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Archive for January, 2014

What I'll do with my paycheck

January 30th, 2014 at 02:22 pm

Thanks for the support regarding yesterdays post. I was really disappointed that a moment that should have been excitement was instead met with stress and unhappiness.

Husband still says things alluding to requesting me to quit. Mostly because he thinks he'll be lonely while I'm gone.

Anyways- I'm getting much more excited.

Before I accepted the position I got the employer to agree to raise my pay from $8.50/hr to $10/hr after 60 days rather than the standard 90. So in 2 months I'll get a nice raise.

So I'll be clearing about $900/month for the first 2 months.

The plan is to set $200/month aside for babies private school.

The remaining $700/month will be set aside to remodel our unfinished attic. We should have enough to remodel the attic by August.

Husband needs a project to keep him busy. He likes construction projects. So I'd like him to get started on the attic as soon as possible. That will keep him occupied and happier.

And today I go in to complete the paperwork for my new job!

Took Job #1-DRAMA Vent

January 29th, 2014 at 05:15 pm

I took the job at the multi-million dollar equestrian facility. I wish I could recapture the enthusiasm I had when I applied and interviewed- but too many people around me have said negative things about it and now I'm doubting everything.

I took the job because it was INITIALLY the job I wanted. I REALLY wanted this job. So even though I am filled with doubt and uncertainty now I took the job hoping that it will be everything I initially thought it would be.

Husband thinks the pay is a waste. He said to me last night "C'mon Tasha. Is $900/month REALLY going to make a difference to us?"

I personally think $900/month is the difference between paying credit cards in full vs the minimum. Gosh- I can think of so much I could do with $900/month! But he felt that the burden placed on the family for me being out of the house 35 hrs /week was not worth the income. That hurt. Made me feel like I am doing a disservice to the family. Made me feel selfish getting a job working with horses instead of a higher paying corporate-type job.

My 2 close friends think the pay is a waste. They said after taxes and gas it will be a wash. One told me I'll be basically volunteering to go do manual labor. And if I cant ride then there are no perks in the job for me.

I'm frustrated because I DON'T NEED the money in a desperate way. I don't need to chase the money. Sure- I can think of plenty of stuff I can not afford. But husband, baby and I live comfortably on our rental income except for a few hundred dollars short of my comfort level.

If I increased our income by about $700/month I would feel better. If I raised it by $3000/month I'd feel even better of course. But overtime/stress/deadlines/quotas and competitiveness comes with the $3000/month jobs.

Relaxation/pursuing your passion/quiet silence comes with the $900/month job.

Husband HATED my corporate job because I came home from work so stressed out, always getting work calls while I was home, going into the office at 6am just to "get ahead" of the workload.

And now he says me returning to work is not worth it unless I'm making more money.

I have held my tongue reminding him that HE has not volunteered to get a job. I didn't remind him that I paid off our mortgage, bought the rental properties, bought him the car he drives and paid for his failed business attempt. I don't want to make him feel like a loser because I know he physically cant work. Him staying at home with the baby is going to be very valuable.

But why does he make me feel like a dead weight because I'm not out there trying to get a higher paying corporate job? It's not like the job would be a really impressive high paying gig. I am not a headhunter's dream. I have degrees- in liberal arts. I've never had a big caliber job and I have no skills that are in demand. I've accepted that I wont be a big-badass corporate leader making more money than I can spend. My husband still thinks I can get that job. Which makes me mad considering he has never held that job or tried to even get a corporate job at all. So why is he telling me to go get one?

So I'm having doubts. I'm worried I'll resent my employer because I wont think I am earning enough money. I'm worried I wont get to ride any horses and I'll resent that I'm not accomplishing my equestrian goals. I'm worried I'll be expected to watch the baby every hour that I'm not at work and I wont get to do anything outside of work that I value.

Hold on- I'm about to yell at my husband.

Ok I'm back. Crying. Husband's pissed off.

He kept saying "If this is a job you enjoy then I support it." And didn't understand why it made me mad. Because it sounds like he is saying "If you come back from work everyday fulfilled and content then- that is the value of the job." But its a job. A JOB. Its not being a rock star or supermodel. It's not going to fill me with contentment and fulfillment. It's going to earn me money while furthering my knowledge in an industry that I enjoy. It will fill me with MORE happy moments than my old corporate job- but it's not like I am going to work everyday because it is MORE enjoyable than hanging out at home and socializing with my friends. So that sent me yelling.

And then husband says "I just meant that if you enjoy it enough to make up for the pay." Which sent me yelling that if the money doesn't make a difference to him then I prefer NOT to take it. If he doesn't want our daughter to go to private school then I don't need the job. If he doesn't want the attic to get refinished this summer then I don't need the job.

And at some point husband said something to the effect of "You need to enjoy the job enough to give up horseback riding. Because I'm not watching the baby while your at work all day and then again while you go horseback riding." To which I said "I cant go horseback riding anymore anyways. If I get a corporate job that pays for riding then I wont have time to go riding and you wont watch the baby. So I don't get to go riding no matter what job I take." Husband agreed and that made me sad. It sucks that I have to give up personal activities because this job takes up all time that is allotted for "Me time".

Then husband threw up his hands and walked away. Then he comes back a minute later and said "Mike knows of a cleaning lady that will deep clean the house for $100." (He knows I have a cleaning thing and dust makes me anxious.) "Maybe she can come by like twice a month and really get under all the furniture and stuff." I said- "That sounds great. I've always wanted a cleaning person. But I'll have to work like - a whole week to pay for one cleaning." And husband laughed and said something about maybe I should get a better paying job. To which I WENT OFF ON HIM telling him to stop increasing our standard of living. I was crying and yelling that "every time we get money he thinks of a way to spend it."

So we're not talking right now.

That's all. Just wanted to vent.

2 very different job opportunities

January 28th, 2014 at 04:55 pm

UGH. Two not ideal working options. I'm really conflicted. Let me just vent and try to work through my feelings on this one.

Job goal: I'd like to work 20 hrs a week for an equestrian facility so that I do not need to spend my paycheck or days off on my horse hobby.

Personal goal: I want to improve my riding skills so that I am capable of upper level riding. (Currently there are no upper level trainers in my area. So I have been stuck at lower level riding for the past several years.)

Ok, OPTION #1:
the first option is working as a stable hand for a small multi million dollar equestrian facility (I blogged about it in the past). The facility does not offer horse training in my personal riding discipline.

PROS:
I will be exposed to premium horse care/technology.

Dynamic atmosphere filled with the ubber wealthy and lots of seasonal horses coming and going.

Pay is $8.50/hr (about $800/month take home).

The CONS are:
The job is a non-riding position. The employer told me there are riding opportunities but other barn employees would get the chances first due to seniority. However- I might be able to overcome that obstacle because the other riders do not ride the same discipline as me and horse owners might start requesting my expertise as it is unique among the staff. (MAYBE)

Job is for 29 hrs a week. Work 4 days a week. Add lunch breaks and commuting- it will be 35 hrs a week that I'll be gone from my 3 month old baby.

The trainer at the facility does not ride my particular discipline. This means that any riding I get is on my own as a "practice ride" and there is no instruction available to advance my skills. I will not reach my personal goal to learn the upper levels in my riding discipline, because there is no one to teach me.

Pay is $8.50/hr. I really thought $10/hr is the standard minimum and I don't think I'll be happy working more hrs than I wanted/ not riding/working in the hot/cold elements and providing premium service for below average wage.

OPTION #2:
The 2nd opportunity is pretty opposite of the first. There is a small 6 stall backyard barn looking for horse help in exchange for riding lessons.

PROS
The owner is a trainer in my field of riding discipline. She can teach me the upper levels.

The work required is minimal. 6 stalls to clean, turnout, grooming and feeding. No additional chores to fill a work shift. When I am done, I am done. Looks like it will be about 10 hrs of work a week (20 hrs when commuting and riding is added).

I can create my own schedule.

CONS:
The owner/trainer does not have upper level horses to teach me on. She has a mid- level horse that will help firm up some of my weaknesses- but after 4-6 months I will probably have outgrown the horse.

The facility is small and lacking training tools. There is talk of a riding arena to be built- not currently there.

No paycheck. I work in exchange for lessons. The lessons cost $40/hr so it averages out to about $12/hr which is almost double the first place. But I don't have a paycheck to distribute the pay towards various goals. Payment is in the form of lessons meant to advance my riding skills.

So sigh. I put it all down and I'm still conflicted. I am leaning towards option #2. Mostly because my husband wants me to do it. I think he is really hating the amount of hours the first option requires. And he does not see $8.50/hr as a worthwhile tradeoff for me being away from the baby so much.

He feels that 10-20 hrs of making my own schedule is much more accommodating and the second option gives me a fighting chance to accomplish my personal goal of riding upper level. The first option has a slim to none chance of accomplishing my personal goal.

I just feel that the second option is the equivalent to "not working." Working in exchange for my hobby seems pretty selfish and unnecessary. My husband and baby will get zero benefit from my working option #2.

Potential Rental Property Purchase

January 27th, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Not much to report.

Husband & I are going to look at a duplex for sale tomorrow. Its been on the market before at a time when we were not in a position to buy it. We always kind of kicked ourselves for not pursuing it. So when it came up again we jumped at it.

It's located 2 blocks from where we live. Very good location. Small lot size. Overall lots of neglect on the outside. Everything is nearing the end of its lifespan.

It is 700 sq ft 2 bd/ 1 bath in each unit. It brings in $1100 month when both units are rented. It's fully rented right now. Listed for $80k.

We were thinking that if we made repairs/upgrades, we could get it to bring in $1600/month.

So it'll depend on what the inside looks like. We are expecting it to be in need of updates.

Since it is rented right now- all upgrades can wait and we can recoup some money waiting for leases to finish up.

So we'll see how everything plays out. This would be our last rental purchase, using the last of the liquid money we have. So it needs to be a good one.

We'll see!

Working at a ridiculous HOA

January 24th, 2014 at 02:38 pm

So my job interview went well. They did not offer me the job on the spot- but sent me for a drug test and said they'll be doing a background check.

The job is 90% great but the pay is a big troubling point though. It pays $8.50 an hour.

I assumed it would pay $10/hr since that is the going rate around here. I was hoping to negotiate up to $11-$12/hr. When the employer told me the pay I was speechless.

I tried to get $10/hr and the employer told me after 90 days they can probably increase to $10/hr. But that was a stretch so they didn't want me coming back at 90 days and trying to ask for higher thsn $10.

So for 3 months its $8.50/hr and then it goes up to what I thought I would minimally accept.

I have a bad feeling in my stomach about this because I've always accepted less than I wanted in pay and within a year I am really bitter. I really dont want to let money get in the way of my enjoyment of the job.

In all other aspects its an awesome job.

And LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THIS PLACE! You guys wont believe it. WONT BELIEVE IT!

The job is working at a riding stable in a HOA. The HOA is an all inclusive sportsmans place. It has an equestrian center, golf course and boating marina for members (homeowners) to use only.

To buy into this place you have to submit an application with references and bank statements. Then you pay a $125,000 buy in fee so you can be allowed to purchase a property.

Then you buy a property. Bare lots are priced from $15k-$1 million. I found an 1100 sq ft guest house on an acre advertised for $400k with architectural drawings so you can build a main house. That was the only house I found for sale under $500k. The most expensive house has an asking price of $7 million.

Then you move in and pay $18k in annual membership dues.

You pay $2750 for maintenance.

You must spend at least $1500/yr at the restaurants in food and drinks.

You are charged $100/month for landscaping.

So your paying about $25k EACH YEAR to maintain your membership- after you paid $125k to become a member! And you still need to buy your property!

Then all the amenities have individual charges. If you call and schedule a riding lesson- there is a charge. There is a charge to have your horse bathed or body clipped. Any extra- the staff will jump to it- and then charge your account.

That's why I'm shocked they have the lowest pay rate of any barn in the area.

If offered- I'll still take it and hope there are perks to offset the low pay. Maybe I'll get to ride a lot. Or maybe the members tip. Or maybe we get sweet christmas bonuses.



I REALLY REALLY REALLY want this job

January 16th, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I have a job interview next week! It is the #1 job that I wanted when I was putting in applications. I can do the job perfectly and I would be excited to go to work everyday. I really hope they hire me.

Its a part time job (29 hrs) at a barn as a show groom. This barn is- awesome. Its a multi-million dollar equestrian community barn. Only people who live in the community have access to the barn services. The philosophy is customer service to the clients.

I really wanted to get a job at a barn to get my horse fix in. With a new baby I don't really have the finances or time to splurge on the luxury of lessons. This way I can still be with horses, get paid, and not spend any extra time away from the baby. This way I can take my entire paycheck and put it towards savings/expenses- without using it for riding.

I really really really really want this job. I really want this job. I wish the interview was tomorrow. I'm scared she will hire someone before she meets me!

Financial Security is Within My Grasp

January 14th, 2014 at 03:18 pm

OK, yesterday was my annual meeting with my financial adviser. All news was better than expected! It gave me a great boost of confidence and enthusiasm.

My family and I are ahead of the curve on every aspect. Whew!

I inherited an IRA 7 yrs ago and my adviser manages it. The IRA finished the year up 19.5%. Great news. My own 401k self managed was up 18% so my adviser earned his 1% commission there.

Since I am no longer working and we have increased our family size, my adviser believes we have dropped into the 15% tax bracket. The good news for us is that we now don't need to pay taxes on dividends, or capital gains.

Therefore, the annual IRA distribution that I am required to take is no longer taxed. Whoohoo!

Ok- more good news. We have figured out the baby college account. My adviser created a model showing me that if baby attends a 4 yr college at $25k a year with a 4% annual inflation rate- then my annual IRA distribution will almost cover the cost completely if I start saving it now. So we would essentially move the money from the IRA into a college dedicated account. Whoohoo! College is covered!

We opted to use a regular investment account because my adviser told me the 529 plans and such are tax sheltered accounts. Basically the big draw is that recipients don't pay taxes when the money is withdrawn. But if I remain in the 15% tax bracket then I wont need to pay taxes anyways. So its not a benefit. And since I wanted the money to be accessible in case baby encounters medical problems, early education costs or does not go to college- having the money in a regular account is going to fit my needs. YAHOO! College is figured out!

And then we tackled retirement. My adviser had a model to show me the expected returns on the IRA. He said that since we are not using the IRA we can expect it to grow 10% annually and it potentially could be multi-millions by the time I die.

But before I broke out the bubbly- he brought me to reality showing me another model. He said that right now we are living off the rental property income. He assumed the rent will increase 1% a year but expenses (taxes, maintenance) will increase 4% a year. So given that- By the time I retire, I will need the IRA to supplement as my rental income stops reaching as far. So I will be fine for retirement, given a small social security supplement- but I need to be aware that I will need to use the money given our current earning trajectory. Its not for frivolous expenses because it will be needed eventually.

And just as I was ready to jump out of my chair in celebration- he showed me a third model. If we were to start taking annual deductions now to supplement our income- the money will be gone by retirement. Boo.

So lesson is that my inheritance has given me the foundation to live a nice middle class life and leave a similar nest egg to our daughter provided that we live within our means and have very few large frivolous expenses. I think we can do that. We must do that!

Ahhh....I'm going to relax today and just enjoy the feeling of financial security. Obviously I would be no where as secure without my parents and their planning. I'm attributing my reality mostly to their hard work and just a tiny fraction to my own hard work.

I hope 2014 is starting out in a good direction for all of you as well.

No Property Management Job

January 9th, 2014 at 03:36 pm

And as quickly ass it appeared, its almost gone. The property management job.

I called the woman yesterday at the appointed time and she didn't remember me, she didn't remember why I was calling...there are a lot of obstacles to overcome to get the job. She is not even sure there is a job to offer...she just said she thinks she might have to let go of her property manager because she has not heard from him. And seemed very surprised that I was aware of her situation!

The woman is 84 yrs old and has aids living with her. She is rightfully cautious and rightfully wary of strangers calling trying to get a job managing her properties.

Yesterday's conversation was me repeating my name a lot and her dodging my questions.

I think it is in her best interest to sell the properties. Giving that she lives 4 hrs away and has no one to trust to manage them.

I would have done a great job, but I understand that it would take a huge leap in faith to hire a stranger to do such an important job.

So I mailed her my resume and background info (she does not have email, requested I mail the info) yesterday. But I doubt anything will come of it.

Sigh. That's too bad that she is in such a bad situation that her property manager is living (probably) in one of her units and not responding to her at all.

So it's back to finding a job. Big disappointment as that would have been a beautiful opportunity.

Property Management Job

January 8th, 2014 at 03:00 pm

Last night I was attending a free Rich Dad/Poor Dad Seminar on Real Estate. I did not sign up for the follow up 3 day class session but it motivated me to increase my wealth.

While I was at the seminar- husband was at home babysitting. But what he was really doing was working on getting us a Property Management job!

Apparently, FIL's former landlord called him worried because she had not heard from her property manager in 6 weeks. She lives 4 hrs away from the area. She called FIL because he was the most recent tenant who lived near the property manager (they shared a duplex). FIL has had no contact and proceeded to tell her that the guy did a bad job anyway.

He was living in one of her properties, not responsive to phone calls, lazy, unprofessional and a drinker. I met him a few times and I was irritated that he was so relaxed about his job. And I just learned she was paying him $1100/month!

So she asked FIL if he knew of anyone that could help her. She owns 2-4 (I don't have an exact number) properties in our area and is without a property manager. She is older (FIL guessing over 75 yrs old) and relies on the rent for retirement.

So FIL thought of husband and I! He called husband to see if we were interested which we are! And he set up an appointment for me to talk with the woman today at 2pm!

I've already come up with a list of discussion items. Our fee is 10% of collected rent with a $200 finders fee for filling empty units.

My biggest concern is the fact that the property manager was living in one of her units. If I drive over there and he is found inside...I'll have an ugly eviction on my hands or he'll hear about what is happening and try get his job back.

But if this works out then I think we'll be adding $400-$800 month to our income! Depending on how many units she has and the going rent.

AWESOME!

MONEY magazine taught me something useful

January 2nd, 2014 at 06:08 pm

I have been a subscriber to MONEY magazine for years. I enjoy the human interest pieces, the stocks section is pretty over my head.

But last night I think maybe my subscription gave me my first real good advice.

The article was a little over my head. So maybe I interpreted it wrong.

It was about 529 plans, and being a new mother, this was a good read.

ok, it helped me determine that my home state of GA has good rates on 529's (helpful).

But most helpful was reading that if I invest $6k a year from the babies first year till college- we should be able to cover almost all of 4 years in state tuition, fees and board!

6k seems very do-able considering it will eventually pay for one of my daughters largest life expenses. That seems a little cheap. I probably read it wrong. But it seems like an achievable goal. To invest $6k a year with an eye towards being able to pay almost all my child's college costs.

So husband and I have decided to ask our financial adviser to set up a 529 for baby- and every January he will move our mandatory IRA deduction to the 529 account. It averages about 5k a year and we can make up the remaining amount. YEA! Feeling accomplished.

Why cant EVERYONE adhere to the New Year philosophy?

January 1st, 2014 at 09:17 pm

New Year..Fresh Start..Clean Slate...Start Over..all those little attitude adjustments that come to mind in late December.

I wanted to start fresh. Financially implement a new budget. Clean up my financial life.

So I wrote a hypothetical budget. Based on husband being approved for disability. Based on me getting at least a part time job.

Now its January 1. And I'm waiting to implement it.

Waiting...

Husband has not been approved for disability yet. The letter comes in the mail and might take up to 2 more months to receive.

I've applied to 17 (Seventeen!) jobs and nothing so far. Well I have had 2 notifications that I am not being considered. And 1 interview that I ultimately did not want the position (outside sales). But overall...nothing on the job front. Which is frustrating because several of the jobs are perfect for my skill set. PERFECT. Really- the employer is missing out on not utilizing me. And they don't even call me for an interview! I don't really understand it.

So nothing is going on financially. I am waiting to start my financial new year.