GI Jane Finances

February 28, 2010

This time next year…

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 8:31 pm

I will find out if I have an assignment to Europe and especially if I got promoted.  My HQ director told me I have an excellent chance for a move to Germany next year…woo hoo (will do a big happy dance if that happens)!  I have been looking forward to and dreading 2010 for a couple of years.  This blog is really more of a life journal than anything else.  Every year, I purchase a mini-notebook for my monthly budget.  I love looking at my progress or lack of discipline over time.  Lately, I have noticed that I do not run up large balances on my credit cards.  In the past, I would have about $1000 on my AMEX monthly–always paid off.  Apart from my dad’s trip this year, the credit card balances total about $200. 

Also, I have been taking advantage of eating at the club for free 3 nights out of the week.  Not really free…pay $18 monthly.  The dues are well worth it.  The club serves meals: Taco Tuesday, Pulled Pork Wednesday and etc…Membership night is once a month.  They usually have prime rib, ham and cocktail shrimp.  It is a pretty good spread.  Trying to eat more healthy.  Need to eliminate coca-cola out of my life and stop using nicorette.  I did go for a nice run outside yesterday.  The weather is wonderful now.  It is very hilly here and my body really needs the workout.  My physical fitness test is in April. 

I have so much to do between now and then.

GI Jane

February 24, 2010

Use or Lose

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 9:43 pm

I have 18 use or lose days as of Feb.  My friends joked that I do not have a life.  But I think it is misleading!  I traveled the most ever last year.  I just enjoy my TDYs (business trips).  I went to Beijing, Kyoto, Hawaii, Chicago and moved to Korea all in 2009.  Hawaii was the only out of the country TDY and did Seoul in Jan for a conference. 

 My boss told me to take 2 weeks off in April.  Actually, two weeks is too long unless it is going to different places.  I have learned one thing about myself.  I can only stand to go somewhere for 3-4 days on vacay.  By the fourth day, it gets a bit expensive and I have seen all I want to see by then to include my requisite tours/spa treatments. 

I must visit Phucket, Thailand before leaving Asia for good.  My cousin is getting married in Jamaica this July.  I am contemplating doing that since I have not been to Jamaica since 1997.  It would be a good chance to see family.  Hmmm, three weeks off in the summer sounds like a plan.

GI Jane

February 21, 2010

Marriage and Money

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — gijanefinances @ 5:24 pm

Last night, I watched the Suze Orman Valentine’s day podcast.  Even though I do not follow her concepts anymore, especially about FICO scores and being OK with good debt (student loans, mortgage and etc…), since she started me on my financial journey…I still watch her show.  She had a couple who was married, divorced and wanted to marry again.  It would be her third time around and the fourth for the guy.  She only earned $25k to his $75k.  He wanted her to sign a prenuptial again–it was a bone of contention the last time they were married.  He is responsible with money and she is not.  Of course, she wanted to remarry just for sake of survival.  Suze recommended they slow down and live together first for a year under a more equitable money system before they marry again.  I did not agree in regards to living together.  But they do need to slow down.

Then she took a call from a guy whose wife wanted him to upgrade her ring.  Suze vehemently denied the upgrade as it would deplete their emergency fund.  I completely agree with that.  I had a friend who was embarrassed by her engagement ring and made him buy a better one.  I am not a ring person.  But if a guy bought me a ring, unless it looked straight out of a cracker jack box, I would cherish it. 

I am not a very swept away kind of person.  A regular money talk with your SO that you may plan on spending your life together is critical.  My friend just got married on New Year’s eve at a very low key BBQ.  It probably cost $100.  She is like my money “idol.”  Never had any debt.  Excellent career.  Tremendous savings.  She spent about 3 1/2 years vetting the guy–who happens to be a colonel.  But I see her as a dream come true for a man who won’t feel emasculated by a successful woman. 

However, I see very much the opposite in the military, especially in Korea.  Lots of military men marry “juicy” girls or random locals.  There are some military to military couples.  It is usually the exception rather than the norm.  Being the primary breadwinner equals power in relationships.  Nevertheless, my friends and even my wonderful Korean realtor tell me that I should be married.  I agree, but with due diligence!

GI Jane

February 15, 2010

Homeowners Assistance Program

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 10:17 am

Just when I thought I could be finally eligible for a government program.  Go through all the paperwork…calling realtors, utility companies, gathering receipts.  Denied!!!!  I was about $2000 short from being able to receive $20,000 that I lost in selling my house in 2008.  It totally sucked.  Never a person to wait or not take matters in my own hands and remedy a situation.  On the flip side, I did receive about $16,000 in tax refunds by having the housing deduction.  Without it, I will only get about $661 back on my 2009 return.  I am grateful that I didn’t shortsale or get foreclosed on.   The goal, I suppose, is to not give a “loan” to the government anyway. 

I am hoping that since this will be the first year in maxing the TSP of $16,500, it should land more money in my pocket come tax time.   Still on track with other savings.

Oh and Happy Valentine’s Day and Lunar New Year!

GI Jane

February 8, 2010

My 7 year plan

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — gijanefinances @ 12:49 pm

Last week, I received my promotion recommendation form for the Lt Col board that meets next month.  The competition is pretty cut throat. Half of the people who will meet the board will receive a “definitely promote.”  The overall selection rate is 74% which sounds good, but not if you fall in the bottom 26%.  I know met plenty of “sharp” people who “have been passed” over for promotion.  The board looks at your overall record: when you completed Air Command and Staff College, stratifications, awards, school in-residence, etc… I think I am competitive.  It would be a dream come true if I get picked up.  I started my military career as enlisted in the Army National Guard–so it has been a long journey to this point.  Nevertheless, since I have been in since 1991, I would like to have a plan for the next 7 years.  I have 13 years active duty, earned an extra year from the guard–but would like to ignore that and focus on transitioning from the Air Force in 2017.  I will know at what rank in June when the results come out (eek)! 

The Plan: 

  My plan entails paying off my rental mortgage within 5 years.  I began paying double in Dec 2009.  The balance is now $112,000.  The original loan was $130,000 in 2003.  I haven’t included the equity in my networth.  The dream is to have $1200 a month pocketed in my little pockets as passive income to supplement my pension.  My property manager is a retired Chief Master Sergeant with lots of paid off property.  He paid off his first house in 7 years and continued with this method which has made him a millionaire.  I want to be like him….but for now with only one paid off house.

 

Max out the Roth IRA and TSP plan.  The TSP has been pitiful over the past 10 years.  According to the TSP.gov, all three funds:  C (-.94%) ,S (1.69%) and I (1.10%), have not really earned anything.  The only saving grace is that I enjoy a nice tax deferment (not a fan of paying taxes).  I will have to pay taxes when it comes time to withdraw, like people with a 401K, but can worry about that later.  

The Roth is the bomb!  And I do not have to worry about paying taxes on the withdrawals. 

Other savings: 

House downpayment.  Not sure where I will settle down in 7 years.  I hopefully will be hitched within 7 years .  However, I am planning for GI Jane’s solo desires until such a dude manifests himself in a real way.  I have found that I do not want a guy with more problems of my own: i.e. child support, alimony, gambling and reckless finances.  It pretty much eliminates most men in my age bracket. 

New car. I love my 99 cabrio that I left for my parents in the states to use.  It has low mileage.  Still need to plan for the replacement car in 2017. 

Vacation.  I would like to reward the end of my military service with a voyage around the world on the Queen Mary cruise ship.  I have never been on a cruise.  Love the idea of being in the lap of luxury and visiting places for a day or two.  I am a big fan of packaged tours.  I also want to learn Italian/Spanish or French.  I found study abroad courses that seem like a really cool adventure. 

I plan on tweaking and evaluating every year.  The goal is to keep my expenses low, not to succumb to any debt and aggressively save while enjoying life.  

GI Jane

February 4, 2010

February networth

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:46 am

TSP: $51,234.70

Roth: 45,637.36

Savings (emergency, car and vacation fund): $5670

Checking: $6173.71

Total: $108, 716.13

I am still waiting on my rent payment of $1100.  Paid off my dad’s trip to Jamaica.

That is all.

GI Jane

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