Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Updating brokerage account - where I stand

Aside from being depressed and buying 50 shares of Unilever (UL) earlier in the month, I have basically avoided looking or thinking about my investments.  I'm not sure why but it might have had something to do with the fact that when I did look at my shares the font color was red since the share prices had all declined!

Not a pretty sight.  But I kept telling myself think long-term, think long-term.  In the long-term, my investments will grow above and beyond the cash that I am investing.  They will grow through dividends and through increased value.  But right now - ugh!  Considering that I invested $2K with the UL purchase, my total investments are lower than the total at the end of September.

Sigh.  Think long-term.

Brokerage Acct Portfolio Page is updated (except for the cash invested to date - will update that later).


Investing - We CAN Do this!

Today I read a wonderful article (link below) about nuns in Italy that manage their investments.  You see with the low rates, they had to take a riskier approach in order to earn a higher return.  They didn't have the experience as investors but they also didn't have a choice to sit back on their heels hoping (or praying) something (or someone) would rescue them. 

All I could think was, "Yay sisters!"  Heck, we all need to have the gumption to do what needs to be done when it comes to investing.  We need to take it slow, educate ourselves but keep our feet firmly planted in the waters.  We all need to be some sort of investor if we are ever going to be able to retire.  Unless, of course, we have eons of money that can earn a paltry 1-2% and pay our bills.

Get Thee to a Brokerage! Low Rates Turn Nuns Into Traders
(hoping this opens up without needing a subscription...)

Happy reading!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

December 2016 Financial Goals

I have not finalized my December budget but it is looking as though I will be able to transfer $600 to my brokerage account as well as make my usual contributions to savings for my 2nd home account, G2H-FU account and my Rewire account.  My mortgage account will also get a nice over-payment as well.

Ugh!  Speaking of my mortgage, I just realized that I have not yet paid it for this month (for the payment due on 12/1).  

Also I have been wanting to post some financial links but frankly this past week a lot of the sites I have been on have focused on Black Friday and other sales.  I hate those posts.  Really hate them.  We spend so much as a nation and are so very wasteful.  (OK - I'm not getting on that soapbox!)

Starting next week, I should finds some good links.

Now off to write the mortgage check!


Where do I put giving in my list of priorities?

It's a known fact (to me) that I have not prioritized giving.  Like many, I have given some but always with the plan to give the future.

Today I read a wonderful blog post from Our Next Life, frugal bloggers who are planning to retire early - possibly in the next year.  The post is below:

Go Beyond Gratitude

It is interesting how a lot of people that are focused on retiring early or hitting a certain number do give less (on a percentage basis).  Not everyone but many.  Is it because we/they are sheltered from many issues because of either their money or their access to money (via family, via a good job or the ability to get a good job)?  I'm not sure exactly.

One internal struggle that I have is that I know I will have to help support family (both those in my generation and my parent's generation) along with myself because certain family members either did not save when they could or did not make enough to save properly for retirement.  I'm honest with myself to know that I'm not happy about the situation.  It means that I cannot spend my hard-earned money how I would like if I am to be in a position to provide support.  And by support I do not mean a fancy retirement lifestyle - I mean ensuring basic needs are met and there are sufficient funds for needed healthcare.

The above also means that it is very hard for me to part with money even when it is for a good cause.  I simply do not know how much money I will need to support myself and my family (healthcare being the great unknown).  I am also not comfortable relying on the government for support since that and the quality of any support that would be provided is also unknown.  

It is also one of the reasons why I am focused on paying off my mortgage as soon as possible.  Should something happen to me, I would expect (and may even require in an updated estate plan) that my heirs (my family) sell my home rather than live in it.  The monies from such a sale would go farther and would eliminate a huge expense for them (property taxes).

Now I agree with what is said in the Go Beyond Gratitude post.  It is important to give now as well as in the future.  Somehow I have to fit this into my budget, into my financial planning.

I am still working on the 2017 budget (everyone start working on your budgets before the new year arrives - always good to have a plan!) and I am reducing some of the funds that would be sent to my financial goals and diverting them towards charitable (and political giving).  I am also going to test the waters (yet again) with some belt tightening to see if I can eliminate the non-necessities and push those dollars towards donations/contributions.

Yesterday I wrapped up this month's donations by giving to 

Center for Reproductive Rights

and National Organization for Women (NOW) Foundation

I also gave to a local NOW organization (their foundation) and will give to another local NOW foundation.  I spend time in 2 different states so wanted to give to both states. 

My NOW donations were to the nonprofit organizations.  I also intend to give political contributions to NOW organizations as well.  Those will happen in December.

I still have another donation to give locally but I have to also drop off a piece of paper in-person so that will happen next month.  I am also considering a few other organizations (NPR, PBS, environmental, LGBTQ etc.) for donations.  (Suggestions are always welcome!) Oh and I am planning to buy a bunch of toilet paper for my local homeless shelter - debating on whether this will be an online purchase or if I will go to the store.  I plan to buy a lot so logistically speaking online may be easier.

The Go Beyond Gratitude post also brings up the question of donating money or time.  Money is so important because they are businesses (nonprofit though they may be) and their bills need to be paid.  I don't have a lot of time right now.  But to be honest, my time is probably more valuable than money.  While I have given dollars, the truth of the matter is that if I can find the right place to volunteer my time, I will.  

I am well educated, am not a lawyer but can tear through legal documents, am very comfortable with math and numbers and can tear through financial statements (have taken accounting and economics classes), I am extremely good at organizing events (have previously done so for 100-200 people) and spearheading projects, and I can write well (this blog is not an example of the writing I have to do professionally).  

I can perform administrative tasks and would do so without hesitation.  I can watch tots and kids while their parents learn English or study for their GED.  I can tutor children from age 5 through 15 in many subjects.  However, my real value add may be through grant writing, fundraising, reviewing legislation or quite possibly even proposing legislation.  Of course that would be a brand new role to take on and I would need guidance and supervision but I have a good background to build on that could be far more valuable since some organizations have to hire employees to tackle these tasks.

Now I do not say the above to brag but to say it is time to stand up Pru and acknowledge what you can and want to do.  I have some good skills that can be put to good use!  Right now I can donate money.  But as I work towards achieving my financial goals and in a real sense freeing up my time, I want to be in a position to do more.  I don't just want to leave my job, financial goals accomplished, and do nothing.  

The work begins now with continuing to identify organizations and causes that I believe in and that I would want to support with money and with time.  

Friday, November 25, 2016

Southern Poverty Law Center

Thanksgiving was rough - I cooked a lot of dishes, struggled with my internet service and to be honest I passed out at one point.  Didn't even benefit from eating a bunch before I was down for the count - pure exhaustion.  Needless to say my intent to make other donations did not materialize Thursday evening.  Back at work today but I have just managed to make a donation before heading to bed.

Fight hate!  I donated to the Southern Poverty Law Center who have been fighting the good fight for a long time and who will hopefully continue the battle.  Until Tuesday, if anyone reading this wants to contribute, they have a supporter who will double your donation - utterly fabulous!

Right now I am in the stages of I am not exactly sure what I *should* do.  Getting back to the heart of this blog, I wasn't sure exactly what I would be doing in 10 years when I "Rewire" but I wanted to make sure that I would be in a more secure place financially when I got there and in a position to make a leap.  I have a feeling that in 10 (actually 9) years I will look back and know that this election had an impact on what I will be doing then.

I will continue giving.  There will be some political donations as well.  I will aim low and say that these will be completed by this weekend.  (This will give me plenty of time to complete this as well as to nap, clean, organize, run errands and get ready for the week ahead.)

By the time I start typing a post, I am usually mentally exhausted from work and life and I ramble on and on probably not making much sense.  (Oh and don't forget jump from subject to subject.)  My grammar slides and I make a ton of spelling mistakes.  I fear that I get little across.  Lately, I have read and listened to many things that have made me say, "yes! this!" and I wanted to share a post that is far more eloquent than I am on a Friday evening and that is in keeping with where I am right now:

After This Election, I Don't Owe Anyone My Silence Or Unity

Quote of the Week:  
"Apathy and indifference can be just as dangerous as outright bigotry and xenophobia." - Mekita Rivas
Have a good weekend!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Very best wishes to all who read this for a happy Thanksgiving!  Even if you do not celebrate it or are not American, I hope you have the opportunity to sit down and enjoy a meal with people you care about and people who care about you!

I, for one, am extremely thankful for all that I have as well as for the person I am, and for the people I consider to be family and friends.  Too often I forget how wonderful my life is and I focus on wherever I find fault.  

The period of mid-November to mid-January is one where I am especially grateful and hopeful.  The rest of the year, not so much.  Something that I am always trying to improve on.

In the spirit of being thankful, today I am sharing my hard-earned tax dollars with some organizations.  The internet has given us access to many things and one that I definitely take for granted is all the news that I read.  I am already a subscriber to the The Wall Street Journal, but today I added The Guardian and The Washington Post.  Reputable, investigative journalism is important.  I read a lot of articles from these two outlets so it is time I paid for it so that we can ensure it continues.  There are other good reporting sources out there that put in the time to do the hard work and report real news.  I highly encourage people to subscribe, if you can, to at least one good source.

Sticking with reading, I am a HUGE supporter of libraries.  I absolutely love my library.  And each year I donate money to it.  Today was the day for the annual donation.

I also gave some money to a local museum.  It's a small museum but I wanted to add it to my local donations.

I'm not done.  There are a few more places that I want to say thank you to.  I will definitely do so at some point today, but right now I need to check on something in the oven and keep moving the Thanksgiving feast forward or we won't be eating in a few hours :-) 

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!


Sunday, November 20, 2016


I deleted a bunch of comments from Trumpians.  I was pretty clear that they were not welcome.  If your comment was not coming from a Trumpian then all I can say is sorry but it probably looked like a Trumpian comment.

Also, I've been having some weird issues with blogger.  Just saying if things look a bit odd on your side.  I am not even going to try to figure out what is wrong - it usually works itself out.


Pru is an interesting shade of purple

I was born in a red state.  Raised in red and blue states.  Live in a blue-ish-purple state.

Me - I'm purple and privileged and pissed.  I hold a few degrees, come from a primarily middle class background (with some working class and some upper class roots), have worked very hard to get to where I am.  I credit grit, hard work, intelligence and a love of reading (libraries!!!) with most of my success.  Oh yes and opportunity and the very lucky lottery win of being born where I was and to my parents.

I have lived in a variety of environments - with people from various backgrounds, religions, skin colors, gender orientations (not always at the same time).  Urban, suburban - I got ya!  Only area that I haven't lived in is rural.  Sorry not a rural type of girl (not an animal or plant lover either - heck I barely like people).  I have had friends that were from rural areas and huge plant/animal lovers - and I adored those friends (if it counts!).

I have worked with or known people from all walks of life.  So I am still scratching my head.

I get that there is still racism in this country.  Part of me feels like one good thing is that it will now be more out in the open. (The bad thing is the violence and discrimination that accompanies it.)  I feel like too many of us thought we (i.e. Americans) were all more accepting of others who didn't look like us - now we know how very wrong we were.

What I was extremely surprised by was how many women excused Trump's behavior towards women.  (And if you voted for him or would have voted for him for any non-Americans then yes you excused it.)  I don't want to know the reason why they did.  Whatever the reason it was, it would still sicken and disgust me.  

[I'll say it again - not interested in anyone who is or would have been a Trump supporter reading my blog.  Clearly I can't stop you but please know and embrace that you are not welcome here.  There are plenty of other blogs out there so go find one that shares your values.]

Time and time again, it has been shown that if women do well, all benefit.  If women are included, all benefit.  This tends to hold true from third world countries to corporate board rooms.  Part of it is diversity, the other part is that women tend to focus on different things and have different methods of doing things etc.

Yet time and time again, we also know that women drag other women down.  Some call it cattiness.  Frankly I'm not sure what to call it.  But the fact of the matter is that while some women support other women and ALL women, other women don't.  

That needs to change.  IMO, as a whole women do tend to be more inclusive - especially when it comes to race.  I think some of it has to do with women bonding over children.  The majority of women look at a baby of any color and tend to smile because they think, "baby!".  They don't only smile at white babies or only at brown babies etc.  

(I acknowledge this inclusiveness does not always extend to people of different sexual orientations or genders.)

I'm heading off on a tangent but all I can think these days is "really women - WTF?!"

Needless to say, I've been doing a lot of reading and a lot of blogs have been offering up charities to donate to.  I now have an enormous list of charities to consider.  I do like to read up a bit on charities before I donate.  While there are so many worthy causes, I'd like to narrow it to just a handful and aim to donate consistently to those charities vs $10 to 100 charities.  I am leaning towards charities that benefit women (because of my above comments about inclusiveness), I haven't fully made up my mind.   I am planning on donating on Thanksgiving when I have a bit of time to process things.

Under my personal name, I have also joined Twitter and Facebook to follow certain groups/people to stay better informed.

I already consistently read the Wall Street Journal.  Although conservative leaning, I felt that from a news perspective (not necessarily from an editorial one) they offered fair coverage during the election of both sides.  I also relied on other national press during the election.  I will be paying for an online subscription to one other paper to support the type of really good investigative journalism this world needs.  

Because I was not on Facebook, I am absolutely horrified at all the fake press that was circulating.  I simply did not come into contact with it.  But this really begs the question of how could people believe certain things?  I have seen some of the fake article titles and there is that part of me that says didn't the internal bullshit barometer go off?  I think a lot of it comes down to exposure ?!?!

Where is that huge grain of salt that accompanies everything?  It must just be me who carries a salt shaker with her because I am skeptical of most things.

I am also considering the march on DC on January 21st.  Either that or the in-state protest march.  Things are still being flushed out so I'll probably make my decision about that in a week or two.

Once I figure things out I will post what I am doing.

One thing is key - I feel the urgent need to do more.  Purple Pru does not feel this country is headed in the right direction.  We cannot normalize this.  While Trump is the president-elect, that doesn't make it acceptable.  Do not be complacent Pru. 

I truly wonder if all the citizens of the U.S. know what an impact the U.S. has on the world.  We are truly a global power.  But we are no longer a global power in the sense that other countries don't matter.  It is no longer our way or the highway - that would be taking us back to the 1960s.  But we are still the country that leads the way in thought.  We are still the country that on the surface preached diversity of thought and religion and ethnicity.  I believe that gave the world a lot of hope.  Because at least one major country out there looked as though they had open arms and was successful.

Today, America is not great because of our manufacturing or the products we produce - in the tangible sense.  We are great because of the services we provide and the ideas we produce.  That comes from diversity.  It comes from inclusion - men and women of all races, genders, religions, orientations, etc.  We are also great because of the transparency of our government and of our companies.  This must continue.  

But we must also remember those in our manufacturing communities.  Those in the coal communities.  Those in areas where industry has moved on.  The answer is not to stay in the past but to look toward the future.  If industry has moved on, look to move with it.  Look to develop different skills.  Not better skills but different skills that can help all succeed.  This is where the nation failed its citizens.  And it is where it can help its citizens.

About a year ago I spent a weekend in Vegas.  Not exactly a place that I would choose.  But I was with people I like and stayed in a place far away from the strip which had other attractions (movies! bowling!).  Over the course of the weekend I played bingo 3 times ($5 each game) and I spent $15 on the penny slots.  Yes the penny slots.  I didn't win and I lost about $30.  Absolutely nothing to cry home about and completely OK to mark it up as entertainment.   Let's just say that I don't really gamble because I don't like the odds.

This country gambled by electing Trump.  The problem is that the house usually wins.  Sure there is one or two punters who do well.  The rest of the punters (as well as the house) like to point to those two winners and say, "See it CAN be done!"  But at the end of the day the majority of punters walk out the door, having lost money and not really knowing what the hell happened.

I'm keeping that in mind.


Proud to be a Unilever owner

Unilever (UL) makes Secret Deodorant.

Secret made this:

Ladies' Room 

Was very surprised and happy to see this commercial when I was on Youtube.  Very few of us can imagine what she was feeling.  Living in a world where my normal is what is considered to be "normal" means that I am privileged.


Sunday, November 13, 2016


This has been a shitty week and I am still extremely numb because of the election results.  

While I knew that there was an intolerance in this country, I didn't fathom the depths of the hatred and misogyny.  Yes I saw it through Trump's rallies but that silent (and let's just call it what it is - white) "majority" that voted for him is quite possibly the worst of all of it.

For all of them who say that they aren't x, y, or z - yes you are.  Because if you voted for Trump despite the campaign that he ran and despite his misogyny and despite the statements he made against anyone who wasn't white and male, then yes you are.  You don't get a pass for standing by silently and saying you voted because you want better financial results.  You don't get a pass on all the hatred because you are now part of that movement, like it or not.

How any woman could have voted for him is unfathomable to me.  And yet I know that women consistently date and marry misogynistic men and let men get away with assault and excuse their behaviors and their comments even though essentially all women (and sadly some young girls) alive today throughout the entire world have had to deal with a man's unwanted attention, words, touch or assault.  To vote for a man who has verbalized his own sexual predatory actions is unconscionable.  Women need to support women and stop directly OR indirectly endorsing words, threats and actions against women.

I work with many white males and many Trump supporters (many who have only now just come out of the closet).  If you have to stay silent on your support for a candidate that speaks volumes.  VOLUMES.

I am sickened.  I am numb.  And I feel that I need to do something.  I, in a completely uncharacteristic manner, went money-crazy on Friday when I was off work.  I spent money on things I would never buy at a big box store.  Then I came home and spent the money I had transferred to my brokerage account buying a few shares of ETFs.

Then I completely lost it, transferred $2,000 from my savings account to my brokerage account and bought 50 shares of Unilever (UL) stock.  $2,000!!!  WTF!  I technically bought these shares on margin since I didn't have the actual funds in my brokerage account when I bought them.  Ultimately, I'm happy to have the stock but if it turns out that I don't get them (banks were closed on Friday so the cash transfer won't go through until Monday...), I will live with that.  I believe I have until Wednesday to have the cash in my account so I should be good.  

But seriously Pru?!

Also made the decision that I need to donate money to causes that will fight against everything that Trump said OR implied he was for during his horrible campaign.  I am going to aim to do this on a monthly basis and to be consistent with it.  This likely means that monies directed towards savings/investments will decrease since my income isn't increasing.  But it's the right thing to do.

And for those who say or think that Trump may become more "presidential" or that it was just "campaign talk", what does that say about the candidate you voted for?  That he said things that were horrible to get people's vote?  If it wasn't true or if he didn't intend to follow through then he had about the same respect for the people he was courting as he has for everyone else.  Zero.

Diverting some money to charities to fight for people's rights is the right thing to do.

Not interested in having any Trump supporter read this blog or comment in this space (although clearly I won't know unless you specifically say so).  IRL the same goes - I may have no choice in working with you but in my personal life I don't want to be within 10 feet of you.

I refuse to be tolerant of intolerance.  It is not up to women to teach men not to be misogynistic or to show men that yes we are just as equal as they are.  Similarly, it is not up to nonwhites to prove to whites that they have the same right to exist on this planet and to have the same good life as they do. 

Now, to hopefully discourage any Trump supporters from reading this blog, I need to add some language to the blog.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Oh is November already here?

All I can say is thankfully today/tonight/early-tomorrow is...let's all fall back Mr. Daylight Savings!  An extra hour of sleep!  (I hope!) Yay!

Needless to say I have not updated pages for my October investment totals.  Let's just say that things are waaaaaaaaay down :-(   I think it is partly the election effect.  Also partly because F stock sucks right now (but it'll rebound over the next 9 years.....I hope....).  I'm sticking my head in the sand (on all of the former topics) and just hoping that the future is better - much better.

Still one must push on.  And on.  And on.

I've set up my savings transfers as well as a transfer to my brokerage account.  Those should go through this week.  Next weekend I'll be in a position to update totals and to tell you which shares I bought - hint they will be ETFs :-)

The past few weeks I have been thinking about my career.  Or rather the rewire part of my career.  I have no idea what I am going to do when I rewire in 10 (almost 9!).  I'm rather *over* my job/career and have been for quite some time.  But I still need some motivation to get me through the next few years (or longer if possible).

To this end, I am focusing a bit on some technical skills.  I have actually signed up for a couple of Microsoft Office classes.  For all my many, many, many years of using this software, I have never actually had formal training.  Right now I know that I'm guaranteed to at least come out of these classes with a few tips that I don't know.  All good - and it's a simple way of starting to focus on where I am going next.  Stay tuned!