December 21, 2017

Just a little (link) love: oh those cats edition

First glitter, now microfleece? Should we just assume that anything synthetic and manmade is going to make it’s way into the environment and our food? Seems like the safest bet. Also yuck.

Square dancing has a political history? What on earth.

This is absolutely heartbreaking: “There’s something inherently wrong with the system that’s not valuing the lives of black women equally to white women.

Many thanks to Emily for sharing this article about Jolabokaflod. I’d love this to replace our Christmas gifting tradition, I’d even accept it in the face of my stocks-only rule.

Ew, no thank you: The principal’s words of praise were directed entirely at his adult listeners: If our children were prepared for Stuyvesant, he told us, it was because we had been “preparing them for academic excellence since they were in utero.”

Jim built a banking firewall. I have something similar.

This Pope never ceases to amaze me. A recent address tackles the resistance to reform head on.

I didn’t faint but these were funny anyway

December 20, 2017

My kid and notes from Year 2.9

My kid in Year 2.9

Tantrum CITY

We have had the best and worst month. We did lots of fun things together, and they were legitimately fun. But they were also punctuated by some of the worst tantrums I have ever seen. You know us, we’re not going to let zir get away with that. There were quite a few times ze pulled a Bratty Chihuahua and sat down in the middle of the street, so I’d toss zir over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes and haul that hollering sack home.

The worst of this is knowing that kids pull the boneless act even when they’re much older. This has to stop!

Last year, I chalked these tantrums up to brain leaps, they were temporary but usually preceded some serious mental growth spurt. This year, I don’t know what it’s all about. Maybe this is preceding a parenting growth spurt because I have had to cultivate so much patience. (more…)

December 18, 2017

2017 Money Move: reviewing our tax strategy

2017 Money Move: adjusting our tax strategy Last month, I had a brief conversation with our tax person to run some numbers for our 2017 taxes, but we didn’t come up with much more we could do to become more tax efficient other than more charitable giving. Then along came Nicole and Maggie with a reminder that I hadn’t considered bunching our property taxes and I’m so glad they did.

If we don’t bunch them, our 2017 property taxes will be $8,500, $10,780 in 2018, and $10,420 in 2019.
If we do bunch them, they will be $14,020 in 2017, $5,210 in 2018, and $15,630 in 2019.

Our other relevant assumptions:

1. Expected mortgage interest for 2017: $19,865.43, approx expected morgage interest for 2018: $26,506.08
2. Drop Dad from list of dependents starting 2017
3. Drop Brother from list of dependents starting 2018
4. My W-2 income will probably be static for another year since I got a raise this year, PiC’s will probably go up about 3-5%. Stupid small companies *grouse* (more…)

December 14, 2017

Just a little (link) love: Thor Ragnorak edition

This made me laugh a little: Nobody Wants to See your Dick — A Guide to Handling your Newfound Wealth and Influence. “You may not have noticed during your climb to the top, but your dynamic with others in your field has undergone a significant change (you may feel like the Zack Morris of your industry, but you’re actually Mr. Belding — keep that in mind at all times). ”

Wayward Sisters – I’m into this.

Much good here at Done by Forty’s PF Chat: Diversity in Personal Finance

Debuting at 42 reminds me of my favorite English teacher: keep writing. Keep trying. It’s never too late! Look at Amy Tan.

I love that we have other examples of writers starting out later in life. Right now, I’m around this stage: “Why even try? No one wanted stories like mine.” My life is what I know. But my life is boring. The stories of my family were interesting to me but they may yet be poison now.

We need farmers to grow our food, so why are we ignoring their well-being? Even if I didn’t have farming friends, which I do, this would be important.

This clip is amazing

December 13, 2017

Reaping Dividends: December 2017 report

Reaping Dividends: The much delayed October 2017This was supposed to be the October report but stuff happened. Lots of stuff, but you’ve read all about it by now, right? Time for real money talk – let’s dive in!

My current portfolio lives at Ally now, they bought out Tradeking a while back. At $4.95 per trade, and as a relatively low level investor, that suited my needs but I started wondering how much I could reduce my costs by moving to Vanguard where my retirement and 529 portfolios live. It’s not that I trade often, but when are savings bad? In case you’re thinking the same, these are their service tiers and the assets you need to qualify for each:

PERSONAL INVESTOR – Less than $50,000.
VOYAGER® – Starting at $50,000.
VOYAGER SELECT® – Starting at $500,000.
FLAGSHIP® – Starting at $1 million.

Unfortunately, the highest tier I would qualify for is the Voyager tier with the following fees:

VANGUARD ETFs: Free
STOCKS AND NON-VANGUARD ETFs
Online. All trades: $7
By phone. All trades: $25 (not that I ever trade by phone) (more…)

December 11, 2017

2017 Money Move: Maxing out annual contributions

Filling up our savings: IRA and 529The second (missing) IRA

It’s a touch mortifying to admit that until now, I have failed utterly to start contributing to PiC’s IRA – we started to get on that, and …. I dropped the ball. I got distracted!

Plus I let myself get hung up on where his money should go. His work uses Fidelity but I use Vanguard and we all know I’m right! But for some reason, that argument holds no sway with his company. Philistines.

He had a teeny IRA somewhere long ago that we rolled over into a money market account until we had time to make a decision. Er, until I had a time to make a decision. (more…)

December 7, 2017

Just a little (link) love: Chief Bogo edition

Carb emergencies are real. Don’t believe me? Let me regale you with the tale of running out of carbs one day. I went to Trader Joe’s just to get a load of bread and some English muffins so we could breakfast like civilized humans and returned with every single carb they sold from hash browns and French bread to something called a babka that doesn’t remotely resemble a Russian grandmother so I don’t know what they’re talking about but it had flour, butter, and chocolate and in that extended moment of carbohydrate-deprivation enhanced madness it had to come home with me. *deep breath* Don’t be like me, y’all. Keep your pantries reasonably well stocked. Also your bank accounts because that part was more the whole point of the linked post. On that note, we’ve only used our emergency fund to buy and renovate this house which was absolutely not its purpose but it’s back to being lonely liquid cash that’ll never know the warm touch of human hand so long as we are hale, hearty, and employed.

Ew, we’re eating glitter?

I like checking into the habits of rich folks to see if I have developed any of the same habits or signs. We’re not into the status symbols life but we do have a really expensive home simply by virtue of living in the armpit of Silicon Valley. Anatomically inaccurate but accurate insofar as the location’s value is concerned. I’m good on the clothing front – we spent an average of $100 per person this year, and I spend about 3 minutes deciding what to wear each morning. Grey or blue jeans, or purely at home lounging pants? And short sleeve or long sleeve? I’m working on the multiple income streams, though. We have 2 jobs, a rental property, and dividend income, but the day jobs are what keep the lights on and food in the fridge. (*cough* carbs)

Do you travel to see family over the holidays?

To this, I can only say, duh? That women are “inferior” is pretty much their platform and belief system: “Alt-right” women are upset that “alt-right” men are treating them terribly. Also, no kidding they’re part of the alt-right, or more straightforwardly, white supremacist movement:
“By the end of the thread, McCarthy made it clear that these trolls are part of the “alt-right.” “The problem I’m stating here is not that ‘there are trolls on the internet’ but that people who proclaim to be on our side are trying to tear down women in our in-group,” she wrote.”

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