On An Interview With a Wealthy Retiree About His Taxes

@madrassoup I paid them this year for the first time ever, but I knew about them from income tax 101. Before last year, all of my investing was in retirement accounts where the gains don't matter for the time being. I didn't have a whole lot of capital gain to report, but I will definitely pay more attention this year. And give this retiree guy a little slack - he literally gave away a third of his income, and then paid another chunk to the government. He walked away with less than half of what his income. Yeah, I'm ok with that.

Posted on March 24, 2015 at 4:21 pm 1

On Paying to Belong

I grew up in a very legalistic religious community. 10% was the law according to the rules. I stepped away from that religious practice for a long time, but as I've gotten into my thirties, I've found the desire to be religious on that are significant and meaningful to me. Part of that has been figuring out how I feel about giving. I've picked it up again in the last year or so but I've done it with more flexibility - I believe that my giving should pinch a little, but not make me miserable. Sometimes that's more than 10%, sometimes less. I don't think of it as dues or paying to play, though.

Posted on February 3, 2015 at 8:28 pm 0

On Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

This is fascinating! I've only looked a couple of comments because - 233! So, I'll play, with a couple of caveats: ~ I do monthly budgeting because my expenses vary a lot ~ I have a couple of side gigs, but I do not include that income in my monthly budget - some (about a third) of it get saved for long-term stuff and some of it is spent for splurges. When I spend any of my savings, I add that money as income and then put the category in the budget. This gives me a clear picture of how much I generally spend - last year (when my income and rent were much higher) my average was $2700/month. Here goes.... After tax income - $4,100 Savings: - $2,030 (broken down as follows: $588 for retirement, $120 cash, $290 for annual variable expenses, and $1,025 for a house down payment) That leaves about $2070 for expenses, as follows: Fixed expenses: - rent: $350 - total utilities (all): $250 - Disability insurance: $65 Variable expenses: - Gas:~$175 - Health expenses:~$250 - Groceries:~$275 The rest (~$800) is for giving (I don't want to disclose that amount) and discretionary spending (whatever is left over - varies!). Discretionary spending includes pretty much everything that isn't already budgeted - haircuts, dry cleaning, restaurants and bars, clothing, entertainment, etc. For annual expenses (car insurance, renter's insurance, etc.) or predictable expenses that don't fit a schedule (taxes, car repairs, gifts, travel), I use the $290 that I set aside each month.

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 3:02 pm 0

On Happy New Year! Here Are Some Pointless Or Obvious Savings Tips!

I am doing a spending diet in January and putting the excess into savings. I can't do that every month (already know that February is going to be expensive), but I will review every month to see where I can cut. And, unlike in the past, I won't spend it elsewhere right away! Other goal is to start boosting side hustle income.

Posted on January 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm 0

On On Safety Nets vs. Spending Now

I definitely became more anti-social when I was paying off debt. When I first finished graduate school and got a job, I was pretty reckless with my income - lots of socializing with grad school friends, new clothes, stuff for the new living situation. I eventually buckled down (right around the time student loans went out of the grace period). And I started to grow apart from my former grad school classmates started fading. Around that time, an old, old friend and I reconnected, and from that friend, I picked up a whole crew of friends. My friend invited me to a Halloween party, where I met a now-ex-boyfriend, and the now-ex-boyfriend introduced me to my group that became my closest friends. I almost didn't go to that Halloween party....I wore a "costume" of clothes from my closet...I didn't take anything to the party....I remember being a little annoyed because of gas money to drive across town to the party. In other words, I spent next to nothing in terms of money, and I somehow came out with so many blessings from that one event. This is totally the opposite of my experience with spending all the money right after getting a job - those relationships didn't last (and honestly, they were so, so unhealthy for everyone involved, but that's another story).

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 5:50 pm 1

On Millennials Having a Hard Time Saving Money

Straight out of college, I saved 10(%) of gross income in a 401K with a match of 50%; ahhhh, the mid-2000s when we were flush with cash. I also saved in a cash account, but I can't remember how much. What I do remember was that the savings account that earned between 3-5%. Miss those days. Then I got a little ahead of myself, went to graduate school, didn't get a job in grad school...and took out student loans for the first time. So no savings whatsoever for a while. Just a huge liability taken on in a terrible economy with no job prospects. It really was in my 30s that I started to figure stuff out. I made debt repayment a priority, and once i was done with that, I committed to saving at least 30% of my gross income, for the rest of my life, if possible. I have invested during a lot of the boom in the last 5 years, but my cash savings gets less than 1%. There is no 401K, so no match. Win some, lose some.

Posted on November 11, 2014 at 11:07 am 0

On You Don't Get Wealthy From Saving

@caryatis Why is did “wealthy” the goal? Saving 10K/year may not make a person wealthy, but it will make them a lot more comfortable and have a lot more piece of mind than they would without the savings. Why can’t that be the point of savings?

Posted on November 4, 2014 at 7:01 pm 2

On Trying to Pay Off Debt and Falling Off the Wagon (As We Do Sometimes)

Logan! So good to see you here - just like the old days! But sorry you're having a rough time. Debt is tough, no question. And realizing that you are your own worst enemy is just...discouraging. I used to have credit cards that I "kept off the books," so that I wouldn't have to acknowledge how much money I was spending (and, I'll be honest - how frivolously I was spending). Then, I "took out a loan from savings" so that, again, I didn't have to acknowledge how much I was spending. It was a bad, bad cycle. What helped me was to be totally honest with myself about my spending. No more secret spending which led, ultimately, to no more "loans," which led, after a long time, to having a balanced spending plan. It was no fun, at all, but I learned a lot about myself? I became a better person? Maybe? Or maybe not. Mostly I just have less stress now.

Posted on October 30, 2014 at 5:37 pm 0

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: September 2014 Check-in

Nothing very exciting. After a job change, salary is a little lower, so I'm adjusting for a bit. August: $3494 September: $4414

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 8:46 pm 0

On What Will You Do With Your Extra $200?

@Mae I can't find the citation, but the benefit formula for determining distribution is higher for lower wage workers than for those with higher income. The range is something like a 5% return on contributions for those in the lowest bracket, compared with 0.5% for the highest bracket. Here are the CBO's findings: http://goo.gl/cO1Lmn

Posted on September 30, 2014 at 3:23 pm 0