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October Update

November 5, 2017

Net Worth / Money:

Our net worth climbed 1.7% this month, with the gains in retirement and a small gain in home equity due to our regular payment.

After realizing we can access 457b money at any age without a 10% penalty (if you’ve left the job), I decided to switch T from a 403b to a 457b. The change can’t go into effect until the December paycheck. Since I wanted to get as much as possible in for the 2017 calendar year,  I put in the maximum amount allowed on single paycheck.  The result is that we are saving ~$8k more in pre-tax retirement savings than I originally planned for the year.  Some of this will show up as a tax refund, and some of it will just be reduced cash flow – ultimately resulting in reduced mortgage prepayments for 2018 (probably).  I think this is the right call overall, and lines up with my latest thinking on how to target our savings.  In other words, the mortgage is becoming less of a concern, although still plan to make prepayments.

I considered paying the rest of my property taxes (not due until ~April or something) out of fears of tax code changes, but it does look like this will trigger the AMT for us.  I also think people had made the AMT to be this big scary and complicated thing, but it turned out to be just a few equations (for my situation) once I read this post.  Basically, you just calculate the AMT tax with only mortgage interest as deduction (no personal exemptions).  If the tax code does not change, this will be something for us to keep an eye on each year.


The best purchase of the month was a ~$200 portable air filter (Sweet Home recommended). T is skeptical that it is doing more than just being an expensive fan, but as the one with allergies, I’m really happy with it. It also helped out when the smoke from relatively nearby fires was polluting the air.

I paid our 1st installment of property taxes in October, a bit earlier than usual for no really good reason other than to have it done.

House costs were high this month (see below) since we purchased our shower plumbing fixtures and some other stuff for the bathroom remodel.  I also bought a few things to add to our emergency kit, paid our yearly car registration fee, and sent another chunk to the student loan.  For chartity, I donated to the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fire Relief.


The bathroom remodel is progressing!  We’re ready to bring in the pros for plumbing and tiling! Things should speed up considerably now that the harder DIY stuff is over.  The bulk of it should be complete by the end of November.

Finishing the patio is stalled, but I’m hopeful we can get some work in on it during November when the bathroom project has been handed over to pros.  We’ve also been trying to prepare for “winter” / rainy season: cleaning gutters, repairing old caulking, changing the furnace filter, moving patio furniture to the garage, and considering covering some of our single pane windows with plastic. I also learned you are supposed to drain your hot water heater yearly, but if you’ve never done it, you are probably best off leaving it alone.  Do you drain yours? My parents certainly never did this and I’d never heard of it.


Work is a little weird right now. It isn’t bad, but it isn’t as good as it was. Some things that I was hoping would develop have not developed.  :/

I did talk with my manager in October (finally), and we discussed how things were going and how things might look in the long run. He asked if I was generally happy with how things were. I was honest. I am happy about a lot of things, but I like to have more firm longer term plans, and the long term uncertainty makes me bit unhappy. I also shared that there is nothing I could do about it, so learning to live with it was a far better option for me than any other ideas I had come up with.

Oh, I also got a small raise, retroactive a few months.  Yay!  When I took this job, I knew the days of significant raises were largely over, but I still am happy when my raise beats out inflation!


5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 6, 2017 7:59 am

    I’m glad the mortgage is becoming less of a concern 🙂 The puke green linoleum floor was hilariously amazingly terrible, as you said – thanks for sharing that.

    Congrats on your small, retroactive raise! Retroactive raises are kind of amusing. My husband got one this year and he couldn’t figure out why he got a paycheck out of cycle and then when he asked his manager, his manager told him it was a retroactive raise. A tad confusing!

  2. November 6, 2017 11:51 pm

    Did your tax post get pulled? I thought it was good and wanted to mull on it a little more but essentially agreed that no matter how it affects me, I hate the new tax plan for how much it’s primarily benefitting the wealthy at the expense of the not wealthy.

    Draining water heater: we never did for as long as we owned our last one and our handyman said to definitely leave it alone. I’m not sure if we have the information on when the current one was last drained but I’m willing to bet the answer is never there as well. If we’re really lucky, it’ll crap out during the warranty year so we can replace it at minimal cost and not have to worry about the loss of efficiency from not draining it. I’m not sure we have that kind of luck but one can hope!

    And good job with the remodeling!

    • November 7, 2017 7:01 am

      I think I’m using some terms a bit wrong, and I wanted to fix it (but didn’t have time). Basically “taxable income” vs “AGI”. I can put it back with a note until I have a chance to update, but I didn’t want to mislead anyone!

  3. November 6, 2017 11:57 pm

    Also I seem to be overlooking any date reference on your remodeling post – I was trying to figure out where to comment and the date it was published but maybe I’m missing something totally obvious. Anyway, glad I clicked over to see the pictures – excellent job on the reframing!

    • November 7, 2017 7:04 am

      I am doing something weird there! I have it has a blog “page” or tab that I’m updating as we go. I’ll make it into a post when we’re done, but I wanted to keep it current. T is doing a great job,!

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