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Archive for August, 2018

Half a million/birthday weekend travel

August 27th, 2018 at 10:56 am

I got a birthday present from the universe--I logged online today and for the first time ever, my net total was over 500k. Yay! That's actually 498K in retirement savings and 2K in an emergency account.

So I went away for a 2.5 day weekend Friday-Sunday for my birthday. I read Amish romances for fun and only live about 90 minutes from the area and had never visited, so I made a reservation at a nice B&B and left Friday morning.

I crammed in a lot over the weekend: several tours (a touristy farm & home tour, a private farm & home tour, a bus tour, a buggy ride, a film on the Amish, a train ride over in Strasburg, and ate a few good meals. I did a little shopping at a roadside stand where they sold yard art (got a few metal decorative pieces) and a "quillow" (small quilt that folds up into a pocket to make a pillow) and I browsed around the Bird In Hand Farmer's Market but all I bought there was some ice cream.

The best part was staying in the countryside and learning more and getting to interact with a people whom I in a way envy in their community organization and support and family lives and values-based way of living. The B&B where I stayed was on a rural road and all the neighbors within a mile are Amish, so that the B&B owners will get called upon for emergency drives (e.g., a farmer neighbor took a bad fall recently, and while the ambulance took the farmer and his wife to the hospital, the B&B owners were called upon to bring his parents to the hospital). Sunday morning I sat outside from 8 to 8:30 and saw about 15 buggies drive by as people went to church. The B&B is in the middle of 4 different church districts (a district has only 25-30 families, which can be about 250 people and since they hold church inside their barns, there's a limit and when a district gets too large, they subdivide), so the buggies were headed in different directions.

It was fun to see everything but another time I'd like to go back and just mellow out.

Today I'm off of work and catching up on chores and errands, so back to that!

(one of the chores is consolidating a couple of retirement accounts. I have two SIMPLE accounts that are no longer active from old jobs and the accounts are more than 2 years old, so the tiny one I rolled into a traditional IRA and did a Roth conversion on, and the other I'll just consolidate into my traditional IRA. gets rid of the $20 annual account fees, too!)

Goal update, retirement progress, high school reunion quandry

August 1st, 2018 at 03:29 pm

Time for a periodic check-in on my goals (listed in the side bar).

1. Job/CFP coursework: I am still working on getting timelier but I have made some progress. As far as the CFP coursework, I should complete my second course for the year today (I just have to take the final exam). I am hoping to complete at least one more of the 7 courses by the end of the year, which still leaves 2 more courses and the exam, which I'll take in 2019--most likely next July. In addition, I also did some writing for the firm including 4 articles on our company blog, one article for the local business journal, and one article in a professional journal. (The writing has interfered with becoming timelier and with making more progress on the CFP coursework, and I've now gotten an agreement that they won't push me to write until I'm done with the CFP exam...it's been hard to do the job, the writing, and studying for the CFP all at once).

2. Taking care of myself: I am back to intermittent fasting as of 5/24 and am down about 10 pounds using an "easy" fasting schedule of 16:8 to 18:6. Also did a half price trial at a local gym which I liked very much as I was working mostly one on one with a trainer; trying to figure out how to afford a couple of more months at their full rate.

3. Creating a peaceful home environment. Slow progress here; did one 3 hour session with a personal organizer and made some progress on the kitchen; will try to make a bit more progress this year but will push on this after the CFP exam.

4. Reducing debt by 10.5K--about 8K down, although the next couple of months with professional expenses and planning vacation are the most expensive of the year, so may backslide.

This goal was originally to increase net worth, but I changed it after the markets were kind of wonky in February & March. But I saw CJ's post about increasing retirement balances, so I tracked mine in a similar format:

2011: 137K (+17k)
2012: 335K (+198K, of which 171K was from my mom's estate)
2013: 353K (+18K)
2014: 393K (+40K)
2015: 407K (+10K)
2016: 436K (+29K)
2017: 485K (+49K)
7/18: 492K (+7K) Hoping to break 500K by EOY

My Net Worth in total broke 550K as of 7/31. I think it will reach 600K in 2020 barring a big recession.

5. Maintain my social life: Have done that. As far as expanding, I have attended one rehearsal of a community orchestra that 3 friends belong to and went for drinks with some after, so this is promising.

6. Taking more time off: Doing slightly better here. This is actually really hard for me to do. So far this year I've taken 8 days off (of the 20 total PTO days I have at my disposal); last year by this time I had taken 7. I took 13 days of my 20 in 2017. If I try to take 2 days each month that would be 18, but I don't know that I'll do it. Still struggling with whether I am going to go to my 40-year high school reunion in October. That's across country so it would be an expensive trip--for a one-night dinner. It would be fun to see people, but I tend to hate these group situations; I much more enjoy talking with people one-on-one. I'm not the person that people will go out of their way to make time to talk to. So far I have reserved time on my calendar at work for the trip but I haven't made reservations. Also kind of loathe to spend the money--it's probably a thousand dollar trip in total. I really should decide soon, though.