2015 Recap! ($72,307)

So I’ve already posted something close to a final loan payoff figure for the year, but I do need to provide the final amount).

In 2015, I paid off (approximately) $20,671 in student loan principal!

(Puzzle still to come — I’ll be honest, it would have only been 4 more pieces from the last post,so close to a quarter of the way there–the math is like 4.92 puzzle pieces or something–but not quite)

But wait, that’s not all. There are a few other financial milestones I’ve made this year, that I haven’t given their proper due all year.

401(k) Contributions

This year, I contributed $10,574 to my company 401(k).  Because I just became partially vested in some of my company’s matching and other contributions, I also became entitled to another (approximately) $2,000.  My total amount vested as of today is $19,610.

Roth IRA

I opened a Roth IRA earlier this year, and tried to put about $200 a month into it. Once things are more settled in 2016, I might see if there is a way to direct deposit into this account, instead of having to do a transfer (which gives me the opportunity to transfer it elsewhere).  But for now, my balance is $2,843.

HSA Contributions

With the baby coming and Mike’s eye surgery, I actually spent a huge chunk out of my HSA this year, and have almost met my deductible for the year (I might actually hit this once I get all of this year’s bills). But I contributed the maximum of $6,050 this year (plus $600 coming from my employer), and ended the year (as of now) with $3,761 in the account.  Up from $2,638 last year.

Mortgage Payments

I round my monthly payments up to the nearest $100 and send the extra to principal.  This is around an extra $40 a month.  Doing this for the last year and a half has cut three months off of my payment schedule. Doesn’t seem like much, but every time I do it, it helps more and more.  Total we’ve paid $3,085 in loan principal this year.  I’d estimate our equity in the house to be about $14,000, which assumes the house is worth exactly what we paid for it–I feel pretty confident that with the minor improvements we’ve made, and the housing market generally, it’s probably worth more than what we paid, so I think this is pretty conservative.

When I’m able to calculate my net worth through Mint, it doesn’t include any of these items.  Total they add up to $40,214 that I should conceivably be including in my net worth (though I prefer to see the more conservative number).  If I had included these, my net worth would be ($32,093).*  This number might be even be positive in a year.

(*caveat: I don’t include my hubby’s separate accounts here, again to be conservative, and because I don’t like to think of his money as accessible, even when it is. With that said, the money in the house account is as much his as it is mine, and ditto for the equity in the house.)

That’s not so bad.  I was feeling pretty down today about my ever-dwindling savings, but this helps me see how much progress I’ve made over the past year (and last couple years). Doesn’t mean I don’t have a LOT of budgeting work to do, but I need to not be so hard on myself.


Attempts to Be Responsible with Bonus Money… ($90,455)

FULL DISCLOSURE:  I wrote this post Friday morning on train into work.  I planned on posting last night-ish, after cleaning it up and adding a picture or two (because who wants to look at just words?)  Buuuut I was told my bonus number at work on Friday, so they’ll be a post to follow on that next month.  But until then, here’s some ramblings on retirement:

We had to make our 401k and HSA elections for our bonuses. The thing is, I have no idea how much said bonus is, so I’m not really sure how I should be electing.

My idea was to put my estimated maximum into my HSA (assuming I move to a better plan in September, which would mean I would only be able to contribute the pro-rated maximum for the year), and nothing into my 401k. I have since realized the my company matches 3% of compensation, and not 3% of salary…so I assume this means a match on the bonus too? I might lower my 401k contributions for the rest of the year (or at least until September) to balance it out, as I was planning on saving “the rest” to pay for the wedding. Whatever “the rest” might be. Hopefully I’ll find that out next week. And, even more so, hopefully it’s a big number.

As much as I was planning to use all this money for the wedding, I can’t say no to the match, right? I try to calculate approximately what it might be, and I think, “a 3% match isn’t that much…” But I’m 31 now, and didn’t start contributing to retirement AT ALL until 2014. I need all the compounding I can get. I’m not yet contributing 15% to retirement because of all my bills (including my desire to pay off student loans), but I think at last check I’m at 9% into my 401k, 1% into a savings (to be put into my newly opened Roth IRA), and my company puts in 2% into my 401k per year, on top of the match. So, assuming it all gets vested, at least 15% will go towards retirement.

Realizing I’m starting late, I want to make sure that we have a comfortable retirement. As in, not just making sure we have enough to live on, but enough to travel. Including going south for the winter. I can’t handle all this snow (though the man may take some convincing on this point). I’m not going to be one of those people who retires really early–it’s a little late for that–but could 55 be doable? Maybe?

Can you see the two feet of snow?  Do you understand why I want to be a snowbird?  And I obviously was not going outside to take this picture…

Good News/Bad News ($101,050)*

* First, I should preface that my net worth here is a guesstimate–I have a $585 credit card charge that hasn’t posted yet, and it feels disingenuous to exclude it. It would be a different story if it was $50, but it’s not. The charge is for my sister’s baby shower, and almost exactly offsets the extra paycheck for working four short days as a temp.

Next, the bad news: none of my discretionary deductions came out of my first paycheck at the official job. This means no 401(k) contribution (yet) so that account will stay at $0. It’s also means no money in my HSA, and potential for additional catch-up deductions in my next paycheck. I hate how long it’s taken to get everything set up here.

Now for the good news: my paycheck was about $400 more than I was hoping it would be with all my planned-for deductions. What to do with that extra money…? PAY OFF UG2! I scheduled a payment for Monday for $638, which should kill that loan, and leave me with a measly 7 student loans open! I’m really hoping that clearing this amount out of my bank account will mean less wasteful spending for the rest of the month.

What do you do with extra money when you don’t have debt?