User Real IP - 34.204.200.74
Array
(
    [0] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.68.68.92
        )

    [1] => Array
        (
            [0] => 101.0.41.201
        )

    [2] => Array
        (
            [0] => 43.225.98.123
        )

    [3] => Array
        (
            [0] => 2.58.194.139
        )

    [4] => Array
        (
            [0] => 46.119.197.104
        )

    [5] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.249.8.93
        )

    [6] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.12.135.72
        )

    [7] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.35.243.216
        )

    [8] => Array
        (
            [0] => 209.107.214.176
        )

    [9] => Array
        (
            [0] => 5.181.233.166
        )

    [10] => Array
        (
            [0] => 106.201.10.100
        )

    [11] => Array
        (
            [0] => 36.90.55.39
        )

    [12] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.154.138.47
        )

    [13] => Array
        (
            [0] => 51.91.31.157
        )

    [14] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.182.65.216
        )

    [15] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.35.252.63
        )

    [16] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.142.34.163
        )

    [17] => Array
        (
            [0] => 178.62.43.135
        )

    [18] => Array
        (
            [0] => 43.248.152.148
        )

    [19] => Array
        (
            [0] => 222.252.104.114
        )

    [20] => Array
        (
            [0] => 209.107.214.168
        )

    [21] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.99.199.250
        )

    [22] => Array
        (
            [0] => 178.62.72.160
        )

    [23] => Array
        (
            [0] => 27.6.1.170
        )

    [24] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.69.249.219
        )

    [25] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.93.228.86
        )

    [26] => Array
        (
            [0] => 72.255.1.98
        )

    [27] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.73.111.98
        )

    [28] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.116.117.11
        )

    [29] => Array
        (
            [0] => 122.15.78.189
        )

    [30] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.167.188.234
        )

    [31] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.190.4.202
        )

    [32] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.173.125.19
        )

    [33] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.255.5.32
        )

    [34] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.37.145.103
        )

    [35] => Array
        (
            [0] => 140.213.26.249
        )

    [36] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.118.166.85
        )

    [37] => Array
        (
            [0] => 102.166.138.255
        )

    [38] => Array
        (
            [0] => 77.111.246.234
        )

    [39] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.63.6.196
        )

    [40] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.250.147.115
        )

    [41] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.185.30.99
        )

    [42] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.122.168.108
        )

    [43] => Array
        (
            [0] => 123.136.203.21
        )

    [44] => Array
        (
            [0] => 171.229.243.63
        )

    [45] => Array
        (
            [0] => 153.149.98.149
        )

    [46] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.238.93.15
        )

    [47] => Array
        (
            [0] => 178.62.113.166
        )

    [48] => Array
        (
            [0] => 101.162.0.153
        )

    [49] => Array
        (
            [0] => 121.200.62.114
        )

    [50] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.248.77.252
        )

    [51] => Array
        (
            [0] => 95.142.117.29
        )

    [52] => Array
        (
            [0] => 150.129.60.107
        )

    [53] => Array
        (
            [0] => 94.205.243.22
        )

    [54] => Array
        (
            [0] => 115.42.71.143
        )

    [55] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.217.195.59
        )

    [56] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.77.112.56
        )

    [57] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.77.112.108
        )

    [58] => Array
        (
            [0] => 41.80.69.10
        )

    [59] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.5.222.121
        )

    [60] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.11.0.38
        )

    [61] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.173.127.140
        )

    [62] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.249.249.50
        )

    [63] => Array
        (
            [0] => 116.72.198.211
        )

    [64] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.230.54.53
        )

    [65] => Array
        (
            [0] => 102.69.228.74
        )

    [66] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.37.251.89
        )

    [67] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.53.246.141
        )

    [68] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.57.182.72
        )

    [69] => Array
        (
            [0] => 209.58.130.210
        )

    [70] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.131.75.86
        )

    [71] => Array
        (
            [0] => 106.212.131.255
        )

    [72] => Array
        (
            [0] => 106.212.132.127
        )

    [73] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.190.4.60
        )

    [74] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.252.116.252
        )

    [75] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.76.55.182
        )

    [76] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.118.166.70
        )

    [77] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.93.174.215
        )

    [78] => Array
        (
            [0] => 5.62.62.142
        )

    [79] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.179.158.156
        )

    [80] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.57.255.12
        )

    [81] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.37.178.37
        )

    [82] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.180.165.211
        )

    [83] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.153.135.17
        )

    [84] => Array
        (
            [0] => 72.255.15.244
        )

    [85] => Array
        (
            [0] => 139.180.166.181
        )

    [86] => Array
        (
            [0] => 70.119.147.111
        )

    [87] => Array
        (
            [0] => 106.210.40.83
        )

    [88] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.190.70.91
        )

    [89] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.125.156.82
        )

    [90] => Array
        (
            [0] => 115.42.68.38
        )

    [91] => Array
        (
            [0] => 102.167.13.108
        )

    [92] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.217.192.130
        )

    [93] => Array
        (
            [0] => 205.185.223.156
        )

    [94] => Array
        (
            [0] => 171.224.180.29
        )

    [95] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.127.45.68
        )

    [96] => Array
        (
            [0] => 195.206.183.232
        )

    [97] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.32.52.115
        )

    [98] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.207.49.223
        )

    [99] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.63.29.61
        )

    [100] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.245.193.214
        )

    [101] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.40.236.69
        )

    [102] => Array
        (
            [0] => 62.80.162.111
        )

    [103] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.116.232.56
        )

    [104] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.118.166.91
        )

    [105] => Array
        (
            [0] => 180.92.230.234
        )

    [106] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.40.57.160
        )

    [107] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.38.38.130
        )

    [108] => Array
        (
            [0] => 72.255.57.183
        )

    [109] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.68.81.85
        )

    [110] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.57.202.122
        )

    [111] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.152.154.36
        )

    [112] => Array
        (
            [0] => 5.62.62.141
        )

    [113] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.155.54.232
        )

    [114] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.37.141.22
        )

    [115] => Array
        (
            [0] => 183.87.12.225
        )

    [116] => Array
        (
            [0] => 107.170.127.117
        )

    [117] => Array
        (
            [0] => 125.63.124.49
        )

    [118] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.42.191.3
        )

    [119] => Array
        (
            [0] => 116.74.24.72
        )

    [120] => Array
        (
            [0] => 46.101.89.227
        )

    [121] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.173.125.247
        )

    [122] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.42.184.254
        )

    [123] => Array
        (
            [0] => 115.186.165.132
        )

    [124] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.57.206.126
        )

    [125] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.245.13.145
        )

    [126] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.175.246.43
        )

    [127] => Array
        (
            [0] => 192.140.152.150
        )

    [128] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.88.250.103
        )

    [129] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.248.94.207
        )

    [130] => Array
        (
            [0] => 77.73.66.101
        )

    [131] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.131.66.8
        )

    [132] => Array
        (
            [0] => 113.186.161.97
        )

    [133] => Array
        (
            [0] => 222.254.5.7
        )

    [134] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.233.67.247
        )

    [135] => Array
        (
            [0] => 171.249.116.146
        )

    [136] => Array
        (
            [0] => 47.30.209.71
        )

    [137] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.134.13.130
        )

    [138] => Array
        (
            [0] => 27.6.135.7
        )

    [139] => Array
        (
            [0] => 107.170.186.79
        )

    [140] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.212.89.171
        )

    [141] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.197.9.77
        )

    [142] => Array
        (
            [0] => 122.176.206.233
        )

    [143] => Array
        (
            [0] => 192.227.253.222
        )

    [144] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.188.224.119
        )

    [145] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.248.70.74
        )

    [146] => Array
        (
            [0] => 42.118.219.169
        )

    [147] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.39.146.170
        )

    [148] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.160.66.143
        )

    [149] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.248.95.130
        )

    [150] => Array
        (
            [0] => 27.63.152.208
        )

    [151] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.207.114.96
        )

    [152] => Array
        (
            [0] => 102.166.23.214
        )

    [153] => Array
        (
            [0] => 175.107.254.73
        )

    [154] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.10.227.214
        )

    [155] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.143.115.89
        )

    [156] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.93.227.187
        )

    [157] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.140.31.60
        )

    [158] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.37.231.46
        )

    [159] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.36.99.238
        )

    [160] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.37.140.26
        )

    [161] => Array
        (
            [0] => 43.246.202.226
        )

    [162] => Array
        (
            [0] => 137.97.8.143
        )

    [163] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.65.52.242
        )

    [164] => Array
        (
            [0] => 115.42.69.62
        )

    [165] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.143.254.58
        )

    [166] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.179.143.236
        )

    [167] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.179.143.249
        )

    [168] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.143.7.54
        )

    [169] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.179.139.106
        )

    [170] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.40.219.90
        )

    [171] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.115.141.231
        )

    [172] => Array
        (
            [0] => 120.29.100.33
        )

    [173] => Array
        (
            [0] => 112.196.132.5
        )

    [174] => Array
        (
            [0] => 202.163.123.153
        )

    [175] => Array
        (
            [0] => 5.62.58.146
        )

    [176] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.53.216.113
        )

    [177] => Array
        (
            [0] => 42.111.160.73
        )

    [178] => Array
        (
            [0] => 107.182.231.213
        )

    [179] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.82.94.120
        )

    [180] => Array
        (
            [0] => 178.62.34.82
        )

    [181] => Array
        (
            [0] => 203.122.6.18
        )

    [182] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.42.38.251
        )

    [183] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.112.68.222
        )

    [184] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.206.212.122
        )

    [185] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.236.70.228
        )

    [186] => Array
        (
            [0] => 42.111.34.243
        )

    [187] => Array
        (
            [0] => 84.241.19.186
        )

    [188] => Array
        (
            [0] => 89.187.180.207
        )

    [189] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.243.212.118
        )

    [190] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.236.55.136
        )

    [191] => Array
        (
            [0] => 106.201.16.163
        )

    [192] => Array
        (
            [0] => 46.101.40.25
        )

    [193] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.118.166.94
        )

    [194] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.36.128.102
        )

    [195] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.142.193.58
        )

    [196] => Array
        (
            [0] => 212.79.124.176
        )

    [197] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.32.191.194
        )

    [198] => Array
        (
            [0] => 105.112.107.46
        )

    [199] => Array
        (
            [0] => 106.201.14.8
        )

    [200] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.93.240.65
        )

    [201] => Array
        (
            [0] => 27.96.95.177
        )

    [202] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.41.134.35
        )

    [203] => Array
        (
            [0] => 180.151.13.110
        )

    [204] => Array
        (
            [0] => 101.53.242.89
        )

    [205] => Array
        (
            [0] => 115.186.3.110
        )

    [206] => Array
        (
            [0] => 171.49.185.242
        )

    [207] => Array
        (
            [0] => 115.42.70.24
        )

    [208] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.128.188.43
        )

    [209] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.140.129.63
        )

    [210] => Array
        (
            [0] => 101.50.113.147
        )

    [211] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.66.73.30
        )

    [212] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.247.193.169
        )

    [213] => Array
        (
            [0] => 120.29.100.94
        )

    [214] => Array
        (
            [0] => 42.109.154.39
        )

    [215] => Array
        (
            [0] => 122.173.155.150
        )

    [216] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.115.104.53
        )

    [217] => Array
        (
            [0] => 116.74.29.84
        )

    [218] => Array
        (
            [0] => 101.50.125.34
        )

    [219] => Array
        (
            [0] => 45.118.166.80
        )

    [220] => Array
        (
            [0] => 91.236.184.27
        )

    [221] => Array
        (
            [0] => 113.167.185.120
        )

    [222] => Array
        (
            [0] => 27.97.66.222
        )

    [223] => Array
        (
            [0] => 43.247.41.117
        )

    [224] => Array
        (
            [0] => 23.229.16.227
        )

    [225] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.248.79.209
        )

    [226] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.5.194.26
        )

    [227] => Array
        (
            [0] => 117.217.205.41
        )

    [228] => Array
        (
            [0] => 114.79.169.99
        )

    [229] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.55.60.97
        )

    [230] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.75.89.210
        )

    [231] => Array
        (
            [0] => 77.73.66.109
        )

    [232] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.77.126.139
        )

    [233] => Array
        (
            [0] => 14.248.77.166
        )

    [234] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.35.224.133
        )

    [235] => Array
        (
            [0] => 183.83.38.27
        )

    [236] => Array
        (
            [0] => 182.68.4.77
        )

    [237] => Array
        (
            [0] => 122.177.130.234
        )

    [238] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.24.99.99
        )

    [239] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.91.127.66
        )

    [240] => Array
        (
            [0] => 41.90.34.240
        )

    [241] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.205.77.102
        )

    [242] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.248.94.142
        )

    [243] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.143.92.170
        )

    [244] => Array
        (
            [0] => 219.91.157.114
        )

    [245] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.190.88.22
        )

    [246] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.190.86.232
        )

    [247] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.41.172.80
        )

    [248] => Array
        (
            [0] => 124.107.206.5
        )

    [249] => Array
        (
            [0] => 139.167.180.224
        )

    [250] => Array
        (
            [0] => 93.76.64.248
        )

    [251] => Array
        (
            [0] => 65.216.227.119
        )

    [252] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.190.119.141
        )

    [253] => Array
        (
            [0] => 110.93.237.179
        )

    [254] => Array
        (
            [0] => 41.90.7.85
        )

    [255] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.100.6.26
        )

    [256] => Array
        (
            [0] => 104.140.83.13
        )

    [257] => Array
        (
            [0] => 223.190.119.133
        )

    [258] => Array
        (
            [0] => 119.152.150.87
        )

    [259] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.125.130.147
        )

    [260] => Array
        (
            [0] => 27.6.5.52
        )

    [261] => Array
        (
            [0] => 103.98.188.26
        )

    [262] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.35.121.81
        )

    [263] => Array
        (
            [0] => 74.119.146.182
        )

    [264] => Array
        (
            [0] => 5.181.233.162
        )

    [265] => Array
        (
            [0] => 157.39.18.60
        )

    [266] => Array
        (
            [0] => 1.187.252.25
        )

    [267] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.42.145.59
        )

    [268] => Array
        (
            [0] => 39.35.39.198
        )

    [269] => Array
        (
            [0] => 49.36.128.214
        )

)
On a journey to improve health and wealth!Fiscal Fitness
<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
You are viewing: Main Page
 

Then (10 years ago) and Now

January 1st, 2020 at 08:40 pm

Ten years ago: I was just starting my first job in the financial industry, doing taxes for H&R Block, after leaving a 20-year career in teaching and four months of unemployment. Both my mother and my basset hound Henry were alive, but each had been diagnosed with the illnesses that would soon kill them. I also had Phoebe and Teddy, the cats. I was about to take my final CPA exam. My Net Worth was positive but lower than it should be for someone nearing age 50.

Ten years later, I have had ten different jobs in the financial industry (most of them in the first half of the decade), finished my EA, CPA, and am nearly done with the CFP certification. All 3 pets that I had a decade ago were gone early in the decade and I adopted Buffy and Bridget, two middle-aged kitties who had lost their owner (and who are now both seniors and ill). I still live in the same house, belong to the same congregation and have the same friends (of course, there are new ones, but the core group is the same), and I’m still concerned with eating well and exercising. I never lose as much weight as I want to but the good news is that I have generally stayed moderately active and within about 10 pounds of the same weight for the decade.

My Net Worth is about 3.7x what it was. The inheritance from my mother doubled my net worth early in the decade, and I’ve grown the accounts since then. A new car in 2012 was my biggest single-item expense of the decade, but cumulatively with five pets (the three back then and the two now), veterinary expenses have been the biggest “discretionary” category of spending, particularly the two, Henry and Buffy, who had more major illnesses. But the pets keep me happy so they are well worth the money I spend on them.

Now, looking ten years ahead I see both more of the same and more changes. I’ll continue to focus on both health and finances (which is why I named my blog “Fiscal Fitness”); I’ll continue to have pets despite the expense, and, for the next decade, work will remain a focus. But I’ll begin to mentally prepare for retirement as well. That change in mental focus shall be a challenge for the decade.

Win, Lose, and Draw

December 31st, 2019 at 01:52 am

Wins
-Kitties are both still here and happy, if not healthy.
-Completed 1.5+ CFP courses—and 1.5 to go.
-Was somewhat more active in 2019 than in 2018—about 10% more steps.
-Increased savings to more than 20% of income between 401k, HSA, and emergency fund.
-Did not increase debt despite unexpected ~10k in veterinary medical expenses and accelerating a 5k roofing project into 2019 rather than 2020.
-Work has generally gone well.
-Managed to tackle some deferred home maintenance projects.
-I managed to maintain a sufficient social life despite working long hours.

(Upcoming) Losses
Kitties now both have been diagnosed with what the vet terms their “life-limiting conditions.”

My vet appointment with Buffy last week was distressing. Whatever it is that blocked her biliary tract back in June is growing again. Without opening her up we don’t know if it is cancer or merely an “inflammatory process.” Surgery would cost 6-7k and Buffy turns 15 in March, which is the average lifespan for an indoor cat. If she were 5 years younger, I would go for the surgery, but I had a hard talk with myself and decided that it isn’t worth spending that much money on a cat whose likelihood of living more than another year is not high in any case. What I *am* doing now is that we added a third medication, one to keep her blood sugar in control, and I am treating her as if she is actively diabetic. She has been a diabetic-in-remission for four years. The prednisolone that helps her biliary tract/inflammation issues causes her diabetes to become active again, so we added a medication (not insulin but glipizide) that helps bring her blood sugar under control, but this means that I have to measure her blood glucose to make sure that I’m also not causing her to become hypoglycemic. We are both getting used to this new routine. My goal is to keep her going as long as possible without the trauma and expense of surgery. At some point, inevitably, though, the “thing” will block her biliary tract again and I will have to have her put down, and it could happen quite suddenly. So I am cherishing every moment with her.

Bridget, my other kitty, was diagnosed in the early stages of kidney failure. It’s early stages yet, so I’m not as worried. I’ve changed her diet and am looking into supplements, and will have her monitored more frequently. The last cat I had with kidney failure I kept going for 2.5 years after diagnosis. Unfortunately, Bridget doesn’t have the mellow temperament that that cat or Buffy have, and I fear that the stress of daily subcutaneous fluids would be more than she could tolerate and put me at risk of getting bitten. So I’m just praying that I don’t lose them both this coming year.

Draws
Thyroid issue holding stable, knock on wood—next ultrasound January 24.

Goals for 2020
1. Finish CFP coursework.
2. Regular exercise routine.
3. Do as much as I can realistically do for the kitties.
4. Continue to save 20% of earnings while reducing debt. Note that my company changed the timing of our annual bonus from 12/31 to 2/28 starting this year. If I were getting a bonus tomorrow, then the debt would be down to what I was hoping for, but that will be delayed. I am still feeling pretty confident that I will be able to meet my goal of being debt-free by at least a couple of years before retirement (which will give me a chance to spend a couple of years building up a bigger cash reserve).

Quick near year-end financial update

December 18th, 2019 at 11:50 pm

I've been updating the net worth spreadsheet I've kept for the past decade today, so it's time for a quick update, although the year is not over yet.

In terms of finances for 2019, there's still one paycheck to go, and one more vet appointment, which should be the biggest expense left this year. (That's tomorrow--please wish my kitty luck! After six months, I am hoping that we have finally gotten the medication balanced out to both keep her biliary tract illness from progressing too fast while at the same time preventing her diabetes, which is currently in remission, from becoming active again.)

In general terms:

Assets are up about 10%;

Debts are down about 2% (despite the big increase in veterinary expenses and accelerating a major home maintenance issue from next year into this year);

and Net Worth is up about 12%. That's the second-best year this decade that is due to my own efforts (I've had bigger increases but due to inheritance).

The only big financial changes were a large raise early in the year and the fact that both of my cats were diagnosed this year with what the vet refers to as their 'probable life-limiting conditions." Despite the diagnoses, both kitties' illnesses seem well under control for the moment with medication and diet changes, but because of the meds and the prescription diet and for the one cat, much more frequent vet visits, my pet care expenses have grown quite a bit compared to previous years. Both cats seem happy and are doing well and they give me a huge boost of happiness so the expense is worth it. The increase in costs is about equal to what the pay increase is, so in terms of my day-to-day living, it's just been a minor budget adjustment.

Overall I am satisfied. Yes, I would like the debts to be going down faster than they are, but I am making progress even in the face of some large unexpected expenses.

At the beginning of the decade, my "debt to equity" ratio was about 60% (right after the double whammy of leaving my former profession and losing that income at the same time that my mother was dying and I had a lot of travel expenses) and now it is 15.5%. I look forward to getting it under 10% but I feel confident that I will get there in the next handful of years--still feeling on target to have the debts paid off completely sometime between 2025 and 2027. That paves the way to have the freedom to retire (not actually likely at that point, unless something changes) or (more likely) to scale back on work.

Roof job. Also, cats.

October 27th, 2019 at 09:08 pm

I live in a house with a flat roof. The realtor suggested when I moved in that I should have the roof silver-coated every few years to protect it plus make it more energy-efficient. I have been faithful about having it done every 3-4 years. The warranty on the roof itself expired about 5 years ago now, but I have read that you can pretty much double the time on the warranty by taking good care of the roof, so I have.

The last time I had the roof coated was in 2015. Costs at that time were up from the amount I paid the first time I had it done, but only by a little bit more than inflation.

This time, the estimate was quite different. Every time I've had it done in the past, I was provided with one option: a fiber + aluminum coating. This time I was given three options, with different warranties depending on the product used.

The baseline fiber + aluminum coating was way more expensive than in 2015, more than doubling in price. The other two options were more expensive in total, but when adjusted on a "cost-per-year" basis, the 10-year option was cheapest. This is a new product called "Acrylabs," which is an energy-star rated "fluid-applied membrane."

It's more expensive than I had planned on, but doing this now is significantly cheaper than replacing the roof. (The last time I had the roof coated, I also had an estimate done for a roof replacement.) I am planning on moving out of this house in about 7 or 8 years, so the next owner can tackle the replacement. I'll also have to replace the side-porch roof, which is sloped and shingled, but the roofer said that he thought that roof had about 3 more years on it.

This is temporarily adding to my debt, but even after the job is done and fully paid for, I'll still have less debt than I did at year-end 2018.

This will be the biggest home maintenance project that I've done in the 14 years I've been in the house. The other big jobs were a couple of plumbing projects, replacing four windows, the gutters, and the water heater. Before I leave this house, I expect also to replace the range, refrigerator, washer and dryer, and front and rear doors, and have the stained yellow countertop in the kitchen replaced at the very least, plus I'll have the house painted and the floors done when I put it on the market, but I'll leave any major cosmetic or functional upgrades to the next owner. The furnace may also have to be replaced--but, as with the roof, I have it maintained annually in hopes that it will outlast its warranty. I like my house, but I really hate the stress of being a homeowner since I feel completely unprepared for it, and I'm not at all motivated to spend my mental energy learning what I really should know.

As a note, everyone's entries from mid-April until October were hacked. I had about half a dozen entries, but I can't recall what they were about, other than one in May documenting a day trip to meet up with "Fern" a/k/a "PatientSaver," and several in June documenting big expenses for my cat Buffy, who was hospitalized for a week and then fed at home via a feeding tube for two weeks, and who still sees the vet about once a month for testing as we try to find a medication regime that keeps her steady.

I finally got Buffy's sister Bridget to the vet on Friday. The last time I took Bridget to the vet's office, it took 3 vet techs to manage her, but with an herbal calming tablet, Feliway, and a vet tech who was fore-warned on what to expect, the visit went off surprisingly well. Bridget's kidney values and her white blood cell count are a bit off. I still have to talk to the vet about this, but hopefully I can keep both kitties going for another year or two. Bridget just turned 15 and Buffy is 14 1/2, so I suspect I'll lose them in the not-too-distant future, but I also pray I can keep them going for a while yet.

Day off

April 11th, 2019 at 10:24 pm

I have been pushing very hard non-stop for the past few weeks (other than taking last weekend off and spending much of it in bed because I felt like I was coming down with a cold; fortunately the extra rest has seemed to forestall that illness, knock on wood!). So today and tomorrow, with both of the major lead advisors that I report to out of town, I decided to take some personal time off.

I was working until 10 pm last night finishing a tax estimate that one advisor had promised to a client, and with that behind me, I was able to take off with a free conscience.

First on the docket was an annual doctor's exam. I hadn't known when I scheduled it a year ago that I would be taking the day off, but that worked out nicely.

Then I went out to breakfast and then over to the local mall to do a little bit of clothes shopping because I have been feeling the need for a bit of a wardrobe update. Picked up 3 pieces priced at over $300 for about $195 that will be good office wear.

Then I went to one of our local banks. I had received a postcard from them promising a bonus $50 for establishing a new checking account with at least $1,000 that stays in the account for at least a week. This particular local bank has an excellent reputation for service and a commitment to stay local, so I've been meaning to establish a relationship with them for a while. Checking is free for life with no monthly maintenance fees and their rates are competitive. At the moment, all of my other banking relationships are with Wells Fargo, whose reputation I have been dissatisfied with (although personally, things have been fine). What I would like to do once my schedule calms down is to transfer my main relationships over to this bank--set up direct deposit for the paycheck, establish a savings account as well, and then move the mortgage and HELOC (balance $0) and safety deposit box over as well. They have a long-running special that does a refinance with closing costs of $525. They promise not to sell your mortgage. My current mortgage is a 20-year (in year 9) at 4% and I could refinance to a 10-year (cuts one year off) at 3.625%. I will probably do that in another month or so. The only pain will be that they don't handle the escrowing of the tax and homeowner's insurance bills, which I'll have to handle myself anyways after to mortgage is paid off. (I'm still feeling good that it will be paid off by December 2025 at the 20-year mark.) I'll probably keep at least one small checking and savings account open at Wells Fargo as well, just because Wells Fargo has a branch just down the block from where I work and they also have lots of branches in Los Angeles, where I am from and where I still visit occasionally.

Those few things were the main accomplishments of the day. I also handled a couple of emails at work and listened to an online professional educational webinar for an hour.

Tomorrow I need to make a dentist appointment because I broke a small piece off a tooth last night--it's not painful but the sharp edges are annoying. Then I need to finish my own taxes--I drafted them back in February in order to figure out my IRA contribution, but now I need to dot all the i's and cross all the t's and submit.

Then I'll work on getting a bit more organized at home--there are too many piles of paper on the dining room table, on the desk, on the coffee table, and on the dog crate, and I need to toss some and file the rest. Being able to see the tabletops will make me feel more relaxed here at home and I'll buy some flowers to put in a vase on the dining room table when it is clear again (which it has not been since Thanksgiving).

I'll also be working on my next CFP class over the weekend and I'd like to take a drive out to a coffee shop I like that sits on the banks of the Delaware. I visited there at least monthly over the summer but haven't been back since September. This is just a weekend to catch my breath and recapture some sense of spaciousness or margin in my life than a weekend where I will really "do" anything. Just getting a chance to spend some more time reading will be a pleasure.

I'm supposed to be attending an orchestra rehearsal in an hour. I should go since I have slacked off during tax season but part of me wants no more commitments today. Whether or not I go, I'll end the day by watching one or two episodes of "Boston Legal." I was delighted to find that it is once again free to wach on Amazon Prime, after having been available only with a charge previously. This was one of my favorite series so I am enjoying re-watching it. I like James Spader and it is nice to see him in his prime. He seems to have aged a lot lately. He's about my age so seeing recent pictures of him makes me feel my own age more acutely. I'd like to think I am aging better than he is! But then, so much of our first impression of faces is about the hair and he has gone semi-bald recently. This is one reason I find it worthwhile to pay to have my hair colored! I grew up believing in substance over form and that image didn't matter so much, but while I still believe strongly in substance, the real world and my education taught me that appearances matter a lot, too!


Milestone Redeux

April 4th, 2019 at 11:55 pm

My retirement savings first hit half a million back around my birthday in August--stayed there for a few weeks but then dropped below by October. Today was the first time that I've logged on that my total is above that benchmark again.

Debt after early April payments is down to 82.5k total.

Heading into Q2

March 31st, 2019 at 10:56 pm

Q1 wrapup:

Debt down 8.3k since 12/31/18 (the biggest push of the year because of when I get my bonus). I am going to try to manage 1k down in debt per month for the rest of the year. Since I'm now at roughly 83k total, that would bring me to 74k at year end. (By the way, the January numbers that I post in my sidebar are the numbers AFTER getting and applying my annual bonus to the debt. Timing of our bonus payout will change next year to March.)

If you look at my side-bar, ALL of these numbers are the lowest I've posted since starting to blog here in 2006, so that feels good. If I make it to 600k net worth and 10% (60k) total debt (which would be mostly mortgage) by the time I am 60, that will be a good place to build on for my last decade of work (I am planning to retire at 70, but hope to spend the last five years working part rather than full-time and want to be financially prepared to be able to retire before then if necessary. The "need" could be either job loss (but as long as I'm healthy, I feel confident that I'll at least be able to add to my income by working tax season) or health (in which case I would expect my longevity and financial need to be lower, and I have multiple disability insurance policies and long-term care insurance in that case).

I finished one of the 3 classes I am trying to complete this year so am on track to complete 3 by 9/30, when my online course access expires. Just two more classes and then the big exam next March stand between me and the goal I set for myself way back in 2004 to become a certified financial planner. I have been *working* as a financial planner since the end of 2014,u but I'm an employee of a firm, in essence, a sub-advisor. Getting certified would give me the ability to go out on my own, not that I have any desire to do so, as I am approaching 60. If I'd made the career change at 40, that would have been a possibility, but at 58 1/2, I'm perfectly content to be an employee for my entire career!

Still, certifications and the "stamp of approval," as well as making sure that my knowledge base is reasonably complete for the job I do is important to me. I've certainly learned a lot in this coursework about things such as educational funding, insurance, estate planning, and the various types of retirement plans that are out there and which type of plan is suitable for which business concerns.

The last "substantive" course that I start tomorrow is Investments, and then Q3, I will take the Capstone course which reviews and applies all the previous course content to case studies. I took a couple of finance classes as electives back when I was studying accounting, but it's been more than a decade and all of those equations look a bit intimidating now! Hopefully, they will come back quickly.

So, after being a veritable slug this winter. I am making movement and exercise a priority this spring. In fact, ever since I started my current job, my exercise goals have taken a low priority, in part because of the Hashimoto's related fatigue. In 2017, I was so exhausted, all I did was work and sleep. I spent 6 months going to a functional medicine practitioner and I have been somewhat less fatigued since then by taking the supplements he recommended, but I still have 2-4 days a month where going home, feeding the cats, and crawling into bed at 6:30 or 7 pm is all I can do. Confounded with all of this is that I went through menopause during the same time frame.

Back the end of last year, I was diagnosed with a thyroid nodule (common for people with Hashi's) and a biopsy led to an indeterminate diagnosis, but the recommendation was to have half of my thyroid removed just because of the size of the nodule because of the risk of cancer. But only 5% of the thyroid nodules that are removed prove to be cancerous--this is one of those areas of overdiagnosis.

I opted back in January after consulting with the surgeon to take a "watch and wait" strategy instead and have myself re-assessed every six months. If it IS cancerous, it is most likely to be a slow-growing cancer, and I am not in a rush to remove an organ that affects every other cell in my body. The doctors blithely asset that you just take Synthroid and you'll be fine, and while that IS true of the majority, I did some digging in the research literature, and 18% who have a thyroidectomy or lobectomy never really feel the same again, and that is not a risk I am willing to take at the moment. If the nodule grows or I start feeling the effects of it (hoarseness or trouble swallowing), I would go ahead with the surgery, but I resolved back in January to have this risk serve as a motivator to take even better care of myself. With the busyness of tax season and the cold weather, that has been difficult, but I'm making it more of a priority for Q3, especially as I have my 6-month followup on June 24.

As a matter of synchronicity, a gym about a mile from home had a $1 joining fee special this weekend. I'd actually belonged to this gym before, but that was when their membership was $50 a month and included everything--towel service, classes, etc. Since I left, they've come up with a multi-tier membership model. All I really need is access to their equipment and the chance to be in an environment where "the thing to do" is to exercise. To join and just be able to use their equipment (and the sauna) will cost me just $15 a month, much more reasonable.

Even though I have a good deal of fitness equipment at home, I don't tend to use it very much. I work out at home more than I would without the equipment, but certainly not on a regular basis. One of my friends is a member at this gym and works out there, and another pair of acquaintances regularly use the gym at around 7:30 in the morning, so just the incentive of possibly seeing people I know and having a chance to chat should motivate me to go. And at least once I get out of the house and away from my book and coffee cup, it will be easier to work out.

I still think I'll spend about 6 weeks this spring or summer working out with a personal trainer to improve my form while doing exercises, but I'll figure that out in May. Right now my goal is just to build a base of regular movement and to work on mobility so that I don't end up in PT again. I have a DailyOm course that I bought to guide me with mobility exercises, and for right now, I'll focus on doing regular cardio and using the machines for strength. Later on, I'll ramp up the strength training with a personal trainer and eventually, once I'm moving regularly, I'll work on ramping up the intensity by adding some metabolic training. My mistake in the past, which has landed me in PT a couple of times, is to take metabolic training classes before my body has been ready for it.

I'm also kind of targeting walking a half marathon as a goal. I've walked two in the past, but that was back about 15 years ago. I'm lucky enough to live on the route for the Runner's World half-marathon, which is one of those I walked previously. These days they no longer allow walkers (and the registration fee is now $87!) but I have the route already mapped out for me. There's also a local women's only running group that has two 13-week sessions a year, each culminating with a 5-k race. The spring session just started and will culminate in a race on June 5. Then the summer/fall session starts on July 30 and culminates in a race on Oct 5, so my goal for the moment is to get myself into shape to START the "couch to 5k" type training the end of July, try to jog the 5k on October 5 and be able to walk the half marathon route on October 19th (the day before the actual race). Then it will be the busy season again and the CFP exam final preparation will be looming, but as long as I can build up some fitness now and at least do some basic maintenance from next October through next March (when I'll finally take the CFP exam), then when I get back to focusing on fitness again a year from now post-exam, hopefully I'll be starting off at a higher level then than I am now after two years of slug-dom!

Gradual goal progress

March 24th, 2019 at 08:59 pm

1. Total debt balance is just under 83k (82,997) as of today. After the 3/31 paycheck hits, I'll get close to 82k with additional debt payments. I'm feeling confident about getting down to 75k total the end of the year, possibly even down to 72k, depending on whether or not there are big expenses with house/car/cats or just routine maintenance. Much better than the nearly 90k that I started 2018 with.

2. I finished another one of my online CFP courses today! Just two more to go, one per quarter, and then I'll start the CFP review process. I expect to be taking the exam a year from now, which will wrap up for now the process of getting financial certifications (CPA exam finished in 2010, Enrolled Agent 2013, then CFP hopefully in 2020). I started my career change path in 2004 so that will be 16 years of pretty continuously being enrolled in SOME kind of course. After that, I'll just do my annual professional education and will try to branch out and do more hobbies and business development/networking kinds of activities.

3. On the subject of networking, I was invited to join the Finance Committee of our city's public library. It's been hinted to me that I could later be invited to become a full-fledged Board of Directors member as a result of this service.

4. This next week is another super-busy week, with five client meetings, but I am delighted to see no more than two meetings per week so far scheduled on my calendar for April. That could change, but it looks like we are moving from the extra-busy time of year to the "business as usual" time of year, which is much less stressful. I'm planning a long weekend in mid-April to focus on doing some spring cleaning, as I noted this week that the last time I saw the actual top of my dining room table was around Thanksgiving!

5. I went out last night with two friends to dinner and a movie ("Gloria Bell"), the first time I've done anything sociable since February 15.

6. I walked to the office today and now that the weather is changing, hope to start walking more regularly. It was nice to see the snowdrops, crocuses, and even a few daffodils in bloom already. Ramping up the exercise and working with a physical trainer for 4-6 weeks to master some exercises is a Q2 goal, but now thru April is just for getting my blood pumping and myself moving much more regularly than I have been. I've only had 10 10,000 step days so far this year, and I'd like to get that number to about 40 by the end of April--in other words, work a lot harder on getting there almost every day.