Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why I Haven’t Quit

Like many young professionals, I have a LinkedIn account. I am sure it is the same in other industries as well, but recruiters (or as I like to call them – head hunters) will reach out to me on a weekly basis at a minimum. Usually I blow these guys and gals off, but if the job actually sounds interesting I may ask for more information but the buck usually stops there. On top of the LinkedIn messages, some people who have left my company actually sell the company’s Outlook address book to recruiters, so you might even get phone calls as well!

What I have learned is if you are experienced and skilled in your trade or profession, there are plenty of opportunities to jump ship and go elsewhere (especially in a place like NYC), usually for more money. I have friends who are constantly in contact with recruiters trying to find the next best job. Maybe a little more pay, maybe a little better commute, maybe a little more pay, maybe a better boss, and finally MORE PAY! These people are unhappy in their current jobs usually because they are not fulfilled in their job and usually the feel they are not compensated at market value.

From these dealings with recruiters and other companies I know I could easily leave my job, and get a fairly substantial raise. I have considered it multiple times as I see the dollar signs scrolling across the front of my eyes. Of course more money equals higher savings rate and faster path to FI/RE! Luckily I let calmer heads prevail and usually do not go further than to ask for more information about these positions. At the end of the day I don’t hate my job. Do I love it and would do it for free? Hell no, but the reasons I don’t leave my current job have nothing to do with money.

The People – I’m currently in my third job of my career (but only second company) and I have met friends at each which I still keep close contact with to this day. Of course there is always that person in the office that you hope doesn’t stop you in the hallway to chit-chat, but for the most part I’ve made friends at work. Overall they have been great people who I share interests with and are just genuinely nice to be around.

Currently I have actually found myself in a lucky situation. I seem to get along with my coworkers AND my superiors. For the most part it seems like the two bosses I work for a majority of the time actually care (somewhat at least, better than don’t care at all) about my personal well being. They have been considerate with work load, allowing me to “sign-off” during PTO, invited me to their home, etc. Now I know others in my group at work aren’t as lucky and I’m therefore thankful. It took luck, but it also took me identifying who I really liked and pushing hard to work for them. At the end of the day, you do have more control over your work situation than you may think.

The Work – At the end of the day work is work. I know that leaving one job for another is not going to make me happier, because the grass is not always greener. I like numbers and being analytical but unfortunately I still have to report to management, charge my hours, fill out performance evaluations, etc., etc. Therefore I try to catch myself before getting overly excited over a perhaps “embellished” job description that might find its way into my inbox. Truth be told I currently don’t hate my work, and actually enjoy some parts of it. I’m not willing to take another job offer just because it pays more to learn that I like the work less than I currently do.

The Flexibility – My job is extremely flexible. I currently work in small teams and at times we are scattered all over the US. This makes working from home or another state very easy when I want to do some personal travel without taking PTO or just not change out of my sweat pants. For the most part, as long as I get my shit done, no one cares too much about where I’m doing it. Fridays good luck finding me in the office. The only time I come in on Fridays is when my boss dangles free lunch in front of my face and offers to take me out to a decent restaurant if I come in.

On the subject of PTO, I get a ton! I am in a profession where burnout is pretty regular and the company actually does a good job of allowing for a lot of PTO, which I definitely take advantage of. You’ll never see me losing PTO because “I’m too busy to take it.” I never felt bad for people who complained about being too busy to take PTO, because that just meant you are doing a very poor job of managing up and managing expectations. I really don’t know anyone else who gets as much PTO as me (maybe a teacher with summers off), so I’m sure if I left I would have to cut back on my away from work time which I don’t think I’d be too happy about.

I have come to the realization that if I left my job for another, it most likely wouldn’t increase my happiness. That raise wouldn’t make up for the hard work I’ve put in to build relationships and flexibility into my job. For that reason I have stayed put… so far.

What keeps you at your job? Have you jumped ship to another company recently? Could you leave for more money but choose not to?

2015 Net Worth and Expense Recap

2015 has drawn to a close. Last week I wrote about how great my year went in terms of my goals, and then discussed my 2016 financial and non-financial goals. Now I want to get into the nitty-gritty money details, since that is what everyone cares about anyways.

The last time I reported my net worth was at the end of July when my net worth crossed six figures for the first time ever. Now I’m at $120k which is about $10k higher than what I originally planned for 2015, which is great, but this also lets me know that I am bad at projecting since the equity markets were basically flat and all appreciation was due to my contributions. There are just too many variables which go into projecting your net worth that I don’t really put to much effort into the exercise. In 2016, my income WILL change, I will NOT predict equity market returns, I will NOT predict my exact savings rate, etc. And that’s just projecting 12 months out! Projecting 10 years out is just asking to be completely wrong, but I do appreciate that the exercise is educational and gives me somewhat of an idea of where I could be. But on this journey to financial independence, I’m going to concentrate on what I can control, which is mostly working hard to increase my income, monitor my expenses, and invest the difference.

123

Cash – Checking account, plus savings account, minus outstanding credit card balances.
Post-tax investments – Mix of a couple individual stocks (which I’ll most likely divest from in 2016) and Vanguard index funds in brokerage accounts.
Tax advantaged accounts – Pre-tax and Roth 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA. The Roth 401k is from previous years, I know better than to contribute to something other than pre-tax now!
Pension – I have a cash balance pension plan with my current employer that I’m fully vested in. I believe if the balance remains small I can roll into an IRA when I leave, but if it gets higher I unfortunately would have to leave it alone until standard retirement age.
Student loans – Only one left at 3% and I’ll pay this off in 2016.

Let me be honest here – I don’t do a good job of tracking my expenses and I am by no means as frugal as some in this community. Personally, I’d rather spend more effort on increasing my income instead. Throughout 2015, I just made sure my average expenses each month were below $3,000 and I left it at that. As you can see below I’ve easily exceeded that goal with total 2015 expenses of $32,056.

In December I really decided to buckle down and monitor my expenses. I’m going to do an internal monthly review in 2016 and really see where my money is going. I used Personal Capital to compile the expenses below, but I’ve noticed it isn’t always right and has double counted expenses before, so this year I want to be on top of that. Therefore I created a great excel template to track my expenses in 2016. I plan on getting my expenses below $30,000, and this will definitely be doable if my remote work arrangement plan is successful.

I won’t go into too much detail about each expense category below but I’ll talk about a few of the big ones. As you can see my rent is my largest expense by far. I live in Manhattan, but actually have a pretty good deal on a place within walking distance to work that I split with two of my friends. Travel is high due to the fact I like to travel, had some weddings to attend, and am in a long distance relationship. The “other” category is something I plan on really locking down in 2016. This is basically ATM withdrawals, expenses I didn’t want to break out on their own, and other miscellaneous items.

15 exp

I don’t include student loan payments in my expenses, because the accountant in me knows that it is all balance sheet (except for a small portion of interest). But I did paid off $6,300 of student loans in 2015, and plan on paying off the last $4,200 in 2016.

2016 is going to be a year of many changes for me, but I’m hoping to use what I learned in 2015 to earn as much as possible and invest as much as possible, all while having a great time. I plan on moving out of Manhattan in 2016 which may shift my expenses dramatically, and hopefully in a good direction. I am a person who is totally comfortable with change, and am looking forward to what 2016 has in store for me!

I know I mentioned up above that I don’t really like to project my net worth, but to have some fun I’m shooting for $180k, while keeping expenses below $30k.

Did you hit your net worth and expense goals in 2015? How closely do you monitor your expenses?