Ether's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

What's going on! I've been lurking these forums for about 2 years now and I have finally decided to start documenting my journey.

Basic Stats
Age: 19
Location: Southern United States
Occupation: Full time College Student [Junior] and part-time IT help desk
Interests: Outdoor adventures, history, foreign politics, investing [stock and real estate], cooking and movies!
Motivation: I always had a desire to be free, and being financially independent is the ultimate form of freedom. While freedom of the press, speech, religion, or association are wonderful freedoms, the freedom to control how you spend your valuable time on this earth is the pinnacle of freedom!

Finances
Assets:
$7,000 in liquid emergency fund
$5,500 in Roth IRA [100% in US total market index fund]
$1000 in electronics & collectables
Liabilities:
$0

Monthly Cash Flow
Inflow
Scholarships: 1300
Part-Time Job: 600
Outflow
Tuition*: 900
University Fees: 200
[It's true my university charges everyone $200/month in "fees," it's a great way to boost revenue while claiming that "tuition" increased with inflation]
Rent& Utilities: 420
Groceries: 100
Restaurant/Fast food: 85
Misc.: 15 [Mostly club dues and toiletries]
Cell Phone: 3 [Prepaid minute by minute cell]
*While I only attend classes 8 out of the 12 months, I take my yearly tuition and fees and divide by 12 to get an idea of monthly cost of education
Saving Rate:8%

Financial Commentary:
I won't make much money in college. Fortunately I will graduate debt free, which I'm extremely proud of since I am providing for myself completely independently.

Goals
Medium (2-4 years) term goals:
Graduate state university with a BS at 21
Complete CCNA and MCSA IT certifications

Long term goal (5-10 years)
Become FI at 35
Purchase a home
Explore rural Alaska
Run a small local business

Thanks for reading, I have really enjoyed reading everyone else journals and you have provided a steady stream of inspiration!
Last edited by ether on Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:39 pm, edited 7 times in total.

steveo73
Posts: 1432
Joined: Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:52 pm

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by steveo73 »

I wish I was you. Good Luck.

My only comment would be if you get married and have kids you might need more money.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

October Monthly Cash Flow
Inflow
Scholarships: 1875
Part-Time Job: 87
Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 415
Food: 56
Hiking Trip: 60
Video Game: 50

Saving Rate: 17%

Financial Commentary:
Markets at all times high and I made a little money, feels great! I changed jobs from library help desk to law firm help desk about a week ago. I discovered that the homeless are more computer literate than lawyers who passed their BAR :D . The job is a pay bump [$12/hr vs $10/hr] and offers more hours, but is substantially more stressful. I expect to make about $1000/month after taxes from the part time job next month. I was also rewarded an amazing scholarship bump of $900/month from the state government for meeting the midterm GPA requirement. I also began educating myself on taxes because this is the first time I'm filling independently. I learned that I can expect to pay zero federal income tax and receive a $1000 reimbursement thanks to this tax credit here.This means that between state scholarships ($7000/year is you got a 3.0 high school GPA) and the federal government's subsidy, community college is free in the state of South Carolina! People always complain about the cost of higher education in the United States, but don't realize that community college is free in South Carolina if you studied hard in high school.

Personal Commentary
I am not really enjoying class. Many of my classes are overstuffed or online. I'm starting to feel my university is a degree mill. That's why I'm putting more effort into my IT certifications and job experience than my classes. Outside of money, school, and work I have been hiking some local mountains with a university club and it's great. I also starting to understand how amazing my university library is. That's my month in a nutshell, see y'all next month!
Last edited by ether on Tue Mar 31, 2015 9:30 am, edited 4 times in total.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

November Cash Flow
Inflow
Scholarships: 1875
Part-Time Job: 400
Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 400
Food: 70
Bike parts: 15

Saving Rate: 32%

Personal Commentary
Work is hard! Full time school and part time work is taking it out of me. There are lots of IT problems and nobody [2 other people in department] seem to have any idea how to fix it. They are constantly hiring contractors to fix problems and my coworker is pretty demoralized after working the job for 3 years. I'll try my best to work hard and fix problems, but so many things are above my head and it's frustrating.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

December Monthly Cash Flow
Inflow
Scholarships: 1875
Part-Time Job: 400
Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 415
Food & Restaurants: 100
Cell Phone: 3

Personal Commentary
I decided to leave my part time job starting in 2015. Problems are getting worse at work and I can't keep up the extra hours I need to put into work and keep my grades up. It's a shame, but I'm more concerned with finishing school than working help desk.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

February Cash Flow
Inflow
Scholarships: 1875
Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 175
Rent & Utilities: 475
Food: 70
Travel: 75
Gifts: 25
Phone: 50 [Got a new prepaid one]

Saving Rate: 7%

Commentary
After getting in the grove for my spring semester, I find that my classes are easier and I have some spare time. I spent most of this month applying for jobs and I was very fortune to land a job with the university doing help desk. I start next month! It's a block from where I live and the hours are very flexible, it's the perfect part time job. The best part is that they have work during the summer, so I'm a happy camper!

The market are treating me well and it's great seeing my portfolio grow under a total stock market index fund. I know lots of people around here invest in individual stocks, but at my skill level I think an index fund is a good start.

I also moved into a new apartment. I now only have one other roommate instead of 3, it's nicer, closer to campus, and only $50 bucks more a month! I'm becoming interested in my local real estate market and started researching about the 2008 housing crisis, it's very interesting stuff!

Chad
Posts: 3848
Joined: Fri Jul 23, 2010 3:10 pm

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by Chad »

It sounds like you are going in the right direction.
ether wrote: The market are treating me well and it's great seeing my portfolio grow under a total stock market index fund. I know lots of people around here invest in individual stocks, but at my skill level I think an index fund is a good start.
A lot of us who invest in individual stocks also own index funds. I know I do.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

Chad wrote: A lot of us who invest in individual stocks also own index funds. I know I do.
Good to hear. I don't feel confident enough in my accounting and finance skills yet to make an educated investment decision in an individual company. So I'll just wait and continue to trust the Dow Jones!

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

March Income Statement
Inflow
Scholarships: 1875
Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 175
Rent & Utilities: 475
Food: 155
Textbook: 60
Concert: 40
Medical: 25
Hair: 20

Saving Rate: 10%

March Balance Sheet
Cash: 9800
Roth: 5800
Real: 1000

Total: $16,600

Commentary
-I like my job alot! Great boss, co-workers, and interesting problems to fix.
-Filed taxes for the first time, turbotax was free and got a $1000 refund due to an education subsidy
-Joined habitat for humanity to learn construction skills while helping people build a home for their family
-Spring is here and I feel so much more alive, can't wait to explore and camp!

Enjoy the spring and have fun! See y'all next month.

User avatar
fiby41
Posts: 1274
Joined: Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:09 am
Location: India

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by fiby41 »

"I'm starting to feel my university is a degree mill. That's why I'm putting
more effort into my IT certifications and job
experience than my classes."

My thinking is along similar lines. I'm having trouble deciding if I should take a job (about 3 options available) or trust my discipline in the lax vacations and start preparing for first year engineering to get a head start for maintaining steady average. This is before engineering admissions start in about 3 months.

Regardless of the option I take, my main concern is not to fall off from the routine/lifestyle I've set up during the past year.

I won't be taxed until next year and even then my highest source of income is bank interest where gains are taxed automatically. I most likely won't have taxable income for another 4 years and am trying to guage the marginal utility of learning do to taxed now and forgetting it by 4 years or studying now and learning to do taxes then.

At the risk of sounding stupid, is doing taxes a perishable skill? Do you forget it if you don't use it for long? I ask because learning to taxes will make me more self reliant and learning it before its required fits in with the 'Serendipity effects' of the ERE philosophy.

Anyways, I enjoy your journal and am looking forward to next month's entry.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

fiby41 wrote:
My thinking is along similar lines. I'm having trouble deciding if I should take a job (about 3 options available) or trust my discipline in the lax vacations and start preparing for first year engineering to get a head start for maintaining steady average. This is before engineering admissions start in about 3 months.
Engineering is a rigorous & competitive degree, and I see lots of people choose it for the wrong reasons. You're at a fork in your life and it's hard to make a decision because you don't really know what the outcomes will be. To me attending college was an easy decision because it provided me with a small stipend and let me have the college "experience" while working part-time. If I were you, I'd take the job and knock out your prerequisite classes through AP and CLEP before enrolling in engineering. Saves money, helps you mature through work, and really makes you think about what type of work you want to pursue.

I found learning about taxes pretty fun actually! In the USA, you can see what it's like filing your taxes for free here. I was surprised by how easy it was to do and I learned a lot. Just remember you probably won't pay taxes unless you make over $6k/year. My extent of tax knowledge is understanding the types of incomes, learning about the subsidies that exist, and retirement accounts. Overall I'd recommend learning now because the overall ideas behind taxation don't change, just the numbers. So if you learn now you'll be able to apply it in the future. [Oh, and don't feel your tax questions are stupid, it's pretty complex and pros spend 6 years just preparing to become Tax CPAs!]

It made my day to know people are enjoying my little journal! Thanks and I look forward to hearing about your journey fiby41!

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

April Income Statement
Inflow
Scholarships : 1875
Tax Refund: 935
Job: 990

Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 475
Food: 120
Cell: 20
Clothing: 5

Saving Rate: 55%

Commentary
-I just finished my last exams, I can graduate next spring, but I might stick around longer since my scholarships lasts another 2 years.
-Picking up more hours at work fixing computers at my university, which is great!
-Picking up a second job as a part-time residential construction worker so I can learn more about home maintenance and maybe invest in some real estate in the future. [There are some nice town homes around me in a safe neighborhood for $35K, built in 70's, 3 bedrooms, right next to bus stop]
-Going to some rock and metal concerts to celebrate end of school year!
-Things are on a upswing for me!
Last edited by ether on Sat May 02, 2015 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
jennypenny
Posts: 6522
Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2011 2:20 pm
Location: Stepford USA

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by jennypenny »

ether wrote: I found learning about taxes pretty fun actually!
You're a sick pup, ether. ;)

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

I swear I'm not crazy, my mother had me tested! Us EREs should love the US tax scheme! Low capital gains tax and lots of government services!
Last edited by ether on Thu Jan 07, 2016 4:57 pm, edited 4 times in total.

almostthere
Posts: 285
Joined: Tue Jul 09, 2013 1:47 am

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by almostthere »

If I had a a quarter of the financial wisdom and forethought that you are demonstrating when I was your age, I'd have reached financial independence so much sooner. Keep it up and good things are sure to come your way.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

Thanks! It's always good to hear encouragement from the veteran crowd that is almost or already retired! It's a tough process trying to save up for your freedom and hearing the stories of people before me has made my life so much easier and enjoyable.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

May Income Statement
Inflow
Scholarships : 1875
Job #1: 900
Job #2: 370

Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 475
Food: 175
Clothing: 100 [Work boots for construction job]
Haircut: 20

Saving Rate: 40%

Commentary
-Starting working full-time at my university tech job this week. Really happy about that, but will only last during the summer time because most of my department graduated or quit and they are extremely short staffed.
-Currently classified as a temporary state government employee. No benies, but it's definitely a government job! :D Things move very slowly, more managers than actual tech guys, and most people have been here for decades. I like this kind of work and could see myself doing it as a career once I graduate. Gonna work hard and do my best so once I graduate I got a shot at getting a full time job with the university technology department.
-Second job is with my father. He's a general contractor that retired about 5 years ago. I expressed an interest in learning his trade so he started finding small jobs for us to do together. Simple things like landscaping, fixing fences, repairing drywall, and HVAC maintenance. I work with him during my weekends and I'm learning a good bit. Glad to be learning, earning, and working!
-I'm working about 55 hour a week. I don't have much energy outside of work. It's imperative I stay mentally sharp, stay physically active, and try to keep my social life alive. Gotta find some balance!
Last edited by ether on Wed Sep 02, 2015 10:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

June Income Statement
Inflow
Scholarships : 1875
Job #1: 1225
Job #2: 370

Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 475
Food: 75
Gifts: 20
Shopping: 17
Laundry: 10

Saving Rate: 51%

Commentary
-Biggest accomplishment has been my weight loss over the past several months. When from 230lbs[105kg] to 200lbs[90kg]. A combination of manual labor, eating more fruit and veggies, and cutting out soda has really paid off. My goal is to get lose another 20lbs [9kg] before school starts.
-Office job is slow and we got some new hires. Lots of time to read and relax.
-Manual job is hard. Working in 100F(38C) conditions is hard compared to sitting in an office all day, but I feel much more productive.
-Things are not as good as last month, but overall I'm still happy.

ether
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:50 am
Location: Tempe AZ
Contact:

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by ether »

July Income Statement
Inflow
Scholarships : 1875
Job #1: 1550

Outflow
Tuition: 900
University Fees: 200
Rent & Utilities: 475
Food: 60
Gifts: 20
Shopping: 11

Saving Rate: 51%

July Balance Sheet
Assets
Savings Account @ 1.05%: 10,000
Roth IRA Dow Jones Index: 5,900
Cash: 3,400
Inventory: 700

Total: $20,000

Liabilities
Total: 0

Yah! 20k net-worth right before I turn 20!

Commentary
-Registered to vote and joined a political party. Looking forward to voting in national and local politics
-Learned of a city housing program for first time buyers that provides mortgage loans up to 100k @ 3% fixed.
I need to take 3 classes and I have completed the first one. I don't see any banks offering such great rates
so when the time comes I'll probably get the loan from this program.
-About half of my job responsibility is dealing with people that were infected with computer malware or have had
their school or personal identity stolen. I'm really surprised how simplistic attacks are causing so many headaches
for so many people. This has piqued my interest in computer security.
-School starts up soon, looking forward to my second year of university!

shade-tree
Posts: 68
Joined: Sat May 09, 2015 9:02 pm

Re: Ether's Journal

Post by shade-tree »

Hi Ether,
I'm enjoying your journal. Great job on your net worth!
It's interesting you talk about your job and computer security. I was talking with my son who is about your age about good job prospects for the future and I think computer security is huge growth area and there will be a demand for these kind of job ongoing well into the future. Of course, a lot of security problems/ID theft and whatnot is a result of dumb/lazy human behavior, but if smart people like you can save people from themselves, it would be very helpful!

Post Reply