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Danny's Corner

Money talk - Setting the stage

Money is one of those subjects that hit too close to home for many to bring up in casual conversation. But it's something I really like to talk about! So, it's going to get blogged about some here and there. If only to document what the heck i'm doing at a point in time. It'll be interesting for me to go back and read about how I did in the sorta distant future. This won't turn into a personal finance site, just a log of my personal journey. A big nope nope on E's stuff too.

Right now, it should be fairly obvious that I'm in my own personal penny pinching boom bust cycle. I'm straight up selling items that I don't "need" that are worth the hassle of selling. I've also tried to make decisions on recurring expenses, how much to save, how to save it, and how to make it work just a tiny bit harder. So, here's a rundown of where I'm at.

First, lets talk about how much money is being saved on an annual basis.  Saved is being used a little loosely as it includes recurring investments.

$18500 - Traditional 401k. All pre-tax.
$5500 - Roth IRA. All post-tax.
€1800 - ESPP. All post-tax. Yay for working for a global company!
$2400 - "Beach house" ETF. All post-tax.

$28600 - Total saved per year.

It took a long time to get to this point. We're talking well over 10yrs. It certainly wasn't something I could accomplish in my 20's when I first started working. One strategy I employed immediately however, was simply making any additional money I received "vanish". Every time I got a raise, if there wasn't a savings goal in place, I'd adjust my 401k/Roth contribution rate to compensate. And once those were saturated, I moved on to other things.  Do I wish I could have saved this much from the get go? Of course! But you gotta start somewhere.

On top of this, if any additional money is left over at the end of a month it gets split into my liquid cash and the "beach house" ETF. I've lately been trying to experiment with a cash to invested money ratio of 1:10. I should have 10% in cash and 90% invested. So far, I like it. It will probably become way obnoxious in a decade and be adjusted, but so far its fine and helps me to visualize when I should invest extra cash instead of hoarding it. However, I probably need to adjust my total annual saving percentage now that I see the actual super high % number. Which will be fun. =)

The monthly mandatory expenses shake out to something like this.

$1700 to our joint slush fund
$80 for parents internet
$150 for my cell phone plan

This is overly simplified, but is what works for us. We keep joint accounts and our own personal accounts. There's visibility across the board through a single mint.com account.

The slush fund takes care of all of our house related expenses and shared expenses like Comcast, Netflix, and Amazon Prime. It's over funded so that it can absorb things like property taxes and such without the fear of over drafting.

For probably the last 20 years I've been paying for my parents Comcast internet. The price has gone up and down, but that's what it is today. Why am I paying for it you might ask? Because I don't mind and it's my way of giving back in a small way. Heck, they let me live at their house until I got married when I was 30. That rent free time allowed me to get out of debt and build a stash of money that later turned into a wedding and a down payment on a house. I think that more than earns them free internet for life.

My cell phone bill is high. I'm on an ancient grandfathered unlimited data Verizon plan. It's lovely, but it is expensive. On my plan is E's mom's phone. There's definitely savings to be made here, but it's logistically difficult to handle. One day, E and I will take a hard look at our phone plans and consolidate in some fashion. I'll post about that when we sort it all out. Four phones, a tablet, two grandfathered unlimited data plans on two carriers, and phones spread out from NYC to LA while we're at it. Yeah, it's complicated and we don't want to untangle the mess to be honest.

I think that about does it for a bird's eye view. More to come!

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