I can't believe it's 2015, and 3 months have gone by since I last posted. Resolution #1 is to get back in the habit of writing more! I fixed some problems with the site template that had been bothering me for a while, so maybe that will encourage me to stop by more often. So what's new? Here's a few broad strokes. My mom has her house on the market. After a few months, she hasn't had any bites. She missed the best time of year last spring when families would have had a chance to close the deal in time to get their kids in the local school by the start of the fall. Also, the house is probably overpriced. It's a strange market with not too many good comps in her price range, but I think what it comes down to is that it's a small, crummy house even if it's been nicely decorated and has a big yard. It's not the kind of house families want nowadays. So I am trying not to say "I told you so" about all my mom's renovations that she swore would increase the value of the house. She probably would have been better off selling it as a tear-down. But she has at least gotten a few years of enjoyment out of the work she's had done. And from what I could tell from snooping around on my last visit, she isn't running up any credit card debt yet, though I worry that will start to happen soon since I think most of the savings are gone. I continue to save my own pennies and did pretty well this year. I first hit the million dollar net worth milestone back in June and despite fluctuations in the stock market, have managed to keep my net worth at or above that level every month since except for one, when it dipped to $999,827 in September. As of the end of 2014, my net worth was $1,027,750. One interesting thing I noticed was that I made more from dividends and capital gains distributions from investments this year than I was making in salary about 15 years ago-- around $50,000! And my net savings for the year were over $90,000. I spent more in some areas than the previous year (food), but cut back in others (travel). But it's hard to gauge my spending accurately against previous years because Sweetie and I keep adjusting how we share expenses. I'm paying for Sweetie's health insurance now too. Sweetie hasn't worked in over a year and is just living off savings. It's fine for now, and it's been more of a voluntary sabbatical than actually trying and failing to find a job, but that will most likely change in the coming year-- by which I mean I hope it changes to employment, rather than a desperate and unsuccessful search for employment! I've been happy to support my Sweetie in this endeavor and we are extremely fortunate in not having to have made too many lifestyle adjustments, at least not yet, but I must confess I kind of preferred how it was before when we felt even more secure and relaxed about the occasional luxury! It will be interesting to see how things go once Sweetie gets serious about looking for a new job... There's so much more to write about-- thoughts about my own job history, the economy, friends and family, books I've read, catching up on long-past things like selling my condo! I will try to tackle them soon. But in the meantime, I am grateful to everyone who continues to check in here, and I feel incredibly fortunate that my own financial story continues to be a happy one despite so much difficulty in the world around me.
Monday, January 05, 2015
Saturday, September 27, 2014
I went to Home Depot the other day to buy a plant as a gift for someone. I figured I could find something inexpensive but cheerful there. But I have been very leery of Home Depot since hearing about their credit card data breach, and the questionable cyber-security practices that led up to it, so I went there fully intending to pay cash for whatever I bought, and wondered if I would see other customers doing the same.
Wednesday, September 03, 2014
Finally, Quicken has released an update for Mac users! This is meant to be a full version to replace Quicken for Mac 2007, with more functionality than Quicken Essentials for Mac. Unfortunately, it sounds like Intuit has failed once again to keep Mac users happy. The new software is getting pretty terrible reviews on Amazon. And it's not cheap! $74.95! Even against my better judgment, I was curious to try it because it will sync with a new Quicken iphone app, but I'd be resigning myself to more manual data entry because the Quicken for Mac 2015 doesn't allow import of QIF files, which is all that some of my accounts offer for downloading transactions.
As long-time readers of this site may remember, being able to enter transactions in a PDA or smartphone and sync with a desktop app has always been a big priority for me. It's a big part of how I track my finances, and I think tracking my finances down to the last penny is a big part of how I stay on track with my savings goals. I used to use a few different Palm apps, including Pocket Quicken. When I moved to the iPhone, I started using PocketMoney, which was the only app I could find that would "sync" with Quicken. I say that in quotation marks because the process is not a one-click sync, it's a rather complicated back and forth process, where you transfer a QIF file of recent transactions from iPhone to desktop, and then transfer a full restore of your updated accounts, transactions and balances back to the iPhone via another QIF file. But even if a bit time-consuming, it worked quite well... until now.
I finally upgraded my iPhone OS to iOS7. I had to be dragged kicking and screaming, because I preferred the look of iOS6 and was afraid a new OS would slow down my phone, but eventually, so many of my apps started to be incompatible that I figured I might as well do it. Fortunately my phone is working fine, but PocketMoney is now much more prone to crashing and has some weird issues, such as the keyboard covering fields where you'd want to read what you're typing. It still functions, though it's somewhat annoying to have to scroll to where you can see what you're entering. And the crashes make me worry that I'll lose data. Unfortunately the original developer of PocketMoney died a while ago, and his successors at the company don't seem to be keeping the software up to date. It's a shame, as there still doesn't seem to be any real alternative for my situation!
It's a shame-- I was all excited about a new version of Quicken, and then so disappointed when I saw the scathing reviews. Check it out on Amazon.
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Travel is just designed to piss people off nowadays. They charge you for food. They charge you for baggage. They charge you for extra legroom. And now they are stooping to a new low: they charge you extra to not be in a middle seat!! To me, this is truly obnoxious. (I am not sure how many airlines are doing this, but KLM is, and I'm sure others will soon catch on.)
Friday, July 04, 2014
Today is the day-- a cold and wet and dreary July 4th, when I should be celebrating the birth of our nation by sunning myself and eating hot dogs but am instead huddled indoors catching up on my finances. And because today is the day I decided to pay attention to 6 months' worth of investment transactions, today is the day I became a millionaire. In truth, it probably happened on a different day, but today is the day I first saw it in my net worth report in Quicken:
It looks like the sky is starting to lighten up a bit, so maybe it's finally time to turn off the laptop and start celebrating July 4th in a more typical way! Happy Independence Day, everyone!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
For the last few months, I have had a very pleasant problem: approximately $150,000 in cash sitting in my savings account. Most of this is from the proceeds of selling my condo, plus a little growth from savings and interest. I have been holding off on any big investment decisions for a while, partly out of pure laziness and partly because there are some possibilities floating around for how to use the money.
Friday, June 13, 2014
At a family party recently, one of my aunts took me aside to say she had something very important to give to my sister and me. This was the aunt for was the executor of Great Aunt Minnie's estate. And sure enough, there turned out to be some additional inheritance funds coming to us! My aunt had finally rolled all the coins that Minnie had kept in a jar, and after taking them to the bank, there must have been about $30. My aunt handed me a little envelope with my sister's and my name on it, and inside there were two silver dollars (the old ones with JFK in them) and 3 dollar bills. My sister and I each kept 1 coin, and I let her have 2 of the dollar bills, since neither of us had change... And, well, she's got a family to support and all...