December 31, 2008

2009 Goals

Since we are on the eve of the new year, I thought it would be appropriate to post our goals for 2009. I’m not sure what to expect in 2009, but we have great hopes. Below are a few of our goals for 2009.

1) Increase net worth to $75,600
This should be doable if we are able to hit most of the goals below.
2) Wife to get a new job
Ideally, my wife will get a job in the same industry as her last job and receive similar benefits, such as a company car and matching 401(k). How long the job search takes will determine whether or not we are able to hit our other goals.
3) Increase savings account balance to $20,000
Our saving account balance is currently just over $15,000, but this goal will be harder than it looks. Some of our current savings is earmarked for property taxes, income taxes, and a vacation to Hawaii in 2009.
4) Max out Roth IRAs ($5,000 each)
We missed this goal in 2008, but I hope we can bounce back in 2009.
5) Contributing at least 5% of income to company 401(k)
This is already set on autopilot, so I don’t see a problem reaching this goal.
6) Decrease debt by $8,000
This should be an easy goal, if we are able continue paying down our debt at the same rate as last year.
7) Draft wills
We’ve been putting this off for awhile, but will make it a priority in 2009.

So, we’ve got some pretty challenging goals for 2009. God willing, the economy will start to turn around and help us all reach our goals. Have a safe and Happy New Year!

December 30, 2008

2008 Net Worth Recap

2008 was a great year, even with the very rough economy. Below is a table compiling our net worth data for 2008 (click on table to enlarge). Some highlights from 2008 include:

  • We increased our net worth from $23,873.25 to $ 42,083.69. We missed our net worth goal of $47,800.00 by $5,716.31, but still made good progress.
  • We increased our savings account balance from $4,629.57 to $15,651.73. This cash will help provide us some security while my wife looks for a new job.
  • We contributed $6,250.00 total to our Roth IRAs. We had hoped to max out our Roth IRA contributions ($5,000 each), but boosting our savings became a priority instead.
  • We contributed $4,797.69 total to our 401(k) plans. No real target here, just wanted to continue adding to it.
  • We reduced our debt from $374,466.21 to $347,279.48. Over 1/2 of this reduction was from selling Car 1.

We have great hopes for 2009. I will be posting our 2009 goals very soon.

December 23, 2008

December 2008 Net Worth Update (+6,906.48)

Since we will be traveling for the holidays, I am posting our December net worth a bit early.

Our net worth in December increased $6,906.48 over last month to $42,083.69 (click on spreadsheet below). This is one of our strongest monthly increases yet and is a nice change from the decrease in our net worth over the last 3 months. Unfortunately, even with this very strong month, we came up $5,716.31 short of our 2008 net worth goal of $47,800. All things considered, with this economy, that's not too bad. We reached 88.04% of our goal for the year.

What worked
We contributed a total of $1,198.50 to our 401(k)s and Roth IRAs. We also deposited a whopping $4,357.40 into our savings account, thanks mainly to my wife's $3,544.00 quarterly bonus ($2,028.95 net).

What did not work
Nothing I could find. December was a good month.

Next month
My wife received notice that December 31st will be her last day of employment. Therefore, we don't expect to be able to increase our net worth much, if any, in January. She has already had a successful day of interviewing with another company and has been networking to find a new job. With my paychecks, her unemployment checks, and a bit of baby sitting money, we shouldn't have to pull any money out of savings for quite a few months.

December 22, 2008

The Carnival of Personal Finance #184: From the Land Down Under

Andy at Saving To Invest just did a great job hosting the The Carnival of Personal Finance #184: From the Land Down Under. As the title hints, this carnival had a fun "Aussie" theme. Check it out when you have a chance. My post The Unemployment Rate Just Went Up A Tad was included in the carnival. Thanks Andy!

December 20, 2008

Bonus Check Arrived

Just a quick note to let everyone know that my wife just received her $3,544.00 quarterly bonus. Bonuses are heavily taxed, so it ended up being $2,028.95 net. We're tithing some of it and putting the rest in the bank for a nice boost to our savings account. Even though her last day with the company is December 31st, she will still receive another quarterly bonus in March for the work she has done up to this point.

December 17, 2008

Working To Increase Our Savings

With my wife's lay off come January 1st, and my company not doing so red hot, we decided to sell our 15 shares of Toyota Motor Corporation stock and add the money to our savings account.

We purchased the stock at $65/share on November 11th and sold for $68.16/share today. Because of a promotion E*TRADE is having, we did not have to pay the $12.99 fee to buy or sell, so we made $47.40 in 37 days. That's almost double the interest we earned last month on the ~$10K in our savings account.

In better economic times, I would have liked to hold out for a larger return, but it's nice to be able to add this money to our savings account for now.

December 16, 2008

A Little Breathing Room

I spoke with boss today about my wife being laid off and my concerns about decreasing sales at my company. He agreed that things are bad and said there will likely be another reduction in workforce in January or February. Thankfully, he told me that I am a core manager and would be one of the last people let go.

We discussed other areas I can contribute while the product line I manage is in the dumps. I was very encouraged to learn that I have a bit more job security than I had thought, although my boss was careful to say that nothing in this world is guaranteed. If we do have another layoff in the next couple of months, my boss indicated that we may also go to a 4 day work week with a 20% reduction in pay. That would be tough, especially with my wife on unemployment, but it's still doable and better than the alternative.

Oh, and in other good news, my wife already has a job interview lined up for Thursday. What a blessed day!

December 8, 2008

The Unemployment Rate Just Went Up A Tad

My wife was informed this morning that her last day with her company will be December 31st. We were expecting it, but now it is real.

She is already on top of the search for a new job having updated her resume and cover letter last week and requested letters of recommendation. She even applied to a few companies over the weekend and updated her profile on job search websites.

We’ve begun taking a look at were we can dramatically reduce our monthly expenses and have started gathering information on unemployment. My wife has a few vacation days that she will cash in before her last day. More importantly, my wife found out on Friday that she will receive a $3,544 quarterly bonus on 12/15. Thank God for his perfect timing. She also learned that she will receive another quarterly bonus in March, even though she will not be with the company.

With ~$450/week for employment and earning the rare buck or two baby sitting our neighbors child, we shouldn’t have to pull any money from savings for quite some time.

There’s a lot happening right now, I’ll keep you posted.

December 4, 2008

November 2008 Income Statement

We did a great job of keeping our standard monthly expenses very low in November (click on spreadsheet below). We spent a total of $6,910.14, but $2,331.14 of that was for non-standard expenses including $745 for 12 months of auto insurance, $439 for 12 months of condo insurance, and $1,169.14 for property taxes (1st of 2 payments).

In addition to our regular paychecks, I sold back 4 days of vacation to my company for $870.43 We also earned $225 in cash back rewards, sold our 15 shares of Toyota stock for $260.52 gain, and my wife received a $30.00 reimbursement from her company. The interest income of our E*TRADE savings account was $26.24.Next month, my wife should receive her quarterly bonus of at least $1,500 and I will be receiving a 3rd “extra” paycheck next month. Both will be deposited into savings. My wife should find out in mid December if her position will be eliminated at her company. If so, her last day will likely be December 31st. Because of this, we plan to keep our Christmas expenses down this year.

December 1, 2008

November 2008 Net Worth Update (-$121.89)

Ouch, another down month for our net worth, but not by much. It decreased $121.89 from October to $35,177.21 (click on spreadsheet below).

What worked:
We both still have our jobs, even with my company laying off 15% of its employees in October. We were able to deposit $715 into our savings account, but pulled $1,169.14 out for our condo tax payment. Thankfully, this was a planned expense that we have been saving a little for each month. We sold our 15 shares of Toyota Motor Corporation (ticker TM) stock for $82/share, a 26% gain after holding it only 19 days. We purchased another 15 shares of the stock when it dropped back to $65/share the next day and are still holding it.

What did not work:
Once again, our retirement accounts declined. We were down $518.56 from last month, even though we contributed a total of $1,013 to our 401(k)s and Roth IRAs this month.

Next month:
My wife will learn more about her employment situation in mid-December. Her company is having a big shake-up, and it’s possible that her position will be eliminated. We’re prepared, but please pray for us that this does not happen.