Saturday, March 15, 2008

S.O.’s Salaries --- A Drive Down Peachtree Dunwoody Rd (Part 2)

So yesterday, I told you all about the conversation Fashionista and I had while driving down Peachtree Dunwoody Road on our way to lunch, now for the even more interesting conversation on the way back from lunch.

We had just come from a good girl gossip lunch and had discussed Fashionista’s latest beau who’s she down right giddy over – I’m most excited for her, she needed a guy she could get giddy about (she and her fiancĂ© ended their relationship of over 5 years about 8 months ago). We were driving back down Peachtree Dunwoody Road and we passed the 7 bedroom house again and I commented that I still can’t imagine what their salary is to be able to obtain these homes. We started talking a little bit more about this and then we passed another McMansion with kids in the yard and she made the comment that she’d like to be like the mom who lives in that house.

Fashionista started talking about how she hopes to be with someone (as in married) who can support her if she chose to stay home with or without kids. She then proceeded to tell me dollar values of latest beau’s salary and bonuses. I couldn’t believe it, she and latest beau have only been dating for about a month and a half, plus its not like she’d ever even told me her salary information. I really like latest beau and I just can’t see him salary dropping without being prompted.

I was totally shocked and told Fashionista how surprised I was that she new his salary. (I was also shocked that she told me, and shocked with how much latest beau made, I think I’m going to become a consultant too. j/k about becoming a consultant) I asked her if she’s asked him that information and she said she had in a round about way. They both have talked about their salaries and their future salary potentials especially since they are in the same field.

I joked with Fashionista about what she does she do on the first date say “so what’s your salary so we can go ahead and schedule this second date?”

Fashionista said “No, that’s not it, we just talk about stuff and it would work its way into the conversation. Come on you can’t tell me you don’t know salary.”

“Umm…no we’ve never discussed salary, I could probably take a good guess because of the type of work he does and the fact that he works for the government but I’ve never asked and he’s never volunteered.”

Fashionista was shocked, how could I be dating him and not know his salary. I told her I knew the more important stuff, like the type of person he was, his life goals, how compatible we were and financial goals (not in terms of dollar amounts).

Even though we haven’t talked about salary I guess we have crossed a little into “taboo” IMHO financial items such as net worth. I have a ballpark idea of that his net worth is, but that’s because we talk about investments, savings vessels, and future goals. He’s never told me a dollar figure and I’ve never told him a dollar figure. I’m sure he has a ballpark idea of what he thinks my net worth is but I bet he’s deflated it a little. In fact I think he’d be shocked to know what net worth I do have, I’m sure he’s thinking I probably have a net worth of half or a quarter of what I have because I’m only a few years out of college and he knows I put myself through school where as he’s been out of college for about seven years.

I’m not sure if I’d even want to know his salary. At this point, how would that change our relationship if I new his salary. I suspect he makes a good bit more than me (I’m guess around 20% more) but I really don’t know. What if I make more? I’m not opposed to that, I know if Mr. Be-Mine and I have a future that eventually I’d probably make more than him, just because I work in private industry and I still have a lot of room for advancement where as Mr. Be-Mine after his last promotion topped out and has no where else to go on the career ladder without changing jobs.

What do you think? When should you divulge salary and net worth? After you know does it change things?

PS Check out Living Almost Large’s blog, on the right hand column she has informal poll results as to when you should divulge this info.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Mc Mansions --- A Drive Down Peachtree Dunwoody Rd (Part 1)

Fashionista and I were driving down Peachtree Dunwoody Rd in Atlanta the other weekend on our way to a girls lunch/gossip session. (For those of you not familiar with Atlanta – that part of town is where the mega McMansion’s reside). Fashionista and I were ridding along and couldn’t help talking about homes with for sale signs advertising their price and size. There we two homes in particular we(me) couldn’t believe a 7bd/8ba house of 4.3 million and a 6bd/6ba house for 3.7 million. I say we(me) because Fashionista said sees herself in a home like that one day.

I on the other hand, even if I had a billion sitting in the bank I don’t think I’d use some of that money to buy one of these homes – I mean what would you do with all the bedrooms, these homes are so large they already have offices, gyms, craft rooms, and just about every other room type most of us “normal” folks would use extra bedroom(s) for.

I commented that I wanted to know what these people did for a living. I mean seriously what do these people do to make the kind of money to buy/ qualify for a mortgage to buy these homes. It’s not just like there’s only one house like this and a Donald Trump type lives there, these multi-million dollar homes are all over plus there’s a ton of condo’s coming into the market that are selling at over a million dollars. In fact my company is building several condo’s where the smallest units go for a million, no, not the penthouse that one goes for about 15 million. Shesh!

Fashionista made some suggestions for their jobs including investment banker, doctor, lawyer, business owner, and real estate investor.

Now I know this might be possible but it still blows my mind.

Their salary has to be ridiculous – on the drive I did a quick calculation and dividing 4.3 million by 3, the common rule of thumb I’ve seen for mortgages is your house should be about 3 or less times your annual salary, which means they’d have to be making about 1.5 million are year. Before posting this I went to my bank’s calculators and discovered to be qualified to have obtain a mortgage with $880,000 down (20% of the purchase price of 4.3 million for a house) you would have to make $75,000 a month - which is more than I make in a year! If you had no money down you would have to make more than 100,000 a month. I couldn’t even figure out the real value as the calculator will only let you impute up to 100,000 a month income and it comes short of reaching the 4.3 million mark for your loan. Pure craziness!

There’s more good conversation to discuss on this blog from our drive down Peachtree Dunwoody Road beyond Multi-Million Dollar Homes, check tomorrow for that portion. In the mean time, would you ever consider buying a home that expensive? What do you think these people do for a living? And for my pure curiosity since we’ve recently had the in debt debate - could these Multi-Million Dollar Home Owners be in debt beyond their mortgage?

Don't Forget My Comment Contest Ends March 28th!

Hey All - just wanted to take a second and remind everyone of the comment contest that runs until Friday, March 28th. Click here to find out all the details of the contest.

I really appreciate your comments and feedback which why I'm holding the second contest of this kind. So happy commenting. Remember the more comments the more entries.

Feds Please Stop Dropping the Interest Rates - You're Hurting Us

Check out Seb’s Open Letter to Ben Bernanke at Pinching Copper.

At first I bookmarked this article to including in my round-up but then I decided it was too good to wait, especially since it seemed to be talking right to me because of my frustration with dropping interest rates both with my car savings at Emigrant Direct and my savings at my brick and mortar bank.

Over the last few days I’ve been exchanging emails with a reader about passive income (note to self – write a post about passive income soon) and I had calculated that last year I earned $2,919 from my house down payment CD’s and Emergency Fund Money Market.

It got me thinking about the amount of interest I’m going to be “loosing” this year because of the interest rate cuts. By the end of the year all of my laddered CD’s will have expired and I will need to renew at a lower interest rate. Last year my CD rates were around 5%, so far I’ve had to renew two of them for around 3% plus my money market has dropped from 4.5% to a measly 2.7%. Doing a few quick calculations I’ve discovered I’m going to make about $1,000 less this year from this passive income.

Ben – listen to Seb he speaks for all of us who were financially responsible. Please don’t punish us for other’s mistakes.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Money, Money...Money! (sing it with me now) -- Tax Refund is Coming!

Singla Ma provided a link that allows you to track your refund. As promised in my tax post, I was really good I waited almost two weeks after mailing in my federal taxes before I started checking almost daily on my refund. Until today it always said it had not been received...BUT today, I log in and and guess refund is scheduled to be direct deposited on March 18!!! Yeah!

Now I just have to figure out what to do with my tax refund? What are you doing with yours?

The Future Millionaire Glossary

Editor's Note: Originally Posted on 3/12/08. One reader emailed and suggested I link the glossary terms to posts so here it goes...(ps I've not linked to every article these terms are referred to in, but I have tried to link some of them to the most "interesting" - hope it helps). I'll also try and update this as I go along.

Original Post:
I’ve received a few emails from readers about my ling-o and asking who/what some of the names I used as well as some back story of some of the people I talk about. So I thought I’d take a few minutes and give you the Future Million Glossary. Hope you enjoy! Let me know if there are any other terms that need to be added to the glossary.

ATL: Abbreviation for Atlanta, a large city of over 5 million located in Georgia. This was the home of Future Millionaire until accepting a “lateral growth move” that transferred her to V-town. After the completion of FM’s current job in April of 2008 she will be moving back to the ATL.

Big Daddy: A co-work of FM who she really likes for his wacky sense of humor and straightforward manner, named for recently becoming a father to a beautiful baby boy. FM was shocked to recently find out that Big Daddy and his wife, Big Mama, are in debt.

Big Spender: Also referred to as slacker (yeah yeah yeah - FM should really keep consistent terminology). Big Spender / Slacker is a co-worker of FM. From the posts about this person you can probably gather that he’s not her favorite person. Big Spender is in major debt and complains about it all the time and yet he fails to take any action to correct this.

Car Enthusiast: One of Future Millionaire’s long time friends. He also went to college with FM and is like a girlfriend to FM and The Councilor. Car Enthusiast is like the brother FM never had, oops wait FM does have two brothers, well like the third brother FM never had. PS Ladies he’s not gay, in fact he is single and looking for the right lady. Recently, the Councilor and FM have been on a search for the right woman for him since he’s never found the right fit – the current women The Councilor and FM are trying to set him up with is perfect for him, she just has to be convinced of it.

Cyclist: One of FM’s co-workers and an overall great guy. FM really enjoys his wisdom and patience. On a financial side he’s completely debt free, even has his mortgage paid off. FM is quite impressed with his financial “savy-ness” – not in investing because Cyclist hates the stock market, but in his ability to save and budget.

Debt: A Four letter word that FM plans never to have (with the exception of a future mortgage).

Financial Independence: FM’s goal for the future. FM see’s Financial Independence as a mathematical equation that reads: Passive Income = Desired Life Style Expenses.

Fashionista: One of Future Millionaire’s best friends. Fashionista was FM’s roommate in college and following graduation up to FM’s move to V-town. When FM returns to Atlanta, Fashionista will be FM’s roommate again. Fashionista works as a consultant for an Industrial Engineering Firm, she’s also really into fashion and high dollar items – she wouldn’t be caught dead without a designer purse and sunglasses.

FM: Abbreviation of Future Millionaire (see Future Millionaire)

Future Millionaire: The pin name for the author of Saving Savy by a Future Millionaire.

‘lil bro: FM’s youngest, younger brother who just turned 13 and lives in North Carolina. Unfortunately, FM rarely gets to see him since he lives about 14 hours away from V-town, but they exchange emails daily and when they see each other ‘lil bro likes to beat FM at a game of Wii bowling.

Mr. Be-Mine: Future Millionaire’s S.O. He first appeared in a post on Valentine’s Day and as usual Future Millionaire’s lack of creativity in naming people shined through so he was named after the Holiday. Rumor has it that Future Millionaire does not really like this nick name and is thinking of giving him a different name.

Mr. VP: FM's former Boss. A very funny guy and very knowledgeable about the industry.

My brother: FM’s older, younger brother. He currently attends U[sic]GA, which is one of Georgia Tech’s biggest rivals. My brother is studying to become an accountant so you can imagine FM’s excitement for him to graduate and start doing her taxes. Despite the geographical distance (not to mention the school alliance issue) my brother is also FM’s running partner for long races, in fact the Marathon running started due to a bet over college football pride.

My mom: FM’s dear mama, who she loves dearly and respects greatly – just not when it comes to money. My mom is a single parent school teacher who gave everything to provide a good home environment for my brother and FM.

Retirement: Something FM plans to be financially ready for in her 50’s, even if emotionally she’s not ready and keeps working well into her golden years.

Slacker: (see Big Spender)

Teach: FM has been friends with Teach for over 10 years - since freshman year of high school. Teach and her hubby are struggling to get out of student loan debt and buy their first house. Teach often overreacts to life and finances so she seeks FM to calm the waters and provide advice.

The Councilor: FM’s best gal pal. The Councilor, appropriately named The Councilor because she’s in grad school to be a career councilor, often provides the emotional side of life that FM sometimes forgets when she attacks problems in life with her engineering “get ‘er done” attitude.

V-town: Future Millionaire’s affectionate term for the city of Valdosta. Valdosta is a “small” town in South Georgia (approximately 4 hours south of Atlanta, Georgia). V-town is also the current location of Future Millionaire’s job and residence.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Is this a Case of Bait and Switch?

RRRRGGGG – I just logged into Emigrant Direct’s on-line banking to see if I had earned any interest since opening the account in February. Much to my surprise I discovered the interest rate on my savings account had dropped from when I had opened the account. When I opened the account the interest rate for a savings account was 3.6%. When choosing an on-line bank for my car savings the deciding factor to open up an account at Emigrant Direct was the interest rate as their services were nearly identical to their competition.

I decided to check out their competition and see if they had decreased interest on savings accounts too. This would prove to me that it was a market effect due to the economy and not just Emigrant Direct lowering interest rates. I log onto Bank Rate and wouldn’t you know, none of Emigrant Direct’s competitors had lowered interest rates. HSBC Direct was still at 3.55% and ING was still at 3.4%, both higher than Emigrant Direct’s current rate.

I’m not a happy camper. L I go to bank rate’s calculators to determine the interest I’ll be loosing by having a lower rates and in the long term having a lower interest rate is only the difference of about 3 months to meet my car savings goal with Emigrant Direct rather than ING.

I guess I’m staying with Emigrant Direct since I don’t want to be opening and closing savings accounts every month to chase after the best interest rates.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Everyone’s in Debt? Really?

Last Wednesday I rode back from the Hockey Game with two co-workers who I used to work in the same department with until I was transferred to Valdosta (I’ll be back working in the same department with them once I move back to Atlanta in April). One, we’ll call Baby Daddy*, is in a comparable position as I am but a few years older, the other, we’ll call Cyclist is a few decades older and is two positions higher than Baby Daddy and myself.

* Just to clarify – I named him Baby Daddy because his wife just gave birth two months ago to a beautiful baby boy. Not because he’s some deadbeat or anything.

So the three of us are riding back together, gossiping about work stuff and catching me up on all the happenings I’ve been missing while working out of town. Somehow we got away from the work gossip and on to the topic of how compared to a lot of people we were all better off – and we weren’t talking about just financially. Cyclist was talking about having an amazing wife, Baby Daddy was talking about the new baby and being a first time Daddy. Eventually we worked our way around to finances – we agreed we were lucky to have good jobs, a stable company, opportunities for advancement, and a good 401k plan. Then Baby Daddy asked if we’d ever seen CNBC’s the Millionaire Inside. Of course I have – I’m really into financial stuff, but Cyclist had not, since he doesn’t have cable so Baby Daddy explained the show to Cyclist – “People who are seriously in debt come on the show and experts try to help them change and become financially successful”. Baby Daddy talked about how seeing these people who are millions of dollars in debt makes him feel better about his lack of substantial savings. We all start going on and on about how horrible it must be to be that far in debt and I talked about how I have a really hard time relating to how you can get to that point of debt problems (in the millions people) and not realize there’s a problem and make a change. Cyclist agreed with me and added that even if you get into a thousand dollars of debt you’ve got to realize there’s a problem and do something to fix it. “So neither one of you is in debt?” Baby Daddy wanted to know. We both said no, I have no debt and Cyclist has none and even has his house paid off. Baby Daddy couldn’t believe this, and said we must be the only two people in the country who’s not in debt. This made me start thinking about if debt was the norm rather than the exception.

I further started thinking about this after a comment my mom made to me. On Saturday we were walking at the park and she was talking about her money woes and how she just can’t seem to make it all work. I love my mama and was sympathetic to her plight but seriously it’s the choices she makes for examples she has a $200 cable bill but claims she can’t find anything on TV to watch – but I digress the post isn’t about her money choices. At the end of her complaints she shrugged her shoulders and said “I guess everyone’s in debt”.

Baby Daddy and my Mom both think everyone’s in debt. Is everyone in debt, are Cyclist and I the only ones not in debt?

I know we hear statistics all of them about the average savings is negative and how the average non-mortgage debt per household is about $14,500 . But does that really reflect the typical lifestyle in America or is this just a perception that helps to promote more debt? I started thinking about what the median debt and savings could be. With an average you’ve got extreme lows and extreme highs, but the median would tell you what most people are doing. I just can’t imagine that more than half of the population is in debt (other than mortgages). I mean how are these people going to retire, how are the current retires living if not off of savings, what’s going to happen to this economy if the majority of people are in debt? It could be my perspective, and its not like people tell you they are in debt but if I quickly count up in my friends circle the couples or individuals (those who are not married) who I think have savings even if its not substantial but at least they are in the black, and that’s about 12 married couples/single people compared to about 3 couples/people that I’m fairly certain do not have any savings. Hmmm…at least in my friend group I’d say that the majority of American’s are not in debt, but then again my little survey was not scientific in the least.

What do you think, do think the majority of Americans are in debt?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Monday's Money Funny --- Snow Day to Save Gas

One of the regular features on my blog is "Monday's Money Funny" which are humorous (at least to me) articles/jokes/just about anything that I've discovered over the weekend when I catch up on all my on line reading that spark a need for knowledge. For example last week's was on Spending Mis-Deposited Money.

Typically the Monday Money funny will be something that I’ve just run across in passing other times I get inspired to look for a specific topic and this Monday I was inspired to look for the topic because this past Saturday in Georgia it snowed. I think it’s snowed twice this year, I don’t think its snowed in Georgia twice in the last two years not including this year, so as you can expect Georgians are not very prepared to deal with this type of weather.

Not expecting the snow, my brother and I had pre-registered for a 10k on Saturday – just for fun and to support the cause (no not the marathon – it was about 20 miles short of the marathon we’re running in less than 2 weeks). Anyway we were all set to run on Saturday until we wake up and discover its pouring snow, I mean it looked like a blizzard outside. Wind blowing, horribly cold – basically miserable but being the stubborn people we are, we decided to toughed it out and run it anyway. Let me tell you that was probably one of the dumbest moves I’ve made. Have you ever seen the cartoon version of 101 Dalmatians and remember the scene when the cross the river, they are all trying to huddle for warmth and one of the little guys calls out and says “Papa my ears and froze and my nose is froze, and my tail is froze”. Well let me tell ya – that’s what running this race was like.

At the end as I’m shivering, wet, freezing, and can’t feel a single muscle in my body because of the cold I start wondering why the heck I didn’t just forfeit the entry fee. And now as I am suffering a cold today from being out in the snow Saturday I start thinking about the cost of snow, especially in Georgia – a state ill prepared for snow.

With that in mind, I was hoping to find an article about the cost of snow in Georgia – the ice trucks, the missed school, the missed work, the stock up on food all of that associated costs for today’s Monday Money Funny. After scouring the web I found no such article (maybe you all will have better luck than I did). But I did run across several rather interesting articles including the one I found so interesting I couldn’t resist using and that’s about Governor Perdue canceling school for two days as “snow days” to compensate for the huge gas price increase. If I remember correctly this was right after the Hurricane that destroyed New Orleans – so it’s about 2 and a half years old, and I think I remember gas getting up close to $5/gallon. I feel this article deserves to be a Monday Money Funny because its rather humorous to me to see how Perdue forgot the forest for the trees – just like some people are cheap but not frugal because they forget about the forest.

The article is posted at Think Progress. Below are the highlights:

“There is no snow in Georgia, but Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) has called for schools statewide to take today and tomorrow as “early snow days.” Perdue proudly announced his decision as part of his call for citizens to save more fuel. According to his office, closing schools will save 225,000 gallons of diesel fuel each day. […]

Perdue’s decision to close schools was announced after schools had let out last week, setting off panic amongst parents who had to hastily find (and pay for) two days’ of child care for their children. […]

However, such savings could be more than eaten up for parents who have to pay for two extra days of day care because of the school closings.

This article didn’t lead me to research how to save money on Snow days as I was anticipating, but it did help me to do some research on how to save gas. Here’s a few interesting articles:

Wiki How's How to Save Money on Gas

Bank Rate's Top 15 Ways to Save Money on Gas

Also I included a link to Seb @ PinchingCopper post in my weekend round up, where he recently posted about how to save money on gas.

Well that's it for this Monday. Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. Also if you run across any Money Funnies please email them to me at and if I use them I will give you credit and link to your blog.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Weekend Round Up

After joining the PFBloggers Network my game plan was every Saturday to post a Round Up highlighting my favorite post from the week...well as you can see since today's Sunday and not Saturday I missed my first mark. So it appears I'm off to a great start, although I was worried that my misspelling of Savy made a rocky start to the blogging world but I think I'm doing okay despite my lack of grammer/spelling savvy-ness.

Below are some of the highlights from this week in the PFBloggers World:

Ben @ Trees Full of Money answered my question about the radio commercials that say “Hi, I’m Todd Davis, and my Social Security # is 457-55-5462" with the post LifeLock®: A Review of Todd Davis’ Controversial Service

Jonathon @ Master Your Card provided Everything you wanted to know about Fico Scores* - and let me tell you there's a ton to know.

After learning everything about FICO scores mom@ Wide Open Wallet explains How I check my credit score anytime I want... for free!

I really enjoyed the humor in Kevin @ No Debt Plan's post Dumb Money: The Lottery because Mr. Be-Mine always jokes about how his retirement plan is the lottery only some how he doesn't think it will work since he doesn't invest in the lottery. (Don't worry he really has a pension since he works for Uncle Sam and fully funds his 403b each year.)

JB @ Get Rich or Die Trying shares my rant about Car Insurance with his post Auto Insurance Revolution.

After driving back to Valdosta today from Atlanta I very much appreciated Seb @ PinchingCopper's post How to drastically improve your gas mileage now I just have to figure out how to stop driving like a maniac :)

Don't forget to check out all the other blogs in the network. I've conveniently listed them all in the left hand column for your use.

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