Friday, August 31, 2007

Goals and Values

I read an article discussing ones values and how their goals should be aimed at ones values. After reading through the examples of values in the article, I decided on a few values that are important to me. These are the things in my life that are most important to me and nothing else should matter. If keeping up with the Jones' doesn't adhere to my values, then there is no reason for me to want to try to keep up with them. Here goes then. The values that I find are most important to me include:

1. Family, Love - For me these two are the same value. My goals should be aimed at taking care of those that I love and that are my family. Buying that brand new luxury car doesn't help out my family much and I know that my girlfriend isn't going to love me any more then she already does. Therefore, I should be and am fine driving my current used vehicle for hopefully the next 10 years.

2. Freedom, Peace of Mind, Security - I believe these are all one in the same and are very important for me. This involves having an emergency fund and a good amount of money for retirement so that I don't have to worry about money. There are plenty of other things in life to worry about such as family and health to where I don't need to worry about money. I don't want to have to worry about whether I'm going to be able to pay the bills this or next month if something bad happens.

3. Health - This is something that has become very important to me lately. I am in love with a girl with lots of health problems. These aren't things that can be controlled but it is important to me that we both take care of ourselves and don't do anything destructive to our health and cause any unnecessary problems.

4. Happiness - I value being happy. I have a family that loves me and that makes me happy. I have a girlfriend who loves me and I can love and that makes me happy. It is important to be happy in life.

5. Balance - This is my last value. I want to achieve a balance in my life between family, friends, myself, and work. If I am ever too involved in one where my other relationships start to suffer then I will not be looking after this value.

With these 5 values in mind I want to come up with some goals. I've written about goals once before and I want to write about them again and come up with more clear goals.

1. Increase net worth - This is still my top goal and this goal will come with the achievement of other goals. A net worth of a million dollars is a nice number to think about. However, this goal goes towards the value of security. In actuality, a net worth of $100,000 might actually provide me with the security I seek.

2. Build emergency fund to 6 months expenses - The number I'm going to put on this goal is $13,944. That is 6 months worth of net pay. This also goes towards security.

3. Reduce credit card debt. Have this paid off completely and never put more on my credit card again that I can pay off each month. Security value.

4. Purchase a home - This goes towards both security and love. I want to purchase a home that both myself and my girlfriend love and will start our lives together in. This will also bring me happiness to have a home of the both of ours together. I want to save up for a down payment on a house. I believe we can find a house we are happy with between $135k and $190k.

5. Marriage - This goes towards family, love, and happiness. I want to start saving up for an engagement, wedding, and honeymoon. I have no idea of a monetary value on this goal but any money saved towards this goal will help.

6. Happiness Account - I want to set up an account that I will call my happiness account. I want to put away a small amount automatically for things that I will want to buy such as a LCD tv or a future car in 10 years. Having the cash to pay for these things will mean I don't have to incur debt for such purchases that will bring me happiness.

These are currently the goals that are most important to me. Previously I had wanted to pay my car off early. However, I feel that with an upcoming wedding and the want of owning a home, this can be put off and the car will be paid off when it is paid off.

Need of a Plan

I've decided that I need a plan. I have several goals and I am going to need a plan of action to put in place to achieve these goals. Therefore, over the weekend I want to figure out exactly what my goals are and figure out and begin to implement a plan for achieving these goals. This weekend I would like to come up with a rough budget to try to stick to for the month of September. I would the like to open up a couple more online savings accounts to give me a place to save for separate goals. This will involve a little bit of math to figure out what I can afford and how much I can hope to save towards each goal. I will set targets for each goal and track my progress of each goal separately. This might take me until the end of the month before I have been able to implement my plan and be heading down the path towards achievement of my goals and dreams.

Net Worth

I have updated my net worth on NetWorthIQ for the complete month of August. I feel this gives a better snapshot of where I am at the end of the month. Hopefully the end of September will see a higher net worth number. I would like to see my credit card debt number go down and my cash and stock numbers go up. The retirement number should start to go up because I will also start contributing to my 401k the second pay period of the upcoming month! My big concern is the credit card debt. I think I am going to put my Capital One credit card away for awhile until I can get the balance down under $2,500. In order to do this I hope I will spend less if I am not using my Capital One card. This weekend will be a spending fest though because I will be going up to Truman to visit some friends and will be eating out and drinking some beer. I will try not to spend too much.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What to do on Weekends!

For me, weekends are the toughest times to try and not spend money. Weekends are two whole days off work and they can get fairly long and boring if you don't do anything. Unfortunately for me, it seems like doing something over the weekend is going to cost me money.

For example, lets take a look at my spending this weekend. On Friday night I hit up the Kansas City Royals game with one of my friends. Here I spent $14 on my ticket and about another $10 on parking and food. Luckily it was buck night so it only cost me about $5 for some hot dogs and sodas. Next comes Saturday. Saturday I did pretty good as we didn't do much. In the afternoon we watched a movie recieved from Netflix. This subscription costs $10 a month but I feel it is well spent because it usually keeps us in on a Friday or Saturday night every week and gives us entertainment. Saturday night we went out to eat but my girlfriend paid because it was her turn. Today, I we are going to the grocery store which we do every weekend. This is unavoidable because we need food. I would also like to try to go to Target because I have a couple things I want to buy. This will cost me probably around a hundred dollars for the filing cabinet and paper shredder I want to get. I have a gift certificate to Nebraska Furniture Mart but we are going to take that to pay for our furniture we bought a couple months ago that was financed with 18 months no interest.

So you can see my problem. On weekends it is hard to find things to do that don't include shopping and spending money. Next weekend I am going back to my college town for an alumni event but the weekend after I think I will try to see if I can get by without spending too much money. I think some good tips for us to do on weekends to keep from spending money are to do chores on the weekends. I mowed the yard Thursday night, but it would be better to wait until the weekend to do this. Cleaning the house will also keep us distracted. Doing our grocery shopping on Friday night will keep us busy that night so that we aren't wanting to go spend money. We need to try to focus on saving money.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Importance of a 401K

In September I will have been working for my company for a year. This means that I am now eligible to take part in our company's 401k plan. I have friends that think it's ridiculous that I am so excited to finally be able to contribute to a 401k. What do I need to worry about retirement for? I'm only 25 years old! Well, for me it's not just retirement I'm thinking about. The 401k is a component of my wealth and as my 401k grows, so does my wealth. Since I receive a nice match from my company for my 401k, my wealth will grow at a much quicker rate then if I am just putting this money into a savings account or even an IRA.

At the beginning of the year I began contributing 5% of my salary to a IRA. I decided to do this so that when the time came to contribute to my 401k I would be used to the 5% less in my paycheck. At the same time, I would get a head start in retirement savings and now I have a little over $1,500 in retirement savings already. The plan was to contribute to the IRA until I was eligible to participate in the 401k and then switch the funds over. Now, I have decided that I can do some more adjusting and am going to continue contributing to my IRA while also contributing an additional 5% to the 401k. If I put in 5% in the 401k, my company will put in 4% of my salary as a match which is the full match. Here is the good part. With my contributions and the company match, my retirement savings will grow to just over $921,000 by the time I'm 60 years old. This is assuming an 8% rate of return. If I decide to start contributing more or my annual salary goes up from it's current level (which it better) then I will have even more money. If I decide to wait until I'm 30 years old before contributing, then this will change my end amount down to just over $599,000. That's a huge difference of $322,000!! Wow, I know I will be glad I am getting started right now. And for those that argue that a million dollars in 35 years won't be worth as much as it is right now, yes you are right. But, a million dollars in 35 years will be worth more then half a million dollars in 35 years. That is a promise.

The lesson of this post is if you have the opportunity to contribute to a 401k then get started right away. If you don't have the opportunity, then open up an IRA and start contributing what you can.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Good Article of the Week

I have decided while reading many other blogs that I would like to pick out one or two articles each week that catch my eye and talk about them.

This week, Advanced Personal Finance wrote an article titled "The Cost of Prepaying." In this article the author writes about how they prepay thier mortgage even though they are told it is not the financially "smart" thing to do. The author figures out some math and comes up with a number of $78,000 cost for prepaying his mortgage. However, this is based on certain assumptions like getting an 8% return from the market for your money that could or could not happen.

I agree with the author in this article. Anyone who has read a book by David Bach (The Automatic Millionaire), knows he is an advocate of paying off your mortgage early. By making one extra payment a year you can decrease the life of a 30 year mortgage by 8 or 9 years or something like that and save thousands of dollars. Bach doesn't figure out how much you would have if instead of making that extra payment, you put that money into the market and earned a higher return. I don't think he needs to. There are a couple reasons I like the idea of prepaying your mortgage. Keep in mind I don't have a mortgage so I can't actually do this yet and my mind may change when I do buy my first house. But for now, I like the idea of prepaying your mortgage because for one, I hate debt. I don't like knowing I owe someone else money. I am prepaying my car and I will prepay my mortgage. By prepaying I am going to save thousands of dollars in interest and will be able to stop paying 8 years earlier then if not prepaying. At that point, I will continue to make these payments, however they will go to myself instead of the bank.

Another reason I like the idea of prepaying is brought up in the article. If I have a mortgage with 7% interest, then I know I am saving 7% on my money by prepaying. Lets say I take that $1,500 extra payment and put it in the market instead. Well, I will need to be sure that I am going to earn over 7%. I can't be sure of this. If I could be sure then I would take my emergency fund which pays me 5% and put it into the market. No one is telling you to do this. Why not take the sure return instead of gamble for a couple extra points return in the market? Why not build my equity faster and owe less to the bank when and if I decide to sell? If I decide to stay, then I completely own the home sooner and feel better about myself. In the end isn't that all that is important? Money is a good thing and I am obsessed with it. But like they say, money can't buy you happiness. I need to do what makes me feel the most comfortable and secure. In the end, I think I will have the most security if I don't have debts hanging over my head. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Confessions of a Street Addict - Book Review

Last night I finished Jim Cramer's book "Confessions of a Street Addict." I enjoyed this book for the entertainment factor. "Confessions of a Street Addict" is more of a biography of Jim Cramer starting with his younger days when he was more interested in reading the stock quotes in the paper while other kids his age were reading the comics or sports. The book goes up through Jim Cramer's retirement from his hedge fund. He is still involved with his startup dot com

I know alot of people don't like Jim Cramer. However, if you watch is show, alot of people do. I'm not really leaning one way or the other. I think he is an interesting and entertaining personality. His show, Mad Money on CNBC is entertaining, but I would never take stock advice from Cramer.

I didn't really know what the book would be about but I usually read books looking for some investing tips. I didn't find any from this book. Cramer's hedge fund made money in a way that the average investor would not be able to do. I don't have access to all the companies CEO's. I can't call up the analysts and talk to them on the phone to get a feel for where a company is going. I don't have a man down on the trading floor that can give me an idea of investor sentiment. However, even though I don't get much investing advice from this book, I was interested in reading about how Cramer got started. I found it interesting reading about his struggles for control at

If you are looking for a book to gain some advice on investing, I would suggest looking elsewhere. If you are looking for an entertaining book about Wall Street, gaining some insight into the hedge fund business, and a biography of one of the wackiest personalities on Wall Street, then I think this is a book you would enjoy. Let me know what you think.

BRLC Questions

Well, I thought BRLC was coming out with earnings today but instead when I checked on Marketwatch to see the news I see an article stating that BRLC will release Fiscal 2007 and 4th quarter earnings on September 11. I'm not sure if this is a change and they pushed back the release date or if I was wrong in the first place. I'm hoping for the first.

Another article about BRLC caught my eye as well. BRLC sells $20 million in shares to TECO Electrics for $6.4852 per share. This may be a good move for BRLC entering into a strategic alliance and raising some money to support thier elevated growth which according to the article includes expanding thier manufacturing base and supporting efforts to continue elevating awareness of the Olevia brand among consumers worldwide. All of this is great. However, I feel like they sold off part of the company for $6.4852 per share when the shares yesterday were valued at $6.96. Today shares have plummeted so far to $6.40 a share or down 8%. Apparently $6.48 is more along the lines of the correct value of this company.

Either way, I have sold covered calls on this position and will remain in this position at least until expiration which isn't until September 22 so I shouldn't worry to much about this peice of news. I will continue to look forward to the earnings release.

Disclosure: I am long BRLC.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Markets and the Masses

The markets. How do they work? When investing, we are told to look for solid companies with good earnings history, solid management, and strong growth. Try to find the companies that are financially stable with strong growth in earnings if we are a growth investor or possibly a low P/E if we are a value investor. This is great and I believe over the long term if you stick to your guns and look for good solid companies with a nice history of earnings and dividends and growth and proof that they have withstood some challenges and are still going strong then you will make a good investment over the longer period. Money will come to your pockets. It's just going to take 10 or 20 years of slow growth of your money.

Not for me! I want money now! Sure my retirement account is for 35 to 40 years from now. That's fine. Let those fund managers worry about investing for the long haul. But in my stock account, I want to see results. I want them fast. I want to see a 20% plus return this year and every year following no matter what the market is doing. This morning I was reading the book "Confessions of a Street Addict" by Jim Cramer. I'm not really a fan of Cramer. I'm not going to go out and buy everything he says to buy and sell everything he says to sell. His show on CNBC is a circus and he's the clown. He's just there to entertain us and it is entertaining. I'll admit if I'm flipping the channels and his show is on, I might pause to check it out for a few minutes. It grabs your attention. His book is interesting. It goes through his biography basically which I find interesting. It's not really helpful on my journey towards wealth but as a form of entertainment, I enjoy reading it. This mroning I read a section where Cramer talks about the markets are all about psychology. The underlying fundamentals don't matter. When you are trying to make money in the short term, you need to be able to understand the psychology of the masses of the people. And I couldn't agree more! Every little piece of news that comes out affects the price of this stock or that stock. Good earnings and the stock jumps. Bad earnings and the stock falls. It doesn't matter what the company has consistently done. Coca Cola is still going strong and not too worried about the current sub-prime mortgage crisis. Yet COKE fell along with all the other stocks this past month because of sub-prime credit worries.

In the short term, if you pay attention to the news and market psychology, you can make money. I don't have enough capital in my stock account to take advantage of this. I can't put $1,000 into a stock and watch it rise 1% like I knew it would and sell it for a quick profit. With the commissions I pay, I'd lose $4 on this trade. But if I had $10,000 and did the same thing, I'd make $86. So I'll stick to my covered call strategy. Until I have more money. Then I will use some capital to trade on the news and begin to bring in some good returns quickly.

If you have an opinion on this let me know. If you have enough money to trade, the markets up today, why not take out a percent or two. Go get yourself some returns. I'll just continue to hope that my covered call position will make money over the next month. Until next time, I'm a dreamer.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ouch!! Stop the Addiction!

Ok, I am addicted to eating out! I knew this already but today my credit card statement came in the mail today. I put everything on my credit card in order to get the air miles rewards. This month I spent way too much money on everything but when I look closely it appears that most of the transactions are to restaurants. I know I eat out almost every day for lunch and frequently for dinners as well especially on weekends. I decided this was an area where I need to try to cut back and spend less. This will help boost my net worth month to month.

In order to get an idea of how much I spend and what my goal should be, I went back the past 3 months statements. Here are the results:

June - $276.01 eating out or 26.99% of total expenditures.
July - $133.04 eating out or 19.95% of total expenditures.
August - $185.56 eat out or 20.06% of total expenditures.

My goal is to cut this spending in half and spend between $50 and $75 per month eating out. I also need to try to cut the whole bill down. My august statement showed transactions of $924.97. My goal is to cut this down to under $750 per month at first and then try to keep reducing it so that I am spending less then $500 per month. In order to do this I need to be aware of my goals each time I think of spending money and ask myself if I really need to make this purchase.

Bank of America!

In my last post I discussed some different securities I was thinking about putting the remainder of my money in my stock account in. I decided to put my money into Bank of America. I liked Bank of America's low P/E and the higher dividend yield offered. Bank of America was purchased for $51.20 a share. When looking at the chart for the past 2 years I noticed the stock traded typically between $55 to $80 range going up and down within that range frequently. I'm hoping the stock will turn around and head back up towards $80 soon. I look at this as a conservative play that hopefully won't be too volatile.

I also sold 2 call options for BRLC. I sold the September options with a strike of $7.50. I collected a premium of $0.25 for each of these options.

Disclosure: I own shares of BAC and BRLC. I am not a professional advisor so do your own research before purchasing any stocks.

BRLC and Choices!

I purchased 100 shares of BRLC at the open today for a price of $5.90 per share. I plan on waiting until mid day and then selling a call. Hopefully we see the share price rise and I can get a higher premium for the 2 calls I will be selling.

With my remaining money in the account, I am debating on what to do. I am considering a few different options. The first option is to hold the money in cash. There is over 200 dollars though and I don't want to hold that in cash unless it was in my money market account. The stocks I am considering are as follows:

COF - Capital One Financial. I believe this is a good company. I have my money market account and credit card through capital one. Capital One was trading this morning at $69.10. It has a PE of 10.5 and a Debt/Equity of 1.19. Capital one gives a ROA of 2% and a ROE of 11.7% The dividend yeild is 0.16%.

BAC - Bank of America. Bank of America is rated a buy by S&P and is the official bank of the NFL. Lots of publicity this fall and winter for NFL fans. BAC traded at $52.01 this morning with a PE of 10.8 and a D/E of 4.05. They have a ROA of 1.5% and a ROE of 16.6%. The dividend yeild is 4.95%.

AA - Alcoa is Dow Jones 30 company that I have been interested in for awhile. AA trades at $33.87 with a PE of 13.4 and DE of 0.47. The ROA is 6.9% and ROE is 14%. They return a dividend yeild of 2.04%.

I feel all three of these companies would add some stability to my portfolio. They are all companies that have been around for a long time and will pay a dividend. I will see where they trade through the day before making my decision. Stay tuned!!

Disclosure: I own shares of BRLC. I do not own shares of BAC, COF, AA yet. I am not a professional so do your own research before purchasing stocks.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

BRCD or BRLC? That is the Question!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am deciding between two covered call positions to take with the extra cash in my stock account. Here I will discuss the numbers and facts of both positions and state my decision.

BRCD - The first idea I am considering is Brocade Communications (BRCD). BRCD is in the computer storage devices industry in the technology sector. They design, develop, market, and sell data storage networking and management solutions. BRCD closed friday at $6.49/share. In the news is the SEC charging BRCD's ex-CEO and CFO with options backdating and fraud. This case has dragged the stock down considerably and will continue to be a drag on the stock until resolved even though these execs have been removed from thier powers. BRCD has quarter 3 earnings expected at .11 per share. Earnings are expected to be released this coming Wednesday. BRCD however, has announced that they have revised quarter 3 revenue guidance below analyst estimates. Usually a bad sign. BRCD has a PE of 23.1, a PB of 4.4, PS of 2.7. ROE is 8.4%, ROA 5%. They have a debt/equity of .14, current ratio of 2.07 and quick ratio of 2.02. Analyst rate BRCD at 2.39 which is slightly better then the 2.47 and 2.63 ratings from 4 and 12 weeks ago respectively.

BRLC - The next idea is Syntax Brillian (BRLC). BRLC is a designer, developer, and distributor of HDTV's in LCD format. They sell under the brand name Olevia. BRLC also sells Vivitar cameras. I currently own 100 shares of BRLC. In the news, BRLC recently added new sales channels in Chile, Columbia, and Mexico. Earlier in the year they expanded into Brazil and Venezuela. Quarter 4 earnings, to be released on Wednesday, are expected to be 0.08 per share. On July 16, management reaffirmed Q4 revenue guidance and raised 2007 calendar year guidance. BRLC has a PE of 24.9, PB of 5, PS of .9. The ROE is 14% with ROA at 6%. Debt/Equity is at .48, current ratio of 1.33, and quick ratio of 1.17. Analyst rate BRLC a buy at 1.17. Four weeks and 12 weeks ratings were 1.43 and 1.5 respectively. Analysts are getting more bullish on this stock.

After doing my research, I have chosen to put my money in BRLC. They have more positive news coming out. Thier numbers aren't quite as good as BRCD but close. They have a higher ROE and ROA which I like. Another reason I like this position is because I can sell two of the same calls for less commission. The main concern I have on this position is having most of my account in this one position. After entering this position, I will have about $300 to put into another position that is not a covered call. I'm not sure yet where this will be. Possibly sitting in cash for awhile.

Disclosure: I don't own BRCD and do own BRLC. As always, do your own research and don't just go by my opinions. From my past performance, I'm not a very reliable person to listen to for stock advice.

My Stock Account

Back in June I opened up my first real stock trading account with Scottrade Online Brokerage. At first I wasn't sure what trading strategy I wanted to use. I have always been a fan of Warren Buffet and value investing. I am also a fan of "The Little Book That Beats the Market" and it's magic formula investing. I have had a mock portfolio made up of securities using the magic formula and it is done incredibly well. When I opened my account I bought a couple securities trying my hand at both of these methods. I lost money. My first purchase was Aspreva Pharmaceuticals. I lost 16% of my investment. Next I owned IVAC and FLIR. I gained around 2% on FLIR and lost about 14% on IVAC.

After my experience in these securities, and reading a little more on the internet and in books such as Market Wizards, I have decided once again to change my strategy. My current strategy that I am using and used in a position for a month now is covered call writing. Covered call writing involves the purchase of 100 shares of a company and selling (writing) a call on the same security. I believe this is a great strategy to make slow but consistent gains throughout a year. A 2% gain every month will put you up 24% on the year. I am getting ready to read the book "Options as a Strategic Investment" to make sure I know everything I can about this strategy. There are also a couple blogs I like to read about other people using this same strategy. Unfortunately with my low capital in this account, I am limited on the positions I can take. Securities have to trade in the under $10 range in order for me to be able to purchase a hundred shares.

Currently my account looks like this. I currently own a hundred shares of Syntax Brillian (BRLC) and as of Saturday my option I had sold expired. Last week I sold out my positions in IVAC and FLIR and now have funds of just over $800 to invest. I am considering two covered call option positions to get into. My next post will discuss my research on these two positions and my decision. As for my account. I have put in a total of $1,730 into the account. The current balance is $1,419.48. This amounts to a $310.52 loss or 17.95% since the beginning. This is terrible and I hope to reel in these losses by the end of the year to hopefully even or positive. I will update each month to see how much I am up/down for the month and overall. Since I am trying out a covered call strategy, these updates will come after the expiration date for options each month.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Plan

In my last post I talked about my main personal financial goals. Here I want to discuss they way I hope to go about achieving these goals.

My first goal is growing my net worth. I would like to have $5,000 by the end of the year. In order to do this I plan on saving more and paying down credit card. I believe this attainable especially with my enrollment in my companies 401k in which I will recieve a match from my company. I plan on putting in 5% of my salary to get the full match which is 4% of my salary. I also plan on continuing to contribute to my IRA 5% of my salary which is what is currently going in there. My net worth will grow as I grow my retirement accounts, emergency fund, and stock account. I also must decrease my car loan and credit card loan. My strategy to increase my stock account is by writing covered calls. I will post more on this later. I also need to find other ways to accumulate money besides my normal salary.

My second goal is to build an emergency fund of $5,000. I would like to have $3,000 by the end of this year which is about another $1,000 from what is currently in there. With 4 months left in the year I will need to put in $250 a month. Not sure this will be attainable but will try my best. I probably won't be able to consistently put in $250 per month and will have to catch up at end of year. This will also help boost my net worth.

The third goal is paying down the credit card debt. The best way to do this is by not putting so much on the card in the first place. I have been spending too much money recently and plan on cutting back. One huge thing that I blow too much on is eating out. I want to cut this down dramatically and hopefully I will find that I can pay the card off quicker.

Fourth, paying my car off early. The best way I know to do this is by adding a little extra each payment. I have put this on hold recently (past month) because of extra money being spent for moving. By the end of this year I want to start paying more towards my loan again.

The last goal is purchasing a home. I won't feel comfortable purchasing a home until I have an emergency fund built up. Is $5,000 enough to make me comfortable? No! But more comfortable then $2,000. Ideally my stock account and emergency fund account combined will be close to $10,000 when I plan on looking for a house.


Well, I am a believer that in order to go forward and make progress in life we must have goals. I set goals in my running to try to run faster. I had a goal to complete the Kansas City Marathon and to run it faster then I ran my first marathon. This goal has been sidetracked due to injury and it is time for a new goal in the running department. Currently I am working on letting my ankle heal. Hopefully by September I will be able to begin running again. Once I am out the door running again, I will be able to figure out future goals. Until then, I want to make sure I give my ankle enough time to completely heal before trying anything.

Another area of my life where it is important for goals are my finances. Will I save money if I don't have a goal to accumulate a certain amount of wealth? Probably not. Therefore, I need to set out a group of goals and track my progress each month. Here they are:

1. My current net worth is $2,222. Long term I want a net worth of $1,000,000. Short term I have a goal to end the year with a net worth of $5,000. In five years (December 31, 2012), I would like to have grown my net worth up to $50,000.

2. I currently have an emergency fund of $2,000. I want this fund to grow to about $5,000. Not sure on a timeline for this goal but I have to believe the sooner the better. By the end of the year I would like to see closer to $3,000 in this fund.

3. I have credit card debt over $3,000. I want this paid off. By the end of this year I would like to have less then $1,500.

4. I want to pay my car off in 3 years. I've paid on the car for almost a full year so this really only gives me 2 more years to pay off the rest of the loan. We'll see how this following year goes.

5. I want to purchase a home. I am currently a renter and would like to be in my own home putting money towards the mortgage instead of in my landlords pockets next year. If this is unrealistic then I will shoot for the year after as a definite deadline.

I believe this pretty much covers all of my financial goals. In my next post I will discuss how I plan on working towards the attainment of these goals! Stay tuned!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Good Morning!

Well, today is officially the second day of the blog! I have added a couple new features which I am excited about. The first feature I added is counter that shows the number of visitors we've had here at Dreaming of Money. The company also sends me a weekly report showing me weekly numbers of how many visitors have stopped by. Right now, this will only be me. In the future however, I hope to see more people stopping by to read my blog. The second new feature I added was my NetworthIQ chart. This is a site where you can put in your numbers and track your net worth from month to month. The chart doesn't look right currently because I only have one month of data in. After a few months it should start taking shape hopefully in an upward slope showing the growth of my net worth. This will be a good site and good way to chart my progress towards greater net worth from month to month and see how I am doing in my quest for wealth!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Little About Me!

Well, if anyone decides they would like to actually read this blog then I thought they might want to have a little bit of an idea of who I am. I am a recent college grad who works for a mutual fund company as a fund accountant. I really enjoy my job. It is probably the perfect job for me considering I get to look at investments all day and account for the funds owned by my company. The company offers great benefits and has kept me very happy since I started. I started working for this company about a year ago. Before that I tried a brief (1 month) stint at being a Financial Advisor for Ameriprise. This didn't work out! They just wanted me to cold call and get clients and no sane person wants to hand over thier finances to some 25 year old kid just out of college with no experience. I am interested in personal finance but I can't advise people if they don't want it. I didn't like cold calling and the pressure and long hours so I quit and moved home until I found my current job (career) which has me very satisfied in the present.

I just recently moved into a rental house with my girlfriend. We have been dating for a little over a year and things are going wonderful. We have a little dog named Edgar to give us some joy.

I like to run. I ran cross country and track in high school and college. I have ran one marathon (San Diego Rock N' Roll Marathon) in 3 hours 25 minutes and would like to complete another. I was training for the Kansas City Marathon this upcoming fall but have been sidelined with a twisted ankle the past 3 weeks and am going to have to pass on the run.

I enjoy reading personal finance books and investing books. I am very interested in stock picking and investing.

Hopefully that's enough about me. For future plans, I will post my goals, my investing, book reviews, and other personal finance information I find worthy of this site. Keep checking back for updates.

Dreaming of Money

Wow! I have finally created my own blog. This is going to be a personal finance blog where I write about anything personal finance. I decided to write this blog after reading others and thinking it was a good idea. This will be a good way for me to keep track of my personal finance goals and net worth. Finally, here is a place I can express my dreams and goals, establish ways to achieve them, and be held accountable for my actions towards achieving these goals.

Things I want to do with this blog are keep track of my own personal net worth. I would like to keep track month to month how much I am spending or saving and how my net worth is changing. Ideally it will be going up and I will be heading towards my goals (which will be established in a later post). I'd also like to give my ideas and opinions on different topics. I would like to blog about different books I have read. I will blog about different investments. Hopefully, in the end, I will have created a blog that others enjoy reading and find helpful in thier own quests for wealth.