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Archive for March, 2018

Just ordered college senior portraits

March 21st, 2018 at 10:33 am

The end of college for our daughter is rapidly approaching. She graduates in 51 days! That's the first time I've actually counted.

She submitted her degree info a couple of weeks ago (and paid the $85 graduation fee). Today's milestone was ordering senior portraits. We did what we have always done with school photos and gone for one of the cheapest packages. In this case, the 2nd cheapest because the absolute cheapest only included one pose and we wanted both cap and gown and informal poses.

The list price on the package was $269 but when they mailed the proofs, they included an "early bird" offer for 10% off packages up to $299, so we saved $26.90 with that code. After tax and shipping, the total came to $266.14. While that certainly isn't cheap, it is right in line with what I was expecting so I'm okay with that. I kind of figured the whole process of graduation would cost us about $1,000. That includes photos, any school fees, a hotel room for the event, and any other miscellaneous expenses.

Of course, an even bigger deal is that the very last tuition payment is due April 15 for $3,100. I've been paying $3,100/month since December. I can't wait until May when I'll start getting to keep that $3,100/month in my pocket instead.

Rebalanced our portfolio - what's your AA?

March 9th, 2018 at 04:50 pm

Thanks to the long-running bull market, our asset allocation had gotten more stock-heavy than I wanted it to be. At the end of 2017, we were 81% stock, 14% bond, 5% cash. Although I am by no means a market timer, I'm also a realist and understand that the bull market is going to end one of these days, probably sooner rather than later. I've always been very aggressive with our portfolio but we're now both in our early to mid 50s and have fewer years ahead of us to recover from any major drop. It was time to start dialing back the risk level to help protect our assets and buffer the impact of a future bear market whenever it may happen.

I decided to work towards getting the stock allocation down around 70%. I made a couple of moves early in the year, shifting 20K from stocks to bonds. Then there was that quick correction where the Dow dropped a couple thousand points. I was concerned that I may have missed my opportunity but fortunately the recovery was just as quick as the correction. Before the market had a chance to tank again, I moved the rest of the money needed to get to that new target allocation, about 100K.

So as of now, we are at 70% stock, 26% bond, 4% cash. I think that will give better downside protection when the bear shows up while still giving plenty of exposure to the upside as do still have many years ahead of us hopefully and need to have continued growth in our portfolio.

What is your asset allocation? How often do you rebalance?

Financial date with my wife - done

March 7th, 2018 at 10:59 am

I take care of all of the financial stuff in our household but from time to time, my wife and I will sit down for a "financial date" when I update her on everything that's been going on and where things stand.

I'm off today and we're in the midst of a snowstorm so it was a perfect opportunity for our latest financial date.

I showed her how my income has changed over the last 3 years with my transition from family practice to urgent care. I then reviewed where the bulk of the extra income has gone (college costs, malpractice insurance, travel). I explained how we're currently spending $3,100/month for college but the last payment will be made later this month and then going forward we'll have an extra $3,100/month to direct to other things and I told her how I plan to do that.

She asked a number of questions. We talked about the financial impact of our daughter finishing college but moving back home with us. We talked a bit about retirement planning.

All in all, it was a good update. I always like to make sure she knows what's going on even though I'm the one managing stuff on a day to day basis.