Randy's Journal

Where are you and where are you going?
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Randy
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:03 am

Randy's Journal

Post by Randy » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:36 am

Okay, I think I've collected enough of a plan to start a journal. I'm nervous to be posting my thoughts and plans on a public forum, but I think it will hopefully help with accountability and I'd like to be part of this community.

Background
I'm a girl in my early 20s with a job in engineering. (I realized a little belatedly that choosing the name Randy would imply that I was a boy, but it's been my nickname for a while so I didn't give it a second thought. Sorry if this causes confusion.) I was lucky and graduated with little debt, which I paid off in the first year of employment. I'm from North Carolina and plan on returning in July to work there for the foreseeable future. Currently I am doing a graduate program with my company which involves moving every 6 months to a different location to try a new job. This has been great for learning, but currently I'm burned out on traveling and am looking forward to setting down some more permanent roots. Right now I live in a small town in Germany about an hour away from Cologne.

ERE factors:
- No debt
- Company is currently paying housing expenses (sadly this will end in July)
- Rough savings rate of 60% for last year
For the sake of simplicity I calculate my savings rates from take home pay, so this doesn't include my insurance costs and contributions to 401k.

March 2018 savings rate of 83%, net worth 44k

Despite the high savings rate in March, I am actually a little disappointed in this. My company is paying for my housing, and food in Germany is much cheaper than what I pay in the US, so I was hoping I could do better. My main splurge expense is $25 on weekly rock climbing. I also host some visiting friends/family occasionally and do some traveling with them, so this eats into my savings rate as well. I'm in the early stages of the accumulation phase, so I'm evaluating my typical purchases to see what I can improve on. Obviously my numbers game will change when I actually have to start paying housing costs in a few months, but I'm hoping that better spending habits will offset this change and I can maintain high savings rates.

As for what to do with my money, for now I've stuck it in a high yield savings account while I learn. Right now I'm thinking I will put maybe 60% into an investment portfolio and keep use the other 40% for real estate. For the investment portfolio, I'm leaning toward the golden butterfly outlined on portfoliocharts.com. It seems like a robust portfolio that I can basically ignore until the yearly rebalancing, which suits me. I am much more interested in real estate, because it seems like fun. My BF has recently moved into a fixer-upper which will give me the chance to cut my teeth on home repair. If my hunch is right and I enjoy it, I will probably try my hand at flipping houses or becoming a landlord. I've really only seen real estate investing mentioned in passing on the forums here. Maybe I'm missing the posts, or everyone goes to biggerpockets for this. I've looked at biggerpockets and all of the articles seem so click-bait-y (5 Things EVERY Flipper Needs to Know!!) But I think it will be a good resource once I get better at sifting through their info.

I haven't even looked at how many years it might take me to reach FI. I want to get better at tracking my spending and what I consider needs before I do any projecting.

I welcome any comments/thoughts/criticisms and am excited to start documenting my progress! :)

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Gilberto de Piento
Posts: 1037
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:23 pm

Re: Randy's Journal

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Apr 04, 2018 8:58 am

It sounds like you are doing great!

Are you getting any available 401k match from your company? Are you maxing out your 401k (not saying you should, just asking)? I include 401k contributions in my savings rate calculations since I could choose to do something else with the money, unlike pension contributions.

Is $25 a week the going rate for climbing where you are at? Is that for a gym membership only? I know it can vary but $100 a month would typically cover a family membership to a high end gym in the US.

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Kriegsspiel
Posts: 471
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:05 pm

Re: Randy's Journal

Post by Kriegsspiel » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:34 am

I think the articles on BP have really taken a dive, there is almost never useful information in them. I've listened to a lot of the podcasts and they tend to have some good info (especially the earlier ones), in addition to being entertaining.

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RFS
Posts: 47
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:25 pm

Re: Randy's Journal

Post by RFS » Wed Apr 04, 2018 7:44 pm

Firstly, great job on starting a journal. It will definitely help with accountability. There's nothing like not buying something because you're afraid to tell the ERE forums.

The value from BP is in specific contributors. Ben Leybovich writes thought-provoking stuff constantly. For the Warren Buffet-esque real estate fundamentals, I recommend Chad Carson and Scott Trench.

Randy
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:03 am

Re: Randy's Journal

Post by Randy » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:35 am

I'm contributing 10% of each paycheck to my 401k with 4.5% matched by my company. I'm leaving it out of my savings rate because the contribution is automatic and I never really "see" the money. Right now I'm considering the 401k untouchable until I reach the age for withdrawing without penalty. I think it's 59 1/2? Far enough away to feel like I'll never actually get there. When I'm closer to that age, I'll include it in my net worth.

Thanks for the feedback on BP. I'll look into Ben Leybovich and other authors. Also the podcasts, although I can never seem to find the right time for listening to them.

Randy
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:03 am

Re: Randy's Journal

Post by Randy » Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:30 am

Okay, April is not looking great for the financials so far. My mom and aunt came to visit me so I of course spent some time being their tour guide. I was able to convince my them to indulge in some meals at my apartment rather than eating out (they actually found Lidl to be very exciting), but we also splurged one night and stayed in a fancy hotel. I wasn't worried about the cost of it (one night split between three people) until my mom also insisted on eating at the fancy hotel restaurant... "fine dining" is never worth it to me. My aunt bought a glass of wine for 9 euro.. we later found a whole bottle of the same wine for 9 euro. But it's hard to say no to family and my mom was thrilled with the night, so I'll stop being cranky about it.

My own consumerist sins were buying a toy for my boyfriend's baby niece that I probably could have bought on amazon for 1/3 of the price, and getting a necklace for myself.

So what I've learned: It hard for me to not spend money on loved ones, and sometimes I like pretty things.

After this visit, my expenses for April are already about equal to what I spent in all of March. I think hopefully I can coast and stretch the money my mom/aunt owed me to last the rest of the month.

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