Monthly Archives: July 2015

Interview with Even Steven Money (My First!)

My buddy Even Steven Money has been gracious enough to ask me to be a part of his financial independence interview series. This is actually my first interview as Fervent Finance so I was quite humbled and excited! This is the first interview I’ve done, but it will definitely not be the last.

Here is the link to my interview. I hope you enjoy the interview and your weekends!

Sunshine Blogger Award

First off I’d like to say a great, big “thank you!” to FI Big Sky and Slowly Sipping Coffee for nominating me for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Mr. and Mrs. FI are a married couple living under the Big Sky and working in finance, while on their journey to financial independence. Mr. and Mrs. SSC are geologists in H-town, have children, and are also on their journey to financial independence. I enjoy both of their blogs and would definitely suggest you check them out. Now onto the questions!

  1. What dish would you choose for your last meal? This is a tough one since I love ALL food! I’m a huge fan of anything from burgers and pizza to a nice filet or fancy Italian. But if I had to pick my last meal, I think it would have to be Chicken Parmigiana. Hopefully that chicken breast is pounded to a pulp, add some angel hair spaghetti and extra sauce and voilà. Pair that with a nice bottle of red and follow it with some ice cream from a local dairy farm, and OH BABY!
  2. How many screens (TV/phone/tablets/etc) do you own – what are they and do you use them regularly? I have an iPhone 6 (work paid for), iPad that I bought myself years ago for passing the CPA exam (I rarely use it and should probably give it away to a good cause or sell it), laptop (work paid for), and a TV in my bedroom and living room. I don’t watch as much TV as I used to but I love watching some Seinfeld or HGTV right before going to bed. I also watch some SportsCenter or CNBC while eating my cereal in the morning.
  3. Do you have pets, want pets or are pets not your thing? No pets! I love pets, as long as they are other people’s. I had dogs and a cat growing up and loved them, but now I travel a lot and can be at work for over 12 hours some days and it wouldn’t be fair to the pets. And I sure as hell ain’t paying for doggy daycare.
  4. What kind of climate do you prefer to live in? I love spring and fall. My favorite temperature range is 50 to 75 degrees. I grew up and still live in the northeast which blesses me with four great seasons. I’m just not a big fan of the temperature extremes, hot or cold.
  5. Do you have something you can’t live without – what is it and why? This one is embarrassing, but I’ll be honest and say it’s my laptop. I would have said iPhone, but I do so much more on my laptop. I work, track finances, write for my blog, read blogs, reddit, plan travel, buy things off Amazon, look at Zillow, etc. It’s just crazy to think about how much information is at our finger tips, and I try to take advantage of it to widen my knowledge base.
  6. What’s your idea of a great date night? Sorry lady readers but Mr. FF is in a relationship 🙂 We like to mix it up and rarely do the same thing. She lives in a lower cost of living area so we tend to get sushi once every time I visit. We also like to cook (refer back #1), go on walks, get froyo or ice cream, go to the beach, and whatever strikes our fancy that day. I’d be lying if I said a couple brewskis weren’t consumed in those activities.
  7. What did you want to be when you grew up? A stockbroker. In 5th grade we participated in a stock market project and visited the NYSE on a field trip. The following year, my 6th grade teacher told us a story of his friend who lived in Manhattan, would get picked up every morning in a limousine and get driven down to his highfalutin job on Wall Street. From those two experiences I was mesmerized by anything involving the stock market.
  8. What is your favorite superhero and why? If you don’t have one, why not? I never got into comics or Marvel characters, so I’d say Superman for sure. Growing up Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman was on all the time and I loved Dean Cain and Terri Hatcher.
  9. Who is your favorite author? Right now Michael Lewis hands down. I’d have to recommend Liar’s Poker, The Big Short, and Flash Boys.
  10. What person has had the biggest influence on your life? I don’t think I could point to one person being the biggest influence on my life, but it has been a collection of people that I have had the experience of knowing personally, and also reading about. I try to take other people’s experiences and pick the path and traits that I know would fit me best. This includes being influenced by relatives, friends, other bloggers, and celebrities such as Warren Buffet, Mark Cuban, etc.
  11. What’s your favorite comfort food when it’s a chill night at the house? Refer to #1 above 🙂

Rules: 

  • Thank the person who nominated you
  • Answer the questions from the person who has nominated you
  • Nominate some other bloggers for this award
  • Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you have nominated
  • Notify the bloggers you have nominated

Nominees:

Action Economics
Adam Chudy
The Lifestyle Accountant

Questions for nominees:

  1. If you had to have a traditional 9-5 job for the rest of your life, what would you choose do?
  2. Index funds, real estate, dividend growth stocks, or something else?
  3. Favorite beer?
  4. If you have a significant other, how important is their view on your financial independence goals to you?
  5. If you were to move abroad, what country would it be to and why?

Thanks everyone, looking forward to your responses!

2015 Mid-Year Goals Review

Back in April I set my Millionaire To-Do List which was a list of goals that would help me become a millionaire someday, preferably sooner than later. Even though I did not get that post published until April, most of the goals had been in my mind since the end of 2014. I thought it would fun to do a half year update to see how far I had progressed in 2015. Below were my seven goals and my progress against them thus far.

  1. Max out pre-tax 401k – Contributions through June 30th are $10,200 ($8,800 of my own contributions + $1,400 of employer match). Employer contributions don’t count to the $18,000 2015 IRS limit, so I have about $9,200 left to go. With my set contribution percentage I should get there sometime in November. PASS
  2. Max out Roth IRA – Contributions through June 30th are $8,000 ($5,500 for 2014 year + $2,500 for 2015 year). The IRS lets you contribute to an IRA up until April 15th of the following year. I did not contribute to an IRA in 2014, so I had three and a half months to max out my 2014 IRA, which I did by March (woo-hoo!). So far I have contributed $2,500 towards my 2015 limit, and therefore have $3,000 left to contribute before it is maxed out. According to my calculations, I’ll get there in September. PASS
  3. Max out my HSA – Contributions through June 30th are $1,550 ($1,300 of my own contributions + $250 employer). My employer chips in $500 a year spread out over my 26 paychecks, and employer contributions do count towards the IRS limit of $3,350 for 2015. According to my calculations I’ll wind up $250 short of maxing this account out in 2015, unless I’m able to change my contribution at the end of the year. TBD
  4. Pay off my student loans – I’ve cut back on my student loan pay-down this year since I’m only left with loans at 3%. I’ve concentrated more on getting my Roth IRA maxed out this year. Paying off my student loans is one goal I’m not sure I’ll succeed with this year. My loans used to give me agita, but that was when the interest rates of my loans were higher. I’m fine paying these down slowly, and padding my investments in the meantime. FAIL, but on purpose 🙂
  5. Never finance a car again – Well I’m still living in Manhattan, and still car-less so this one is a big, fat PASS.
  6. Save at least 75% of every raise and bonus – No raise or bonus so far this year, those are due in September. But this is definitely still the plan. I’m actually going to shoot for 90% at least this year. TBD
  7. Once all tax advantaged accounts are maxed out for the year, begin funneling all savings into my after-tax brokerage account – Well unfortunately I haven’t maxed out all my tax advantaged accounts yet, so this takes a back seat to that. I have started selling some of my individual stock holdings, as long as it won’t penalize me from a tax perspective and moving the money over into my Vanguard account, but this is just a wash on the net worth statement. TBD

So far 2015 has been great. I’ve done a ton of traveling for work and personal, while still hitting my savings goals. Hopefully the second half of 2015 will be just as great. With all the traveling I’ve been doing I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to write for the blog, but I am hopeful this will change once summer comes to a close.

In the past six months my net worth has grown almost $20k and I plan on beating that in the second half of the year (as long as Mr. Market is nice to FF). I also feel a big personal finance milestone coming up in the next few months, so be on a lookout for a post about that!

How has 2015 treated your bottom line so far? How are you tracking against your goals? Anything happened along the way to cause revisions?