GI Jane Finances

March 31, 2010

Ideal life

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 8:43 pm

I just booked my trip to Phuket, Thailand.  I am so excited…it will be my first solo trip anywhere.  My friends are either too broke or already have plans that do not entail travelling to Asia.  I found when I went to China and Kyoto, people were easy to meet through the tours we did.  I booked a room at my favorite hotel–the Westin.  Westin had a nice promotion that included a free breakfast.  The Westin must be pretty popular because it was sold out until June.  The hotel is $732 for 4 nights and flight $600.  My co-worker at my last job stayed there and loved it.  I decided to not use my vacation fund even though there is enough in the account.

Can’t wait!

March 28, 2010

The Politician

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 10:00 am

I devoured the book The Politician by Andrew Young.  There were a couple of misspellings, I guess in a rush to publish.  Andrew took his time telling how he became John Edward’s staffer.  We do not get to Rielle until half way into the book.  John Edwards was a successful trial lawyer who became North Carolina’s senator, then ran for president two times and John Kerry’s running mate in  04.  I was devastated when John Kerry/John Edwards lost.  It was the first time I had ever voted.  I remember trying to swallow the defeat in front of my cadets who were enthusiastically Republicans.  So, I was very much an Edwards fan.  According to the book, both Kerry and Edwards hated each other.  But Edwards proved to be such a fundraiser and appealed to the southern states.  In 2008, with Obama and Clinton–I first went with Clinton and then soon attached myself to Obama.  Edwards also got rid of David Axelrod…idiot!

Now, we get to Rielle who Edwards met in 2006 outside of the Regency hotel.  Rielle was unemployed and living at a friend’s house for free.  Prior to that, she was living in a car.  It turns out she is the daughter of a successful lawyer who turned into a fraudster by killing prize horses for insurance money.  Her dad even killed her prized horse Henry the Hawker.  Rielle’s crazy days in her twenties inspired a character of a book (which I also ordered).  This is the woman the John Edwards took up with prior to and during his run for presidency.  She sleeps with him the first night.  Andrew portrays her as constantly pumping up Edwards already large ego with “it is good to be king.”  Andrew helps Edwards carry out the affair until it imploded with the National Enquirer stories.

Andrew is not a very sympathic character.  Other staffers came and went.  I agree with Rielle’s assessment from the GQ article of Andrew.  Andrew was in love with Edwards.  Cheri, Andrew’s wife, is a complete angel for not divorcing him.  Andrew does not say how much he was getting paid, but he pretty much sold his soul to Edwards.  It is estimated that he received about $700,000 of Bunny Mellon’s money (donor to the campaign) in covering up the affair.  Edwards kept him on his payroll for ten years. I am sure Elizabeth Edwards was a shrill, but he ingratiated himself onto John from the very start.  In the end, Andrew writes the book because he needs money.  Andrew was still trying to set up a poverty fund with Bunny’s money as a job for himself in return for covering up the affair.  I do not sense any deep reflection on his part except for his dad’s fall from grace as a highly respected preacher.  The book was like a John Grisham tale. I am surprised no one died as part of the many political schemes.  It is still not over.  We will see if John Edwards gets indicted and what will happen with the sex tape.

GI Jane

March 24, 2010

A Good Read

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:11 am

It is so nice to see tiny balances on my credit cards.  I have been using primarily my debit card for the past month.  Using debit cards really have reduced my spending dramatically.  The AMEX balance of $35 is from the purchase of two books.  One, I will write a review on in the next couple of days.  The Politician, by Andrew Young, has proven itself to be a good read.  I decided to turn off the TV and log off the internet for the past couple of days.  And I love it…the silence allows me to be completely immersed into my book. 

I am also dreaming about when and where I will take leave.  Trying to go to Jeju island in April with a sponsored group, but it may be postponed.  Not sure about Jamaica in July.  I need to be in Phucket with a good book on the beach.  More to follow on that…

GI Jane

March 19, 2010

LOL

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 9:52 pm

Courtesy of Punch Debt in the Face

March 13, 2010

More good news

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 9:16 am

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10068/1041225-84.stm#ixzz0hrq43Qfz

 
I am still in shock over the bleak statistics.  I think that was what bothered me the most about spending $1,600 for my father’s trip–the “live for the day mentality.”  However, I am confident that will be the last time he thinks of lavish gifts. A lot of  Black folks feel that going on yearly vacations, jewelry and buying expensive are symbols of wealth rather than what is on the balance sheet.   The “bling bling” mantra repeated in hip hop videos/songs is not making matters any better.  I swear, if I had purchased a Mercedes or BMW, my parents would have felt I “arrived.”  Blacks are not alone in thinking that…it crosses all races.  But as you can see, the wealth gap is a chasm.
 
GI Jane

March 11, 2010

What in the blazes?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — gijanefinances @ 8:18 pm

Wow…I did a complete double-take looking at those figures.  We got to do better.

New Report Exposes

Report from the Insight Center for Community Economic Development

WASHINGTON –Women of color face an enormous wealth gap when compared to the rest of society, undermining their future economic security and the nation’s long-term prosperity, according to a report released on Monday to coincide with International Women’s Day. Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealth and What Can Be Done About It.The Insight Center for Community Economic Developmentis a national research, consulting and legal organization dedicated to building economic health in disenfranchised communities. Its mission is to develop and promote innovative solutions that help people and communities become, and remain, economically secure. It is leading a national effort to close the racial wealth gap in the United States for the next generation. For more information, go to http://www.insightcced.org and http://www.racialwealthgap.org.

Damaging Wealth Gap for Women of Color

Finds Single Black, Hispanic Women Own a Fraction of a Penny of Wealth

For Every Dollar Owned by Single White Women

Single black and Hispanic women are particularly hard hit, owning only a penny of wealth for every dollar owned by their male counterparts and a fraction of a penny for every dollar owned by single white women, according to the report released by the Insight Center for Community Economic Development at a Capitol Hill symposium on the economic security of women.

“Because gender and racial economic disparities have been studied separately, we have failed to recognize the daunting economic reality faced by women of color who experience the compounding negative economic effects of being both a woman and a person of color,” says the report by former Harvard associate professor Mariko Chang, author of the forthcoming book ”

“Women of all races experience a gender wealth gap that is greater than the gender income gap, but the disparities are greatest for women of color,” according to the report “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future.”

Using data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, the triennial national survey sponsored by the Federal Reserve Board, the report for the first time details the dire economic realities facing women of color. It finds:

  • Single black and Hispanic women have a median wealth of $100 and $120 respectively; the median for single white women is $41,500.
  • Nearly half of all single black and Hispanic women have zero or negative wealth, the latter of which occurs when debts exceed assets.
  • About one-third of single Hispanic women and one-fourth of single black women have no checking or savings account.
  • On reservations where unemployment rates can be as high as 70 percent, Native American women are hard pressed to fulfill “job search” requirements to qualify for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
  • While 57 percent of single white women own homes, only 33 percent of single black women and 28 percent of single Hispanic women are homeowners.
  • Only 1 percent of single Hispanic women and 4 percent of single black women own business assets compared to 8 percent of single white women.
  • While 66 percent of white men and 60.4 percent of white women receive retirement income from assets, the same is true for only 40 percent of Asian women, 25.4 percent of black women and 23 percent of Hispanic women.

Wealth – assets minus debts – is critical to allowing a person to survive financial setbacks like the loss of a job or a large, unexpected health emergency, and gives parents the ability to provide their kids a leg up in life by paying for college tuition or leaving an inheritance, says Meizhu Lui, director of the Insight Center’s Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative.

“The gender wealth gap undermines the current and future economic security of women and their children,” she says.

Structural inequities are the primary cause of the gap for women of color whose earnings are not converted to wealth as quickly because they are not linked with the “wealth escalator” of fringe benefits, favorable tax codes and valuable government benefits, according to the report.

For example, it finds, women of color are more likely to work in service occupations that usually don’t provide wealth-enhancing benefits such as retirement plans, paid sick days and health insurance.

Women of color also benefit less from tax advantages such as the home mortgage interest deduction because they are less likely to own homes – and, if they do, their homes typically have less value and appreciate less quickly.

To help close the wealth gap for women of color, the report recommends:

Targeting financial resources for education and training of women of color in sectors and occupations with high opportunities for career advancement.

Instituting a minimum benefit for the Social Security program since elderly women of color disproportionately rely on Social Security as their only source of income.

Removing asset limits from public assistance program eligibility because without assets women cannot achieve financial security and mobility.

Encouraging self-employment and small-business development by women of color by allowing micro-enterprise training to count as a job search to satisfy the requirements for unemployment benefits and the TANF program.

Collecting data on economic programs disaggregated by race, gender, and ethnicity to ensure that women of color are better served; data is particularly lacking for different Asian populations and for Native Americans.

“Providing women of color with equal opportunities to build wealth is an imperative for our nation’s economic and political future,” the report says. “As the racial demographics of the United States continue to shift and our nation becomes majority minority, letting a large group stagnate financially is not only irresponsible, but detrimental to the nation’s economic prosperity over the long run.”

This is it!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 5:03 am

The promotion board will be conducted for the next two weeks to decide whether or not I make it to the next rank.  I will also be evaluated next month for our inspection.  My performance report should be due in July.  I am ready for a vacation already!!!

RIP Corey Haim…what a waste.  I loved Lucas.  He and I are the same age.  Today, I will meet with the doctor due to my ridiculous cholesterol level.  I should have him check to see my sugar level since my dad has Type II diabetes.  Retirement planning is for naught if you can’t enjoy a good quality of life due to preventable medical issues.  Time to revamp my diet.

GI Jane

March 7, 2010

The three-legged approach

Filed under: Aim high — gijanefinances @ 9:27 am

I have a three-legged retirement strategy:

Pension:  I have a love/hate relationship with the military.  I love being able to move every 2-3 years to different places, especially overseas.  I love that my salary is not fully taxed–only base pay.  I love the “live below your means” lifestyle:  wear a uniform everyday; driving a beater is accepted and not looked down upon; free education and training; not paying for health insurance; and forced to be physically fit.  I hate having to tolerate the occasional power trips by those who outrank me. I have promised if I make promotion that no one will hear a peep from me.  However, I have risked my career several times in challenging authority…speaking “truth to power” can be kind of scary.  I have 6-7 years left.  I have a had several “take this job and shove it” moments…but they “got me,”  I can’t just walk in the next day and quit.  It is a good and bad thing.  This leg is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.

Roth/TSP: I am encouraged by the market as of late.  I remember when the Dow was at 14,000…those were the good days.  I wish my liquid cash was also $100,000.  Feeling a bit of balance envy when looking at the networth of other bloggers with matching 401ks.  If I can endure leg 1, then who cares right?

Rental:  I think this is the best decision that I have made to date. I decided last year to double the payments.  The original balance was $130,057 after refinancing it in 2003.  I had refinanced due to when I purchased the home in Dec 2001 it was at 7%.  The rate is now 5.875%.  Since it is a rental, I can’t take advantage of the current low rates.  I ran a couple of amortization calculations:

Without pre-payment the total interest paid would have been $96,017 on the remaining balance of $116,321. 

I paid $4000 extra from Dec 09 to Mar 10.  The balance is now $111,291.  According to the calculations without prepayment, I would have reached this balance next year.  In Dec of 2010, the balance will be $100,000.   If I did not pre-pay, it would have taken until 2014 to reach $100,000.  By pre-paying this year, I removed 4 freaking years of payments!

In summary,  paying $1000 more saves $71,624 in interest and reduced the terms by 16 years and 11 months.  Why would anyone want the bank to have an extra $71,624?  Not me.  Seeing how much interest Ms Salliemae would have received without killing her quickly motivated me to pay that sucker off…post haste. 

Other special interest items–

Future home:  Saved $4856 as of now. 

Future car: Not sure how much I really want to spend on that.  My used KIA and cute little cabrio (in the states) are more than enough for now.

GI Jane

March 1, 2010

Mar Networth

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:59 pm

IRA: $41,732

TSP: 51, 348

Checking: $7,857

ING: $6,675

House downpayment: $4, 856

Total:  $112,468

GI Jane

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