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Money mish mash

May 13, 2008

While some of these thoughts could possibly be developed into full posts, I just collected them in a random mish mash of money thoughts.

I have $400 in cash somewhere in my possession.  (I’m not saying exactly where because who knows if any of you are stalkers/thieves.)  It makes me uncomfortable, but I also have heard some horror stories about ATM deposits so I’m scared to put it in an envelope at the ATM.  This means I have to make it to a bank before they close.  I have this because my parents bought my computer from me and apparently wanted to save their checks and aren’t uncomfortable with large sums of cash like I am.

Sometimes I make “to-do” lists and writing it all down makes me feel so organized that I don’t feel the need to actually do the things on the list.  “Roll over Health Savings Account” has been on my list for months.  And I might never do it–I might just spend up my old HSA on birth control, then close it.

I started my Roth IRA in 2006, and I haven’t broke even yet.  (Good thing this is a long term investment, right?)

I have a SSN that is nice and low, so I should be among the first to get a paper stimulus check.  Paper, because I split my refund between two accounts.  I was hopeful when I saw something from the IRS/Treasury yesterday, but it was just a letter telling me I should expect $600.  Thanks for wasting postage on that.

I found a debit card on the floor of my workplace restroom last week.  Of course I immediately returned it to the owner, but there was a glimmer of “wow, I could use this to fill up my tank”.  It only lasted .4 seconds, but it was there.  It is worse, because i knew the owner, and she lives quite near me, so I even would have known the zip code.  It is worse that I thought that!

I’m considering splitting my savings between the Vanguard Prime Money Market fund between and a tax free version.  Common knowledge has told me that unless you are in a high tax bracket, tax free options aren’t important.  However I did the calculations myself (see The Finance Buff) and it is currently a better deal. The tax-free compound yeild is currently slightly higher than the fully taxable yield (even without the tax benefit!), though I suspect this won’t be permanent. My after tax equivalent is 3.242% or 3.392%, for state specific and federal respectively. Not too shabby.  I’ve done the calculations myself several times, and the tax-free version often comes out ahead, but not always, which is why I would split it.

If the school I applied to doesn’t tell me NOW if they are going to let me study there (through distance education), I might smash my head against the wall.  Better yet, I’ll find out which professor is procrastinating on his job of going through the applications, and smash his/her head.  (I have contacted them, and they are still processing applications for distance program.  UG.)

I have less than $250 in my checking account! This is unusual for me, I like to maintain a minimum of around $700, and it is often well over $2000 just before the awful rent comes due.  I was expecting that $400 cash and another $250 I’m owed to be in there, but I’m not worried about it.  I get paid this week and I know exactly which bills are allowed to autodraft (not many).

My student loan payment increased from $133 to $141.  From what I gather, this is because I didn’t make payments while I was a half time student for part of last year.  The interest was subsidized (paid by gov’t), but now my payments aren’t quite on schedule to be paid of by 2128.  (Exaggerated date, but sometimes it feels like it.)  Despite my pledge to not pay extra on my loans (financially a bad move), I sent in $35 extra last month.  Ooops.

That is what is going on in my finances lately.  What about yours?

7 Comments leave one →
  1. tom permalink
    May 14, 2008 7:19 am

    I enjoyed this random collection of finance thoughts!

    My finances as of today:

    I started my Roth IRA in 2007 and it, too, has yet to break even. I am still contributing the yearly max on a bi-weekly basis.

    I contribute 8% to my 401(k), just enough to get the matching.

    Eventually I want to save enough to open a Zecco account and start buying ETFs to build a better investment portfolio that is independent of my retirement portfolios.

    I’ve already spent my stimulus check and I haven’t even received it (fingers crossed for deposit on Friday).

    I have 3 checking accounts at 3 different banks, each has different benefits and different loans. My credit union gets 7.5% APY in checking and savings on balances up to $500 and I have my car loan there. At my 2nd, I have my very slow growing e-fund in a 3.3% APY savings account. I do all my bill payments and banking through my 3rd bank, and I also have my mortgage through them. I’m sad to report that, not one of the balances is over $1,000.

    I do pay $35 extra month on my student loan payment. I should change that…

    That is a snapshot of my finances right now…

  2. May 14, 2008 9:44 am

    Funny, I only ever have a bit less than $200 in each checking account, probably less.

    But I got that letter from the IRS and had the same reaction too. Really? The first mailing wasn’t a big enough waste of money, you had to follow up with another one?

    Err…. Roth … Roth … Roth … haven’t done anything since I opened and contributed to my first one. 😛

  3. May 14, 2008 10:06 am

    It is only a bad idea to pay off your student loans early if you are paying fairly low interest rates (i.e. you can pull a higher rate of return investing the money instead of paying off your loans early), so it all depends on your rate. Also, don’t discount the psychological effect of being debt-free (or at least student loan debt-free).

  4. torturedeaglesfan permalink
    May 15, 2008 12:11 pm

    I too, heard many horror stories about paper checks and ATMs. This was 6 -8 years ago, during law school. Not to jinx myself, but I have never had an issue with a check clearing or being lost. It is almost faster and easier than waiting in line for a teller.

  5. May 15, 2008 12:20 pm

    @torturedeagles fan: Somehow I worry less about paper checks and I’ve done ATM deposit many times. I feel like in most cases, I could get a check reissued.

    But dropping $400 cash in seemed scary!

  6. Andrew Stevens permalink
    May 15, 2008 4:56 pm

    The S&P 500 right now is above virtually any point during 2006, but it still lags behind most of 2007. So if you had put all of the money in during 2006, you would have made money by now. It was buying during 2007 which is dragging you down. Never fear; the market is already recovering. I see no reason why it won’t continue.

  7. torturedeaglesfan permalink
    May 16, 2008 6:37 am

    Oh, if you meant cash in an ATM, I totally agree! I’d never put that in a machine for deposit.

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