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Is my Weight affecting my Wealth - Week one progress

October 21st, 2007 at 03:56 am

I started my diet and exercise plan this week. Here are the week one results:

I followed an exchange diet. Basically 6 carbs, 6 proteins, 2 milk, 2 fruit.

My exercise routine is three days cardio, three days weight lifting.

Sun - no exercise/relaxed diet
Monday - 30 min run/walk
Tue - Upper body workout
Wed - 30 min stairmaster
Thur - Lower body workout
Fri - 30 min run/walk
Sat - Upper body workout.

My numbers this week:
Wt 230 - Loss 5
Bodyfat - 26% - down 2%

Money Savings -
Sun - Spend no money on eating out - $35.00 savings.

M-F - Ate breakfast at home. Replaced afternoon diet drink with water - savings $5.25 day.

Saturday - ate breakfast and lunch at home - save $18.00. Bought dinner spent $58.00 (wifes birthday) - $23.00 more than typical Saturday dinner out. spent $5.00 more than normal.

Total amount spent weekly on food before the diet $250.00

Total spend this week - $178.75
Total Savings this week - $56.25

Goals for next week:
Maintain diet and exercise routine
Lose - 4 pounds
Spend $150 on food ($43.75 less than last week)




The Condo Search - Part One

October 20th, 2007 at 03:35 am

Last weekend my friend and I went to Gulf Shores, Alabama to look at foreclosed vacation condos. We found a potential buy. It is a 2br/2ba for 169K. I am currently crunching the numbers, but it looks like if we can get them to accept 125K we will buy.

My friend and I are planning to pay cash. I am getting my half from a HELOC that I am currently opening. I believe I can carry the cost for about six months. It is a risk, but I believe we can put it up for sale below market and still make a good profit.

My next post will have the breakdown of the numbers.

Rough Week for Savings - Lessons I Learned

October 20th, 2007 at 03:34 am

Several major expenditures hit me this week and I learned a lesson from each:

1. My car needed a brake job. I had been putting this off. In doing so, I caused additional damage that needed to be repaired. This added an additional $150 to the repair.

Lesson: Do not put off car maintaniance.

2. My wifes car died when she was picking me up from the mechanic. Needed new battery and new tires. Unexpected $800

Lesson: Pay attention to the condition of all your automobiles, not just the one you drive.

3. Found balance on wifes credit card of $1400. Paid it off

Lesson: If you and your spouse maintain separate accounts. Keep each other informed. Talk openly about financial matters.

4. Home Loan Closing. $5800 expected expense. Upon closer inspection of the documentation, I found several fees that I could have negotiated lower.

Lesson: Read you loan agreements closely. Do not be afraid to ask for discounts.

Unexpected expenses - $2350
Expected expenses - $5800
Total this week - $8150

Lesson: Always have an emergency fund. I was able to handle all these expenses without going into debt.

A Few Money Surprises

October 20th, 2007 at 03:32 am

My wife and I have been maintaining separate checking accounts for about two years. We divided up the bills so that we have approximately the same amount of spending money. We chose to keep our accounts separate to maintain some degree of privacy when making purchases. I do not want her to know how much I spend when I buy for her, and she feels the same when buying for me. I also like that we are not questioning each other about every little purchase.

Yesterday she informed me that her schedule has been too hectic for her to balanced her checking account . She said she would like me to manage her account. I also found out that we had a balance on a credit card that I thought was inactive of about $1400. Needless to say this temporarly knocked me off my diet and exercise program. I immediately withdraw money from savings and paid off the card giving us a free and clear starting point. Here is how I am planning to manage both accounts.

I added her as an authorized signer on my rewards credit card. I asked her to use the card for all purchases she makes. I feel that if there is no activity in her checking account for a period of time, I will be able to quickly balance it. I also feel that this will give her privacy as I will only look at the total balance when paying the bill. She also agreed to inform me if she makes any ATM withdrawals.

Because I have such an interest in saving and investing, I feel better to know our total household picture of income and outgo. I chose to keep both checking accounts open because our paychecks are direct deposited into our separate accounts and I find it a pain to change this. I have set up all the bills she was paying on automatic bank draft. I also set up a monthly payment to her Roth IRA, I believe I will have the account balanced in a short period of time and at the same time relive my wife from the obligation of maintaining the account

Is my Weight affecting my Wealth?

October 20th, 2007 at 03:29 am

Over the past year I have had a rather uncomfortable weight gain. I have also noticed that I am having trouble sleeping and concentrating on my work. To remedy this, I have decided to start a diet and exercise program beginning Monday, Oct 15th with the goal of losing forty-five pounds. After all, if I achieve my goal of financial freedom, I want to be healthy enough to travel and participate in outdoor activities. I currently weigh 235 and would like to weigh 190. I am going to post my progress on Saturdays.

Since I am writing about financial matters, I decided to see if this weight loss will have any impact on my wealth. Last week I kept track of how much I am spending daily on unhealthy things. By the end of the week I am embarrassed to let you know how much money I waste. I am spending an average of $17 dollars a day M-F on breakfast, lunch, junk food and soft drinks, plus we buy dinner at least twice spending $25-$35 each time. On weekends I spend $50-$60 dollars eating out and buying junk food. On average I am spending $250 a week or $1000 a month (yikes). I am planning to cut this down a least by half if not more and place the difference in my savings account.

Here are my starting numbers on Oct 6th 2007

Starting Weight 235
Waist 40
Body Fat 28%
I will start posting pictures when I am no longer embarrassed.

October 5th Net Worth and Goals for this month

October 20th, 2007 at 03:26 am

Home Equity - $130000 (Based on appraisal done last week)

IRA - $ 54616 (This was a 401k rollover)
401K $ 4789
Roth IRA - Me $ 4673
Roth IRA - Wife $ 587

Savings $ 30000

Liabilities $ 0

Net Worth $ 224665

Goals -

1. Pay myself first.

A. Add $735 to my Roth. $500 depost + $235 regular monthly deposit.
B. Start a regular $100 deposit to my wifes Roth
C. Add $1365 to my 401K. I add $333 regular deposits twice a month, plus in October I will get my quarterly match of $699.

2. Create Multiple streams of income.

Last year out of the blue my good friend from high school told me he has been investing in real estate and having some success. On Oct 12, he and I will be meeting a realtor specializing in forclosed vacation condos in the Gulf Shores Alabama area. If we can find one in our price range, we are going to make an offer. I will not put up over $10,000 since this is my first deal. I have to admit, I am nervous about this, but I was nervous when I started construction on my new home. I am going to have to trust my instincts. If we can get a low enough price, we will try to flip the condo, if not we will rent it as a vacation condo.

Achieved Goal of no debt other than mortgage How I did it.

October 20th, 2007 at 03:24 am

I have been working on this goal since July 2006 long before I started this blog. If you read my background information you will know that a few years ago I refinanced my home and paid off all my credit cards and other obligations. Last July I bought a residential lot with an interest only loan for seventy thousand dollars. I hired a contractor to build me a house based on a set of plans I found last year on a house plans website. To finance the construction, I obtained a construction loan that paid off my residential lot loan and allowed me to start construction. To qualify for the construction loan, I agreed to let the bank place a lien on my current home with the stipulation that it be removed when I sell it. I know this was a gamble, but I have lived in a hot market since Katrina caused so many people to move around. I was able to sell my old home after a few months for close to my asking price.

The sale eliminated all my home and home equity debt while at the same time making a profit of fifty thousand dollars. In one swoop all my debt was gone and I had a good size cash cushion. I decided to put thirty thousand toward the new construction leaving me with a smaller cash cushion but also a smaller mortgage and monthly note.

A couple of weeks ago I moved into my new home and have converted the construction loan to a permanent mortgage. My first goal will be complete.

Goals I need to Achieve

October 20th, 2007 at 03:20 am

1. No debt other than mortgage I achieved this right before I started this blog. I will tell you how in my next post

2. Multiple sources of income. If I leave my job at fifty-two years of age, I feel I will need something more to rely on that just my investment portfolio.

3. 1.5 MM in my combined Retirement accounts - This should allow me an annual income of at least fifty thousand dollars using the recommend annual draw of 4%. I don't believe I can touch this until age 59.5

4. 0.5 MM in my taxable accounts - This will provide me with another 10-20K per year.

So is a two million dollar portfolio possible in ten years? I believe only with an additional income stream.

My Story

October 20th, 2007 at 03:19 am

Hello and welcome to my blog, I am a forty-two year old computer programmer from Louisiana that has set a goal of achieving financial freedom in ten years. I set this goal because a few years ago after working almost fifteen years and earning a good salary, I found myself heavily in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and having to borrow for even minor unexpected expenses. I knew I hit rock bottom when I had to call in sick for work because I did not have enough money to put gas in my car. I realized then that I had been ignoring my finances too long. I started researching my situation and was shocked by how much debt I had acquired and how low my credit scores had fallen. I knew that somehow I had to gain control of this situation or I was headed for bankruptcy. I decided that the only way to solve my problem was to be proactive and learn as much as possible about personal finance and specifically debt reduction. I read every article, book and web site I could find on the subject.

Since that time I followed the most common advice that is given in personal finance; pay myself first, lower the interest on my debt and avoid new debt. I immediately took the following actions:

1. Pay myself first - I set up and started contributing to my 401K, a Roth IRA and a high interest online savings account. I rolled over an old 401K from a previous job and started contributing 6% which was enough to get the full match. Also, I had $100 a month direct deposited into my new high interest savings account. This came in handy when I had auto repairs or other unexpected expenses. After almost a year of saving this way I increased my 401K contribution rate to 10%. I was able to do this because I got a promotion at work with a 6% salary increase.

Last year I opened a Roth IRA for myself and for my wife. I deposited $500 and contributed $100 a month. My wife made a one time deposit of $500.

2. Lower the interest on my debt - Since most my debt was high interest credit cards and personal loans, I immediately rolled all my debt into my home loan by doing a cash out refinance and a home equity loan. I did that at the time rates were extremely low. Even though I didn't get the best rate because of my credit score, I still got 6.125% for the home loan and 7% for the home equity load which was much lower than the 13%-24% rates on my credit cards. This paid off my debts at a lower interest rate and got a tax deduction to boot.

3. Avoid new debt - After my refinance, I exercised self discipline and always paid my credit cards in full every month. I only continued to use credit cards because I figured my credit score would not improve if they had no activity to observe. In a short period of time, I started getting credit card offers with very low interest rates. I opened two low interest credit cards that paid rewards and started using them in place of my high interest cards. My savings account allowed me to keep from using the cards when an unexpected bill arrived. I have been fortunate that nothing too large has come up.

Those actions gave me a good foundation of a retirement fund, an emergency fund and access to credit . Last year however, I decided I wanted more that an OK retirement, I wanted complete financial freedom while I was still young enought to enjoy it (no more than age fifty three. I chose this age because my father was able to retire at this age). Given my late start, if I want to become wealthy enough for financial freedom about ten years, I will need to do more that just create a savings strategy. I need to generate additional income.

This brings me to today, I will be using this blog to hold myself accountable to achieve this goal by posting my net worth monthly, and by posting the decisions and actions I will take to generate additional income. I am hoping this will keep me motivated and maybe motivate someone else as well.