32B's Blog

…where I write my words

I heart Personal Finance!

Piggybacking off My Employment Future, during our company meeting this past Friday it was disclosed that some offers have been placed on the table from interested parties so our owners will pick some one/company soon.  What the next steps will be are these lucky new owners coming in to do Due Diligence (I know what that means but not within this context) and they will be interviewing everyone.  Why?  That’s the part I was leaning forward at the edge of my seat to hear but all I got was a face full of floor because she never answered that.  My timeline of a few months or even a year is shot to hell since she clearly said “in the next few weeks” and warned us that there may come a week when we’d all be asked to work from the office just in case we are called on for an interview.  Oh, and dress business casual too.  Well, I got an email from my manager today saying our work-from-home days next week Monday thru Wednesday are cancelled and that we are to dress business casual for those 3 days.  I need a paper bag to breathe into.  Why is everything going so fast?!  Our CEO is 62 years old and her ex-husband (our Chairman) is at least 5 years older than that so I understand y’all want to retire but I still have a question to ask and no one but me seems a tad bit uneasy about this sell.  I’m not getting a phat check after the sale closes…I just wanna know if I should start kissing butts for a new job or am I cool.  For right now at least.  I guess D-day is next week….dress to impress whether or not I think it matters.

A co-worker was offered a new position in QA which is a new one-person dept created just for this new role which we really needed a looooooong time ago.  How does a software company NOT have a QA dept?!  I have no freaking idea!  It’s a Microsoft Vista situation waiting to happen.  So, this co-worker accepted the position which includes a pay raise since the last time the position was offered to the same co-worker sans pay increase it was turned down.  Co-worker tells manager (after accepting position) that he is moving to PA with his wife.  Manager talks to the corner offices who agree to keep employee on but allow this person to work remotely full-time instead of hiring someone who knows nothing about the system(s) and lose someone who has 5 years of knowledge stored in their head.  This person makes employee #2 who is a full-time remote employee.  The other is a computer programmer working from TX.  My point is….there really isn’t any but maybe it will come to me later.  This person who is moving to PA just passed his 5 year anniversary too and received a check.  You got a pay raise, allowed to work remotely, and a check for staying here 5 yrs….is this not a great situation or what??  I kinda wanna know who the new owners are.  I am anxious for next week in a good and bad way but I shall plan for the worse but pray for the best.  I don’t wanna be laid off.  I don’t wanna job hunt.  I don’t wanna be like so many others out there scraping for anything.  I don’t wanna go back to school either.  I should title this post “I don’t wanna….”

My budget is revealing little things about my spending habits I didn’t want to admit to myself such as I spend way too much on silly things at CVS just because it’s walking distance from my house and they give me $5 off coupons.  I am recording every single penny spent.  A lot of work but necessary.  If I spend $100 at Wal-Mart I force myself to add a comment (using Excel) documenting all the items bought that equaled $100 so I know what I really didn’t need and where I need to be more disciplined.  So far, I am about $100 over budget which means I spent more than my recent paycheck and now must either dip into my savings or use what I had in my checking account before this paycheck was deposited.  I told myself that I don’t need a budget because I can add, do bookkeeping in my head, and I know I am not dropping big faces at the mall but it’s a big difference when you see you don’t have to go to the mall to overspend on stuff you don’t need. 

My ex lost his permanent job weeks ago (he just told me this last week), has been working a temporary job (which explains my low child support payments), gets a new assignment next week, and is trying to network for a permanent job outside of retail in time for the kids to come for summer since the long hours of retail don’t do so well with having at least 3 kids to take to and from daycare.  Yeah, I thought everyone knew that one.  This puts my budget and savings in trouble because I didn’t expect to spend my money on daycare which his child support pymts are supposed to cover which blows my pretty little Excel spreadsheet with the formulas programmed to calculate columns for me to smithereens and makes me wanna call Wayne Brady to choke a b*tch (Dave Chappelle).  My attorney gave me my options: A) change my case standing from private to public which means the courts handle it all and she is left out of it.  The pro is the state can intercept his tax check like everyone who played against the Bears this season.  The con is that the state may lower our agreed child support amount from the divorce papers to match his income which will leave me with pennies just because he eff’d up his career for some lil na na.  B) file paperwork to hold him in contempt of court since he is not adhering to the divorce agreement as it applies to child support.  It will take 4-6 weeks for the judge to review my case and assign a court date (I hope I don’t have to attend) at which time the judge will decide between jail, work release (locked up still but allowed to leave for work only), or a personal finance class to teach him how to budget his money.  The pro is the judge will force him to catch up and he will understand I pull the reigns in this so pay up!  The con is I have to pay for my attorney to file and pursue this issue in court.  Either way it goes, I come out my pocket money but, long-term I gotta think about this strategically.

My investments are doing well…..all 12 shares of them.  I didn’t have a lot of money to start investing in and I didn’t want to use any of my money so I used Mr. D’s instead.  I sold some and bought some more but I have gained 21.26% thus far.  My 401k is rising, then dropping, then rising, and then dropping a bit more but it’s on the up tick right now.  I have been reading about mutual funds and ETFs and how to make an income off them too.  It’s a lot of reading but it’s worth it.  I have funded my revocable trust.  Only thing left to add to it is my bank account which I never seem to have the time to do.  Still have not bought life insurance because I was making sure the 20 year term so cool since my kids will be 24 and 28 and fully capable of taking of themselves by then (they getting the hell outta my house anyways), the cost difference between a regular term policy and the ROP (Return of premium) policy, and confirm which non-medical exam policy I was going to settle on.  You would think I was dying tomorrow….well, lets pray not.  Once everything is finalized my net worth should definitely be more than the $5 some article said most African-American women are worth nowadays.  Kick my butt Mr. Article!!

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March 29, 2010 Posted by | Career, Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Sleeping Peacefully

Sleep__Baby__Sleep_by_AmatorkaI am a people pleaser. I do it so much that I forget I’m doing it and some people think I’m lying when I say I’m a people person probably because I seem so rude and vocal but that’s usually when people have made me wanna pull their hair out (not my own) that I’m losing patience.  As soon as I want to make a decision, I hesitant because I ask “what will he/she think?  how will it influence them?  how will it make me look?” when I honestly care but know I shouldn’t care that much when I’m putting my needs after theirs.  But, if you admit to doing that, you are being selfish.  If you think about your own sanity first then you aren’t being of service to those who do or may need you whether that need is assumed or not.  I have been working on cleaning some things up but it seems to be taking a long time only because I’m trying to make sure I’m making the right decision.  I step down from my Prayer Ministry a few weeks ago which I already blogged about.  I have yet to finish typing up and turn in the minutes from our meetings thus far as well as the book from our ministry library.  I will do that this upcoming weekend.  People from the church still call me and some have no idea where I’ve gone.  The good thing is that I have peace and sleep at night.

Lately, I’ve still been running but not as much because I think I was running too many miles in one week.  I was losing weight when my original goal was to trim my waistline so now I run once or twice a week.  If I run once a week then it’s my long run of 8.5 miles.  If it’s more than once a week then I might do a couple 3 miles runs instead.  I took the kids to Legoland this weekend and they had a lot of fun.  We spent about 2 hours there and it felt like we’d been there for 5 hours!  I was so ready to go but they were acting like we’d just walked in the door 30 minutes ago.  This weekend is Step Afrika….I haven’t gotten tickets yet cause I’m not sure which day I wanna take them but I am sure they will still have tickets by Tuesday of this week.  Still doing my family tree but I’m at a standstill since I have no information, my family has no information, and they have no real memory of anything.  So, I think I may have to call the Mississippi Records Dept to see what they have instead.  I have been spending time teaching myself about various investments starting with different terms, different investment vehicles, fundamentals behind assessing a company, ratios, how to understand what numbers are telling you when it comes to reading a company’s balance sheet/income statement/cash flow, and paying attention to the overall company itself.  The guy I mentioned a couple posts ago gave me money to invest so I bought 4 shares of GIVN which I have been watching for a while now.  It’s only 4 shares but it’s a lot to me so I watch that every day, follow the highs and lows of the market fluctuation, compare other companies by industry, and am learning buckets by actually doing it as well.  My friend is interested in stock options namely Apple but he hasn’t made an effort to learn, to take the time to read anything, or follow the companies to compute their ratios.  I don’t know. 

Dating.  I give up.  It’s not defeating and it’s not too much work….I just don’t feel like it sometimes and I haven’t met anyone worthwhile in a long time.  There Mr. Hershey from the train who leaves me tongue-tied every time I see him and the guy from the last paragraph but, other than that, nothing to report.  I still have a tutorial to finish about stock options which has a quiz at the end to complete.  I wanna finish watching my movie and then get in the bed.  I seem to be writing more lately….must be the weather getting cooler cause there’s been nothing interesting going on lately at all.  I am getting child support now which means I can work on my savings a little bit more which brings me to Christmas shopping.  I have a tribe of sisters and one brother but my mom seems to think I’m cheap when I suggested a Secret Santa.  First off, you lucky if you get anything from me at all esp when I have my own kids.  Secondly, only poor folks spend half their monthly income on Christmas gifts and I know my mom…..she buys in anticipation.  She will give you a list of what she wants and expect exactly that just for you to show up with some crap you didn’t ask for and don’t want at all!  Ungrateful?  No, but if you gon’ get all bytchy about gifts then can I have something I actually want too?!  Currently in bankruptcy court but wanna spend every single dime on gifts…this is why youth don’t know anything about money management skills.  They spend all their lives seeing their parents live check to check, go broke for the holidays, and then get mad the government ain’t giving them enough.  Makes me wanna side with the Republicans on a lot of things esp when they know the cycle but could care less about ending it. 

I like the direction of my life right now and I like the people I’ve removed from my life in some way.  If I can sleep peacefully at night then that is all that matters to me.  Some have gotten mad about it and more will in time but I could care less.  For all the things I wanna learn, I don’t think there’s enough time in the day to get them all in.  This investment stuff alone is a huge chunk of it as it should because you’d be gambling instead of investing if you put your money somewhere without doing your homework.  Til then, I have been reading some interesting blogs about other people’s lives and how they view the world.  I’ve met some psychos on the internet.  I’ve blocked some people and had to sever some dear ties.  Some people I honestly wish I was able to talk to more often rather than via chat mediums and others I wish I could actually see as often as we talk.  But you can’t have things your way all the time although I try my best to convince others I am indeed entitled to it in some way 🙂

November 15, 2009 Posted by | Life | , , , , | 1 Comment

Forgo the Crowd

Unintended_Commentary_by_mtsofanThere are a few things I need to write about but the most concerning right now is my future.  I have decided to forgo my Masters degree ambitions at least until I have a good reason to pursue them.  Talking to my uncle a few weeks ago, he explained how he was going back to school to pursue his  MBA/MIS degree in hopes of a better paying position and to safeguard his self from the recession.  He called it investing in yourself.  I listened as he explained the rat race of working in IT which consisted of getting certified in all these different softwares, programs, or platforms etc (not sure what all those really mean) and having to deal with companies like Microsoft who change the requirements or certification specifications to assist the schools so that you are required to sit and get re-certified all over again after a couple of years and they intentionally change the dynamics of newer versions of programs so that it gives valid reasons for it.  Basically, all the upkeep to remain “certified” and compete with the college kids fresh outta school was becoming too much esp when his yrs upon yrs of experience was becoming obsolete to some new certification that was out. Now, he is investing in his self and that is what I question. 

I don’t get computers and, as he was talking to me, my eyes began to gloss over and he started laughing.  He said the look on my face reminded him of his wife’s face when he gets carried away talking about IT stuff when all she wants to do is send an email.  I never questioned anything he said.  I simply stood there and listened absorbing it all to take back with me and apply to what makes sense to me and what has worked or will work in reality.  Investing in myself.  Is that really getting an advanced degree?  I am constantly reminded of friends and friends of friends and family members of friends who bought into that lie and are now in debt pleading for a salary that will justify this advanced degree.  If I go back to school for my MBA and I finish school to land the same job or a job with a slight pay difference then what??  I’d find myself justifying my yrs of schooling along with the loans I took out as a reason for “investing in myself” when I am now in more debt than I started and making only a small percentage more than I was before just to pay for my pretty little piece of paper on my wall.  I’d show it to my kids all the while hating it because it was not really an investment at all but a liability.  Not an asset but an expense that has yet, if ever, to reap any benefits to me in my lifetime and since it’s attached to my name and is not transferable so it will likely not ever be worth the money I paid for it.  But, I bought 2 GMAT books (which I will likely sell and get some money back) and spent a good portion of 2009 studying for a test to get into a school for a degree I only want because everyone else is getting advanced degrees or once you reach a certain age that is just the thing to do so you will remain “competitive” and “marketable”.  Realizing I was following the crowd took a lot of strength on my part because I knew I was following the crowd a long time ago which is why I have been dragging my feet on studying.  I could have taken this test months ago but I didn’t because I wasn’t sure about it and uncertainty is something I always have to pause and question.

I’m too embarrassed to say how much I owe in student loans but, knowing I went to school in Indiana as an Illinois resident you can best believe it’s a hell of a lot of money!  Maybe one day I’ll reveal that amount.  One day.  I have a medical bill for $1,300 for my recent trip to the ER due to chest pains and heart irregularities.  I never go to the doctor unless it’s for my annual exam or other womanly issues.  Other than that, I’m healthy as someone my age should be so I don’t have many outstanding medical bills.  I have set up a payment plan to pay off my $1,300 medical bill which will likely come from the remaining balance of my medical flex account funded from my paycheck.  I have a $700 balance on that so that will leave me with about $600 to pay.  I’m only paying this medical bill to keep it off my credit report because I was once interested in buying a house and I know how important credit scores are.  But are they?  Sure they are but should they be that freakin important?  I’m beginning to re-think what I’ve been taught over the yrs and working on sifting through the bull’ish and unlearning a lot of things.  I even requested all 3 copies of my credit reports with the goal of paying things off and leaving only student loan debt (which is waaaay too much to think about right now) and medical bills I may have.  Credit cards and misc bills I neglected from yrs ago are what I need to work on.  Or should I?  How important is my credit score when I can just walk in and buy something outright?  They teach you that establishing credit shows you are financially responsible but does it really?  I know if I have a credit card I’d likely keep it for emergencies but what dictates an emergency?  For that reason, I don’t need one because I don’t trust myself and I’d likely cut it up but leave the account open without a card in hand tied to it.  I know me and that’s the best knowledge you can ever have.  I am my own weakness sometimes and I need to control me before I can control anything else.

That said, I am abandoning a lot of things I thought I needed to do in life and looking at other non-traditional avenues.  Spending thousands of dollars just to fight for a job with a decent salary to pay back that and other debt is ridiculous to me.  I don’t like to work.  I don’t like to work any harder than I have to.  I am the laziest person I know but I’d get up and run 10 miles and enjoy it because it benefits me to run 10 miles on many levels but what does slaving at a job benefit me?  I get a check.  I can pay my bills.  I like my job and my co-workers and what I do but it’s still only “like”.  I’d love all of those if I didn’t have to depend on that check as much as I do now.  There is a lot I don’t know and there is a lot I want to know so I have asked some of my friends and people who I barely know to let me in on what works for them.  They are all doing what I desire to do but I need more education on it.  The good thing is that I am an extremely disciplined person.  I thrived in online classes and simply hate classrooms because I find it a waste of time to go to a building to sit down and listen to some overly educated person lecture me on something I could have stayed home and read on my own.  I found out that I learn best when I am in control of things.  Most of my friends fail online classes but I pass them with ease.  It’s not that they are unmotivated.  They just sometimes need someone to stay on them.  I have realized that all I need to know I can learn for free or at a fraction of the cost of an MBA.  I sit during my free time reading tutorials, reading books, reading articles, applying what I learned in simulated environments to gauge what I have learned and what I am still lacking.  Right now, my greatest investment is my cynical nature and strong dislike to follow the crowd when I notice they aren’t any better off than I am along with my natural ability to question tradition when it reaps no noticable benefits.  Along with that, is my laptop & internet which allows me to study from home during my downtimes.  I am in school but I didn’t have to pay any tuition thus far and you will be amazed what people will teach you if you’d only open your mouth and ask.  Rat race.  It’s for some but it’s not for me…..anymore.  I’m redefining “investing in myself”.

October 19, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments