Monday, June 27, 2016

Questioning and entitlement

I have been thinking a lot about what I want.  Specifically, what I want that is tangible.  You know, like a new bag :-)

I don't need a new bag.  I am not really sure that I really want a new bag.  But I'd like one.  Especially when I see bags that call out, "Hey Pru! Let's be shoulder-mates!"  And when I see a bag that I like, I think, "I want that!  And I can afford that!"

But I try to stop myself before I start thinking that I deserve a new bag.  You know because crap day, crap job, crap life, crap insert your own reason...  

Entitlement is something that I'd rather not be known for and the "I wants" and "I can affords" can very quickly become the "I deserves."  These recent thoughts have led me to the conclusion that there are at least 3 types of entitlements:
  • Arrogant Entitlement;
  • This-is-My-Normal Entitlement; and
  • Ignorant Entitlement.

 I certainly hope that I have never been Arrogant Entitlement.  But I fear that I am walking the This-is-My-Normal and the Ignorant Entitlement line.

The This-is-My-Normal Entitlement is just that - what we have always known and thought of as normal.  This is something that people who are middle-middle class and above can easily suffer from.  Without having had to rough it or risk losing the basics (and slightly more than the basics), we expect certain things in our life.  It's all we've ever known.  It's our normal.

Raise your hand (or fingers) if this is you?!

This entitlement can be very hard to wrangle.  With a complete lack of empathy, you can very quickly end up being buddy-buddy with Arrogant Entitlement.  But with the right dose of empathy, you end up with a good life that you are thankful for and cognizant of all that you have and what you can quickly lose.  (I'm striving for this.)

Last of all is the Ignorant Entitlement.  I consider this to be another name for Lifestyle Creep Entitlement.  It happens slowly enough that you are completely ignorant to its existence.  This one can also very quickly become Arrogant Entitlement or This-is-My-Normal Entitlement.  Ignorant Entitlement also forgets where he or she came from but usually with good reason - i.e. because the past wasn't great.

Those who move from middle-middle class to upper-middle class (usually due to career choices or marriage) need to be especially careful.  

What is all this about?!  Good question because I do tend to ramble on ;-)

It's about awareness.  I recently read something that said more and more people will need to work until 70 (70!) in order to have a secure-ish retirement.  I can't work until I'm 70.  I don't even want to work until I'm 60.

With more and better awareness of my thoughts and spending actions, I can rein in my entitlement thoughts and reduce outflows of cash.  Practiced consistently over a few more years, I have a good chance of not having to work until I'm 70 (or even 60!).

For now I'm opting to NOT buy a new bag.


Reads for the Week ahead!

Just a few good links to read:

Firstly, a couple on Brexit.  Please people don't start selling off what you have!  I was super disappointed to open up my brokerage account and see that every.single.thing had declined :-(  But I am thinking long-term here and will do my best not to look at the train wreck.

Seriously, on Brexit read some reputable newspapers about what is going on and also look for articles from your brokerage company.  Be informed and then make decisions.

Impact of the Brexit Vote: Scary but Mixed

What Brexit Means for U.S. Investors

7 Savvy Retirement Steps for Generation X

7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You

Finally, ending on some good investing advice:
Why Investing Is No Mystery To Me


Sunday, June 26, 2016

6th Mortgage Over-Payment Made (114 remaining)

Last week I made my sixth over-payment of 0.46%.  This is an increase from the usual 0.20% since I decided to take a bit of my bonus and put it towards the mortgage.  

This extra amount should help me to reach this year's goal of a 3% over-payment.  In fact for the first half of 2016, I have over-paid by about 1.77% so more than half way to my goal.  This is good because I am not expecting to get any *extra* money coming my way for the rest of the year.

Happily my interest payment is now below another $100-threshold.  It is so nice to see that declining each month.  (I honestly did a happy dance when my principal payment became higher than my interest payment about 2 years ago.)  It doesn't move much each month but every single dollar is a mini-happy dance!

The KILL My Mortgage!!! page is updated.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Strategy for the second half of 2016

I meant to discuss one of the reasons why I decided to buy the Global REIT ETF a couple of weeks ago.  The main reason was that I wanted more non-U.S. exposure.  This was also the reason why I had previously purchased the international dividend ETF.

But more to the point, I recently read a Wall Street Journal article which talked about how people believe that investing in large U.S. companies that have operations abroad give them international exposure and diversification.  Well I sat right up because yes that is what I thought.  But part of the reason for looking for international exposure is the benefits of the exchange rate and not just other non-U.S. markets.

However, a U.S. company (or any other large company in another country), is going to enter into hedges to protect themselves against currency movements.  When I read this I was like (Pru slaps hand against forehead), "Of course!"

And so a desire to have more direct international exposure has started to grow.  Also, while I still expect the U.S. to be a strong economy in 20-30 years, other countries will also be doing well so I need to have some of them in my portfolio (via index funds and ETFs).  I am, however, not looking to add specific international stocks to my portfolio.  Well at least not right now.  I do have Unilever but that is more because it is cheaper than Proctor & Gamble :-)

Okay, now let's look ahead.  I want to continue making purchases of my ETFs (VYM, VYMI, VENQ) and I want to invest funds into my Energy mutual fund since I do believe that over the long term Energy will do well and it will be important to my building stable returns.

As for stocks, I plan to increase my Walmart (WMT) stock to 10 or 15 shares in total.  I'd like to have all my stocks at a rational (to me) number - like 25, 50, 75 etc.  And I'd like to add Ford (F) to my portfolio.  

I am trying to spend at least $700 when I purchase a stock so that the fee of $7 is equal to 1% or less of the purchase.  Because of this, I will be starting to transfer excess funds to my settlement account and will be holding them there until I have saved enough to make a stock purchase.  It's better for me than keeping in my checking account or saving account where it isn't earning much.  

So expect ETF and mutual fund purchases monthly and then a couple of times between now and December I will make WMT or F purchases.


Saturday, June 18, 2016

This week's purchases

Here we go!

On Tuesday I purchased 25 shares of Unilever (UL) at a price of $43.65 per share.

On Thursday I moved on to ETFs and purchased 1 share of VYM at $70.06, 1 share of VYMI at $51.68 and 4 shares of VENQ at $52.35 each.

Finally on Friday I invested the remaining $85 that I had into my Energy mutual fund, receiving 1.752 shares in return.

Total invested this week is an amazing $1,507.39 - helping me on my way to reaching this year's annual goals.  The amount is much higher this month because I invested some of my bonus.

My internet connection is quite spotty at the moment so I will update the various pages a bit later when it is working better.


Weekend reads!

A few short reads from Kiplinger to enjoy over a glass of iced something!

9 Money Lessons the Great Depression Taught Us About Money

The Hidden Dangers of Index Funds
*I am still okay with having index funds but it is very interesting to think about and consider.

Boost Your Odds for Financial Success

Is a 401(k) Really the Best Way to Save for Retirement?
This last one is quite interesting.  The reality is that a lot of people are not disciplined enough to save outside of a 401(k) or 403(b).  I am also not sure that in 20-30 years ole Uncle Sam and all his minions in Congress won't go after ROTH IRAs either.  I think people need to make the best decision based on what is easiest to do to ensure they are saving a lot for retirement, keep expenses low and be prepared to weather storms.  Hmmmm...sounds a lot like life.


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Flurry of activity!

Lately because I have been so busy, I have basically been barely keeping up with my finances.  (Sad but true!)  I have been leaving trades until the end of the month and occasionally forgetting and executing them the next month.  

Bad Pru!

This month I am proud of myself.  I have had a busy week setting up transfers, purchasing stock, ETFs and just now I set up another purchase for one of my mutual funds to occur tomorrow.  Small amounts but I'm spending everything I put into it :-)

Oh and I mailed a mortgage over-payment today.

Ticking off my financial action items for the month!

I'll update totals and pages this weekend when I have a few more minutes to think!

It's a little early but what the heck it's nearly midnight...TGIF!!!


Saturday, June 11, 2016

Weekend Reads

Only two this week but good ones!  (Been too busy to read much online

Think your finances are tough now? Just wait

If you don't want to settle for an average life, you have to embrace one fact about money

I'll be back soon with my first investment for the month.

Have a good weekend!


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Long overdue (housekeeping)

Finally...all Pages and balances on the site have been updated!  I opted to transfer the May and June amounts for the Rewire and G2H-FU savings accounts at the same time.  One less thing for me to think about this month.

I am definitely trying to get a head start on this month's financial activities.  I have been spending a couple of hours working on my budget and figuring out money spent and money to be spent.  It is so easy to get side tracked with day-to-day life but keeping an eye on the financial side is extremely important.  It is also super slow as my balances creep up due primarily to my deposits as opposed to outside forces.  (But at least the direction is up.)

I am off to set up a transfer to Vanguard so that this month's money will be put to good use sooner rather than later :-)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!