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Archive for March, 2012

March 2012 Net Worth

March 30th, 2012 at 11:35 pm

A day early. The markets are closed tomorrow, and I will have to keep my wallet closed. After all, I want my reporting to be accurate. Smile

The past few months have been kind. My cash is down as you can see. Frown Investments are up. Smile Housing value is up (amazing!). Smile Debt is down. Smile

I missed reporting last month due to illness.

Good Simple IRA News!

March 30th, 2012 at 03:20 am

My employer's retirement plan is a Simple IRA. It has been set up at Edward Jones. A few months ago, our plan advisor chose to leave Edward Jones and open his own investment firm. The two partners at our firm chose to follow him. They gave us employees (all two of us, the third employee does not participate) the option to follow, stay, or move our accounts elsewhere.

Well, it turns out Vanguard will accept "orphaned" Simple IRAs!! I started the paperwork process today. My Simple IRA is moving! I am so jazzed. No more front end loads, no more high expense ratios, and a reduction in annual fees from $40 to $25. Yay!! That means more of my money for me. Smile

In other riveting news, I did a wallet sweep and chipped another $9.38 from my mortgage. What will the huge chunk of granite become as I chip away? Will it resemble Michelangelo's David? Hmmm.

Housing Regrets

March 24th, 2012 at 07:35 pm

To recap my situation, I bought my current house in November 2007 for 231,400. I put down 20% + closing, + had to make repairs out of pocket.

I feel regret pangs when I see what my home is worth today. It isn't so much the loss in value, it is the knowledge that had I waited a few years to buy, I could do so much better today.

Look at this place, in a very nice area:

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Isn't it cute? It is the same size as mine now, with a smaller lot, in a better school district, with a community pool. 97k!!! If I were buying that today and putting the same amount of dollars down, I would have a mortgage of 51k. I would take a 15 or 10 year note, have smaller payments than I currently have, and be done paying YEARS sooner.

What a huge difference that would have made in my retirement plans!

Since time travel is regrettably not possible, there is nothing I can do about that. But I ponder, what CAN I do? Is there some way I can benefit from today's low home prices + low interest rates? Is there an opportunity here for me to add to my modest nest egg?

I am toying with the idea of seeing if I can qualify for an FHA loan, buy a house for 100k or so, rent out my current home, and wait for the day I can sell for enough to get out from under. FHA has a 3.5% + closing down 30 year fixed loan. I would have to pay PMI. I would need to scrape up 7k or so, which would have to come from a retirement account.

Of course, I would have to take a 30 year loan on the new place, not a nice 10 year loan. But the payments would be half of what I pay now. That is the advantage I see. The disadvantage I see is....I don't enjoy being a landlord.

In other news...I had another $2.43 available in my Lending Club account. I transferred and chipped it. I have less than $5 still owed to me, so Lending Club chips are approaching the end.

I sold a gift card on Plastic Jungle for $20. When I receive the check, I will chip that too.

Trying to Get Organized

March 21st, 2012 at 09:34 pm

I am feeling a lot better, but still have not gotten caught up to my usual level of organization. However, I am making a bit of progress. In the past 2 days, I have:

1. Paid my electric bill. A day late! Thank goodness I thought of it yesterday. I ran down to their office, without my bill (can't find it) and paid. I am expecting a $5 late fee to be added to my account. Frown

2. Paid my home telephone bill.

3. Called to cancel my home telephone. (With nephew gone, there is just no need for it.)

4. Returned my Chase Southwest card with a note to please close the account. (Opened for one-time rewards.)

5. Returned my Discover More card with a note to please close the account. (Opened for one-time rewards.)

6. Transferred the $1500 in my Chase checking account (part of my EF, opened to take advantage of a free money offer). It's been 7 months, and I was only required to have it open for 6 months. Once the transfer is posted on the receiving end, I will close the account.

7. Balanced my regular checking account.

8. Did a wallet sweep and chipped $3.29 to my mortgage. Compared what I have actually paid to what I have been scheduled to pay, and was pleased to notice that....I am nearly 1k ahead of schedule!

9. Got my bill book up-to-date.

10. Called Edward Jones (our Simple IRA custodian) rep to get my contribution deposited in Jan 2012 reclassified. They called it a 2012 contribution, so their records of my 2011 contributions did not match my W-2.

My balanced bill plan with my local electric company has just adjusted up, from $132 to $238. I'm not surprised, I knew $132 was too low.

My balanced bill plan with PG & E has just adjusted up, from $54 to $78. That one did surprise me, I thought $54 was plenty.

I'm hoping to be completely organized by the end of the month. We'll see.

Under the Weather

March 11th, 2012 at 07:05 pm

I have been a bit under the weather. Two weeks ago, I had a cold and with it came a deep, hacking cough. The cold is gone now, but the cough remains. The more I move around and talk, the worse the coughing. It is constant. I have been to the doctor twice, completed a round of antibiotics, two different cough suppressants, and she even tried steroids to see if it was an allergy thing. I went for a chest x-ray last Wednesday. The doctor has still not called with the results. I'm annoyed about that. I called the doctor's office Thursday and the results were in, but the doctor still needed to read them.

I have been missing work, and while at work have not been as productive as usual. I am going to work tomorrow, but I am no better. I have no choice, there are some things I must have done before 3/15. It's going to be quite a challenge as I still feel awful.

Between missed overtime and co-payments, this has been costing me plenty of money.

I am way behind on my budgeting, bill-paying, and record keeping. I don't have the energy to catch up right now, either.

At a pre-trial court appearance, my nephew plead no contest to a misdemeanor charge. His sentence includes probation and he can no longer live in my house. He must remain at least 100 yds away from my neighbors for the duration of his probation. This is not a restraining order, it is a condition of his probation. At the moment, he is staying at my mom's house. It hasn't really sunk in yet, that he is gone and not coming back.

And lastly, I did something I hope I will not regret later. I lent my BF $6,000. He was on the verge of losing his house. It is his own fault for dragging his feet for so long. He had scraped up every cent he could, but was still short. Even in this market, the house is worth 500k or so. The mortgage balance was 30ish thousand. So the mortgage is now current. Additionally, he is borrowing some money from an old family friend to pay the mortgage in full. The friend will put a lien on the house in the amount of the loan. So there will be no more mortgage.

The house is a beautiful custom built house in a golf course community. It is an unusual house, modeled after a resort BF's mother and step-father visited in Mexico. There is a pool with a swim up bar in the middle of the house, and lots of tropical plants. The rest of the house is built around it, with views of the pool from every room. There is a master suite and a guest suite, living room, kitchen, home office, laundry, and a third bathroom. Not a lot of rooms, but all of them are large. There are a lot of upscale features. My favorite is all of the windows in the master suite are floor to ceiling. Outside each window are small gardens complete with fountains and a privacy wall. So as you look outside, you simply see lush tropical gardens.