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Getting Back to Basics

We all have been there.  When time goes by and sometimes you cannot grasp everything that is happening or everything that is happening is out of your control.  You begin down a spiraling path of not taking care of “the house” and end up jumping from one event/task/fire to the next, while running out of time to take care of what was needed.  The last 6 months have been amazing and Lord knows how life-filled that time period was.  However, I may not have been as diligent as I could have been and 2019 is about getting back to basics.

Noise

It all starts with the noise.  The volume was on full blast the last 6 months.  However, I am not referring to the Wedding and changing my career in July.  It’s everything else that came with it.  It’s exhausting and it was due to how i handled situations and my time.  When it came to switching careers, my own-self determination would not allow to not be me absolute best.  I wanted to transition and make it smooth for my new employer.  I wanted to be a straight value-add to their company.  This obviously puts you down on a path of being extremely involved.  I care, and I know that’s a huge part of it.  I love basket and I even joined a league because I was asked and thought it would be a great way to build comradery, as well as to enjoy the game.  I said, “Sure, sign me up, sounds great!” (only to find out it’s 15 minutes from where, I work, 35 minutes from home and games can vary from 7:30PM to 10:10 PM).

Further, instead of knowing that our wedding was in October and being selfish with our time for that, we would still continue to go to each and every event, week and weekend nights.  Then, there were the Holidays, and of course – family comes first for us.  Then we go and do the impossible by jam-packing 5 different homes in less than 24 hours, including me working Christmas Eve and the day after.  I am a very logistical, analytical, time-senstive person and even maximizing all of those abilities, still led me down a difficult time orchestrating everything.  These past 6 months made me fully realize that I need to care about my wife, myself and this journey that I have worked so hard for, more.  Everything is important, I am not down playing that, but I have to see what is more important than others.

Saving

Though I was tracking my expenses, as I normally do, it wasn’t with as much “gusto”, where I usually am eyeing the ending amount of income for the month I had left, in order to make the transfer to my investment portfolio.  The “gusto” (you’re loving this word, right?) was reduced more than likely due to wedding expenses, replacement of tires on two cars, buying a dryer and home cosmetics.  This caused me to be hesitant on being aggressive to move cash to the investment account.  That ends now.  It’s time to get back and MAKE EVERY DOLLAR COUNT and be aggressive.  In fact, I JUST made a transfer of $1,000.00 from my checking at a large back to my Ally Investment profile.  In addition, we are simplifying finances a bit, as I cancelled my Amazon Prime membership, as she had one ($128 of savings) and am in process of canceling my gym membership ($435 savings) – as I am able to be a guest at her gym and her company pays for her membership (Win-Win baby!).

Making Every Dollar Count

Speaking of making every dollar count, I need to make sure I even maximize idle cash in every way possible (1).  An example of this, which is similar to what Bert performed, back in December I did a Health Savings Account trustee-to-trustee transfer from MyBenefitWallet to Lively.Me – to be able to invest for free, no monthly fees and any cash (if any is ever sitting there, as my plan is to not have any) will receive a better rate than where it was.  This will increase the compounding ability even more.  I was able to perform this transfer, due to leaving my former employer.

In addition, we have moved my wife’s money market account to her other online savings account, reducing 1 more bank and increasing idle cash income by 10%, by making the switch, just due to higher interest rates.  Expect more of this.  We are also establishing, with her current employer, the investment arm of her Health Savings Account, as it’s a time consuming/not a do it yourself process.  She has to personally meet with an adviser to actually begin to turn her cash, that is earning a measly 0.15%, into an equity investment.  This should be up and running by February.  If it ends up not being a great product/process, we will move her assets to Lively.

Further, the 401(k) is back in action for me… finally.  After a 6 month+ hiatus, due to switching employers, I now, starting on 2/8/19, will have ~$800 going to a Vanguard, low-expense mutual fund option on a bi-weekly basis.  Therefore, this ensures continuous investment without predicting the market, as well as reduces my tax liability for 2019.  My wife will be doing the same this year, which equates to $38,000 of pre-tax investment dollars hard at work.  You have more than likely noticed, as well, that I still do maximize my Roth IRA ($6,000) and I simplified things for me, by investing into Vanguard’s High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM).  Expect more of that in 2019, as I still have $4,500 to contribute for the year.  My wife will also be maximizing her retirement account.

Getting Back to Basics

Getting back to basics is the most incredible goal.  How funny is that?  I am not here to over complicate this year or my life.  Getting back to basics, in short, is taking care of the most important things in my life.  It means saving and investing as much as I can, in the most basic format (Income Less Expenses = Save it and invest it).  Getting back to basics means making the easy decision on how to maximize each dollar used (i.e. do you want to save money each month by cancelling the Gym but still being able to workout? YES.  Do you want to stop incurring $6/month fees from your HSA and be able to increase your dividend income?  Yes.  Do you want one less bank to manage and increase your interest income potentially?  Yes.).  This will lead to a prosperous 2019 year, which will set the stage for many years to come.

Do you feel like you need to have a re-start button and take a deep breath, to really energize your year?  What are you doing in 2019 to straighten your finances out and to make things more automatic, than not?  What are you doing for simplification?  Thanks everyone and cheers to 2019 and to… getting back to basics.

-Lanny

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