January 2020 Update

The stock market has been up, down, but mostly up. I’d be a fool to think this is going to last forever. I’m investing heavily right now to get compounding working in my favor, not to mention the tax benefits. I hate owing more to the IRS than I have to.

As of 1/22/2020:
401k: $71,078.21
Roth IRA: $4,668.99
HSA: $458.40
Total Retirement: $76,205.60

Car Loan: $4,831.60
Car Warranty: $387.75
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,123.36
Credit Card: $924.22
Total Debt: $7,266.93

In 2019 I made the decision to get brace. So far I’ve paid a total of $2,200.03, out of a total of $2,990. Not 100% sure how much I have left on my braces. Only *4* or $688.92 in payments left until I’m basically free and clear with that. It will be nice to see the money in the HSA actually accumulate and not just get wiped out immediately.

I lost my class action recall Plantronic Backbeat Fit headphones not that long ago. I literally looked everywhere for them, called my gym, nothing. It hurt and after a couple days I said screw it, time to upgrade. That in turn resulted in hours of watching YouTube videos talking about what people thought of different models of sport headphones.

I considered the Apple AirPods, AirPods Pro, Powerbeats Pro and a few cheaper options. My biggest beef with the old set I had was during a workout, static would occur and the connection would disconnect. You try grooving to some Fantasia or Mariah Carey only to go into radio silent mode while you’re pushing a steady 160bpm roasting in the hot 100° degree Texas summer sun. 😛

I have an iPhone 11 Pro so the Bluetooth only options didn’t make a ton of sense. Apple’s H1 chip provides near instantaneous sync up with my iPhone/iPad/Mac, supports Hey Siri functionality. That left the AirPods Pro and Powerbeats Pro. APP has that white glossy plastic that scratches way too easily. My original earpods look like absolute trash all because I dropped them once. Then there is the “will these stay in my ears” factor. Again, I had my doubts. The last thing you want to worry about is losing your expensive gear due to a slightly off fit…Powerbeats Pro were actually in stock at my local store too. The audio quality is good for calls, I can walk anywhere in the apartment (even with the microwave going) without dropping, and chat walking the dog without the other person complaining they can’t hear me. Simple thing that would disconnect my old buds.

No they weren’t cheap. I originally paid $249.95 for them at my local Best Buy store. Got 1% Cashback through a Rakuten in-store coupon code, plus 3% back on my Chase Freedom Unlimited card. Then I saw the price drop by $50. You guessed right, I stopped by the store the next day to get it. That can pay for AppleCare which I definitely am getting for these bad boys. Sweat, heat, electronics, what could possibly go wrong…

Latest expensive purchase – Powerbeats Pro

My computer chair has been slowly disintegrating before my very eyes. Bungie cord to keep the back in check, now I added zip-ties for the arm that kept popping off. I can still get another year from it I tell myself. tweeted Mr. Money Mustache and he tweeted me back. Totally relished in my fanboi moment for a few days after that haha.

Office Depot WorkPro 1000 Chair with Bungee cord and zip ties.

I’ve been eyeing a 4k or 5k display to replace my 2015 27″ Asus PB278Q WQHD LED. The first 4k computer monitors made their debut in 2013, but they still haven’t really caught on. Content creators, prosumers, anyone who spends a lot of time viewing a screen and wants to preserve their vision has a justifiable use for them. In 2020 The most common resolution right now is 1080p HD or 1920 x 1080. My laptop is 3072×1920, my monitor is 2560 x 1440. The Apple ProDisplay XDR is 6mos worth of rent so that’s out, but then I see people complain about LG’s reliability and cheap build quality. After 2 years their $1200 screen just completely goes out. Unless you find a kickass warranty to go with it that sounds like a really shitty purchase.

I have a potentially short February work trip coming up, want to see my mom in New York in May, and possibly two other trips with friends later this year. Cruise and an island vacation potentially. Also throw in another trip with my boyfriend. Do I have enough money saved for any of this? No, but I’ll figure something out. 😀

I do feel very blessed these days. I don’t want to take any of it for granted. I know so many stories of people I’ve met who are strugging in varying capacities. Single mom who lost their husband, recovering drug addict, several depressed people who are struggling just to pay their bills. Guy who got stuck in a car while it burned to the ground. He fights to do even the most basic of things. Then looking at what is posted on GoFundme, I donate occasionally. It really pulls at your heart strings.

My hope is that more people would take time to love and respect one another while they are still here. I remember the storry of Mattie Stepanek, the little boy with a powerful message. He passed away almost a month after my father did which seems like a lifetime ago. Here’s his story if you want to learn more. Warning: You may need some tissues after you watch it.

Take care, be well. Remember to invest in yourself. Subscribe to my YouTube channel if you want. Posted 7 videos so far. Quality isn’t quite where I want it. I can do a great video, or an average one, but sometimes my days are quite busy. So for now quantity rules out.

2019 – The Year In Review

Net worth is an important measure of your overall financial situation. While some choose to ignore debt indefinitely, I have never been one of those people. Even when I had $50k of student loan debt, I knew exactly what my balance was, the interest rate, monthly payment, etc.

First let’s start off with Net Worth. These numbers are estimates and don’t include any depreciating assets I own including auto, phone, computer, etc.
2011:    $-45k
2012:    $-43k
2013:    $-35k
2014:    $-35k
2015:    $-11k
2016:    $6k
2017:    $9k
2018:    $31k
2019:    $62k

Auto Loan:
12/24/2018: $12,224.63
12/31/2019: $5,370.34
Change: -$6,854.29
% Change: -56%

Retirement:
Roth IRA:
12/31/2018: $1,042.96
12/31/2019: $4,545.02
Change: +$3,502.06
% Change: +336%

401k:
12/31/2018: $40,124.58
12/31/2019: $68,178.70
Change: +$28,054.12
% Change: +69.92%

Overall it was a great year for me. Things are headed in the right direction. Looking forward to hitting new milestones in 2020!

December 2019 – Financial Update – Broke $70k in Retirement

401k: $65,831.25
Roth IRA: $4,425.07
HSA: $633.38
Total Retirement: $70,889.70

Car Loan: $5,374.98
Car Warranty: $517.00
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,235.68
Credit Card: $1,557.14
Total Debt: $8,684.80

Some of my payments will be posted next week, but I do plan on posting a 2019 year in review post in a few weeks. Overall observations about his month:
1. I really considered going on a vacation either to Austin or San Antonio, but I don’t think I would have the level of experience I’d desire with my current budget. I refuse to fly Spirit after my last claustrophobic experience in the back of the plane stuck behind the restroom. Places I want to stay are close to $200/night, my budget would be $100/night. The hotel we were going to stay at has some really sketchy reviews, charges a daily parking fee. The weather isn’t that nice right now either. Maybe I’m just making excuses.

2. Apple gave me more for my trade-in than I thought considering I got a credit on the taxes. Ended up being $1,515 vs $1,400. That’s fairly close to what I would have netted out to between ebay fees. Let’s break it down.

eBay Listing Fees:
Insertion Fee: $2.00
Listing Fees: Bold + Subtitle + Scheduled listing: $2.60
Electronics Fees (8% of the initial $50.00, plus 5% of the next $50.01 to $1,000.00, plus 2% of the remaining final sale price balance). Assuming $1700 sale price that would be $4+$47.50+$14: $65.50
PayPal Fees: 2.9% + $0.30 of the total selling price: $49.60
Shipping: Estimated $50.00
Total Fees: $169.70
Fees – Sale Price: $1,530.30
Not much of a difference and a lot less aggrivation.

3. I bought a few things for Black Friday. Between new shoes, bedding, a pair of jeans, and a shiatsu foot massage machine I spent about $199.53.

4. I just switched insurance providers from State Farm back to Allstate. It costs a little more each month, but…
State Farm doubled my payment, I switched to a monthly plan through from a 6 month lump sum. then took a whole 2 weeks to give me a credit.
Around the same time, the rep in the office tried to cross sell me some insurance I wasn’t interested in but ultimately agreed to. Then after signing up I got a letter in the mail saying I don’t qualify due to my BMI.
Their office moved what is now 30 miles away from I work. I have never met the actual insurance agent. I tried to give them the benefit of the doubt by scheduling a Friday call after work since their Saturday schedules are always busy… She never called me back. Then she calls be back all happy go lucky about wanting to discuss my insurance renewal two weeks later…

Really thinking about the next few years of my life. Perhaps overly so…. I’m not 100% sure what direction things will go. From an earnings standpoint should I continue in Marketing, explore options in IT, or ramp up my side hustle game. I could have a Bachelors in Computer Science before the age of 40. If I start now I’m confident it would take me 2 years. Assuming it takes me 2 years to get the degree I’d have to start out taking a pretty big pay cut from where I am now. Would it be insane to start racking up certifications as a backup incase my industry starts to move toward automation or we have a crazy recession? I’ve gotten burned before being a one trick pony

Marketing Salaries Compared – Courtesy of Salary.com

Software Developer Salaries Compared – Courtesy of Salary.com

I don’t think this blog is able to be monetized and that’s not inherently a bad thing. The traffic isn’t there, it’s honestly all over the place, and really specific to my own experience. I write for my own pespective instead of someone just getting started in Personal Finance.

It’s also not a Brand in the typical sense. Too close to debtfee.com which is a licensed LLC. If I am to blog with the goal of generating ad, affiliate, etc. revenue I’d have to pivot to a different name.

My goal is to start modelling myself more after the top 11 people I follow in the space.
1. Alex Becker – Entreprenuer, Popular on YT – 387k subs
2. Clark Kegley – Refusing to Settle – Passive Income- Entpreneur – Mindset – 292k subs
3. Jaspreet Singh – Minority Mindset – 515k subs
4. Nate O’Brien – Millenial, saves a ton of his salary, minimalist – 343k subs
5. Mr. Money Mustache – He’s the standard 32k subs
6. Mike Rosehart – Young guy, into real estate, is completely crushing it, 14.7k subs
7. One Big Happy Life – Great to see things from a family perspective – 178k subs
8. Ryan Scribner – Personal Finance – Entrepreneurship – Stocks – 502k subs
9. Madfientist – He hit F.I.R.E. super young – 9k subs
10. Joseph Carlson – He dives into the world of investing weekly. Big on dividend investing (I’m also trying to increase my retirement stash quicker than he is lol) – 58k subs
11. Andrei Jikh – Magic of Finance – Big on dividend investing, has almost $195k invested at 30 years old, saves close to 50% of his income – 251k subs
Stay tuned….

Shout out to Double Debt Single Woman

Paying off a huge student loan balance without a bailout is a huge accomplishment. That’s exactly what a fellow blogger did on the Double Debt Single Woman blog.

Her student loan balance started off at a whopping $112,258.42. That’s more than double mine, plus she had additional credit card debt of $30,340. That’s freaking insane. Her journey took a total of 21 years, can you believe that? She switched jobs, had bosses from hell, roommate drama, but still managed to contribute to a six-figure retirement account, for a net worth of almost $200k.

Here is where she started: https://doubledebtsinglewoman.com/2016/03/19/the-epic-student-loan-saga-begins/

And her latest update from last week: https://doubledebtsinglewoman.com/2019/11/20/ddsw-is-debt-free/#more-5108

I’m inspired by her tenacity, have been reading her blog posts for years at this point. I still plan to be completely debt free in a few months, barring any emergencies. Then on to the massive wealth accumulation phase.

Hope we continue to see more blog posts Woman! Thanks for sharing your story with all of us!

November 2019 – Financial Update

401k: $63,709.07
Roth IRA: $4,354.17
HSA: $498.74
Total Retirement: $68,561.98

Car Loan: $5,902.88
Car Warranty: 646.25
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,235.68
Credit Card: $3,079.55
Total Debt: $10,864.36

My credit card balance went up since my last update. Why might you ask? Aside from my veterinarian visit the other week… I decided to purchase this bad boy.
2019 16″ MacBook Pro. I did buy my 15″ Certified Refurbished model in April but the changes were a little too good for me to pass up.Macbook Pro 16 Box

The configuration I purchased has the following specs: 16GB 2666MHz DDR4, Amd Radeon Pro 5500 w/ 4GB of GDDR6 memory, new keyboard, 1TB SSD. For me the biggest selling points were the added storage, traditional scissor switch keyboard, 3x improved GPU performance over my machine, 2 more CPU cores. Apple offered me $1400 for the old machine which will reduce the above credit card balance and I got the education store discount oin top of it. I absolutely love this new computer, I played some games on Parallels without any lag. I could type on it for hours without getting carpal tunnel flareups, something I could not say with my old system.

I’m thankful that my income allows me to purchase the gadgets I enjoy, and my housing costs are fairly low. I do regret not travelling more in 2019. 4 trips – Palm Springs, New York, Boston / Provincetown, Las Vegas. Ok I guess that is a lot… 😀 For 2020 I’d love to go to Key West, Seattle, San Francisco, see my family in New York. At least one international trip.

Come June my goal is to stay true to the name of this blog and be completely debt free. It’s also when my 0% APR credit card offer comes to an end. I know I’m not going to become rich through my investments alone so exploring other possibilities. Not comparing myself to my friends who make $120k-$200k+ per year but it does make me think about what I could be doing differently to get closer to that goal.