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! :)

Month 39 Update – Navient $15,787.87, NMAC $13,689.14 401k – $9,137 – Roth IRA -2745.85

It’s crazy to think that I’ve been at this for 39 Months.

Naiveté Month 39 Update
Navient Month 39 Update

Broke $2k in my Betterment account finally:

Betterment 07/06/2015
Betterment 07/06/2015

This month I came to the realization of two things:
1) I can save a good chunk of money taking lunch with me to work
2) I don’t want to trade my car in, the used car market is not very appealing. I had honestly been considering a used Honda CR-Z for about $12k with only about 40k miles and a ‘Lifetime” Powertrain warranty. I just hit 12k on this car and it still drives like new. There are a few small door dings that I plan to get fixed eventually. After finding red paint on my side panel and a few weeks ago on my driver’s side door, I decided to park away from the inconsiderate guy who drives a van with the bumper hanging halfway off his car.

Hitting 12k miles on my Nissan
Hitting 12k miles on my Nissan

NMAC – Car Loan Payoff Amount: $13,689.14
Navient – $15,787.87
Credit Card: $1,357.57
Total Debt: $30,834.58

401k: $9,137
Betterment Roth IRA: $2007.40
Brokerage House Roth IRA: $738.45
Total Retirement: $11,882.85

I did have an unplanned expense with the car this month, again… A nail in my tire, right in a spot that wasn’t reparable. $195.38 for parts, labor and tax. I’m not sure if this was one of the tires that I got replaced back in November.

Nail in car tire
Nail in car tire

I did a staycation recently, probably the worst vacation experience since splitting with my ex. I got strep, the above nail in my tire. Chills, splitting headache. The following weeks were not very enjoyable either. More drama in the dating scene. The guy I liked I felt was starting to lose attraction to me. Combine that with an issue involving a $500 fine for a dog the owner said he could have at his condo, a $300 fine where they towed his car the last day he was there, time spent not paying rent because of being stubborn and it going down as an eviction on his record, corporate housing / being borderline homeless. Then a schedule that was opposite of mine. I had a little bit of heart but at the same time I’m not ready for someone I just met to move in with me.

Putting myself out there in the dating scene but I keeping my guard up until I find someone deserving of my time and affection. There is a guy I do like from a personality / physical standpoint…but he pays for half his mom’s rent, can barely pay his own bills and has a massive chunk of student loan debt. Interest is accruing and his job situation is kind of spotty. In 4 years I’d like to have enough money set aside to buy a home. His financial situation is dire and I don’t think that would happen. I hate to make everything about money but it was one of the reasons why my parents divorced, why I am paying student loans still after graduating 7 years ago… It’s important to get right.

I have a lot more to write including a bit of an intervention / beatdown with some of the FIRE (Financial Independence and Early Retirement) community. All my doing, I need someone to model after. Student ready, teacher present. At an interesting point though, my interest on the student loan is under $700 per year. That’s huge progress. When I first started this blog it was $1785. My temporary goal right now is to get rid of credit card debt and restore my (~$300) emergency fund. That may take 2 months. Putting aside a little each week and praying nothing major happens. It stresses me out and serves as a reminder life is a journey not a sprint…

Month 38 Update – Navient $16691.37, NMAC – $13,968.51, 401k- $8718, Roth IRA – $2571.89

Navient Month 38
Navient Month 38 – $16,691.37

NMAC – Payoff Quote
Payoff Amount: $13,968.51
Good Through: 06/18/15
Navient: $16,691.37
Total Debt: $30,659.88

401k – $8,718
Betterment Roth IRA – $1,854.52
TDAmeritrade Roth IRA – $717.37
Total Retirement: $11,289.89

Currently have a balance on my credit cards of about $1000. Depleted my emergency fund to get them to $0 last month, then my car insurance and some other bills hit. I also bought a new external computer display for about $450 which I had been wanting for some time. Have a vacation staycation coming up next week. Definitely looking forward to it. I only took one vacation day so far this year…

Gay date gone wrong

So I went on a date last week. An expensive one. I met him through okcupid. It didn’t go so well.

  1. The guy didn’t look that much like his picture. Some skin issues that kind of repulsed me. If I saw a clear face pic I would’ve been able to make that call before meeting. Also weight – I’ve seen someone his height and weight and they looked kind of hot. For him, I kind of got the impression he just let his body go. No full body pics on the site. Now I know the reason why.
  2. Bad breath. Usually people like to brush their teeth before a date. His breath was figuratively kicking.
  3. Self-deprecating. Yes it was humorous but have a little self esteem on a first date.
  4. On my way to the car, I bird pooped on my hand and they totally bombed the side of my car.
  5. The big one though… The bill… I usually don’t spend that much on restaurants in a week. I had two drinks, he picked the most expensive appetizer on the menu and had two drinks also. Toward the end of our exchange, the server came out and said do you want it together or separate. Before I could utter a word he said together. At this point I was thinking to myself why… I probably won’t want to hang out with you again and don’t want you to expect anything.

When the check came out I paid for the whole thing. $98 with the tip. I was a little tipsy. Unless my date is from a sugar daddy site I think it’s reasonable to split it. He didn’t. He made the assumption I should pay. I was down for the rest evening because I felt a bit used and my dating life has been crappy since getting out of my relationship.

I wonder what would Ramit Sethi say. I’d venture a guess, something about Indian culture and it being cheaper to learn this lesson now rather than later. I at least gave the dude the benefit of the doubt.

Month 37 Update – Navient $18,183.81, NMAC – $14,247.88 401k – $8408.85, Roth IRA – $2478.02

Navient Month 37 Update
Navient Month 37 Update
Betterment Update - May 11, 2015.
Betterment Roth IRA Update – May 11, 2015.
401k Status - May 11, 2015
401k Status – May 11, 2015

For my car:

Payoff Quote

Payoff Amount: $14,247.88 

Good Through: 05/18/15

TDAmeritrade – Roth IRA – 697.02

One of my friends makes over $100k annually and has a net worth above $500k. I found out this through one of the dating sites we’re both on. He seems like a work-a-holic and is always traveling. His hair is basically white and he seems to have a very high amount of stress from his job. Also about 10 years older than I am. My salary is close to half of what his is. So I started thinking. Is it possible I could have a net worth of $250k in a decade? The short answer is yes, but I may need to cut back my spending, start earning more and get gazelle intense with savings.

Month 36 Update: Navient $19,310.05 NMAC – $14,527 401k – 7787.93, Roth IRA – 2133.27

Three years since I started this blog. I owed about $42k to Sallie Mae. Now I’m down to $19,310.04.

Navient Month 36 Update
Navient Month 36 Update
Betterment balance 4/5/2015 - $1488.76
Betterment balance 4/5/2015 – $1488.76

Continuing to invest $75/wk in Betterment for my Roth IRA. That’s more than my car payment. I really want to move to $100/wk but just not comfortable enough with that yet.

Roth IRA - TDAmeritrade 04062015
Roth IRA – TDAmeritrade 04062015
401k Balance April 2, 2015- $7787.93
401k Balance April 2, 2015- $7787.93

My Rate of Return on 401k is 8.64%, this is where the bulk of my money retirement is. I contribute the max of 6% of my income, the company matches 3%. My student loan is at 4.25%, so I feel pretty good about not diverting money away from retirement to get closer to debt freedom.

The same about my car payment. It’s 0%, so paying it off early makes no sense when I can get a positive return on my investment and stay ahead of inflation.I was looking at some late model Mercedes AMG models earlier. A 2006 model went for $114k, today  you can buy one for $23k and less than 60k miles. That’s for a 493hp V8. 15mpg city, 22 hwy. In 10 model years the car lost 80% of it’s value not to mention the high cost of maintenance.

I thought about the winters in New York and my old car. It was starting to show some rust near the rear suspension. I blame the salted roads up north. Some people with the car generation before mine reported the floor boards rusted out. This is in 2002-2006 Altimas, haven’t read anything about the 2007-2012 models but still. My exhaust system basically rusted out before it was replaced due to another service bulletin. Cars up north and near the ocean rust a lot faster.

Last but not least, it was recently the last air date of the Suze Orman Show. I’ve watched this show since the days I was in college. I may not have followed all her advice but it certainly helped my get inspired about getting my financial situation under control. I will miss seeing the episodes streaming every Sunday and hearing people’s stories. Dave Ramsey show is good but doesn’t resonate with me as much as a non-evangelical Christian and a gay man. I owe a lot to my mom and Suze for helping me stay on track.

Some other good news on the horizon, will share it here once I get confirmation. :)

Month 35 Update – Student Loan 20,395.59, NMAC – 14,806.62 Roth – 1,816.31 401k – 7,235.94

Month 35 Debt Free 32 Update
Month 35 Debt Free 32 Update

Almost coming up on 3 years since starting the blog. Wow it’s been a while.

NMAC - Month 35 Update
NMAC – Month 35 Update

To recap my progress, I’m down to 30,395.59 on the Sallie Mae / Navient Loans. 14,806.62 on the Altima @ 0%.

Betterment Update 3/8/2015
1165.08 Betterment Update 3/8/2015

TDAmeritrade Update:

TDAmeritrade Roth IRA Update
TDAmeritrade Roth IRA Update

Employer 401k Update:

401k Balance Update - March 8, 2015
401k Balance Update – March 8, 2015

So I am down about $1,917 on the student loan vs last month. Much of it is thanks to money I got from the house. $6,000 more left. That’s about 30% of the current balance. I didn’t use all the incoming money toward the student loan as other bills were pending. My credit card balance is up to about $1k again, so between that money and my paycheck a good sum will go toward that.

Still working like crazy to get the big loan paid off. Will be getting a bonus in April and that’s gonna go right toward it. I don’t know for sure if I’ll have it paid off by the time I turn 33 but will be within a few months if everything goes according to schedule.

Outstanding money:
$6000 – Getting out of the townhouse
2392.24 – Previous employer bankruptcy claim – WARN Act
1653 – Previous employer claim – Lost wages assuming both of these estimates are correct.
Total: $10,045 So that’s close to 50% of the current SL balance. I expect to get paid for all 3 before my deadline.

I think I’m making good progress so far.