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Archive for September, 2009

Quarterly Goals Review 2009 Q3

September 21st, 2009 at 07:03 pm

Quarterly Goals Review 2009 Q3
I wrote up this list of Goals for 2009 in February. Looks like I forgot to do my quarterly goals review in March and June! Now that it's September, let's see how we're doing. Items marked X* are finished, but occurred later than the designated quarter.

Q1 Goals 2009
[X*] Call will and trust lawyers friends have recommended, pick one.
[X] Fully fund 401(k): $4,125 per quarter
[X] 10% of DH's income to ESPP, to be added to his investment account
[X] Do taxes with TurboTax
[ ] Fund 2008 IRAs -- approx $10k
[X] Transfer money to SEP-IRA -- $19k
[X*] Review 529 funding, establish goal.
[ ] Review current portfolio and write down why we own each fund.
[ ] Create format for quarterly investment review
[ ] Recalculate TPG (target portfolio goal) and TSG (annual target savings goal) for retirement

Q2 Goals 2009
[X*] Have initial appointment with will and trust laywer.
[X] Fully fund 401(k): $4,125 per quarter
[X] 10% of DH's income to ESPP, to be added to his investment account
[ ] Schedule annual review with stockbroker.
[ ] Perform quarterly investment review
[X] Pay fed and state 2008 taxes due
[X] Pay 2009 Q2 estimated taxes

Q3 Goals 2009
[ ] Move house and investments into trust.
[X] Fully fund 401(k): $4,125 per quarter
[X] 10% of DH's income to ESPP.
[ ] Perform quarterly investment review
[X] Pay 2009 Q3 estimated taxes

Q4 Goals 2009
[ ] Will and trust complete.
[ ] Fully fund 401(k): $4,125 per quarter
[ ] 10% of DH's income to ESPP, to be added to his investment account
[ ] Perform quarterly investment review
[ ] Review estimated tax payments in light of reduced income.

2009 Goals for the whole year -- items marked * are on track.
[*] Update will and trust
[ ] Save 20% of our income -- 15% to retirement, 5% to investing
[*] Fully fund 401(k): $16,500
[*] 10% of DH's income to ESPP, to be added to his investment account
[ ] Traditional IRA contribution: $10k
[*] SEP-IRA contribution: 20% of contracting income
[ ] Move $10k into 529 plan.
[ ] Meet TSG (annual target savings goal) of TBD
[ ] Follow up on stockbroker recommendations.

With the twins coming, I will stop working on Oct 2. We will still contribute to DH's ESPP, but not all the funds from the sale of the shares will go into his stock-trading account -- we will need some of that money to replace my income while I am a SAHM.
Since our annual income will also be significantly lower than last year (DH got large bonuses in 2008, and the company probably won't give much out this year), we'll need to re-estimate our 4th quarter tax payment to avoid having a large refund.

I've decided I want to add $10k to DS's 529 plan.

It's a control thing...

September 20th, 2009 at 11:07 am

I try to download all our transactions and update our YNAB budget twice a month. I'm not rigorous about it by any means and sometimes do it just once a month. Just by luck, I happened to update it on Friday, and discovered a fraudulent charge that occurred on Thursday -- $255.42 for RYANAIR. I had no idea what that company was, and neither did DH, so I called the credit card company to ask. Turns out it's a British airline, so we've cancelled the card and are waiting for the replacement. Now DH thinks I'm brilliant for catching it so quickly. Smile

I do all of the bill paying and financial tracking for our family. I also try to track our investments (outside of DH's stock trading account) but still don't have the confidence to make any major moves. I mentioned what a PITA it is to close the credit card, becuase there are several items that automatically get billed to it, and I have to make sure to remember what they all are and get them changed when we get the new card. DH offered that he should help out more to "take the burden off you". Shudder. I can't think of anything worse than each of us trying to do part of the financial housekeeping. We'd be stepping all over each other, and neither would have the full picture of what was going on with the bills.

Then DH said well maybe he could take it over entirely. Double shudder. It's not that I don't trust him. The bills would all get paid and we'd be fine financially. He just wouldn't do it MY way. There would be no budget, it would all be his intuition based on the current checking and savings account balance. I would have no idea where all the money is going every month. We have a running joke that every time we go to make a major purchase (new car, kitchen remodel, etc.) I have a minor panic attack and have to go triple-run the numbers to make sure we can really afford it. He just looks at the account balances and has been right every time. I'm not sure that he would do any long-term planning, looking at 401k and 529 and so forth. He's had $20k in his stock trading account for many months now, and wants to add more, but hasn't researched any stock or made any trades in a long time.

And the paper clutter...he tends to open the mail and just leave it piled on the counter, envelopes and junk flyers included. I immediately throw the excess into recycling and place the billing statements into an accordian folder. (Well, to be honest, I do have a "to file" pile of bills that sits ON TOP of the accordion folder...)

I have to admit, I have a bit of a control streak in my nature. I can't stand the idea of not being the one to manage the money. I get that DH feels out of touch with our finances, and have promised to sit down and go over everything with him -- all the accounts, passwords, automatic billing, etc. I've tried to get him to sit down with me and go over the budget every two weeks after I update it, but I can never seem to catch him when he's in the mood to look at it, so I don't know when it will actually happen. But hand over the financial duties entirely? No way...

We do have the management of investments split. I manage the money in my IRA's and taxable investment account, and DS's 529 account (a gift from my dad). He manages the money in his 401k, IRA's, ESPP/stock option account, and a stock trading account. We have a joint money market that holds our emergency fund and joint checking and savings accouts. My investment accounts are worth about twice of his because I started my 401k earlier and contributed more, and bought a house before we married that almost doubled in value. His 401k should eventually catch up to my IRA's due to the years that I am either not working or am working part-time. He's chosen more specialized funds in his IRAs (emerging markets, Asia, etc.)to balance out the more conservative/mainstream mutual funds that I have in my accounts.

Finally got the wills started!

September 12th, 2009 at 02:35 pm

When I started my blog 2.5 years ago, one of the first goals I listed was to get our wills updated. Talk about procrastination! We finally met with a lawyer yesterday, and should have everything signed in a month. I had set up a will and trust before we married, and DH had never set anything up. At one point I bought Quicken Will & Trust and we went through the whole program, but didn't actually sign anything. I later saw some details about A&B trusts either here or somewhere else online that made me realize that it was likely I was making some mistakes that would have big tax consequences.

The lawyer was recommended by a friend, and charged $2,000 to do both wills, a living trust, power of attorney, and healthcare directive.

I learned a few interesting things from meeting with the lawyer. The current tax law that doesn't tax estates under $3.5M is due to expire after 2010, and is likely to go back to taxing estates over $1M. Since our net worth is right at $1M I hadn't worried about it. It turns out that any insurance payouts are included in your estate, and the full value of your home is taxed, not just the balance after the mortgage is paid. This brings our estate up to $2.6M!

If we hadn't done anything and both DH and I were killed in a car crash, roughly $600k of our estate would go to taxes! With the trust he is setting up, that will go down to about $200k. It's funny, I don't get too upset at the idea that when my parents pass away the government will take some of my inheritance, but when looking at my assets, it feels like they're planning to take food out of my minor chilren's mouths!

There's another quirk about life insurance that I need to look into further. Apparently if you have individual term life insurance there is a way to shelter it within the "B" part of a trust so it won't be taxed. Group life insurance that you get through your employer can't be sheltered this way. DH gets $400k from his employer, and then we each have $500k of "group term life" from IEEE (a professional organization for engineers.) The rates we're getting for the IEEE insurance are really cheap, something like $150 every six months for $1M in coverage. But I think it may be the same type as what an employer offers. It may make sense to pay more for individual term insurance that can then be sheltered and reduce the tax burden of the estate.