The Plan: Phase Three

It’s been a heck of a time these past few months!  I have been busy working and hibernating (winter time), but some exciting new developments and changes have boosted my net worth.  I plan to get back on track and get more consistent updates going again.

First off: THE PLAN!  Remember a post a long time ago when I was laid off and looking for work?  When I wanted to get myself to a level where I know my skillset will be utilized?  To not just have a job, but start a career?  How I wanted to get myself a higher level of income to achieve my goals, ultimately: Financial Freedom?  It has proceeded to another step, and I was able to be promoted again at work!

About three years ago I was laid off and on unemployment… I found a temp job and income was around $26k.  They decided to hire me full-time, and then I was sitting at around $33k a year income in a manual labor position.  A year into that I got a small promotion to a more office-environment job, and the income went up to around $40k a year.  A few months ago I was awarded with another promotion, and my new income is sitting at around $59k a year!  Woot!

Through nothing but hard work and dedication over the past three years, I was able to more than double my income.  NICE!

On to the next exciting development, I was the recipient of a small windfall recently.  A dear friend of mine (he’s about 80) taught me about the stock market long ago.  He is substantially wealthy, and one day we put together stock portfolio as part of a lesson / showing me the ropes.  Over the course of 4-5 years, we let the portfolio sit and we observed, made trades, and rode the roller coaster.  Recently we decided to call it quits.  In the end, the portfolio had gained around 25%.  He is a kind enough man that he decided to gift me the capital gains (after all fees and taxes) so I could use it to pay off debt.  How cool is that?  For now, the windfall was around $13k.  There is potential for more coming in 2017, as the capital gains were around $25k.

I did exactly what he wished: used that stuff to build myself up and pay off those debts!  The $4,500 truck loan is GONE!  My student loan has taken a near $9,000 reduction!  I was also able to beef up my emergency fund to around $5,000 – a number I feel good with that – my Roth can be a second $8k emergency if it’s life or death.  Thanks to this friend’s generosity and our trust in each other, I have been able to make a huge dent in my debt and increase my net worth by thousands.  Now, on to the newest numbers!

Cash:
6,600 (+2,300)

Roth IRA Basis:
8,030 (+1100)

401k:
Contribution Basis: 4,400
Company Match: 4,400
Total: 8,800 (+2038)

Pension:
$650

Motorcycle:
3,000 (-500)

Truck:
4,500 (+4,200)

Mustang:
1,000

Personal Assets:
12,000 (reworked, +4,600)

Total Assets:
44,580 (+15,079)

“Liquid” Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
24,080 (+6,192)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
0

Chase Unlimited:
0

American Express:
0

Bank CC:
35

Student Loan:
Balance: 13,200 (-9,422)

Truck Loan:
0 (-4,700)

Total Liabilities:
13,200 (-14,250)

Net Worth:
+31,380 (+28,679)

Credit Score:
Credit Karma scores:  767 TU / 759 Equifax
FICO score:  773
Chase Transunion: 767

*mic drop*

October Net Worth

Cash:
4,256 (-580)

Roth IRA Basis:
6,933 (+150)

401k:
Contribution Basis: 3,381
Company Match: 3,381
Total: 6,762 (+244)

Motorcycle:
3,500

Car:
0 (-1,500)

Truck (Value 5,000):
300 (+100)

Mustang:
1,000

Personal Assets:
7,400

Total Assets:
30,151 (-1,586)

“Liquid” Assets (cash, stock and retirement):
17,951 (-186)

Liabilities

Chase Freedom:
0 (-4)

Chase Unlimited:
0 (-22)

American Express:
93 (+86)

Bank CC:
35

Student Loan:
Paid on loan: 278.16 (166 Principal / 112 Interest)
Balance: 22,622 (-163)

Truck Loan:
4,700

Total Liabilities:
27,450 (-199)

Net Worth:
+2,701 (-882)

Monthly Income: 1,778
Monthly Assets Change: -1,586
Monthly Liabilities Change: -199
Monthly Net Worth Change: -882
Mortgage Principal Paid: 263
Monthly Savings Rate (IRA/401k+Match/Cash/StudenLoan/MortgPrincipal): 355 (20%) x .55 = 11(All expenses are shared jointly, me @ 55%, Fiance @ 45%)

Credit Score:
Credit Karma scores:  746 TU / 739 Equifax
FICO score:  752

Definitely a tough looking month here!  But with some good news as well.  I was promoted at work, and that was the next step in The Plan!  As a result, my pay switched to bi-weekly, so I essentially missed $570 of savings.  My savings rate would be more like 22%.  Going forward, I may have some wonky looking months since I my pay will be bi-weekly, but it should balance out the following month!

I did some naughty spending this month, including an anniversary gift of around $200 and a trip north with the fiance costing around $600 as well in fun, food and shopping.  However, with the new promotion and getting my new routines back in place, I should be coming out on top.  There is some debt I am not tracking due to a joint effort by fiance and I to pay off (8 new tires, exciting!), so the cash savings may be lower than normal, but a few months from now everything should be settled and on the way to glory!

I sold the car, but a large chunk went to the ridiculous spending from this month.  Another bit of it disappeared due to paying the Joint account but not getting paid last week, resulting in a ~$425 deficit.  So – this month there was some lack of discipline but also lack of income stability, so it was a rough one all around.  Next month should be looking better!

The Plan: Phase Two

Howdy!  I am happy to be checking in and finally being able to update “The Plan” with a new phase.  Things are going as anticipated and I couldn’t be happier.  If you remember a while ago, I was laid off and looking for work.  My dreams of financial freedom were stopped in their tracks.  I was able to overcome, and find a new job within limited time and get back on track.  It was seasonal, not guaranteed for long, but was Phase One of The Plan.

I have been able to achieve Phase Two of The Plan.

My days of seasonal employment were coming to an end, and the majority of the seasonal workers were being booted out and put on the waiting list for re-hire.  I was able to make a great impression, along with a few other workers, and the management decided they couldn’t even let us go, or face the risk of us not coming back.  So our 90 days of seasonal work expired, and the next day they hired us on as permanent employees!

*Massive cheer and applause from the arena spectators*

With the new job comes a new department and new responsibilites, perks, people and of course: benefits!  Working in a distribution center, my seasonal job was being in the middle: moving product from the recieving wing to the shipping wing.  It was tedious and rather unenjoyable due to the fact that as a seasonal, I was only trained in one of about six job functions.  My new job is in the recieving wing, and being permanent and having a go-getter attitude, I will be able to train in nearly all job functions within the department with time and practice.

My job remains on the same shift, which is also lucky for me!  I work three days a week, 12 hour shifts, with four days off.  I do lose a few hours of work, but am boosted a dollar an hour compared to the 40 hour/week people, so it comes out to be about 38 hours vs 40 hours, but with a whole extra day off.

Now into the good stuff!  With this new job comes lots of great benefits.  I will list them below.
1.  A pay raise from 15.90 to 17.60
2.  Two raises per year, up to an approximate 20.10 cap, plus annual cost of living raises.
3.  100% 401k match up to 5%!  WOW.
4.  80 hours paid vacation a year.
5.  24 hours paid personal days a year.
6.  Access to a tax free health savings account.
7.  Access to health insurance, single premium of $11/week and family premium of $55/week (won’t need this for 3 more years).
8.  $225,000 Life Insurance for 50 cents per week.
9.  15% discount at my employer’s major retail stores!
10.  Four days off a week.
11.  The ultimate goal: possibility for promotion up the ranks and having a job where I can truly be put to the best use, with a great salary to boot.
12.  Short and long term disablity coverage (inside and outside of work) for only cents a week.
13.  6 paid holidays per year, regardless of if you’re scheduled during it or not.

So really, holy cow.  I hit the jackpot here.  For 23 years old, I am happy to be where I am at in this situation.  I am getting decent pay, have all sorts of solid benefits, and work for a great company, with great people, and the possibiltiy for advancement is very real.  Throughout my seasonal period, I worked closely with management and got to know several of them.  They helped me get a position with a good shift and inside this distribution center (there is another one nearby) where I still know people and I feel comfortable.  I will continue to work with these people that are genuinely interested in bringing me onboard as a supervisor.  I am so blessed to have these folks looking after me and working with me on my advancement!  I am looking forward to giving them my all and proving that I can be a valuable asset to their company.  But for now, I am in a good position and good place to start building.

With these new numbers, my situation will look a bit better than it has been the previous few months:

Working 36 hours per week:
17.60/Hr / 26.40/Hr OT
633/Wk Gross / 475/Wk Net* (after benefits)
2532/4Wk / 1900
32916/52Wk / 24700
* – Note that my 5% 401k is not deducted from this total.

My monthly expenses look about like this:
400 – Rent
300 – Student Loan
90 – Utilities
80 – Insurances/Cell
120 – Roth IRA
50 – Gas
200 – Food
60 – Misc
= 1300 / 325 per week

This allows me to save about $150 per week, about a 30% cash savings rate.  However, consider that $420 of that $1300 is going towards net worth, making my true savings rate $255 per week or about 53%!  AWESOME.  50% is the goal, and while I may spend extra with entertainment like going out to eat, having fun with my friends, etc., at this point in my life I am happy to be hitting that number, or a bit lower if it means enjoying life.  The plan is to get in a groove, and steadily increase my Roth contributions to about 50/week, maybe boost up my Student Loan payment to 350 from 300, save the rest and every two months make a high-dividend yield stock purchase to add  to my portfolio.  I choose every two months to eliminate the frequency of the $5.50 commission as much as possible.

Things were looking up during Phase One, and now things are looking up even more during Phase Two.  My ultimate goal in this process is to reach Phase Three, the promotion phase.  This would allow me to have a job where my skills and abilities can truly shine, as well as getting a job with terrific benefits and pay.  Phase Three will be a LONG way down the road.  I am not expecting it to happen for another 8-12 months, but anything is possible.  In the meantime, mini-Phases will be happening such as pay raises, possible part-time jobs, tax returns, etc.!  I am really enjoying this ride, and continue to look forward to my progress.

For those that have read, thanks for reading the long post, and I hope you are doing well in your endeavors.  Feel free to comment with any similar situations, words of advice, or anything else.  Take care!

The Plan: Phase One

Well, I made it happen.  My unemployment stint was only active for one week before I was able to land another job, and this one even pays pretty well.  It’s a warehouse job with a major retailer.  I’ll start in their shipping department loading boxes into trailers.  It’s a seasonal position and will most likely be over around January 1st.  I’ll be working Sat-Mon, 6 AM to 6 PM.  They hire about 90% of their people back for permanent positions.  It’s tough work, but there are some definite pros.

One: The Seasonal pay starts out at 15.90/hour on the weekend shift.
Two: I will be working three 12 hour shifts, with four days off.  Possible mandatory OT one day/week.
Three: I receive a 15% discount at the major retailer with a combination of 10% employee discount + 5% retailer debit card.
Four: The possibility for promotion to supervisor position is very real with having a 4-year degree –  these start at ~65,000.
Five: The permanent pay is higher.  Weekend shift permanent pay would be starting at 17.60/hour, or 16.60 non-weekend.
Six: Yearly cost of living raises, plus ~1.00 raise/year for 3 years.
Seven: Tons of time off, and an active job which helps keep me in shape.
Eight: 100% match on 401k up to 5% – Bingo! (This is if I were to get hired permanently)
Nine: If I get hired permanently, tons of training is available.  I wouldn’t be stuck throwing boxes every single shift!

Of course, with a bunch of pros, there are some cons as well:

One: Very tough work; could possibly hinder weight training and add wear/tear on back/joints.
Two: I miss the majority of my weekends, which means less family time and less fun with friends.
Three: Exposed to a hot and cold warehouse – although protected I will be protected from wind/rain, etc.

As far as I can tell, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.  Even if I don’t get a promotion (which I hope I do of course!), this is still a good company to work for, with great benefits, an active job, at lots of time off.  The pay is fair.  My ideal range would be upwards of $19 like I was making at Deere, but I am pretty close, and if I get hired permanently the potential for ~$20.50  an hour after a few years is definitely real.  So far, I am able to provide a breakdown of what my expenses and savings should look like with three different spending brackets.

Working 36 hours per week:
15.90/Hr / 23.85/Hr OT
572/Wk Gross / 435/Wk Net
2288/4Wk / 1740
29744/52Wk / 22620

1: Spending 955/month with minimum SL payment: +11160/Yr / 930/Mo
2: Spending 1245/month with 350 SL payment: +7680 / 640
3: Spending 1555/month with 660 SL payment: +3960 / 330

So, looks pretty good, yeah?  Of course it does!  660/month has me on track for a four year payoff, saving me a total of almost 6,000 in interest.  Not to mention if I stay tight with spending, I should be able to take that ~330 at the end of each month and either put some into Roth/Personal portfolio, or continue to slam out the student loan, which is more likely.  Of course, my savings only goes up from here.  If I were to get hired permanently, I would get boosted up another dollar or so, plus raises from there!

Things are looking up.  While it may take me several weeks to get adjusted to busting my azz again, and probably even harder than before, and during longer periods, that’ll be the most difficult challenge to overcome.  Everything else after that will be smooth sailing.  The potential for promotion, as well as another second job during my 4 days off, is definitely keeping me thirsty.  Not to mention the accelerated payoff plan I will be getting on once I get the paychecks rolling in!  I’m happy to say that “Phase One” of “The Plan” is now operational!

Have any of you readers faced a similar situation before?  How did you structure your student loan (or other debt) payoff schedule?  What helped you overcome the adversity of losing your job and finding a new one?  Has anyone had to sacrifice weekends or significant family/friend time for a job?  Feel free to share in the comments.

Take care!