Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Year-End Goal Review and Goals for 2008

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

this new year, i resolve to use relevant alternate text for my images... pssh yeah right

Way back in January, you may recall that I shared with all of you my financial goals for 2007. I’m happy to say that I met all three of them as well as several other goals that I did not publicly disclose, either because I wasn’t sure I would meet them or because I’m just making them up right now.

Here’s a look at my personal finance goals for 2007 and my degree of success meeting each of them.

Nick’s 2007 Financial Goal Performance Review

  1. Double our liquid savings. I guess this depends on your definition of “liquid.” And also of “double.” If we can take liquid to include the equivalent 9.36% 7-month CD in which most of our money is sitting right now, then we’re good there. And if double includes the fact that I have money in 58 bank accounts so there’s no way I’m adding them all up right now to figure out how much we have, then we’re good with that too. Goal Status: Probably 100% complete
  2. Separate personal and business finances. This year was a stellar year for Punny LLC. It was also the first year for Punny LLC, so I guess you could also say it was the suckiest year so far. Thanks to advertising revenue, we made enough money to rescue seven pot-bellied pigs and free them into the wilds of the Sahara Desert. There is now a sharp dividing line between all personal and business money, and there is also a clear split between the personalities of Normal Nick and Personal Finance Nick. Normal Nick is boring yet handsome, while Personal Finance Nick is totally whacked out of his gourd. Goal Status: 115% complete!!!
  3. Become 100% richer. With less than a week remaining in 2007, we are still about $1,500 shy of meeting this goal. The good news is that I get one more paycheck this year, and all of the bills for the month are paid, but that still won’t be enough to hit the $1,500 mark. That’s why I’m afraid that I must convert Punny Money to a pay-per-view site for the remainder of 2007. If you are reading this, please send me $50. If you do not, you are stealing the internet. Thank you. Goal Status: Hell yeah!
  4. Secret Goal #1: Make six figures. I don’t have anywhere near a six-figure salary for my day job, but I have worked an awful lot of overtime this year. When added to the side business income (but not including interest or investment income), it looks like that last paycheck of the year will just throw me over the $100k gross level. Of course, when you take out taxes, living expenses, extortion payments, and the cost of supporting my ceramic rooster collecting habit, there’s just not that much left. Goal Status: Completed by the skin of my teeth!
  5. Secret Goal #2: Eat $1,000 worth of free food. One day I’ll have to share my obsession with and tips for hunting down free food. While you won’t find me hiding in the lines at the local soup kitchen, you might spot me swooping in for a free muffin left over from an executive meeting down the hall or eating six pounds of pulled pork at the company picnic. Oh, and for comparison purposes, a quick look in Quicken reveals that we only spent a little over $1,000 on groceries for the year for both of us (though we also spent the same amount dining out). Goal Status: Done and delicious!
  6. Secret Goal #3: Resist the urge to buy new technology. No iPhones or HD-DVD players for me! (Bought the Nintendo Wii in 2006, so it doesn’t count for this year.) While we could have afforded these things, they really wouldn’t have done much to increase the quality of our lives. I hate cell phones as it is, and we don’t even have an HD television to justify spending $200+ on a player. That said, I think we’ll have several high-tech purchases coming up in 2008. Goal Status: Low-def but definitely done!

Six for six! That means I also met my goal of being amazing! I guess I need to make 2008’s goals much harder.

Nick’s Goals for 2008

  1. Stop working so much. Yes, this probably means I won’t have enough overtime pay to hit the $100k figure again in 2008, but I really don’t want to do another 3,000-hour work year again next year. That’s not including time spent on side businesses which I’d like to actually do more of in 2008. So hopefully that means I’ll get back to writing five times a week for Punny Money since I know that’s all you greedy people care about (which is great!).
  2. Cut recurring expenses by 5%. We’re already lean on expenses as it is, so 5% may be difficult to pull off.
  3. Buy more videogames. Yes, you read that right. I only bought five or six games in 2007. This is compared to an average of 20 or 30 in previous years. While I won’t necessarily enjoy spending the money, buying them means I have more free time to actually play them which is sort of the real goal here.
  4. Double side business income. My girls probably won’t like me taking a bigger cut of their action, but… oh, uh, not that side business. Uh… carry on!
  5. Plan more extensively for the future. Right now, I have our finances on track to support a retirement for both of us by 60 or sooner, college for up to two kids, and funding for my attempt at constructing the world’s largest tower of pennies. While all of this is pretty automatic assuming I continue funding our retirement financial vehicles, I’d like to have a better idea of where we will be financially in 5, 10, 15, and 20 years and what we need to do to get there.

Don’t forget to review your own goals for 2007, and be sure to set some nice ones for yourself in the coming year. I have a feeling 2008 will be a powerhouse financial year for everyone. Either that, or the country’s economy will melt down and we’ll all be lining up for free food at the soup kitchen. Happy New Year!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Punny Poll #27: When Did You Start Becoming Financially Responsible?

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

not the best time to wait to become financially responsible

Phooey on the more than 80% of you who said they haven’t tried online grocery shopping and don’t plan on it. I thought I would convince quite a few of you that internet grocery shopping with home delivery would save you time, money, and frustration while increasing the quality of your food. But that’s okay, you can just eat your expensive garbage you stood in line for two hours to purchase while the 3% of us who do all of our grocery shopping online have grapes fed to us by gorgeous delivery people. Grapes made of gold.

For the next poll, I thought I’d throw out a simple question with no right or wrong answers. (Well, there’s a bad answer, but I’m sure nobody reading Punny Money will select it.) Some people ask me how old I was when I started becoming “financially responsible.” For me, I was barely in my teens when I realized that I would need to assume the financial reigns of my household at a young age. I never went through the typical teenager phase of spending every penny as I made it, though that I meant I missed out on a lot of the fun things adolescents do.

[Read more…]

Monday, October 8, 2007

Personal Finance Log, October 2053

Author: Nick
Category: Money

domo arigatou mr. roboto

It’s a well-known fact that I am indeed a time traveler—at least it’s well known 60 years in the future where I helped invent time travel, youth-restoring elixirs, and world peace. Some people in this era who know of my chrono-voyages often ask me why I would choose to live in the early 20th century instead of returning to my native 2068. The explanation is pretty simple and a little embarrassing: I’m too poor to afford fuel for the return trip. You see, in the future, gasoline can be synthesized from planets we don’t need (like Mars or that planet where we eventually exiled all of the Australians). Thus, future gas runs about $0.000003 a gallon. In 2007, gas is about a million times more expensive; and thanks to the rampant deflation of the 2040s, I only time-traveled with about six cents to my name.

Trapped in this cold and lonely decade before global warming solved all of our problems, I decided that the only way to afford fuel for the ride home was to preach financial enlightenment to the world in an effort to drive down gas prices. And so Punny Money was born.

The economics of the future are a wondrous thing. We no longer use paper money—or plastic for that matter. In fact, the only currency used throughout the world in 2068 is the rarest substance in that year: meat not infected by E. coli. Once I can afford the return trip, all I need to do is stuff a healthy cow in the back-seat of my DeLorean and I’ll be richer than Izzy Trump and Martha Stewart IV.

I was flipping through my personal journal the other day and found some entries dated October 2053—seven years before I made it big in the time-traveling and youth-restoring industries. I thought I’d share with all of you a tiny glimpse into the lives and wallets of your great-grandchildren.

October 2, 2053

Took a beating in the market today. The NASDAQ dropped two hamburgers and a chicken nugget. If this keeps up, I have no idea how I’ll put all of my robotlings through college. Oh man, cyber-spouse is gonna be pissed.

October 5, 2053

Long day at work today. Not sure how much longer I can keep up these 27-hour workdays. Someone at work told me that the Portuguese only work 19 hours a day. I guess they deserve it, what with being the largest superpower in the world and all.

October 7, 2053

I can’t believe the President wants to raise taxes again! I’m really starting to miss the good old days of the Jenna Bush administration.

October 8, 2053

I’ve been looking into getting some land on the Moon. I know, I know, I should’ve done it back in the ’30s when Moon land was cheap. But I think it’s still a pretty solid investment, especially since we just finished tearing down all of the national parks and putting up condos in their place.

I probably would’ve moved to the Moon by now if it weren’t for the commute time. I love my six-hour drive to work; I don’t think I could trade it for an eight-hour drive. I really hope they slow down the Earth’s rotation a little more next year. These 44-hour days just aren’t long enough!

October 11, 2053

Went to the movies and saw Spider-Man 34. I liked it better than 33, but it just didn’t have the gratuitous use of lasers that made 32 so great.

Coming out of the theater, I saw a gorgeous ’57 DeLorean. I really wish I’d bought stock in them when they made their big comeback five years ago. Who’d have thought they’d become the number one automaker in the world in just six months? Then again, it’s not like they had much in the way of competition. BMHondaNissanFordwagen never did recover from that 12-year union strike, and the only other passenger car maker left was Tonka. Sure Tonkas look fun; but they just feel like cheap toys, and all their cars only come in yellow!

October 12, 2053

All that talk about cars yesterday reminded me of something important: where the hell are flying cars??? I mean, it’s freaking 2053 and we still have cars with rubber tires. Granted we only need one tire per car now thanks to advances in balancing large objects, but I was promised a ride in the sky as a kid. Come on scientists! Stop inventing new diseases just to cure them since you cured everything else already and build me a flying car!

October 19, 2053

Ran out of mustard, so I had to go to the store. Wal-Mart didn’t have any either. I really wish the world had a supermarket other than Wal-Mart. Why didn’t we see through their evil plan to eliminate all other retailers when they were a small company back in 2010?

I’d continue, but I don’t want to risk interfering with the future timeline. (Things I’ve revealed, like Wal-Mart taking over the world and DeLoreans making a comeback—those events just can’t be stopped.) Oh, and if anyone can spare a billion gallons of unleaded so I can make the trip back to 2068, I’d really appreciate it. Please hurry, I really don’t want to be here for the Great Coffee Shortage of 2012.

Uh, ignore that last part.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Year-End Goal Review and Goals for 2007

Author: Nick
Category: Money
Topics: ,

new years resolution - always wear a funny hat

It’s 2007, and I still don’t have my flying car. Come on, science!

Ah well, let’s just review my financial goals for 2006.

Nick’s 2006 Goal Review Extravaganza!

  1. Stop spending $119 a year on calendars. I met this one over a year ago, and I’ve already met it for 2007 with a free calendar. Really, though, calendars are a moot point for me since I rarely even know what month it is, let alone the date or day of the week.
  2. Increase value of savings and investments by $10,000. Pfft, I did this one in my sleep. I contributed around $8,500 of my own cash to a 401(k) which had an awesome year thanks to my investment skillz–up 25%. (For reference, the S&P 500 rose about 13%.)
  3. Stop paying so many damn taxes. Indeed, I didn’t pay very much in taxes for 2006… just lots of mortgage interest.
  4. Boost our credit ratings. Considering I acquired a dozen credit cards and a mortgage, my rating’s up almost 100 points for the year, somewhere in the solid 700s. My wife’s is up, too, though her only credit activity is a lone student card.
  5. Explore alternate avenues of revenue. Number of items Nick sold on eBay in 2006: Zero. Yes, I lamed out a bit on this one. I had set a goal of making $1,000 outside my day job, and I easily met it thanks to Punny Money.
  6. Get us both financially enlightened. Yeah, I think we did a bit of that.

New Goals for 2007

Just a few this year…

  1. Double our liquid savings. A good chunk of our savings went to various housing purchase costs last year. While we still have plenty in our emergency fund, I’d like to bump it up some more.
  2. Separate personal and business finances. This is largely done as I filed the paperwork for Punny LLC last month. And I got some shiny business cards, too.
  3. Become 100% richer. In addition to doubling our liquid savings, I’d like to see our net worth double by the end of the year. About half of this will be automatic thanks to 401(k) contributions and payments to our mortgage principle. The rest will come through careful saving, hard work, and a bit of entrepreneurship.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me

Author: Nick
Category: Money

Who am I to defy the wishes of a Mapgirl? (By the way, I do indeed live in Maryland, just north of DC.)

Five Things You Don’t Know About Nick

say yer prayersI’m a Sunday school teacher. It’s my way of making up for what goes on Saturday nights!

I have watched over 15 days worth of anime. Here’s my complete list.

no-nick airlines is ready for take-offNo planes for Nick. I haven’t been on an airplane since I was five years old. But I think I have to go on one next summer for a conference. Ironically, I work in air traffic control software.

I was once mistaken for a teacher in school… when I was in seventh grade. Yup, I’ve always been pretty darn tall.

i am going to eat this icon once it finishes loading CHOMPMy favorite food is meat. Mmm, meat. Yummy.

And there you have it! As you can see, I’m just your run-of-the-mill carnivorous, cartoon-loving, kainolophobic Catholic.