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Archive for December, 2019

Year end numbers

December 31st, 2019 at 09:15 pm

Now that the market is closed, I did the final 2019 update on our portfolio spreadsheet.

12/31/18: $1,023,684.61
12/31/19: $1,329,432.03

An increase of $305,747.42 for the year. That number is incredible to me. It really shows the power of investing and compounding. That's more money than I earned in 2019 gross and a little more than double my take home pay. Obviously, a strong stock market had a lot to do with it. We'll see how long that continues.

I hope you all had a great year and have an even better 2020.

401k Milestone

December 31st, 2019 at 06:45 pm

For most of my career, I was one of those folks who did not have an employer-sponsored retirement account. I finally got one when I started working for urgent care in 2016, so less then 3 years ago.

As of today, my 401k balance is just over the $100,000 mark.

That's less than 8% of our total portfolio but it was still nice to see that one account cross into 6 figures. I did max it out last year and this year and intend to do so every year I work there so it should continue to grow nicely putting $26,000/year into it.

Won a nice raffle prize

December 21st, 2019 at 02:33 am

I got a voicemail yesterday from a liquor store we frequent saying I had won a gift certificate for a whiskey dinner for 6-8 people. I didn't know exactly what that meant. We took a ride over there today to find out.

It turns out that what I won is a $600 gift card to a very nice local restaurant. There is no official "whiskey dinner" that they do. We can use that gift card however we'd like.

We talked about it a bit and what I think we'll do is invite one couple to join us for dinner one night and invite another couple a different night. Eight meals should pretty well burn through $600. If anything remains after that, my wife and I can just put it toward another meal for the 2 of us.

I was excited to win anything and certainly blown away that I had actually won a $600 prize.

Final paycheck of 2019 - feeling very grateful

December 18th, 2019 at 06:58 pm

Tomorrow is payday. I got my final stub of 2019 yesterday. That covers the pay period that ended 12/14/19 so there are still 17 days remaining in the year but they will be paid in 2020.

My YTD income was $245,000. Add in those last 17 days and my total gross for the year will be $256,000.

At my old job, which I left at the end of September 2017, so just over 2 years ago, I was making half of that. I am incredibly happy and grateful that I made the change. My new job is so much better in many ways, not just the salary. Better benefits, better working conditions, better hours, better coworker interaction, better everything pretty much.

It's been a very good year.

$1.3 million!

December 15th, 2019 at 03:52 pm

I just updated our portfolio spreadsheet and the total topped $1.3 million for the first time. It's been close for a while with the gyrations of the market but it finally got there.

It means nothing. It changes nothing. We'll just keep plugging away as we're far from ready to retire (financially speaking) but it's nice to see the number continue to climb.

Master list of financial accounts for wife/daughter

December 15th, 2019 at 02:03 am

Many years ago, I typed up a list of all of our financial accounts in case anything ever happened to me. It listed each account company, type of account, account number, and phone number. I realized recently that I haven't updated that list for a very long time.

I pulled out the list today and it was dated December 2006. Surprisingly, it wasn't terribly outdated. A couple of companies have changed names and we have a few new accounts.

I made a new list today. Instead of phone numbers, I listed website addresses with user ID and password for accessing each account. I attached that list to a copy of our portfolio spreadsheet so that it all matches up.

As soon as we have a moment, I'll have a "financial date" with my wife and show her the new list and how it all goes together. The list will be stored in our lockbox with other important papers.

Expensive week but fun

December 14th, 2019 at 02:11 am

It turned out to be an expensive few days, some of which was anticipated and some that wasn't.

Wednesday night we attended a whiskey tasting at a local liquor store that we go to regularly. In addition to the tasting, they held a raffle for the right to purchase 1 of 11 different hard to find bottles. My wife won one and I won one so we came home with 2 bottles at $100 and $150. Not something we were expecting but we'll get to enjoy them for months to come.

Yesterday and today we were in NYC. That was a planned trip for my wife's birthday which is next week. We had bought show tickets a few months ago. Of course, there were also travel costs (though the hotel was free on reward points), meals, and some incidental spending. We also ended up at a piano bar last night after the show which ran us another $107 in addition to the $130 for dinner, plus lunch yesterday and today, parking, etc. Worth every penny though as we had a great time.

Fortunately, it's all stuff we can comfortably afford to do while still meeting all of our investing goals and remaining debt-free.

December update

December 9th, 2019 at 01:38 am

Not much new going on. Everything is cruising along nicely which is good.

I've sold a couple of items on Facebook Marketplace recently. It definitely has advantages over Ebay and I've used it to get rid of some things that have been sitting around or a while, including things that I tried unsuccessfully to sell on Ebay. The fact that there's no shipping cost helps a lot. That's what makes it hard to sell lower priced items online.

I maxed out my 401k a month or so ago so for the last couple of paychecks, I took the money that would have gone to that and put it into our Vanguard account instead. I did the full amount even though I was doing it with after-tax dollars. We have one more paycheck in December and then the 401k funding will resume, plus they upped the limit $1,000 for 2020 so it'll take a bit longer to max it.

We took advantage of the Target gift card sale today and bought $600 worth at 10% off. Last week we bought gift cards for one of our favorite restaurants. If you bought $75 they gave you an extra $20. We go there about once a month so that'll save us a bit. And yesterday I paid our auto insurance bill through PayPal with our Chase Freedom Visa which has 5% cashback on PayPal purchases this quarter. That saved me $63. $60 from Target, $20 from the restaurant, and $63 from the insurance. All of those things can really add up over time. Oh, and we bought $300 of the Target cards with our Discover card that has 5% back at Target this quarter though we're not sure if that includes gift card purchases. I'll have to wait and see.

My wife and I are going to NYC this week overnight and seeing a show. It's for her birthday. I booked the hotel on reward points so that's free. Of course the parking, dinner, and show aren't. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be very cold so we probably won't do much in the city. That's okay because I like wandering in the city much more than she does anyway.

I guess that's all the main stuff for now.

Credit card referral bonus

December 1st, 2019 at 09:12 pm

A few weeks back, someone on the forums mentioned looking at new credit cards. I suggested the one we have and they ended up signing up for it with my referral link so we got 20,000 bonus points. It's a Marriott card so that's at least 1 free night and maybe more depending on the hotel.

We scored a ton of Marriott points last month between travel, spending, a promotion they were having, and that bonus. All together in one month we earned just over 64,000 points. A typical hotel stay for us is 15,000 points so we earned more than 4 free nights last month alone. We are using points for one night in NYC in a couple of weeks but we really need to plan some other times to use points as we now have over 500,000 on our account.