Didn’t Get the Job – Back to the Drawing Board

The hiring manager seemed to love me. Within two weeks of applying for the job via a cold online application I was in late-stage interviews, presenting a powerpoint I put together in front of 1/3 of their pedigreed team including their CEO. When I asked why I didn’t get the job, she was very nice about it – “culture fit,” she said, adding that based on what I said in the interviews and what my references said I needed more stability to thrive. Maybe that’s true. Or, maybe they just picked someone more junior who was lower risk to the business.

I’m not devastated, as the timing was moving way too fast and I wasn’t ready yet to throw in the towel at my current company – but I did get excited about the opportunity and how FINALLY I could move away from sales-focused marketing roles into something more focused on product. Even my old boss, who I thought didn’t like me, told me over lunch that he thinks I’m great and jumped in to give me a reference that should have sealed the deal. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Continue reading

Newborn baby feet parents holding in hands. Love simbol as heart sign.

Planning for The Odds of Infertility

I apologize in advance for the incoming froth of baby posts, but in advance of my 33rd birthday without so much as trying to get pregnant yet, I’ve got DNA salvation on my mind – in other words, my biological clock is ticking so loudly I can no longer ignore it.

The other week, I wrote a post where for the first time I seriously considered freezing my eggs or embryos. Even though it seemed like it might be a good idea in the past, I always felt like I’d have my first kid by 32 and my second by 35. If for some reason the second was taking a bit too long I could invest in IVF and there would be my half-million dollar rugrats to take me and Mr. HECC and create a family.

Mr. HECC really wants to be a dad. Some guys don’t have the dad gene but he definitely does. When we hang out with our friends who have kids, and the kid’s parents realize their kid has started to wander off, Mr. HECC is always with that kid, staring innocently at them partially amused and partially in awe. He’ll be a great dad. I’m lucky to have found a man who will truly be a wonderful father. That makes me even more obsessed with this whole procreation thing… had I been single at 30 or married to a man who hates children then who knows where I’d be. But I’m married to a guy who is a great father type. He may not be the “provider” but I’ve got that covered (well, sort of.) Anyway, I want kids. I definitely want kids. And soon.

One challenge I do have with Mr. HECC is that he doesn’t like to plan much for the future. As I’m a worry-bot, it’s usually good for me that he reminds me to focus on the present vs constantly thinking about what’s going to happen a year from now. Worrying has some value (I don’t think I would have saved nearly $400k by 33 if I didn’t have this constant anxiety) BUT mostly it’s a bad thing. He’s right that focusing on the present is the ideal.

So when I brought up the idea of freezing my eggs, I was surprised and almost off put by his nonchalant response “oh, that may be a good idea.” Logically, it probably is. If my current eggs are in any sort of shape to make babies, why not save them for later should we need them?

Ok, so Mr. HECC is game for this whole egg freezing thing. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. And the more I read about what it takes, the more I don’t want to do it. First of all, the whole stabbing self with hormones thing for a month sounds bad. I don’t do well with any sort of hormone fluctuation. I’ll be a mess. And I’ll still have to work through all this. I don’t know how I’d handle that. Then there’s the issue of now having these embryos (we’d prob go that route vs eggs) that cost money to store every year and may or may not ever actually turn into real babies. I read this horrible article about what happens after you’re done with your embryos and then you have to decide to destroy them, donate them to science, or give them to an infertile couple which basically means you’re giving your full-on genetic child away, which is just a weird concept, though I’m sure one that is appreciated by infertile couples.

I do feel like it’s a good idea to wait on the whole trying to have kids thing until next summer. I’ll be well into 33 and I think that’s a good age to have a kid. I’m hoping I can have the first naturally. It’s my second I’m most concerned about, especially on timing. If I give birth at 34 or 35, that means no matter what I’m going to feel rushed to have #2. I do like the idea of having kids not too far apart in age (my sister and I are seven years apart and while we get along we definitely didn’t connect as kids) but having one at 35 and being pregnant again by 36 seems like a lot, especially considering I’m definitely going to be the breadwinner of the household (slash I can’t lose my income and I can’t afford to take a lot of time off work.)

If I freeze my embryos now, I can make the choice then. Maybe I will be ready to have a second child at 36 and it will seem like a great idea. Maybe we will have moved somewhere way more affordable and I’ll be working from home and it would be easy for me to pop out another kid or two without any issues. But the real risk is not knowing. We could also have complications with our first child that makes it hard for me to work for a few years, making it impossible or ill-advised to rush into having a second. I don’t have a desire to give birth to a child at 45, but buying a few extra years, should natural childbirth no longer be an option at 38-40, might be worth the investment and peace of mind.

Yet, say we do have embryos stored, we’ll feel awfully silly to rush to have our second child when we’ve been paying to store these for so many years. Maybe just letting nature take its course is the right thing to do. I don’t want to end up at 36 (which is only 3 years away, mind you, excuse me while I step away for a minor panic attack) and feel like I shouldn’t be “rushing” into having child #2, even if I could have it naturally, which is still a heck of a lot more affordable than using the frozen eggs for artificial insemination. Freezing eggs complicates life choices a lot, but it also provides options. Maybe at 43 I’ll have saved $2M, own a home in a suburb of a smaller city, and want a larger family. Then I have that choice.

And, of course, I can find out that I’m just infertile from the start and all this is moot. I wonder if I get my period if that means I’m actually ovulating these days. I went from having about 2-3 a year to now probably more like 6-7. It’s definitely getting more regular as I get older, which is apparently a thing with PCOS. But who knows what is happening inside of me.

I just wish Mr. HECC would realize that even though worrying about the future is not always a good thing I’m not getting any younger and this is pretty serious stuff. He’s ok with us freezing our embryos but definitely not with trying to get pregnant right now. I don’t want to rush things (no matter how much my parents want me to – oh, I won’t hear the end of it this holiday season) but… maybe I should?

Our American Dream: Two Sisters Losing the Middle Class

We grew up in a nice suburb of New York where you would run into a mall in 30 minutes any direction you drove unless you were to drive towards the ocean. Our dad went into the city daily for his job that kept him out late, mom stayed home and took care of us by trying to get me to do my homework and fighting the school system to ensure my learning-disabled sister got the access to the education she needed. Outside of my father’s raging temper and my mother’s relentless narcissism and hoarding disorder, life was pretty good. It was all we knew.

I definitely took my class status for granted, and my sister is now learning that she did too. My sister is seven years younger than I am, and with her learning disability also graduated college later than I did. Nonetheless, after going to a private school for special needs students, she managed to obtain a bachelor’s degree from a state school. Unfortunately, that degree didn’t help her much in terms of setting her up for the real world.

Continue reading

Imposter Syndrome vs. Not Being Good Enough vs. Figuring Shit Out

Most days, I feel lost and hopeless. In between those days, there are moments where I get into Csikszentmihalyi-esque “flow” and I see, through all the mess of the dark-thorned forest, a clearing at the end of the tunnel – a life where I can be GOOD at my job on a consistent basis, get paid well for it, and afford a decent life in one of the most expensive places to live in the world.

I write this from one of my favorite gourmet supermarkets. Walking down the carefully-organized aisles filled with perfectly stacked imports and local delicacies, I acknowledge that this is a life I have to fight for, tooth and nail, mostly on my own. With my husband going back to school for teaching he’ll be in the $45k-$50k salary range starting out, so it’s up to me to make the life I want – to be able to afford a house in the Bay Area (or a nice enough rental in a safe neighborhood) for my future family to live in. Some days, in between the gloom and doom of telling myself I’m on the verge of getting fired and that my boss hates me, I think – damn it, maybe I actually know what I’m doing. Maybe I deserve my salary (or at least, I deserve it as much as the next person would have asked for it) – and I CAN DO THIS. Continue reading

crowdfunding

How to Become an Accredited Investor

There are many benefits to being an “accredited investor,” primarily centered around being able to invest in securities not registered with financial authorities. In other words, the government blocks non-wealthy folks from making “high risk / high reward” investments. Is this fair? Shouldn’t I be allowed to invest my money in any investment if I earned that money?

While investments open only to accredited investors are high risk, there are many other investment types open to any income level which are extremely high risk. Even investing in one individual public stock – which anyone can do – is nearly the equivalent of putting all of one’s money on red in Vegas. Continue reading

Budgeting with 50/20/30 Guideline

As I work to be better at budgeting, I searched the Internet for strategies for how much I should be spending on various items each month. I like the 50/20/30 strategy which seems reasonable and maybe even do-able.

Basically, you split your after-tax, after-401k take-home income into 3 buckets:

50% – fixed expenses
20% – financial goals
30% – variable expenses

So my after-tax income (now that I’ve maxed out my 401k for the year) is $9500. That breaks down to:

$4750 fixed
$1900 financial goals
$2850 variable expenses
Continue reading

Should I stay or should I go?

I was depressed about my job and decided it couldn’t hurt to start applying to roles that really struck my eye, full well knowing that historically I’d apply to hundreds of positions before getting a few calls… and it would take weeks to hear back, if I ever did.

My plan was to stay at my current job at least until the end of December, so I could finish out my year and really wrap up the current projects I’m working on so hopefully all involved could look at my time at the company as a success where I clearly added value, even if it was time to move on. I figured starting to apply for jobs now meant I’d maybe have a few interviews starting in late September/early October, being drawn out through October, with the earliest I’d get an offer being late October/early November. With a little negotiating I could bump out my start date until sometime in December. Continue reading

Can I Go To Canada with a DUI?

In 2011 when I got a DUI, I was in one of my darkest depressions and made the absolute worst mistake of my life. As I look back on that time in my life, I realize that I was not in a good state, and I was making bad choices such as getting behind the wheel that night. As a self-proclaimed “good girl” through high school and even college, I was shocked to end up in the back of a cop car because I let myself make such a horrible choice.

Over the years, it’s been interesting to see that my posts on my DUI are still the #1 top traffic source for my blog. That’s not why I’m writing this, it’s just that before my DUI I admittedly looked down on people who drove over the limit and figured that “they” deserved whatever punishment “they” got. And then “they” was me. And I learned very quickly how harsh the laws are and how the punishment continues to pop up and haunt you no matter how much you want to get away from that one moment. Continue reading

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Should I Freeze My Eggs or Embryos?

It used to be funny when I thought to myself that I’m putting off my “best” childbearing years throughout my 20s. Being the hot mess that I am, I couldn’t imagine having kids then. Given that it takes nine months to have a kid and I’m nearing 33, chances are I won’t actually have my first child until I’m 34 — if I actually am lucky and can have kids.

One option for women who want to (or may want to) give birth later in life (i.e. after you naturally would be able to) is freezing eggs. Some big tech companies even (disturbingly) offer their female employees this as a “perk” of working at their companies (don’t have kids when you can slave away for us instead and maybe one day when you’re old and tired you can possibly for the cost of a new car produce one child if you’re lucky.) Anyway… egg freezing is an interesting concept. I haven’t seriously thought about it until just about now.

Thirty-three is old. It’s not old, old – as in, “I’m a senior citizen” old – but it’s old for wanting to start a family. It’s unfortunate that this is the case because any millisecond before my 33rd birthday (as in right now) I wouldn’t feel ready to be a mother. But I think by 34 I’ll be ok at it. Or at least wise enough to breathe through the crazy and figure it out.

At this point in time, I’m trusting that I’ll be able to have my first kid naturally. That’s a bit of a big leap of faith given that with PCOS I have very irregular periods (though they’ve been getting more regular in my ripe old age) and who knows if I ovulate. I’m playing the “if I will it to happen it will” game at the moment. I’ll probably need some kind of help, at least ovulation drugs, to make a baby. I don’t know. It might not be possible anyway. Maybe all of my eggs suck.

But assuming that somewhere buried under my belly button are two ovaries that like any good life-bearing ovaries want to do are ready to create life (even though they’re covered in cysts.) And, let’s assume that I have enough good eggs left in me to make a few children should choose to be so genetically prolific. Ok, I’m still getting older, and given my first child now isn’t making an entrance into this world until I’m 34 or 35, there’s no guarantee I’ll be able to run into the same luck in my late 30s. Why not freeze my eggs now?

It’s a serious question with serious cost associated with it and absolutely no guarantees.

I won’t be alone if I decide to have this procedure done. 76,000 American women are predicted to be undergoing the procedure by 2018 (up from just 500 in 2009 and 5,000 in 2013).

To start, I suppose I ought to go for one of those $99 “pre-IVF tests” that checks up on your fertility. That’s not a lot to invest in to find out that you are infertile and will never have kids (hashtag avoidance) — “this pre-IVF testing takes into account your age, BMI, reproductive history and mostly, your ovarian function, which is based on two hormonal tests: FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and estradiol, a form of estrogen. These two tests are done from a blood draw taken on the third day of your menstrual cycle. When you enter this data to the Univfy website, a personalized report is created that shows your relative chances of success with IVF treatments or egg freezing. The report costs $99.

Gilbert Mottla, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Shady Grove Fertility Center in the District of Columbia, says the clinic has traditionally seen a lot of older, professional women, the typical demographic of egg freezers in a cosmopolitan city. But increasingly younger women are seeking it, too. “Thirty-one to 32 … That’s an incredible opportunity to freeze eggs,” Mottla says. “It’s like an insurance policy. Those eggs may serve for her second or third pregnancy.

Ok so I m that miss that 31-32 year old window soon, but if I freeze my eggs at 33, maybe that’s actually a great idea. Maybe I’ll be so happy to have my own eggs later when I’m 38 and want to have my second child and it’s just not happening naturally.

The average cost of egg freezing in the U.S. is $10,000, which covers the tests, extraction, and storage. This doesn’t account for the cost to actually put those eggs back inside you later. Sorry kids, you’re not going to college on my dime, I put your college tuition to making you exist. Oh, and the success rate is just 24% for actually having a live birth from one of these eggs (each cycle) so, you’re still a miracle.

Apparently, you can free your embryos instead of your eggs, and that’s a whole lot more effective. This is something I would look into. Instead of freezing your sad lonely woman eggs, you freeze pre-fertilized eggs and little Sammy or Jimmy or Jen stay frozen in some lab for years until you decide to let them grow into a real person. (Science is weird.)

Embryo freezing has a much higher success rate — 25%-50%, so that seems like the way to go if you have a committed partner and/or don’t mind your future children to have their DNA. Since I’m married and plan on remaining married, this seems like a really good idea.

What worries me most is if we go through the painful, frustrating and expensive process of freezing embryos, we’ll keep putting off actually having kids. I’d have to get Mr. HECC on board with it, and perhaps he would be, but then we’d prob just keep saying “now isn’t the right time to have kids, let’s wait until we’re ready.”

I have nothing against older moms but I don’t want to be too old when I have kids. I already feel like I missed the boat.

For women who want to wait until their 40 to have kids, if they have to go the IVF route, they can save $15,000 by freezing their eggs in advance.

Unfortunately, moving ahead with this means dealing with the reality of being a fucking nutcase for a few weeks while I inject myself with hormones and let a doctor put a needle up my woo-ha and retrieve “mature” egg cells from my ovary. Sounds like truck loads of fun (remind me again why women are historically considered the “weaker” sex?)

A study found that 62 percent of women who freeze their eggs at age 35 and try to get pregnant at age 40 would successfully have a baby, with the average total cost of the procedures leading to the birth coming to $39,946.

Just 42 percent of women who tried to get pregnant at age 40 using IVF with newly retrieved eggs would have a baby, with costs totaling $55,060, on average.

Under a third scenario, women freeze their eggs at age 35, and then at age 40, they try conventional IVF. Only if those newly retrieved eggs don’t work do they proceed to use frozen eggs. Women in this situation would spend an average of $61,887 — making it the most costly option in the study. But this scenario also had the highest success rate, with 74 percent eventually giving birth, the researchers said. —livescience

This is how the science works, kids:

  • woman stabs herself with hormones for a few weeks so she produces a lot of eggs
  • doctor goes in and sucks up those eggs
  • doctor puts sperm in eggs to fertilize them (man does not need to stab self with hormones or get doctor to reach up into him to get said sperm)
  • fertilized embryo is frozen in nitrogen and awaits being defrosted to be put back up inside the woman in an IVF cycle when she may or may not be able to “hold onto” the embryo and make a kid.

#Magic

But it’s not really a bad idea. What if I can’t have kids for years and I decide IVF is the only option… if I have some good fertilized eggs from when I “was” 33, then that’s always a good backup plan. It’s a $10,000 backup plan, but it might be worth the investment. Afterall, kids aren’t exactly cheap anyway (they say they cost $250k per child to raise through 18) so what’s another $10k?

 

 

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August Net Worth and Budget Report

Spending has been getting a bit carried away this summer – and I need to get it back in check as I begin to seriously contemplate a very drastic career change (requiring a major paycut and possibly additional schooling.)

In August, my net worth was relatively flat at $394k (this includes my car worth estimate, so I’m really considering my net worth to be $386k.) My goal for the year is $400k, which leaves 4 months to save $14k. On my current income, if I stop being SO HORRIBLE at giving in to overspending, that should be very do-able. However, I will likely leave my job in October or November, meaning that most of the saving has to happen in September. This month can’t look like last month. I’m embarrassed how much I spent! Continue reading

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