Wow, I just noticed on the forums that my last blog post was 3 and a half years ago. A lot has changed in that time.
I was bragging about my first student loan payment in my last post, well in December 2012, as a 30th birthday present to myself, we paid off my student loans.
We moved from Pcola to Hawaii.
We sold our Pcola house and have continued to rent out our Jax house. We were able to (finally) refinance it, but they discovered we now need flood insurance so it didn't result in much of a monthly cost lowering so we still lose about $30 per month + any repairs.
We got and paid off a BMW. We sold my car and bought another one with cash after the move.
I changed jobs once, have been unemployed for about 8 months, and am about to start another job. DH changed his jobs once too (the reason for the move).
We continue to max out our Roth IRA and 401k.
We started contibuting to a taxable retirement account and are regularly contributing to it.
Wow, I just noticed on the forums that my last blog post was 3 and a half years ago. A lot has changed in that time.
My first student loan payment posted today!
I was able to get through my pharmacy program with primarily only getting subsidized loans, however, the first semester of my first year we elected to take the unsubsidized ones too. To cover the tuition bills DH and I had been setting aside $350 a month, well after my last tuition payment in January, I continued to do this. So today I took all of that and made a payment of $1400.
I start my residency today which is good in several respects. First, I'm really excited for it and it will be a great experience. Second, I'll get a paycheck! Finally, huh? I plan on putting nearly 2/3rds of my paycheck to student loans, and maybe more, but we've got some other saving we may do. Third, I can put my loans in deferment and extend the length of time my unsubsidized loans remain interest free. When I put my loans in deferment I'm going to ask if I get another grace period or if payment starts right after I finish my residency. Anyone know?
I plan on at least paying off the interest that has already accumulated and then the 8K in unsubsidized loans. Then I'll keep making the payment, but pay it to my savings account (earning 1%) until my subsidized loans start earning interest. Then, hopefully by then I can just pay it off in one fell swoop.
So I just found a new financial blog which talks about military retirement among other things. Today's post is probably the best article I have ever read about teaching children about finances. He basically tells the story of what he and his wife did in raising their daughter who is now a freshman in college. What I liked best was that it describes what they did at various ages and different books/resources he used as inspiration.
DH and I don't have kids, but we hope to someday, and I just hope I can find this again when we do.
Here's the link if you want to check it out:
In honor of graduation on Monday I thought I would start this new financial journey with my student loans.
Spring of 2007 I started applying to pharmacy schools. DH is in the Navy and we knew that it was possible for us to be stationed in one of the four corners of the US (Hawaii, Washington State, Maine and Florida). At the time I wasn’t aware of a pharmacy school in Hawaii, I missed the requirements for the school in Washington state by 1 biology credit (did I mention I was a biochem major in undergrad…how did this happen?!?!) and I was accepted to a pharmacy schools in New Hampshire (the closest to Maine) and University of Florida.
If we ended up selecting Washington or Hawaii, I’d put pharmacy school off for a while or go into something else. The base in Maine was closing so we knew eventually DH would come back to Jacksonville if he was stationed there, but we were holding out hope he would get Jacksonville and we could live together. Well the DAY of orientation, during my lunch break, we found out that DH had been selected to go to Maine and be the first squadron to come back to Jacksonville. I remember asking him “so that means I’m going to stay here [at UF], right?”
So needless to say things were a little up in the air there for a while. We had no idea how much life would cost supporting two households or how much school stuff would cost or anything. So we decided to take all of the loans offered that first semester, both subsidized and unsubsidized. I took all of the ‘profit’ in our savings account. I say ‘profit’ because they give you a bunch of money, take out tuition and give you the rest to live on. Second semester we took out the subsidized loans and my in-laws offered to pay for tuition. For my second year we continued to take out the subsidized loans and then used that ‘profit’ from before to cover gaps. Each semester we took out the subsidized loans, but it didn’t quite cover tuition so after the ‘profit’ was gone we started setting aside $350 a month to save up for those tuition payments.
So now 4 years later I’ve got just over $44,000 in student loans which will continue to be on deferment until November (colleagues who took everything have 100K or more). Since I will be starting a residency, they can be put back on deferment. I’m not exactly sure for how long. My program lasts until June, so at least until then, but I’m not sure if I get another 6 month grace period or not. The unsubsidized loans are currently at 6.8%, and they all with be at that rate when the deferment ends.
Our goal is to pay it off in 5 years. However, I plan to put $1000 a month toward them, which, especially with deferment, should pay them off in about 4 years or so. The nice thing is that with our slush fund whenever we get sick of them we can just cut a check and be done with it. Probably not the best thing financially (paying higher interest than we are earning in our checking account), but liquidity and flexibility is key in the Navy.
So it's been a while since I've updated or written on this blog. Almost a year, I guess. DH and I are right on the cusp of a lot of big changes so I think now is a good time to jump back in.
First, I will be graduating from pharmacy school on Monday. It was a long, hard, fantastic 4 years and I wouldn't trade a second of it! Financially, I'll be leaving with student loans amounting to just over $44,000.
Second, DH and I both will be starting new jobs. DH is going back to be a flight school instructor and I was selected for a 1 year pharmacy residency position. DH will still be making 85-90K and my stipend for the year is 41K.
Next, these new jobs are no longer in Jax, but across the state. We will be there for about 3 years...and are buying an amazing house. We were supposed to close on Monday, but it was pushed back to Friday. (This time through the home buying process has been AWFUL, I'm sure I'll comment on it later). So we will be adding another $125K to our debt.
We are still keeping our current house and are renting it out to a girl I went to school with. She's signing a 1 year lease, but I hope she stays a little longer than that. If not, we have access to a decent sized pool of renters. Her rent covers all of our costs plus about $15 or $20 to save up for repairs.
This summer before my residency starts my goal is to re-evaluate our financial plan to make sure we are using our money to best meet our goals. I intend to post updates and possibilities and would love to get your input on it!
I was doing our typical end of the month calculation to pay off our credit card and transfer any extra money from our checking account to our savings account. Well it was low, really low. Usually I can add in our end of the month payment, take away our CC bill and rent and be close to maintaining a $2500 buffer. (I know, 2K is probably ridiculously high for you, but it works for us.) However, this month it would only leave $800. So where did that nearly $1700 discrepancy go?
Mortgage increase due to taxes: $200
DH car repairs: $400
New door handles: $200
Conference for work: $100
Lunch at work: $100
Repair for bed: $100
Walmart (can't remember what we bought): $100
Whole Foods (week's worth of meat and cider): $100
And the rest was just spent at various times.
We've got money set aside for the car repairs, actually I have a "car fund" for repairs, maintenance, and saving for a new car. I don't like borrowing from it though, usually if something comes up I just don't add more money to it.
I really need to be better about taking my lunch to work. It something I haven't done and that extra $100 a month could probably be put to better use.
The new door handles was probably the biggest non-essential purchase. I wanted to replace them, but didn't need to do it right then. Usually little things like that don't hurt anything, but when combined with a bunch of others, it means I have to transfer money from savings.
I'm in pharmacy school and just started rotations. I always have known it is a challenge for many patients to afford their medications. However the current location of my rotation serves a set of patients who have little-to-no income. Many of the pharmacists where I work spend a great deal of time helping patients get their medications. Here are a couple tricks of the trade:
Free medications. Publix, a local grocery store, has offered select antibiotics for free. All you need is a prescription and you can get the medications for free. However they just started a new pharmacy program for diabetes where they are also giving immediate release metformin away for free.
$4 lists. Retail pharmacy chains like Walmart and Kmart offer many common prescription medications for $4 a month or $10 for three months. This can be a huge cost savings for everyone, not just those with low incomes. If you have insurance and your co-pay is more than $4, you will still only have to pay the $4. One down side is how busy these places can be, however.
Patient assistance programs. Patient assistance programs help low income patients receive brand name medications from the manufacturer. Often there is paperwork associated with this, either documentation of previous medications tried, or income statements. The work can be cumbersome, but results in receiving the medication at no cost.
Of course if anyone is having a hard time affording their medications they need to inform their doctor. Doctors may be able to prescribe a lower cost alternative. I see many people chose not to fill certain prescriptions due to cost. Also, abruptly stopping some medications can be dangerous. Do not stop taking medications without first talking to a doctor or pharmacist.
I got a phone call from DH yesterday saying that his laptop had officially died. We weren't really expecting it, but I did know it was falling apart and in much worse condition physically than my computer. I don't know what he'll get to replace it, but I'm sure it will cost $500-1000. A funny side note is he bought it while in Italy 2 years ago on a detachment and he's now in Italy on the exact same detachment.
He's not the only one spending money though. I bought LexiComp for my phone. It normally retails at close to $300, but with my student discount I got it for nearly half price. It was something I was planning to get here soon, so when it was on sale I jumped on it.
I also joined a gym. I decided to go with the month-to-month rather than the year long contract. It works out to be $8 a month more, but if I decide in 2 months I hate it, it would be much cheaper to cancel. I also figured that I needed to do this for me. I've been starting to run and am pseudo-training for a 15K. I've been running off and on for 2 months now, but the weather has been a big hurdle. So with the gym that excuse is off the table.
So we have spent a lot this week, but thankfully we have the money to be able to handle it.
DH and I got our tax refund earlier this week. I can't believe how fast it came! As soon as I noticed it hit our checking account I quickly transferred it to our ING savings account. Don't want to waste a second of higher interest.
We get a huge refund, over $2500. I know that we shouldn't be letting the government have it interest free, but we don't have a strong need for it and apparently the government does. Also I'd much rather be receiving money than having to pay.
This is the second year in a row we've had large refunds. I'm sure it's because I barely contribute to our income and we have to pay tuition. This next year, 2010, we may also be able to itemize our deductions and save any more. Although I haven't crunched the numbers yet to see if the interest on the house and possible interest from the student loans would make it worth it to itemize.
In anticipation of this I've increased the number of exemptions claimed on DH. Hopefully this will give us some more cash throughout the year but not make it so we have to pay come tax time.
As far as the refund goes I don't think we had a set plan for it. I did put some of it into our vacation fund in anticipation for our two week trip to Costa Rica. The rest of it has gone to our "housing/downpayment fund." That's sort of our catch-all for any extra money. When DH gets home the end of the month we may discuss if that's what we want to do or to put the money into other places.
Wow I just found an old post that I was going to put on my blog but must have forgotten to do. It's my review of sorts of the Millionaire Next Door.
I just finished reading the Millionaire Next Door written by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. I have heard a lot about this book so I was curious about reading it. However, I was a little disappointed with it. First of all, it is not really written for 25 year olds. I do not really know who would benefit the best from this novel, but I am not its primary demographic. This is also not a normal personal finance book that makes suggestions on how you should change your life to increase wealth. Rather, it is merely a collection of statistics about the average millionaire in America. (The fact that the â€śaverageâ€ť millionaire is a 57 year old self-employed male may explain my difficulty in relating to some of the things in the book.)
Things that bode well for us:
There are several common themes that run through the book. The first is that despite our exposure to celebrity millionaires who have all the latest toys and blow money left and right, most of the millionaires are quite frugal. Purchasing items on sale or using coupons is common.
They spend more time tracking where their money is spent and planning for future financial endeavors.
I like that they have a formula to determine how much money a person should have saved: 10% of your age multiplied by your income. At age 25 and an income of roughly 50,000, DH and I should have saved roughly $125,000. Not going to happen. My initial thought was that it is skewed for older workers. I mean, I havenâ€™t really had my first job yet and DH has only been working for 2 years. There is no way that in 2 years we could have saved $125,000. It does make me think that we could be doing better though.
*Update: DH is now further into his career and his income has leaped up. I, however, am still in school. Our new goal is about $220,000. However we are MUCH closer to reaching that than we were 2 years ago. We've started and fully funded our Roths, we started contributing to TSP, and our savings account has nearly doubled. At least I see that saving that much could be possible*
There was a large portion of the book that related to educating children about money and enabling them with gifts. Not having kids, I havenâ€™t had a chance to mess that up yet. It made me reflective of my own childhood though. My parents lived fairly frugally, I donâ€™t know how much money we had, but we didnâ€™t live extravagantly, but there was always enough money for me to do what I wanted. I have always been interested in money and lived pretty frugally. I think that it was more of an internal thing, but maybe some of it was shaped by how my parents were. If you needed something you bought it, if you didnâ€™t need it, you didnâ€™t buy it. And we didnâ€™t need a lot of thingsâ€¦.we didnâ€™t try to keep up with the Jones. Actually my parents bought our first DVD player after I was out of high school, probably in 2002 or so. My step-dad still has dial up internet.
But it did make me realize how important it is to teach children to be financially aware and financially responsible. Iâ€™m sure DH and I will help our children out financially at least for school, both of our parents helped us. But I think weâ€™ll also take more of a hands-off approach and make them do it on their own too.
Another thing the book seemed to emphasize was that most of the first generation millionaires are all self-employed. This was a little disheartening to hear as that isnâ€™t really a plan for me. They say that many of them are tax advantaged and that the income they earn is only a small percentage of what they make. I wonder if it is possible to have a similar tax shelter without having a business for write-offs. I mean, does increasing the amount I have in my Roth, increase my net worth without increasing my taxable income? Would a traditional IRA/401(k) have a similar effect? Are there non-retirement accounts that would do this?
Is it bad that I consider us to be debt free?
In reality we have a mortgage ($149K) and my school loans ($30K), but I don't really think about them. DH and I closed on our house in August, so we have a mortgage, but the only real change is that rather than paying rent to a landlord, we pay it to the mortgage company. So mentally there hasn't been a big change there.
Also the school loans will still be deferred until I finish in about 2 years. So since we aren't paying for them, I don't think to include them. Additionally with the exception of the first semester DH and I have only been taking out the subsidized loans. So while fellow classmates who need those loans to live off of, have about 100K in debt, I'll only have about $40. Another reason why I don't include it is that if push came to shove, we have the money to pay it off, we'd drain our savings, but technically that could be gone tomorrow. So maybe once the school loans come out of deferment I'll start feeling differently, but I doubt it.
So no, I still have debt, but we've got it under control, so I may slip and say we're debt free.
So DH and I closed on our house a week and a half ago. Since that day we have gone to Lowe's nearly everyday...I think I've only missed 2 of the last 12 days.
Thankfully most have just been little trips for paint and brushes. However one of those trips was a big weekend where we purchased all new appliances for the house. The house was 20 years old, and had mostly original appliances with no washer/dryer. We shopped well: went during the weekend where they had 10% off energy star appliances, a rebate on Samsung kitchen appliances, and used our 10% military discount. All in all, much worse than it could have been, besides we can take the washer, dryer and fridge with us when we go if we want!
DH made a little fuss about buying washer dryer pedestals. I think I'd like the extra height so I don't have to bend down so low to get to the front loaders. (Yes, I know you have to bend down for top loaders, but hey, it was my one sticking point. I offered that DH could do all the laundry if he didn't want to spend the money, but if I was doing laundry, I'd like the pedestals.)
Then the next day I just happened to wander back by the appliance section mentally I'd just checked off the appliance section, so wasn't even planning on going to that part of the store. I notice a sign that said if you buy any Samsung washer/dryer you get the pedestals for free, starting on Thursday...and we had purchased our appliances on Saturday. I was pretty sure that we were charged $200 a pedestal, so I talked to the appliance guy and he verified that the washer/dryer we bought would qualify. He said to check the receipt to see if we were charged, and if we were to bring it back.
Lo and behold, we were charged, so on my next daily trip to Lowe's I brought my receipt and was refunded the nearly $400. In addition to the money DH now can't complain about purchasing the pedestals...they were free!
DH and I will close on our house on Friday!! I feel like I've been talking to our mortgage company every day, but I think it's all coming together.
Today I was informed that the sellers agreed to pay more money than was allowed due to the particular circumstances. We had the sellers pay 3% of the selling price towards closing costs, that amount covers all the closing costs plus the $1000 binder and $350 fee to lock in the mortgage rate, which is great. The problem is that there is an additional $250 "owed" to us. Unfortunately it's not allowed for us to just pocket that $250, so our mortgage agent was calling to see what we wanted to do. Our options were:
1. Do nothing and forfeit that $250.
2. Use that $250 and pay $500 of our money to buy down the interest rate.
3. Use that $250 to help pay the VA funding fee, if allowed.
Well I don't like walking away from free money, so option 1 is my last choice. Option 2 doesn't make real financial sense. It would take 3.5-4 years to recoup the costs of buying down the interest rate, and I don't know that we'll keep it that long. So that leaves option 3. If our contract is written so that the money can be used towards the VA funding fee, then we'll take it. It won't really adjust the mortgage payment, but it will lower the balance to below $150,000.
Since so much is up in the air, I figure having cash on hand is better than having it sunk into a house that we aren't planning on keeping that long and we will be doing some upgrades to.
Well DH came home and we were leaning towards our condo right up until the time that he saw the house. The resale (and ability to rent) is better with the house. So Monday we put in a verbal offer to which they countered. So yesterday we put in another offer (written this time) and they accepted!
So in about 6 weeks we'll be home owners!
So I've been house hunting for a couple months now, mostly because the condo I've been renting from was going through foreclosure. The manager called it "loan modification," but the paperwork I was served with said foreclosure. I think I'll believe the courts.
Anyway that notice sent me from wanting to buy the condo we're in, to buying another condo in the same complex, to looking at any condo, to deciding I don't really like many condos, to finding 2 houses I like. So when DH gets home, we were going to look at our top 2 houses and decide if we want either one of them.
However yesterday I get a call from our property manager saying that the loan modification fell through and they are now doing a short sale. I believe she said they were approved for 90K and were looking to go even lower to 80K. As the current tenant we get first 'dibs' on the condo. Well this just brings us back to square one! So now DH and I have to decide if we should get one of the houses we liked or the condo we are currently in.
Pros of the Condo:
1. Half the price (80 or 90K vs 160)
2. We wouldn't have to move
3. We LOVE the location, it's really convenient.
4. We wouldn't have to worry about yard work or anything like that.
5. It might be easier to rent out.
6. If something goes wrong with the outside the HOA has to fix it.
Cons of the Condo:
1. It doesn't qualify for VA loans, so we'd have to have a down payment and last time I called it was a ridiculous 25%.
2. We'd have to pay HOA fees FOREVER, and it's $300+ a month.
3. When we sell it there are a LOT of condos in this area, so it will probably be pretty competitive.
Pros of a House:
1. It would be ours completely and fully.
2. We should be able to get VA loans and not have to put any money down.
3. Both houses are listed at 160, so the cost would be significantly more.
4. It could be a new start, the condo has been mine and my roommates, DH hasn't lived here yet. So that house would be "ours", the condo may still feel like "mine." Although I think I'd get over that quickly.
Cons of a House:
1. We'd be a little bit further from school and my friends, but closer to DH's work.
2. We'd have to buy all the fixings for a yard (mower, etc).
3. We have to worry about the outside and inside of the house.
4. We'd have to move.
So those are the main things I can think of right now. Any suggestions or thoughts?
I've now been out with the agent twice and have looked at a total of 8 houses. The first time I met with her the very first house we looked at I was hooked. It was beautiful with all hardwood floors and very large with both a living room and family room. My only hesitations were that the two bedrooms were close to one another and the hardwood floors would need refinishing. It was my favorite of day 1.
Then day 2 we go look at that house again along with 4 new ones. Looking at the house again I found a spot where there is a leak and it had soaked through the wall. Now this is something the sellers will have to fix, but it sort of sucks to know that at least part of the roof needs repair. Second, both times I've been there the backyard has been flooded. To make matters worse the entire street has drainage issues. To be fair we've had massive amounts of rain in the past couple weeks (on the order of feet). But we're still not sure if that's something we'll want to deal with.
On day 2 we also saw a house that is a great house, but is decorated very heavily in a country cottage feel. It's hard to see what the house will look like because I am so put off by the decorations, but it's nothing some hardware, paint, and a new sink can't fix. This one has a lanai and is right on a man made lake so no drainage issues there (and the house is quite a bit above the water).
So we have two houses that we like with some positives and some negatives. When DH gets home from deployment he'll get to see them and we'll probably put an offer down on one of them.
We found out in January that the condo we are renting is going through foreclosure. We've been paying (and continued to pay) our rent on time, but it is going through the process nonetheless. They say it is only going through Loan Modification, not foreclosure, but really it's all the same to us. Our lease is up in August and we've been holding our breath that we'll be able to stay in this place til then...looks like it will.
So during this process I got a wild idea to just buy the condo. We decided to rent this place with the idea that we'd stay here for at least 2, if not 3 years. So needless to say the realization that I'd have to move was not a pleasant one...I've moved about 5 times in the last 3 years.
So our condo is on the market, but listed at 175, the balance of the loan. In looking up the listing I found that there was a bigger condo in the complex that had already gone through foreclosure listed at 90K. I was really ecstatic and wanted to buy it RIGHT THEN! So I found a real estate agent and began talking to our bank.
Then the other shoe fell. I didn't like the agent I was working with. I don't think she was that experienced in buying/selling...I found her from people who had used her looking for apartments to rent, not places to buy. Then we found out that we couldn't get a VA loan on this condo complex because it was a conversion from apartments to condos. Our primary bank said they'd lend to us, but they'd require 25% down. 25%! I've never heard of that before. I figured that because of the poor economy we may have had to put 20% down, but 25% never crossed my mind. Now we actually had the money, but we hadn't been planning on putting that much down.
I called up other lenders and some flat out refused to lend for this condo. Apparently the high number of foreclosures and number of investment properties (versus primary residences) in the complex made it unappealing to lenders. So I finally found a bank that would lend to us, told the agent, and found out that someone else had already put an offer down.
I was devastated. At that price it really shouldn't have been surprising, but I was sad that we didn't act quick enough.
So I picked myself up again. I've already found a new agent...one that seems ok. I haven't dealt with her much yet. This one was recommended by the bank (USAA Movers Advantage, for those who know it). I drove all over town looking at nearly every condo complex to see if it's a place we'd want to live. Well 2 hours and 60 miles later, I decided that I didn't really want a condo. Figures.
So now were narrowing the search to single family homes under 160, but widening it in terms of location. We've already found some that are looking good. Now if only DH were here to help me! Less than 1 month left!
DH and I opened our Roth's in 2007. For our 2007 and 2008 contributions we did lump-sum contributions, working under the theory that that longer the money was in the account, the longer the money could grow tax-free. Well the market of 2008 certainly nixed that plan, so this year we have decided to do monthly contributions. Our first one comes out after payday this week.
I also looked at my social security statement and discovered that I have contributed *nearly* as much to my Roth as I have made working. (Again, thanks to the market, I don't have that much in the account right now, but I still have contributed that much.) Now for you math wizards out there, you know that since I've maxed out the account both years, I have contributed $9000. Adding up the money I made this summer to the amount reported on my SSA last year, I've made...*drum roll please*... $9100.
I know that's a pathetically low number. I did work for a couple summers as a nanny and that wasn't reported, but I doubt it was enough to even report. I try to look at the glass half full though...there are many people who would love to have as much in their retirement accounts as they've made!
Once I graduate and work as a pharmacist, that number will dramatically increase, so much so that we will no longer be able to take advantage of the Roth IRAs. That's while we're working so hard to fund it now!
So I knew diamonds were just about the hardest thing on earth, and the only thing that could really cut or scratch them were other diamonds. What I didn't realize how big a factor this would play in my wedding ring.
My mom and I were at the mall and she suggested having my ring cleaned. Most stores have your ring cleaned for free, but I never actually get around to it. So since I was at the mall that I actually bought the ring, I decided to do it. Immediately after I give the woman my ring she announces that several of the diamonds have chipped!
My wedding ring has 3 stones on the first band and a row of five or six much smaller diamonds on the second band. I never got around to getting the bands stuck together ("fused"), and honestly, I liked that they moved around. I didn't realize that every time they moved they had the potential of scratching and chipping! Thankfully only one of the 3-stone diamonds was chipped...and not the main one...and 3 (maybe 4) of the smaller diamonds. So 600 dollars later...I should have almost a completely new ring.
This now motivates me to 1. Keep up with regular cleanings to maintain my warranty...every 6 months at least! and 2. Get the jewelry rider on our renters insurance updated. The last time I called I found out that while I was insured for the total cost of my wedding ring, and other jewelry, the "per-piece" maximum is significantly lower than it would cost to replace my ring. So expensive lesson learned!
Last night at dinner DH and I were discussing our finances. For the first time DH expressed that he was worried about our retirement. Honestly, I couldn’t have been more pleased! Now, let me preface all of this by saying DH and I are 25 and we currently have about $17,000 in our Roth IRA. We have maxed out both of our accounts for the past two years and already have 2009’s contribution saved. Maxing out the accounts equates to between 15 and 20% of our gross pay. Even if we only did this for the remaining 40 years of our work life and earned 6%, we’d have over a million dollars. In reality, when I start working (if not before) we’ll open 401(k) accounts and probably even taxable accounts to save even more for retirement.
DH’s main fear stems from the fact that our Roths have been losing money. I try to tell him that eventually the markets will go up and we will make money. So far we have lost about 1300 dollars. I’ll fully admit that part of it is my fault. In January we deposited the entire amount and didn’t dollar-cost average. Before I did it, I was torn as to what was the best way. Looking back, dollar cost averaging would have been the way to go. However, I also heard the advice that by doing it in a lump sum, I would have the entire year for the whole amount to grow tax-free. I showed my naivety and thought the economy would bounce back quicker than it did. Oh well, lesson learned. I have faith that eventually the market will go up and we’ll make money. And you’d better believe we’ll be making monthly or bi-monthly contributions for our 2009 contributions!
It’s about that time of year again…student loan time, that is. I am starting my second year in pharmacy school and I’m still pretty new to dealing with student loans. Between my scholarship and parents, I escaped my 5 years of undergraduate work without any student loans. Pharmacy school, however, is a different situation. The estimate for school and living expenses is nearly $27,000. There is no way that DH and I could really swing that.
Going into my first term my financial future was a little shaky. We found out the day of orientation that DH would be moving to Maine…far away from me and school in Florida. Not knowing how that would affect our finances I took the entire amount of loans offered to me: $12,600. Tuition was taken out automatically and the rest, nearly 6k, continues to sit in my savings account untouched. Second semester my in-laws graciously offered to pay tuition. We accepted their money, but also accepted the subsidized loan. Maybe not everyone would agree with this move, but the way we figured is that government was giving us an interest free loan on that money for another 3 years or so. It also enabled us to max out our Roth IRA accounts for the year.
That brings us to this term. DH and I have now spent a year learning to juggle two households. I’m moving in with a roommate so some finances are still up in the air; I predict that my finances will be about the same, and maybe even a little lower than they were last year. So I once again only accepted the subsidized loan of $4250. I don’t know the exact cost of tuition, but I anticipate it will pay for just over half of it for the semester. The remaining 3000 or so will come from that 6000 from first semester last year. Ideally, that 6000 will cover the gap between the subsidized loan and tuition costs for both this semester and next semester, but we’ll have to see.
Assuming DH and I are able to finish up the rest of pharmacy school only taking out the subsidized loan I will have taken out $42,300. I just dug up my last statement on those student loans and it looks like I have been charged $480 in interest during the past year. So add another thousand or so for interest, and I anticipate the loan balance will be about $43,500. It’s a little scary to see that debt load. Even when DH and I had two car loans, we never had more than $25,000.
Here’s the good news. By only taking out subsidized loans we are actually saving A LOT in potential interest charges. Nearly 500 a year in interest is a lot, but it’s a lot better than it would be if we took out the maximum possible. Also, I anticipate that DH and I may have some extra money which can be used to pay off the interest charged, and maybe even pay down the balance some before I graduate. Although, even if we don’t get the money, or chose to do that, my total student loan debt will be less than 1 year’s salary. We plan to continue living off of DH’s salary so my income can go toward student loan debt, house down payment or mortgage, retirement, and whatever else comes our way.
What a crazy time! While all of our expenses have been crazy this summer, rent has been the worst, by far. Dh's rent is 690. My rent is 644. So we are used to paying 1334. However this month, when I return to Florida, I will be moving apartments. So I have to pay 644 lease termination fee and 1050 security deposit on the new apartment.
Normally this wouldn't be a problem, but our other expenses have been crazy AND we haven't been able to deposit my checks from work. So today I'll be going over to another bank to see if I can cash checks and get a cashier's check for the deposit.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been two months since I last wrote here. Well I sort of can, the last couple months of school were horribly busy, not leaving me time for hardly anything! But now that’s over with and summer is here.
We’ve had some big changes financially here. First of all DH has been in Italy for the past 3 months. While it’s been hard to have him out of the country, it’s been very good for us financially. They get paid per diem, a set amount each day that they can spend on hotel or food or whatever they want. It’s amounted to nearly an extra 1500 a month for us! On top of that we got our tax return and some extra family separation pay so we’ve been able to fully fund our 2009 Roth contributions! I’m so excited that we’ve been able to do this and there is no way I thought it would be possible to do this early in the year. Now, I know that we can’t actually make that contribution yet, but it’s sitting in our savings account accruing interest until January when we make the deposit.
Funding our Roth IRAs has been my number one savings goal. When I graduate from pharmacy school I don’t know that we’ll be able to continue contributing to them because our income will probably be too high. I’m trying to make sure we take full advantage now, while we can.
Everyone is all excited about the economic stimulus money. I’m excited to think we’ll be getting some extra money, but I think we’ll only be getting $460, not the $1200 that was being thrown around. Although I guess I can’t really complain. We only ended up pay $460 in taxes, so to get that back, means we won’t have paid anything last year. In other tax news, last month DH entered a combat zone, albeit one that hasn’t had any fighting for several years. Since he did that though, his income for the month of May should be tax free. That will probably add up to another $500 this month, and save us down the road too.
Having my #1 savings goal met, I’ve been thinking about what to do with the rest of our ‘profits’. I basically consider whatever we haven’t spent by the end of the month our profit. I know a lot of people have to work backwards and take the savings out first, but thankfully DH and I have pretty low expenses and lately the government’s been throwing money at us. But anyway. Six months ago I realized that it wasn’t financially sound to pay of DH’s car early. We were earning higher interest in our savings account than we were paying in interest on his car. However, since the rates of the accounts have dropped so dramatically, and we’ve met our Roth goal, I think I’m going to start diverting some of our profit towards his car.
On top of all of this I’m starting my internship today. It actually will start on Monday, but since I didn’t know anything about the store, they’re having me come in today to get my feet wet. I’m mostly working for the experience, having never actually worked in a pharmacy it will be interesting to see the things I’ve been learning about put to work. However, I’m not going to refuse a pay check! Actually the company I’m working for has the lowest starting wage for interns, but as a customer I like their store the best. So it should work out. I’m still working on a transfer to Maine. DH comes home the beginning of June and I plan to spend the summer up there with him. It’s been too long since we’ve seen each other! So I’m heading up there regardless if I have a job or not, although, it would be nice to have some sort of job up there. Having this week off of school and not working has been torture!
Well I think that’s all of the major financial happenings that have been going on! Hopefully I’ll be able to post more now that school is out.
Today I transferred nearly all of our money out of our bank's saving account to my ING account. A year and a half ago, we did the opposite when our bank's saving acocunt was at a higher rate then ING's, but with the recent economy the rate has been steadily declining. So back to ING we go!
I haven't used ING for a while, but I know that you can set up different accounts. Currently I have a spreadsheet that I use to track different sub-accounts (Roth contributions, EF, down payment, etc). So questions for the people who have ING...do you have multiple accounts? Do you like it?
I just finished up our taxes last night. I started doing them at the beginning of February, but we kept getting more 1099s that I had forgotten about and my tuition forms hadn't been posted. This weekend I checked and they were finally up. Thank goodness I waited, our refund nearly doubled due to the amount of tuition we've paid this year.
I'm a little surprized at how much we'll be getting. Part of me is temped to spend it, especially since I have a spring break trip to Key West coming up. But before I do anything too rash, I'm going to earmark it for our 2009 roth contributions. This will hopefully make me think twice before raiding it. It's also crazy to think that we'll be having such a huge jump on our 2009 contributions!
Anyway, the program I used (Tax Cut Free File) states our marginal tax bracket as 15% and our effective tax bracket as 1%. Craziness! The socialist in me is a little disheartened. Oh well, I'm sure we have years and years of good tax paying years ahead of us!
So I haven't written in almost a month, mostly because nothing has really been happening on the financial front. We maxed out our 2008 Roth contributions the end of last month, so that was exciting. Unfortunately it left us $300 shy of the highest tier of interest in our savings account. It should be corrected this month though, but I can't stand losing even a little interest!
Our spending/saving has been pretty status quo the last couple of months since DH moved. We aren’t saving as much as we had been because we now have second rent and utility payments, but we aren’t really spending more than we make either.
It seems like the last 2-3 months DH and I have spent around $300 in travel expenses. Not great for our budget, but necessary when you live 1300 miles away from one another. So I was thinking that February would be free from travel expenses. But then DH’s “deployment” to Italy was pushed back a month to the 21st of February. So I was going to fly up there to see him during the 3 day weekend. Well despite being a federal holiday, he was going to have to work a significant portion of the weekend, so it really wouldn’t have worked out. I was pretty bummed that I wasn’t going to be able to see him before he left for ~3 months.
But then the Navy provided! He was able to get on a flight down to Jax on Valentine’s Day! He was only in town 16 hours but it was good to see him!! And, not only did we not have to pay for flights, DH will actually get paid some for coming down here. Last month when he was here for the weekend we got an extra $220. Since it was only 1 night it will probably only be like an extra $50, but hey, it paid for dinner! I love that the Navy will pay DH to come home to visit me.
Now that DH is leaving the country, I’m curious how that will change things financially. We will still have to pay for his rent, but he’s turning off the other utilities, so we shouldn’t have to pay them. Also he will be getting per diem, which is extra pay you get when not at home to pay for living expenses like hotels and food (this is what DH gets when he visits me). Per diem can be significant, but I don’t know how much it is or when/how we will get paid for it. It may be that we don’t see any of it until he comes back home in May.
Ok, now I have been paying attention and know that the stock market has been falling lately. However, I decided to take the plunge anyway and max out our 2008 Roth IRAs today (well, technically Monday). I'm sort of figuring that sometime in the next 40 years before we retire the stock market will rise. If it doesn't, I think we'll ALL be in a world of hurt.
Now, if you notice on my side bar, as of December I only had about $2,400 saved, so how did I end up with the 10K needed to max it out? Well my in-laws graciously agreed to cover tuition for this term. Independently DH and I decided that we would take the subsidized loans out and pay for the rest of tuition OOP. So I decided to stash that "extra" money in our Roth, knowing that if things went terribly wrong, we could take it out (I don't anticipate this at all).
Also DH and I went grocery shopping last night and saved 13.34 which I will be adding to my challenge.
New addition: $13.34
Previous total: $418.92
Recieved $47 from Survey Spot and $40 for tutoring last month which will be added to the challenge.
And in other news the simulators up in Maine are closed so DH is coming to Florida to work...and see me!! He has to work part of Friday and most of the day Saturday, but we have tonight and Sunday to play. Also, since he isn't at home he'll get paid per diem, so we'll also get about $200 for the weekend.
New addition: $87.00
Previous total: $331.92
Went grocery shopping today and the store was having some good buy 1 get 1 free sales on some of the items I wanted. I ended up saving $12.41 with my store card, which I'll add to the challenge.
New addition: $12.41
Previous total: $319.51
I got some clothes for Christmas that didn't fit so I needed to return them. I went to return them and found that the mall was having some really great sales! I have been needing some nicer clothes, particularly collared shirts. Well JCPenney was having a 40% off the clearance price sale. I went a little crazy and bought 11 shirts for $120 dollars. However, I saved $244.51 since all but one of the shirts were on clearance...and that shirt was on sale.
Then I went to Old Navy they were also having a good clearance sale with half off. Since I had about $20 in store credit after the return I scoured the clearance racks, but didn't find anything I really liked. So I bought a pair of shorts that ended up costing me only $1.25 oop.
So I'm going to add that $244.51 to the savings part of the my challenge. Oh, and I got a check from pinecone, so I'll add that too.
New addition: $249.51
Previous total: $70
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