retirement, Retirement, RETIREMENT

Three words – retirement, retirement, retirement.
Math was never my strongest subject, but it’s been said Albert Einstein referred to compounding as the 8th wonder of the world.

At age 30 I started making a livable wage, where I’d be able to pay all my bills, and operate independently without the need for a roomate, or any outside assistance. I took advantage of my company 401k using a mix of pre-tax and post-tax dollars. Fast forward to today….

Almost 5 years later I have $35k in my retirement. $35k is more than the average American family (https://www.cnbc.com/2016/09/12/heres-how-much-the-average-american-family-has-saved-for-retirement.html) in the 32-37 age range. Considering I’m not a family and it’s just me I’m doing alright. However alright isn’t enough.

It’s 2018. My earnings are the highest they have ever been in my entire life. With income cometh taxes. As a single income person in an apartment, no kids, having graduated college a decade ago, the amount of government services I use is far lower than other groups. Without giving away my salary, if I didn’t contribute anything to retirement I’d have to pay uncle sam the equivalent of *411* hours worth of work. *10* weeks of work just for taxes and I don’t even own a home. Not on my watch.

So after a lot of back and forth between paying my last debt off at 1.9%, vs 20% of my salary in taxes I decided to amp up the retirement, raising my contribution total from 6% to 20%. That lowers my burden to 328 hours or ~8 weeks. Yes I will owe taxes later on in life, but presumably come retirement I will be in a lower tax bracket. Also betting that social insecurity won’t be around.

Will I be taking home less money than before? Absolutely. However without $2k/mo I was paying on credit cards I’ll still have more disposable income vs even 2 months ago. I even might be able to double up on car payments, but taking things one step at a time…

Speaking of car payments I made my first principal only payment this week, $100. That puts me at $19,980.57 as of 2/24/18. 1.9% is only $380/yr in interest. Some folks pay more than that on a credit card in one month.

Last but not least I’m learning to enjoy life more. Money is important but you can’t let it stress you out. Especially after reaching huge milestones…. A few examples of mine:

1999 – Started my first job at $5.15/hr
2001 – Finished HS
2003 – Finished Associates Degree
2005 – Finished Bachelors Degree
2008 – Finished MBA
2011 – Left Long Island for Dallas
2012 – Got job in current industry
2013 – Got a raise, then got better paying job in industry, started a 401k
2016 – Paid off student loans
2017 – Got a promotion, incurred $7k+ in medical debt
2018 – Medical debt gone, new job, maximizing 401k contributions for the first time in my life

Still want to travel and experience life more. The money stuff should just be a footnote. A couple nice things are cool, just don’t get obsessed with them. Don’t do stupid things like being invested solely in bitcoin, or a single stock with no diversification.

Beyond that, I’m working on my environment, overall stress levels and health. My best friend who is also my ex moved away with his husband to Massachusetts. I’m still looking for a relationship after almost 39 months of being single. Seems like folks are getting engaged or married left and right on social media. I’m lucky if I get a second date. Emotionally I’m a bit beat down. Horrible track record dating-wise, but this isn’t really the right venue. Keep fighting the good fight. ❤

I Did It! – No More Credit Card Debt

creditcardupdatesfebruary2018

 

Hey guys and gals. I’ve been quiet for a while. Life, new job, and some temporary frustration as my credit card balance went up, not down. It’s time to provide an update. November 2016 I went to the emergency room with insurance, had lots of testing, some surgery, stayed two nights and ended up with roughly $3500 of bills. Then in January I went back to the hospital to have my appendix removed laparoscopically. Instead of dealing with a constant barrage of hospital bills coming in the mail, or risking something going to collections, Put it on a 0% credit card, offer ended January 2018, so it was a race to get everything paid off before then.

medicaldebthistory

$7,128.96 of bills leftover after hitting my insurance deductibles. I was fortunate enough to have a healthy income but still had to make some sacrifices. I also chose to buy some high ticket items like my 15″ MacBook Pro Touch Bar, 4k Samsung TV, a new tailored suit. trip to Puerto Vallarta (one of my cheapest trips ever coincidentally) to see friends who were getting married.

What Didn’t I Do? I chose not to go on a cruise or trip to Europe with friends, didn’t go to any three $$$ sign restaurants on Yelp, kept my iPhone 7+ instead of getting an 8 or X, didn’t upgrade my Asus QHD monitor to 4k, didn’t fly to New York to see family over the holidays.

How do I feel? Pretty darn good. It’s like a weight off my shoulders. I still have the car payment to worry about. I’m also working on my actual weight, bought a bluetooth scale from Target about 2 weeks ago.

NMAC Car Payment Balance February 3, 2018
NMAC Car Payment Balance February 3, 2018

I still can’t decide how early to pay the car off. I technically could do it in a year, but is it that important to me? Could I downsize and still be happy? Emergency fund and experiences are also important. Plus there is the potential to move. The apartment is quiet and covers my necessities at this point. However a 38 minute commute each way + 10 min walk from the parking garage to the office is a little bit taxing. If I could drop that by 20 minutes I’d get more sleep and stress levels would be a bit lower. Decisions…