Monday, October 7, 2013

I'm a Working Mom!

So much has changed since my last post.  My world changed forever in late May when my son was born.  He is healthy, wonderful and we are so so happy to be his parents.

I had an amazing four month maternity leave with mostly time I had accrued through my years of saving up my PTO, plus a generous six weeks from my employer (though a bit too little too late at that point). I came back to work two weeks ago and last Wednesday turned in my two weeks notice.

I GOT A MUCH BETTER JOB!!

After years and years of making around $50,000 I will be jumping up to a salary of nearly $75,000. The job is still in public service so it will have many of the same benefits that made my current job appealing but at a pay rate that is more commiserate with my years of experience.  I'm sure it will be challenging in other ways but, after tackling parenthood, I think I can manage.

My husband also started a new job a month ago with a decent salary increase so the $1,000 a month we are spending on day care hasn't affected our budget thankfully.  Now more than ever our eyes are on the goal of buying a house and we hope to achieve this goal by Spring 2014.

Student loans?  Yup, still paying them.  I need to log into my accounts and make sure, but I'm almost positive I've hit the "Under $100k" goal recently so hurray!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Changes Abound

Thanks to all who checked in with me during my recent blogging hiatus.  I confess that I prefer blogging from my work computer (on my lunch break!) because it's much easier to pull up financial data at a desk with a pen and paper and a real mouse.  Laptops are great for web browsing but not much typing or research.  Unfortunately my work group of thirteen attorneys has dwindled down to a measly eight in the past few months and, as a result, my work load has tripled (yes tripled!).

But, have no fear, they recently gave me a three percent cost of living adjustment - my first since 2009 - remember how excited I was back then?  Factoring in the Social Security reduction sunset, it's like $20 more a paycheck.  Thanks a lot!

While my coworkers have wised up and abandoned ship, I have no immediate plans to look for another job because of the great work/life balance..which is more important now that I have a baby on the way.  Yes, a baby, finally!  It's been almost exactly a year since I wrote about our fertility struggles and how they were putting our plans on hold.  I'm happy to announce that after a successful IVF cycle I am now five months pregnant.  Our SON will arrive hopefully mid June. And, while achieving pregnancy was a herculean feat, the actual pregnancy so far has been pretty easy.  I'm healthy, baby is measuring big and healthy and I feel great.

We are still living in the condo and are here until we can scrape up enough funds to put at least ten percent down on a house.  Originally we thought we could pull it off by the time the baby gets here but that won't be happening save some sort of financial miracle.  Our modified plan puts us moving shortly before the end of 2013.  Technically we have almost half the money saved already...but most of that is in our Emergency Fund and I will resist the temptation to drain that with a baby on the way just for the convenience of a few more months with an eat in kitchen.  Non-shared laundry would be nice though.  Sigh.

In other news, this was the first year we've been married that we didn't greatly miscalculate our tax burden.  Instead of owing we ended getting back over $3k so that was a nice addition to our savings plan.  DH is still interviewing for a better job and hopefully between his forthcoming bonus in March and any salary increase he may see, we will exceed our goals by the end of the year.

I hope to write more about our plans for the baby and hopefully moving soon.  It's a very exciting time.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Occasional Student Loan Debt Roundup

So, what happens when you go six months without counting up your student loan debt?

A. You totally forget to pay your bills and spend $5,000 at the mall; or

B.  "Suddenly" you look and you've paid off over $5,000 in debt!

Don't despair, dear readers, the answer is happily B.  I actually did forget to pay one of my student loans a few months back.  The Perkins loan is the only one not on automatic withdrawal because I am snowballing it and the web site isn't smart enough to let me do that automatically.  Luckily I wasn't "late" with my payment since they consider me paying ahead already.  Phew.

Without further ado, here is the roundup:





For the first time I realized that since my parents technically are responsible for the Private Undergrad Loan (it's just on my credit score so I keep it on the list) that I've actually been in the Five Figure Debt Club for quite some time.  Not counting that loan, I *only* have about $89k in outstanding student loan debt.

But, of course, I do count that loan and maybe someday, if circumstances change, I will have to make payments on it so the official Under $100k Student Loan Debt Party is postponed probably until April/May of 2013 which is right around the corner if you think about it.

A lot can happen in the next six months and we are eagerly awaiting news on multiple different fronts.  Hopefully by the day five figure debt becomes a reality we will have some answers on moving, new jobs, family building, etc.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Operation: Buying a House

Four years and one month ago my (then) boyfriend bought our home

Five months later, we got engaged.

Eighteen months after that we got married.

We've been married for two years and two months.

We've had many great times in our home but I feel it's (nearly) time to move on.  Why?  Let me count the ways.

Our condo is 798 square feet.  There is no storage.  If you put one thing out of place an entire room can look cluttered.  Five things out of place and you may as well be living in a hovel.  I feel like I'm constantly trying to jam things in the closet or in a drawer.  I dread friends coming over because our only space for entertaining is also where we do most of our daily living and eating.

We have two cats and one litter box.  And please, I know this is bad but there is literally no other place to put a second one.  I'm thisclose to just buying one and putting it against a door to a closet that we never open.  When we had one cat I felt like cleaning the box was no big deal.  Now I think my cats are engaged in an Olympic sport of competitive pooping.  They poop all the time.  I need another solution to this problem and the only thing I can think of is to move.  We already have the fancy thing that makes your litter box look like furniture so that's not the issue.  The issue is floor space.  We don't have any.

Our income has dramatically increased.  When he bought the condo, my husband was making $80k a year.  My income wasn't factored into the equation because we were unmarried and I was also paying rent at my apartment - and continued to do so for nearly a year.  Now we have a household income of $170k and it may rise some more in the next few months (fingers crossed).

We always agreed that our current office would serve as a nursery for our first child until they were one years old and then we would move.  Well, we've been trying to get pregnant for over a year and I feel like we've waited long enough. My husband needs his office and the idea of trying to fit baby stuff in that room in addition to all the stuff that needs to be in there makes me not want to have a baby at all.

I'm sick of condo living.  I want a yard!  I want to be able to run the blender at 10 o'clock at night (don't ask) and not worry I am disturbing someone.  A neighbor in a nearby building has a dog who has taken to barking after midnight all of a sudden.  I can't pinpoint who it is and why they allow barking but I'm sick of it.  I also feel our condo fees are way too high (even though my husband is the building treasurer and assures me there is no misappropriation).

So we have decided we will aim to move by early next summer.  Our budget will be between $300 and $350k.  Right now the main priority will be saving the $17,500 we will need for a down payment.

I am going to look into alternative income and hopefully my husband will get the raise he has been promised.  Now I need to start researching locations, needs, wants, etc.

When should I talk to a realtor?  We didn't use one last time around (FSBO) so that part is all new to me.  I would attempt FSBO again but I think I need a little handholding this time.

Wish us luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hello From Limboland

There have been some great things happening financially for us.  My husband has seen a salary increase of over $40,000 in the past three years.  I'm immensely proud of him, of course, even if my salary has been stagnant.

We have also been faced with the prospect of relocating for the past four months or so but have no idea how serious we should be taking the idea.  It would mean leaving my job and moving to a high cost of living area.  Part of it sound great but other parts freak me out.  I'm not sure if I even found a job in the new location if I would make enough money to be able to afford daycare.

Which brings us to this: we're still not pregnant.  We've been trying for so long and have been undergoing fertility treatments for the past five months now with no luck.  We are very grateful that our insurance has covered most of our treatment but the medication and the copayments have added up.  I just can't wait to be done with this chapter of my life but I will keep going until I have my baby.

My second niece/nephew is due in a few weeks.  It's hard to deal with my mixed emotions on this subject.  I hope to have a better update soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's That Time Of The Year Again

It's Christmas for pensioned employees!  Okay, maybe not Christmas but it's the day that the Sears Christmas catalog arrives at your house showcasing all the toys you could possibly ask for that year.  I got my first pension statement after finally vesting in Tier 4 of the New York State and Local Retirement System.  You may remember me expressing excitement over being tier four because the State has gone on to create two new tiers (5 and 6) since I joined, with less benefits.

So now that I'm vested I'm entitled to a pension and my early retirement dream may become a reality.  Because 24 years from now I am guaranteed an annual income of $25k (assuming a final average salary of $48k).

And yes, I know nothing in life is really guaranteed but in order to snatch away my benefits the state would need to hold a constitutional convention and since the last one was in 1976 and was a total disaster I'm doubting they would try it again anytime soon.  Actually, they did try it in 1997, asking the voters like they are required to do every twenty years if they wanted to hold a convention.  It turns out the people said no.  But enough history for today!

I've said before that I would like to stay in my current position right up to the end of my career because I like it and the benefits are great, but there are some things in flux right now that would change my mind.  On the one hand, change can be exciting, on the other hand you have the Devil You Know and did I mention the pension?

If I leave before my ten year mark I get my contributions back if I don't want to collect a small pension instead.  As of today they total $8,397.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How about a Student Loan Debt Recap?

What happens when a blogger has other crap on her mind and doesn't post a monthly student loan debt roundup for eight months?

If you were guessing she goes back to school and saddles on another $50,000 in student loans you would be wrong!

Thank God!

But, no, I assure you, the loans have still been getting paid. And today I decided it was time to see where I'm at. So here goes nothing:



Yes, that's right. Since my last update, I have knocked out close to $7k in student loan debt! The magical less-than-six-figures mark is within my grasp.

NB: The total amount paid off is showing an error right now. If it doesn't update soon I'll fix this later. Rest assured the real number is $6,655.49.

At this rate, I'll be under $105k by the end of the year and will reach the wonderful land of $99k by June, 2013. That's assuming I don't make any adjustments to the payment schedule.

DH and I hope to raise the amount we're paying as soon as we meet other financial goals but it's good to know we're on track. That's all for now!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Confessions of a Biological Clock

Hi all. I'm sorry. I have been meaning to write an entry forever. Frankly, other than the student loan debt roundups which I've forgotten to do for a few months, not much is new with me. It wasn't until today that I realized the ONE THING that has been going on in my life I've been reluctant to write about.

Because you're not supposed to talk about it.



It's awkward, personal and bordering on rude in some people's opinions. But I've decided to say it anyway because I thought at least some of my readers would like to know. And because after several years of writing about my life I didn't want to let this blog just die off as I enter a new phase of my life.

I want a baby.

Not just me. My husband does too. We want to create a new person. I told you this would be awkward to talk about. I am trying to get pregnant. Phew, there I said it.

I remember a couple years back, when I was planning my wedding, a commenter remarked on my blog that I was going to "get married, get pregnant and quit my job." As you can imagine I was offended by his remarks. Not only because he was implying I was some sort of Gold Digger, but because he was trying to fit me into a box. The Predictable Female box. Even though I always thought I wanted kids, for someone else to assume I would be having them just because I was getting married hurt.

I was never the type of woman that was anxious to get married. I made my education and then my career a priority. And I am so happy I had an independent life, over a decade of living on my own before marrying DH.

Then during the 18 month engagement we talked a lot about the future. We wanted to have some time as a married couple before starting a family. We wanted to travel, enjoy each other's company and become financially secure. We set a date that we would start to try.

And then we started trying. And it was exciting and scary all at the same time. I toured a day care (take that rude commenter!) and picked out baby names. Quickly, however, it seemed that something was wrong. Without getting into too many details, it just wasn't happening.

Months go by and I invest in books, a thermometer, over the counter medical supplies, fertility yoga, fertility tea, herbs and vitamins. I drink 96 ounces of water a day. I turn 32. I try acupuncture. I'm still not pregnant.

So that's what's new with me. I wish I had better news. I just wanted to say I always thought the whole concept of a biological clock was silly. I thought women were being pressured by societal norms to reproduce, not nature. Sadly now, I know the truth. There is something going on now that even common sense cannot suppress. I could have anything in the world right now and it wouldn't matter because it's not a baby. Sometimes it's a dark place.

The good news is I have excellent insurance and an appointment to see a specialist in less than a month. I'll keep you posted and I promise to try and resume a more frequent blogging schedule from here on out.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I'm Still Here!

So it's been far too long since I've posted an update. I got stuck in a tree! No, not really. I have lots to say and lots and lots of emails and blog posts to catch up on. Sorry about the hiatus. I just wanted to let you know to look out for new posts from me coming soon!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Hello all! Work has finally quieted down and I'm on my way to a week long vacation tomorrow to celebrate a wedding and the anniversary of my own wedding. Can you believe it's been a year already? I can't!

But first, time to update the student loan numbers! I am getting excited to see the numbers slide down closer to the five figure mark. I predict I will owe under $100k in student loans by February 2014. Yay! Maybe I'll do something crazy to celebrate at that point like go back to school (boo!) or have a baby (yikes!).

As of today, I owe $118,180 for my fabulous education, over $800 less than last month.

Here are the details:




Hope you all have a fabulous 4th of July Weekend celebrating America: where anyone can get a higher education. :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I'm Never Leaving My Job!

Mark my words Internet, I am here to stay. Today I got my annual pension statement and it's just awesome.

I've been a public employee for almost five years but I didn't officially join the retirement system until April, 2007. I am currently in the process of buying back the service credit from the period in which I wasn't a member. I will be done paying that off in a couple of months. This means in April of next year I will be vested in my pension since it will have been five years since I joined but I will have 5.6 years of service credit.

Vesting in HUGE since, in the five short years since I've been a public employee, the state has created one new tier and is about to create another one with a lot less benefits than the tier I am eligible to vest in. Two major things the new tiers won't have that I currently have are the ability to retire at 55 without penalty and the fact that after ten years I will no longer have to make any contributions to my pension.

Thus, I get out so much more than I put in. Here are some numbers:

As of April 1 of this year my pension contributions total $5,999.95. Assuming I make the same salary for the next six years I will have contributed about $14,000 to my pension. Then I stop contributing but keep working for at least ten more years. How much do I get?

Using a final average salary of $49,312, when I am 57 years old I will have 30 years of service credit. I will thus be eligible for a Single Life Allowance of $29,587 a year. That's 60% of my final average salary. All for contributing just $14,000! This is totally morbid but even if I only collect for one year I am getting 2x my money back! Note that I'll probably elect one of the Joint Allowances because I'm married and then it's a little less ($24,900).

Will I make it to thirty years of service? I don't know. I hope so. We're still child free so I assume I will work until my hypothetical kid is in college. Being that they're not born yet that's another 24 years or thereabout. Even if I only worked twenty years I am still eligible for a sizeable pension as well (just not sure how sizeable).

So....twenty six more years to go!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Net Worth May 2011

The market was really crappy this month. My 457 actually decreased $30 despite my contributions. I think that's the first time that's ever happened to me. Oh well. I guess I have more shares or something.


But at least my student loans also continue to decrease. And my DH's new job definitely increased our prospective networth so all in all it was an okay month.


My new net worth is -$103,579! Have I mentioned I CAN'T WAIT until I'm not in the negative six figures anymore? It's so close I can taste it! I'm not even the poorest person on Networth IQ in my age bracket anymore. There are 17 people poorer than me! NB: Most of them are also lawyers.

Here are the stats:




Cash: Not tracking as all our cash is joint right now.

Retirement: My 457 account balance stands at $9,861. I have approximately $5859 in my pension (refundable until vested). And finally I have approximately $1000 in my Roth I.R.A. but the statement only comes quarterly so who knows if that's gone up. This makes for a grand total of $16,720 saved for retirement.

Student Loans: These are at the LOWEST THEY'VE EVER BEEN at a whopping $119,009!

Credit Card: All of our debts are joint debts now so this number is misleading but they will all be paid off within 4-5 months now that we are working together.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Another month, another reduction in student loan debt.

I want to start throwing more money at the Perkins loan but we're still adjusting to our new budget and paying off some other debt so we're currently just paying $200 a month. I still think I can knock it out in 2011 somehow. It will feel awesome to only have two payments to make each month instead of three.

My husband is enjoying his new job. His travel schedule is a little crazy right now so we're adjusting to that as well. Just got back from an excellent Memorial Day weekend camping.

Here are the stats for this month:


Monday, May 2, 2011

Net Worth April 2011

My net worth is rising slowly but surely month to month. As of today, I am worth negative $104,529! This means I will hit negative five figures in 2011 if all goes well. :-)

Now that I've combined accounts with DH I could technically count all of his assets and liabilities too but for now I'm going to just track mine. It wouldn't put me in the black to do so, however, as his networth is around negative $15,000 (still much better than mine!).




Here are the details:

Cash: This category is pretty useless now that my cash is combined with DH's. If I ever acquire some of my "own" cash from saving my fun money, here is where I will track it I guess.

Retirement: My 457 account balance stands at $9,892. I have approximately $5659 in my pension (refundable until vested). And finally I have contributed $1000 in my Roth I.R.A. and for some reason that makes sense when my financial advisor explains it, it's only in a Money Market account now. This makes for a grand total of $16,551 saved for retirement.

Student Loans: These are at the LOWEST THEY'VE EVER BEEN at a whopping $119,790!

Credit Card: All of our debts are joint debts now so this number is misleading but they will all be paid off within 4-5 months now that we are working together and DH got a new job!

Friday, April 29, 2011

DH Got a New Job!

I'm so proud of my own prince today. After months of waiting today I am happy to announce DH accepted an offer for a new and exciting job!



His salary will increase by over 20%! And they're giving him $8,000 in company stock, three weeks of vacation a year and a guaranteed annual bonus worth 12% of his salary. They also match 7.5% of his 401k contributions. It's almost too good to be true!


He starts in two weeks!!


Also I'll just throw this in here as well. We recently combined finances. It was long overdue to be honest and it makes things a lot simpler. Hopefully I can post our new budget soon. I'm going to have to get used to budgeting monthly. Luckily just as we started doing this our budget suddenly got bigger thanks to the new job. We're motivated to working together as a couple to pay off debt and save for our future.

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

Hi everyone and a Happy Royal Wedding day to you! Even though I live across the pond I still woke up at 5 a.m. to watch the festivities live (two hours earlier than I woke up on my own wedding day haha).

Since tomorrow is a Saturday and I will be celebrating some big news with my own handsome husband I decided to do my student loan debt roundup a day early. I'm happy to report that I am finally in the $110's!

Here are the numbers:




And stay tuned for some exciting news in the S.N. family!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Net Worth March 2011

March is gone and I'm $1100 richer (less poor?). My current networth is -$106,073.


Here's the breakdown:


Cash: I'm keeping this the same because all of the cash I have right now is earmarked for debt payoff.


Retirement: My 457 account balance stands at $9,551. I have approximately $5459 in my pension (refundable until vested). And finally I have contributed $1000 in my Roth I.R.A. and for some reason that makes sense when my financial advisor explains it, it's only in a Money Market account now. This makes for a grand total of $16,010 saved for retirement.


Student Loans: These are at the LOWEST THEY'VE EVER BEEN at a whopping $120,793!


Credit Card: Not much progress yet as we're scrambling to pay off joint debts first.


My husband and I talked about our debt payoff progress some this week and we've decided to join accounts. I know this is definitely the right move but I'm still a little nervous to see how it's going to work out. We're a team now so we should act as one financially. I will probably continue to post "my" networth on the blog though just because I like to track it.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Monthly Student Loan Debt Roundup

I'm on the countdown to being in the $110's instead of the $120's in student loan debt. Oh for the day that it will be under six figures. I hope I'll still have some readers out there to celebrate with me when it hits a big fat zero. :-)


Unfortunately, a $200 payment I made a few days ago to my Perkins loan hasn't shown up yet so it looks the balance has increased instead of decreased. :-(


The good news, as always, is that the overall balance has gone down and I now owe $120,793.25 in student loans!


Here are the details:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

12 Charities in 2011 - March

So far this month I've donated to two charities - my alma mater (undergrad) because they were running a matching program where every donation made would be matched by some richer alums. Also we were competing for the most donations against a rival school. Note for charities - make donating fun. So far I think we're winning but the contest ends tomorrow. I gave them $25.

I also gave $25 to the American Cancer Society because someone near and dear to me is running in a Relay For Life. I think they're a very worthy organization, and as my family has been touched by cancer, I support their efforts to research and possibly find a cure one day.


And giving back feels good. :-)


I hope everyone else participating in the challenge found a great charity to support this month.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where it Went 3/02 - 3/15

I narrowly avoided my old nemesis, the Evil Overdraft Monster this pay period. All because I forgot I had to go to the eye doctor. Oh and I bought concert tickets, but since the latter was put on a credit card I just now paid them off (will be accounted for in the next budget).

In short, I blew my budget, but I needed an eye exam because of all the problems I've been having and while my insurance pays for all the opthamologists I've been visiting, opthamologists know nothing about contacts and can't give me a prescription for them. And, as I've explained before, while contact prescriptions are only valid for one year, most insurance companies (including mine) only pay for a complete eye exam every two years.

Today, I get to spend even more money ordering new contacts online. I opted not to order them from Walmart where I had my exam because I found the same brand for much cheaper at lens.com.

Anyway, long explanation over. Here are the dirty details.

Budgeted/Actual

Joint account - 400/400
Defaulted Student Loan - 260/260
Credit Card - 200/100
Groceries - 75/82
Health - 60/50
Gym - 33/33
Charity - 20/25
Misc. - 185/170
Concert Tickets - 0/200
Eye Doctor - 0/92


Which means I need to account for $117 in the next pay period so everything resets itself perfectly. Boo.

I am, however, very excited to be able to see again...especially with all the concerts and fun stuff we have planned for the warmer months.