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Archive for July, 2012

Long term goal has been met -

July 31st, 2012 at 05:43 pm

The past month has been terribly busy with GF staying for 3 weeks, son for 2 weeks, air flights, lots of travel, lots of amusement parks, lots (and lots!) of swimming, so other than my automatic retirement saving, the rest of my money seems to have flittered away this past month. Oh well, this is the one month of the year it happens, and it will hopefully be the last major expenses for the remainder of the year.

Given that, as I am coming up on 50 yrs old, it was time to see if I was making my ultimate long term goal. That is:

I want to have $250,000 in my retirement accounts before my 50th birthday.

I came up with that goal 3 years ago, and today I went into my accounts to check on their status. 457 plan => $203k. Roth IRA => $52k. Add them up and I get $255,000+ in my accounts. I have other savings too, but I wanted just them to make up my quarter million, and they have done it. Of course with market swings they could go down again, but they were there at least for one day.

I came up with that amount because even if I don't save more that amount should double by the time I want to retire (12 years), and at that time I will have a pension (~ 40% of my final income), Social Security (~ 25% of my current income), and a safe withdrawl rate of 4% (~ 20% of my final income) so between the three of them (~ 85-90% of normal income) I will be able to get by just fine, especially with no debts.

Time to go celebrate (or at least to take a nap!)

Plums, On the Grid, and Working Towards Independence on Independence Day

July 4th, 2012 at 10:10 am

OK, where to start. First, I survived the power outages here on the East Coast - thankfully I was without power for *only* 30 hours. In 100 degree temps - ugh! Couldn't this have happened on a weekday? If it had, at least I could have gone in to work and enjoyed the A/C there! I did go to the mall, and every available outlet was filled with someone's phone charger!

My plum jam experiments have been interesting. One batch came out with a sweet/tart flavor, the others were fairly sweet. My girlfriend tried making plum bread (so/so to my taste), so I modified it in the past week and did two more loaves. The first one was great, the last one not as good. But in any case, doing this has kept my food costs down, as I haven't been buying as much at the grocery store. There are still more plums in the fridge - I'm not sure if I want to experiment more at this point, or toss out what's left. Hmmmm....

=== Frugality Items ===

Yard sales have been interesting. I haven't gotten as many things this year, but I *have* gotten some great items for me, my girlfriend, some relatives, and for resale. Two weeks ago I bought a small lot of ViewMaster reels for $1. So far I've listed about half on ebay for minimum bids of $30. From prior yard sale finds I sold a DVD set I got for $1.25 for $12 on Half.com as well as a few other books (for a few dollars). My online sales have been paying for everthing I have gotten at yard sales so far - gotta love it.

For myself I've been finding various classic Pyrex dishes lately. Not that I am into cooking (my jam experiements not counting), but I like the retro look, and go with my "retro" (so to speak) hobbies. It's funny, my girlfriend jokes that she won't be able to ever break up with me because it would be a shock to her system to lose access to all the great cookware I have. There *IS* a method to my madness Smile.

Also last weekend I found some classic toy trains (one of my hobbies) at a great price (yeah I was shocked). I am selling the pieces I don't want for what I paid, which will allow me to keep what I want and pay $0. Yep, that'll work!

Yesterday I went to CVS and got 4 2-liter Coke bottles for $2.20 (sale & coupon). I then got more coupons on my receipt, so with a little online research to find more coupons I was able to put together the following purchase...

For a grand total of $10.09 today I got:
* Large Crest Toothpaste
* 4 bottles of Coke
* 2 bottles of Physician Formula Anti Wrinkle creme (ok, maybe not that important for a guy, but if I can get it for free... why not?)
* 2 Old Spice Deodorant
* Bottle of Dawn dish detergent
* $10 gas gift card

Basically I got everything except the gift card for free. Hey, its Independence Day - this will help me towards my financial independence.

=== On the financial front ===

Speaking of independence, my Roth IRA is now up over $50,000 which I think is great. While not everything in it are dividend producers, I checked this quarter and the annual dividend rate is now running at about $1,100 in the Roth. While I won't be able to retire off of what my Roth will be producing, if I can get it to produce $2,500 by the time I *do* retire that will be a nice tax free cash flow.

I went to the dentist office last week and they agreed with my calculations and are supposed to be sending me a $300 refund from overpayments. I live a mile away and no check has appeared though. Ugh. If it doesn't show up soon I may need to make another trip there. Grrr...

=== Lastly --- For My Health ===

My daily workouts have continued. The girlfriend thinks I am losing weight, but really I am just redistributing it. It is nice to feel healthy, though I do have some aches from the weightlifting.