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Archive for February, 2010

Tax Refund much lower; sign of a good year.

February 24th, 2010 at 11:25 pm

2009 tax return was $2000 less than last year, and $4000 less than two years ago.

This is the first year I've taken the standard deduction because my interest and tax payments on my house were not high enough to warrant itemizing, all positive results of refinancing my mortgage at the right time.

My messing around in the stock market, made me enough money that I owed over $2,000 in unpaid taxes on profits.

The result is that I got almost no refund this year, but I'm not complaining.

A Head Start

February 23rd, 2010 at 11:11 pm

Some may call it being blessed, I just call it lucky, or maybe a good upbringing.

It really helps when you start out without any debt. No CC debt, no student loans, no car loans. I started out with none of those. So here my advice to those who are starting out. Work, work, work. Don't spend more than you earn. Especially those who go through college, it is truly a great feeling being debt free coming out of college. And I recommend taking each summer off and working for 3 out of the 4 months. I'm sure others will disagree with me, and say academics come first when in college, but I found it a great change of pace to do something different for 3 months.

Ok, these days that's easier said than done with the current economic situation, and I don't envy those going through college right now.

Oh, also it helps to go to in-state public colleges, because it's impossible to pay for out of state or private colleges by working part time.

Back, and winging it.

February 23rd, 2010 at 04:30 pm

I sometimes like to convince myself that I have many years left to save for my retirement. I probably do -- 35 years or so at least. So, that's the excuse I give myself to just wing it when it comes to money; No penny pinching, no fiscal discipline, no keeping track of every single dollar I spent.

Yet, I have only 2 debts:
1) Mortgage (15 yr fixed rate at 4.5%)
2) Auto Loan (3 yr fixed rate at 5.0%)

I really don't consider my mortgage a real debt since I have about $40K equity in my home. But realistically I pay $400/mo in interest and $400/mo in taxes and insurance, which is really comparable to paying rent. So really I only have my car loan, which I hope to pay off in 12 months.

I do have a little bit of savings. I am still a bit skittish when it comes to stocks, so I never hold stocks very long, and so far, knock on wood, I haven't sold any stock at a loss, and only my mutual funds have lost money since I bought it but they're in my roth, so I won't sell those for a long time.
Cash: 51.7%
Stocks: 36.3%
Mutual Funds: 7.9%
CDs: 4.1%