Thursday, October 18, 2012

Occasional Student Loan Debt Roundup

So, what happens when you go six months without counting up your student loan debt?

A. You totally forget to pay your bills and spend $5,000 at the mall; or

B.  "Suddenly" you look and you've paid off over $5,000 in debt!

Don't despair, dear readers, the answer is happily B.  I actually did forget to pay one of my student loans a few months back.  The Perkins loan is the only one not on automatic withdrawal because I am snowballing it and the web site isn't smart enough to let me do that automatically.  Luckily I wasn't "late" with my payment since they consider me paying ahead already.  Phew.

Without further ado, here is the roundup:

For the first time I realized that since my parents technically are responsible for the Private Undergrad Loan (it's just on my credit score so I keep it on the list) that I've actually been in the Five Figure Debt Club for quite some time.  Not counting that loan, I *only* have about $89k in outstanding student loan debt.

But, of course, I do count that loan and maybe someday, if circumstances change, I will have to make payments on it so the official Under $100k Student Loan Debt Party is postponed probably until April/May of 2013 which is right around the corner if you think about it.

A lot can happen in the next six months and we are eagerly awaiting news on multiple different fronts.  Hopefully by the day five figure debt becomes a reality we will have some answers on moving, new jobs, family building, etc.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Operation: Buying a House

Four years and one month ago my (then) boyfriend bought our home

Five months later, we got engaged.

Eighteen months after that we got married.

We've been married for two years and two months.

We've had many great times in our home but I feel it's (nearly) time to move on.  Why?  Let me count the ways.

Our condo is 798 square feet.  There is no storage.  If you put one thing out of place an entire room can look cluttered.  Five things out of place and you may as well be living in a hovel.  I feel like I'm constantly trying to jam things in the closet or in a drawer.  I dread friends coming over because our only space for entertaining is also where we do most of our daily living and eating.

We have two cats and one litter box.  And please, I know this is bad but there is literally no other place to put a second one.  I'm thisclose to just buying one and putting it against a door to a closet that we never open.  When we had one cat I felt like cleaning the box was no big deal.  Now I think my cats are engaged in an Olympic sport of competitive pooping.  They poop all the time.  I need another solution to this problem and the only thing I can think of is to move.  We already have the fancy thing that makes your litter box look like furniture so that's not the issue.  The issue is floor space.  We don't have any.

Our income has dramatically increased.  When he bought the condo, my husband was making $80k a year.  My income wasn't factored into the equation because we were unmarried and I was also paying rent at my apartment - and continued to do so for nearly a year.  Now we have a household income of $170k and it may rise some more in the next few months (fingers crossed).

We always agreed that our current office would serve as a nursery for our first child until they were one years old and then we would move.  Well, we've been trying to get pregnant for over a year and I feel like we've waited long enough. My husband needs his office and the idea of trying to fit baby stuff in that room in addition to all the stuff that needs to be in there makes me not want to have a baby at all.

I'm sick of condo living.  I want a yard!  I want to be able to run the blender at 10 o'clock at night (don't ask) and not worry I am disturbing someone.  A neighbor in a nearby building has a dog who has taken to barking after midnight all of a sudden.  I can't pinpoint who it is and why they allow barking but I'm sick of it.  I also feel our condo fees are way too high (even though my husband is the building treasurer and assures me there is no misappropriation).

So we have decided we will aim to move by early next summer.  Our budget will be between $300 and $350k.  Right now the main priority will be saving the $17,500 we will need for a down payment.

I am going to look into alternative income and hopefully my husband will get the raise he has been promised.  Now I need to start researching locations, needs, wants, etc.

When should I talk to a realtor?  We didn't use one last time around (FSBO) so that part is all new to me.  I would attempt FSBO again but I think I need a little handholding this time.

Wish us luck!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hello From Limboland

There have been some great things happening financially for us.  My husband has seen a salary increase of over $40,000 in the past three years.  I'm immensely proud of him, of course, even if my salary has been stagnant.

We have also been faced with the prospect of relocating for the past four months or so but have no idea how serious we should be taking the idea.  It would mean leaving my job and moving to a high cost of living area.  Part of it sound great but other parts freak me out.  I'm not sure if I even found a job in the new location if I would make enough money to be able to afford daycare.

Which brings us to this: we're still not pregnant.  We've been trying for so long and have been undergoing fertility treatments for the past five months now with no luck.  We are very grateful that our insurance has covered most of our treatment but the medication and the copayments have added up.  I just can't wait to be done with this chapter of my life but I will keep going until I have my baby.

My second niece/nephew is due in a few weeks.  It's hard to deal with my mixed emotions on this subject.  I hope to have a better update soon.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

It's That Time Of The Year Again

It's Christmas for pensioned employees!  Okay, maybe not Christmas but it's the day that the Sears Christmas catalog arrives at your house showcasing all the toys you could possibly ask for that year.  I got my first pension statement after finally vesting in Tier 4 of the New York State and Local Retirement System.  You may remember me expressing excitement over being tier four because the State has gone on to create two new tiers (5 and 6) since I joined, with less benefits.

So now that I'm vested I'm entitled to a pension and my early retirement dream may become a reality.  Because 24 years from now I am guaranteed an annual income of $25k (assuming a final average salary of $48k).

And yes, I know nothing in life is really guaranteed but in order to snatch away my benefits the state would need to hold a constitutional convention and since the last one was in 1976 and was a total disaster I'm doubting they would try it again anytime soon.  Actually, they did try it in 1997, asking the voters like they are required to do every twenty years if they wanted to hold a convention.  It turns out the people said no.  But enough history for today!

I've said before that I would like to stay in my current position right up to the end of my career because I like it and the benefits are great, but there are some things in flux right now that would change my mind.  On the one hand, change can be exciting, on the other hand you have the Devil You Know and did I mention the pension?

If I leave before my ten year mark I get my contributions back if I don't want to collect a small pension instead.  As of today they total $8,397.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

How about a Student Loan Debt Recap?

What happens when a blogger has other crap on her mind and doesn't post a monthly student loan debt roundup for eight months?

If you were guessing she goes back to school and saddles on another $50,000 in student loans you would be wrong!

Thank God!

But, no, I assure you, the loans have still been getting paid. And today I decided it was time to see where I'm at. So here goes nothing:

Yes, that's right. Since my last update, I have knocked out close to $7k in student loan debt! The magical less-than-six-figures mark is within my grasp.

NB: The total amount paid off is showing an error right now. If it doesn't update soon I'll fix this later. Rest assured the real number is $6,655.49.

At this rate, I'll be under $105k by the end of the year and will reach the wonderful land of $99k by June, 2013. That's assuming I don't make any adjustments to the payment schedule.

DH and I hope to raise the amount we're paying as soon as we meet other financial goals but it's good to know we're on track. That's all for now!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Confessions of a Biological Clock

Hi all. I'm sorry. I have been meaning to write an entry forever. Frankly, other than the student loan debt roundups which I've forgotten to do for a few months, not much is new with me. It wasn't until today that I realized the ONE THING that has been going on in my life I've been reluctant to write about.

Because you're not supposed to talk about it.

It's awkward, personal and bordering on rude in some people's opinions. But I've decided to say it anyway because I thought at least some of my readers would like to know. And because after several years of writing about my life I didn't want to let this blog just die off as I enter a new phase of my life.

I want a baby.

Not just me. My husband does too. We want to create a new person. I told you this would be awkward to talk about. I am trying to get pregnant. Phew, there I said it.

I remember a couple years back, when I was planning my wedding, a commenter remarked on my blog that I was going to "get married, get pregnant and quit my job." As you can imagine I was offended by his remarks. Not only because he was implying I was some sort of Gold Digger, but because he was trying to fit me into a box. The Predictable Female box. Even though I always thought I wanted kids, for someone else to assume I would be having them just because I was getting married hurt.

I was never the type of woman that was anxious to get married. I made my education and then my career a priority. And I am so happy I had an independent life, over a decade of living on my own before marrying DH.

Then during the 18 month engagement we talked a lot about the future. We wanted to have some time as a married couple before starting a family. We wanted to travel, enjoy each other's company and become financially secure. We set a date that we would start to try.

And then we started trying. And it was exciting and scary all at the same time. I toured a day care (take that rude commenter!) and picked out baby names. Quickly, however, it seemed that something was wrong. Without getting into too many details, it just wasn't happening.

Months go by and I invest in books, a thermometer, over the counter medical supplies, fertility yoga, fertility tea, herbs and vitamins. I drink 96 ounces of water a day. I turn 32. I try acupuncture. I'm still not pregnant.

So that's what's new with me. I wish I had better news. I just wanted to say I always thought the whole concept of a biological clock was silly. I thought women were being pressured by societal norms to reproduce, not nature. Sadly now, I know the truth. There is something going on now that even common sense cannot suppress. I could have anything in the world right now and it wouldn't matter because it's not a baby. Sometimes it's a dark place.

The good news is I have excellent insurance and an appointment to see a specialist in less than a month. I'll keep you posted and I promise to try and resume a more frequent blogging schedule from here on out.