Mid June Update – Back From Mexico!

Mid-June 2017 update

Yesterday I returned from Puerto Vallarta where I got the joy to experience the unity of two friends in marriage (yes one of my ex and I initially wasn’t going to attend). The trip was a balance between having as much fun as possible I’ll also being practical. I had fun but didn’t go overboard.

Specific to credit card debt my balance as of today is $8,055. I will have an additional charge of approximately $90 which includes food and alcohol for 3 nights at the resort. I paid some friends $100 in cash to watch my dog, a cheaper rate than leaving her with a dog watcher (~$150). There were some other meals involved at the airport / miscellaneous purchases that were ~$100. I saved $200 by doing DFW -> AUS -> DFW on Wednesday then DVR ->PVR.

I started reading a book called Bachelor Pad Economics by Aaron Clarey (assholeconsulting.com fame). It’s one of those books that really makes you take a step back and assess whether the decisions being me today are having a positive impact on your future. A common theme is to focus on having fewer things and more experiences of people. The concept of not being the richest man in the graveyard is a common theme.

Between my company and insurance I’m being charged a $25 dollars fee per paycheck again because I have not completed proper coaching pertaining to being overweight. Have one session remaining and would gladly have began earlier, but I’m at the mercy of the coach’s schedule and my own with work. Not a huge sum of cash but the principle itself is what bothers me….

A little over halfway through 2017 a time I reflect on the things that worked, didn’t work and what I’m doing to help me get closer to my goals. What prolific thoughts do I have????

  1. Death by 1000 cuts – little shit adds up fast. Like that $10 membership, or $15 glass of alcohol. Or fancy entree that costs twice as much as everything else on the menu. I write a god damn blog on this and sometimes I don’t look at my expenses as closely as I should.
  2. You can’t be a penny pincher with everything. There is a time and place. You can’t take things with you when you’re dead. So live a little. If you’re like me get the v6 instead of the slow 4 cylinder. Or a moderately fast / light road bike over the heavy cheap one you will regret riding every time. Or for special events like weddings, family you haven’t seen in a year, it’s okay to splurge a little bit.
  3. Insurance – Get it. Self employed are at a disadvantage because it costs way more. Without it you’re looking at medical bills for years, or bankruptcy instead of a 6 month inconvenience.
  4. Work within reason. I got my Bing certification along with Google AdWords / Analytics. I work hard while at work but I really try not carry it with me. I may hit up a library or Starbucks after work, but it’s always things that will help drive me further long term. Closer to 6 figures/year. Today without any debt I’d be doing amazing, with I’m still doing really well compared to many other millennials.
  5. I love vacations. Hope to do more while I’m young enjoy to enjoy them and have no physical mobility issues.  I also have 3 more weeks left of vacation for the year…. Why the heck not?? 😛
  6. Lighten the fuck up – Joan Rivers was right. Life is short, you should enjoy it. Some folks just want to be a victim, complain all the time and do nothing to change the situation. I used to be like them. Life isn’t perfect but focusing on the solution works tons better.

Here are some pics from my trip. I could write a lot more about the trip, but I know my audience… Be well. Live with passion. ❤

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My Smart Dumb Friend – $80k in debt then leases a $55k car

So I have a friend… He is very intelligent and works as a software engineer. In the last 12 months he relocated to Seattle from Dallas to accept a job with a similar salary to the one here but much higher expenses.

  1. Rent – Dallas it was around $1200/mo for a nice 2 bedroom place. Seattle in a neighborhood he considers a huge downgrade, the rent is $2400/mo. He wants to upgrade to a $3k/mo apartment.
  2. Salary – I don’t know the exact number, I’m guessing it’s around $80k/year.
  3. Insurance – He has multiple accidents on his record. His Hyundai coupe was financed for around $35k and he had negative equity on the car that he traded in and needed some major repair work on before. He had an umbrella policy but recently his provide dropped him because they deemed him too high risk.
  4. Total debt – His number was around $80k and a big chunk of that is medical debt, credit card debt and I’m sure some of his rent that he put on the card to get points. My friend is a good person but also likes to live a fancy lifestyle. In April he sounded serious about getting the total amount down. He considered bankruptcy at one point before some other friends put together a financial budget for him. Say $80k at 20%/yr. Not factoring in principal payments that is $16k in interest.
  5. Retirement – He’s taken out 401k loans / stopped contributing to pay off debts. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that in his late 20s, there is close to $0 in retirement.
  6. Auto debt – So his Genesis coupe needed new shocks, he couldn’t get the factory ones for his car. Those would probably run around $800 with parts and labor included. He needed to get some expensive racing ones that wound be a total installed cost of about $2k. Due to his poor credit / high interest rate, negative equity and extremely high mileage, he was upside down about $6k on his car. He took it in for service and discovered his transmission was cracked. Cracked means it’s only a matter of time before there is some type of catastrophic failure. With the accidents and 72k on the powertrain I’m pretty sure a warranty would not cover it… The trim pieces have also been flying off the car probably because of the automatic car washes he was taking it to at least once a week… So what does he do?

    He leased a car with a base price of $55k, a 5.0L Hyundai Genesis v8 sedan. Sure the thing is a beast but his payment is $900. Over 36 months he pays $32,400. That is factoring in $8k he got for the trade-in, tax and maintenance. Suddenly the $541 / $32,460 after 60 months for a car I get to keep doesn’t seem nearly as bad.  I want to slap my head sometimes. My friends don’t know about this blog, nor do they ask for my feedback on anything related to money. I’m not perfect but I have a few accomplishments under my belt.

Looks can be deceiving…

Avocado Toast

I’m a millennial and I never had avocado toast nor do I drink $4 coffees. However I urge you to read the blog post by Ramit Sethi – LOL at this avocado toast advice from a millionaire.

Original: Millionaire to Millennials: Stop Buying Avocado Toast If You Want to Buy a Home http://time.com/money/4778942/avocados-millennials-home-buying/

Freely spending on avocados — the pricey, popular superfruit beloved by young people — may be one of the reasons why some young people can’t afford a house, according to Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner.

“When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each,” Gurner told the Australian news show 60 Minutes.

I’m lacking the mental focus / time / energy to write a well thought out post so happy reading. 😛

Let’s Talk Rent

I’ve been in my apartment complex since December 2014. My neighbors are friendly, the grounds are well-kept, maintenance is fairly receptive, and the location is great for my job / social circle.

Currently my rent is about $843/mo. I consider this on the lower end of the spectrum for what passes as safe and livable.

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Just because someone lives in a fancier apartment is no guarantee of increased safety. or higher living standards. The below image was posted to Facebook by a friend and happened just last week in Plano. In the comments a guy said his bike was stolen out of his garage of another place, when his rent was the highest of his entire life. In the “ghetto” he never had such problems. Bad things can happen anywhere.

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Poor guy whose rims were stolen

Let’s say a starter home here in the North Dallas area goes for $150k.

20% Down: $30k
10% Closing costs: $15k
Taxes per year 3%: $4500
Fixed Mortgage Rate: 3.5% 15yr mtg = $858/mo * 12=$10,296
Fixed Mortgage Rate: 4.2% 30yr mtg = 590/mo * 12=$7,080
So for the first year costs would be approximately $60k and about $15k per year after that assuming no maintenance costs. Some say put 2% aside for maintenance. That adds an additional $3k/yr. Also say $200/mo for HOA. That’s about $20k/yr for a house. For a 30 yr mortgage: about $58k the first year and $14k/yr after that.

Long story short unless my income hits $100k+ I probably won’t be buying a house anytime soon. At 33 I think it would be more of a burden than anything else. Aggressive ramp-up of my retirement in these coming years. Soon as the credit card is gone I think I can comfortably set aside over $1000-1500 more a month toward it than I do today. Bedtime… zzzz

April 2017 – Credit Card Update $8,595.70

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Updated the table again with April actual numbers. I came up short by about $309. $110 of that was my car alignment. $107 was my fitness watch. $40 were tolls. I almost never take the tollway but was running late to work / social gatherings a few times. It’s not the end of the world though.

Frontier finally sent me a credit for the service I cancelled in December. It was $75.74. Some might use that for a nice dinner out, but for me that money went toward my AT&T Wireless bill for the month.

May will be a better month, but the important piece is I’m tracking everything. I was over $10k in February and have been chipping away.

It’s been a while since I spoke about retirement. So here we go…
401k: $25,279.79
Roth IRA: $907.15
Total Retirement: $26,186.94

Debts:
Car Loan @ 1.9%: $25,174.07
Credit Card: $8,595.70
iPhone 7 Plus Installments: $666.99 / $869.99
Total Debt: $34,436.76

I think $2k/mo is the most I feel comfortable paying on credit cards without being stressed out about having anything leftover. Thankfully this is short term and not forever. I don’t know 401k + Roth combined.

Also am getting the urge to travel more on the cheap. After Mexico and one NY trip that may be it for 2017. Starting 2018 I’d like to make that 4 times a year. We’ll see.

Gratitude – Random thoughts

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, something I frequently  remind myself of is to have gratitude. Even when things may not be perfect *yet* there still is a whole lot to be thankful for. Why do I have gratitude today?

  1. Officially getting a promotion in the next 2 weeks. Fancier title and more money are both pretty big wins in my book.
  2. So I bought a new car a year ago. My payments total $32,460. My payoff as of today 4/22/17 is $25,164.91. That means 19% done. With my compensation increases, I’m essentially basically covering the entire car payment. If I get bonuses that will go above and beyond. I remember years ago struggling just to pay a $349/mo payment and almost 6% interest on top of that.
  3. Along with point #2 I am comparing my pay when I was in New York vs where I am today. My net is over 250 higher%. That’s not including a 401k match or what I contribute. Leaving the banking industry was probably the best thing I ever could have done for my career.
  4. I’m making progress. Instead of 1600/mo toward credit cards I think I can pull $2k/mo. It’s a short term thing fortunately.
  5. Friends – Glad to have people around who are supporting my efforts to grow and become healthier.
  6. Health – My dad was on dialysis at my age and had other health issues which severely limited his options to do much. I am fortunate enough not to deal with any of that. I’m overweight (working on that), have minor stuff like asthma but that’s it. One of my aunts has emphysema, requiring the use of an oxygen tank. My grandmother also struggled for years with the same thing. It’s so easy to take good health for granted, but I try not to.

The last point is… on life – Each day is an opportunity to see more of the world, meet great people and grow as an individual. Hopefully meet a special guy someday. Overall I feel happy and relatively free to go where I want and spend time with who I want. I count my blessings everyday in a world where bad things happen to good people everyday. To be miserable and angry all the time is a horrible way to live. No one truly knows what the future holds, but I will try my best to make it a great one.