Finance

Category Archives for Finance.

The Climb to Pay Off Debt and Be Financially Independent

I sent a payment today to my student loan company for $100. It felt like throwing a glass of water on a burning building. But that’s the exactly the attitude I’m trying to break.

Yes, right now, $100 toward my $47,584.54 student loan debt felt like taking a drop of water out of the ocean. But it’s $100 that’s out of the running for all that compound interest.

I’m trying to balance wanting to invest for the future, travel like a mofo, and get rid of all this damn debt. My student loan has an APR that will make you wince, so get ready for it: 6.75%. Any investment I could make may or may not have that type of return. But putting $100 in an investment account isn’t going to do me any good until I can wrangle the cost of my previous education.

It’s so weird that I could theoretically pay off this loan for the rest of my life. And I guess some people are OK with that. But I’m not. I want to get this debt off my plate ASAP. Even if I pay off $1000 a month, it’ll take 48 months, AKA 4 years – and that’s assuming no interest! It’s simply got to happen sooner than that.

I’m reading this book, Walden on Wheels, about Ken Ilgunas’ journey with this exact same thing. It’s such an inspiration. I highly encourage you to check it out.

I’m about to get real aggressive with this real fast. I know I’m not the first person to grapple with this crippled system, but until I get this debt outta here, I can’t feasibly invest for my future or buy a house. Once I get into the principal a bit, maybe I can balance my goals a little better. But not now. This is my first priority.

I listed some stuff on eBay, I’m selling my books, and I work part-time for a courier service which nets me about $1000 a month, in addition to my salary of $50,000 a year. But now that I’m in super payoff mode, I want to find a way to generate even more money. I’ve been wanting to get my CFP certification, which costs only about $5000. But that’s now five months of loan payments… and thinking in terms of loan payments is the mindset I have to be in for the next couple of years.

I can’t stop traveling. That’s why I have so many cards that generate points and let me go places for free. In fact, I’m off to Alaska next week (on American in economy, but except thoughts/trip report nonetheless!). There is marginal cost, even for free travel, but I have to seek new experiences or I’ll wither away inside.

I want to chronicle, as so many others have done, my climb up the mountain of raging student loan debt. This blog will hold me accountable, motivate me, and hopefully allow me to learn some nuggets of wisdom that I can pass along.

I’ll post regular “Financial Snapshots.” In a decade, I want my net worth to go from $-50,000 to $+500,000. Let’s do this.

Thanks for reading!

Why I Want to Work for LearnVest

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I’ve recently gotten hugely into turning my finances around. It’s been a part of taking control of my own life, dreaming out loud, and beginning to think about the future. The long-term future.

I’ve been reading a bunch of points and miles blogs for a while now, and recently added a new slew of financial advice blogs to my feedly account. One of them was LearnVest. Their articles are great, and I highly recommend them to anyone. The breadth and scope of financial advice was/is exactly what I’m looking for at this point in my life. They also help you to budget, keep track of financial accounts, and have a bunch of handy calculators.

I’m taking what I’m learning to heart. So much so that I want to go back to college to get my certification in financial planning so that I can help others by applying what I’ve learned. I typed “CFP jobs” into Google to see what the prospects were and got some results from… LearnVest. I audibly gasped. All of the CFP positions were in Phoenix, and besides, I’m not even certified yet. I went to close the browser window when I saw a few other positions… in New York. Including one I’m totally qualified for. This one: Operations Associate. It’s the perfect blend of my previous experience and future goals. Plus, it’s a woman-owned and operated company. And a tech startup. Headquartered in New York. And hiring! It couldn’t have been more perfect. I sent my resume in within five minutes, then tweeted them.

Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse here, but I really want to work for this company. Along with getting my own finances in order and starting to think about getting my CFP license, this position seems like dream job material.

I saw the founder had a talk in New York a couple of nights ago. I couldn’t go because I had a lot going on at my current position and it fell on a Wednesday evening. The timing wasn’t right. Still, I hope I hear back from them. Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Financial Snapshot 8/10/13

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I use mint.com to keep track of my credit card accounts, IRAs, and student loans. My student loans are by far the bulk of my debt – about $50,000.

I currently have IRAs with two companies, Fidelity and USAA, and a brokerage account with Fidelity (the one my Fidelity Investment Rewards card plugs into). There’s about $4,000 among them.

My immediate goals are to pay down student loan debt, save up for a down payment on a house, and put the rest into an IRA until I max it out. This will definitely be a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of proposition.

My current salary is about $60,000 ($50,000 base + yearly bonus + reimbursements for healthcare).

My first Financial Snapshot. Really putting it all out there. Here goes nothin’…

Direction

I’ve decided to take this blog in an ever-so-slightly different direction.

Over the past few months, I’ve done a lot of soul-searching about what I want to be doing as far as a career path. I’m obviously hugely interested in travel, and to some extent travel writing, and that’s certainly one side of it. The other side is that I love to mine the terrain of points and miles. I’ve been getting more and and more into improving my finances – beyond just credit score.

I started investing. Slowly, at first. Now I have about $4,000 saved in IRAs and want to continue on a path that makes me financially independent. My goal is to save up $500,000 for my eventual retirement – while also paying off my student loan debt and saving up enough to buy a house in Vermont.

I’m just getting started on this new journey and want to share my thoughts here as they evolve. It’s been wonderful to document my travels and interest in points/miles, and hopefully writing about my finances will be a natural extension of that. It’s way more convoluted that any airline loyalty program, but I’ve found the best course of action is to keep it simple. And writing here will help to keep me accountable to my goals. It will involve a lot of purging, cutting out what’s unnecessary, and keeping an even close eye on my monthly budget. But I’m up for it.

Of course the travel stuff is going to stay, too. Thanks to all the supporters I’ve received so far here on Out and Out. Looking forward to interacting more with all of you.