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 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 48 – Oral Surgery Edition

Gentle Readers,
My suit arrived and the tailored made it fit. There’s still one small snag that I’ll need to have my dry-cleaner fix, but it looks like a million bucks. I’ll write a post about this drawn out process soon.
Oral surgery happened. Then ice cream and applesauce did. This process let me know that my insurance is now only acceptable at pharmacies that my insurer runs. No longer may I utilize CVS. It is inconvenient, but my past performance on prescriptions being such a rarity for me will hopefully continue trending.
I opened a new rewards credit card and was able to use my oral surgery to hit part of the spending limit. This card is for an airline that flies often between the cities my girlfriend and I live in. For now, I’m keeping all of my other cards open, but I may re-assess my needs and potential impact on credit rating. You’ll notice the big dip in my travel and EF account, because I wanted to pay for as much of my oral surgery as possible up front.
Taxes drafted. Schedule C. (got side-lined this week)
Skill-building classes returned!
Another client hired me as I nearly completed work on a different client’s project.
I finished funding my 2016 IRA.
 I bought my first ticket to go visit her in her new city!

This week’s net worth numbers

3/3/2017 3/10/2017
 Joy 1105 1105
 Travel 324 1
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 811 11
Business 1002 1002
Life 2640 622
 IRA  12234  12568
 Brokerage 698  688
 Rewards Card 2 0 0
 CC (largest) -4260  -3999
 CC (longest) -191  0
 Rewards Card -2322 -1629
SL 1 -104201 -104057
 SL 2 -45896 -45831
 Earnest -6145 -5692
 Net Worth -143831 -144841
 Percentage Change .34% -.70%

How have your Marches begun?

  

Net Worth Week 47 – Grind it Out Edition

Gentle Readers,
I’ve been doing a great job this week of getting lots of things done and getting overtime in to tackle this debt. I was really worried that her absence would make me despondent, but I still feel wrapped in her love from hundreds of miles away. I’ll use this time to focus on being even better at tackling debt and growing my business. When I’m with her, I can then just focus on exploring her new city with her and enjoying being near her without worrying about costs. (remind me of this when despondency rears its head)
I made it to the tailor who is fixing a suit for me. She estimates that it will be ready this weekend and I’m very excited to finally wear it. I scheduled my oral surgery; it still does not feel like the best time financially, but I would like to have a happier mouth and less pain.
I’m going to draft my taxes tomorrow so that I can talk to my accountant friend for a paid-review of the Schedule C I’ll prepare. I also need to prepare to pay my quarterly taxes for the first time since I paid myself from profits in December. I know that I have the money on hand because I have kept all profits I’ve paid myself in a sub-account. I don’t know what I’ll do with that money once I know what it is like paying self-employment taxes. Right now that money has the job of teaching me how much I’ll bring home depending on the number of clients I have. It’s a good lesson.
My skill-building classes return again next week. I’m really excited. I love the class and the teacher, and it is free. I intended to finish a book on the subject during the 2.5 months we did not have class, but I did not make the time with how much happened in my world.
We also can’t seem to keep a fourth contractor on this project. The most recent hire did not make it a month. No one has explained his absence to us; he’s just not there. It’s a very strange work environment. I hope he found a permanent job somewhere. He was nice and diligent.
.

This week’s net worth numbers

2/24/2017 3/3/2017
 Joy 1104 1105
 Travel 324 324
 Down Payment 19 19
 Retirement 21 21
 Health 45 45
 Moving 284 284
 EF 810 811
Business 751 1002
Bed  0.19 0.19
 Life  1622  2640
 IRA 12163  12234
 Brokerage 693  698
 CC (largest) -4215  -4260
 CC (longest) 0  -191
 Rewards Card -1909 -2322
SL 1 -104085 -104201
 SL 2 -45844 -45896
 Earnest -6133 -6145
 Net Worth -144323 -143831
 Percentage Change -.13% .34%


What do you like to have on hand for post-surgery self-care?

 

  

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 45 – A Change is Gonna Come

Gentle Readers,
There was another week of net worth growth, but big changes are brewing. These changes will impact my money, my time, and my general happiness.
My wonderful girlfriend had a short period of unemployment before accepting a job very far away. It’s an exciting opportunity and will be a great chance to grow professionally, but it is also bittersweet. A change of scenery may be good for the spirit, but it also means that our hug quotient will go way down. She flies away next week.
Thankfully, my employment is flexible. I have not yet broached it with my agency, but I will request that they allow me to work remotely outside of the weekend to sometimes work from her new place while she is at her job. This will make visiting her monthly far more feasible. I have the approved computer for remote work. My bosses don’t supervise us, nor care that one person sleeps while “working.” This would allow me to continue pursuing their overtime goals and allow me to purchase cheaper airfare. They should say yes, but may balk. We’ll see.
With all of this, I also need to continue to work on my balance transfer from last summer, and pay it off before July.  Her move is why I have not yet made my appointment with an oral surgeon. I want to spend as much time with her and helping her as possible. Sometimes love includes dental pain.
I have a lot to learn to make this change work. I did not previously know that South West Airlines had such flexible tickets. I will be looking up travel hacking, and all sorts of other things to make sure that our love and support stay strong.
 .

This week’s net worth numbers

2/10/2017 2/17/2017
 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 819  1608
 IRA 11536  11974
 Brokerage 679  688
 CC (largest) -4182 -4203
 CC (longest) 0  0
 Rewards Card -1120 -1682
SL 1 -103854 -103970
 SL 2 -45738 -45791
 Earnest -6109 -6122
 Net Worth -144610 -144139
 Percentage Change .40% .33%

What made a long-distance relationship work for you?  

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 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?