Net Worth Week 50 – It Might As Well Be Spring

Gentle Readers,
So sleepy this week. I’ve been working hard in my own business and getting OT at the gig. I’m trying to get more than ten hours of OT this week especially since I will miss a day each in the next two weeks because I get to see my girlfriend in person for the first time since she moved! All of the happy dancing!
I had a free appointment to see if I am a candidate for a cheaper version of invisalign. My dentist wants me to wait at least six months after my wisdom tooth extraction regardless, but I wanted to collect the data. I don’t fully understand why this version is significantly cheaper than traditional invisalign. I am waiting to hear from my friends to hear about their experience of this company. To be continued.
My company is stonewalling me about the W2 and I’m still waiting for a K-1 from an investment. Sigh.
I’m getting more and more excited about my skill-building classes. My progress feels like it is tipping over into the exponential realm

This week’s net worth numbers

3/17/2017 3/24/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 342 994
 IRA  12812  12693
 Brokerage 694  684
 Rewards Card 2 0 -301
 CC (largest) -3500  -3500
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1252 -1302
SL 1 -104172 -104288
 SL 2 -45883 -45936
 Earnest -5704 -5716
 Net Worth -144174 -144183
 Percentage Change .46% -.01%

How has Spring Sprung in your neck of the woods? We’re in a cold front and anticipating.

  

Net Worth Week 49 – Stella Edition

Gentle Readers,
My new suit is still being fixed at the dry cleaner, I’ll write a post about this drawn out process soon.
I began talking to my friends about local orthodontist and invisalign costs and timelines. My crooked teeth are causing more pain and I need to use my money to lessen that.
Still couldn’t finish my taxes, because my W2 is wrong, again. This company was wrong last year, too. Same damn issue. Same nonsense of telling me that they aren’t wrong. If they don’t fix it by Monday, I’m reporting them to the IRS. Tired of their bullshit.
It was a busy week with Winter Storm Stella and my skill-building class, but I am feeling more and more confident in my abilities.
I see her in two weeks and I’m so excited!

This week’s net worth numbers

3/10/2017 3/17/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 1 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 11 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 622 342
 IRA  12568  12812
 Brokerage 688  694
 Rewards Card 2 0 0
 CC (largest) -3999  -3500
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1629 -1252
SL 1 -104057 -104172
 SL 2 -45831 -45883
 Earnest -5692 -5704
 Net Worth -144841 -144174
 Percentage Change -.70%  .46%

Were you impacted by Stella?

  

Net Worth Week 46 – She’s Gone Edition

Gentle Readers,
I took my girlfriend to the airport this morning and called in “sick” to work. I believe mental health counts for a sick day, and that it is a stupid system that tells me I can only use the time-off I’ve earned in one particular way.
My best friend is meeting me after work. I am meeting my other best friend’s new puppy this weekend. I’ve got some client work to do and also am not trying to get any OT this week, in part because the holiday pay calculation means that I would have to physically work 40 hours plus 1 in order to get the time-and-a-half pay-rate. Not today, Satan.
 Time to do the errands I’ve been putting off while focusing on her move: trip to the tailor,  oral surgeon,  preparing taxes so that I can understand how to do my schedule c/k? properly, grocery store, skill-building.
My net worth took a slight dip this week, which is attributable to my getting a hotel for her last night in our city. Absolutely worth it.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/17/2017 2/24/2017
 Joy 1104 1104
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 810
Business 751 751
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life 1608  1622
 IRA 11974  12163
 Brokerage 688  693
 CC (largest) -4203 -4215
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1682 -1909
SL 1 -103970 -104085
 SL 2 -45738 -45844
 Earnest -6122 -6133
 Net Worth -144139 -144323
 Percentage Change .33% -.13%

What should I do for self-care?

Have a poem by a black, queer poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Happy Black History Month, y’all!

“I loved my friend
He went away from me
There’s nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.”
Langston Hughes  

Net Worth Week 38 – The Year End Edition

I once again travel today, but this time to New England to begin the year with some of my favorite people. I love starting the year with them, but have not done it for a few years. Extra bonus, my girlfriend loves every time I visit this region because I come home so happy. Everybody wins.

My business had a major milestone. I paid myself out of the profits for the first time. It is a small amount, and does not begin to repay me the loan of my money and time over these years, but it is an incredible start. I’m quite happy to start small, because this gives me a chance to feel what paying self-employment taxes are like on a limited-scale. If I mess up, the error should be smaller, right? My current plan is to pay myself from the profits, but not spend the money. Just have it set aside into my “business” account. Once I get the hang of paying quarterly taxes, I can save it/invest it/use it like regular money.

Thirty-eight weeks of tracking my net worth and I’m doing slightly better than I was when I began. I had hoped to be in a much better position at the end of the year, but I had not anticipated the thousands of dollars in medical bills. I still know that I am doing better, but it is important to remember that life can come at you sideways.

12/16/16 12/23/16 12/30/16
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 1 501
Bed 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life 636 1912  1889
IRA 10883 10718  10879
Brokerage 661 661  658
CC (largest) -4341 -4256  -4251
CC (longest) 0 0 0
Rewards Card -510 -1274  -1534
SL 1 -103449 -103565  -103680
SL 2 -45553 -45606  -45659
Earnest -6927 -6942  -6956
Net Worth -146494 -146246  -146049
Percentage Change .26% .16% .13%

Are you ready for a New Year?

Net Worth Week 37 – Happy Holidays!

Gentle Readers,

Travel begins tomorrow and will mark the first time I will actually get to be in the same state as my lovely girlfriend on Christmas Day. I’m not thrilled by the area of the country we’ll be in, but she’ll be with me and that’s a lot of joy for one woman.

There’ll be limited time with my family and away from my jobs, but I will get to hug someone I have not seen for a few years due to how far away they live. I’m so excited. Definitely worth the cost of our tickets. All of my siblings in the same space happens once every 2 or 3 years. It is not easy.

12/9/16 12/16/16 12/23/16
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 445 636  1912
IRA 10988 10883  10718
Brokerage 664 661  661
CC (largest) -4341 -4341  -4256
CC (longest) 0 0 0
Rewards Card -988 -510  -1274
SL 1 -103334 -103449  -103565
SL 2 -45501 -45553  -45606
Earnest -6915 -6927  -6942
Net Worth -146880 -146494  -146246
Percentage Change .27% .26% .16%

Have you traveled this holiday season?

Net Worth Week 36 – Blustery Edition

12/2/16 12/9/16 12/16/16
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 2617 445  636
IRA 10124 10988  10883
Brokerage 399 664  661
CC (largest) -4341 -4341  -4341
CC (longest) -98 0 0
Rewards Card -1683 -988  -510
SL 1 -103477 -103334  -103449
SL 2 -45566 -45501  -45553
Earnest -7364 -6915  -6927
Net Worth -147283 -146880  -146494
Percentage Change .29% .27% .26%

How are you staying warm if winter has come to your neck of the woods?

Net Worth Week 34 – Overtime Edition

11/18/16 11/25/16 12/2/16
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 2288 1632  2617
IRA 10004 10170  10124
Brokerage 400 406  399
CC (largest) -4370 -4332  -4341
CC (longest) 0 0 -98
Rewards Card -454 -1443  -1683
SL 1 -103247 -103378  -103477
SL 2 -45461 -45521  -45566
Earnest -7335 -7351  -7364
Net Worth -146069 -147712  -147283
Percentage Change .15% -1.12% .29%

How are your Decembers starting?

Net Worth Week 31 – Sick and Tired

10/28/16 11/4/16 11/11/16
Joy 1101 1102 1102
Travel 323 324 324
Down Payment 19 19 19
Retirement 21 21 21
Health 45 45 45
Moving 284 284 284
EF 105 105 309
Business 1 1 1
Bed 0.29 0.29 0.29
Life 2145 2256  1475
IRA 9917 9773  9954
Brokerage 391 377  396
CC (largest) -4499 -4479  -4390
CC (longest) 0 0 0
Rewards Card -647 -199  0
SL 1 -103159 -103275  -103115
SL 2 -45421 -45474  -45401
Earnest -7752 -7768  -7318
Net Worth -147122 -146887  -146293
Percentage Change -.76% .15% .40%

Have you encouraged someone who is despairing?

Why I Still Give As I’m Getting Out of Debt

Gentle Readers,

It is true that I am pursuing financial independence, and that I am beginning far behind the starting line to the tune of negative $146,000. I am working my behind off and pursuing many strategies to change my situation. However, I still donate time and money to good causes. Some folks in the PF sphere will think me mad, and that’s okay by me. Everyone is allowed their own priorities.

I donate and give gifts to people and causes who do not directly benefit me. I do this for many reasons. The main one being that I want the world to be better. It would break my heart to know that I spent the next five years so focused on my own financial situation and ignored the world around me. If I can make the world even slightly better as I’m going, I will. Future me will be grateful, I’m sure.

When a young couple I know recently had a child, I checked in after the birth to see what they were missing now that they know what this baby in particular was lacking.  Then I mailed it to them. I also sent them a meal of their choice. They are growing accustomed to being parents and starting to learn some of the true costs. I am a practical woman and usually give practical gifts. I love adorable baby clothes and items, but babies need rash ointment. I can give that.

When I learned a friend had lost his job in a way that will preclude him getting similar employment, I stopped mowing my own lawn and paid him to do it instead. I also began asking around to see if I knew of any opportunities for him.

When people I admire and respect run for local office, I donate. Currently, a teacher from high school is running and so is a woman I met at a gala a few years ago. I do not live in their jurisdictions, but I care that they have excellent, respectable leadership. Neither of these people are running out of hubris. They are running because they have concrete ways they want to improve their community. Local politics matters so much to our daily lives. I give them money. I want America to be better.

I could get out of debt faster if I focused solely on my debt, but that is not how I want to live my life. I want to consistently work on improving the world while also improving my own financially life. I choose both. I’ll get there more slowly, but the view is worth it.

Do you make money choices that are financially irresponsible but right for you?

The Downsides of Co-ops

Gentle Readers,

While I am nowhere near ready to begin my home-search in earnest, since my current net worth has been hovering around the -$146,500 mark for the summer, I did check out my first open-house this weekend. It’s a cooperative I’ve been watching on Zillow and I had the time for a small trek.

I walked the 20 minutes from my current home, which also gave me another look at the neighborhood I’m considering. Before I was in such pain, I used to be a marathon runner and would run through that neighborhood as part of my training. Walking a neighborhood is very different from running in a neighborhood. As a woman in a city, I expect street harassment in both scenarios, but it is different when you are in running clothes. During that time of day, the walk felt safe. Good perk to feel first hand.

The building was a little more run-down than the photos showed. That was not a surprise. It’s also a bit off the beaten path, which is why it is going for $135,000 for all of its 700 square feet. I live in a group house now and could not really visualize what 700 SF meant and this was a good learning opportunity. It’s a lot of space for one person, but not overwhelming. I am hoping to buy something around that size, because I want the opportunity to live with someone comfortably if that is a possibility in the future. I definitely don’t want a studio, because I want the ability to host people without us all looking at one another’s pajamas.

The layout was a little strange. The kitchen is a good size, but it is currently situated so that you cannot fully open the oven or fridge because they face one another. This seems to be an issue of old outlets, but the room to move the oven over is available. There’ll be a whole in the cabinetry, but you could work with it. Overall, the place was cute and had nice windows and a bathroom of one’s own plus some good closet space.

Not bad as an incentive to keep me working toward my home-buying goal.

What distinguishes a co-op different from a condo?

Co-ops are different from condominiums in very important ways. With a condo, you are buying the unit you live in. With a co-op, you are buying a share of the building’s corporation. This is a huge difference with enormous impacts on you for as long as you own. The corporation/board has a lot of power. You do not.

Co-ops almost always require higher down payments and have higher monthly fees. I cannot find a co-op in my city that requires less than a 10% down payment. FHA loans are a no-go here, which would make it hard on first-time home-buyers.  Co-op and condo buildings both prefer to have relatively high owner-occupancy, which prevents owners from renting their homes out easily or at all. Co-op boards have the power to block potential buyers, which means closing on a co-op is hard when you are buying in and when you are trying to sell. It’s a lot of hassle that could keep you paying on a space you do not want anymore.

Co-ops often have high association fees. Partially, this is because the co-op fee may cover an underlying mortgage on the building and property taxes on top of maintenance and utility costs. The share you live in may sell for lower than a similarly sized condo, but the co-op fee can more than offset that. In some buildings, the fees include all utilities up to wi-fi. It may be a wash. You must look at the bylaws closely.

You also have the problem of finding a real estate agent and mortgage broker who knows what co-ops mean for buyers. At the place I checked out near me on Saturday the agent could not answer any of my questions. She eventually told me that she does not normally do co-ops, and it showed.  A big problem in some cities is the dearth of banks that offer co-op mortgages. Shopping around rates will be hard.

There is one major perk for those of us who would like the safety of stealth-wealth. Co-ops offer privacy. You own a share in a corporation, which does not include a public record of ownership. You can hide your address to people not in the building. This is helpful for folks fleeing abuse or famous people who’d like to be left alone.

The more I learn about co-ops, the less I want them. They feel less free than I’d like in my major purchase, but I am intrigued by the privacy option.

Would you consider a co-op over a condo?