Net Worth Week 76 – Grief Approaches Edition

Gentle Readers,
I went to the baby-shower, and was a good family-member. I  showed up, but then I got the call no one wants. A family member has a terminal illness. The outlook is dim. It is possible he could be the outlier who lives, but the odds are not high. Very not high.
This week has been heavy and so draining. It will get worse.
Next week, I will receive my first set of invisalign and begin adjusting my teeth, and I will try to get everything I can done for my business and my job in anticipation of my flight to visit my family member for potentially the last time.
Thankfully, I work by the hour in my gig. I told them I won’t be there and I don’t have to think about them when I am gone. I do have to think about ensuring I earn enough money. But that is a problem for future ZJ. Right now, I need to be near him.
This week I’ve turned to my friends, without betraying his desire for privacy. I ate in their homes and read bedtime stories to their kids. I told them of my pain and they listened. They show up for me. They provided food and a willing ear.

This week’s net worth numbers

9/15/2017 9/22/2017
 Joy 1109 1109
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 286 286
 EF 11 11
Business 5 5
Life 4107  4548
 IRA  13882  14213
 Brokerage 823  837
 Rewards Card 2 -6345 0
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  -6270 (BT)
SL 1 -105619 -105734
SL 2 -46544 -46596
 Earnest -3154 -3160
 Net Worth -141352 -140664
 Percentage Change -1.14% .49%

How have you handled anticipated grief?

Net Worth Week 70 – Love in the South Edition

Gentle Readers,
Quick post from vacation. Keeping myself liquid because my business will most likely need cash from me soon. A big jump in CC was the first payment for invisalign.
Back to eating TexMex!

This week’s net worth numbers

8/4/2017 8/12/2017
 Joy 1108 1108
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1005 1005
Life 1818  1632
 IRA  13486  13267
 Brokerage 836  812
 Rewards Card 2 -2489 -2784
 CC (largest) 0  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  -438
SL 1 -105444 -105317
SL 2 -46464 -46406
 Earnest -4042 -3584
 Net Worth -139803 -140322
 Percentage Change .15% -.37%

How are your vacations going?

Net Worth Week 69 – Spinning Round Edition

Gentle Readers,
My tutoring sessions continue to improve my skills greatly. Every day I am more excited about the possibilities on the horizon.
Knowing that I will pay out of pocket for Invisalign the same month that my business has many bills due has been stressful. I think I will have to return the money my business “paid” me back to my operating account. Unless a new client comes in ready to hire me very soon. One current client contacted me yesterday for a tiny bit of work that will help enormously, but not cover everything I have going out this month. I should be able to do everything he needs this weekend.
I am grateful that I have this blog, because it taught me how simple a balance transfer is; it also reminds me that the last time I took this step it was because of dental pain, as well. C’est la vie.  My credit score is good and I have no plans in the next six months to take out a loan of any sort. Knowing that I have significantly higher outlays than projected income in the next two months, my plan is to hold off on paying down my credit card so that I have the funds available for my business, if necessary. Once the first big payment is due for my Invisalign, I’ll put it on my credit card and then initiate a balance transfer. That will buy me many months of no interest for the fee of a 2% balance transfer. This is much cheaper than letting it sit on a credit card with an APR over 10%.  It’s not the greatest situation, but I know better how to use the tools available.
Next week may not have a net worth check in because I will be in Texas visiting my love! I cannot lie, I have been dreaming about TexMex.

This week’s net worth numbers

7/28/2017 8/4/2017
 Joy 1107 1108
 Travel 1  1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 46 46
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1004 1005
Life 1499  1818
 IRA  13481  13486
 Brokerage 809  836
 Rewards Card 2 -2406 -2489
 CC (largest) -114  0
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card 0  0
SL 1 -105329 -105444
SL 2 -46411 -46464
 Earnest -4033 -4042
 Net Worth -140010 -139803
 Percentage Change -.46% .15%

How often have you felt the phrase “One step forward and two steps back” in your financial life?

Net Worth Week 55

Gentle Readers,
I think I figured out my self-employment taxes last weekend. Based on the forms I filled out, I don’t need to prepay quarterly taxes for Self-Employment Tax purposes because I do not anticipate earning enough through my business this year. I also received my federal refund and immediately plowed it into paying down debt as intended.
My overtime goal was thwarted this week because we were made to leave early on Thursday. I used the “extra” time to mow my lawn before we get into the 90s this weekend, which was great because all of the rain had prevented me from maintaining it properly. The added $30 from my roommates never hurts either.
I’m still doing what I can overtime-wise, but it will be smaller than I intended this week.  My project got a surprise two new coworkers this week. Our project manager is now indicating more strongly that we will have work after the next eight weeks, but there are never any guarantees in this industry. I’m still going to try to overload on OT while I can, because you never know what the future holds.  If all goes according to plan, I will pay off my balance transfer before the 0% interest rate changes in early July. In the past two weeks, I have paid off 49% of the remaining balance. The next two paychecks are entirely devoted to debt reduction.
I have used my girlfriend’s old crock pot twice now, which means my lunches have been far more frugal than usual. I’m still getting the hang of the process and seeking out better recipes. Do you recommend any?
This weekend I’m looking forward to dinner with a friend who is in town and also a college alumnae resistance event. See, I do some balance.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/21/2016 4/28/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 1239  1324
 IRA  12768  12974
 Brokerage 691  698
 Rewards Card 2 -1000 -1859
 CC (largest) -2761  -1629
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1176 -1200
SL 1 -104490 -104606
 SL 2 -46029 -46081
 Earnest -5296 -5307
 Net Worth -143478 -143110
 Percentage Change .92 % .26%

Has the rain ended in your area yet?

Net Worth Week 53 – Maintenance Edition

Gentle Readers,
Monday I saw a play with a friend. Last night I had dinner with another friend. Today, I am meeting up with two different college friends. Neither of whom were planned before yesterday. I had brunch at my friends’ house last weekend and have plans with humans not my office for both days this weekend. I am doing a good job of maintaining friendships this month. It’s a lot though. I need to get some more things done. Always seeking balance.
I’ve had two different meetings with potential clients and another client may finally provide me with the final details so I can finish his case. My business will support itself for a few more months on this money.
I know I am behind on self-employment taxes and will pay the penalty, but I just couldn’t get to it by March 15th. I paid myself so little that I am hopeful that this learning experience will be worth the fee.

This week’s net worth numbers

4/7/2016 4/14/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 285 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 639  518
 IRA  12736  12645
 Brokerage 689  682
 Rewards Card 2 -585 -1138
 CC (largest) -3264  -3227
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1331 -1231
SL 1 -104519 -104375
 SL 2 -46041 -45976
 Earnest -5274 -5285
 Net Worth -144460 -144811
 Percentage Change .07 % -.24%

Are you ready for tax day?

Net Worth Week 51 – After Vacation Edition

Gentle Readers,
I saw my girlfriend for the first time in a month! It was heaven! It also was my first vacation of more than 2 days in a very long time. I set an out-of-office for my business, and warned my clients. So many ignored the warnings, but I held firm and did not engage in any work while I was there.
I meandered. I strolled. I had a networking lunch with someone in my profession who was incredibly kind. I saw a friend. I ate good food. I rocked a rainbow bikini.
Back to reality.  I am a candidate for the cheaper Invisalign according to the company I met with. I still need to talk to my dentist and get approval to pursue this option.
I was given a bed to replace the one I had that my body hated. Unfortunately, even with my brother’s help, the bed I received is not salvageable. I’ll figure out in a few days if I need to replace the frame and mattress or just the frame. This is not an expense I planned for. But I gave my bed away on the promise of this new bed. Sigh.
I spent more on ubers/lyfts this weekend than my normal, but it helped me see her city and meet the folks I wanted to meet.

This week’s net worth numbers

3/24/2017 4/4/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 285
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 994 1666
 IRA  12693  12757
 Brokerage 684  689
 Rewards Card 2 -301 -950
 CC (largest) -3500  -3514
 CC (longest) 0  -65
 Rewards Card -1302 -1416
SL 1 -104288 -104469
 SL 2 -45936 -46019
 Earnest -5716 -5736
 Net Worth -144183 -144567
 Percentage Change -.01% -.27%

When was your last vacation?

Net Worth Week 33 – Thanksgiving Leftovers Edition

11/11/16 11/18/16 11/25/16
Joy 1102 1102 1102
Travel 324 324 324
Down Payment 19 19 19
Retirement 21 21 21
Health 45 45 45
Moving 284 284 284
EF 309 309 309
Business 1 1 1
Bed 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life 1475 2288  1632
IRA 9965 10004  10170
Brokerage 396 400  406
CC (largest) -4390 -4370  -4332
CC (longest) 0 0 0
Rewards Card 0 -454  -1443
SL 1 -103115 -103247  -103378
SL 2 -45401 -45461  -45521
Earnest -7318 -7335  -7351
Net Worth -146293 -146069  -147712
Percentage Change .40% .15% -1.12%

Are you enjoying rest this Holiday Weekend?

Road Less Traveled Challenge

Gentle Readers,

If you are not reading Our Next Life, you are missing out on some delightful people. They have issued a challenge whose mantle is well-worth taking up.

The challenge: Instead of talking about what we’re all doing that’s the same (saving at a high rate, optimizing our budgets, etc.), let’s celebrate what we’re each doing that’s unique.

My unique path is relatively simple. I’m a dyke and have been setting my own course from a very early age. If you do not conform to heterosexuality and the assumptions that many people attach to it, you must necessarily decide what life should be for you because there are fewer examples. This is a blessing. You have to figure out what is important to you. You have to create your joy. The day I graduated from high school, I moved out of my “family” home. I’ve been forging an expanded version of family and what life means for me ever since.  It changes with new information and new versions of myself. Self-improvement means that you have to accept new ways of being.

I was fortunate to find other families to take me in at all times. I was never on the street. In other people’s homes, I found a way to contribute, but mainly I learned from them and appreciated the safety and food they provided. The conclusion I reached from living with so many diverse people was that every person believes they are normal. Every person thinks that the way their family has always done something is the way to do something. Everyone’s assumptions are hidden from themselves because they’ve lived in them for so long. The greatest thing about my early nomadic lifestyle was to see through the veil of normal. There are a million ways to “properly” prepare dinner, and all of them are right for someone.

The way you’ve always done something does not have to be the way you continue doing something. 

Until very recently, I never imagined that I would be able to retire at all. I have significant student loan debt and some personal debt. My net worth is hovering around -$150,000.  However, there has been a change brewing in me. I see hope to drastically alter my situation through two different mechanisms.

The first mechanism involves learning a skill that will double my earnings. I’m really enjoying the learning process and plan to continue learning it even after it becomes profitable for me. Once I’m able to do temp work based on that skill-set, my take home pay will skyrocket. It will be enough money that I could realistically pay off all of my debt and save for a down payment in a high COL area in three years or less. With a much higher income, I intend to take a “balanced” approach. Credit card debt will be knocked out entirely in a month. Then I will save a down payment while increasing my emergency fund. If all goes well, I’ll find a small place that is affordable. Once I get an understanding of what my mortgage feels like on my bank account, I will shift focus to buying index funds and paying down my student loans. After the educational debt is gone, I will probably work one more year doing the highly lucrative temp work and plow most of my earnings into index funds.

Then, I will stop.

I will shift to my second mechanism. With the encouragement of my best friends and girlfriend, I started an LLC two years ago that will eventually allow me to live the lifestyle I desire. The work is a passion of mine and contributes to making the world better. With an appropriate nest egg and low expenses, I could work 20 hours a week doing something of value for the world without wearing myself out. My free time will be mine. I will have slow mornings with strong coffee.

I will use the freedom to travel to practice languages I’ve learned. To go on miniature adventures and learn even more ways people view their choices as normal.

I will use the freedom to create things. I like to write stories and paint furniture. I think I will continue to like that in the future.

I will use the freedom to properly learn how to cook. I’m an excellent baker, but my cooking skills are mediocre. Classes would be wonderful. I love food. I’m sure I can learn.

I will use my freedom to continue volunteering for organizations in my city. I will use my freedom to be a more involved citizen.

I will use my freedom to get a puppy. A big one.

What is your unique approach to life and FIRE?

Net Worth Week 10 – Grief Edition

Gentle Reader,

My heart still aches for my LGBT Family in Orlando. I focused this week on time with other LGBT people and in LGBT spaces. I allowed myself to overspend on food to be near people I was grieving with. I knew I was doing it and it was the right thing for my heart. I’m also still operating from a much smaller than average paycheck. It will be a few more weeks of loss. Thankfully small.

I am so encouraged at how many allies and people not directly impacted this time are trying to make us safer. Thank you. I don’t know if you know how much succor it gives us. Only one of my many relatives has checked on me at all, and that is a good summation of what it is like to be a lesbian. We’ve never felt safe in this world, and this has made it worse, but the response of so many people who are taking this as a call to action is so encouraging. Thank you a million times.

My IRA and brokerage accounts took hits this week, in addition to missing a month’s worth of funding that I had previously planned.

I still love Earnest and credit them with my ability to conquer some of this debt.

Date 5/27/16 6/3/2016 6/10/2016 6/17/2016
Joy 1098 1098 1098  1098
Travel 322 322 323 323
Down Payment  18 19 19 19
retirement  21 21 21 21
health  45 45 45 45
Moving  31 31 31 31
EF  2597 2597 2597 2597
Business  1 1 1 1
Bed  .29 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life  2765 2344 1729  1839
IRA  8359 8378 8516  8285
Brokerage  222 224 226  221
CC (largest)  0 0 0 0
CC (longest)  0 0 0 0
Rewards Card  -3998 -4481 -5434  -5300
SL 1  -102245  -102360 -102120 -102268
SL 2  -45059  -45095 -44971 -45017
Earnest  -9696 -9247 -9258 -9286
-$145518 -$146101 -$147176 -$147390
  2.95% change -1.0% change -1.0% change  -1.0% change

Has tragedy ever drastically changed your spending patterns?

Checking in on a Delicious Venture – Perks of Being a Silent Partner

Gentle Readers,

I have one investment that I do not include in my list of assets or liabilities, because I don’t know precisely how to in a way that makes sense for me, yet.

I invested in a friend’s small business last summer. I am one of under 30 shareholders. I am a silent partner. This sounds terribly foreign to me, even a year later. In part, because I am an out of state investor. I invested on the strength of his paperwork and photos and his pitch.

My friend created a food business that I understand and believe he can succeed in. I finally got to check in on that business in person as part of my vacation trip today.

(when did this become my life? It sounds terribly mature)

20160512_143807

(checking out the kitchen and the sous vide)

It tastes incredible.  Seriously, my mouth is really glad I had to check out my investment. I now understand why all of his customers are spreading the word.

I do not know if my share will make a financial return. I believe it will, based on projections. He is attracting clients rapidly. I suspect that he’ll need to do another capital infusion in the next 12-18 months, unless there is a recession, because he will need to expand to keep up with the demand. It’s a good problem to have.

I also believe that investing in my friend gave him more than money. This business is great for him and for his relationship to his career. He was floundering after leaving his former profession, and came up with an incredible idea that he was capable of executing. He just needed capital. The change in him has been incredible to see.

Even if I end up writing off this investment, my money is worth what it can do to make the world better. One person at a time.

Have you invested as a silent partner?