Monthly Review, Personal Finance 
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Financial Monthly Review (April ‘05)

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I’m going to take the plunge and join the level of financial transparency that other personal finance blogs are willing to reveal. If Flexo at ConsumerismCommentary.com and Nev at NevBlog.com bare it all (and have for quite some time) – I think I can do it too. I’ll detail, to the cent, my spending this month along with my budgetary targets. I’ll also reveal a little bit about my liquid and retirement assets and what I’m doing with them so that you all can comment and critique my decisions.

For those of you who know me in real life, I would truly appreciate discretion regarding my finances – but please feel free to talk to me about it (just not with others). Thanks!

Monthly Spending Review:


Spending April Budget
Rent $535 $535
Utilities $114.30 $150
Meals $195.59 $200
Groceries $53.98 $200
Clothes $14.69 $20
Cleaning $0 $30
Automotive $9.27 $50
Transportation/Gas $144.35 $200
Recreation $78.82 $285
Other $124.53 85


Circumstances:

I worked within the bounds of my budget once again, mostly because I was cognizant of my spending because of an impending first time home purchase, and was able to save quite a bit towards the down payment destined to make me very poor, very soon. The only category that missed budget limits was Other and that was because on a routine dental checkup and cleaning (free in my dental plan) the dentist discovered a cavity in my bottom right molar. My dental plan as a $50 deductible which contributed to the bulk of the Other spending.

You may be wondering how I under spend Recreation so well… that’s because I didn’t take any trips or go out much this month, again because of the impending home purchase. But I scored a great deal on a seven day cruise in mid-October earlier this year, which will end up costing around $1,500 for me and my girlfriend to see Bermuda. I’ve prepaid $500 and the remaining $1000 will hit me in July.

Assets and Liabilities:

Liquid Assets: $20,553.70 (+$1,519 / +7.98%, versus historic +9%)
Retirement Assets: $43,667.33 ( -$344.64 / -0.78%)

  • 401K – $29,610.97
  • Roth IRA – $14,056.36
  • 2003 Toyota Celica: $15,610 (KBB Private Party value)
    Student Loans: $24,491.11

  • Federal Stafford Loan (3.37% var) – $7,429.19
  • Consolidated Loan (3.50% fixed) – $17,061.92
  • Revolving Credit Card Debt: $0.00

    Right now all my liquid assets are in savings or checking accounts (only $300 in checking, the remainder socked away in savings) because I’ll need pseudo-instant access to it whenever a contract is accepted. A very high percentage of it sits in the 3.0% Emigrant Direct account (about $14k).

    As for my 401k’s allocation, it’s almost all in stocks but split about 50-50 domestic and international. As it turns out, only my small cap domestic fund and equity index funds (equity is the one that most closely matches the S&P 500) have been the ones hurting – the international portfolios merely are treading water. It’s not time to panic, at my age I believe small cap and equity index funds are the way to go, plus there are only three funds with YTD in the black (Stable Value, U.S. Fixed Income, and my company fund). As you can tell by their names, they’re very boring. Also, if I contribute anything to my company stock fund – it can’t be reallocated.

    I totally forgot to add in my student loans and my credit card debt (I payoff all credit cards within the grace period), but thanks to a blog reader’s reminder (Thanks!) I’ve updated this to include those values. I need to look into consolidating (into itself?) the Stafford before a possible rate hike.

    Any comments?

    { 4 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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    4 Responses to “Financial Monthly Review (April ‘05)”

    1. blog reader says:

      Thanks for the transparency. It adds a valuable amount of context to the blog. One question I have pertains to your debt. Are there any credit cards or student loans, etc?

    2. jim says:

      Done, thanks for the reminder.

    3. rob says:

      Rent budget seems low. I live in Boston where rents are typically $1100 for a 1 bedroom.
      What is your target for fund performance? The S&P index and the MSCI EAFE index (intl) have a 5 yr cumulative return (ending Jun ’05) of approx -11% and -3% resp. This is due mainly to the recession in mid 2000.
      Anyhow, things are comparatively rosy for equities these past 2 years. Some people don’t believe
      in timing the market and to just stay put. I think it is more reasonable to be mindful of market
      downturns and to rebalance (get out of equities) at the first indication of a recessionary period.

      Anyhow, most people think that an annualized return of 6-8% is acceptable. Judging from the last
      5 years, you’d be lucky to get a positive annualized return.

    4. Christy says:

      What about health insurance? How old are you? I pay $233 a month. When I worked for a company they covered this amount, but now that I’m self-employed I have to pay it.


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