Saturday, September 29, 2007

Goal 1: Retirement!

One of my big goals is to grow my retirement as much and as quickly as possible. I don't have a magic number that I think I must reach by a certain date in order to retire. I do however have an amounts that I will be happy to reach as milestones on my path towards retirement. The first amount I want to reach is the $5,000 mark and then the $10,000 mark.

Currently I have just over $2,000 in my IRA. I am now eligible to participate in my 401k and have decided to put in 5% of my salary in order to get my full company match which will amount to 4% of my salary. Currently that means that starting this month (October) my accounts will increase by about $420 a month not including any capital gains/losses. A quick calculation and this gives me about $3,260 at the end of this year. At the end of 2008 I hope to have over $8,300. Using a quick savings calculator with a return of 8%, in 30 years at the age of 55 I can hope to have $611,717. This number should be higher as my salary grows. If I save another 10 years until the age of 65, I can hope to have $1,396,302. With an ultimate goal of over $1,000,000, I am getting a good start. Once I can afford it I would like to increase my contributions to my retirement accounts but for now, I am feeling pretty good that I am on my way to reaching a good retirement.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Updates and Updates!

I've updated my Networth IQ and it shows an increase in my net worth even though it feels like it was a bad month. My retirement account number isn't accurate because it is not including my 401k which I just started. I will update that hopefully later today or monday when I can get the correct numbers after the market closes today.

My last post I laid out some goals I want to accomplish. The goals I most want to focus on currently involve paying down my debt, increasing my emergency fund, and increasing my retirement accounts. In order to work towards these goals I am planning on working out a budget this weekend. I will continue tinkering with my budget over the next few months but hope to have it firmly established by the new year 2008. This will be just in time for a raise that I hope will be coming. I will post more later on my 3 big goals and the budget that will help me accomplish these goals.

Monday, September 24, 2007

101 Goals

Earlier I posted that I wanted to try the 101 goals in 1001 days. Now I have come up with a list. Unfortunately I have only come up with 60 goals. I think this is fine and I will be doing great if I accomplish these goals. I don't know when 1001 days from today is, so I am using August 6, 2010 as my goal end date. I would like to accomplish this list by then. I will post a little about each goal and keep the list updated as I go along over time. The list is as follows:

1.) Emergency Fund exceeds $5,000.
2.) Retirement Funds exceed $10,000.
3.) Pay off new bike.
4.) Pay off engagement ring.
5.) Pay off credit cards.
6.) Ask Bridget to marry me.
7.) Plan and have wedding.
8.) Go on honeymoon to Europe.
9.) Purchase a house.
10.) Run a marathon under 3 hours 20 minutes.
11.) Establish a solid training plan utilizing running and biking.
12.) Compete in corporate Challenge bike race, 5k run, triathlon and duathlon.
13.) Run more road races. (Westport St. Patty’s Day, Groundhog run, Trolley Run, Hospital Hill, KC Marathon).
14.) Join a bike club.
15.) Start 8 minute abs and stick to it.
16.) Do 50 push ups a day consistently.
17.) Get house completely organized.
18.) Get files completely organized in file cabinet.
19.) Establish and stick to a new budget.
20.) Earn over $40,000 taxable income in one year.
21.) Post consistently on my blog. (At least once a week).
22.) Increase net worth over $15,000.
23.) Stay on top of car maintenance. (check tire pressure, change oil, carwash).
24.) Stay in touch with old friends.
25.) Take lots more pictures of family and friends.
26.) Visit my family more often.
27.) Save money in my Emigrant account for whatever “fun” thing I want at the time.
28.) Brush my teeth twice a day every day.
29.) Read at least one book a month.
30.) Paint bedroom and add second coat of paint to the living room.
31.) Finish H & R Block tax course.
32.) Work 2-3 years seasonally doing taxes for H&R Block.
33.) Work towards starting your own tax preparation business on the side.
34.) Go to Boston.
35.) Eat at least one fruit or vegetable a day.
36.) Don’t drink alcohol.
37.) Manage my checkbook register instead of relying on online statement from bank.
38.) Don’t purchase what I don’t really need.
39.) Don’t eat out so much.
40.) Clean the house with Bridget for at least 1 hour every weekend.
41.) Do something productive every single day.
42.) Start working from lists every week of stuff that needs done.
43.) Take Bridget out on a nice surprise dress up date at least twice a year.
44.) Keep a fitness journal up to date.
45.) Drink at least one glass of water a day at work every day.
46.) Keep my car clean inside and outside.
47.) Roll my PERA account into my IRA.
48.) Switch my IRA out of New Concepts fund at beginning of next year.
49.) Complete a century bike ride (100 miles).
50.) Save all lose change in tennis ball container. Cash in when full and put money towards emergency fund, debt repayment, or wedding planning.
51.) Form a list of birthdays and important dates of family and friends.
52.) Send out cards on birthdays and important dates to family and friends.
53.) Get a magazine subscription to Bicycle magazine and one other magazine that interests me.
54.) Take a vitamin every single day.
55.) Get two dentist checkups/cleaning every year. (March, September).
56.) Go to doctor for physical in two years. (September 2009)
57.) Only buy things on sale.
58.) Take Edgar on at least two walks outside every week.
59.) Begin to sell tickets on eBay for profits.
60.) Think of more goals for this list!

New Inspiration!

Ok, I've failed to post on here for the past two and half weeks. I'm sorry. I need to work on staying on top of posting at least once a week for an update of what is going on. Today I was checking out the The Simple Dollar blog and found a great idea that I want to try for myself. The author wrote an article about an idea which he read about on some other blog. The idea involves completing 101 goals in 1001 days. I like this idea alot and am going to come up with a list of all of my goals that I would like to accomplish in 1001 days. I'm not going to count out the days, I'm just going to pick an end date a little over 2 and half years from now. I will be working on my list this week and come up with as many goals as I can. I'm not sure if I will end up with 101 goals or not but I will have a long complete list of what I want to accomplish in the next couple years and hopefully this will get me inspired to get out and accomplish these things.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Cell Phones are Expensive!

I finally did it. Every month I look at my cell phone bill and it makes me soo mad because I have 500 minutes and only use about 200. I have sprint and the only option they have that would be any cheaper is 450 minutes for 5 dollars cheaper. I have put this off because of fear that I might go over 450 minutes but I am never even close. I also have told myself that it is just $5 and worth the extra 50 minutes.

So here's the deal. Using a savings calculator, I figured out if I save $5 a month for the next 35 years until I retire earning 5% interest and paying 28% tax then I will save $4,147. Cha Ching! This isn't a million dollars but I believe it is well worth lowering my cell phone bill for. Especially since I'm not using the minutes anyways.

These little costs can add up and I believe it is in my best interest to try to cut expenses as much as I can. Even little things that I don't think make a difference ($5 a month) can add up to some serious cash over the long run. And I am a fan of serious cash!

Working through the Budget Numbers

Ok, I finally worked through the numbers and have come up with a loose budget to try for starting NEXT month. I will go into October with a good plan of how my money is going to be allocated. I read a good article about budgeting and the author gave some loose zones to try to aim for. The author talks about spending 60% on committed expenses, 10% each on retirement, long term savings, short term savings, and fun.

Keeping this in mind I went to work on my own budget and came up with close numbers that I hope to stick to. My budget will consist of 65% committed expenses, 13% retirement, 7.5% emergency savings, 12% debt reduction (credit cards), and 2% fun. I want to try to lower my committed expenses but we'll see how the month goes. I think these numbers will be fine for awhile. Eventually I'd like to grow towards the 60,10,10,10 budget but for now I have credit cards that need paid off, I want to get a good head start on retirement, and I have too many monthly bills.

I plan on setting up a Fun account with Emigrant Bank to save my fun money into. The emergency fund is being saved at capital one. I also have planned to take out each month in cash what I am hoping to spend on groceries and entertainment. I am allocating $150 a month on each and hopefully I will actually come in spending less and the left over money will then go to emergency, debt reduction, and fun. I will start keeping track of all monthly expenditures and we'll see how this budget works out!