Archive for the ‘life balance’ Category

2007 goals met & missed (plus recalling family mantra for ‘tell the truth!’)
January 7, 2008

[blip.tv ?posts_id=588693&dest=21480]

I heard that as a kid growing up from Oklahoma relatives – said when it was really time to tell the truth! I love it. And for whatever reason, it surmounts my agnosticism & paraphrases the need for honesty to this day.

In that spirit…:

Life balance goals met & missed (2006 vs 2007)

Come to Jesus 2006:

-on dining out: spent $11k (what's that phrase…'ignorance is bliss'?!)

-on cooking for family: avoided learning how

-on retirement savings: had diddle for a plan

-on spending habits: didn't have a clue

-on tax protection: accrued $7k tax bill (paid for via credit card…gulp)

Come to Jesus 2007:

-on dining out: cut that puppy DOWN & roughly ended year spending app. $1.5k

-on cooking for family: learned! We spent app. $5k on groceries this year. And my husband was fantastic in brainstorming ideas & being patient with sometimes a very smoky home (I'd like to think my self-esteem is pretty strong being 37 and admitting this … or just SILLY)

-on retirement savings: met with financial planners & invested 12% income toward a specific plan (as in we now know 'the number' to save for by retirement age). I disagreed with some planners' suggestion on how much to save for. More on that later.

-on spending habits: set an actual plan and more regularly audited habits via Quicken. Frankly I didn't audit them habitually. I attempted tracking via our spending plan which wasn't comprehensive. It's time for me to buck up and do that download account process per Quicken.

-on tax protection: our pre-tax retirement contributions lowered our taxable income; I also worked from home (resigned from high stress management job & made far less money). That fact as pros & cons but it was a great year for re-gaining sanity, renewing/building communities online and off, & gaining a few clients. And the reduced stress enhanced the marriage (ain't that right honey??). NOTE: That $7k tax bill balance decreased some (see below).

The main goal for 2008 is two-fold: to completely pay-off that '06 puke-vomit-ick-tax-bill (paid for via credit card in '07) and to build six months worth of savings.

QUESTION TO YOU:

What life balance/personal finance goal motivates you for 2008? …Any come-to-Jesus moments of your own last year?

HAPPY NEW YEAR! And thanks for your ideas & motivation throughout last year. Your insight and humor strengthened resolve.

MORE FROM:

Get Rich Slowly shares factory worker's story to millionaire retirement. This guy's simple, prudent decisions inspire!

– Playful, honest journey through spending plans at Budgeting Babe;

-Clear, actionable approach for starting 2008 … Chirs Brogan shares (3) words that help him decide or decline next steps.

where are you? where am I?
October 4, 2007

It’s been a fantastic whirlwind with out of town family visiting this week.

Housewifery will continue to track zany realities in personal finance (and more!) later this week.

Until then, stay true & stay frugal!

cooking with camera samurai: photographer pal teaches how to save $11k
September 14, 2007

We’ll be in the kitchen tonight learning acorn squash & eggplant.

Look out for on-video results next week and more tips on how at-home dining can preserve your bottom line.

Have an awesome weekend.

More from:
Camera Samurai’s fine photo education;
DC Media Makers, a media literacy group specializing in online video; Carl & I are both members.

hou$ewifery to return post-labor day: think fun, friends, & your body weight in bbq!
September 3, 2007

bbq

renting vs buying e.g. can you still afford pet food with a mortgage?
August 29, 2007

I live in downtown Washington, DC with my husband where we rent 600 square feet & love it. We long sold the car & we both walk to work (…I endure a hefty commute from the bedroom to my home studio 15′ away).

After scoping out properties with an agent – we’re delaying home ownership, despite the market stats.

I sometimes get defensive on this issue, esp with friends who’ve owned for some time. I let my self-concept get all out of whack, thinking my man & I are somehow less adult for not owning property in our 30s.

The truth is, I believe buying now makes us financially vulnerable no matter how much home price tags decline. To get into a 600 square foot home in this area, we’d:
-have to relinquish our emergency cash reserves toward down payment & closing costs;
-retain a minimum monthly mortgage of $2k for 600 square feet at a conservative purchase price of $230k;
-that leaves minimal to zero monthly margins for unforeseen expenses or increased contributions toward retirement.

Granted, we’ve chosen to live in pricey downtown near work for simplicity of living. Walking to work is addictive, especially that welcome by-product of zero car payments and insurance.

And Stephen Pollan chimes in:

Today when young clients come to me to discuss real estate, I tell them to buy their second home first. I tell them to steer clear of “starter houses” they’ll eventually outgrow, and instead buy the kind of home they would have stepped up into after selling a starter house. I tell them to plan on buying a house they could be comfortable in for the rest of their lives. If that means waiting longer to buy, so be it. That will give you more time to save money, …more time to separate your needs from your wants. The result will be a more intelligent buy.

So right now, I’m glad to help our landlord with his property ownership & tax benefits. As his renters, we’ll keep chins up while investing in our fiscal balance and discipline.

More from:
–CNN’s cost of living calculator (knocked my socks off when my cousin in Tulsa, OK said we could live in a 4 bedroom, marble kitchen estate for what we’d pay for 600 sq ft in DC);
Rent v buy calculator which assesses whether buying a home (or renting & investing the would-be mortgage payment) would be best per your current stats;
–Pollan’s book Die Broke offers frank, reasonable insight to personal finance

new videoblog, new reality: bringing business home
August 9, 2007

After years in sales and managing teams, I hit ‘the wall’ — that black hole thick fatigue which demands a life change.

Change I say, change!

My husband happens to love his work and agreed his wife needed to change situations. So I resigned last year as sales manager for an HR firm, plunging into online video production. Why? It’s a fun part of Web 2.0 and really just fun period.

Then after some video projects, collaborations, and client work I lost focus big time. Video was still fun but I wasn’t renewing momentum. Was I bored? procrastinating? or my favorite self-esteem ripping comment — just lazy?

It turns out my interests in business planning were crying out to my deaf ear. And it took me a long time to finally listen. I stepped back and observed the life with my husband: we were emotionally awesome yet the remainder of our partnership looked imbalanced e.g. clutter at home, no living will, neither of us knew how to cook or invested the time in learning, and why did that retirement account still look empty despite us philosophically supporting savings, retirement plans, etc?

After answering these questions more directly (…wasn’t pretty learning how much we sank on eating out), I knew that more urgent than learning how to be an expert video tech was learning how to balance my (our) home situation. Our future would have little options without this direction.

With a few months under the belt of analyzing what needs to be done & taking action, it’s clear my liberal arts degree and experience in sales have awesome challenges ahead. It’s really, really a blast.

Asset Management. Communications. Stewardship. Negotiation. Networking. Cooking (yes it’s fun, necessary-duh!, and a preserver of the bottom line). Retirement savings. Retirement savings for parents.

This egotistical-feminist-video-producer has had her reality check of what a strong home life is — and is not.

That’s what this blog is about.