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December 2004


Can you hear it? It’s the sound of money disappearing from my savings. It’s been going on for many months now. I haven’t been able to save as much as I used to, and I’ve had to dip into my savings more often than I have wanted.

I think the reason for this is twofold. First, I’ve probably been a little too aggressive with my investing strategy based on my income. Considering my fixed expenses, like rent, I probably can’t afford to send 12% of my gross income to my 401(k), plus $250 a month ($333 a month in 2005) to my Roth IRA, plus $800 a month or so into general long-term savings. I’m going to have to rethink that strategy.

The second fold of the aforementioned twofold reason is budgeting. I’m spending too much in general, and I’m going to cut back on some of my expenses. The car has been the largest change in the past year, and I don’t have much choice there. My rent is sky high and in May I might have to consider (gasp) finding a roommate.

I wonder if the market would be right in a few months to buy a duplex and rent out one side while living in the other. Unfortunately, that would require a lot of money up front that I just do not have.

On The Workfront

This article was written by in Career and Work. 2 comments.

Good news from the office. Due to her blatant stupidity (getting completely plastered then showing up to work… and then getting quite sick), a coworker of mine is not going to be with us after the start of the year.

This means I’m getting a new position and a pay increase in January, which will be followed shortly by a merit increase and annual bonus. I may be looking at a promotion in the next few months as well if I keep working hard. On top of this, I’ve been putting in crazy overtime. As a non-exempt employee, overtime is a great help to my finances.

Speaking of finances, there will be an update soon, but possibly not until after the new year begins. I should talk about my annual benefits enrollment… Put simply, I chose the least expensive health and dental plans (not including catastrophic). I’m still putting 12% of my pre-tax salary into a well-balanced 401(k) and maxing out my Roth IRA.

If you have automatic contributions to your Roth IRA, remember that in 2005 the maximum yearly contribution has been raised from $3,000 to $4,000. That’s about $333.33 a month next year, so you might want to change your automatic withdrawal plan if that is your method of choice.

Finance Blogs

This article was written by in Internet. 9 comments.

When I first started this weblog in July, 2003, I had been blogging for years already at a different location. At the time I started Consumerism Commentary, I knew of only one other personal finance blog on the internet, PFBlog.

Now, just like all other types, more blogs centered around personal finance have sprung up. Here are some I enjoy reading, and if you know of any others I should be including, let me know.

Simply My Life. He’s hoping to be out of debt by June, next year.

Capital Ideas. You can view his monthly updates on his net worth and budget.

PFBlog, as mentioned above. He’s an employee of a rather famous software company who keeps us informed of news bits and his own financial progress.

Neville’s Financial Blog. Neville also keeps us aware of his progress, and he has some great goals and is starting at an age I wish I had started. I just discovered this blog today.

Unfortunately, some of those blogs are powered by Blogger which means I cannot comment directly on those sites while visiting from my office — Blogger is blocked at my place of employment. And since I do very little surfing at home, I don’t really get to offer my thoughts on their blog entries.

Residual Value

This article was written by in Consumer. Comments Off

I like to see this as vindication for my purchase…

Honda has been named by the Automotive Lease Guide as being the best brand for residual value for the second year in a row. That means its cars hold its value over time.

However, if the results are divided into categories, the Nissan Altima displaced the Honda Accord this year for the top spot on the list.

Details of the report are here.

Anxiously Awaiting?

by Luke Landes

Thanks for writing in; I know I’ve been a little slow with November’s financial update. It would be more accurate to say that I haven’t posted it at all yet, which is entirely true. You are anxiously awaiting my monthly update, but you (and I) will be disappointed to see only a minor improvement, if ... Continue reading this article…

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