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Roof Shopping

February 9th, 2022 at 02:04 pm

Our roof is nearly twenty years old and it’s time to replace it. Fortunately, we haven’t had any mishaps other than a few shingles blowing off over the years during tornados & storms. This is an expensive but necessary upgrade that I want to fund while I’m working.

 

I’ve just gotten four estimates that I’m now comparing. It’s tough to compare apples-to-apples since the four quotes include three different brands of shingles, different payment rules, and different workmanship warranties. I’ve been researching shingles online to attempt an informed decision. Does anyone else do this?

 

I have it narrowed down to two. Both are local companies. One uses a basic shingle that’s commonly used and has a 10-year workmanship warranty. From my internet search, it seems like the company has just a few employees because the reviews mention them by name. The other company uses better quality shingles and has a 12-year workmanship warranty. They have many rave reviews (Yelp, etc.) that are recent. The difference between the prices is almost $4k. ($11k vs $15k) So I need to determine how much that quality is worth to me. Hmmm.

 

The two estimates that I am not pursuing: One had only a 1-year workmanship warranty and the shingle brand was the lowest rated. The other used the same shingles as the lowest price but was priced $3k higher.

Financial Happenings & 2022 Goals

February 6th, 2022 at 04:12 pm

We’ve had two home improvements projects happen in the same month after waiting months for both. The first one is a sliding barn door that allows our living room to be a makeshift bedroom. The couch in there is a sleeper sofa and there’s an armoire but before we didn’t have a good way to add privacy. I finally found a person with the availability and skills to do it and I love the door. The second project is the long-awaited cat fence. I signed that contract in May and supply issues related to the pigment required to produce the color I wanted caused the delay. It’s done now and I’m eager to have warm weather to see how it works when the cats really want to be outside.

 

I’ve just started our taxes. It’s going to be ugly and I expected it because I sold stock that vested last year. Once again our income level bumped us out of the Opportunity Credit and for the first time bumped us out of Roth contributions. I had been making the Roth contributions so I backed them out – ugh – to prevent penalties but then I had to pay taxes on their earnings. It’s all messy but I sure don’t want to complain about it – the stock proceeds allowed me to pay house debt and I hope to report that major milestone in about a month.

 

My goals for 2022:

(1) House projects - replace the roof (shingles), downstairs ceilings painted, design kitchen reno & get quotes

(2) Personalfinish the two scrapbooks for the twins by their graduation

(3) Healthget lean by implementing routines for fasting, resistance training, and yoga

(4) Financialpay off house, get EF to 7 months’ expenses

(5) KidsDS1: help w/ rescue cat, DS2: get to know GF, DS3: help set up investments, DS4: open Roth & transfer brokerage from minor account, DS5: support job search for semi-gap year

[so weird that some words couldn't be bolded...]

 

My goals have retirement preparation in mind. 17 months and counting.

 

House Debt Progress

October 8th, 2021 at 03:31 pm

A minor milestone - the house debt is now below $40k.

 

If I stick to my plan it’ll be paid off in June 2023. I’m seriously considering selling some company stock in 2022 to just be done with it. It’s a focus for me because it’s our only debt. The credit card debt is there but it’s paid in full when it’s due.

Quarterly Status of Retirement Prerequisites

August 7th, 2021 at 12:43 am

I mentioned in a previous post (2020) that I have a deadline set for the start of my retirement. And that I have a list of prerequisites to determine whether I’m in a safe-enough-for-me position to retire sooner. Each quarter I evaluate my progress against those prerequisites, and my quarterly check-in for this is aligned with my birthday instead of the standard calendar quarter. That’s because a couple of my prerequisites are based on my 60th birthday so the calculation is simpler.

Result for this check-in: I’m getting closer! I’m hoping to pull the trigger in a couple of years.

 

Currently my progress is:

Retirement account on target for 7 figures on 60th birthday: 100+%

College savings on target for full funding: 55%

Mortgage paid off: 73%

Savings of basic expenses until 60th birthday set aside: 14.4%

No consumer debt: 100%

 

Assumptions for these calculations: average annual return on investments will be 5%, no further contributions to investments, full funding = 40 semesters (8 x 5 boys), $36,000k annually for basic expenses, starting consumer debt was $10k.

 

The next time I check-in on this progress will be around my birthday.

 

Wow - I really struggled to get the formatting for this post to include all the content and not look wonky...

Land Closing

March 15th, 2021 at 08:02 pm

The closing for the SC land sale occurred at the end of last week. UPS delivered a check with my proceeds this morning and within an hour I deposited it into my account with mobile banking and paid the 0% interest credit card in full online. Done!! Now we only have house debt.

2021 Q1 Quarterly Status of Retirement Prerequisites

February 12th, 2021 at 02:35 pm

I have a deadline set for the start of my retirement and I have a list of prerequisites to determine whether I’m in a safe-enough-for-me position to retire sooner. Each quarter I evaluate my progress against those prerequisites, and my quarterly check-in for this is aligned with my birthday instead of the standard calendar quarter. That’s because a couple of my prerequisites are based on my 60th birthday so the calculation is simpler.

 

Result for this check-in: Again, it's not time to retire now, but I’m continuing to make good progress.

 

In order to pull the plug immediately, I’d have to have these things accomplished:

Retirement account on target for 7 figures on 60th birthday

College savings on target for full funding

Mortgage paid off

Savings of basic expenses until 60th birthday set aside

No consumer debt

 

Currently my progress is:

100+%

54%

48%

8%

25%

 

Assumptions for these calculations: average annual return on investments will be 5%, no further contributions to investments, full funding = 40 semesters (8 x 5 boys), $36,000k annually for basic expenses, starting consumer debt was $10k. (At one time I had negative progress on this! For the record though, it’s at 0% interest.)

 

The next time I check-in on this progress will be in May at my half-birthday.

House Debt Update

February 11th, 2021 at 08:07 pm

Each month I track the principal payments for our house debt. I started this to put us on an achievable schedule to pay off the house within 5 years. I’m on payment 30 of 58. It’s exciting for me to see the acceleration in principal reduction – both from larger payments and decreasing interest due.

 

 

July Health Habit

August 5th, 2020 at 12:41 am

Yes, I know it’s August! I’ve had a couple of busy weeks and didn’t get around to this.

My 2020 goal #2 is to adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month. My new health habit for July was to disconnect one day a week. For me it’ll usually be a Saturday since I work and I’m often getting prepared for the week ahead on Sundays (unfortunately).

On my disconnected day, I will avoid screens. Computer screens, TV screens, ipad mini, and phone.

NEW HEALTH HABIT #7:
Have one disconnected day each week.

BENEFIT:
• Spending more focused time in my relationships
• More likely to spend time outdoors
• Less stress caused by reading ratings-seeking controversial news stories
• Increased productivity since there aren’t distractions
• Less guilt from wasting time on thoughts and activities that really aren’t important
• More time for reflection
• Become more present and authentic.


COST:
Upfront – zero
Ongoing – zero

There might be a cost savings because I can’t order online! 😉

2020 health habits so far:
(1) Fast one day per month
(2) Consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times a week
(3) Stop storing food in plastic containers
(4) Spend at least half an hour outside every day
(5) Drink 32 oz filtered water every day
(6) Do strength training exercises twice a week
(7) Disconnect one day each week.

I remember that CJ once did something similar to this one year for a resolution.

Q2 Annual Goals Progress

July 1st, 2020 at 09:37 pm

Another quarter has passed so it’s time for my annual goals check-in to keep my goals visible and prompt me to correct course where needed.

(1) Get EF back to 3 months’ basic expenses – DONE! Poodle jumps!
(2) Adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month – on target
(3) Renew my professional certification by the September due date – DONE!
(4) Pay no CC interest or fees – on target
(5) Spend time with each kid to encourage his current area of growth – on target
(6) Complete identified home maintenance - behind

(5) Areas of focus:
DS1 – career planning – restart due to Covid-19
DS2 – housing of his own - DONE
DS3 – college transition – in progress & challenging
DS4 – Scout rank advancement – in progress & challenging
DS5 – Confidence, schoolwork – good progress made, will continue in Fall

(6) Next maintenance:
Replace half-bath light/fan – no progress this quarter
Pressure-wash house - DONE
Painting: living room – DONE, family room – no progress, & downstairs ceilings – no progress

Overall, I’m pleased but it’s clear where I need to put some focus. Two of the three remaining home maintenance tasks are to be hired out and one I can do myself. For that one, all I need to do is buy a matching can of paint and get off my duff.

My health habits are going fine, but I still find fasting and water consumption unnatural. In order to stay on course, I really have to think about it and make myself do them.

My professional certification is good for three years so it won’t expire until Sept 2023. I don’t think I’ll be renewing it again.

Five Years

June 30th, 2020 at 01:45 pm

A few years ago, I read a financial article, book, or blog (I can’t remember unfortunately.) that had an impact on how I prepare for retirement.

Before then I had just focused on a number to achieve for my retirement account – one that would support a ‘retirement phase’ budget with a 4% annual withdrawal. My thought, like many others, was that my retirement date would be the day I achieved that number. I could project that date but not count on it. The article made me rethink the approach and instead think more about my remaining time and its value. So, make the DATE the goal, not the AMOUNT. After reading, I decided to set a deadline for my retirement start date and then work to make that happen. There’s a mental shift, at least for me, in having a “deadline” instead of a “target date”. A target is something that I work toward and hope it works out, but know it might not and that’s okay. A deadline on the other hand is something I work toward with some sense of urgency because if it doesn’t work out, I have to resort to a back-up plan that isn’t as nice. When I have a deadline, I tend to make sacrifices earlier if necessary so I won’t miss it.

June 30, 2025 is my retirement start deadline. I will be retired on that day. It makes me excited just to type that! That makes today a milestone – my retirement is a maximum of 5 years from today. What if I don’t have the magic number in the retirement account? Then I will adjust my retirement lifestyle, but I will not change the date. One thing that has reinforced my view has been this site, where I see several of you in retirement living quite well without a huge nest egg. There are so many accounts too of people who had a sudden disability that resulted in that date being selected for them and they weren’t prepared. And others who achieved their magic number but have the ‘one more year’ syndrome for several years because they worry about the potential flaws in their calculations. I also encountered one of those Monte Carlo simulators that included the probability of being dead along with the probabilities of being broke or wealthy. That drove home the concept to me: I want to control how I spend the rest of my life.

2025 is the year I turn sixty. I can access my retirement account without penalty then. I won’t qualify for Medicare yet. My youngest boys won’t be finished with college. All those factors are included in my planning.

I set a list of prerequisites that must be met if I voluntarily opt to retire before June 30, 2025. In order to allow myself to retire earlier, I have to have these things accomplished:
(1) Retirement account on target for 7 figures on 60th birthday
(2) College savings on target for full funding
(3) Mortgage paid off
(4) Savings of basic expenses until 60th birthday set aside
(5) No consumer debt

I track my progress against those prerequisites each quarter. I have a timeanddate.com countdown set too – today I have 260 more Mondays until my deadline.

Health Habit for June

June 28th, 2020 at 01:47 pm

My 2020 goal #2 is to adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month. My new health habit for June is to have two resistance training workouts each week.

I have a book that illustrates a few no-equipment-needed strength-building moves for different body parts. I have a health club membership too where I can use machines. This is an area of weakness for me. (I feel like I’ve said that about several of my health habits!) DH is disciplined with workouts but not with diet. I tend to be the opposite. If we could combine ourselves, we’d be the ideal, or the worst…!

The reason I chose strength training is that as I get older it seems like my muscle tone is deteriorating before my eyes. And I want to maintain my strength so I can remain active as I move into my retirement phase of life. So, it’s for both aesthetic and quality of life reasons.

NEW HEALTH HABIT #6:
Do strength training exercises twice a week.

BENEFIT:
Strength training can do all this & more:
• maintain lean muscle mass
• preserve bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis for women
• raise metabolism (once muscle mass is improved)
• reduce risk of injury
• improve balance
• improve the muscle’s ability to use glucose, decreasing blood sugar levels
• reduce cancer risk by lowering visceral fat
• increase mental resiliency (anti-anxiety effect)
• improve flexibility & mobility


COST:
Upfront – zero
Ongoing – $20/month health club membership


2020 health habits so far:
(1) Fast one day per month
(2) Consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times a week
(3) Stop storing food in plastic containers
(4) Spend at least half an hour outside every day
(5) Drink 32 oz filtered water every day
(6) Do strength training exercises twice a week

DS2 Officially Out of the Nest

June 27th, 2020 at 01:09 am

Today was a milestone day for DS2. He’s moving into his own place. He graduated in May and then started working in a town about a 45-minute drive away. He was unable to get an apartment for months mostly because of Covid-related shutdowns. Property management companies weren’t even showing places. He also had decided only to consider apartments that were biking distance to his work and reasonably priced.

Finally, he found a place that suits him. It’s a two-building complex where each building is a 4-plex and it’s in the town where he works. It’s not pretty-looking on Google maps, but it’s practical for him. There’s even a laundromat across the street. He said he could walk to work in about 15 minutes. It’s basic – a one-bedroom apartment with a bath and a combined living room and kitchen area. He’s living alone though and wanted to live cheaply so he can save money for the next couple of years. I think he’ll be paying about $600/month in rent. In preparation for the move he bought a router for his internet, arranged for utility accounts in his name, bought a window A/C unit, and rented a U-Haul to move all his belongings. I’m surprised that he was allowed to rent the U-Haul since he isn’t 25 yet but he didn’t ask for help so I guess it was okay. Maybe the rental companies are being more lenient since their business is slow these days. But all those things are adult activities and I could tell that DS2 is feeling proud that he’s independent. I’m proud too.

Before he drove away in the big van loaded with his things, he told me that we could go see his place in a week. I think he wants time to get his place sorted before he shows it off to us.


DS4 helping DS2 load the moving van

I guess my next move is to have DS2 removed from our auto insurance. Hopefully that will save a few bucks because having DS3 on the policy is costing us plenty.

2020 Goal #1 – Done

June 23rd, 2020 at 01:31 am

I have met my first goal for 2020: Get EF back to 3 months’ basic expenses. It feels nice especially in the current economic environment. For us three months of expenses is $10,500 and the EF bumped to $10,700 with my recent regular monthly contribution. It was close last month but I didn’t feel comfortable taking funds from something else and throwing it in.

I’ll be evaluating my progress on all annual goals at the end of the quarter which is in just a couple of weeks.

I may set a goal in 2021 to get the EF to 6 months of expenses.

New Health Habit for May

June 1st, 2020 at 12:01 am

I’ve been on a slight hiatus due to feeling overwhelmed and discontinuing unnecessary tasks as a result. And it wasn’t directly because of the country’s 3-month turmoil either but instead my fretting about family members I love. In two separate situations (DS3 and my dad), I watched consequences from poor choices while I was powerless to do anything. But pray, which I did. Both situations eventually resolved themselves better than I thought possible but boy – I feel like I lost a year off my life from the stress. I really wish I knew a secret to truly let go of situations out of my control when they’re close to me.

The good news is that I have been keeping up with the high priority items directly in my control. So back to regularly scheduled programming…

My 2020 goal #2 is to adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month. My new health habit for May is to drink 32 oz of filtered water each day. (in addition to any other liquids I consume)

I think the ideal water intake for an adult is more than this but it’ll be a step up for me. I have a good quality water bottle that I keep at my desk. Two fill-ups should be at least 32 ounces.

NEW HEALTH HABIT #5:
Drink 32 oz of filtered water every day.

BENEFIT:
Drinking water positively impacts brain function, energy levels, digestion, and metabolic rate. Water intake eliminates headaches caused by dehydration and can prevent kidney stones. It aids in detoxification and lubricates joints, eyes, and skin.


COST:
Upfront – zero (I already have a filter.)
Ongoing – zero


2020 health habits so far:
(1) Fast one day per month
(2) Consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times a week
(3) Stop storing food in plastic containers
(4) Spend at least half an hour outside every day
(5) Drink 32 oz filtered water every day

April Health Habit

April 21st, 2020 at 06:59 pm

My 2020 goal #2 is to adopt a permanent health-enhancing habit each month. I’ve decided that my new health habit for April will be to spend at least half an hour outside every day.

It’s a shame that I have to work to make this a habit but I do. Even working from home, some days I realize that I didn’t get out at all except to pick up the mail. Especially when the weather is cold. So now unless there’s a bad storm or the temperature is in the single digits, I’m going to spend time outside. It doesn’t have to be for exercise – I could just drink my coffee on the deck. Part of it is covered so I could do that on a rainy day too.

NEW HEALTH HABIT #4:
Spend at least half an hour outside every day.

BENEFIT:
Provides a de-stressing effect, might improve short-term memory, creativity, and the ability to focus, reduces inflammation, helps eliminate fatigue, may prevent depression, may protect vision, lowers blood pressure, may boost the immune system

COST:
Upfront – zero
Ongoing – zero

Cheap and simple.

2020 health habits so far:
(1) Fast one day per month
(2) Consume fresh organic juice at least 3 times a week
(3) Stop storing food in plastic containers
(4) Spend at least half an hour outside every day

0% CC Expiring in May – Balance Zero!

April 17th, 2020 at 11:09 am

I put the stimulus payment to good use – the balance on the 0% CC expiring in May is history. Woohoo! That means that my annual goal #4 - pay no CC interest or fees – will be achieved so long as I don’t take on additional CC debt this year.

I’ll close the CC in the next few days. I don’t need the credit since I have another card with rewards for everyday purchases. Next focus for unallocated funds is the EF: annual goal #1 - get EF back to 3 months’ basic expenses.

Our dog found two more eggs in the yard yesterday! One just had Skittles but the other had a dollar bill.