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Old 03-13-2015, 04:31 AM   #141
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Sorry to hear about the single issue. But that is life.
Congrats for staying on the path to financial freedom.
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Old 06-20-2015, 02:47 AM   #142
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So I want your input guys. I don't have enough to invest with a financial advisor. Think I'm the best off long-term financially of all my family members considering my age so can't really go to them for advice. Friends get a little uneasy talking about money / aren't as intense as I am. So I'm gonna dish all my financial numbers on here.

Current Student Loan Balance $16,210.56 @ 4.25%
Car Loan Balance: $13,689.14 @ 0%, 4 years remaining at my current 280/mo payment amount
Credit Card Balance: $1545.17
Savings: $1846
Roth IRA @ Discount Brokerage House: $721.42

3 Shares AAPL Cost: 283.13 Market Value: 379.80
1 Share TSLA Cost: 238.57 Market Value: 262.51
Rest is just sitting in a money market.

Roth IRA @ Betterment : $1,904.20
HOLDINGS CURRENT WEIGHT CURRENT VALUE
› US Total Stock Market: VTI 16.2%$308.21
› US Large-Cap Value: VTV 16.2%$307.75
› US Mid-Cap Value: VOE 5.2%$98.99
› US Small-Cap Value: VBR 4.5%$86.64
› Developed Markets: VEA 37.4%$712.82
› Emerging Markets: VWO 10.5%$200.12
› US High-Quality Bonds: BND 3.2%$60.09
› US Corporate Bonds: LQD 1.7%$32.08
› International Bonds: BNDX 3.5%$67.57
› Emerging Markets Bonds: VWOB 1.6%$29.93
TOTAL : $1,904.20

This is only up about 2.9% since I first started investing last year. I add $100/mo to this.

401k: $9058.59 Balance $6953.13 is actually vested. I'm about a year from being fully vested. Contribute 6% of my income and employer currently matches half of that. I think the matching started after a year of my employment there.

Opening Balance in August 2013: $0.00
Before-Tax Contributions $6,368.87
Company Match $1,534.53
Company Retirement Account $486.20
Gain/Losses $668.99
Closing Balance $9,058.59
So if I did my math right late at night that's roughly a 7.9% gain.

My asset allocation is broken down as follows:
Intermediate Bond Fund $352.90
S&P 500 Fund $2,409.84
Russell 1000 Growth Fund $732.70
Russell 1000 Value Fund $1,817.93
Russell 2000 Fund $934.98
Company Common Stock Fund: $474.40
VFTC Target Retirement 2045 Trust I $2,335.84


Take home pay: $3200/mo. I was paying $1k/mo to my student loans but now that I've redone my budget to include the house money that will soon be coming to an end that will no longer be an option. Basically if I follow that plan, my expenses always will exceed my income and the credit card balance will keep growing. My principal concern right now is risk. If something happens between now and paying my student loan off I won't have a lot of money available to me. I suppose you could view $2500 in Roth IRA as potential emergency money. I already did that once a few years ago during some tough financial times. Took me *years* to recover.

My goal right now is to learn from people who are successful, learn what they're doing and apply to my own life. I'm learning basics of Swift programming, in the process of redoing my website with Squarespace, bought a 27" WQHD computer screen for $435 to make learning easier and discourage me from buying an iPad / gaming system / going to movie theater. I am currently in the middle of a stay at home vacation. Good thing too as I was sick earlier this week...

Here is my budget in Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar tool:
Main Job: $3200
Expenses:
Emergency Fund: $100
Roth IRA: $100
Rent: 773
Water: $15
Electricity: $100
Cell Phone: $88
Cable / Tv: $90.32
Gasoline: $80
Car Payment: $280
Groceries: $300
Restaurants: $200
Pet Care: $20
Gym Membership: $57 (dropping to about $20 soon but my old $35 membership has one more cycle)
Life Insurance: $26.51
Auto Insurance: $83.50 (not really a monthly expense since I pay it for 6 months)
Student Loan: $800 (dropped from the $1k I have been doing since that's the only way to budget things)

Leaves me with about $86.67 leftover in my budget. Don't think I'd have any problems spending that. This month for example I ran over a nail and needed a new tire. This is the second time that's happened in the last year. Close to $195 total including labor / tax... Looked at downgrading my car but don't want to be that extreme. Plus the depreciation after one year. We're talking 20%+. Have $5k equity and the cars I've seen for that... well they look like they need some work. Each year the car pmt is less than 6% of my gross and the balance is less than 25% of my annual income. I also plan to keep this car another 5 years easy.

May be going through a mini panic attack about not paying my student loan off according to my original plan. My annual interest amount is relatively small. Do you think I am balanced with what I allocate toward debt payoff vs retirement.

Also just started dating someone new. We both have been open about our finances with each other. He is a little older - 36 and makes more than I do. Contributes 6% annually to his retirement. He should be doing more...Hopefully some of my good habits will rub off on him and the bad ones won't...

I started later than I wanted to with ER and earning a decent income. Trying to make up for lost time there. When I'm not working I am hardcore about working out. Having a work / life balance is important to me. I lost a grandmother at 40 (before I was born), another at 59, father at 47, aunt at 41. All due to health related issues. Deep down I do have a fear of dying young and never reaching true retirement age. I don't smoke, drink in moderation but am a little heavier than I should be for my height. Most of that is muscle but some of it is not. Taking advice from a friend who is a professional male cheerleader coach and it has been helping the past few weeks... I still am trying to find some side work that would be a few hours a week.

One of my friends is in his late 20s, a workaholic (10-12hr days), morbidly obese. He does well financially, pushing $90k/yr. I'm honestly afraid he will have a heart attack soon. Stress of tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt and seeing him always on edge because of work obligations.

So what do you guys think? How am I doing? What would you do differently? Also I'm really good at talking to myself. Maybe that's why I blog just to get the thoughts out since friends are few are far between sometimes...
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Old 06-20-2015, 06:50 AM   #143
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You are doing ok. Remember it is a long distance marathon, keep on keeping on.
Continue what you are doing but look for ways to increase your income, a lot. Wealth accumulation will accelerate when you get your student loans paid off, good job on that!
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:47 AM   #144
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Just a thought....

Stop paying any extra on any loans... start saving that money as a reserve fund... you should have about $20K set aside and you have less than $2K...

Why have any shares of any company The amount you have invested in them will not make a big difference.... and TSLA could crash as it is over priced... IMO... Invest in mutual funds for now... once you get more you can start to gamble by buying individual stocks...

Why have any life insurance Who is going to get the money.... and why...

Get your cell phone cost down... your costs are way too high... you should be able to cut in half...

Get your cable bill down (or get rid of it).... that is a luxury that you do not need... but, if you do want it, then cut that in half...
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:55 AM   #145
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As TP pointed out, you definitely need to give priority to building up your emergency fund.

Lots of ways to cut costs without much impact to your lifestyle.
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:28 AM   #146
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You have a tremendous amount of unaffordable and unnecessary spending built into that budget.


1. Cable TV? You can't afford cable TV. It's a luxury you can reconsider after you pay off all of your debt, have some cash stashed, and are contributing to your retirement. Drop it. $90.32 saved to go to debt and/or savings.


2. Restaurants? Can't afford that either. Cut that to zero. You will be healthier and find that home cooked meals are better quality than 99 percent of what you get in restaurants. Your grocery costs will increase some. Say $150 for debt and savings.


3. Cell phone? Why on earth are you paying $88 for that? You should be able to find an MVNO or a prepaid plan for $35 a month, with some data. Learn to use wi-fi for data as well. Say $50 in savings.


4. Life insurance? Why do you need this? Who gets the money, and could they do without it? Is it term life or whole life? Possible savings TBD.


Other savings could come from shopping your auto insurance and reducing your electric bill. Savings TBD.


Items 1, 2, and three add up to $290 a month. That's a big difference in your debt pay down and retirement savings right there. Cut a bit more of the fat, and you could get to $350.


You are already looking at Dave Ramsey, and he would tell you to stay out of restaurants and cut or eliminate the other expenses. You might also want to check out Mr. Money Mustache, although the forums are a little more "in your face" than the polite folks here. The principles espoused there do apply, however.
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:34 AM   #147
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I see your biggest issue with car spending, you finally got your first car paid off and turned around and purchased a brand new one with 5 years worth of payments. You really couldn't afford a new car at that time.

When your new car is paid off at 5 years you should think long and hard about running it until the wheels fall off. You replaced your last car at the 6 1/2 mark,so following that pattern would restart car payments in only 18 months. New struts are cheaper then buying a new car. Vehicles can consume a lot of capital....when the car is paid off, put the payment money in a mental car replacement/repair fund. This will put you in a much better position going forward. This will really help you out in the decades to come.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:01 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Just a thought....

Stop paying any extra on any loans... start saving that money as a reserve fund... you should have about $20K set aside and you have less than $2K...

Why have any shares of any company The amount you have invested in them will not make a big difference.... and TSLA could crash as it is over priced... IMO... Invest in mutual funds for now... once you get more you can start to gamble by buying individual stocks...

Why have any life insurance Who is going to get the money.... and why...

Get your cell phone cost down... your costs are way too high... you should be able to cut in half...

Get your cable bill down (or get rid of it).... that is a luxury that you do not need... but, if you do want it, then cut that in half...
Hi Texas Proud,

To answer your question, my strategy when I purchased the stocks is different than what I am doing currently. Now I believe much more heavily in widespread diversification. However with fees I kind of say just hold onto it long term for years and not touch it.

On life insurance, if I were to die tomorrow my parents wouldn't have enough money for burial expenses. They are spread pretty thinly as mortgages go up higher and higher. Combined their mortgages are about $4800/mo for two homes. My stepdad is semi retired and my mom is concerned her job won't be around in a year or two due to restructuring at her company. They need to sell one of the houses. I tell them his all the time. One has a land parcel adjacent to property that every prospective buyer has offered a fraction of what it's worth. Not to mention trying to offer much less than comps / asking price. The people who are interested have had issues being preapproved for a $400k loan.

The other my mom has lived in mostly since around 1975. The taxes alone are close to $18k/yr combined. It's like talking to a wall, they know they need to sell but aren't. I've shown them the math of how absurd it is to keep both homes. My stepdad is barely able to scrape the money to make the mortgage payment which keeps going up and up.

So short answer basically it's an agreement I have with them. Without having to worry about selling any of assets.

My cell phone is an unlimited data plan. My phone is also partially subsidized. Think I have another 9 months left until I don't owe AT&T more money for it. Last month I used 11Gb of data. I also want to learn iPhone development. It would be awkward to do that and now own one.

I have the basic tv package, no DVR, 1 tv, internet speed is at 50/50. This is twice the speed of regular package would be for $10/more. The price includes $30 worth discounts because of a 2 year contract and $5 through 'Verizon Connections'. For the base 25/25 ala carte package it's 44.99. With no contract that would jump to 54.99. Then if I decided to ever add tv in I'd have to pay extra to have a service guy come out and set it up. It is nice to be able to watch the news or free shows on demand (either online or on the actual tv). Without a tv package I couldn't do either. Also I avoided a termination fee by keeping Verizon when moving from townhouse to an apartment. I still technically was in a contract and was paying about $150/mo.
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Old 06-20-2015, 10:53 AM   #149
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I see your biggest issue with car spending, you finally got your first car paid off and turned around and purchased a brand new one with 5 years worth of payments. You really couldn't afford a new car at that time.

When your new car is paid off at 5 years you should think long and hard about running it until the wheels fall off. You replaced your last car at the 6 1/2 mark,so following that pattern would restart car payments in only 18 months. New struts are cheaper then buying a new car. Vehicles can consume a lot of capital....when the car is paid off, put the payment money in a mental car replacement/repair fund. This will put you in a much better position going forward. This will really help you out in the decades to come.
Good point. At the time I was living in a townhouse with my ex. Our combined gross income was about $170k. My individual monthly expenses were about $400/mo less. I am now putting $20/mo into a car repair fund. I depleted it twice with my 2x tire replacements.

With my last car... During an earlier less intelligent time of my life I had a big sub in the trunk along with amplifiers, etc. I could put a small amount of groceries in the trunk but not anything substantial. Every month with my aftermarket stereo system I would blow a fuse. To fix it I'd have to get the electrical leads running from the battery capped or have writing redone. The last year of ownership I took up cycling as a hobby / way to stay in shape. Last year I rode 200mi and this year I'm at over 100. The bike wouldn't fit in the car and the trunk rack I bought left some nasty scratches. I'd have to yank the amp out to be able to fit the bike in and that would cause the stereo not to work at all. Wiring for the factory system was still there but looking at hundreds of dollars to do that with little incentive.

Also being from the north the car was starting to rust. The exhaust system got replaced thankfully due to a recall but before that the wouldn't pass inspection without some welding work done prior. With the car on a lift I also noticed several big rust patches near the gas tank. Even more money to get fixed. I looked at used car prices for cars over 100k and it dropped pretty significantly so I decided to bail. $9k for a car I paid $23k for over 6 years later was a good deal to me.

Today I plan to run this car a very long time. I need to break my love of new automobiles. It is going to keep me in the financial poorhouse. Or wait until I really can afford something that's new and not think twice about it. The car I drove a decade ago is still on the road with over 150k miles. It would be a total money pit but still surprised it's on the road with some transmission / sensor issues I was starting to have.

I'm making a lot of excuses. I'm really kind of stubborn.
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:07 AM   #150
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Just wrote to cancel my monthly car wash membership. That's 24.95/mo. I am pretty fit physically and can use the rinse fee stuff to clean my car in less than 20 minutes if I haul ass.
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:27 AM   #151
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Just realized through my job I have $57k in life insurance and an additional $57k in AD&D. Yes that goes away if I change jobs but still. One could argue some coverage vs none at all but double coverage makes no sense in my situation. That's 26.51/mo.

Contacted Allstate to cancel the $200k policy I have with them. I've paid out $583 since getting it in 2013.
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Old 06-20-2015, 11:39 AM   #152
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MBA-- check out MrMoneyMustache. His website matches up pretty well with where you are in life right now. Lots of good tips and inspiration even if you don't go all "Mustachian" on us.

TP's advice is nothing to wipe your bum with either. ;-) Really spot on.

Check on Ting for phone service.
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:25 PM   #153
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Your answers sounds like excuses....

It does sound like you dropped life insurance.... you already have enough money to bury you... its not like you need a big costly burial...

Your phone bill is STILL way to expensive... just do not use 11 GB.... you have to be going through a lot of video to reach that each month.... as someone mentioned, use wifi more... your bill should be cut in half without question... anything else is an excuse....

I do not understand your cable response... you pay $90, but then talk about a plan that is half the price that is still 25 speed... that is PLENTY of speed for one person.... anything else is an excuse...

Someone else mentioned to cut down on the eating out.... I did not since I think you are young and want to get out.... but, you can go out a bit less and save maybe $50 per month...


Just sayin... but you are sounding like your parents (hard headed with your excuse).... they have an excuse to keep spending way too much money.... but, at least you are asking for ways to cut where they seem to want to go down in flames...

So my last recommendation is.... stop with the excuses...
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Old 06-20-2015, 12:27 PM   #154
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MBA-- check out MrMoneyMustache. His website matches up pretty well with where you are in life right now. Lots of good tips and inspiration even if you don't go all "Mustachian" on us.

TP's advice is nothing to wipe your bum with either. ;-) Really spot on.

Check on Ting for phone service.
I love MMM. Well not that way...though he is a good looking guy. I occasionally read his blogs as inspiration to get myself on the right path. As a society, millennials in particular we think we always need to have the latest Apple / Android phone, laptops with the newest CPUs, current generation everything.

If I keep doing what everybody else is doing I'll be just like everyone else. Stuck in debt, thinking that's just the American way or wondering how I got there. Keeping up with the Joneses will stress you out and leave you in the poorhouse.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:07 PM   #155
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The phone data usage is high because I listen to music at work in my cube (firewall blocks everything) and while driving, at the gym or on long bike rides along with inspirational videos on YouTube.

Most of the eating out is dates to be honest. My worst offender was $98 I spent for me and someone I met for the first time because I was tipsy, repulsed by the guy and he made it look like he was going to pay. Didn't realize how much it actually was. That's more than I spend on food in an entire week. The experience was a wakeup call for me.... With friends they know I'm cutting back so we pick somewhere that has affordable options (my whole meal $10-15).

I meet someone I like and they like to go out. Think it's almost a deal breaker if I don't at least go out some of the time. A guy I was chatting with on and off since February and seeing for a little over a month didn't cook at all. He does like going out to drink with his buddies and dinners, etc. A little older and less financial overhead so he can quite honestly can probably afford it. My cooking style is quick, healthy and easy. That kind of fizzled out the beginning of the month though. He said he wanted to take things very slow and had a lot of baggage. Then I said I missed him and never heard from him again... He also was talking about a new car bug after having his car less than 2 years so maybe it just wasn't meant to be...

With Verizon I am in a contract, maybe I can get retention and get the tv bit turned off. Not sure 100% sure how to go about that. AT&T my phone is subsidized. My plan is basically the cheapest one available through them. A current 3gb plan with them would only be 9.99/mo less.

I'm going by How much does an iPhone 6 really cost? (Hint: It's way more than $199) | ZDNet. By signing up with the 2yr agreement until 9/2016 I saved $450 off my phone or 18.75 a month. Being that I have 15 months left I'd have to pay $280 to get out my contract. I use my phone all the time. For directions, social media, recipes, messages from people across the country, dating apps, testing things at work, taking pictures on trips. I'd say I get my money's worth from it. I probably use it for 3-4 hours every day whether actively or passively. I went to the Ting calculator and it said I wouldn't save with it even dropping my usage to 6GB. With 3GB it says I'd save $143 a year. With mobile data usage growing more and more I don't think 3GB is doable.
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Old 06-20-2015, 01:20 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by Texas Proud View Post
Just a thought....

Stop paying any extra on any loans... start saving that money as a reserve fund... you should have about $20K set aside and you have less than $2K...

Why have any shares of any company The amount you have invested in them will not make a big difference.... and TSLA could crash as it is over priced... IMO... Invest in mutual funds for now... once you get more you can start to gamble by buying individual stocks...

Why have any life insurance Who is going to get the money.... and why...

Get your cell phone cost down... your costs are way too high... you should be able to cut in half...

Get your cable bill down (or get rid of it).... that is a luxury that you do not need... but, if you do want it, then cut that in half...
TexasProud thanks for the tough love approach. I might not be able to do everything but I am listening. Shifting gears now to put more aside in an emergency fund. The account I designated for that has $75 in it. I wiped it to pay credit card down to 0 last month. I was doing the Dave Ramsey debt snowball type $1k in an emergency fund approach. Now I'm below even that and it's definitely cause for concern.
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Old 06-20-2015, 05:07 PM   #157
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Like your parents, you have lots of excuses and don't want to change. Your situation is really no different than theirs. If you don't make changes, you will be eating Friskies under a bridge someday.


Figure out the early termination fees on all these expensive contracts. There is a crossover point at which it makes sense to change. And Ting will save you money when you kick the data habit. Do you have other internet choices? Use them to negotiate Verizon down or switch.


An i-phone 6?? Listening to music at work? Watching inspirational YouTube videos? Ridiculous to pay for that when you are in so deep. Get a radio. Your car probably has one. You are paying for home internet, so watch at home and listen to the free version of Pandora.


Your auto insurance seems high. Accidents? Tickets? If so, change your driving behavior. Otherwise, comparison shop.


As long as you make bad choices and rationalize them, you will never get ahead.
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Old 06-20-2015, 07:02 PM   #158
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Another Reader, my FICO score is an 848. I attached an image with the coverage I have on my vehicle, a 182hp FWD 4 cylinder Nissan Altima. No accidents since I started driving in 2001, no tickets on my record in the state of Texas. Last year I signed up for Uninsured motorist coverage at the recommendation of my friends. A lot of people here are driving around with no insurance. I seem to be getting a lot of discounts.

Also my electricity bill this month is about $52. I said $100 since I imagined it going up a lot more with the summer heat.
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Old 06-20-2015, 08:20 PM   #159
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OK, you now have a baseline for the auto insurance. Call the agent to see what other reductions you can negotiate. Then call all the other companies and get quotes for the same level of coverage.


Your mission in life right now should be cutting every expense you can until you can pay off your debt and adequately fund your retirement savings.


Of course, there is also the income side. What can you do to increase your income? Any promotions coming up? Merit raises? Higher paying positions for which you can apply? You mentioned some type of side work. Can you devote some time to that?


Once you get the loan monsters off your back, you can relax a little. You have already paid off a lot of them on a relatively small income. Your expenses went up when you split with the ex. Get them back down or increase the income and you can make good progress again.
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Old 06-20-2015, 09:05 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by MBAVisionary View Post
So I want your input guys. I don't have enough to invest with a financial advisor. Think I'm the best off long-term financially of all my family members considering my age so can't really go to them for advice. Friends get a little uneasy talking about money / aren't as intense as I am. So I'm gonna dish all my financial numbers on here.

Current Student Loan Balance $16,210.56 @ 4.25%
Car Loan Balance: $13,689.14 @ 0%, 4 years remaining at my current 280/mo payment amount
Credit Card Balance: $1545.17
Savings: $1846
Roth IRA @ Discount Brokerage House: $721.42

401k: $9058.59 Balance $6953.13 is actually vested. I'm about a year from being fully vested. Contribute 6% of my income and employer currently matches half of that. I think the matching started after a year of my employment there.

Take home pay: $3200/mo. I was paying $1k/mo to my student loans but now that I've redone my budget to include the house money that will soon be coming to an end that will no longer be an option. Basically if I follow that plan, my expenses always will exceed my income and the credit card balance will keep growing.

Here is my budget in Dave Ramsey's Every Dollar tool:
Main Job: $3200
Expenses:
Emergency Fund: $100
Roth IRA: $100
Rent: 773
Water: $15
Electricity: $100
Cell Phone: $88
Cable / Tv: $90.32
Gasoline: $80
Car Payment: $280
Groceries: $300
Restaurants: $200
Pet Care: $20
Gym Membership: $57 (dropping to about $20 soon but my old $35 membership has one more cycle)
Life Insurance: $26.51
Auto Insurance: $83.50 (not really a monthly expense since I pay it for 6 months)
Student Loan: $800 (dropped from the $1k I have been doing since that's the only way to budget things)

Leaves me with about $86.67 leftover in my budget. Don't think I'd have any problems spending that. This month for example I ran over a nail and needed a new tire. This is the second time that's happened in the last year. Close to $195 total including labor / tax... Looked at downgrading my car but don't want to be that extreme. Plus the depreciation after one year. We're talking 20%+. Have $5k equity and the cars I've seen for that... well they look like they need some work. Each year the car pmt is less than 6% of my gross and the balance is less than 25% of my annual income. I also plan to keep this car another 5 years easy.

So what do you guys think? How am I doing? What would you do differently? Also I'm really good at talking to myself. Maybe that's why I blog just to get the thoughts out since friends are few are far between sometimes...
I don't even know where to begin. You are in horrible financial shape at age 31. You have negative net worth. You spent way too much on a new car and you carry a credit card balance At least it's a dependable 4 cyl car not a V8 Pick Up or something else crazy like that. Plan to keep the car for the next 15+ years. If you can't pay the credit card off in full every month then cut it up and throw it away. Start only paying the minimum on your student loans and put the extra toward paying off you credit card and increasing your emergency savings to at least 3 times your expenses... lets say $10K or more. You're spending $500/mo on food for 1 person? That should easily be cut in half. I spend $200/mo or less and i'm a big guy. Cable TV is a luxury for those who can afford it. You are not one of those people. I've never had a take home pay as high as yours yet I still had savings of over $100K at age 31 and that's also the year I paid off my $40K condo and haven't had any debt since(now age 36). My car is 11 years old and i'll likely drive it for another 5-10 years before paying cash for a USED car. You can do much better and I wish you the best. Good luck.
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