Saturday, April 9, 2011

What can I say, I like having goals

I read a post that one of the Ladeez on The Board had joined this "Million Dollar Club" on her blog, and because I can't resist a good challenge (unless it involves, like, running or something) I had to check it out. Not only did I find a new awesome blog to follow - seriously, what a name!! - but I spent some time reading the pledges of the people who were signing up for the challenge, and things like that always put me in a happy money-saving mood. It's nice to see (or read) like-minded individuals, you know? (Also, man is "individuals" hard to type.)

Anyway, the idea is to not just daydream about someday becoming a millionaire, but to lay out specific steps to get there, and to make a pledge to do it. Since I had already told Airbear I was going to make us millionaires someday (well, obviously), I thought this would be a fun way to make that goal real. (Plus you get a fancy little image - what are they called? Buttons? Banners? I don't know - to put on your site once you're in the club. No, I don't know how that works. You'll see it, if I manage to get it figured out.) I know what you're thinking - I am a teacher, I make $12 per year, how delusional am I being right now? But bear with me. It's not as insane of an idea as it sounds at first. To whit:

In order to make us[1] millionaires, I, Nitza Pizza (ha ha) pledge to do at LEAST[2] the following each year:
  1. Contribute 3% to my SIMPLE IRA every year in order to qualify for the full (3%) match from my employer. Total annual contribution = $2,500 (Actually, it varies, because my paychecks vary with bonuses and stuff, but it will always be at least this much, and likely a lot more as the economy and my salary improve. But we'll go with this number for ease of calculation.)
  2. Make Airbear contribute 6% to his 401k every year in order to qualify for the full (6% - lucky!!) match from his employer. Total annual contribution = $13,300 (Again, will be at least this amount. Also, maybe I should go work at his company.)
  3. Max out my Roth IRA every year. (Already done for 2010 - first time ever - woot!) Total annual contribution = $5,000.
  4. Continue to find ways to accumulate "extra income" - cash back on my rewards card, surveys, interest, etc. Total annual contribution = $1,000. It was actually more than double this last year, but I want to set an achievable goal that leaves me room to actually spend money, too.
  5. Contribute to non-retirement long term savings (so that not ALL of the money is locked away for 35 years). Total annual contribution = $2,000. Again, between the two of us we typically save a lot more than this each year (we certainly did the last two years!), but some of that savings is actually for SPENDING on things. Like fabulous vacations. And books.
Now, I also want to start a Roth for Airbear, and maybe even max it out, since at this point he's so used to saving money (HA! I DID THAT!!!) that he might not even notice ;) But for right now I'm going to leave that off the list because I haven't done it yet and I'm only making a list of steps I can commit to.

But here comes the really fun part. On his post for this challenge, J. Money (ha ha, YES, again with the names! Brilliant!) also includes a link to this millionaire calculator, and I used that to figure out when we will theoretically reach our goal, according to the plan laid out above. Taking into account our current retirement balances, inflation, and some estimated rates of return, Airbear & I should be millionaires in:


18 years and 5 months!

Yes, that's a long time[3], BUT(t) it's not infinity. So this means that I was right (of course) when I told Airbear I'd do it. More importantly, while that sounds like a long-ass time from now (and it is), it will happen when I am 49 years old. 49! Suddenly that sounds a lot sooner, doesn't it? And that's just doing things we're already easily doing - no insane frugality, no 'going without,' no eating Alpo in order to hoard all the money, etc. We will still be able to save for things like down payments and vacations and college tuition and all that crap - this is mostly automatic deductions (and, shit, $7900/yr of it is free money in retirement matching). If we are able to easily fit in a Roth for Aaron, then that's great - it shortens the time horizon to 16 years and 7 months (47!!!), but even if we don't - even if we take that $5k a year and blow it on hookers (kidding! obviously I meant books) - even without that, being a millionaire at age 49 still sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Of course inflation being what it is, being a millionaire won't be like yacht-sailing-champagne-bathing money, but - and more importantly for me personally - it does feel like a reassuring place to be in when I turn 50 and retirement is on the horizon. Don't you think?

[1] Because Airbear is now My! New! Husband!, I am making this goal a collective one. And yes, I do have THE POWER (muahahah) to make pledges about what he will contribute to his retirement. Because I am The Boss.
[2] Gotta give myself room to overachieve!
[3] I ran the calculator with just myself, no Airbear, and it took me 35 years and 4 months. Ha ha ha. More disgusting than funny, really, but what can ya do but laugh![4]
[4] Besides kill your employers, I mean.[5]
[5] That is a joke. [6]
[6] It really is a joke, but aside from that, I looked back at that year number and realized, you know what? In 35 years and 4 months, I would still only be 66. Look at that!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Ta da!

Check it out:

I borrowed some from Airbear to get it in before the 15th (since my paycheck doesn't land until midnight on the 14th and it takes 48 hours to transfer from the bank to the Roth), so it feels a little like cheating. But hey! Maxed out Roth! First time!!

Friday, April 1, 2011


I'm back again already, and March JUST ended!

March:No-Spend Days: 16
No Eating Out Days: 17 (9 vacation days = EO!)
Extra Income: $165.90 ($83.62 from surveys, $50 cash back from my chase card, and $32.28 interest)
Progress Toward Savings Goal: 23.69%
Retirement Savings: $3195.50 (yes, really!)
Working Out Days: 0 (Gave myself the month off as a wedding present, lol)
Books Finished: 0! Again! Man! BUT I am f
inally getting close to the end of this reaaaally slow classic I’ve been slogging through, so hopefully I’ll have enough non-homework time to make this number pick up in April.

Other Achievements: Finally wrote my 2011 goals.. but already realized there are more things I want to add to the list! Agh, I want to accomplish them all, but I need to be realistic so I don’t get discouraged. Hmm, choices, choices. I *did* finally get some into my 2010 Roth (and started my Total Bond Market Index Fund, finally), so that felt awesome. I’d like to be able to max it out by April 15 but I just don’t know if that is in the cards. Well, in the wallet, you know. Ha. Anyway, I want to beef up the EF, start the laser eye surgery fund finally, and pay for this math endorsement internship so I can finally get that old goal off my to-do list (uh, from 2009, heh). Of course I’d ALSO like to: max out my 2011 Roth, start a Roth for my NEW! HUSBAND! And max that out, and start (and fill) funds for the remaining classes I’ll need for my Ed.S degree after my work stops paying tuition for me (only one more class to pay). So we’ll see, the goals may get adjusted a bit. But the great thing is they’re all positive goals – education, job security & marketability, retirement, vision (!), security… It makes me smile, actually. Pretty proud of all that :)

OH and I got to make a brand new net worth chart in Excel, too. I made one for me and one for me & Airbear combined. Both are POSITIVE (!) and, between you and me, they are both just some damn fine lookin’ charts. There are colored header bars and everything. Man I make beautiful spreadsheets. Just look:

Now tell me you're not just DYING to evaluate some assets!!!