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Archive for June, 2011

Financial Planner

June 30th, 2011 at 09:37 pm

I have been kicking the tire around meeting with a financial planner for a while now. I finally decided to make an appointment for my husband and I to meet with one to have a consultation. He told us the initial consultation was free and they determine how much they charge you based on how much money you make. I asked him what I needed to bring and he said to just bring a few figures like debit, mortage, salary, etc. And I assumed he would be interested in my budget too...but that wasnt the case. I haven't been to one before so I wasn't sure what to expect...but I was a little disappointed when I left. So we were told everything that would be part of his package, which sounded good but then I was told the fee was going to be $850....which shocked me. While I didnt expect it to be free or 'cheap' necessarily but I wasn't expecting that much money!! I could see maybe $50 +/- an hour/per session or something along those lines but not a flat fee of that much money!! On top of that, we didn't even really discuss my situation at all -- which I would have thought he could have atleast done some sort of mini-assessment or SOMETHING that would make me think I would be getting a good value on my money. But it wasn't to be - it was a very short session to tell me what I would get and what it would cost and that was it. Soooooo....I'm thinking I will pass and it makes me a little sad. I was looking forward to the experience and insight. Maybe I just need to find someone else and interview a couple of people to find one I like.

any of you have experience with financial planners? and what makes a good one??

Budgeting and Debt

June 22nd, 2011 at 08:46 pm

Still plucking along with our budget spreadsheet...we started using a rigorous budget in January of this year and it has made a world of difference in our money management process. I was never really against a budget but I've never been taught to use one or even how to use one so I just assumed I was budgeting by balancing a checkbook and 'seeing' where my money was going. LOL -- that was clearly a massive failure b/c I was only 'seeing' my money fly out the window! Anyway, we are doing good and I am proud of our progress. We've been able to get serious about paying off debt and we've paid off everything except the cars and house. I am hoping to have 2 of the cars gone by next year but this topic keeps me on the fence. I am all for selling my car but my husband is not sold on the idea. He did drive the beater car for a couple of years and was sick of the 'issues' that come with a beater car. We aren't the type of people who need to have 'nice' cars but he would rather pay for them if we can, and not buy new again. Sigh....I'm more interested in getting that debt gone quicker so we continue to go back and forth on this topic.

Anyway, I am the planner and worrier of the family so this is something that throws a wrench in my budgeting plans. The fact of the matter is we could be getting our 6 month EM in place much sooner and begin saving/investing for retirement much sooner as well if the cars were gone now. I am 34 so I feel like I have to have these things firmly in place by the time I'm 35 and that just isn't going to happen until I'm closer to 36. I feel 'behind' and that is what is unsettling. He hasn't said "NO" don't sell your car but he is more concerned with us having to come up with the negative balance to pay off the loan (it is upside down) and find/buy an older car...and then deal with the older car issues that are inveitable. We would still have to get a loan to do that and while that is not ideal, we would be trading a higher car loan for a much smaller loan. I would be willing to do it - the new loan would probably be around $10-$12K (including buying a replacement car) and I could probably pay that off in a couple months.

I'm going to keep 'gently' discussing the topic -- but not nag him about it. He gets annoyed with me for worrying about our finances. He is onboard with doing the right thing with our money but he thinks I'm hyper-sensitive about the situation and impatient....which is true. I do need to relax and be patient...find more peacefulness and tranquility in my life. Stop worrying about 'stuff' and the future and whether or not we will be 'saving & investing' by the time I'm 35 LOL. These are normal things that I should be concerned about but I can't let them dominate my life and thoughts.

So I've already started making 'people edits' in my life and now I'm going to start making 'thought edits' as well. I will spend a small amount of time each day tending to our finances but I will no longer keep it on the brain and harass my husband about it regularly! :-) He loves me -- he knows it!!

And by the way -- I'm a relatively new blogger on this website and I was under the impression it was supposed to be about saving money, reducing debt, paying stuff off, etc., etc. Why are people on here talking about applying for credit cards and buying stuff using their credit cards? That is just strange to me...? Not judging -- to each his own, but it is strange given the context of this website...? agreed?

Money to burn...

June 19th, 2011 at 09:24 pm

hahah -- NOT. just kidding, there is no intentional money burning going on at my house, although sometimes it feels like it with my not-so-frugal husband and kids.

Just got back from a long weekend for the middle daughter's softball tournament. This trip required a hotel stay for 3 nights so we racked up some expenses. Fortunately we knew this was coming so we planned and budgeted for the weekend. Between gas, hotel, only 1 eat-out meal a day, we spent right at $500 for 4 people. I was actually hoping we could bring some extra money home but ended up spending the $500 which was ok. We even had a trip to the local urgent care facility on the first night -- DD took a line drive shot the wrist that she had previously broken and we were concerned she had re-broken the wrist. No break - good news. Paid $25 for the copay so there is a possibility we will get another bill in the mail - I am not 100% sure how my insurance covers the urgent care facilities (not the ER). Anyway, I have a pre-paid Health Spending Account so I can get that money back from that account...hopefully it won't be much more than the $25. No meds/shots/treatments involved - just the x-ray. The family savings & finances are on track for now so I'm hoping I don't get any suprises in the mail from this urgent care trip!!

Aside from that, I'm needing to do some personal 'editing' of some people in my life. I've known there are certain people who drive me freakin' bonkers and really trigger my anger. For some reason I've done nothing to rid myself of these people. What have I been waiting for?? These people are thoughtless, egotistical maniacs who will do anything, including hurting others, to get what they think they deserve. And if they don't get it - they belittle and attack those who do get whatever these morons are desparately after. But I don't know who is the bigger moron, me or them. Why the heck have I let this situation get to this point?? If I haven't done what I need to do by my next post, you can all take your turn in kicking me in the backside and then laughing at my face b/c I've been so spineless!! jk - please don't do that. I'm going to do the right thing and resolve this situation peacefully. I have been seriously praying for peace, calmness and tranquility for my life and this is the next natural step for me. I'm just so suprised I haven't done this sooner. Praying can definitely put things into perspective and God certainly answers those prayers too. If you haven't done it, I encourage you to give it a try.

Hope all you FATHERS had a good Father's Day. take care and take it easy :-)

My budget smokes crack...sometimes.

June 5th, 2011 at 07:52 pm

Just went through my budget (for the 100th time) b/c as I'm busy doing something during the day, I will think of tweaking this or moving that to improve cash flow & savings, etc.

Well, today I was happily rearranging stuff and I started looking at my 'savings' tab on my spreadsheet that is linked to the budget tab. Turns out I had some of my formulas messed up and I won't be saving as much as I planned for 2011!! So frustrating and disheartening....I had planned to get some major debt paid down with the money I was saving and now that will not be possible until more like early 2012.

With that annoying find today, I started thinking about ways to make some extra money to supplement our income. My husband is already got stuff lined up to bring in some extra money this summer but now I think I will need to find something to do too.

Does anyone have any ideas -- I might be able to pull off another garage sale but I'm not holding my breath on that being ultra productive. We have construction in front of our house right now and the road is torn up -- folks have to "find" the detour to get to my drive way and I'm not sure if it would be a waste of time. Anyway -- any other thoughts from anyone out there in the blogosphere?

Easy on Paper, Harder in Real Life

June 4th, 2011 at 09:18 am

I do all my budgeting on paper and it appears to look/sound/smell/taste good but in real life it is a lot harder to make it work. I suspect it is b/c I'm not allocating enough money in addition to the fact that we ALWAYS have something pop up for that month. These little suprises have thrown my debt reduction plan off track b/c I'm regularly saving LESS to put towards debt. But I have a new plan now -- a 'take no prisioners' plan that will help me say NO b/c the money will NOT be there.

Original plan - stockpile money. I thought to save up about $3700 a month in my savings account to pay off the car in Sept/Oct timeframe -- in one lump sum. The problem is b/c that money is just 'sitting there' it is easy to pilfer from it. No more my friends -- that money will now go as a 'car payment' and it will be OUT of the JMONEY household system so we can no longer take $50 here, $100 there, etc.

I will only keep the $1,000 emergency fund and that will put things in very real perspective for me. You see, drastic measures are almost always necessary for me to get with the Gosh Darn plan that I put together.

wish me luck :-)