Saturday, May 31, 2008

Net Worth Update -- June 2008

Updated 5/31/08 Change from Previous Update Updated 4/29/08
Total Net Worth $104,853.72 $4,777.40 $100,076.32

Net Worth Comprised of

Retirement Savings: $29,559.78 $1,728.25 $27,831.53
401k $23,571.07 $1,347.39 $22,223.68
Roth IRA $5,988.71 $380.86 $5,607.85

House Down Payment/CD's: $57,244.83 $163.70 $57,081.13

Future Car Savings $5,300.72 $5,100.45 $200.27

Emergency Fund/Money Market: $11,207.28 -$3,738.37 $14,945.65

"Cash"/Checking: $1,541.11 $1,523.37 $17.74

I'm less than $150 away from my goal net worth for 2008 and the year is only half way over. YAY! This means I need to reevaluate my net worth goal. I have increased my net worth goal to $127,000. I came up with this number based upon my current net worth plus what I anticipate contributing to retirement via my 401k and Roth IRA ($10,250), plus what I anticipate receiving as a bonus after taxes from the project I just completed ($10,000), plus my monthly car savings for the next 6 months ($900), and then I added saving an extra $100/month and rounded up.

I think this new goal is definitely achievable but I will have to push myself to achieve it because it extends beyond my automatic savings.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The Cost of Getting Sick

I have a viral infection...oh the joy. At first I thought it might just be a cold but then Wednesday I woke up with a fever and knew I couldn't go to work and I needed to go visit the doctor. I've since spend the last few days laying in bed trying to get better.

Fortunately my fever finally broke today and I'm starting to feel much better, I started thinking about the finances involved in being sick.

Doctors Visit Co-Pay: $20
Soar Throat Drops: $3.00
Nose Spray: $3.50
Sudafed PE: $6.00
Box of Kleenex: $1.50
Prescription Co-Pay: $40
Special Sick/Comfort Food: $15
"Vacation Days" from Work: Loss of real vacation since vacation day had to be used for sick days

All in all the damage from being sick is $89 -- its a good thing this is the first time I've been sick in about 4 years. Fortunately I also have a flexible spending account that allows me to get reimbursed for most of these expenses with pre-tax dollars.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What to do with $5,000?

I've struggling with a rather good personal finance dilemma since updating my net worth last month.

From the left side bar you can see that my Money Market for my Emergency Fund is nearing $15,000. I've made a rule of keeping at least $10,000 in my emergency fund which equates to a little over 5 months worth of expenses at my current spending. However, if a real emergency occurred I most likely would cut back on spending including eating out, entertainment, and savings which would extend my emergency fund to over 9 months worth of expenses. All in all I feel very comfortable with having an emergency fund of $10,000 even given my current work situation.

I have my pay checks and expense reimbursements direct deposited into my Money Market and then only transfer the funds I need into my checking to pay bills, this allows all of my savings to gather in my Money Market, plus earn a little extra interest. In the past when I reached $15,000 I would then take $5,000 and transfer it into a higher interest earning CD ear marked for my future house down payment.

I continued this method even after reaching my House Down Payment goal. I now have over $57,000 for a down payment which is over the 20% needed for any house I would choose -- the price range of houses I'd feel comfortable buying would be around (most likely less than) $250,000. So there's not a real need to put the $5,000 from my money market towards my house down payment funds.

So what do I do with this $5,000? (See I told you it was a good dilemma to have).

My options they way I look at it are:
- Earmark it for additional money towards a house
- Add it to my car savings pot so that I'm closer to achieving that goal
- Set it aside and forget about it until I really need/want to use it for something
- Invest this money in the stock market, since I don't really need it for anything it won't actually hurt me if its all lost
- Blow it --- but I can't think of anything that would really be worth $5,000, plus the saver in me really struggles to part with even a penny

I've basically ruled out blowing it, and I'm am just too overwhelmed by the stock market right now so I've ruled that out. That pretty much leaves my options as house, car, or hold on to it. Since I couldn't make up my mind I've opted to combine the three. I'm going to officially earmark the $5,000 towards my future car and add it to my emigrant direct savings account. I have decided to add $5,000 to my car savings, primarily so that my monthly contribution does not have to increase and now I have a reasonable chance of achieving $20,000 in the next 6 years when I would start thinking about purchasing a new car. And since all of this money is in a saving account its easily movable so I can always change my mind at a later date since most likely I'll be buying a house before I buy a new car plus I can always transfer the $5,000 to something else if I finally decide a reason to hang on to it.

I've also decided to increase my monthly car savings contribution to $150 in an effort to achieve the $20,000 with in 6 years. I have another financial dilemma, what should my next savings goal/plan be since I think I'm on track with everything else. I know I probably should start investing outside of my retirement accounts but to be honest it just plain scares me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Staying on Financial Track --- Check your Credit Report

I wrote last week about how to stay on Financial Track no matter how busy you were

Scott, a regular reader, send me a link to a USA Today Article about how to Use the Web to Help Keep your Finances in Order and I wanted to share it with you. It has some great advice, including checking your Credit Report. It served as a good reminder to me since I have not checked my credit report in a little over a year. I quickly did so and you all will be happy to know that there's nothing on there that's in correct (very exciting).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

(Start of Work Week) Money Funny - Cost of Pop Culture Icons Today

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 the previous Monday Money Funny was a about the City of Atlanta spending $300k on toilets when they are in a $141 Million Deficit.

This week I thought I'd share an article from CNNMoney about what Pop Culture Icons would cost in today's dollars.

Below is a highlight from one of the icons they reviewed, click here to view the entire article and all 10 icons.

The Brady Bunch - 1969 to 1974
  • Est. home value in the '70s: $87,700
  • 2008 est. value: $509,700
  • Actual 2008 value of "real"
    Brady house:
    $1.5 million
  • Raising six kids has never been easy, and architects don't make as much money as television's Mike Brady would lead us to believe. Wow, there's a surprise.

    The Bradys lived in a large, four-bedroom house with a live-in housekeeper in suburban Los Angeles. In the earliest figures available from the National Association of Realtors, the average cost of a single-family home in the area was $87,700 in 1979.

    Today, the average house in the same area goes for $509,700, and a house that can fit nine (not counting Oliver) would probably cost a lot more. Real estate Web site, currently values the "real" Brady House at about $1.5 million.

    An architect's annual pay averages $64,150, according to the latest estimates from the BLS. That would mean Mike made an inflation-adjusted $15,687 a year during the show's final season in 1974 when Greg was getting ready to go college.

    As with all Money Funnies this promoted me to research. Unfortunately there's not a lot you can do to combat inflation, however you can learn more about what is inflation so I thought I'd share an entry explaining inflation.

    Stay tuned for next week's Monday's Money Funny. 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.

    Monday, May 26, 2008

    Weekend Round Up

    I hope everyone's had a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. Its time for the Weekend Round Up highlighting some of the great posts shared over the last week by my fellow PFBloggers.

    Kristy over at Master Your Card continues the Emergency Fund Debate. Personally, I don't see how one can not have a emergency fund, life happens and you've got to have a pool of money some place that you can draw from. What are your thoughts on Emergency Funds, please share over at Kristy's post.

    Living Almost Large posted about the Rising Luggage Costs. I guess I've been living in a cave and haven't seen the news lately and haven't traveled in the last month to be aware of this new trend. Luckily when I fly for business I rarely check bags but I usually fly once or twice a year for personal travel and always check bags, I guess I'll be having to figure out a new plan of action this year.

    Get Rich or Die Trying's JB recently got married (Congrats go out to him) and is on his way to Vega. He posted about why he choose to spend money on a Honeymoon rather than paying off his debt. I think he did the right thing, you can't go on an all out money diet or you will fall off the band wagon, I think JB is making the smart money moneys, even though he's going on vacation he was still budget conscious. What do you think?

    Seb at Pinching Copper pondered whether Credit Cards will be the next Financial Crises. I'm sad to say I think they will. I think its a spiral effect, first the house then the car and then credit cards. I think we headed down a couple of years of bad times. But I'm hopeful none the less.

    Wide Open Wallet's Mom recently posted about Credit Protection and why its not needed. Everyone watch out, there's all types of gimmicks like this around. I told you all a while back about booking my cruise for this summer, well one of the add ons included unless you specifically requested it be removed was medical protection insurance, basically for an extra $30/person you are guaranteed that your money from the cruise will be refunded if you have a medical reason documented by a doctor for being unable to attend. But what they don't tell you is that up to 7 days before the cruise you can receive 60% of the costs back no matter the reason and IMHO if you really can't afford to loose the costs of the cruise then you shouldn't be going anyway.

    Kevin at No Debt Plan shares why you should only buy appreciating assets on credit. Also check out his post on Credit Cards and Depreciating Assets don't mix. We're in full agreement. I plan to never buy any depreciating asset on credit including cars.

    Despite agreeing that credit cards and depreciating assets don't mix, I am still a fan of the credit card much like Penelope at Our Four Pence Worth who posted about why Credit Cards Really Aren't so Bad.

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