. Not only is this good news because of the money, it also means my life in the US is pretty much self-sufficient (tenant pays rent, rent goes to mortgage).

I've been thinking about what to do with the $5k, and I think it will get broken down as:
1. $3,000 property taxes to fill that up
2. $1,200 home maintenance fund to fill that up
3. $1,025 mortgage fund to boost that

There's no real logic in converting the money to GBP with the exchange rate, so it may as well all stay in USD. I did think about spending some of it (say, 5%), but there's nothing I really need, and the few things I want aren't really must-haves.

peaceofmind
Posts: 113
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 10:08 am
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Thu May 06, 2010 3:36 am

My bank finally decided to not be silly and actually give me statements, so I have spending numbers for March/April.

Code: Select all

-----------------------------------------------------------
PLANNED                       MARCH            APRIL
-----------------------------------------------------------
Rent           £650 (N)       £0.00 (-)      £628.33 (-)
HELOC          £300 (N)     £300.00 ( )        £0.00 (-)
Groceries      £175 (N)     £122.86 (-)      £107.21 (-)
Bills          £100 (N)       £0.00 (-)      £100.00 ( )
Cell Phone      £25 (N)      £32.51 (+)       £28.64 (+)
Medical         £15 (N)       £7.20 (-)       £13.97 (-)
Pets            £50 (N)       £0.00 (-)       £99.84 (+)
Transport       £50 (N)     £209.00 (+)      £105.80 (+)
Misc           £100 (W)     £122.66 (+)      £584.71 (+)
Clothing        £40 (W)       £0.00 (-)        £0.00 (-)
Dining Out      £60 (W)      £61.25 (+)       £53.60 (-)
Entertainment   £50 (W)      £29.64 (-)       £99.74 (+)
Gifts           £20 (W)       £0.00 (-)       £15.49 (-)
Gym             £50 (W)       £0.00 (-)        £0.00 (-)
Savings        £430 (S)      £10.00 (+)      £688.80 (-)
-----------------------------------------------------------
             £2,115         £895.12        £2,526.13


March: Spent £1,219.88 less than planned, also saved £420 less than planned (no paycheck, though)
Underspent in 9 categories (Rent, Groceries, Bills, Medical, Pets, Clothing, Entertainment, Gifts, Gym)
Overspent/undersaved in 5 categories (Cell Phone, Transport, Misc, Dining Out, Savings)

April: Spent £411.13 more than planned, also saved £258.80 more than planned
HELOC money came from my US account this month (transferred $500 for my May payment)
Underspent/oversaved in 8 categories (Rent, Groceries, Medical, Clothing, Dining Out, Gifts, Gym, Savings)
Overspent in 5 categories (Cell Phone, Transport, Misc, Entertainment)

March Misc:
    Cell phone insurance (canceled today)
    online payment for an apartment listing service (one-time fee)
    buying a US keyboard (one-time event)
    mailing documents back to the US (one-time event)
April Misc:
    Cash (for taxicabs, restaurant tips, etc)
    Household goods (sheets, towels, hangers, microwave, pots/pans)
    Computer parts (monitor, speakers, computer desk)
    Hardware (tape measure, screwdriver)
    Haircut

May need to adjust my budget for transport since £50 looks to be too optimistic.

peaceofmind
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Sun May 09, 2010 11:56 pm

My $5k cleared, so a numbers update is in order. :)

Goals:
1. 3-month Mortgage Fund $3,500
2. 3-month Emergency Fund £5,500
3. 2010 Property Taxes $3,000
4. Home Maintenance Fund $1,200
5. 2010 Roth IRA (Stretch) $5,000

Total: $12,700 + £5,500

Current Numbers:
1. $2,079.79 (59%)
2. £719.85 (13%)
3. $3,000 (100%)
4. $1,200 (100%)
5. $0 (0%)

Total - $6,279.79 + £719.85 (38%)

peaceofmind
Posts: 113
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Revised goals

Postby peaceofmind » Fri May 14, 2010 1:20 am

So I shouldn't really be thinking about a "stretch" goal when my main ones aren't finished yet (though I hope to finish them within the next 2-3 months, assuming all goes well with this contract). I was looking into the tax implications, though, and it looks like it won't work for me to fund my Roth this year (I was thinking I could fund it out of my rental money that's US-based, but that's not official income for a Roth :().

So, that frees up $5,000. I think I will change that goal to be geared towards paying down my HELOC. I've been running the numbers (based on this contracting gig, which is only confirmed through July but may be extended through 2011), and I think I could carve a really nice chunk off of it - possibly almost all of it if I were to opt to not take any vacation/sick time ;). Conservatively speaking, though, if I were just to pay the $500/mo I'm doing now, the balance would be just over $23,000.

With my contract, I should have roughly £600 leftover each week. If I'm conservative and asusme that I can send £450 of that towards my HELOC each week, the balance should be about $10,500 at the end of the year. (That's assuming no missed weeks due to vacation/illness between now and then, though.)

I think my new goal #5 (still stretch, since income may change) will be to get my HELOC balance cut in half (at $12,500) by 12/31/2010. It started at around $27,000 this year thanks to moving expenses, so I'd like to knock $14,500 off the balance over the course of the year.

Goals:
1. 3-month Mortgage Fund $3,500
2. 3-month Emergency Fund £5,500
3. 2010 Property Taxes $3,000
4. Home Maintenance Fund $1,200
5. HELOC Reduction (Stretch) $14,500 [Starting: $27,000, Ending: $12,500]

Total: $22,200 + £5,500

Current Numbers:
1. $2,079.79 (59%)
2. £719.85 (13%)
3. $3,000 (100%)
4. $1,200 (100%)
5. $1,024.86 (7%)

Total - $7,304.65 + £719.85 (28%)

peachy
Posts: 1148
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peachy » Fri May 14, 2010 5:33 am

Are you on track for competing your emergency fund with the $$ you have? I would focus on that, and then worry about the HELOC as your stretch goal.

I would think that having an emergency fund would take priority over the rest of your goals, maybe except the mortgage fund, but it's up to you. Just curious as to why you're more worried about the HELOC than emergencies.

peaceofmind
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Fri May 14, 2010 7:37 am

peachy wrote:Are you on track for competing your emergency fund with the $$ you have? I would focus on that, and then worry about the HELOC as your stretch goal.

I would think that having an emergency fund would take priority over the rest of your goals, maybe except the mortgage fund, but it's up to you. Just curious as to why you're more worried about the HELOC than emergencies.


Oh, I'm not. :) My goal is to take the £600/wk and put it into my UK emergency fund until that's full, and then my US fund until that's full, and then throw it at my HELOC. With my conservative £450/wk estimates both funds should be done in early August, with the £600/wk version they're done in mid-July.

I'm just impatient and want to know what my scenario might be at the end of the year, so I'm planning (far) ahead. :) I won't be doing any extra debt reduction until I have both sets of 3 months' expenses (salary in the UK case) in the bank.

peaceofmind
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Re: New start in a new country

Postby peaceofmind » Wed May 19, 2010 1:23 am

Some good news and bad news this week.

Bad news: I submitted my timesheet on time for last week's work (in order to get paid for it this week), but it has yet to be approved, which likely means I won't get paid until next week. :( Thanks to being jobless for 3 weeks, my bank account balance is pretty low, so I may need to borrow from savings temporarily until the paychecks catch up.

Good news: I left my last job without considering severance pay (because I didn't think I was entitled to it). Turns out I was, so I sent off a letter requesting it, not really expecting it to go anywhere (since I'm still unfamiliar with the legal system here). I got a letter yesterday saying that not only would they pay me my severance pay (1 week's worth), they would also throw in the extra holiday pay that I requested (just for kicks). So that should arrive next Friday as well, and will get sent straight to savings (since it's "found" money).


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