2014 Goals and Update

Wow, did time get away from me during the Holidays and my writing suffered.  Also, big update that I changed jobs in mid-December!  I’ll be posting  more on that later, but know that it did make for the past couple months being busier than I expected.

Well, I’m back on it and wanted to provide an update on my last goals and set some up for 2014.  Here we go:

November Update

  1. Save 60%+ of my income.  FAIL.  With holiday expenses and tuition, my savings took a bit of a hit for the end of 2013.  I ended at saving 50% for November and December.  It’s funny that I now consider that a fail, while I used to think that anyone saving 10-20% was doing a great job.  Oh, how the goal of financial independence changes you!
  2. Enroll in MBA classes.  PASS.  I will be taking 2 accounting classes this spring!
  3. Roll over my old 401(k) plan.  PASS.  These funds were put into my Traditional IRA at Lending Club.  Currently looking at a 13% return….not too shabby.
  4. Do at least 2 home workouts each week.  Semi-Pass.  This goal was set as both a way to ensure I utilize my home equipment, but also (and more importantly) so that I gain strength.  The gym at my new office has the equipment I need to do the lifts, so this is a semi-pass in that I’ve done the workouts, but not as many at home.  I’ll still count that as success!

2014 Goals

Rather than do monthly goals, I am going to establish annual goals and provide monthly updates on my progress.

  1.  Reach 100k in net worth.  The all-elusive six-figures!  I’ll be including checking, savings, and all investment accounts.  I will exclude the un-vested portions of my employer’s match.  I don’t own any property (except for a car, which I don’t count towards my worth), so that should simplify things.  My hope is this will be done around October.
  2. Keep “miscellaneous” spending to $300 per month.  My budget includes rent, cell phone, fuel, groceries, and gym.  Everything else goes to miscellaneous.  This is where I’ve spent most of my money in the past, and I’m working on being more conscious of these purchases.
  3. Track spending.  I’ve had a mint.com membership for a long time, but have never done a great job of classifying my spending.  I’d like to provide an overview on my annual spending in December, and that will require regular review and classification of transactions throughout the year.
  4. Increase lifts.  I’m working on increasing my strength (and decreasing my body fat in the process!).  The plan is to focus on 4 major lifts doing a 5×5 program.  Below is my current lift, followed by my goal:
    1. Deadlift = 110 –> 155
    2. Squat = 88 –> 125
    3. Bench Press = 60 –> 75
    4. Strict Press = 50 –> 63

How did you do in 2013?  Anything you would change if you could?  Any big goals for 2014 in your financial life?

Posted in Goals

November Goals

Hey everybody!  Better late than never, so here’s my goals update.

October update:

  1. Save over 70% of my income.  PASS.  I thought this month would be easier considering my working hours, however, it was pretty close and I only made it because my fabulous boyfriend sold some items on Craigslist/Ebay/Amazon.  But, that gets those checked off my to-do list!
  2. Continue to follow Atkins.  FAIL.  Between stress eating (chocolate!) and being so busy, it just didn’t happen this month.  I’m going to continue trying to eat healthy, but don’t think full-blown Atkins will be on the list during the holiday season.
  3. Workout at least three times per week. Semi-Pass.  Some weeks were better than others, but I managed to get a work out in as much as I could.  This Sunday I will be picking up some weights to have at home, so no excuses going forward.
  4. Plan an amazing birthday for my boyfriend. PASS.  His birthday isn’t until mid-November, so I’ll have to wait another month to provide a full update on this, but it’s definitely a pass!!

November goals:

  1. Save 60%+ of my income.  I have to drop this a bit this month with the holiday season and D’s birthday.  I plan to do what I can to make it higher than that, but I want to keep it realistic.
  2. Enroll in MBA classes.  Exciting news…I was accepted to a local university to start taking graduate classes!  I’ll be taking between 6-9 credit hours in the spring, so I need to enjoy my free time while I have it.  This is also going to take a bite into the savings plan, so I’ll probably need to make some changes.
  3. Roll over my old 401(k) plan.  I recently discovered that not only is my old employer’s plan not beating the market, it has a pretty high expense ratio.  I’m not sure what I’ll do with it quite yet (except that I don’t want to make it a tax event), but I need to get it out of their plan.  It’s been a struggle the past month because they can’t seem to get my address right, but that should (fingers crossed) be fixed in one week.  At least that’s what they say.
  4. Do at least 2 home workouts each week.  As I mentioned above, I’ve purchased some weights to have the option to work out at home.  It’s only a waste of money if I don’t use them (in my opinion), so I’m making it a goal to use it on a regular basis.  If you have any workout ideas, please share them in the comments!

How have your fall goals being progressing?  Any big changes coming in your life?

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Judging Club: Are You @#^&$*% Kidding Me??

Hey everybody! Today I am going to post about something I’ve learned from my newest investment venture, Lending Club.  It’s also a warning sign to those individuals out there who aren’t managing their finances.  I don’t mean in the I-Think-A-Roth-IRA-is-Better-Than-A-Traditional-IRA-so-You’re-Wrong type of financial mismanagement.  I mean the SOUND THE ALARM, ALERT THE TROOPS, THROW COLD WATER ON YOU type of situation.

Before I elaborate, let’s cover what Lending Club is.  This website facilitates peer-to-peer lending for individuals in amounts up to $35,000.  It’s ideal for someone who wants to consolidate credit cards, boost inventory in their small business, pay medical expenses, or make improvements to their home.  Every borrower must provide basic information and then the website posts the information for investors to review and determine which loans they want to invest in.  Once the loan is fully funded by investors, Lending Club performs due diligence to ensure the information provided was accurate and then the loan is issued.  The borrower then makes monthly payments of principle and interest.  Pretty cool, right?

Well, the best part is looking through the loans and finding those gems that make you want to purchase a flight, find the person, and shake some financial sense into them.  This, of course, isn’t possible, but it is fun to imagine.  My immediate response is to make up a story for the borrower that makes the loan somewhat reasonable.  However, some of these make that really hard.   Here is one for your viewing/reading pleasure:

lending club post 10.22.13

The borrower, Lacy, had always dreamed of her wedding day.  Never mind that she was rapidly approaching 40 and had only been on 3 dates in her life (and none of those were second dates, if that’s what you’re thinking).  When she found Mike, she knew that she had to make this one work.  Soon enough she learned that he had very expensive tastes.  Luxury cars, exotic vacations, and bottle service at the most exclusive clubs.  She made $209,000/year; however, she lived well beyond her means as it was.  So, in order to keep appearances up and get her *big day*, she opened eleven credit cards and used almost 75% of her available balance.   Mike thought that he found everything he wanted in a partner, especially since she was able to keep up with his fast-paced lifestyle.  One brisk October evening, he proposed and she accepted.  “This wedding has to be the biggest party this town has ever seen,” Mike said to Lacy.  And her parents would be paying, of course.  Except, little did Mike know, Lacy’s parents were beyond broke.  Like ramen noodles for date night broke.  So even though Lacy knew she had $75,000 in credit card debt, she signed up for a $24,000 (60-month) loan at 26% APR to fund their expensive wedding plans.  “One day,” she thought, “everything will just work it self out.”  I mean, combined she’ll only have $99,000 in debt, so it’s not even 6 figures yet, right? Right?

Do you see how crazy this situation is?  Even on Lacy’s high salary, she should be in debt emergency mode, not I’m-Going-To-Take-Out-A-Loan-To-Finance-A-Fucking-Party mode.  And poor Mike, I wonder if he even knows the debt that he’s getting ready to take on.  Now, I have no idea if this loan was issued or not, but I can guarantee you that it didn’t hit my portfolio.  Anyone who thinks that spending the first five years of marriage in debt from ONE DAY EXPENSES is beyond reasoning in my book.  So they don’t get my money.  Oh, snap.

Any variables that you would add to make this more reasonable?  Do you judge others based on their financial situations?  Make up fun stories for strangers?

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