Ever Changing Plans

Car

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. If you’ve learned anything about me over the last few years, you’ve learned that I am a planner.  I am always thinking about then future.  This is especially true when it comes to my personal finances.  I have short, medium and long-term plans.  Our next car replacement is falling into the short-term bucket.  We finish paying off my wife’s car this year and the plan was to wait a little while, maybe a year, then get a new car for me.  That plan is getting a revision. My Wife’s Car We bought my wife’s car in December of 2011 just after the little guy was born.  We had a smaller 4-door sedan, which was just not going to cut it with 2 small kids.  We sold the sedan for a slight loss and rolled the negative equity into the new car loan with a 6-year payment term.  Our financial shape at the time was ok, … Read more

Conversation on Parents Paying for College

Graduation

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. I don’t know how exactly the conversation came up, but my wife, her mother and I were talking about college expenses.  My mother-in-law remarked how she had heard someone talking about how they were not going to be paying for college for their kids.  During the conversation, we talked about a few things.  One discussion point was whether a parent should pay for college.  The other was the plans that, my wife and I, have for our children.  The last was on how having limited student loans have benefited my wife and I financially. To Pay or Not to Pay There is not a right or wrong answer to this question in my opinion.  I do not believe that parents are obligated to pay for higher education for their children.  I believe that once a child reaches the age of 18, that anything a parent does after that is extra. Now, that doesn’t mean that … Read more

Net Worth Time Again

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. My goal for my net worth in 2016 was apparently too light.  I looked back on the post from last year to see what I expected or hoped for at the end of 2016. “I would be quite happy if the net worth change for 2016 was a positive 25,000 or more.  That would be a nearly 17% increase, I’ll take it.” When I totaled up my numbers for 2016, I beat that guess by over 50%.  It was a good year, not as good as some, but good enough for me.  I ended 2016 with a net worth that was higher by over $39,000.  It was my second best year ever and it was mainly driven by savings increases and some modest debt repayment.  As always, I let you look at where all the gains came from. 401K Once again it was my 401K that led the change in the net worth number.  The … Read more

Surprise

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Whenever I have budget surprises, they normally aren’t the happy kind.  They usually mean something has been more expensive than I anticipated or there was an unexpected expense.  This time is different however.  There is going to be a surprise source of income. My wife will start bringing in an income starting in September.  She will be providing childcare for someone 5 days a week.  She will be earning between $1,000 and $1,400 dollars a month depending upon the number of days she watches the baby.  Since I don’t count on her for any income, this certainly will be bonus income. What to do? The easy answer to this question would be to save it all.  Though it would not be easy to convince my wife this is the best course of action.  So, I need to balance saving some of the extra income with the need to enjoy some if it too.  What I … Read more

Net Worth Summary

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. One of the tasks that I do with my finances is to track my net worth. It’s my scorecard on how I am doing financially.  I have only been diligently tracking the number since the end of 2008.  I am positive the number wasn’t pretty before that time, as I was not very good at managing my finances before then.  So, how did I do this year and what were the drivers of the overall change?  Let’s take a look. Net Worth My net worth increased 14.8% from the end of 2014 till the end of 2015. It was a roughly $19,000 increase year-over-year.  I will say that I am pleased with the number.  It’s going up and the markets did not contribute much of anything to the increase.  The increase was driven entirely by debt reduction and savings.  It is also a far cry from the roughly -$19,000 net worth I had when I … Read more

Marketers

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. Marketers have become really good at their jobs.  They have convinced people that they can no longer live without certain things, that life is not complete unless they have certain material things.  The marketers have made ‘Keeping up with the Jones’ a way of life for some people.  I have come across a couple of instances recently that illustrate this point quite well.  You’ll have to excuse me if I come across as judgmental.  I don’t begrudge anyone’s choices.  People are free to do as they wish, but I don’t want to hear any complaints when circumstances change and people feel like they don’t have any money.  The first anecdote I’ll talk about is my wife’s college roommate (I’ll call her CR) and the second is a conversation I had with someone at work. I not sure how exactly how we came to be talking about CR, as my wife’s college reunion was a couple … Read more

Buy the Biggest House on the Block

Home

The following is a staff writer post from MikeS.  He is a married father of 2.  So, with the cat, he ranks number 5 in the house.  He loves numbers and helping people. Please leave any questions or comments below for either Mike or Crystal. It happened again.  I fell for click-bait.  The title on the link was ‘Buy the biggest house on the block’.  My first reaction was “What idiot thought this up?”  Buying too much house is one of the biggest problems people have in managing their finances and here is someone saying buy the biggest.  The link was to a brief video interview with an economist.  As it turns out, she is preaching the same principles as most do when it comes to personal finance. The interview starts out with her saying the best piece of financial advice she every received was from an older colleague when she was starting out.  She had asked for advice on whether she should buy a car or not.  Her colleague informed her that there are two sides to the interest equation, the paying side and the receiving side.  Her colleague said you always want to be on the receiving side.  … Read more