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September Wrap-Up

October 3, 2018

Net Worth and Money

September was our smallest net worth increase of the year at under 1%.  I think this was mostly due to lackluster market growth between my August data point and September data point.

All of my travel expenses have finally been reimbursed!  T’s as well, except a small trip he just took.  It is nice not to have multiple thousands of dollars owed to me by my job.  I must have earned so many extra credit card points!

This was my first paycheck after finishing my voluntary retirement contributions, which made up for the fact that T is back on academic-year pay (i.e. no summer salary bonus money).  Some social security taxes also were done for the year.  My paycheck won’t start to be impacted by disability/leave until the one I get at the end of November, so our income for the rest of the year is looking healthy.

I found out I’m getting a 5% raise, which is more than typical – salary growth at my workplace is known to be relatively stagnant and not well-correlated to performance. We’re rated on a 1 to 5 scale, and this year only, your raise is equivalent to your rating.  The raise is retroactive a few months, so my next paycheck will include a little “bonus” to cover the past few months.

Our cash buffers are even higher right now, but I’m prepping for our backdoor Roth contributions, which is part of our college savings strategy.  I hope to execute these next month.

Despite the 0% interest rate, which is the whole reason we decided to not pay cash in the first place, I’ve been making double car payments every month. The original idea of financing was that the extra cash would be better served in the market or even in the mortgage.  But… I just hate large-ish monthly bills. My “logic” is that while the mortgage payment is not going anywhere anytime soon, the car payment can easily be killed and will be gone in a few months. In the future, I need to take into account the reality of my personality when I try to be clever and financially savvy by taking advantage of 0% interest deals.

Spending

I’m still behind on tracking this, and I’m not sure that I’ll be able to catch up unless it happens in the next few weeks. I noted the big ticket items in a separate post.

Work

Work was fantastic for the most part.  Early in the month, the project I’ve been traveling all summer for culminated with a big success. And it was so much fun!  We had some wrap-up work to do, then flew back home by mid-month.

Since getting home, it was fun to dive back into my other project, which had been on the back burner for the summer. The proposal work hasn’t been too demanding, but only because we are totally behind the ball on them.  :/

A bureaucratic issue came up with my upcoming maternity leave. By policy, I’m entitled to use an amount of sick leave as parental leave.  Unbeknownst to me, my projects are still charged for my time during any sick leave – different from how vacation leave works. Since I’m responsible for budgets/schedules on my own projects (and report to another organization from a financial perspective for one), this seriously stressed me out. Not only do I have to cover my work while I’m out, I have to come up with extra money to do so?  This was eventually sorted out for my personal situation, but I’m still furious that this is the policy. A project paying for someone during multiple weeks of parental leave is fundamentally different than covering their time while they go to a doctors appointment or nurse a cold. On a large scale, a predictable percentage of employees will use sick leave as parental leave each year, and the burden of funding it should not be left for projects to deal with as though it is a one-off situation. It can create a bad dynamic between a project manager and a new parent…  and is particularly stressful when the new parent is the project manager!

I should insert a caveats about how I’m grateful for the leave I have, and a rant about how maternity/parental leave in the US sucks more broadly. But you know this already.

House

We didn’t finish any big projects this month, but did knock out some small/medium stuff.  The new washer / dryer came and were installed.  We moved around a lot of furniture and started to get the nursery set up.  We are working on trying to restore the office / guest room to a functional state, but it needs a lot of decluttering.  Landscaping progress continued a little bit.  I’m still in love with my Roomba, who has been keeping our floors nice and clean.

Our wish-to-do list is a mile long, and there is no way it is all going to be done in the next month or so.  T still thinks that he’ll have time to do some of the projects after the baby is born.  Isn’t that cute of him to think that? 🙂

Pregnancy / Baby

My previously nearly-perfect unicorn pregnancy took a slight turn with at my 32 week check-up. I was flagged for a growth scan, and it showed that baby is a bit on the small side. There is nothing in particular to worry about and prognosis is extremely good – but they have added a bunch of extra monitoring appointments to make sure it stays that way. Depending on how baby grows in these few weeks, they may want to talk about induction somewhere around 38 or 39 weeks (the idea being the baby may do better growing on the outside at that point). The frequent appointments are quite a distraction and time suck, but I’m glad to know they are watching baby carefully.

Physically, I’m still feeling mostly well! I have just now started to reach the point where some things are getting uncomfortable, and I get physically tired out way more quickly and easily than I expect to. As long as I take things relatively easy, I feel good. I have to pace myself on the weekends, because I want to do ALL THE THINGS and it just totally wipes me out the following day.

So, that was September!  My maternity leave starts late October, and I’m super excited!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2018 12:47 pm

    September was our smallest absolute net worth change at 0.1%, which feels mostly like a rounding error.

    Yay for your extra credit card points from the work travel but extra yay for getting the money all back! That always weirded me out. I’m waiting on some healthcare reimbursements for out of network providers, which is driving me crazy with how long it’s taking.

    Congrats on the nice raise! I agree with you on the not likely large-ish monthly bills. I have convinced my husband I think that we will pay cash when we buy a car in the future.

    That is…an obnoxious bureaucratic issue about your maternity leave. I’m glad it sorted out, but perhaps they need to revisit that implementation of the policy a bit? It’s common in tech companies to push out stock vesting schedules while you’re on an an unpaid or paid leave. At one I know of, this used to result in them pushing your stock out while you were on maternity/paternity leave, which they finally fixed, which is good because otherwise, you can see a huge delay in much of your income – my husband’s income this year is only about 40% salary.

    T is so cute to think he will have time to do some projects after the baby is born! I liked how Stephanie wrote about how she thought she would get a ton done and then just…didn’t: https://graduatedlearning.wordpress.com/2018/09/15/my-maternity-leave-second-time-around/ I’m glad to know they’re watching the baby carefully, but the frequent appointments would be quite a time sink. Are they conveniently located to your office at least?

    • October 4, 2018 6:45 am

      Dr. appointments are about a 30 minute drive, so not very convenient. It takes about 1.5 hours 2x a week.

      Re: leave. I complained to our director, who started out defending the policy, and went on to tell me that she had a handshake deal with her boss when she had kids. That was my point – not everyone has the ability to make a handshake deal! She was more sympathetic when she understood specifics and recommended I take it up the chain. It won’t change soon/ever because bureaucracy, but it is worth pushing on for future parents.

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