Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Great Mate Debate

Now that I have just posted about our success having financial dates I will write about our biggest debate..  at present both of our cars are long paid off (Mrs. CC has had hers for 10 years and I have had mine for 8).. also both cars were purchased used so now they are starting to show their age however we still love them both. .

While I tend to really focus on saving money and trying to make the most frugal decisions my wife is much better at achieving balance in everything she does..

She has owned 3 different Jeeps in her life and longs to own another Jeep Wrangler... I on the other hand have taken great notice of the MPGs offered by the Toyota Pruis and the new Accord Hybrid.. Our 'debates' on this topic boil down to this: Jeeps are fun, look cool, have tops that come off, and she loves them.. other cars have better MPG, are rated better for reliability, and depreciate much slower..  now this debate has raged on for 5years mind you..

We both agreed to go down to the auto show this year with open minds to see what we could find to make us both happy...  here comes a HUGE surprise!  her favorite car at the auto show was the wrangler and mine was the accord hybrid...  Great!  glad we paid $30 bucks to get in, fought the crowds, and sat in like 500 cars...

at the end of the day it proved that we both like what we like..  my new thought on the Jeep is if we can find a used 2 door for less than $15k that makes her happy.. well there are worse things..  as for my car.. I will pick out one as soon as my old Saab has had enough..  so who knows maybe i'll end up buying a 2016 prius or a 2017 accord whenever the time is right..

thanks for reading about our great mate debate!  many walks in the greenbelt have been spent debating the merits of these different vehicle choices.. what do you think.. Prius or Wrangler??


Financial Dates

How we deal with money can be a very personal topic.  Your own personal attitude, upbringing, and even your current situation all play into your opinions and openness with regard to this topic.  While money is personal and tends to stay personal.. how do you deal with combining finances with your spouse?  My wife and I dated for 5 years before we got married so we had begun the process of discussing money, goals, and financial decisions prior to being married however we did not truly combine everything until after we tied the knot.

We got married 2.5 years ago and in our marriage the tasks of paying the bills and sending money to investments has somewhat been owned by me.. notice I said the tasks not the strategy, interest, or decisions.  This is because the money that rolls in from paychecks is not mine or hers.. but rather it is ours.  Having someone else affected by your decision making as well as someone else who cares about your decisions ushers in a whole new era of financial responsibility. 

Due to all of the reasoning referenced above Mrs CC and I started having 'financial dates'.  They started a few years back when we had credit card debt we wanted to eliminate.. Since I pay all the bills she doesn't necessarily see them very often however she certainly sees all the large payments coming out of our checking accounts.. so we would open a bottle of wine and I would go through all of our credit cards to see our balances and she would jot them down in her notepad.. We would do this about once per month and it was great because it allowed both of us to stay engaged with the big picture. As we paid off our credit cards and our incomes / investments increased the conversations matured into discussions of things like asset allocations (she had a huge amount of company stock which we diversified) and contribution amounts (figuring out how much to contribute to our various accounts).  Now in the present day our investments are all very automated to ensure that over the 26 paychecks per year everything is maxed out and the investments are simple so there is not much allocation to discuss.  So now we really just open up our account and review our net worth and track our debt ( we have made a few strategic purchases we are now paying down). 

In a nutshell we both feel it is important to both know how we are doing and both are active participants in achieving our goals.  I do not believe we would be able to achieve the same amount of success if we were not both on board. 

Does anyone else have financial dates with their significant other?  How about the complete opposite - separate accounts?? 

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, April 6, 2014 so far so good!

Good Morning,

I am writing this  post as I a sip coffee on a Saturday morning and choose a few loans to invest in.  I realize there are quite a few in depth reviews of peer-to-peer lending online so I am not going to get into the details on the investments but rather give my first hand experience.

About 5 years ago I was refinancing my car with a credit union for a lower interest rate / shorter term and my car was upside down (cars will be another interesting future topic.. I have made some interesting choices!) any how I needed about $3,000 to pay down my loan to the right LTV (loan to value) to get the awesome credit union rate (like 2% for for 3 years).  To get the $3,000 I discovered (as a borrower).  Prosper offers unsecured loans to borrowers that are funded by individual investors like you and me.  I took out my loan and the process was super easy; as an interesting side note.. back then you could write personal notes to your investors.  My note basically said that I had never been late on any bill in my entire life so you can be confident investing in m loan.  I am pretty sure my investors loved me because I paid back my 36 month loan in like 8 months so they got their money + interest back pretty quick!  In retrospect I probably could have just used a credit card 0% check but I didn't know I would pay it back that quick.

Fast forward a few years and now my wife and I have managed to max out BOTH of our 401ks each year to the IRS limit (currently $17,500 each) and BOTH of our ROTH IRAs each year (currently $5,500 each) and now we need another place to invest so we can keep up the positive momentum.  As an avid reader of I was familiar with MMM's investments in lendingclub.   In addition to my personal experience with prosper as a borrower I did some additional research and determined that it was right for me.. the main aspect of prosper that I liked better than lendingclub was the auto invest feature.. I hate having money sit idle and I wanted to make sure my returns regularly reinvested and prosper offers a feature that accomplishes this perfectly. 

Now with regard to prosper.. I have had so much fun choosing loans to invest in and watching the payments roll in (take this with a grain of salt because I just started prosper 3 months ago!).  In total I have been investing approx. $400 per month into prosper and so far have 45 loans as of this morning (you can invest as little as $25 into each loan).  Right now the average loan pays me 10.48% interest and lasts for 36 months.. most are debt consolidation loans and I try to pick those that have a revolving credit balance for which the prosper loan can eliminate all of the balance due.. plus I try to find folks that have had credit for at least 10 years and have a solid income.  So far by choosing $400 of loans each month at $25 a pop it has not been that difficult to sift through them and find the ones that I like. 

Before this blog post gets too long I am going to make three more quick points about
1) I like this investment because it has zero correlation to any of our index fund investments.  I learned in some of my MBA classes that having a small part of your portfolio invested in a asset with no correlation is as close to a "free lunch" as you can ever find in investing.  I.e. your overall risk is the same or less (as a portfolio) with a slight increase in return.  It would take a much longer post to explain this but I will leave it at that for now.
2) Emergency fund.. I like finally having a taxable account that I would not feel bad if I ever had to pull some money out (conversely  I would not enjoy having to raid our IRAs or 401ks..) once this balance grows if I needed money.. I could turn off auto invest and viola prosper would be providing my new pay check .
3) is not some tiny start-up.. they just passed $1 billion in loan originations last week.

Thank you for reading!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

First Post!

Hello Everyone!

This is my first blog post.  My wife and I have both made many interesting financial decisions in the past 10+ years (we are both in our early 30s).  Luckily we have made many more good decisions than bad ones.  I am starting this blog because for the past few years things have gone exceptionally well for us financially and a lot of it is due to the financial knowledge we have gained along the way  Which is what we want to share with you!  Many of our peers do not know what to do with their money even after graduating from college and entering professional jobs.  Due to this I would like to begin blogging about our journey to hopefully help others become financially independent.  If you make the right choices in your 20s you absolutely can live a lifetime without financial stress or worry! 

Some of the items that we will blog about:
  • Changing jobs - my wife and I have both had some very interesting job changes!
  • Saving money - we both save about 35% of our income.. not as much as others blogging about financial independence but enough to have built a great cushion!
  • Net worth - how much should you have saved by the age of 30? 40?  how much do you need??
  • Reducing expenses - how to save lots of money and still love life
  • Bad financial choices - lets just say that I once bought a Hummer H2 and also spent a night in Vegas at a $1000 a hand blackjack table.. both true stories..
  • Property Management - we currently own 2 condos and a house.. will talk about how its going
  • Investments - so much to talk about here!  traditional investments and up and coming options like Peer-to-Peer lending
  • Humor - you may have already guessed.. but my wife can be far more entertaining that I can.. so when she posts I think you will all enjoy.

Whew! while I can certainly keep going and add to that list.  I think that gives us a great starting place.  Thank you so much for reading this and I look forward to adding more and more content and getting into the details.  Please comment and let me know if there are other topics of interest you would like to see covered in this blog.