Month 43 – Navient – $13,898.75, NMAC – $12571.66 401k – $10,803.59, Roth IRA – $3562.49

This post was not my best moment, but I’m submitting it anyway.
Month 43 snapshot.

Navient – $13,898.75 @ 4.25%
NMAC – $12,571.66 @ 0%
Credit Card: $1,509 @ 11.99%
Total Debt: $27,979.41

401k – $10,803.59 ($8,088.48 vested)
Roth IRA – $3,562.49
Total Retirement: $14,366.08

  • Some updates:
  • $695 referenced in my last post
  • $43 in Chase reward points
  • Sold my Tesla stock and bought 3 more shares of AAPL
  • Yelled at a Verizon rep since their automatic payment system didn’t work for 3 months in a row. I had late fees and a big nearly $300 bill.
  • Close to $500 car insurance bill coming up next month.
  • Considering Invisalign. My Dental insurance would cover half but the rest I’d be responsible for out of pocket. Could be up to $3k I figure broken down into 12 monthly payments. I did pay $4k for braces back in 2008 but that was to fix some very severe problems. I basically need to get my teeth shifted and put in a permanent retainer if I expect to keep the gap from coming back.
  • Finally got enough in my HSA that I could expense my $300 dermatologist visit.

    Prior to the Verizon incident I was planning to go back to New York and visit my family. Now I don’t feel like I have enough cash leftover to do so. That combined with other bills coming up make it almost impossible to travel without running up a huge credit card bill. My folks are house poor and don’t have extra money to visit me or pay for me to fly up there.  So 2015 looks to be a year where I will do zero traveling to get myself out of this mess of student loan debt.

I could drive to a nearby city, go site-seeing, drink and things like that… but I am still single,  don’t have any close friends or a love interest who I think would be interested. F*ck, not even one person has come by to hang out with me (that wasn’t a date / more than a ‘date’) at my apt since I moved here 11 months ago. Being lonely so often sucks. I get lots of interest on the dating apps, but rarely do things lead anywhere. I try to treat every new day as a new opportunity. The months of trying to get to know people has definitely worn down on soul. Being alone is even worse. I stayed home from work today due to how I felt and man that was horrible. Pretty much just binge watched tv shows…

Getting rid of these student loans has been a marathon, not a sprint. I’ve made so much progress, but have been stressed. I considered refinancing with SoFi or Earnest, but my rate would go up. My minimum required payment would go down, but I have little desire to drag this process out even more.

Thanksgiving coming up. Reminded of my deceased father, grandmother. I saw my ex for the first time on Black Friday 5 years ago. Rest of my family is 1500 miles away. No extra money to travel. Friends situation is 2/10, basically I only get invited to things because of my ex…. Dating life in the crapper. This post is kind of a bummer,  just being real. Tomorrow is a new day. I’m grateful for the things I do have, but it sucks to be alone all the time.


Many months ago I spoke about a past employer of mine. After a few weeks of employment at the company, said employer bounced my last paycheck and didn’t pay me for the final week or so that I worked there.

Well, there was one recent development. I received a portion of the funds that were to come to me as part of the WARN Act. Pre-tax, it came to an amount of $695.  The original amount was supposed to be over $2000 so I’m a bit disappointed. Still technically owed $1188 for the bounced paycheck. No word on that yet. Every bit helps me get closer to my goal.

What did I do with the cash? I bought an iPad! No I’m kidding. It’s being applied to my credit card. Goal is to  break the cycle of half my paycheck going to the credit card every two weeks so I have greater cashflow.

Month 42 – Navient – $14,391.78, NMAC – $12,851.03, 401k – $9912.85. Roth IRA – $3331.43

Hi All,

Still here, chiseling away at this debt over these last few years. Down to just over $14k on the student loans. Sticking to my goal of having them paid off next year. When I write these posts it’s usually after a long day of work and exercise, right before bed. So they’re brief and as well thought out as some of the personal finance bloggers I read about.

Navient Month 42 Update
Navient Month 42 Update – $14,391.78

Car is at $12,851, 0% as I’ve mentioned before. One of my peers bought a new car, a Mazda 3 hatchback, top of the line trim level. His car is sick. I did better with my financing, trade-in and negotiation. On the flip side he kept his old vehicle for about 15 years instead of me after 6 1/2, currently on my 4th car in that timeframe. So maybe I’m the less bright one in this equation… ;)

NMAC Loan October 5 2015
NMAC Loan October 5 2015 – $12,851.03

Moving onto retirement. My 401k at work continues to grow, almost at $10k… The stock market had a good day so numbers are up for now. I keep investing, never wavering. Even if it takes me a little longer to pay down debt. I’m too old to delay. My plan is 401k up to the match, max out Roth IRA if I have the available cash flow. Anything above and beyond that I might do an HSA and invest that. Assessing the pros and cons on that one. I’m thinking a low fee Vanguard Index Fund. Maybe some VHDYX (Vanguard High Dividend Yield Index Fund Investor Shares). I can make great investment choices, it’s getting the money for them that is the challenging part.

Based on what I’ve read a big part of the growth in the market over time comes from dividends. Even my little Betterment account. This month, presumably from quarterly yields I got $14.46 in dividends. Last month it was $3.14. August was $0.46, July $14.42.

401k snapshot October 5, 2015
401k snapshot October 5, 2015 – $9,912.85

I switched my Betterment asset allocation over to 100% stocks, from a 90% stocks / 10% bonds allocation previously. When Janet Yellen made remarks about interest rates rising this year it kind of sealed the deal.I’m staying in the market long enough to where staying in bonds doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Betterment Snapshot October 5, 2015
Betterment Roth IRA Snapshot October 5, 2015 – $2,672.27

My other Roth IRA account is at $659. Ignoring it for now…

TD Ameritrade Roth IRA - October 5, 2015
TD Ameritrade Roth IRA – October 5, 2015

Last but not least… I am very close to having a zero credit card balance again. While my higher income friends go on fancy vacations, expensive restaurants and spend beyond their means I’ve had to humble myself quite a bit to stay on target. I wanted to fly and see my family in New York but this student loan and CC debt is just crippling. I can’t in good conscience continue letting loans that started 14 years ago still be outstanding.

2016 is my year though. The burden of $41k of educational debt being gone once and for all. I struggled for so many years. Staying the path. It hurts like hell and has challenged my sanity at times but I’m not giving up.

Month 41 – Navient $14,895, NMAC – $13,130.40, 401k – $9,361, Roth IRA $3,002.37

Sallie Mae - Month 41 Update

650.41 – TDAmeritrade
2351.96 – Betterment
Total Roth IRA – $3,002.37

$9,361 -401k Snapshot  9/6/15
Total Retirement- $12,363.37

It’s the end of the world, the market just fell 1000 points, no wait it’s back up again, no it’s down again. Bear market, correction, blah blah blah. I read CNBC headlines that make it sound like the sky is falling and we’re on the brink of economic collapse. I’m not buying any of the end of the world philosophies into this and belief that investing in gold will save us all. As of now the market is still down vs where it was before. My Betterment account is down 7.4%. I pumped a little money into it when the market was down.

I invested $2,539 and it’s worth $2,352. No biggie though, I adopt a long term perspective of the market. I’m 32 now, not planning to take the money out tomorrow, 5 years or even 10 years from now. If the market is down over the long term that’s one thing, but with businesses growing as well as global populations that seems unlikely. During the mid 2000s I would wait for pundits in the financial markets to speak about trends in certain industry sectors. I idolized that lifestyle. Then I realized many of them are either overworked, borderline or straight up unethical or selling people things they don’t really need. Lifestyle creep is rampant with these types. I completed my MBA in June of 2008. Horrible time for a guy to graduate with a degree. Fast forward 5 years… Think I’m doing alright.

So August was kind of a crazy month… Where do I start…

  • Someone on my team resigned. She started about 2 years before I did and I liked her. Very detail oriented and knowledgable.
  • Day after she resigned, my boss was let go unexpectedly. I won’t go into reasons on here, but I don’t agree with the company’s decision.
  • I got a raise. More money in my pocket. Basically net an extra $134 a month. Before brushing that off as nothing, my car payment is 280/mo. That’s 47%! Or another way of looking at basically my entire fuel budget for the month. Gas prices are around $2.00 again. I am really glad I didn’t buy the Lexus CT200H or Nissan Leaf I considered. Former has crappy 10.6 sec 0-60 acceleration and the latter batteries that don’t do well in the heat and awful resale value.
  • I had two small cysts removed. One on my chest, one on my back. Doing great. they were about the size of a pencil eraser. The stitches weren’t fun. My skin hasn’t fully recovered but improves more and more each day. The procedure was $300 and the consultation was about $125. Also got a prescription I got for razor bumps which I’ve struggled with for about 20 years for $79.
  • Net worth went positive – Thanks to the progress I’ve been making paying down the student loans, this is the first time my net worth has been positive maybe since buying my car a year ago. I’m now thinking of purchases more in terms of net worth and reaching financial goals and less can I afford it this moment. In 10 years I want to have at least $150k saved toward retirement. Ideally 200k. Can’t do that buying crap I don’ t need to impress people I don’t like.
  • Credit card hit a bout $2100 balance. Basically every time I get paid now, half of my check is going toward it. I have been trying to cut back but certain expenses just don’t go away. Really a raise or better paying job feels like the only way to really stop the leaks.
  • Busy at work – Basically I’ve never been this busy in my entire life at my company. Some weeks more stressful than others. I am trying to get promoted, but there’s only so long you can dangle a carrot in front of a person before they up and leave. If it’s still like this in December I’ll owe it to myself to seek employment elsewhere.

This month:

  • Car maintenance. Tired rotated and balanced. $59.99, got Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic Oil $62.98, an inspection $25.50.  Bought an engine air filter for $18.80, installed it myself. The same with my in-cabin microfilter for $15. Both were quite dirty and I saved money over having the stealer do it. Also had an air bag sensor recall done. Car drives extremely smooth now, not that it didn’t before.

I’m thankful to have a job that has allowed me to make such huge progress on getting out of debt. I get the final installment of the home refinance money next month. Happy to have some semblance of closure on that part of my life. It’s bittersweet. Without the money from the house I might be behind track on getting the student loan paid off. It was a big financial investment on the other hand and stressful at times when $3-10k repairs were lurking at every corner.

Mr Money Mustache

One of the philosophies of Mr. Money Mustache is to live off half of your income and put the rest toward retirement. Then you will have enough saved for retirement after 17 years or something to that effect.
Today, paying off Navient will free up about $500 a month from my budget. That’s 15% of my take home pay. My car payment is 8%  of take-home. Housing is 23%. There is a small condo down the road from me and asking price is $89k. If I were to buy that and do a 30 year mortgage that’s a ridiculously cheap ($350) payment and $2k/yr 166/mo in taxes plus HoA. Granted the place is only like 872ft it’s the principle of it.

Month 40 Update – Navient $15,402.70, NMAC = $13,409, $401k – $9,516, Roth IRA – $2,956

40 Months – Jeez has it really been that long? Sheesh. At least my hair isn’t turning gray yet. :P

Currently owe $15,402.70 to Navient @4.25%.
Been allocating more money in the emergency fund. $600 there.
Credit card balance is ~$1900. Plan to have it paid off by the time the next bill is due.
401k balance is at $9516.
Owe $13,409 to NMAC at 0%.

This is a period where I have to just stick to my plan. Have had a few temptations but succumbing to them will not end up well for me. Been some big changes at my job but I did get a raise. Double the percentage I got last year so that’s a good thing.

Got my next to last check from the townhouse refinance. $1k left to go. This one is going straight into my emergency fund. My ex just bought a new house for close to $275k. I’m not jealous, he can certainly afford it on his income w/ a 30 year note. The townhouse we lived in together is in the process of being sold. Sad in a way, but this is also the start of a new chapter for him. Mostly good memories in the house. He wasn’t interested in the huge amount of repair work for a house that isn’t his dream home. I can’t blame him though, $15k+ in work needed between the driveway, cracks in the wall, possible foundation work, plumbing, air conditioner out. Better to get rid of it now than live in a house you’re lukewarm about with all that work is going on.

Still thinking about when / if I will buy a home again. At 150k, 20% down would be $30k. Plus I’d want to have 6-12 months of expenses set aside. If I do it the right way it looks like that’s still 4 years away. Maybe my numbers are off. Will save that for another post… :P

I’m sleepy so short post this time around.

Wrong Path?

This post I decided to dedicate to the topic of people in my life making poor financial decisions.

Situation 1

One of my friends recently moved from out of state to the DFW area. She has been looking for work for the past few months. Thanks to her connections, she will likely be getting a well paying job within the next few months. The couple took out a 401(k) loan that they plan to pay back over the next few months. Without the 401(k) money as a resource they would be on seriously shaky financial ground. Flash forward to today, they just moved into a luxury apartment for the rent is $1300 dollars per month (my apt is a comparable size, in a slightly less desirable location but still 5 minutes away and $773). Eventually they plan on purchasing a house, but today she doesn’t have a job and for all intents and purposes he doesn’t have a job.

A few years ago they owned a home in another state that went through a short sale because of the downturn in the real estate market. For as long as I’ve known them the husband has not had a full-time job to help support his wife, instead he chose to pursue his passion for theology which doesn’t really pay well and he earns nothing from. I think most people would have a come to Jesus moment where they would work a job that is not ideal but helps their family hit their financial goals. This has not been the case.

The wife is also providing financial assistance to her parents and brother. My guess is this has amounted to over $100k over the past decade. It’s very noble that she’s cares so much about her family, but I don’t think she is concerned enough about herself.

It’s not my place to cast judgment on my friends, but I wish I was able to impart wisdom on them. They haven’t realized it now but I think they’re setting themselves up for financial failure in the long run. looking at the power of compounding, the importance of having a sizable nest egg and not living beyond your means, They’re failing on multiple counts. On the bright side I think she will be back on target in the next 2-3 years. I have tried to help the husband with finding a job but haven’t been so successful at that. He doesn’t seem very motivated and I can’t force someone to be driven. Sure I believe in the power of faith but also that god allows us to help ourselves.

Situation 2

One of my other friends recently confided in me she has over $120,000 dollars in student loan debt. At what interest rates you might ask? Between 5-9%. Currently she is on the income-based repayment plan, commonly referred to as IBR. She quit her stressful corporate job and instead works as a babysitter. Although she’s well paid for what she does, she’s making minimum payments on her loans while interest accrues. Combined she and her husband grossed over $100k last year. Gross vs net though, two very different things.

Let’s look at a compounding. Starting out with a $120k balance and paying $300/mo. I don’t know exactly how much she pays but it’s probably less than that. I used this calculator so no idea how accurate the numbers really are.
Year 1 : $127,505
Year 2 : $135,713
Year 3 : $144,692
Year 4 : $154,512
Year 5 : $165,254
Year 6 : $177,004
Year 7 : $189,856
Year 8 : $203,914
Year 9 : $219,290
Year 10 : $236,109

Luckily in her case she is set to inherit 2 houses in the US and another in another country. Down to road she could sell those and be student free. Not everyone has this luxury and what does that leave her with? An underfunded retirement plan, no real estate and probably some hefty tax bills. She’s given up hope and is just paying what she can for now.

My father died with serious debt. Over $50k as I recall, mostly from medical expenses. I wasn’t blessed with a silver spoon in my mouth. I’m not perfect. I love my friends and family and wish the best for them. Seeing my father poor from the age of 2 up until I was 20 left a lasting impression on me. He didn’t have any much control over his situation, due to his renal failure. As long as I am able to I’m gonna fight damn hard to learn from all of this. To do otherwise would just be plain ignorant Life is more than money, but a few poor decisions can haunt us for a lifetime.

32 – Reflections on Life

So currently my blog is called Debt Free 32 – ONE MAN’S MISSION TO GET RID OF 45159.35 OF DEBT.
I may be renaming it in the near future. The style of this post is more raw from the heart vs my standard super logical approach. I’m turning 32 in less than 2 weeks.


What thoughts are associated with 32?
Reflection for one. Relationships, loved ones lost at an early age. Completion of High School, each of my three college degrees, the incredible amount of progress I’ve made over the years with my personal fitness. Moving 1500 miles away to Dallas without a clue of fully knowing what to expect. Six months of applying to jobs  in a career where my passion was dead but just did because I that’s what I spent a half decade doing. Surely nothing wrong with that strategy right?+ Struggles with paying back a debilitating amount of Student Loan debt proportional to my income, five figures of interest accruing over the years. Interviews where I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that this job is going to be like torture. An MBA graduate at 24 there I was interviewing for a job paying $36k with no room for advancement and trying to sound jazzed about it. Almost getting a job paying over $50k a year only to have the HR people tell me they weren’t hiring for the next 3 months.

Then…. I reached a tipping point. NO LONGER would I let debt paralyze me. I’m intelligent,  maybe limited at times anxiety and overanalyzing situations where people are busy or don’t connect with me…. but…. Other people my age have been able to get out of debt. A long time watcher of the Suze Orman show since the early 2000s I saw their stories each week along with people who had a much deeper hole to get out of. I only had $47k of student loan debt. Some people have six figures and work as a barista at Starbucks. One guy on Suze’s show went to school to become a pilot. Things didn’t work out and he had $200k of debt making less than $20 per hour.

What advice would I give to myself? Move. GTFO Long Island. Too expensive to live, staying with your parents because you can’t afford to be on your own is not good for your emotional and mental health. Being in place where your neighbors stare at you 60% of the time going in and out of the house is crazy. Having shootings just a mile away from where you live and gas stations robbed at gunpoint is crazy. Seeing your folks pay $9k/yr in taxes on each of two houses each year is crazy. The amount of stress most people have and all the gang activity is crazy. DON’T be status quo. DON’T get stuck working that job you only took as a temporary measure. DON’T be the 30 year old guy who works at the video store and still lives with mom and dad because they never strived for anything else in life.

As far as things TO DO. DO invest in yourself both mind and body. DO make friends of the caliber you think will enhance your life not take away from it. DO invest at an EARLY AGE. DO be a contrarian and value investor, the media uses people as pawns in ways, when the stock market is tanking that’s the best time to invest (I would’ve doubled my money if I followed this advice). DO diversify and avoid expensive fees from financial advisors. DO listen to people smarter than you who have turned their lives around.

Last but not least…. 32 is still really young. I was chatting with someone on a dating app who is… Wait for it…. 57 years of age. Great guy, in awesome shape, established and very handsome. Just practically a guy who is probably going to retire in the next 5 years vs me having 30 left. If he was in his 40s sure but technically he is older than my mom and almost as old as my dad were he still living.

Ric Edelman has predicted many of us who are alive now will live to over 140 year due to advances in science and medicine. I don’t know about that but even if we shift closer to 100… Still a long time.
My main message to my readers / friends who read this is….

Embrace life. Don’t get stuck so much in thoughts that you forget to enjoy all the wonderful experiences out there. Many things are temporary in life including debt. Keep calm, smile, enjoy being single or with that special man or woman in your life. Be happy for who and what you are.

That’s all I got for now. Happy Sunday! :)