GI Jane Finances

April 7, 2011

Shock and Awe

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 2:12 pm

A government shut-down seems imminent.  I can’t imagine not receiving a paycheck next week…hopefully Congress will get it together.  Especially after paying $934 in taxes, never owed that much in my life.  Just paid for my Italy trip.  So glad I have an emergency fund.  I would be up the creek if I did not.  Can’t imagine how people lower in rank who live off-base would cope if it drags on?  The last time this happened was in 1996 for three weeks.  Thankfully, they got back-pay, but the media said back-pay is not a guarantee.  Not in this recession!

I have been looking at houses in San Antonio online.  My housing allowance is $1,335, but I will experience a $1,200 monthly pay cut.  The government also pays for my utilities while living overseas.  Since I won’t have my utilities paid for in the states, I need to artificially create a utility allowance within my housing allowance.  Therefore, I need to pay no more than $1,000 for rent.

You have to drive everywhere in SA.  Gas prices in Chicago is about $4.00.  Jimminy Crickets.   I still looking forward to moving home.  I wish I can have the same salary as I do now.  I will experience a big lifestyle change with the move.

GI Jane

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April 2, 2011

The summer awaits

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 6:44 pm

I am gearing up for my move to San Antonio.  My boss finally approved my leave for 7-29 Jul.  I finally paid for my plane ticket to Italy.  I only have to book my trip to Chicago and Florida.  A good friend emailed me that he visits SA several times a month.  I also found out what my position will be.  It is somewhat outside my career field but in it.  I need to have additional training for the job.  Hopefully, the training will only be a couple of weeks.

I have a big event that I am planning in about 8 days.  April will be an interesting month.  A friend is throwing a birthday bash and I am going to Jeju Island again.  I am training with nunchucks and a staff for Taekwondo.  I hate nunchucks!

Today, I finally removed my eyelash extensions that I have been wearing for 1 1/2 years.  I loved having them.  People would always compliment me on my eyes.  I bought some Latisse last September during my trip to the states. I pray they will turn out even longer than my natural length.  What women do for beauty?! lol.  I never thought in a million years I would wear fake eyelashes.  But they really make you look awesome.  My brother has the most beautiful eyelashes.  I have no idea why men have longer lashes than women?

I am so looking forward to SA.  I have become a TV addict, namely an iTunes one.  The operational tempo here really sucks the life out of you.  When I lived in Japan, I couldn’t tell you what was on TV apart from Dancing with the Stars.  I have met some cool people here though.  I will be visiting one of my amigos who moved to Italy in July.  I can’t wait for the summer!  I’ve checked out some SA  meetups and housing.  I have one more old SA friend to contact…think she is out-of-town.

It is so cool that I named this year to find an awesome mate.  Even though I had some interesting prospects over the past four years, I love the SA and Austin single scene.

Cheers,

GI Jane

March 18, 2011

Calamity in Asia

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 1:37 pm

I feel sad for Japan!  I know Japanese people are very resilient, self-reliant and disciplined.  The tsunami and earthquake footage is so unbelievable.  We are monitoring the situation in Japan, especially the nuclear scare.  Thankfully, when I called my old office, the Japanese Nationals I used to work with told me that their families are doing fine. 

I am looking forward to moving back to San Antonio.  Last night, I checked out some of the meetups that I may be interested in joining.  I must get back into dancing as soon as I settle down in SA.  I decided to visit Italy, Chicago and Florida before getting to Texas.  Tentatively, I booked my flight for 18-23 July to Rome.  Not sure how long I will stay in Chicago…maybe 4 days?  I will then fly to Florida (where my car is), visit my relatives for a couple of days and drive to San Antonio.  Can’t wait.

I am still lusting after a bedroom suite and a couple of other items.  I will get reimbursed for my plane ticket home, plus receive a dislocation allowance to cover first/last month’s rent.  It will be a money drain when I move. 

Pray for Japan…what a terrible event!

GI Jane

March 7, 2011

Big money purchases…not for me

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 2:22 pm

I had a very low-key weekend.  I finally watched “the Fighter” and loved it!  Watched it twice.  I love movies that depict struggles and redemption.  Christian Bale so completely deserved the Oscar.  I was like this guy is from England?  I totally believed him as the boxer Dick Eklund.  I also remembered the HBO documentary “Crack in America” that showed Eklund during his crack addiction.  What an amazing movie!  Mark Wahlberg did a good job as well.  Maria Leos also deserved that Oscar.  I felt it was completely authentic.  I also like the “class”  juxtaposition of the King’s Speech and the Fighter during the Oscar runoff.  The Fighter touched me more than King’s Speech.  Even though my brother had a stuttering problem, Colin Firth deserved win, the fantastic performance of Geoffrey Rush and wonderful historical reenactments, the Fighter is the one I relate to the most due to my working class roots.

Speaking of working class, my friend from Italy requested I purchase ski suits for his whole family.  Initially, I thought it was only for him and his wife at $80 a piece.  Then he wrote me that he wanted suits for hs whole family without even sending me a check in advance.  I was pretty livid about the idea that my money should be siphoned by someone who played the “friend” card on me. 

 He said:  “You save $4k a month, it should be no problem for you.”

Me: “I save not spend $4k a month!  Do you think I should break my mutual fund to pay for your suits?  I owe the IRS $959!  I have bills of my own…why do you think I am just waiting for an opportunity to spend huge amounts of money on other people?  I have my nail appointment this weekend, dude.  I can only take out $500 out at time.”

After trying to find nice $80 ski suits, we realized that he will have to pay more than $80 for quality, even in Korea.  I had to make three trips to the ATM.  He also wanted his glasses updated and repaired which costed $80.  In the end, I spent $600 for ski suits out-of-pocket, in cash–not on a credit card.  If you pay by credit card, it is an additional 2% surcharge.  I do not personally know of anyone who can front $700 in cash to purchase stuff.  It kind of took me aback that someone would impose on someone like that in a non-emergency.  I know he is “good” for it, but after waiting 6 months for my $320 last fall, I hate doing this type of arrangement.  Plus, I owe the government for the second time in my life!  And I am preparing for my move this summer with stuff on my shopping list to buy before I leave.    Just because I am single does not mean I do not have expenses and upkeep.  Just because I choose to save does not mean you can impose on me monetarily either.  I now know why my mother told me to not talk to people about my finances.  It is like people note what you have in the back of their mind and then make designs on your money.  I have never asked anyone to cover for me unless we are out to dinner or lunch and I realize I need to go to the ATM.  But I rather not make the immediate detour to the ATM and will wait until we are finished eating.  No one has ever had to wait for more than a couple of hours to be reimbursed. 

I can’t even imagine asking someone to purchase anything for me past $30 without sending any money.  I got over it and mailed the package off today.  I hope they like it anyway, he trusted my taste with a big purchase.  I pray the sizes are correct. Gosh, I felt like a professional shopper.  They were hooked up!

GI Jane

February 28, 2011

Big news

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 9:19 am

I have finally found out where I am going!  No, it is not Europe.  I had to get over that dream.  I am going to San Antonio, TX.  I love San Antonio. I also know who my new boss is, who hired me rather quickly.  I like him a lot, he won a top AF-level award last year.   Very sharp guy!  I was loving the idea of going to Colorado Springs, but requested it too late.  Colorado would have been something new and fresh.  But apparently, it is a really popular assignment…got on the bandwagon pretty late.  Anywhoo, San Antonio was my first assignment in the Air Force, so I am going full circle.  I will have a $1200 a month pay cut. 😦  I had to get over that shock and see what my new budget will look like.  It will be an adjustment.  San Antonio has a pretty low cost of living.  I found a couple of houses online for $1100 on  2200 sq ft.  I have been lusting over a bedroom suite for the longest.  I need to make a list of things to buy before leaving here.

I also want to take a month off before reporting to the next assignment.  My replacement should be here in June.  I have been wanting to go to Thailand, Singapore and Italy before heading back home.  But I was hit with a $959 IRS tax bill!!!  Very annoyed about that.  That is the most I have ever owed to the government in my life.  So, that money impacts everything I want to do before, during and after my move.  Moving is expensive.  The good news is that my car is in Florida.  It has been sitting there for my parent’s use while they go on vacation–which is a couple times a year.

Look forward to the next chapter in life.  Loved the past four years overseas, though.

P.S.–My civilian did not win the big award on Saturday.  It was not as upsetting as last year for some reason.  Maybe because he was not here.  I am glad he went on vacation and is enjoying himself in California.

February 15, 2011

A moment of truth

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 11:29 am

Wow, it is still Valentine’s Day in the states.  Therefore, the media is still in overload about everything about love, relationships, women, and etc…Speaking of the states, I may have to move back home.  I am not happy about this at all.  Anyway, I just read Terry McMillan’s article about “Why you are not married.”  Terry McMillian’s fame came from How Stella Got Her Groove Back and marrying a gay man.  Hardly an authority.  However, I have to say, I think she nailed it on the head.  Read it here.

This part rings true about me:

5. You’re Selfish.
If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy — or at least a guy with a really, really good job — would solve all your problems.

However, a good wife, even a halfway decent one, does not spend most of her day thinking about herself. She has too much s**t to do, especially after having kids. This is why you see a lot of celebrity women getting husbands after they adopt. The kids put the woman on notice: Bitch, hello! It’s not all about you anymore! After a year or two of thinking about someone other than herself, suddenly, Brad Pitt or Harrison Ford comes along and decides to significantly other her. Which is also to say — if what you really want is a baby, go get you one. Your husband will be along shortly. Motherhood has a way of weeding out the lotharios.

I can’t have kids anyway.  I think that it has definitely made me more incredibly self-centered more than selfish.  I am all about me and how you would fit in my life.  The drawback is that it can be lonely, but I am my own cheerleader (hence this blog).  I just do not want to be wholly dependent on someone else for my survival.  I really think that it is dangerous to do that, especially for a woman.  I can’t imagine not being able to buy what I want and do everything I want to do.  I do not want to marry  my “daddy.” I already have one.  Unlike McMillan, I was not raised by foster parents.  Also, I believe being celibate weeds out a lot of lotharios.

Having “character” is an important trait I seek in a mate.  I am really not interested in throwing a once in a lifetime party.  I can’t imagine spending $20,000 or more on a wedding or someone spending thousands on a ring.  I don’t even like wearing rings!  I don’t even have a shoe fetish.  I own brown, black and blue shoes.  Therefore, I am not a typical female.

I love this part:

Alright, so that’s the bad news. The good news is that I believe every woman who wants to can find a great partner. You’re just going to need to get rid of the idea that marriage will make you happy. It won’t. Once the initial high wears off, you’ll just be you, except with twice as much laundry.

Because ultimately, marriage is not about getting something — it’s about giving it. Strangely, men understand this more than we do. Probably because for them marriage involves sacrificing their most treasured possession — a free-agent penis — and for us, it’s the culmination of a princess fantasy so universal, it built Disneyland.

The bottom line is that marriage is just a long-term opportunity to practice loving someone even when they don’t deserve it. Because most of the time, your messy, farting, macaroni-and-cheese eating man will not be doing what you want him to. But as you give him love anyway — because you have made up your mind to transform yourself into a person who is practicing being kind, deep, virtuous, truthful, giving, and most of all, accepting of your own dear self — you will find that you will experience the very thing you wanted all along:

Love.

Interesting reading…Happy Valentine’s Day!

GI Jane

February 10, 2011

100 Things

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 12:28 pm

I was so inspired by a show called “100 things you want to do before you die.”  The show depicts four young men on a quest to complete their list and help other people achieve the one thing they want to do before they die.  I kind of dismissed the show because one of the things on their list was to crash a stranger’s wedding.  Interesting, but not inspirational.  Last night, they were trying to play basketball with President Obama.  People laughed at them, the White House sent a negative reply and they went ahead and pitched the idea on a local radio station.  They finally got a hold of a couple of congressman and even met with the Secretary of Transportation who put a call in to President Obama’s staff to make it happen.  When they got the news that it was not going to happen, they looked like they were about to cry.  Hell, I even shed some tears when it finally looked like they were going to fulfill their dream.  Their mantra is that nothing is impossible…and it almost worked.

Therefore, I want to compile a list of 100 things to do before my life is over.  I already make lists, lots of lists.  I have done a lot of adventurous things, so this show wasn’t an immediate hit with me.  Let’s see: climbed Mt Fuji, bungee jumped in Mexico, saw a broadway show in NY and stayed in a hotel in Time Square, flew first class, learned martial arts, learned a foreign language (not fluent, just enough to survive in Tokyo), paraglided, ice skated, learned an instrument (not very well), climbed the Great Wall of China, visited Kyoto, danced in front of an audience, learned to dance, visited the Vatican, visited the 7 churches, won a major award, etc..

And guess what, I have so much more to do in life!  So, I will start my 100 list…not in any particular order of priority.  I also do not plan on doing everything in one year, but over time.

1. Find my true love and marry him!

2. Go on a Queen Mary voyage

3. Learn a foreign language fluently

4. Run in a marathon

5. Save $500,000

That’s all I have for now.  I will update and revise as I go along.

————————————————————————————–

Excellent article on marriage written 11 years ago from Psychology today.

Will Your Marriage Last?

Studies show that the newlywed years can foretell the long-term outcome of almost every marriage. What do your newlywed years predict for you?

What if I told you that there is a man in America who can predict, from the outset, whether or not your marriage will last? He doesn’t need to hear you arguing; he doesn’t need to know what you argue about. He doesn’t even care whether you argue at all.

I was dubious, too, but I was curious enough to attend a lecture on the subject at the American Psychological Association convention in Boston. Ted Huston, Ph.D., a professor of human ecology and psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, was showcasing the results of a long-term study of married couples that pierces the heart of social psychological science: the ability to forecast whether a husband and wife, two years after taking their vows, will stay together and whether they will be happy.

More at the jump…

February 8, 2011

Easy decision

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 3:20 pm

Today, I received notification that I am eligible for the career status bonus.  The $30,000 bonus is available in exchange for a reduced retirement pay of 40% basic pay  instead of the 50% .  The regular retirement pay averages the last 3 years of salary and I would get paid 50% once a month.  The REDUX plan and the bonus:

 If you elect the CSB, you have a choice of payment options:

  1. One payment of $30,000
  2. Two annual installments of $15,000 each
  3. Three annual installments of $10,000 each
  4. Four annual installments of $7,500 each
  5. Five annual installments of $6,000 each

You get this option when you reach 15 years of service.    I can elect to put $16,500 in the Thrift Savings Plan and pay taxes upfront on the balance.  I, of course, will not take the REDUX plan.  I prefer 50% every month, if I can survive the next five years.  The AF just announced that they are going to reduce the officer strength by 10% in the 1999-2005 year groups.  They will also conduct more Selective Early Retirement Boards for Lt Cols and Cols.  I know my career fied is hurting and ineligible for the voluntary force management plans for FY11.  The high unemployment rates has left the AF with the highest retention rate in 16 years.  I hardly know of anyone who is separating, unlike how it was in 1999-2000. 

Those were interesting times….I’m getting old.

GI Jane

February 6, 2011

Suddenly retired

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — gijanefinances @ 9:52 am

My dad quit his job a couple of days ago!  He was planning to quit a month from now, but couldn’t take his manager anymore.  He said that the manager blamed him for not having enough oil in the truck after it hit a pole.  I got a call at 2:00 a.m., so at the time I was like “wow, just like that?”   He turns 66 years old this month and already filed for social security.  My mother was not too happy about it.

Mom: He just walked off the job and left us without insurance.

Me:  Well, he has been there for 39 years!  Can’t you get insurance at your job?  You work at a hospital.

Mom: They only have open enrollment two times a year.  The next opportunity will be in October.

Me:  He was planning on quitting next month anyway.  No point in delaying the inevitable.

My dad said that they have medicare part A and B.  I am glad he left there.  His company used to be a very family oriented and caring place.  I remember the awesome company picnics they used to have.  But once the owners no longer manage the place and left it to their sons who moved to Texas, it became a freaking mill.  They do not even do a nice send off or anything.  My dad said this one guy that retired a week ago worked there for 60 years and they just bought him a cake and served coffee in the office.

My dad is always in chronic pain, so I am happy but concerned how this is going to play out.   They are also going on a cruise at the end of the month.  I think following that he will move to Florida.  The house in Florida is paid off and fully furnished.  I do not know if they will put up their primary house for sale this year or not.  Big changes in store…can’t wait to see how this will end up.

GI Jane

 

February 1, 2011

Cheerful Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — gijanefinances @ 10:21 pm

Woo hoo! Today, my Korean National employee won at the second level!!!  He said that he did not expect to win.  The competition was tremendous in his category.  I am so happy…it is the second time in a row someone from my office won at the annual award level.  We only have a total of four including me in my shop.  Everyone has won something except one person since I have been here.  He is retired and does not do more than his area, so I am OK with that.  Now, I have to attend the banquet (alone) to collect his other awards and hopefully the ultimate monster eagle!  He felt guilty about not being there…I already went through my anguish and am over it.  I think this package is stronger than last year’s.

Now on to the net worth update:

House down payment: $14,231

Roth: $53,712

TSP: $79,114 (it may be more, not sure if it reflects my 1 Feb contribution)

ING: $12,624

Cash: $1,500

Total:  $161,181

I am $38,819 away from my $200,000 goal.  Not looking forward to tax time…may end up owing some money even though I maxed my TSP for the first time last year.

Upcoming expenses will be cash flowed out of money not represented above for about $200: wine train tour and V-day party.

GI Jane

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