Saturday, January 31, 2009

Net worth update for Feb 2009

Just tallied up the net worth for the end of January. This is getting old. With the stock market declining 10% for the month I was not expecting any gain. Net worth is down to $194,274. That's a loss of $1,900 for the month...ahhh really a loss of much more if you include the $2K I put in. It was not a good saving month because of the excessive credit card bill. Mainly from the purchase of the new refrigerator. Next month I will start putting extra money into my cash account until I decide what to do with it.

Also, I started my taxes. I finally got all the forms and have done an initial upload of information into H&R Block. I have made the mistake of accidentally falling into the 28% tax bracket. Ugh...Turns out I will only get about $200 back on my Federal and maybe $1,200 back from my state. So much for the small windfall I was expecting. I believe that this occurred because my wife was not contributing to her 403b while she was on maternity leave. Also, she was getting paid by an insurance company (who covered her benefits while on maternity leave) who may not have been deducting all of the taxes they should have. This didn't impact the tax bracket rate we fell into but impacted the size of our refund. I have taken some quick action to ensure I will remain in the 25% tax bracket next year. I raised my 401K deduction from 8% to 14%. This is a big jump but I think I can do it. My first check with the new 14% deduction will occur in a few weeks. My only frustration with doing this is it limits the amount of money I will have access to in the short term for home improvements and building up my brokerage account/cash acccount. Having said that, putting more money into your retirement account is hardly a bad mistake to make. This bump will put us up to over $20K of contributions for the year into our 401K/B accounts. Not including the matches that we get at 6.5% and 9% each. I also plan on putting more money into one Roth IRA for us. All in all this is a lot of money going into retirment accounts for us.

Don't expect any reall good news in the next few months. I expect the Dow Jones to go up and down from 8000 to 8800 for the next 6 months. ugh.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


It's been a while since I've posted so here is a quick update. We had an end of the year problem with bad luck. Our refrigerator went out on us, our computer got a virus and my car's transmission started to do weird things. It really began to feel like the world was working against us. We have seemed to come through the rough patch and are about to start a more steady state of affairs. At least so I hope. The fridge had to be replaced ASAP. I went out and got a mini fridge from Walmart for temporary supply and then later got a loaner from my boss. What a nice boss. I then later returned the Walmart fridge getting back my $89.00. We have since replaced the broken fridge with a new one from Lowes. Pretty standard side by side stainless steel (more grey than stainless) with water in the door. We did not previously have this feature and we are loving it. Nice to throw that Britta away also. The entire Fridge ordeal cost me about $1100. I have my $89.00 rebate in the mail for the "free" delivery from Lowes. I hate rebates by the way.
My computer virus was fixed by myself. I did some research and discovered the name of the virus that was on my computer. I did this by doing a google search for the constant advertisements that were popping up on my computer when I had a web browser open. I then did a search under the virus name which lead me to a website called, "" I posted my issue and a few days later I had a tech person respond with what to do. After several posts back and forth my computer was fixed. Most of what they had me do was download executable files and run scans of my computer. It took about a week but my computer is now fixed and all for free.
My car is a different matter. My transmission is making rough transitions between 1st and 2nd gear and I am almost ready to throw in the towel. I don't plan on replacing the transmission but will bite the bullet and get a used "new" car. I'm looking at Toyotas.
Net Worth Update- Last month was a small gain of about $3K. Nothing to get excited about because I am not sure this trend will continue. However, it is nice not to take another $10K hit. I am still below the $200K mark and standing at $193K. Very disappointing.
A few recent financial moves my wife and I have taken were to up her 403B from 5% to 12%. She also gets a 9% match bringing her to a total of 21% of her pay being put into retirement. I have left mine at 8% for now and will begin transferring money over to our ING savings account next month. My baseline of saving outside retirement accounts is at $1,600 a month. I think I can do more. I also changed my W4 tax form from zero to One. This didn't make a huge difference but will let me bring home roughly $800 more dollars a year.
We are excited to do our taxes this year. Maybe by next week I will have my W2 forms which might complete all of the tax forms required to begin the process. This should be a nice cash inflow for us. Most of it will go to savings although we may splurge on a new table for our dining room with some of the money.
Savings estimate for 2009.
At our current rate we will collectively put in $27K into our 401K/403b accounts. At $1600 a month we will be putting an additional $19,200 into taxable accounts. That is a total of just over $46K in annual savings. Not too shabby. I think I can put more money into savings on occasion. It is the unexpected expenditures that are tough to plan for. Some upcoming expenses that could mess things up are: new car and landscaping project this spring. Let's hope nothing else brakes on me in the next couple of months.