Seesaw

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. The stock market has always amused me.  One day the world is apparently caving in, the next day everything is rainbows and butterflies.  I keep track of my 401K balance relatively often, more so to keep an accurate net worth number, not to see my rate of return.  Market gyrations do not change my investment plan.  My asset allocation is based on my risk tolerance and daily or monthly fluctuations are not going to change it.  I thought I would give you a peak into how my 401K has done over a 12 month time frame at monthly intervals as well as how it did during the Brexit volatility. Monthly Ups and Downs I went back and looked at the last 12 monthly statements from my 401K.  I was only interested in the change in market value, not the ending balance.  The ending balance would have been impacted by my contributions, so I wanted to … 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

Job Loyalty

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. Recently, the company I work for announced the benefit changes for the upcoming year. One change in particular did not go down well with the employees. People were angry, bitter and talked about disloyalty from the company. I’ll talk about the numbers surrounding the benefits in another post. In this one, I’d like to talk how people felt the change was personal, that their friend had betrayed them. I never got that worked up about it and mainly just shrugged the change off. 401k Change Maybe it is because I tend to be more analytical than most that I didn’t get too upset about the change. All the company was doing was changing when they were going to give you your 401k matching contribution. Instead of matching each paycheck with your contribution, they were changing to a once a year match in the 1st quarter of the following year. While not ideal, and certainly not … Read more

Approaching the Limit

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. There are still times when I can still be surprised by my finances; such was the case recently when I reviewed my credit card charges.  There was a time when I would check my charges on a daily basis, but that has changed recently, probably over the last 6-9 months.  I still check them at least once a week, but I don’t watch them like a hawk. So, it was a surprise when I looked at my account online and saw that I was only about $900 away from my credit limit.  Since the limit on my card is $10,000, I was caught a little off guard.  When I looked into the details, there was nothing amiss and my finances were completely fine. How I Got There Not since I dug out of my financial hole have I been that close to my limit.  There are probably two main reasons why I was that close … Read more

Retirement Analysis Revisited

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. With the recent 2016 benefit announcement by my company, I needed to do some modeling. Specifically, I needed to model out the impact of the 401k change. The company was going to be moving from a pay period match to an annual lump sum match.  After some fierce employee backlash, the company changed its mind, but not before I had gotten to run through some numbers in Excel. My Retirement Analysis I knew that changing the timing of the 401k matching contributions from a pay period match to an annual match wouldn’t be good for me. The question was, how severe would the impact be? I kept my first pass at the impact pretty simple. I kept my salary constant and just wanted to see the lost interest over the next 25-30 years. I kept the investment return constant at 9%. The impact in the first year was about $400. By the end of the 25 … Read more

My Credit Card Rewards Update

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. A while back, I talked about revising my credit card strategy. I was looking for a way to increase the amount of cash I received by using my credit card for all my purchases. I was curious as to whether I saw the increase that I thought I would, turns out, I did. My Credit Card Summary If you didn’t see that post, I basically used one card for all of the household purchases. I was using the Bank of America 1-2-3 card. The card gave 1% on all purchases, 2% on groceries and 3% on gas. If you deposited your cash reward into a Bank of America bank account, they would give you a 10% bonus. I was averaging between 1.2% and 1.4% for most months. I then saw an ad for the new Citi Double-Cash back card. You earn 1% on your purchases and then you earn another 1% on your payments. Since … Read more