Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Student Loan Update...

Talk about BITTER SWEET! 

The Sweet Part is that I paid off Private Loans #2 and #3 (see the charts to the right) and I received a Distinguished Performance Rating at work!  

The Bitter Part is that my entire bonus went to pay off loans and I don't get to play with any of the money! BOO!!!! 

Any Hoo! The 2015 Grand Total for Debt Payoff is....$34,556!!! That compares favorably to $11,083 for 2014. Still moving in the right direction, even if it is hard to part with the hard earned cash! 

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

November 2015...

November was a decent month. My NW improved. I did quite a bit of traveling in November so I did not snowball the extra $1,070. All in all, it was a decent month and progress was good. 

Saturday, November 07, 2015

October 2015...

Hi All!

I am writing from Ohio. I am working remotely for a week and a half while visiting with CJ. I appreciate the flexibility I have with the new job at the Bank. The work/life balance is so much better than in my previous position and helps with the long long distance relationship.

I'll be doing a bit more traveling over the next couple of months. I am spending Thanksgiving with CJ in the Washington DC area and then I am off to Miami in December to celebrate my friend's 39th birthday. I will turn 38 the week before! Sagittarius Ladies!!! =) CJ is spending Christmas with me in Chicago and I will probably come back to Ohio to ring in the New Year with him the following week.

October was a decent month. My net worth bounced back primarily due to a positive shift in the market and rebound of my retirement account. I paid off Private Loan #1 in September so I took that $70 monthly payment and added it to my new snowball on Private Loan #2. The total snowball is now $1,070/monthly in addition to the minimum $1,335 payment. So I pay $2,400/month towards my student loans. I am looking forward to the day when that is no longer and I am praying that the Fed doesn't make moves to increase the interest rates soon. There has been a lot of talk about a rate increase in December.

All is well. I have no complaints. I will find out my annual bonus figure in about a month and I have roughly $13M in stock that will become unrestricted in December. I received the stock 3 years ago with an annual bonus but had to wait 3 years for the restrictions to fall off. The stock will get added to my investment balances bringing the total to approximately $26M. I will be making adjustments to to my deductions over the next two months to account for the extra income and taxes due. The plan is to use my December annual bonus to pay off Private Loan #2 and Private Loan #3.

That's all folks. I am doing pretty good. I hope you are doing well too! Thanks for reading! =)

Monday, October 05, 2015

September 2015...

September was a good month. I was able to pay off Private Loan #1 in Full and improve my net worth. I still have a little vacation cleanup that will happen in October but things are still moving in the right direction so I am happy.

I really can't complain about a thing. As I enter into the second year of leasing my condo and moving home, my net worth improved just shy of $40k which is huge after years of minimal progress. I finally have savings and I am making headway with my debt. All good things.  

Next week, CJ and I will celebrate our one-year anniversary but we will hold off on officially celebrating until the end of the month. His Dad is coming to town for homecoming in OH this weekend and Northwestern's homecoming and my 15th year reunion is next weekend.

I am still working out and feeling great! I only workout about 3-4 days a week now instead of 6 days but I am incorporating more weights at the gym to tone. My weight has gone up slightly but I think it's more due to muscle than anything. My clothes are still pretty loose. Starting a new wardrobe is in the plan over the next several months.

Friday, September 11, 2015

August 2015....

Hello Everyone! I am plugging along. August was decent for debt reduction. The market hit everyone pretty hard last month and that trend will likely continue into September. So, with vacation spending and market fluctuation, the asset side of my balance sheet will take a hit but the real focus remains on debt reduction. That is going along well. I am actually happy to report that I made the final payment on Private Loan #1 below today! That loan is now paid off in full. One private student loan down with six more to go! =) 

CJ and I went on vacation last week to Marco Island, FL and then spent the long holiday weekend in Chicago visiting with family and friends on both sides. We vacationed well together and had a blast. We did have to deal with the remnants of Tropical Storm Erika but once that cleared up, the weather was amazing! My co-worker made the suggestion and we loved it there and can't wait to get back.

I know of two more trips this year that I will be taking. One trip to Maryland for Thanksgiving to meet CJ's family. Another weekend trip to Miami in December to celebrate me and my friend's birthday. Those trips will be fun even though it will be my first holiday away from my family. My Sis put it pretty good when she said "the same people there for Thanksgiving will be with you 5 days later to celebrate your birthday, so go have a good time!"

Tenants signed the new lease for the next year and that's also good news because they are great  and low maintenance. All good things to report! 

Monday, August 03, 2015

July 2015...

July was a good month so no complaints. It was also a month with three paydays. My Net Worth improved by almost $5M due to ESPP savings, retirement contributions/gains and debt repayment.

My Tenants are renewing for another year so that is great news. They have been fairly low maintenance and I am super appreciative. Rent is paid on time and usually early. So thumbs up there! Next lease term begins September 1st. 

One of my Private Loans is nearing payoff in September which is great! Still trying to decide if I will pay off the $24M loan next with my annual bonus and stock payout or if I will continue to snowball to the next largest loan. All of the private loans have just about the exact same interest rate. Mentally, it would be nice to knock out 3 more loans by end of year so I am leaning that route. The good news is that I am making progress which hasn't happened before and it feels amazing!

On a personal note, my relationship with CJ is still going strong. We hit the one year mark in July. I just got back from spending a week in OH where I worked remotely for the week. CJ joined us at my family reunion in IN last weekend and then I drove back with him to OH for the week. I just got back this morning. Since it's long distance, it's the longest we've been able to spend together and we got along really well and had a fun week together. It was a good test. Miss him already BUT we are going to FL at the end of August to vacation for a week. We found a ridiculous deal on Priceline and booked. Looking forward to turning off my computer for a week. I haven't had a chance to do that since February.

It also looks like CJ will be moving to the DC area in MD by the end of the year. I am already paving the way at the Bank to be able to split my time between OH/Chicago and MD/Chicago until we decide if we will be in the DC area or in Chicago. To be determined. For now, we are just enjoying what's is and looking forward to the journey.

Exercise and Fitness is going great! I am probably in my best shape since college and I enjoy working out at least 30 minutes a day. It helps that CJ works out as well and my Sis has even joined in on the health kick and she's doing good.

That's all folks. Hope you all are doing well! Thanks for reading. =)

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

June 2015...

June was a decent month overall. My net worth improved by almost $2M fueled primarily by debt repayment. The market hit my retirement investments but no worries. I will continue to contribute, get the company match, buy low and watch my investments grow over the long haul.

Below is a YTD chart on all non-mortgage debt. The Goal is to pay off Private Loans #1-#4 by the end of the year with regular monthly payments, $1,000 monthly snowball payment, annual bonus and year end stock payout.

I continue to save approximately $700/per month through my company's ESPP Plan. It's forced savings since it is deducted directly from my paycheck and stock is purchased quarterly at a 15% discount.

The tenants will be renewing for another year so good things all around. Hope you guys are doing well. Thank you for reading for your encouraging words! 

Monday, June 01, 2015

May 2015...

May was another good and steady month. I am finally under ($100M) net worth and on my way to positive territory! Still chipping away nicely at my private loans and saving consistently on a monthly basis. I am so thankful for this opportunity to right my course and things are really looking up.

I will be reaching out to the tenants this month to see if they want to renew their lease for another year. Their daughter is starting HS this year and the local HS is one of top schools in the area and within walking distance from the condo. I am pretty sure they want to renew. I will confirm this week and get the revised lease to them to sign. I already revised it last week so it's good to go.

Everything on a personal level is also going well. The relationship is still going strong. Hard to believe CJ and I will hit the one year marker next month. We are trying to decide on next steps. Looks like we will still be doing the long distance relationship for a while to come as he's been presented with some pretty great employment opportunities in the DC area. I don't mind splitting the time between DC and Chicago because it gives me more time to tackle my finances. He's completely on board and our families are supportive. Thumbs up! 

Monday, May 04, 2015

April 2015...

April was another good month. My net worth improved by $4,000 primarily due to $2,000 in debt repayment, $1,400 in retirement savings/gains and approximately $800 in other savings.

The tenants called to ask if I thought about selling my condo and let me know they are interested in buying. I reached out my Realtor but the market hasn't rebounded enough to the point where I can sell without taking a significant loss and I am not prepared to come to the table with a large paydown to get a deal done. There was quite a bit of interest in the condo as a rental so I don't believe finding tenants will be difficult in the future. 

Overall, a very good month and I am excited about breaking below the ($100,000) net worth mark in May. Things are definitely moving in the right direction. Thanks for reading. =) 

Monday, April 13, 2015

March 2015...

March was another good month! I snowballed an extra $1,000 towards my student loans. The increase in credit card debt is solely due to the expiration of my balance transfer offer. I needed to rollover the amount to another credit card to take advantage of a new balance transfer offer. Everything else is on pace and coming together. The tenants in the condo are working out great!

The new job is good. They increased my responsibility and I've gotten positive feedback on my performance so that's awesome. My new job also comes with more flexibility. I asked for and received approval to work from home on Mondays and occasionally on Tuesdays. This will allow me more flexibility with the long distance relationship and traveling. The relationship is going good. 9 months strong. I just drove back from Indianapolis this morning from a weekend getaway. It's the middle meeting point for us as far as distance. We had a good time.

Health and fitness is going great! I started the Beachbody Shaun T program called T25 in January and finished last month, ran the 8K Shamrock Shuffle and started a Saturday Bootcamp program with my Sister. I am down over 20 lbs, several inches and I look and feel amazing. Best thing is that I did it all for me and I am actually enjoying the workouts. It's finally a part of my routine. I get up at 5am and crank out at least 30 minutes of intense workouts and then I get ready for work. I try to get in runs when I can during the week and then I have Bootcamp on Saturday mornings at 6am. I even won the Biggest Loser Contest and I get my fee waived for the next phase of Bootcamp! $150 back in my bank account! That's motivation!

Hope you guys are doing well. Thanks for reading. =)

Monday, March 02, 2015

February 2015...

February was a decent month. I ran across a few unexpected expenses but overall, I made excellent progress and made my first extra $1,000 snowball payment on my student loans. The news I am happiest to share is that my student loan balance has fallen below $200,000 for the first time! The balance is down to $198k from a high of $232k. 

Below is debt repayment YTD. I am off to a good start for 2015!

Monday, February 02, 2015

January 2015...

January was a good month and I made some decent progress. I could have made a little more but the market took a turn and hit my retirement balances. Overall, I am pleased for the first month of the new year. I am set to make my first $1,000 Snowball payment on my student loans in February. I am excited about being debt free! It's been a long time coming. 

Friday, January 02, 2015

December 2014 & FYE 2014 Recap...

Going into 2014, I was down and out emotionally, physically and spiritually but I stayed focused and prayed up. I had no idea how the year would turn out or that it would be as fruitful and amazing! God is faithful and always good!  

  • Pay off a Minimum of $20,000 in Debt - I paid off a total of $11,083.  
  • Maintain $10,000 in Savings - $11,110 in cash and marketables. 
Progress Comments:
  • It's hard to complain about the progress I made this year financially. In August, I got a new job in a different department in the Bank where I feel valued and I enjoy the work. My base salary increased from $102K to $115K. There was a mix up with my year end bonus which ended up being $4K-$5K less than it should have been so that resulted in not being able to make a larger debt pay down at year end.  
  • I finally made the move and rented out my condo in September. I found awesome tenants and the move was a bit expensive with the Realtor fees and moving costs. It took me a few months to recoup the expenses but overall, it was a good year of debt reduction and saving.  
    Health & Fitness:
    • 8 Hours of Sleep
    • Minimum of 1 Gallon of Water Daily 
    • Run 3 Times a Week
    • Jump Rope 15 Minutes Daily
    • Run Races and at Least 1 Half Marathon  
    Progress Comments:
    • I did not do well in this category this year. I was on the run non stop and I didn't place it high enough on the priority list. My annual physical in December went well and I am healthy.
    • Take at least one big trip - Destination TBD
    • Visit my friends in NJ
    • Visit my friend in DC 
    • Visit Niagara Falls
    • Visit CA with a drive up the coast  
    Progress Comments:
    • I took my first solo vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Amazing! I was there for 5 days and had a relaxing and amazing time. I am so proud of myself! 
    • My friends from NJ actually made it to Chicago instead. 
    • My friend from DC also made it to Chicago twice this year.  
    • I made it to Niagara Falls in June and August 2014!!! Beautiful!  
    • Still need to get out to California but I made it back to Toronto in August for the Carabana Festival! 
    Overall Comments:

    2014 was an awesome and humbling year. I made really strong and great moves to put myself in a better position to be free! The move home with my parents was the best decision and I am so thankful for my parents and for my Dad's suggestion. They are super happy to have me home as well. 

    My debt repayment journey really began in December 2009 when my Net Worth hit its lowest point at ($203K). I've been battling back every since. Last year it was ($141M ) and this year, it has continued to improve to ($115K). 


    2015 will be another awesome year. I found the right balance between Debt Reduction, Saving and Living. I am snowballing an extra $1,000 on my debt monthly and saving $700 per month. My car is almost 13 years old so I am preparing for a car note and increased insurance. It is my hope and prayer that my Nissan Altima (a/k/a The Green Machine) will make it another year so I am super thankful for this mild winter since my car is now outside.

    I have a new love in my life! I am literally typing this message from Ohio where I am visiting CJ this week. We wanted to ring in the New Year together. I was sitting on the beach in the Dominican Republic in July when I received an email from CJ and we've been talking and an item ever since. We've known each other since we were 11 years old and He's actually my 7th grade boyfriend. His Mom died from breast cancer halfway through the school year and he had to move to Maryland to live with his Dad. We tried to stay in contact over the years and somehow, he'd always contact me every few years and still remembers my parent's phone number after 25 years. Just an overall good man and he loves me. Always has in our own little way. It's another long distance relationship but we're making it work. The long distance aspect actually works this time since I am also living at home with my parents right now.

    Thank you for hanging in there with me this year! More good things to come! Happy New Year! =)