Lemur Journal!

Where are you and where are you going?
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Lemur
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Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:07 pm

Hey guys. Long-time lurker, every now and then poster.

Status: 27 years old, Married, One Son (2 years old), United States
Employment: I am a consultant / sub-contractor for government agencies
Skills: Government Budget, Finance, Some Construction, Amateur Python (learning now)
Salary: $58,500
Side Income: None yet
FIRE Progress: umm...7% or so.
Savings Rate: 25% last year. Haven't saved this year.
Assets: All Vanguard Passive-Index Funds ($85,000) + Old TSP Account ($3k)
Interests: Nutrition, Working-Out, Gardening, Python, Browsing the internet and wasting time

Most of my current savings were due to my 7 year stint in the military. A large chunk of that was saved when I was deployed. It was during my deployment, I got into saving/investing (mainly because I didn't know what to do with the money) and it was when I was getting tired of the military I was looking for "a way out." I stumbled upon investing books, eventually MMM, and than found myself here. I left the military in 2016 and have been figuring out how this career thing works since then.

I just came off a one month break between employers. Reduced my commute from 90 minutes to 30 minutes and have a slight bump in salary. My aim, like everyone else, is to retire early. I actually start my new job tomorrow so I am looking forward to the increased savings rate as my expenses will not be increasing.

I'll describe my expenses in a later post. Looking forward to random updates on my assets and also what is going on in my head.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:17 pm

Projected February Expenses: $2,200.
Current Assets: $88,000

I think the below is a good metric to update my journal with rather than use straight numbers:
Progress: 3.33x Expenses

Start my new job today. They do a 6% match towards the 401(k). I asked what the limit was ...they said there wasn't any. I'm thinking the amount I contribute is going to make them re-think that as the HR person told me that "unfortunately, not many utilize it."

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Fish
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Fish » Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:58 pm

Lemur wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:17 pm
They do a 6% match towards the 401(k). I asked what the limit was ...they said there wasn't any.
In my experience this means they will match contributions up to the first 6% of income, and none above that. For example, if you put 6% in, company matches an equal amount for another 6%. If you put 20% in, the company match in absolute dollars is still as if your contribution were only 6%. Find the documentation (both your company and the IRS rules), read it and understand it. Also note that there is a limit of $55,000 from all sources (you and your employer combined). If you hit $55k before the end of the year, you might not get the full potential of the company match.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:17 pm

Fish wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:58 pm
Lemur wrote:
Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:17 pm
They do a 6% match towards the 401(k). I asked what the limit was ...they said there wasn't any.
In my experience this means they will match contributions up to the first 6% of income, and none above that. For example, if you put 6% in, company matches an equal amount for another 6%. If you put 20% in, the company match in absolute dollars is still as if your contribution were only 6%. Find the documentation (both your company and the IRS rules), read it and understand it. Also note that there is a limit of $55,000 from all sources (you and your employer combined). If you hit $55k before the end of the year, you might not get the full potential of the company match.
Thanks Fish. I will look into it when I get the details!

suomalainen
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by suomalainen » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:04 pm

Agreed. 6% match is actually pretty good. My company does 100% match of first 3% and 50% match of next 3%, so total they add 4.5% so long as you do at least 6%. IRS max is $18,500 for 2018 iirc, so if you can manage that (tax free!), you’re doing pretty well (18.5 is ~30% of 58.5)!

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:01 am

Suomalainen,

Not sure if I can hit the IRS max with my current budget, but I can definitely get get close.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:05 pm

Started my first few days at my new job. I'm a contractor for one of the big 4 accounting firms. Very corporate(y)...I am actually doing my best to stay engaged the 8 hours each day. At my last job, I screwed around far too march on the internet. My personality...I won't ask for more work if I get bored; however, I will use this time to build skills or refine a process. I have learned already that getting work done fast just means more work.

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Astra
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Astra » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:59 am

Hello Lemur,

I see your interests/hobbies are already quite on the frugal side, with the potential to save (cooking, staying fit) or even generate money (fitness instruction, growing veggies or python - assuming you are learning the programming language and not holding giant tropical snakes as pets ;) ). Any plans yet how to develop your interests into something benefitting your path to FI?
Lemur wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:05 pm
My personality...I won't ask for more work if I get bored; however, I will use this time to build skills or refine a process.
I see nothing wrong with that! Serves you well that you are an efficient worker and can invest some time getting in a better position for a raise/promotion/new job.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:16 am

Astra wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:59 am
Hello Lemur,

I see your interests/hobbies are already quite on the frugal side, with the potential to save (cooking, staying fit) or even generate money (fitness instruction, growing veggies or python - assuming you are learning the programming language and not holding giant tropical snakes as pets ;) ). Any plans yet how to develop your interests into something benefitting your path to FI?
Lemur wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:05 pm
My personality...I won't ask for more work if I get bored; however, I will use this time to build skills or refine a process.
I see nothing wrong with that! Serves you well that you are an efficient worker and can invest some time getting in a better position for a raise/promotion/new job.
Yeah one of my goals this year is to effectively use my time at work. I used to be very cynical about work..and maybe still am just a little bit but I figure if I'm going to be stuck in the cubicle 8-9 hours a day, I might as well make it count!

Gardening is sort of sacred to me in a way so I have no intention of selling any fruit/veggies. If anything, I might give them out for free if I produce enough. Last year, I made meals for my grandparents out of them so that felt good. I treat it as my meditation after work :) and I can't wait till the winter is over! The whole garden is done by hand, very basic tools, no weed killers or anything like that. I'm not sure what the term is. I started gardening last year just trying random thing. I've successfully grown squash, garlic, and onion...and for some reason any attempts at growing greens have failed. This year I hope to change that.

The focus this year is using my time to build my career up some more and finish up my Master's Degree. As far as programming, I have no aims for that to turn into a side-income either; however, I am using it to spice up my resume.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:36 pm

I will have to look into the details but my employer has a profit-sharing plan with the 401(k). That is pretty neat. There is, however, a vesting schedule of 33% (1 year), 66% (2 years), and 100% (at least 3 years). Matching contributions are considered discretionary. It was 6% last year. I think that means 6% of your salary. I told my spouse my goal is to try to get closer to maxing this out because I do have a second source of income from going to school (Gi bill housing allowance) and I can use that for expenses (since I don't have to report that for IRS purposes). Thus I can shield a lot more money under tax haven.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:43 pm

Got some money in today from the good old Gi Bill. $250. Transferred to my Roth for my first 2018 contribution.In other news...there is an office that is much closer to where I live. I bargained to work there at least 2 days a week. I think I got that pending some leadership approvals.

Lastly, I have been keeping 2 habits up since January 1 that I'm really starting to feel are paying off:

- I have woken up everyday at 5:30 to maintain a sleep schedule; even on weekends. I'm less fatigued and feeling better energy wise. I use to have trouble sleeping during the week which would equate to more stress (which would disturb my sleep in a vicious cycle)

-Green smoothie everyday for dinner. I keep frozen spinach/kale. Not sure why I did not do that a long time ago. I can grab them straight from the freezer and not worry about them going bad. My recipe: handful of spinach, handful of kale, 1 or 2 carrots, banana (option if I have it), and mix of frozen berries.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:44 pm

I've never learned new material so fast in my professional life...the only difference was I decided to be fully engaged the whole 8 hours lol. Usually I get side-tracked with meeting people, browsing my phone, browsing the internet, day-dreaming during meetings.

Great first week of work. Still waiting on my first paycheck of 2018 and how to do commuting reimbursements for my employer.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:10 pm

We shall see if the government shuts down. If so, I will be temporarily out of work as my employer notified us we will be on Leave without pay until the government re-opens.

umm...

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon Jan 22, 2018 9:33 pm

Got to work remote for the first time in my life. It was awesome! No commute. Wore comfortable clothing. Lunch with my wife. Got to see my kid just run around and playing. It was awesome. Wish that was it everyday. I felt like I got a lot more done too.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:30 pm

Starting up two college courses tomorrow. FML. Yes I hate school...literally only doing it for the fact that it may pay-off. Also, I am thankful I'm not paying for school. It is covered through my GI bill. I am on track to finish my Master's Degree this year. I can't wait to be done because I'm going to move on to learning something else with my time.

Stahlmann
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Stahlmann » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:26 am

Lemur wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:30 pm
Starting up two college courses tomorrow. FML. Yes I hate school...literally only doing it for the fact that it may pay-off.

Not the best motivation I think.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Mon Jan 29, 2018 7:00 pm

Stahlmann wrote:
Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:26 am
Lemur wrote:
Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:30 pm
Starting up two college courses tomorrow. FML. Yes I hate school...literally only doing it for the fact that it may pay-off.

Not the best motivation I think.
Nope it really isn't.

What is motivating me is my remote days at work. It really makes me think - man...if only I had a home-based business. I ran some ideas through my head and than I wish I got into accounting. I'm finding tons of bookkeeping work through a quick search. But then again, one does not need an accounting degree to perform accounting; we can always self-teach but I'd imagine also that your average small business owner would want to see a "CPA" next to a name.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:49 pm

Ouch. Got a traffic ticket for $570 ...looking into traffic attorneys. Oh well my emergency fund will cover it but I may want to fight it to get the points off...Ugh. 2018 has had a strange start. Some things good, some things. That is life though.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:48 pm

I was able to invest $3k from my tax refund when the stock market dipped the first time and another $700 when it dipped the second time or so last week. Both investments with VIT. Seeing attorney tomorrow about my tax situation.

School isn't so bad...one of the classes is actually interesting but still I hate being scheduled for assignments lol. You would think that I would be used to it halfway through a Master's degree.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:00 pm

Getting irritated with HR at work not setting me up with commuter benefits. When I took the job, I was told that we get to reimburse up to $250 a month just like my last employer but HR still won't set up my account after multiple emails and phone calls. I'm losing $250 a month roughly and it is building resentment. Not sure what to do other than bounce in a year out of principal of being annoyed / feeling misled and disrespected.. Only reason I can't bounce now is because I signed a contract stating I would pay back for a certification program if I leave less than a year and I don't want to pay up $8,000 so...

It's a shame because I like my job right now, I get into flow easy, and I'm building my character. I've had to give presentations which I am not comfortable with but I have been getting better each time and I'm less nervous each time. Part of this annoyance has really been pushing me to start my own side project or something but I can't think of anything and after work plus graduate school and raising my kid; can't say I have much energy left.

OTOH, I have plenty of energy to rant in a random journal online lol.

light_bulb_moment
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by light_bulb_moment » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:32 am

Talk to your boss?

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:31 pm

light_bulb_moment wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:32 am
Talk to your boss?
I don't really have a boss...I work as a subcontractor for one of the big four auditing firms and none of my co-workers work with the same firm as I do. Yes it is odd. I would literally have to email past HR and go to the company founder but I don't know if I want to escalate that just yet seeing as I just got to this job. idk. One person who is considered my "supervisor" in regards to payroll...all she did was forward my email back to HR lol.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:41 pm

Haven't posted in the journal for a while. Still basically on "the grind" as I like to call it. My schedule is..

Wake up at 5:30 am
Leave home by 6:30 am
Arrive at work by 9 am (yes...I commute this long unfortunately)
Work until about 5:00pm - 5:30pm
Arrive home at 7:00pm - 7:30pm
Spend the next 2:00 half hours doing : laundry, dishes sometimes, playing with my son, browsing the internet, and graduate schoolwork if I don't feel like procrastinating.

That is pretty much it Monday-Friday. The routine is nice sometimes. My M-F goes by pretty quickly and despite the gripes with my employer, I like my work. Unfortunately, given the problems already mentioned in this journal I am actively seeking other jobs with the goal of compensation.

The only money I have invested this year came from my refund. That is it. First time in a long time I don't actually have it calculated..I did just recently get back into the habit of the "no eat out and no picking up snacks rule." Sort of playing a "eat the cabinet" game at the moment. Past week has been nothing but beans, rice, pasta, and sandwiches.

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Lemur
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by Lemur » Thu Mar 22, 2018 3:40 pm

Savings rate @ 25% in 401(k). Actively working on certification and finishing degree to help career. Would really like to increase my income. By next year, I should be out of the $55k range and hopefully in the $60k plus range.

Got scammed on Upwork.com trying to do freelance work. Only $16 for 30 minutes of work. Still kinda crappy though.

Big snow in NorthEast yesterday; clearing up already. Getting very close to planting season.

trailblazer
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Re: Lemur Journal!

Post by trailblazer » Fri Mar 23, 2018 2:23 pm

Hi Lemur - I think you are building a very useful set of skills. With a Big 4 on your resume (even as a contractor) and your military veteran status, you can ramp up pretty quickly over the next few years to a much higher earning level. In my experience, firms like the Big 4 and related professional service firms place a premium on military status - most have launched initiatives to hire more. Not exactly the dream ERE employment, but I think you can get a higher salary and save more quickly.

Interesting to hear up your upwork experience. I've thought about playing around with this a bit but always seems like more trouble than it's worth.

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