In Naked With Cash, seven anonymous Consumerism Commentary readers publicly track and analyze their finances on a monthly basis. For almost a decade, I tracked my own finances on Consumerism Commentary; now I’m sharing the benefits of public accountability with the participants. I’ve partnered with financial planners who will offer some guidance along the way. Read this introduction to learn more about the series.
SteveDH is retired, and he and his wife have two grown kids. By the time he retired in 2008, he had reached his retirement asset goal of $500,000. His goal now is to ensure his savings last as long as he does. Read his bio to learn more about SteveDH. SteveDH is on Team Roger, with Certified Financial Planner Roger Wohlner.
Keep reading to see his net worth report, updated for July 2013. You can read last month’s analysis here. This month, I’ve asked participants to share their thoughts on education and college planning. Following the analysis from SteveDH, Roger Wohlner will offer his own thoughts and guidance from his planning perspective.
Roger Wohlner, CFP appears courtesy of The Chicago Financial Planner.
SteveDH analysis and comments
We began the month on a cruise and ended it with a quick trip to Florida. In between we had a $4,000 landscaping job completed. A pretty steep hill at the entrance to our house was terraced using brick retaining walls and flower beds. The hill had been a problem for a while: It was too steep to mow up because you’d scalp the grass, and mowing down the hill you were likely to slide down it on your… uh… grass. Although the project reduced my 2013 budget reserve by a third we decided it was worth it, although my wife misses the entertainment aspect.
Investment performance improved but is still down after the lackluster market performance that started in May. Our yearly cash flow remains positive, although July’s cash flow was ugly. These things can be expected now and then, so a long term view is required to keep us from becoming overly concerned.
This month’s subject is education, but as usual I can only look back at how my education evolved. I entered the Air Force right out of high school and didn’t complete my degree until many years later. Although the Air Force paid 75% of my tuition costs, and I also got a little help from the VA, paying for the remaining cost was out-of-pocket. By scheduling classes my budget allowed, I was able to complete my business degree with Park University (near Kansas City) as I transitioned from the military. So there were no loans or other aggravations — except for the fact I have to admit to folks I completed my four-year degree in 11 years. I did some post-graduate work but that was specific courses suggested by -– and paid for -– by the company I was working for.
August. Party time at our house! We are looking forward to a large family gathering mid-August as we have several birthdays. My granddaughter’s 16th, daughter’s 40th, son-in-law’s 42nd, my 66th, and mom’s 93rd; and we will all be together to celebrate.
Feedback from Roger Wohlner, CFP
You are a great example of “boring is good.” By this I mean your consistency in staying generally within your spending plan is a huge asset for the two of you, and a great lesson for younger readers. Congratulations to all of your family members celebrating their birthdays in August.
Feedback from Luke Landes
Could it be that the old adage of “sell in May and go away” is playing true this year? Over the course of June, July, and now August, my investments are showing a net loss, as well. It’s great that you continue your long-term view with your investments. There’s some pressure when approaching or in retirement to start looking at the short term, especially when the recession burned many retirees who thought they were doing the right thing by staying in risky or volatile investments — like the stock market — so their funds could last several decades of post-career life.
I have a follow-up question pertaining to education for you. Did you encourage your two children to fund non-borrowing financing for their post-secondary education? Did they have help the way you had from the military? There’s no value judgment either way; my curiosity comes from the facts that student debt is much more prevalent than it was when you attended college and tuition is generally more expensive.
Updated September 30, 2013 and originally published August 28, 2013.