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Old 12-23-2011, 09:57 PM   #121
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Thanks for the well wishes. Here's my game plan.
Pay off credit card in 2 months.

According to Salary Paycheck Calculator:
Your Pay Check Results

Bi-weekly Gross Pay : $1,346.15
Federal Withholding : $173.46
Social Security : $56.54
Medicare : $19.52
Texas : $0.00

Net Pay
$1,096.63...
* 2 = 2193.26
* 4 = 4386

After my credit card is paid off, I plan on putting 35% (~800) of my pay aside each month in a special account for my student loan debt. This will be done through an ING automatic transfer on the days I get paid so I don't even think about it. After a year I will have 9600 saved. In 5 years the loans will be paid completely, assuming my salary remains the same.

I also need to establish an emergency fund. I'd say 6 months right now of my mandatory expenses on a month to month basis. 1000/mo with a portion of rent factored in, so 6000 in a liquid savings, checking or money market account.

I will continue looking online for projects I can do on the side to generate additional income and methods of advancing my education without going over budget. Thoughts?
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Old 12-28-2011, 10:47 PM   #122
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My biggest challenge at this point is getting my earnings up to snuff. Starting work in an industry I have no experience in, but can have high earnings potential over time once I get to a senior manager type role (possibly with another company altogether but I'm not sure). 35000/yr gross salary is not a lot of money. Especially if I want to retire by the time I hit 60, invest in a townhouse, house or even with renting.

Short-term, I'm plugging the hole in the boat while slowly emptying out the water that has bogged it down.

I'd like to be making 50k+ in the next three years once I have more experience in this industry. Professionally I've been very passive and need to make up for lost time. My partner has moved repeatedly and made quite a few sacrifices over his career path to make close to 6 figures before 30. He also has over ten years experience under his belt in the same industry, which definitely helps. I don't expect to be at his level and understand the concept of sewing seeds and reaping the harvest.

I'm a bit anxious, but doing my best to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. Feel free to chime in on how you took control of your careers and boosted your earnings over time.

My experience working from 1999 to 2011 at 4 companies tells me the following...

Work hard, get noticed, keep looking out for opportunities and don't be afraid to jump ship if you have to. I've seen people who started at a company the same time I did make 3 or 4 jumps when I only made one. Every 6 months they applied to an opening and got the position they applied for. Situations can arise in a company where one mistake is on your record and it prevents any type of promotion / transfer for 6 months to a year.

Make a mistake each year of some type and kiss your shot at getting a promotion or transfer goodbye...

I keep reminding myself to focus on things I can control here and now. The past is over and done with, the present is all I really have control over. Not everyone is successful right away and we have all faced setbacks along the way. For every success there can be many, many failures.

I'm breaking down my goals month by month and reviewing them to keep myself motivated and on track. Have a couple competing priorities on my mind. Between the cards, student loan, saving for retirement, living expenses. Moving out of my parents house was one of the better decisions I've made, but it carries the weight of being a responsible adult.
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Old 12-28-2011, 11:18 PM   #123
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Good luck on your new job and move to Texas! There are lots of opportunities here for people who work hard.
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:40 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by MBAVisionary View Post
Especially if I want to retire by the time I hit 60, invest in a townhouse, house or even with renting.
You didn't pose a real-estate question....but couldn't help commenting. Every situation is different, but many on this forum are DIYers to various degrees. A townhouse's monthly dues of several hundred dollars can add up quite a bit over time. Think long and hard about buying a townhouse, versus being a DIYer and taking on that risk of the roof and yard maintenance on your own with a smaller house. Over 10-20 years, those monthly fees can add up big-time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBAVisionary View Post
Feel free to chime in on how you took control of your careers and boosted your earnings over time.
Well, my personal situation is only having worked at my family's construction company for 8 years, followed by my current employer for just over 4 years. I did get an offer from another company back in Feb, and put my 2 week notice in....and then promptly had a much more generous compensation package given to me by my current employer, which caused me to stay.

So, having worked for just one "real world" employer (i.e. not the overly dysfunctional special situation of working for family), my advice is limited, but here it goes:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MBAVisionary View Post
Work hard, get noticed, keep looking out for opportunities and don't be afraid to jump ship if you have to. I've seen people who started at a company the same time I did make 3 or 4 jumps when I only made one. Every 6 months they applied to an opening and got the position they applied for. Situations can arise in a company where one mistake is on your record and it prevents any type of promotion / transfer for 6 months to a year.
It sounds like you have a good fearless attitude of getting out there and improving your career path, which is great! I'm a little more comfortable in my position given my past sacrifices, so I can look more for 'quality of life' aspects of the job rather than what will get me to the FIRE line sooner. As I mentioned above, don't be afraid to look for new positions at your own/other companies and apply. Also, if you get a job offer from someone else, don't be afraid to show that to your current employer to try and negotiate a better situation at your current job (salary and/or position). HOWEVER, it can backfire, either in being fired, or having them trust you less and think you'll just repeat it again down the road. All depends on the industry and employer.

Also, remember one thing I learned the hard way: when I started working for the non-family employer, I had a rosy view of the job world. I thought only my family was back-stabbing, made me suffer through the younger-brother/son' syndrome (i.e. you're too young to know anything), lacked productivity, etc....boy was I wrong!

Just because you bust your butt and do a pristine, PERFECT job doesn't mean it will amount to a hill of beans. You WILL be ignored, looked over, have your creativity/production stolen from you and your efforts 'shared' with your boss/co-workers, etc.. Peoples' personal traits WILL get in the way and make life hell at times. Realize this. Don't think it's a simple as

Working extra hard + having a job = great raises/promotions

First and foremost, know how to recognize peoples' traits early on, and know how to work with those, and in spite of those. If your boss ignores you, DOCUMENT things. Don't be afraid to know how to politically hold your ground when you are correct, but also know how to do it politely as possible so you ruffle as few feathers as possible. You will have to bite your tounge many times over the long haul. It's tempting to go for a short-term victory, but sometimes it could lead to losing the battle (in the form of promotions/raises).

One other bit of advice - be wary of jumping ship too many times. If your resume shows 10 different employers over 5 years, future employers will assume they'll be #11 with their company occupying another 6 month stint on your resume, and they'll have to look for another person to fill your role 6 months from now when you inevitably jump ship again as you did in the past. While your courage to constantly look and better yourself is commendable, being too aggressive could carry long-term negatives. Don't jump ship for just a meager amount or role...make it count . And learn as much as you can from wherever you are, as it may take a while to get to the point of being able to learn new things at an existing job.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:10 PM   #125
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Thanks for your reply again MooreBonds.

On the subject of real estate, we're looking at townhomes in the area. Here's the current state of our apartment:

-1275/mo for 1285 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
-3rd floor, with the a/c on 24/7, temperatures are still about 80 inside. It gets as hot as 110 here during July / August. I say this not to bitch, but the result is electricity bills of over $220/mo.
-Water is about 40/mo.
-Washer / dryer rental about 35/mo.
-Gas is around 30/mo (for hot water heater)

For rent alone, we're paying 15,300 each year or half the cost of a new car without a single dollar of equity. We both have good credit scores, mine was 761 when I checked in June 2011. His is slightly slower I believe, like 740s.

The townhomes we've looked at run about 150k. Taxes in the area are around 2.2%.
1783 sqft unit we looked at the other day had HoA fees of 99/mo.
1763 sqft unit was 198/mo.
2055 sqft unit was 225/mo.
2202 sqft unit was 231/mo.

Reasons why we shouldn't do it include:
•Credit Card Debt - 3k for myself (soon to be 0%), around 10k for my partner (not sure what his APR is).
•Car Loan Debt - Just got a new car after his 2002 model kinda blew up. New head gasket after thousands were spent on other repairs 2-3 years prior. Owe about 20k.
•Emergency Fund - I basically have 0.00 with the move, though my car is paid off and worth 14k.
•20% down. Wouldn't be able to do this until 2013 sometime most likely.
•Uncertainty about the housing market. Will prices remain stable or tank some more. Don't want to end up under water like some of our friends in Florida.

Reasons why we should:
•Much lower monthly payment. I'm not really sure how much lower right now, looking for a good calculator to use.
•Building equity.
•More privacy
•More space

I still need to reply to the rest of your comment, but am going to step out for a bit.
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Old 01-01-2012, 05:26 PM   #126
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Continued...


Quality of life is important to me as well, though I know people who work in the finance industry and put in up to 60 hours a week easy. I consider my overall health and time with my partner to be of high importance. A person needs to be in good health to contribute the maximum possible in both their professional and personal life.

You make an interesting point, the grass isn't necessarily rosier on the other side. I've worked in 3 industries.. Retail, Banking, .Com/Startup and soon Manufacturing. Company culture and managerial style both can play a huge role in determining whether there is room for advancement and if there is, who will be chosen.

The older I get, the more I realize people's personalities. I've read some spiritual books and it makes me realize the inherent madness of some people's inflated egos. Managers screaming expletives across the office at their coworkers, throwing a temper tantrum, or speaking down to employees when they don't know the full story. I try not to intentionally ruffle anyone's feathers.

I have jumped ship a lot since 2006, at 4 different companies and really want to stick with one I can stay at for a while. At the very least even if I'm not fully satisfied, get promoted, jump ship after I have more experience. Also making the mistake of leaving a job when another isn't lined up. With the move, it wasn't preventable, but all the other times it was. Took a big financial hit each time, but I've learned my lesson.

Documenting things is a good one though, it's very easy to loose track of one's accomplishments / challenges over the course of a month, let alone an entire year. Especially in larger companies where managers may be more likely to move around a bit between departments.
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Old 01-02-2012, 10:33 PM   #127
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Back on the topic of real estate, we are also considering a house if it makes sense. I've seen homes ranging from 100k-150k that have some potential. The monthly payment mortgage payment is estimated 600-900/mo. Even with maintenance and upkeep it would work out to be less than a townhouse. Also way less than our apartment. There are other amenities like pools, workout facilities, golf course membership that townhome HoA fees cover.

Some of the listings mention foundation work is needed, something we wish to avoid like the plague. Would also like somewhere that is gay-friendly. Not going to hang a rainbow flag outside, but also don't want to live in fear of being attacked. Still need to learn more about the area, but overall reported crime is low. It was very quiet when we visited the townhomes, 3 to date and also a generally good sign. The average listing price around 115 though, 145 is quite a bit more, though walking inside you can see where the money went. Between kitchens redone, bathrooms, new floors, hvac units upgraded and that sort of thing.

As with automobiles, looking at the overall cost and not just the monthly payment.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:54 AM   #128
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Back on the topic of real estate. . . Would also like somewhere that is gay-friendly. Not going to hang a rainbow flag outside, but also don't want to live in fear of being attacked.
The posts on the forum below might be helpful to you.

Gay Friendly towns in Dallas? (Plano, Garland: condos, townhomes, neighborhoods) - City-Data Forum
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:57 AM   #129
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I bought my first house in 2011 in the money ranges you're talking about. FYI the "monthly payment"s quoted in ads generally don't include taxes and insurance.

But still my payment and utilities are lower than I originally expected, and I think within a few years my mortgage payment on my 3-br house will be cheaper than my old 1-br apartment's rent will be.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:07 PM   #130
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Hi Jim, thanks for adding to this discussion. We're taking the ads with a grain of salt for sure. There are always hidden or additional costs to factor in but the ads do serve as a useful baseline indicator.

Just something else to add into the mix. Through our agent, we discovered we qualify for FHA loans and would only be required to put 3.5% down for amounts up to 175000. With my partner's company paying the closing costs and the possibility that we could get the seller to cover the cost of down payment through negotiating, it is looking more and more attractive to purchase a house or town house sometime in the next 6 months. His annual bonus could also cover the down payment.

Consumer debt and student loans are still on my mind, but I'm thinking long term this might be a good move. It's a buyer's market and there are some really good deals now. I also am being objective, not getting too emotional about the process.

How much is your homeowners insurance each year? Renters insurance for me was incredibly cheap. $160/yr but that's a totally different beast...
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Old 03-04-2012, 10:20 AM   #131
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Just an update on recent events...

Started my job at 35k/yr, was beginning to pay off my debt. 100/wk for student loan to principal and 200/wk toward credit card debt. Things were going well. Didn't like getting up at 5:30 every morning to get ready and leaving at 4:30 / 5, but it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.

After a few weeks passed, I noticed our department was having difficulties paying its vendors, some of whom threatened to send the company to collections. I was joking with my coworker, 'as long as I keep getting paid, I'm ok'. Toward the final week, things got really bad, our accounts with over 30 vendors we relied on to complete projects put us on credit hold.

My paychecks were going into my account via direct deposit, but with the last one I had to ask HR for a physical check. The following week, the company president called us all in for a meeting and announced they were ceasing all operations after being in business since 1953. They had no money to pay their employees for hours worked between their last paycheck and the last day. The bank was unwilling to extend them any credit.

The last paycheck I received bounced. I put in a claim with the Texas Workforce Commission, but don't expect to get any of that money back. So far up to 21 jobs I've applied for in about 2 weeks and put in a claim for unemployment through NY.

While my partner has received another promotion at his job and a raise to go along with it, we are putting our home search on hiatus until I know where I'll be working and how much my earnings will be. It's a fight everyday but I know it'll all work out in the end.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:05 PM   #132
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Sorry to hear this MBA. Keep the positive outlook, it will help you in your job search, and as you know, everything will work out.

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:02 PM   #133
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Good news this time... Got another job exactly one month after I was laid off. Start this week, in a totally different industry. My salary will be low 30s. Looks like I will get a little bit of money for unemployment (was on hold for 3 consecutive weeks while the labor dept completed an investigation and I filed a claim with the bankruptcy court for my former employer. So best case scenario I get ~2600, worst case I get 900.

We put a bid on a townhouse too valued around 140k with very low HOAs and new HVAC / roof / other things that could rack up expenses. My partner's earnings went up considerably with a recent promotion and laws with FHA loans are changing effective April 1st. The actual closing wouldn't have to take place by then, but the contract would need to be executed on or before March 30th. If we don't do this, upfront down payment rises to 1.75% from 1%. We also would lose the closing costs reimbursement through his employer if we close after July.

If we took our gross salaries combined the townhouse could be paid off in under 2 years. It's not going to happen, but just putting things in perspective.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:13 PM   #134
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Congratulations on the new job. I hope everything goes smoothly with the townhouse purchase.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:08 AM   #135
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Thanks for the update. Hope things continue to work out well.
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:54 PM   #136
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So when I posted this 27 months ago…
Salary: 30k/yr
1900 Car Loan
42000 student loan
1500 credit card

Living with my parents.

Stayed at my last job a year and a half almost. Used that experience to help me get to the next step in this career. Perseverance pays off.

Today:
Salary: 55k/yr
No Car Loan
38000 student loan
0 credit card balance

Living with my bf / partner as homeowners for over a year now, 132k left on our mortgage (though it’s unlikely we will be staying here past 3 years, he considers this our starter home).
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:30 PM   #137
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Glad to hear your update. Sounds like the two of you are well on track.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:52 AM   #138
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Yep, seems like you are doing great....


For me, I would be working to get that student loan balance reduced.... unless it is a very low interest rate...
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:28 PM   #139
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4.25% interest rate, roughly 1615 a year. Was paying somewhere between the 452/mo payment and an extra 150.
Minimum Payment 452*12 = 5424
Less 1615
3809 off principal in a year (horrible!!)

Little bit more 600*12=7200
Less 1615
5585 off principal in a year (little better)

Currently 1000*12=12000
Less 1615
10385 off principal in a year (we're cooking with Crisco now).

I plan to stash some more cash aside and pay this off more quickly ala Dave Ramsey debt snowball. Just not quite there yet with my emergency fund.
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Old 03-13-2015, 03:22 AM   #140
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Quick update. Single again, living in an affordable 1bedroom apartment since December. It's about $200 more than the townhouse was from my monthly overhead standpoint but I also don't have looming repairs like new carpeting for stairs, bathroom, sewer line, fixing wall cracks due to shifting foundation, new driveway, etc looming over me. While my ex does make good money I'd still be contributing some cash toward most repairs.

Bought a 24,500 car at 0% for 60 months owe about 14.5k got 9k for my 6.5 year old model that needed new struts. Student loan down to $20.3k.

Retirement up to 9k was 0 in July 2013. I put aside 75/wk currently in my betterment account which is more than my car payment and around 340/mo through work 401k.

Ex owed me 16k from the house and 6k is remaining (would've been 3k more but I agreed to knock of some because of the big $10k plumbing job looming). Using the bulk of that toward the student loans that have been around since 2001.

My last raise was 2% which I am grateful for but still doesn't seem like a lot. I'm at the low end of the pay scale for my position. Goal is to get promoted by end of the year. If that doesn't happen I'll likely be looking for a new job after the big loan is gone. It's certainly been a journey that's for sure.

My goal is to be completely debt free in 2017 and student loan gone next year. Most painful part was applying my tax return toward the loan. I really wanted to blow some of that cash.

On frugality I spent $50 the other night for me and a date who offered to pay half. It still seemed like a lot. When I go out with friends I limit or avoid alcohol and my bill tends to be under $20 pre-tip. Weather has been mild here so use of heat is minimal.

Thought about selling car since i bought it while in townhouse and more stable. Kinda not worth it though with the depreciation hit and repair costs of something used. Will try to keep it another 6 years though.


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