GI Jane Finances

December 30, 2010

Love and money

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — gijanefinances @ 8:54 am

I decided that this is the year for me to actively look for a mate.  I haven’t been dating for a while.  Dating in the military is very difficult.  Especially the older I get, the more drama, innuendos and gossip that comes with it.  It really takes a toll on me.  And I really hate gossip.  Since I am an officer, the pool for me to wade in is pretty small.  Nevertheless, since I am celibate, I get these bizarre proposals that do not make any sense.  Therefore, I bought Patti Stanger’s book, Be your own matchmaker, to complement my dating manual for the past four years Sherry Argov’s Why Men Love Bitches.  Argov’s book changed everything for me…it was revolutionary.

I never watched Stanger’s show on Bravo, but I think she knows what she is talking about.  What I discovered on my own is that withholding sex is a very powerful thing.  Especially, when women sleeps with men so easily and quickly these days.  It really is about self-esteem and respect.  According to Temptations of a Single Girl,”sex is like having dessert before the meal.”  Back to Stanger’s book, she talked about qualifying the buyer or suitor.  Not that I want to be celibate forever, but I have been patiently observing men for years.  Men will tell you anything, I only look at their actions.

Anyway, I did an exercise from the book about what qualities I look for in a mate:

Spiritual

1.  Believe in G-d

2.  Attend church

Physical

1. Nice teeth

2. Great hair

3. Nice build

4. Good height

Emotional

1.  Affectionate

2.  Compassionate

3.  Supportive

4.  Honest

5.  Wants to get married

Intellectual

1.  Educated

2. Well-read

Financial

1.  Saves money

2. Does not gamble

3. Earns a good living

4.  Invests well

5.  Generous (not a miser)

5 non-negotiables

1.  Gambles

2.  Not well-read or educated

3. Bad teeth

4.  Not commitment oriented

5.  Does not make a good living

So, now I plan on going on my dating detox from now until March.  Dating detox means that I will pretty much “date myself” for three months.  My job will make it difficult to date anyone from Feb-Mar.  I also want to avoid starting anything around any romantic holiday.  Plus, I am moving in June, so I should wait until after I move.  But I really like Stanger’s suggestion of taking up golf because that is where men congregate.   I never had any interest in golf before.  I should have had an interest in golf, it is good for your career.  I have no idea why I resisted learning. I will start in March and continue at my next base.  She also mentioned training for a marathon.  I should have done that too, especially at my last base, when I was asked to.  What an idiot!

I have been a complete slacker in this area of my life.  I really think I am a commitment phobe.  My parents, even though they are still together, had a marriage from hell.  All of my siblings are single with no plans not to be. I am putting out counterproductive energy unintentionally.  I think just like how I paid attention to my finances, positive changes occurred, the same needs to happen in my love life.

Here’s to 2011!

GI Jane

December 28, 2010

Retirement and banking woes

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 3:16 pm

Interesting read called “Retirement Crisis: Baby Boomer Near 65 with Retirements in Jeopardy”

CHICAGO — Through a combination of procrastination and bad timing, many baby boomers are facing a personal finance disaster just as they’re hoping to retire. Starting in January, more than 10,000 baby boomers a day will turn 65, a pattern that will continue for the next 19 years. more at the jump…

Three interesting points:

The article stated that folks in their 50’s and 60’s had about $150,000 saved. 

It also said that most boomers are taking their social security as early as 62 years old.

According to the article:  Mortgage Debt. Nearly two in three people age 55 to 64 had a mortgage in 2007, with a median debt of $85,000.

My parents fortunately defied all three arguments.  My parents are reaching 66 years next year.  My mother said to me the other day that 66 years old is a milestone. 

Me: “Why, wasn’t 65 years a milestone already?” 

Mom:  “Sure, but now we can take social security!” 

Duh…good for them for not taking it at 62 years old.  I am sure they wanted to.  Plus, my parents saved around $400,000 or more.  Not the $1 million I would like to see, but like the article stated, this past decade was completely lost.  They have about $41,000 in a mortgage for their primary home.  However, they have a paid off “retirement” home in Florida.  Their primary house is not underwater and has about $200,000 in equity.  Not bad for Jamaican immigrants.

BREAK   BREAK

Yesterday, I received a notice from Chase that my account will be charged $12 a month starting in February if I do not do one of the following:

  • Direct deposit $500 or more
  • Keep an average balance of $5000 or more
  • Keep a minimum balance of $1,500 or more
  • Or pay $25 in account fees 

Those bastards!    The Chase account is the only one I have available for my property manager to deposit money into.  I may have to do one of those things or close the account.  I am really annoyed by this…it already takes  7-10 days for me to get my money.  I do not want to give the property manager access to my primary account.  I trust him with my life, but not his assistants. 

Happy birthday to me!

GI Jane

December 26, 2010

New Year’s resolutions AKA goals

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 8:21 pm

Hey y’all.  Inspired by fabulously broke.com, it is time to list my financial goals for 2011.  It will be a little challenging since I will move this summer.  Also, with a move in the military, it causes your pay to fluctuate up or down.  Let’s hope that it is up!  Oh, it looks like we will get a piddly 1.4% raise.  Never thought I would see the day that we would get 1.4%.  I guess that would allow me to lower my percentage for the TSP from 19% to 18%.  Anyway, here it goes:

  • Save $9,600 for my house down payment fund.  An interesting side effect: It has been fun day dreaming where I will settle down.  One day it is San Antonio, another it is Miami!
  • Save $3,600 for a new car.  Really have not been day dreaming about cars.  Occasionally, I yearn for a BMW or a mini-cooper.  But for the most part I see it as a mode of transportation to get me from point A to point B.
  • Save $5,000 to max out my Roth.
  • Save $16,500 in my TSP.  This year is the first year that I have maxed it out.
  • Pre-pay my rental mortgage monthly for a total of $12,576.  This is also the first year that I pre-paid my mortgage.  I wanted to skip a month or two, but didn’t.  The one thing about my personality is that when I commit to do something, especially on auto-withdrawal, I hate to tinker with it.  I am rigid that way.  Look forward to when the balance is zero!
  • Save $200 a month for vacation.  I overspent this account by $1,000.  I was determined to fly first-class round trip to Chicago.  Since my credit card didn’t have a lot of points to start with, I had to spend more for the upgrade.  I now have the requisite points for an upgrade.  We will see how I will do in 2011.
  • Save $6,000 in an emergency fund.  I would like to see at least $20,000 in this account eventually.  Once I reach that, I will reallocate the $500 to the house down payment fund.

There you have it…I pray 2011 will be as or more prosperous than 2010.

Happy Holidays!

GI Jane

December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 9:19 pm

I had a low-key Christmas this year.  My friend had a nice party for all of the unaccompanied folks.  She inspired me to cook prime rib with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Very yummy.  She also made a really nice tiramisu.  I liked how she accessorized her apartment.  I have always been reluctant to nail pictures and sconces on a rental, since it is not my house.  I did put up curtains because I like to sleep in pitch darkness.  She invited her “stalker” who showed up several hours late.  I felt bad for the guy…her co-workers were murmuring that nickname when he walked in.  She had been complaining that he is interested in being her boyfriend.  She just went through a bad divorce, so she is not in the mood of entertaining a “relationship.” He seemed nice though.  Who knows, she may end up marrying the guy.

My favorite money message board is shutting down in January.  The msn money board has really helped me in the past.  When I was selling my house, they told me to stop paying off my student loans and pile up cash for closing.  That advice was so spot on!  One poster is even arranging a farewell party in California.  I am kind of sad because I have been on and off that board for about 6 years!  That board has helped so many people…I do not know where to go now?

Have a blessed holiday!

GI Jane

December 19, 2010

The Incredibles

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 9:03 am

Things have been crazy here the last week!   I finished my Christmas shopping already.  My mother said that the card I sent for my brother arrived there opened.  Thankfully, his check for and Subway/Starbucks gift cards were still in there!

I turn the big 3-9 in nine days.  Do not know what I want to do for that.  I have a feeling this year will be “my dreams come true year.” As I look back over the year, 38 very much sucked!  My assignment over here has been very eventful professionally–it will end this summer.  The 2-year assignment before here was very eventful personally and financially. I was going through the upheavals in the markets and trying to sell my house from 07-08.  Sold it Nov 2008.  It sucked out a great deal of dollars.  My romantic life went through some stupid drama of it own and pretty much imploded when I moved to Korea.  I think professionally I have accomplished more than the one in a half years here that would have taken me in three or four years.

I found my missing decoration (it took months and a great deal of luck), the personnel center finally did an administrative correction so my current report can make it into the system.  I now have to track down my initial training report, which should be easy.  My favorite line from the movie Incredibles, “Luck favors the prepared.”

The good things from this year:

1. I became a black belt in Tae Kwon Do (still need a lot more training).

2. I became a godmother.

3.  I went to Mt Sorak, Seoul and Chicago.

4.  I saw the musical Billy Elliot.

5.  Saved a lot of money!

I have definitely grown over these years in Asia.  There have been many highs and lows.  I hope I paid my karmic dues already.  I have always aimed to sow good seeds, regardless of the circumstances, and remain true to my inner core values.  It was torture selling my house, but I knew I would.  I hated losing money every single month and paid a huge sum to get rid of it.  But when I did, I felt a great deal of freedom, peace and success.  I found the realtor from junk mail while living overseas–never met the guy and he got it done finally.  A godsend!  I find the same parallel will happen in my personal life.  I been through torture, paid a huge price and a higher being will send the right guy!

So, here’s to 2011!  I can’t wait and see what will unfold.  Is it a time of reaping good things?  A time of harvest?  It better be, I am ready.

GI Jane

December 7, 2010

A year of review

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 1:27 pm

I began paying double on my mortgage starting Dec 2009.  Here is how 2010 started out in Jan:

$114,024 mortgage on rental

Retirement as of 3 Jan 2010:

$90,950

Saving accounts as of 3 Jan 2010:

Car: $1253

Vacation: $852

EF: $2556

House downpayment: $3165

Total: $7826

Fast forward to December 2010:

Mortgage is now $99,612.69

Home down payment: $12,663.80

Car: $4582.67 (on 15 Dec: $4882.67)

Vacation: $407.20 (on 15 Dec: $707.20)

EF: $7111.41 ($7611.41)

Retirement: $124,943.33

Retirement has grown by $33,993 since the beginning of the year.  Minus contributions, it has grown $13,309.33.  Modest–but I will take it.  I still need to contribute $816 to my Roth.

I am very pleased that my mortgage is now in the 90’s.  If I stick to my current plan, the balance will be $83,220.14 by the end of next year.  The pay off will also be in 2016 instead of 2033. I love the BOA amortization calculator.  That is the only good thing apart from loaning me the money I can say about BOA.  They used to be on by sh!t list in the 90’s.

My move next year may throw off the savings plan.  Not sure if I will get Europe or the states.  I will hold steady until I leave Korea.  If I move to the states, it will reduce my income somewhat dramatically.  Since I do not have any debt apart from the rental mortgage, hopefully the move won’t impact my savings plan regardless of where I move.  Moving can be expensive.  I do plan on selling my 96 Kia for at least $1,100.  I look forward to my next assignment.  Next year, I will only have 5 years left in the military–hence the plan to pay off my rental by then.  Woo hoo!

GI Jane

December 4, 2010

Random updates

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — gijanefinances @ 4:11 pm

Just survived the craziness of last week’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island from KJI.  I had a Thanksgiving get together that went well.  I couldn’t serve alcohol because we were under General Order #1 as soon as the hostilities began.  It was finally lifted on Thursday.  My cornbread casserole was a hit!  I plan on making it again tonight.  No point in only eating it once a year.

I did all of my shopping during black Friday online.  I bought gifts for my parents, sister and two girlfriends for $300!  Glad to have that done.  The only thing left is to send my brother cash for his gift.

I passed my black belt test today!  I broke the board with my back kick in one try.  I can’t wait to wear it on Monday.  My name will be embroidered on it in Hangul.  It really is a cool looking belt.

Dec networth:

House downpayment: $12, 614.33

Roth: $50,669.91

Savings (car, emergency fund and vacation): $12,101.28

Cash: $2545.32

TSP: $74,154.09

Credit card: $286.95

Total: $151,797.98

That is all.  Happy Holidays!

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