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April 25th, 2012 at 06:38 pm

I am finally doing my re-fi. I gave up with the one for USAA that required the Verizon blight gone. I decided to pay off all the credit cards with the savings, and when I did that I found I didn't even need a jumbo loan anymore.
So I found a great loan, ran the numbers, and started the re-fi. Its one of those crazy 5 year loans + 1 balloon payment. The ones everyone is warned about. I'm serious :} I'm going with ING, an internet bank I have several accounts with. Closing costs are ~$4000 total.
But this is how the numbers work out:
The loan is set up for 30 years, biweekly payments. The rate is fixed for 5 years at 2.5% (my mortgage was at 5.37 and home equity at 2.99). In 5 years I can refinance the remaining balance for $1600 total closing costs.
If I pay the amount I am currently paying just for my mortgage I can pay off the new mortgage in 11 years (without a rate change, see below). If I add in what I pay for the home equity, and what i save monthly for my 6 month emergency fund, I can pay off this mortgage in 8 years. I will have to get funds for taxes and insurance ($6000 a year) so money will be a bit tight.
There was also $19,000 that wouldn't go into this loan that needs to be paid off, I got a personal loan at 10.39%. Ouch, but they gave it to me right away. Money was in my account within a day. I have to pay it towards the home equity so ING can close it. The payments are $500/month, but I have a few thousand already for it and figure it will get paid off completely within a few months.
The big scary negatives about this are .... we have to refinance in 5 years. 1) K and I need good credit. K currently has a 760 and I have a 748 (with the verizon blight). I can't see that changing. 2) the interest rates are going to go up. I know they were high in the 70s. But I don't think they are going to jump there in 5 years. The worst is a percent a year, and 7.5% isn't that bad interest to pay. It will only delay repayment a year or so. 3) the house could go down in value and we could only refinance 80% of the value, which means we'll have to have $$. We can always get $$ from loans or credit cards. If I pay it off as planned we will have 65% equity of what the house is currently valued at. It would have to lose a lot of value to go under water. 4) we could lose some income. My planned payment is about 30% of our take home income. So if we lose some income we can still afford the accelerated payments. I may have to give up a few international trips, or actually ask for travel money.
If more than one bad thing happens, it could get tight. Could end up with a big payment that's hard to refinance at high interest. If everything continues to be peachy keen, we can make real headway into paying off this debt. And then I'll use the house for collateral to buy property for the business :}
So, I know its a crazy loan. But I've run the numbers many times and it works out. I think these are all the risks, and I think they are low/bearable.
I am really impressed with the INGdirect re-finance process, BTW. Its all electronic. I can upload the documents, and there are easy checklists to follow. I already have everything signed, they have reviewed/approved most of them (I saw that they needed the second page to one so I uploaded it, got it to them within a day). I'm already in touch with the title company for closing and have sent all the forms and arranged a RemoteClosing, where we have to go to a notary and approve the docs and someone else to sign in person. So we don't have to arrange for a time for someone to come here. I just love living in the future.

Charity - Non Profits;

April 7th, 2012 at 12:37 am

I did my charities - I keep all the solicitations and go through them all at once (every quarter or so) and decide who to donate to. So when that type of mail comes in I throw it in a pile till I shuffle through it. I used to donate as the solicitations came through, but I found I was donating depending on my mood, and not how I felt about the non-profit or the cause. So now I try to be more systematic.

I donate to many causes, and some I have been supporting for years. Like Alley Cat Allies, http://www.alleycat.org/

I also sponsor all my friends who do walks/charity drives/etc. Regardless of cause, I support them 'cause I like activism and empathy.

I believe a lot in microlending and have thousands of Kiva loans - www.kiva.org My portfolio is worth about $8000, and I can withdraw it if I want. I might, if I need it later on in life, and its nice to know that other people got to use the capital in the meantime instead of the banks.

One of the best ROI is a donation I make monthly. I bring snacks to the VA hospital so they can give out food to vets who can't afford to eat. They used to sometimes steal and end up in jail, but since I've stared bringing snacks (4 years ago) it hasn't happened. I buy flats of noodle soups - 4 for $20 with my monthly purchase of paper goods (toilet paper, paper towels), cleaning, etc. K knows to buy them if he does the monthly run and he puts them in my trunk. So I just carry them to the building, get a tax write off, a hundred vets get fed, they don't go to jail. For about $20 bucks a month and 5 minutes extra of my time. And I get lots of kudos for being the snack lady. Such a win win situation.

Loan application - Denied.

April 7th, 2012 at 12:03 am

I applied for the second time to refinance. It was denied today. They can't do the loan till they see it off my credit, the fax that states it will go off (from Verizon) won't do. I did get a number that my bank uses for the credit report, apparently they might help speed things up with getting the blight removed from my credit.
I am dealing with USAA bank and they are fantastic. The underwriters are in the building so they can put me on hold and get questions answered.

But, in the meantime, I've almost paid off all my credit cards. They will all get paid off within a month. That includes K's cards. I have almost nothing in savings anymore though. But it will build up again.

Ramblings March 24

March 24th, 2012 at 05:52 pm

What a week.
Signed all the documents for the refinance last weekend but had some issues with some of the numbers so decided to call the bank rather then send them in. I was concerned because it was listed like I had all the assets (and k had only a few), etc. The bank said not a problem they just put down minimums. The guy started looking to see if there were any other issues... after about an hour on the phone, he took it over to the underwriter.... ... Came back DENIED. I have a big ding on my credit, something went to collection.

[backstory - in 2007 I switched my phone from verizon to AT&T. Verizon charged me $300 for breaking the contract. I hadn't had a contract with them for years, they tried to say that when they sent me info and I didn't do anything that was a contract. So I called the Government commission listed on the phone bill, and they looked into it. Ruling was in my favor.]

So the loan was stopped. There are other loans that allow that ding, but they didn't have good cash out or APR and some wanted me to come up with $40,000. [one good point, was on the phone for 2 hours and the bank guy said I was the most calm, composed person he ever had to deal with, even after this unexpected screw up].

So then I called the government commission and found out their databanks don't go back that far.

So then I called Verizon. Got transferred a few times, hung up on a few times, and finally got through to someone who knew what I wanted and looked me up and said the credit was off the books and he would forward that to the reporting company and fax me a letter within 24 hours. YAH!

I got the fax the next day. It said the bill was paid off. I called my bank, and read them the fax, and they said it wouldn't work. The ding has to be totally removed from my credit. I asked them specifically what the magic buzz words to use were. They said it can't say collections, and it can't indicate I was ever late.

So I called back Verizon. Got transferred and hung up on a few times. But I'm persistent. Got through to the right place. Told them the buzz words. They said they could do it. They are sending the credit people another update, and faxed me a paper that said the ding will be totally removed from my credit.

I will call my bank at the end of the week and ask them to do a hard pull on my credit (I asked what the magic buzz words are) to see if its gone. And then restart the loan procedure. They can use most of the signed disclosures, so it won't be so bad.

I am planning on sending Verizon an invoice billing them for at least 4 hours of my time (more if its not done yet). Apparently this works sometimes.

The bank figures the ding was only noticed so late in the procedure because my score was so high, they just assumed I couldn't have anything big on it. Who knew.

So I transferred k's 401 from his old company (invested in a hodge podge, he tends to just equally choose funds) into an IRA brokerage account. He wants me to invest. Its a bit scarier playing with someone else's money. I'm going to probably go with low cost index funds and a few choice stocks. I don't think we will be adding to this fund. He has a retirement fund with his work (which I think discredits you?). I am trying to put money in roths for both of us, but maxing it out is $833 a month to save, and right now that's not happening.

The refinance was going to include paying off $16,000 I have in 'business' debt. Since I am sole owner the debt is mine. I consider it 'business' because it was used to buy inventory, and I was hoping the business would make enough to pay it off. But I am trying to grow the business, its currently in my house and I would eventually like to move it out. My dream is that k and I will buy the property and the business will incorporate and rent it from us.

The business is internet based, we sell custom clothing. There are currently over 10 people who help with production and shipping. The sewers are mostly stay-home-moms. It started off as a make-income for my friends with babies and I've had friends running it. I took over a few years ago and changed the business model a bit and did massive organization, before it was limping along making enough money to pay everyone and pay me enough for the bother of it in my house and the work I did on the occassional weekend. But I decided to build it up to move it out to a retail store which would significantly increase business. The plan is to move it out when I know I can afford all the expenses from the current business. And I want to have most of the stock. I don't want to grow in debt.

But I am in debt now, I used the card to make some major stock purchases last year, and to cover cash flow. Its only been 5 months since we re-organized and I am now taking an active role and making sure everything is progressing. I am not involved in daily production or shipping. I am doing the finances, logistics, and web work. I'm also making sure the house (my house) has room to expand. And, like all owners of small businesses, I take out the garbage. I am the direction. I have great people doing the work. I think its going to grow well. Its already shown it can limp along without even good pictures of our products.

And my point was... The $16,000 credit card debt for the 'business'. I'm going to pay it off with my 6- month emergency fund. It will wipe it out. I have been putting $1200 a month towards it, so it will grow again. I have psychological issues with putting my money towards the business debt, but I really need to get over them since its all me. (sole owner) Yes, I can write off credit card interest as a business expense. But its an unnecessary expense. And its better the business invest in itself and not have debt. So as the credit cards come in, I will pay them off.

I would still like to take the cash from the refi to pay off k's card. its at $12,000.


March 12th, 2012 at 08:46 pm

I spoke with my bank and they offered me a great refinance.I'm getting more than I want, besides the first and second I'm going to get enough to pay off the credit cards, and the payments will be less than the one payment for my current mortgage.

However - it has to be a 'jumbo' and I'll be on a direct government loan (so they back it but my bank still administers it)and its not fixed. I never thought I would consider a not fixed loan - but this one is 3.125% for at least 5 years. In 5 years it will get adjusted, but not go up more than 2%. IT will keep getting adjusted every 5 years, but NEVER go more than 5% over initial (8.125%). And it will take at least 20 years to get that high, and that's only if interest rates rise.

I should have at least an extra mortgage payment a month if I consolidate and have no other debts (and we both keep our jobs). I ran the numbers and that would allow me to pay off the mortgage in about 10 years. I'll be 10 years from retirement.

Since k and I aren't married we have to both be on the line to initiate the loan, so we're going to do it at 7am tomorrow before he goes to work. We're talking a May closing and first payment July. Its a full doc loan.

Sure will be a lot simpler to consolidate all of this.

Transfers and thinkings

March 11th, 2012 at 11:07 am

My monthly transfers to savings went through. It really has been helping me to have them all go at once, and knowing what paycheck is used to pay what. I refer to my chart a lot.

This month I did what I did last month, which was to transfer a few of the deposits to k's credit card. I took it out of my savings, house savings, car savings, bill savings (to get a head of mortgage when k wasn't working) and taxes. I know I need to save for these things, but I think paying the credit card is better at this point. Together its another $1000 or so to the card. I am not touching my emergency savings (now at $18,000!, the cat savings (for vets) now at $4500, or any of my trip funds (saving for England and Italy and friends come visit). k's credit card balance should drop to $11,500. And he has been ok with not charging too much.

I have been seriously thinking about the refinance. I've run a few numbers, and even signed up with lending tree. Just checked the email, they are "confident that we can find a loan option that fits your financing needs." My current mortgage is $317,000 at 5.375 (8 years in). I also have a home equity loan at $131,500, variable but currently at 2.99%. (this was run up by a lot of things that were beyond my control and really bothers me, perhaps some day i'll figure out how to blog about it nicely. but for now, lets just call it debt and accept it.)

Total is about $450,000. I think I should combine them (I think I might even have to.). The house is valued by Zillow over $600,000 so we have at least 20% down. I know I have 'excellent' credit (750 I think, was checked within a few months) and I assume k does also. I'm sure we make enough with income we can document to satisfy the mortgage, our combined take home is about $8000, and that's after retirement withdrawals.
I currently pay about $2000 for my mortgage payment (not counting taxes) and $340 for the loan which is just covering interest. I was going to start working on it after k's credit card. But its such a huge debt I think it would be better handled with the mortgage. Interest rates are going up.
So I have been running numbers. And I signed up with lending tree to see what they could do. (Anyone have experience with them?).
I got an offer for 3.75% for 30 year fixed. That would give me a payment of $1922. If the rate is 4%, its $2148. These numbers aren't that different to me, and both are in the range of my current mortgage payment (without the home equity loan). So I could combine my loans and pay about what I am paying now. If I took the monies I am currently paying the loan ($340/month) and my emergency savings ($1400/month) I have almost a mortgage payment, so if I add that to the mortgage as additional each month (and a bit more) I can pay off the entire thing in about 10 years.
So it looks like the thing to do is combine the loan and look for a fixed rate 30%, and even 4% is ok.
HomePlus Mortgage offered 3.75% and no points. Anyone know anything about this?
My current loan is with GMAC through USAA. I tried running the numbers through both their online refinance calculators but got loans that required $45,000 or so down. I am planning on calling them on Monday to see what they can offer me, telling them about the 3.75% fixed with no points for the full amount I've already been offered. Then I will call HomePlus and see what they can really offer :}
What I want is - the entire amount refinanced. No points. Low closing costs. I'll accept a higher APR for these.
I would like to refinance with the bank I already have. But I need to think about how to evaluate/choose another bank. How much does it matter who I pay a check to?
Should I be doing anything to prepare for the refinance? Should I pay off the credit card? Does $11,000 in debt mean anything when you're borrowing half a million? I have quite a few credit cards with no balances. I don't know what my total line of credit is (but, now that I think of it, that's probably something I should be figuring out and blogging about since its 'financial'). I do recall that I had to close a few cards when I first bought the house, but that was when credit was still crazy and they kept increasing my limits every year (and I was getting bombarded with credit card checks). I do recall my credit card limit then was some ridiculous amount like $150,000. My mortgage person joked that I could almost have bought the house on my cards. I am sure my limit isn't that high, but I can think of several cards that have a $20,000 or more limit, so perhaps I should figure that out and close/limit some accounts. TODO - organize credit cards & figure out limits and close accounts if not needed. Or max them all out and run off to an island. Should always keep that option open.

TSP and taxes

February 28th, 2012 at 12:27 am

I just changed my TSP to transfer 65% of my current savings (1300) to the 'c' fund (S&P index with expenses of 0.025) and routed all my current contributions to that fund. My other choices are tracking the Dow or International index. Or the 'lifestyle funds' which have a different percentage of the other funds. S&P index fund with low fees works fine for me.

I got an estimate on my taxes, the business lost $17,000 so I am getting $6000 back. I had a choice of putting $5000 in a ROTH or $2700 in a trad IRA (and getting more back). Decided to do the ROTH.

I started an automatic monthly withdrawal of $250 for taxes. I need to save more ($833.34 is full ROTH for k and I) but I also need to pay off k's card.

But wait, there's more

February 23rd, 2012 at 08:51 am

Aren't I done yet? Actually, I guess I'll never be done. Money is like food, something you have to keep doing all the time. Can't stop eating. Must keep buying food and cooking and cleaning. Good thing I like cooking. And I like money stuff too.

K could never do all this, it would drive him crazy. When I met him his financial strategy was to own a house, figure out what his bills were and what was reasonable to spend, and put the rest in his 401K. He actually told me that he couldn't take me on a real date for a few weeks till he changed his withholdings 'cause girlfriends weren't in the budget. He likes it simple. Me, I'm more complicado.

K does appreciate all I do though. And he does listen. I had to talk with him about his spending a few days ago, he spent ~$1800 on his credit card last month. None of this was bills, about $500 was necessary (doctors/drugs/gas) plus food. I don't know what's reasonable to spend on food for him, but he needs to eat better. Less fast food. He's agreed to seriously curb his spending, and I know he will. He just forgets. As I do. I spent $3600 on my credit card last month, and most of the food I buy is cash at the farmers market. There were 2 trips on this - one for $1000 for my niece to go to London in Nov I had to buy it now to get a specific seat beside her mom, and its the only direct flight option so I was going to choice that flight anyhow. My flight can wait since there are at least 6 direct ones per day to choose from. I had the money to pay for this in a savings account. The other flight was a friend visiting (in 2 days!) for $600. I bought more household things than usual because I started buying things online to help pay my friends student loan through Upromise. (my contribution is up to $104 so far!).
I'm going to go work on K's retirement for a bit. I'm confused. It looks like one of his accounts he had with a job he only had for 8 months or so got cashed out. In the fall, and it was $3000 so I should remember. Sigh. Glad I"m keeping track now. :}

Rambings feb 21

February 21st, 2012 at 08:58 am

So much for my discipline of posting every day and keeping up. Now I have to remember what I've done lately.

I know I've spent some money. Bought my nieces ticket for the Europe trip in Nov. My sister is flying on points and had to book and I wanted them to sit together. (I"m paying for her kid 'cause I am bringing her as my friend, I"ll bring her other 2 kids on different trips). The flight was $900, I paid on a credit card and paid it off already from the funds in my 'London' account. The London account is drained to $600. I am waiting to book my plane till we get closer, I have many options, there are several airlines that fly direct which is the only way I fly, its a HUGE difference between a 10 hour flight and a 7 hour flight, 5 hour wait, then 5 hour flight. Given how much it costs to be at the destination and how short a time one will be there, I like to minimize jet lag. (I'm still waking up and my English is not coming out well, sorry). I also ramble..... even more than usual.....

What else did I do? I did go through all my brokerage accounts and made sure stocks were bought. I had a limit order in for today, just checked and it looks like it went through.

I set up an automatic monthly transfer of $200 to go into k and mine's joint brokerage account. I did this before and bought 99 cent only stock, and it made a few thousand that was useful a few years back when k lost his job. I kept a few shares for nostalgic reasons, and they got sold in January when the company went private. So I had a bit of cash in the account. But now its all invested, and I'll keep doing that each month when the money gets transferred. ING has a great program where they will automatically buy stock for you, and you can buy partial shares and use your entire payment.

I also set up my online banking at USAA so it can see a lot or my other accounts, like firsttrade and ING. That's helpful.

I also helped k set up an IRA, and I need to start the process of rolling it over for him. He currently has funds in a few Fidelity funds from a job he no longer works at. I don't like them because of the fees. I am really against fees, I rarely see funds that are worth it. (I have some notable exceptions). I would rather his money be under his (my) control where we can either put it directly in stocks, or in a low cost index fund.

Stocks for my S/D SEP IRA

February 6th, 2012 at 09:15 pm

I had $8283 in my S/D SEP IRA brokerage cash account, and decided to pick up 2 on my list - Chipotle (CMG) and Cost Plus (CPWM). I bought approximately equal amounts - $90 more of Cost Plus. Chipotle stocks are very expensive - $4097 only got me 11!
The trades haven't gone through yet but I set the limit price well within todays dailies so they should trigger it.

Its exciting buying stock.

Update Feb 4

February 4th, 2012 at 05:24 pm

Went to the accountants today. I didn't bring one of my 1099s and W2s, but everything else is done and accounted for. I am hoping I will be able to contribute a bit to my ROTH IRA.

I got my log in info for my TSP, and found out the deduction I asked for hadn't gone through. I have the signed paperwork so I don't know why, but I'll add it to my things to do at HR next week. I think I might want to up it to 10% instead of 5. This is a percentage from 1/2 my income, so will end up being 5% of my total income. I'm not that crazy about the fund choices, right now I have everything in an Government securities fund which is making like 4%. There are a couple of bond index and other index funds I might like too.

Update Feb 2

February 2nd, 2012 at 02:42 pm

I didn't get my W2 yesterday. I can't log on to the system (but did figure out why, HR has my email wrong) The paper ones are not to be found, and I'm not going to drive up tomorrow to try to get them. I will just drop it off at the accountant when I get it. She doesn't file my taxes till the time anyhow (in case there are law changes) so I have a few months.
I also still can't find k's form and I've convinced myself I"m not even sure it exists. Last puzzle to solve.
I also got my first 1099-K from paypal. The new law is they have to issue it if you make more than $20,000 gross and have 200 transactions. The form just shows gross sales, and there is a $428.66 discrepancy whereas I think I made more than they are reporting. I am not going to try to reconcile the numbers but just report what I think is correct. I only report total gross earnings (not stratified by source like paypal) so there isn't any checking involved anyhow. I have sales income from 3 sources - paypal, credit cards, and cash/money orders.
The paypal 1099-K is nice because it does list the earnings by month, so I can see the variation.

Most of the limits I set for the stock purchase for my IRA SEP were hit (all but IHG). I just checked and have made $1200 so far in the last few days. I know this isn't real 'cause the prices will probably go down, but its fun to think about :} I'm in these stocks for a while, that's why I chose them.

Investing - IRA

January 30th, 2012 at 09:59 pm

I decided what to invest the $31,000 I had in cash in my traditional IRA. Some of the money was not invested when I rolled money over, some is from 99 cent only store sales.

So I am set up to buy (tomorrow hopefully, I have market limits set that should get triggered).:
Starbucks (SBUX), Intercontinental (IHG), Southwest (LUV), and Seniors Living (SRZ). The first 3 are companies I use frequently and think they will be in business for a while. The last was a calculated gamble. Well, its all a calculated gamble. More than just numbers.

I currently have $31,000 already invested in this account, stocks I bought in July when I rolled. $4000 of that is earnings, the stocks I chose are doing ok. I'm quite liking Coach - COH.

This is an interesting retirement account, I don't think I will be able to add money to it. So it starts here and goes for 14-24 years. I'll switch to more conservative investments in the future :} Or not. Perhaps I'll be conservative with other accounts.

I have a few other brokerage accounts that need stock. TO DO.

Update Jan 29

January 29th, 2012 at 02:16 pm

Finished with taxes. Yesterday I organized all of the official documents I need to bring with me. I remember not so long ago I only had a couple of W-2s and a mortgage interest statement. This year I had to organize my forms in plastic sheets.Income in one (W2, 1099s, 1099-INTS), mortgage interest, stock sales. And then I have 2 big things that I am also bringing in accompanying info, 'cause I'm not sure what is wanted.

One is for an investment house I sold this year, we got income for a few months and then the sale and a few costs associated with the sale.

The other is for info about rolling retirement accounts with fidelity into an IRA I'm managing. I had a Defined Contribution Plan, a 403(b) plan, and a 457(b) plan. Some of it was already taxed so I took that out and didn't roll it over (k was out of a job at this point). Fidelity confused me by sending me FOUR 1099-Rs, but they add up to what I rolled over and what I took out. I am also bringing my own printed proof that I rolled money into an IRA, I'm not sure if that's required (or if there is something more official I need).

I am only missing 2 forms, a W-2 from one of my jobs which I am going to get on Wednesday. And a form that I think I misplaced. Its for income for k for cashing out a retirement plan. He only had the job before this job for 8 months. We decided to not roll over the amount and pay tax. From my bank statement I think it was $3517.22. And I think I saw that on an official form recently. I haven't thrown anything out, so if its here, its here.

Happy Dance, Taxes are done. And I have a week before the accountant meeting to think about things.

Update Jan 27

January 27th, 2012 at 09:32 am

I think I have my IRA stuff as organized as I need for taxes, so I'm going to move on. I still need to list the stocks I sold in non-IRA accounts that I need to account for taxes.

And I should continue on the accountant form to see what else I need to do. Week and a half till the appointment...

I need to print out 1099s today.

And I can work a bit more on organizing and start to track down the official statements I don't have yet. I got one of my W-2s. I have a plan to spend time next Wednesday when I'm on campus to track down my other W2, either try to get into the system or figure out where the paper copy went.

If I can get that done today that will be good progress, and perhaps I will be inspired to do something else. Plugging away at this a little bit a day has really been helpful, its made the task not so overwhelming and easier to stay focused and amused. Its how I organized the house, an hour or two a day.

I will be happy when taxes are over. Noon at Feb 4th. My meeting is at 10. I bring Ks stuff too. Since he wasn't working 1/2 the year I'm just claiming everything and he'll do a EZ or whatever the simple returns are. I know I could do it, but I like the accountant to do it for continuation, and I"ll need her help next year if we do split things. (cross fingers he keeps his job...). I used to do my taxes myself, even with the business (sole proprietor so it goes on my form). But when k and I got together and I had to start dealing with stock options and such, I went to an accountant. Saved me a few thousand that year on deductions I didn't know about, so I haven't done my own taxes since. I've had a few naive people tell me it must be nice to not have to do anything for taxes since I have an accountant do it all. I then baffle them by saying I tend to take 10-20 hours to prepare.

Too many accounts!

January 26th, 2012 at 08:16 pm

I have too many brokerage accounts. There. I've said it. Now I suppose I have to do something about it.
At least get them organized.

I got my history from my 4 investment accounts with USAA, they uploaded back from 2007 to the document area and I printed them out and put them in folders labeled. I have a joint brokerage (with k), a traditional ira, a roth ira, and a sep ira. And a mutual fund that was cashed in this year. I sold stock too, but it looks like I sold some at a loss to make the total gain only a few hundred. So that won't add to my tax burden. I have a lot of cash in these accounts that need to be invested, when I have time to think about what to invest in. I rolled over an IRA. I invested about half in July and made $3707 or 15.89%. That includes the NDN that was sold.

I also have 2 first trade accounts that I have had for a while. I used to do a bit of day trading and quicker investments, during the 90s. I took most of the earnings out, but never sold any of the stocks that lost money, so I have some bizarre things going on. I have a few stocks without symbols I can't trade. and a few work 0.004 or 0.002 or 1.46.
Of value:
8 shares of ARET for $9.28
235 shares of GERON for $488.80
and $2167.88 cash.

My 99 cent only store (NDN) stock sold 1/17/2112, 99 shares for 2178. I will need to declare than next year.

I have a ROTH IRA account with First Trade it has 488 shares of GERN for $1015. And about $5 in the cash account.

I have an ING brokerage account. I set it up with automatic investments coming from the business account and buying NDN stock. The stock buying was automatic too. The stock I had got sold for about $7300 and I transferred that back to the business to pay a credit card. The business is increasing stock and has a bit of debt. I am going to have to pay tax on the stock sale next year.

I used to have an etrade brokerage account. I'm going to continue to ignore it. Its probably gone.

The only IRA I can add to is the SEP IRA, and I think only if the business makes profit. I make too much income to add to an IRA. I am putting money away through one of my incomes, which I also need to organize. I just started this year, I think its about $4000/year. And I think its getting matched.

I also need to organize k's retirements, he has a few from a few jobs too. This will be the major project after taxes.

Update Jan 24

January 24th, 2012 at 11:51 pm

The payments hit, k's credit card is now $13,378.85.
Feels a lot better.

Started to organize the investments today and realized I don't have very good records. Got a bit overwhelmed. I am going to call one bank and see if they can get me a history. I'll call Thurs or Fri.
I downloaded jstocks to keep track. But I don't have all my purchase info. And the info on the dividends reinvested. Much I seem to be lacking.

I do need to figure out the investments I need to report on taxes within 2 weeks. Can't wait till that deadline is done and the tax game put away for a while. And hopefully I won't have to come up with piles of money at tax time. Last year was about $18,000 ($8,000 was to my SEP IRA from profits from the biz). I didn't make money this year. And I sold a house at a lose that should offset the non-taxed consulting income. Hoping....

Update Jan 23

January 23rd, 2012 at 10:07 am

Aren't I boring with titles!

I did some moving around of money last night. I decided to empty out some of the savings accounts I'm not really using to pay off K's credit card. Its at $15,562 and bothering me. So I decided to see how much I can throw at it.

I transferred: $750 from the 'house' fund. That money is designated for our new fence we are building with the neighbours. But they want to put it off for a bit, and it probably won't be that much, so I'll just find the money when it happens.
I also had $110 in 'my' savings (I have savings accounts for K and I to save for personal things, but I"m not putting anything into them while we owe on credit cards) $100 out of 'mortgage and bills', $350 out of 'Vegas' (already paid), $60 out of 'etc', and possibly $1000 out of taxes.

I set up the transfers to happen today and they haven't gone through yet and they don't appear to be in 'pending'. Hopefully I actually did set them all up last night. I had had a few glasses of wine so perhaps I never hit submit *grin*. (I don't think so, but I"ll know by tomorrow).

I also set up a new transfer/account, to go to Italy in April 2013. I am taking one niece to the UK in Nov, and the other said she would be ok with that if I took her to Italy. I love Italy, and am excited to have the chance to go back. I only have 2 nieces and I love spending time with them, and I won't get the chance to travel with them alone forever. Soon they will be having children and families and responsibilities. So I ran the numbers, $4500 will do a nice 10 day trip. $5000 is about $330 a month, so I"m saving $350/month and should have enough by April 2013 to cover most of the trip.

Still plugging away at taxes. I started filling out the accountants forms and entering numbers. Its a great form that shows the numbers from last year so I can compare. I have highlighted a few things I still need to check and do. I haven't looked at any stock sales. My 99 cent only store stock got sold when the company got privatized, I need to get all that info together too. And of course I have multiple brokerages. TO DO - organize investments...

K was unemployed for 1/2 the year and since they take taxes out as if that is your typical yearly salary, he has overpaid and will get a refund. So I think I am just going to take all the deductions and have him just claim the standard credit. Next year we can get complicated with splitting things. Next year, when I"m all organized and ready :}

Still need to get the official documents together. I don't have any of my w2s. i also need to make 1099s for contractors and mail them out. busy, busy, busy.

Yet more on taxes but the end is in view.

January 22nd, 2012 at 01:43 pm

I'm still plugging away at preparing taxes. I find it humourous when people think that I don't have to do anything since I have an accountant. The reality is that I spend hours and hours working on it. The business books take 20-30 hours to do the entire year (and this year I SWEAR I will keep up and not do them all in December). And then organizing my personal info takes 1-2 hours a day for a couple of weeks. I really need to keep up on organizing this through the year too.

Today I finished entering my business travel. I took a trip to Germany for a meeting and then vacationed for an additional week with my mom (I paid). We rented a car and stayed in castles, had lots of fun. I can't write off that part, but I can write off the part associated with work, including my airfare.

Update Jan 20

January 20th, 2012 at 10:13 am

I noticed I had ~$7,200 in the bank today and tried to figure out from my timeline http://purple.savingadvice.com/2011/12/28/time-line_89165/ what to pay. It wasn't obvious. I don't seem to have K cc on the timeline, I think that is because I"m putting all extra cash to it.
I have my bills paid. I owed $2100 on my credit card (budgeted $1000 but I did go to Vegas) so I paid that off, and $500 to K cc. A bill still needs to clear, but I should have ~$1000 left after the mortgage gets taken out. And I'm getting another $1400 on the 2nd that I don't think is spoken for.

Its very nice not to be worried about the automatic withdrawls going crazy.

I'm working on the Kansas house sale for taxes.

ING and Disneyland

January 19th, 2012 at 07:41 pm

Finally got into my ING account. I have several savings accounts adding to about $3000. And a stock account (with cash) of $4600. Need to invest/move at some point.

Had fun the last few days, but most of my financial things were about spending.

Disneyland was $240 (tickets) + $54 (mouse ears) + $60 Lunch + $7 (snacks) + $15 (parking)= $376. For 3. My niece said it was her best birthday ever so that's priceless.

I don't have an estimate on how much I spent for the time the girls were here, I tried to pay for everything. We ate out a few times, and went shopping. I bought the birthday niece who just got a job she needs to dress for, some clothes and shoes. We went to discount stores (Marshalls and Payless) and only spent about $100 for several outfits and 2 pairs of shoes. I bought myself a new shirt for $15.

Jan 14 update

January 14th, 2012 at 08:28 am

The stuff I ordered from staples.com arrived, as I expected it was earlier than I could have gotten it. I bought things I need for 'end of the year', including plastic bins for all the receipts. The IRS wants records to be kept for 7 years and I can't remember how long my merchant account(VISA/Mastercard) want them. So far I haven't gotten rid of any so I know everything is here. Somewhere.

I boxed up all the 2011 files. And realized I still need to go through the state invoices for sales tax. I only have to pay sales tax on the items that were shipped or billed to my state. Do one thing, add another to the TO DO list. Sigh.

TO DO - compile state sales tax.

Jan 13 update

January 13th, 2012 at 09:34 am

I was inspired again last night, and spent several hours organizing...

I finished the business books. Just wrote about the business in a comment - http://purple.savingadvice.com/2012/01/12/jan-12-update_90101/#comment-197691

I thought I had already finished the books, but I had one last statement to resolve. The merchant/credit card, so it took a bit of time. I bought a lot of inventory this year so I think I officially lost money, my quicken summary shows only $2000 or so profit and I still have to deduct rent. I'm hoping not to make money, I would like to not have a big tax bill this year. Last year was over $10,000 combined. :{

I organized all my personal files, I moved the ones I don't use regularly and have a really nice empty drawer for this year's financial things. I went through and organized all my personal tax items, and everything else is at least in the proper file folder.

I started entering charities into an excel file and got all the info from the receipts I have and and my checkbook registry. Still have to do the credit cards.

I also entered the charity receipts from the Veterans Association. I bring them 'snacks' on a regular basis. I bring them cup of noodles soups they can just heat up for a meal. I go to the VA regularly and was bringing them magazines, and a few years ago they asked if I could possibly bring food. Apparently when some of the vets have long appointment days and no money they sometimes steal food, and end up in jail. So if the volunteer office can give out food it doesn't happen. So I have been the snack lady for the last few years (4 or 5?). I buy 'flats' of the soup (16 or so?) for about $4 at the store I get my paper towels, toilet paper, etc. I go once a month (or K does, and he's trained to get the vet snacks) and buy a few flats. Costs me about $20-25 a month, 5 minutes of my time, and has an incredible ROI. There hasn't been one jailing for food theft (that's saved me in tax dollars!) and there's been a lot of vets fed.

Jan 12 update

January 12th, 2012 at 03:11 pm

I'm trying to blog every day to stay on track and spend time focusing about money and not wasting it playing on the web. I love playing on the web :}

I was inspired after blogging yesterday to finish entering the remaining statements for my hobby business. I tend to call it a hobby business because its not my main job, but its a real business, it did gross $150,000 last year and employed 22 people at least part-time. Plus me, but I work for free :} Its run from my house and I do a lot of advice, but the daily stuff is run by others. I do all the financials though. I am currently a sole owner so it all goes on my personal income tax.

Other things I need to compile for taxes - charity donations - work trip receipts (Germany, ?), bank info (interest, mortgage interest), Kansas house sale info + income before sale, stock sell info (wasn't there a letter about this from last Jan?), ... I'm sure I"m missing things. Next year I will be more prepared because of this wonderful blog that will help keep me organized.

TODO - organize paperwork and set up files so they will be maintained over the year instead of just putting everything in a 'to be filed' hanging folder.

I bought a $50 coupon for a local Mexican restaurant for $4 yesterday. Yes, FOUR dollars. From Restaurants.com. Regularly $20, but I got $16 off by going through upromise and typing in DINNER for a coupon. My friend is getting 13% for her student loan. I chose a place I haven't been that I think my nieces will enjoy. Its an inexpensive place and I'm not sure we can even eat $50 worth!
I also bought some toner and other things for the business using the upromise link, Staples.com offers 2% so I bought all the things I usually do at the end of tax time (1099 forms, storage boxes, etc) and got free shipping, and they will arrive before I could have gone shopping anyhow.

I also opened a new type of savings account and transferred my 6-month emergency fund to it (and set up the $1200/month automatic savings). The old savings was getting 0.25 (going to .3 at 25,000), the new one is 0.30 now going to 0.35 at 25,000. Not a huge difference. The CD rates weren't worth the lock. This savings is something to look into when I start studying my investments... (TODO)

Jan 11 update

January 11th, 2012 at 05:44 pm

Had my new consolidated deposits go through today. $2575 in total. It dropped my bank balance to $650 which was a bit unnerving, I like it over $1000. I didn't get a $1741.15 paycheck automatically deposited, I need to look into that, not sure I turned in the timesheet or if it was just late due to the holidays.

I transferred that exact amount from my 6-month living expense/saving, I will transfer it back when I get the money. So my checking account is accurate - $2675 with about $1200 that hasn't cleared. I'm caught up on bills, and according to my http://purple.savingadvice.com/2011/12/28/time-line_89165/ timeline I have more income coming in before I pay my credit card (have $1000 budgeted, but it will be more this month thanks to Vegas. http://purple.savingadvice.com/2012/01/11/vegas-and-vistors_...

I need to start focusing on taxes. I see my accountant on Feb 4. I have to finish my books for my hobby business, pay sales tax and issue W-1099s by the end of the month. And start on my personal stuff which will be complacdo this year.

TO DO - enquirer about paycheck
TO DO -move 6-month savings into at least CDS. Balance is currently over $16,000.
TO DO - change timeline figure so the dates are accurate.
TO DO - TAXES!!!!!!


January 11th, 2012 at 11:43 am

I joined upromise to help a good friend pay off her student loans. She's already out of school, I think the program is through Sallie Mae.
I set up the toolbar so all my relevant online purchases will get credited.
I also applied for a credit card and got it, it will give 3% on top of any other deals towards her loans. The bank gave me a $15,000 limit, so I'm thinking crazy credit is the norm again. (I have a few things to post about this in the future, I've played some funny credit card games - all in my favour!).
I have already done some shopping using my card and the upromise site, and bought things I usually purchase like flea stuff for the cat, cat food, and last night I went through drugstore.com and picked up a few things I usually buy and have wanted. I think so far I've made her about $40 for her loans. A few of the places gave back 8% when I used the credit card too.

I made one unplanned purchase; I bought one share of a stock certificate from the 99 cent only store (NDN). I am getting an actual certificate, matted and an engraved plaque which I am having 'Thanks for the ride'. I have bought a lot of this stock (NDN) over the years, its made me a lot of money, and its about to go private. I currently have hundreds of shares which I guess will be sold. The shareholders meeting is tomorrow to vote, but since the board wants to sell I assume it is a done deal. So I guess this is officially artwork.

TO DO - make a list of all the stuff I buy and compare online prices. I don't like shopping (except at the farmers market) and tend to buy most things online anyhow.

Vegas and Vistors

January 11th, 2012 at 11:24 am

Wrote a long post last night and lost it. I hit 'save and publish' and it went into the eithers. And I wasn't awake enough to save it.

I posted about my recent vacation with my boyfriend, we met in Vegas for a few nights. We live in different countries so don't get together often. I got a deal for $109 at the Venetian (from the email list, we've stayed before). He flew in on miles ($114) in fees. And I drove. We didn't spend much else, the fancy dinner I budgeted $100 was only $56, and we mostly won back the money we spend so we could get free Heinkeins in the casinos. I find gambling a bit boring so can't do it for too long. I think its more interesting when the outcome might actually change ones life. I originally budgeted $1500 for the trip, I need to see how close I came. And I have no money saved (I only planned the trip last month). I should have enough in my monthly discretionary funds to pay it all this month, but perhaps I'll have to dig into next months money.

I have 2 nieces coming on Friday for 5 nights. This trip has been planned for 6 months and back then I started a special account and put in automatic savings. I have already used it to pay for their airline tickets, and have $780 left. The only big thing we have planned is Disneyland for one of the nieces birthdays. (they are in their 20s so they will have their own spending money, but aunti likes to pay for things). I'm thinking the money I have saved should easily cover things.

TO DO - get actual figures for both trips.

Income, fourth quarter

December 31st, 2011 at 02:59 pm

Made a pretty graph to show our take home income. I knew I was bringing in a bit more than k, didn't quite realize it was 60:40.

I seemed to have already celebrated the new year.

Not planned or Impulse

December 30th, 2011 at 09:29 am

I created a new 'not planned' category. Thought about calling it 'impulse', but that seemed to have a negative connotation. And not all my not-planned spending are impulse, some are pretty calculated.

I think I could also call this emotional spending, a lot of the justification is for emotions not so much logic.

My spending this week includes:
$500 for a trailer that has a lot of sentimental attachment to me and the sale will help someone who is not able to buy groceries. I don't have room or use for the trailer so I'm 'lending' it to a good friend to use indefinitely.

$555 for a painting that I'm bidding on on ebay. Its from a new artist who I follow on YouTube for another reason. She lives in an eastern european country and has trouble making ends meet (like most folks), I also am 'friends' with her on facebook and I see her financial struggles, she lost her job for a bit, etc. I personally would like to see her quit her day job and focus on the activism she does (and shows on youtube), and sell paintings to make ends meet. So that was one reason to bid so high. Another was I really like the painting, she even did a video of how she made it, and I would really like to have it in my house. I have never bought art like this before so that's exciting too. Most of the stuff on my walls are either gifts, from the dumpster (seriously, but its a beautiful oil painting in a really nice frame), or prints/sketches I picked up on my travels. There are 4 paintings on auction, all are currently over $400. She's only auctioned one before for $81. She started painting in November. I suppose its possible they will become quite valuable, but I don't know what exactly that means to me since I'm not buying it as an investment but to have forever.
What is art worth? I've been thinking about that a lot these last few days (as I've bid on a painting more than I've ever bid and I'm deciding if I want to up my bid to make sure I get it, how high should I go?) I'm trying to equate price with enjoyment. Isn't that a hard task!

$100 or so on home decorating. I've been organizing and decided that not only did everything need a place, but it had to be a nice one. So, for one of the few times in my life, I went out to buy stuff to put stuff in (besides plastic bins, I always buy those!). For example, I have been using the cardboard box that my space heater came in as a paper recycling bin in my home office. I upgraded that to a basket. I didn't use any of the baskets I own because I wanted a specific size, so I went to the Fair trade market and bought one for $14. Its beautiful. I look at it constantly since I can see it from my computer.

Added: Here's the picture:

Time Line

December 28th, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I made a time line and figured out when I should pay what. I am going to change my automatic savings to be monthly and occur with a pay period.

This has all of my regular expenses. I have $1000/month for my credit card which is an over estimate, I only charged $700 the last few months. And often charges have funds designated in a savings account.

The only other bill on here is K credit card, but according to this I will have about $3000/month (plus any extra income) to put towards the balance. Minus any other bills or things that come up. We'll see how this prediction holds out...

Now to go change the automatic withdrawals...

(updated - pay dates switched)

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