First Quarter 2018: Spend Report

Ok, so the year has gotten off to a bit of a rough start on the spending front.

The good news is that my income for the first 3 months of the year (including post-tax paychecks and pre-tax 401k contributions) has been $34,495. So, my $13,675 of spending for 1/4 of the year doesn’t seem that bad when I’ve saved $20.8k thus far.

*Also, theoretically, if I receive my stock at the end of the year, I could have an extra ~ $4000 of savings per month which is significant (and makes my bad spending choices look slightly less bad?)

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Never Get a Promotion Again: I Can Only Hope

Along the lines of my post the other day “Why I’ll Never Ask for a Raise,” today I decided I really don’t want an increase in job title ever again. While I’m sad that my earning potential is likely at its plateau for the rest of my working career, minus a few cost-of-living raises here and there, I’m fairly set on the reality that my abilities stop at this level.

What I’m not is a manager of a big team. I’m not someone who sets strategies and has other people do the work. I do the work. And that’s ok. It’s ok, because I feel in control of the output. And I don’t want to take credit for anyone else’s contributions. The best way I can help an organization is by getting shit done. My biggest challenge is not overcommitting, and focusing on adding value doing what I do best. Continue reading

Maternity Leave and Not Losing Money

Maternity leave in the US is a joke, especially compared to the rest of the world. But, that joke is my reality for the next year, so I have to figure out the best way to deal with it–especially since I’m the primary breadwinner in my household (well, sort of – we split everything 50/50 but should shit hit the fan it’s my savings that will ensure we’re not living on the street.) Anyway…

My income is just worth a lot. If my husband made a substantial salary and I was, say, a teacher or social worker (no offense to teachers or social workers) it would be less impactful to our household income for me to take a few months off. However, when I look at the cost of my time off, it’s really expensive. Continue reading

April Networth Check-In: $575k

For a bit of a belated April networth checkin, I’m happy to report my networth is ticking upwards slowly, despite the stock market doing eh.

Given the larger gains of past months, it still feels flat, but at least it’s up. I started 2018 out with $544k in networth, and am now at $575.6k–so I’m up $31.6k of my $100k goal for the year, leaving $7.6k growth per month to hit that goal (or 5% growth for the rest of the year including saving additions and gains.)

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The plan is for about $40k-$50k of that to come from after-tax stock vesting before the end of the year. If I don’t keep my job until then for any reason, then I don’t think I will be hitting the $650k goal for the year. But, with that extra $50k, it should be doable for me to save $25k for the next nine months, even with my maternity leave. Continue reading

Who can afford to own a house?

I’ve committed to remaining in our $2500/month one bedroom apartment for as long as we can stand it with our soon-to-be child. I’ve even gotten to appreciate the forced closeness we’ll have living in a small space with kiddo, especially in the first year when it’s recommended baby sleeps in the same room with parents…

However, I’m very concerned about what happens “next.” Yes, we can leave this overpriced corner of the country and live somewhere that a much lower salary would enable home ownership. I don’t even care about “owning” so much as I care about being able to afford some sort of residence that feels less like an apartment and more like a home. A townhouse would be perfectly fine, especially if it has a little grassy area in the back, and a community park nearby… Continue reading

Why I’ll Never Ask for a Raise

At my last job, I negotiated like a boss coming into my role. I managed to be rewarded with a base salary of $190k–even though it made my hiring manager clearly feel uncomfortable–and I regretted that negotiation every day on the job, feeling like I couldn’t live up to that value. That job lasted less than two years.

In my current role, I was fortunate to have a hiring manager who knew me from a prior position, and I trusted he would get me the best / fair offer possible. Could I have pushed for a few thousand dollars more a year? Sure. But would leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The comp package was quite attractive–base salary a lot less than I had been making, but I knew making less would me feel more comfortable in my position. With bonus and such, the comp would be about the same as my prior role — but bonus isn’t real until it happens. Continue reading

Just Spent $500 on Prenatal Exercise Classes…

Well, since my childbirth is practically free, I’m splurging on exercise classes. Why? I’m gaining weight way too fast and it’s not going to be pretty in a few weeks.

While I got my weight down to 140 before my wedding (and was about 150 at my wedding two years ago), I since have been yo-yoing between 165 and 180. Right before I got pregnant I was around 168, then my first trimester I shot up… too much… too fast. Continue reading

Money and Fetuses: The (Optional) Costs of Pregnancy

Prenatal yoga and exercise classes. Specialized massages. A pillow that, as my husband notes, looks like a “squid.” Fetal doppler. Maternity clothes. Classes to learn how to breathe and how to not have a panic attack when a human being is taking his or her own jolly time squeezing out of your hoo-ha. Maternity photography. Birth photography. Fresh 48 photography. Doulas. Elective ultrasounds (in 3D, no less.) The opportunities to spend money before you have a baby are endless.

But babies are expensive, and the rational self would avoid spending money on anything right now. The “I’m pregnant” self says “I want to spend a little more money to prepare myself for this insanity that is about to happen to my body, and possibly document it in a meaningful way.”

So far, the most I’ve spent on this pregnancy is on maternity clothes. I don’t think I have even bought that much (and I never have anything to wear), but it adds up. I’ve also taken two (free trial) prenatal exercise classes, and one prenatal yoga class for $20. I have yet to invest in any sort of photography or specialized ultrasounds.

Fortunately, my insurance is amazing and maternity care as well as childbirth (as long as I keep my job, knock on wood) is practically free. That is amazing. Any other insurance I’ve had in life and that same process would be $10k or more. So, there’s that. Can’t I spend a little bit on this process? Or, given that we’ll need $300k-$400k for a downpayment on a monthly mortgage of $7k per month, I better just save every penny I have until the day I’m old and wrinkly and can maybe buy a house for my family?

I’m really struggling with how to spend money at this stage in my life. It’s a complete first world problem, and one I am well aware I’m lucky to have. That doesn’t change having it. I’m at a smidge under $600k in net worth right now, and I feel proud of this accomplishment (which is well over my goal of having $500k in the bank before I have my first child.) Still, the more I have, the less I feel comfortable spending. I also acknowledge the older I get, the less valuable my money becomes (less time to compound) and in my 30s I’m still in an era where every dollar saved is likely $4-$17 in 30 years. So, even though inflation makes this slightly less attractive, I look at everything I buy now — an $80 exercise package for the month, for instance, and figure I’m spending $360 of retirement money, if not more. And, despite the goal of buying a $1.5M home (small home here) and having $2M in my retirement accounts seeming like a pipe dream, I still have this drive to get there, which means – no yoga, no doula, no extras.

And, for women across the world, this is totally normal. People give birth and don’t spend an arm and a leg on all this other stuff. They may spend money to furnish a nursery (another area I’m saving money in, since we have a one bedroom apartment and no nursery – just room for a crib!) I mean, it’s also easy to spend a small fortune on preparing for baby — when they aren’t going to remember anything you provided them as long as they are safe and comfortable in the basics. However, I will remember my maternity. Shouldn’t I invest a little in some comfort and the excitement?

The big expenditure I’m deciding on is the photography. I think it would be amazing to document the birth process (even though I’m sure at the moment I will feel absolutely horrified a photographer is there) — and, especially capturing that first moment when I hold my child. My husband can surely snap a photo on the iPhone, but then he won’t be in the picture, and we won’t have anyone else with us for the delivery.

There are some photographers that double as doulas, which I’m interested in only because I know I’m going to have massive panic attacks while giving birth and it would be nice to have someone there who understands what’s normal and isn’t. I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to get an epidural — theoretically, I will because I hate pain… but, if there’s anything I hate as much as pain, it’s anything getting near my spine. The fear of being paralyzed via epidural (even though i realize that’s a rare side effect) is enough to possibly have me feel a big ol ring of fire. Maybe.

I guess I’m also really — interested — in the natural pain of childbirth. I won’t be, you know, in five months when my vagina looks like the scene of a mass knifing…. but, at 34, this may be my only child and only opportunity to experience this thing that we as humans have been doing since, well, the beginning of humanity. As painful as it is, I’m curious how the human body performs in this moment of pushing a 10 pound create out of an orifice that also, at other moments of life, is supposedly described by the adjective “tight.”

If I do go to the natural route, it seems having a doula is a good idea. My hospital has a bunch of midwifes, so maybe that’s enough. And, as reality and the pain set in, I’m not going to avoid getting an epidural just because I thought I wanted to experience this pain. I’m going to decide in the moment and be open to  all options. I’d like to prepare for a natural childbirth, just in case I feel up for it. And, maybe I should hire someone to help me prepare?

It doesn’t matter how much I spend or don’t spend on this child and my pregnancy – I’ll be happy to have a healthy child. I’m still in that surreal moment of pregnancy where I don’t feel anything yet other than getting fat. I’ve seen baby inside of me via ultrasound a few times, and I know the miracle of life is rapidly forming right in my belly. It’s a bizarre thing to know. I do feel like it’s a person, not just a fetus right now at 20 weeks, in the sense that I’ve seen its hands and nose and eye sockets and it has stared us down in the ultrasound. It’s my baby in there, and I hope to the world that s/he is ok and will be happy with the life we can provide for her/him. I know I won’t be able to provide the same kind of life I had growing up–but then again my parents are born-again assholes so maybe that’s a good thing. I hope it is.

My Legitimate Path to $1 Million Dollars

My $1M networth goal is far away, yet also, it appears, achievable. “All I need to do” is keep my job. That’s it. It helps a lot if my company continues performing strongly, but I don’t need to get a raise in the next four years. I just need to remain employed at the same exact rate. Based on my calculations, if I do just that, the following is a reasonable outcome:

Year AGE Networth Increase
2017 33 $423,000
2018 34 $565,000 33.57%
2019 35 $685,374 21.31%
2020 36 $813,785 18.74%
2021 37 $945,160 13.63%
2022 38 $1,097,934 16.16%

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Now Everyone Knows I’m Pregnant

The cat baby is out of the proverbial bag. My Facebook “friends” list of 1000+ and 60k+ followers is aware, if they’ve been paying any attention, that I’m pregnant. I sent out an email to my coworkers recently informing them that I’m not just getting fat, I’m also pregnant. My boss replied all and added the head of the company, so now he knows too. They all know.

I guess it’s a bit of a relief. I felt weird announcing it in a meeting, or one-off to my peers so the word spread unevenly. It’s not like I participate in small talk as the norm, so bringing this up out of nowhere would be odd — “hey, so and so coworker, I know we don’t talk much, but I’m pregnant.” Continue reading

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