Friday, July 29, 2016

At what point do you start to cut back?

When I want to go on a vacation or make a purchase, I cut back.  If it is a purchase then it probably isn't a large one (knowing me), so I probably cut back for a month or two.  A vacation tends to go in stages - before I buy the ticket, before I pay for the hotel (if paying in advance), and then right before the vacation for spending money.

But what about general cutting back?  When Lehman Brothers blew up I quickly cut back.  I reduced my retirement contributions almost immediately because there was this huge unease surrounding me from talking with various people in different departments at my office, talking with friends, and reading about the incident.  I believe a lot people knew without knowing that this was huge.  So instead of contributing to my retirement, I kept the funds in cash.  It wasn't the best reaction but soon the layoffs started in various industries and then soon they started at my company.  I was glad to have the money then.

The last one is an extreme example and hopefully one that doesn't happen again.  But still, when does one cut back?

Last week the Wall Street Journal had an article with a title that basically said Goldman Sachs (a large investment bank) was tightening its belt.  This was beneath a blurb about another company (can't remember which one!) that said that company was laying off people.  I was on my way into the office and I immediately thought, I need to cut back.

This week, there was an article about Caterpillar and it said it was having some issues - some softness in its industry.  And I thought to myself, I need to cut back.

Now I'm not an extravagant spender by any means.  But I can still cut back.  A major global construction/equipment company is having issues.  A well known global investment bank is starting to look a bit more closely at its costs.  These should be red flag issues.  While I think we should all be conservative with our spending (making sure to always put something aside), when we hear news like this, shouldn't we be asking ourselves, "is a shoe about to drop?"

Now I firmly believe that a recession is coming.  It's been a long time since the Great Recession started so it just *feels* like *something* should be happening in the next 2 years.  (I don't have anything to base this on except that several years have passed, the recovery has been marginal, and recessions do tend to happen every so many years...)

I don't think we should panic when we see news of companies looking a bit closer at where they are spending money.  But I do think that it should make us thoughtful of our own ship that we need to manage and run well.  And that's what I will be doing in the near-term - checking in on what I need and what I want and how to reduce spending on the latter.  I think it is good to do that from time to time.

I need a bit of lightheartedness so I'm off to watch a bit of 'flix.  Back this weekend with housekeeping updates and hopefully some articles :-)


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Everything is updated and the week ahead

So about a month later Pru finally gets around to updating all the pages..for June 2016...

As a recap, I transferred funds for my Rewire and G2H accounts in May 2016 (covering both May and June amounts).  This left one transfer to my 2nd Home account in June 2016.

I also invested a bit of money into my brokerage account.  I increased my usual monthly amount due to receiving a bonus in June.  I primarily bought 25 shares of Unilever, but also purchased 4 shares of my Global REIT ETF, 1 share each in my U.S. and international dividend ETFs and finally I invested $85 into my Energy mutual fund (netting 1.75 shares).

Today I made the July 2016 transfers to my Rewire ($55), G2H ($55) and 2nd Home ($210) accounts.

I have also placed a couple ETF and mutual fund purchase requests through Vanguard.  Those should hopefully close tomorrow.

My mortgage payment should clear on Monday as the check was sent last week.

All pages are updated as of today (links below).  Next weekend I will post about what I bought at Vanguard and final balances for July 2016.

Ultimate Goals

Brokerage Account Portfolio

Actual Investments & Savings

Have a good week!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Are you a woman? Do you know one? Read this.

Hell yes!  That was all I could say when I read this.  Seriously, this is advice that needs to be given to women - women of all ages everywhere.

Word to the wise - for those who think it can't get worse, it can and often does.

A Story of a Fuck Off Fund

That post is hands down one of the best I have read all year. 

Also, read the comment by Delia - think it is the first one.


Weekend reads!

Several reads from Fidelity's website:

With rates so low, should you pay off your mortgage?
I love the comment about the liabilities side being more important than the asset side.  Hits home for me!

Key Ages for Retirement
This was a really good graphic for those who may be thinking about retiring early.  (Applicable for those in the U.S.)

Freebies in Retirement
Again this is focused on those in the U.S. but I'd recommend doing a search for similar items in your own country.

8 Urban myths of personal finance

8 Financial decisions you'll regret forever

To prosper, create a financial rulebook
Each rule in this post is a wonderful one.  But if it's not for you, don't adopt it.  Just make sure you have your own handful of rules that you follow consistently.

Most Americans have financial regrets
Oh yes this one is true too.

A quarter of you don't have an emergency fund
Even if all you have is a $1 - start one now!

How the wealthiest of Americans got rich


June 2016 - Dividends (Money!!!)

Oh boy this post is late in coming :-)  Thankfully the dividends didn't just magically disappear because of my lateness.

In June 2016, I earned $321.01 in dividends.  Yay!  It's like free money!  Seriously I love the quarter end months because that is when the money starts rolling in :-)

Every single penny of those dividends were reinvested for future dividends.  

As always I do like to imagine what I might spend that money on.  $321 is a good amount.  Assuming I was in retirement, it would be $107/month (averaged over a quarter).  $107 could pay a monthly bill (utility, internet, cell phone) or it could be 2 weeks of groceries for me.  That is really tangible.  And it makes me want to keep saving and investing.

Dividends & Capital Gains page has been updated.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Where's Pru?!

I'm here *waves hand*.  Not doing that well I must admit.  Let's just say for the past 10 days or so I've been eating a ton of plain crackers as I am ill.  Yeah so definitely not doing well.

This illness combined with nonstop rain, high temperatures, high humidity has me very depressed and feeling awful.  Change and forward movement seem very far away I must admit.

As for my finances well, they are OK.  I read the Wall Street Journal each day along with other financial news/blogs.  And I have been watching the stock indices - very surprised to see stock values increasing (and then decreasing) and increasing.  Very worried about the long-term implications of Brexit but happy the UK has moved quickly to choose a new Prime Minister.

And I have transferred funds to my brokerage account.  These will be used to purchase some ETF shares probably next week.

Despite the fact that I continue to contribute money to my brokerage account and overpay my mortgage each month, I don't feel as if I am getting ahead.  I don't know if this is a temporary feeling but it is definitely contributing to my overall feeling of depression.

Ever have days (and weeks) where you feel as though you are doing everything right and working so hard to only dig your ditch a bit deeper?  I suppose it could just mean that the goal is enormous but not that it is necessarily the wrong goal.

I'm rambling.  Best to stop talking/typing :-)  I hope to get back on the blogging horse soon enough and update my pages.  I need to set up some transfers for this month and decide on which ETFs I'm purchasing (no new ones this month).

Leaving ya'll with a few links to peruse.

Savvy Retirement Moves for Women
Articles like this depress me.  It is so evident how much we are not valued in this world and how far away we are from being valued.

Where Clinton and Trump Stand on 9 Issues Affecting Your Pocketbook
*sigh* I hate politics.  I don't want to get into politics.  But this is a pivotal election year.  And decisions made post the election will impact all of us - ALL of us regardless of where we live in the world given that the U.S.A. has such a huge impact on the world still.  When I read what the candidates have said all I can do is sigh and silently cry because I'm not happy with either candidate.  Seeing things in black and white (no race pun intended despite the candidates), is very interesting.  I think when we watch the candidates speak, our minds do not register certain things as when we read the speech that was made.  More people who intend to vote should read, read, read and then think a little, and then vote.

4 Things to Look for in a Tiny Retirement Home
Very interesting!  I keep coming back to these tiny homes!

Happy reading,