Dear Ninja

Holy Crap. It’s 2020! Are there flying cars? Do you have a robot maid? Has the world come to an end? I guess if it had, you wouldn’t be able to tell me anyways.

Seriously though, you are pushing 35 right now which means A) you have gray hair on your head, or B) you are balding. Depressing stuff huh? I have a few matters of business that I need to discuss with you.

1) Girl Ninja:

Dude you have been married for 10 years now! Have you been honoring your wife? Loving her for her benefit and not yours? Have you told her you think she is beautiful today? If not, you have some serious business that needs to get taken care of mister. In fact, why don’t you stop reading this letter right now and call her to tell her how much you appreciate her. I assume you two have gone through some pretty major fights over the years, but I have faith that you both remain committed to love. Remember love is not a fight, but it’s something worth fighting for.

2) Kids:

Barring no major medical complications, it’s safe to assume you probably have at least 2.5 kids, hopefully all boys (only kidding…sort of). Are you sticking to your commitment to be a good dad? Does your job allow you to cut out early to catch your kids youth soccer game? If not, it’s time for you to start looking for a new job. I, meaning you, refuse to work in an industry that overtakes my family life. Do not compromise this. Ever.

3) Finances:

Do you remember that silly blog you started after you graduated college. No? You don’t? It was Punch Debt In The Face. Remember how clever you thought you were when you came up with that name? While you are most likely no longer blogging, I do hope that you have been continually growing in your knowledge of personal finance. You are debt free right? I swear if you still have that stupid Sallie Mae loan there is going to be hell to pay. More important than your individual journey through personal finance, how has the walk with Girl Ninja been? Do you sit down and talk money at least once a month? Does she know how much money you all have in savings? I hope that you have tamed your intense passion for PF and found a way to communicate finances with Girl Ninja in a way that benefits the both of you.

4) Fun:

Seriously man, you better still have a sense of humor and an excitement about life. I know as you grow older your responsibilities increase, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time. What have you done lately that has given you an adrenaline rush? Are you involved in things that make you smile? Remember you were voted your high school’s best sense of humor, I hope you still live up to that silly award every single day.

If you haven’t succeeded in these four areas, you have fallen short of your life goals. This letter is a reminder, that the 24 year old you, had an expectation to live a fulfilling and rewarding life. If that is not the case at the time you are reading this, you only have yourself to blame.

Sincerely,

Your much younger and better looking self

p.s. You currently weigh 180lbs, if you are tipping the 200 mark I’m gonna come cut the excess baggage off of you.

This letter was a result of yesterday’s blog post. I wasn’t the only one that wrote a letter to my future self, however. Check out these other bloggers that also participated…

Conquering Personal Finance

Broke as a Spoke

Small Steps For Big Change

Investing Newbie

Life As A Purse

Suburban Dollar

Counting Coins

Stay at Home Mom CFO

Fiscal Geek

Miss Alpha Writes

151 Days Off

My Financial Objectives

This Housewife’s Life

Deliver Away Debt

If I Were a Wealthy Girl

Make sure to check back letter today and through the rest of the week as many have expressed their intent to join in on the fun.

If you participated and I don’t have you linked above let me know and I will be sure to add you to the list šŸ™‚


A letter to myself

Have you ever written a letter to yourself? I’ve done it once before. It was the summer after I graduated high school and I was tasked with writing a letter to myself. I was told I would receive the letter in the mail six months later. I could write about anything I wanted. Sure enough, right around Christmas time, my letter was in the mailbox waiting for me. Here’sĀ  a copy of that letter….

Dear Ninja,

I hope you are enjoying college in San Diego. I also hope you are playing lots of tennis and meeting a ton of sweet people, and by sweet people I mean a ton of girls. I also hope that you have at least surfed once by now. Do you miss home at all? Are you still going to church? Are you living a life that you will be proud of 20 years from now? I know that you will be making good decisions, ’cause if you aren’t I’m going to have to come hunt you down and kill you.

Much Love,

Ninja.

p.s. you are sexy

Being that I was a recent high school graduate, I thought the exercise was a little cheesy and didn’t really take it too seriously. My letter lacks true substance and direction. I jotted down a few sentences without putting much thought in to what I was writing.

Yes, my douche-baggery prevented this letter from living up to it’s full potential, but, being the mature ninja I am today (I know I’m not really that mature), I’ve decided it’s time to give this exercise a second chance.

Here’s my plan…

Tonight, I will write a letter to my 10-years-from-now future self and will post it on my blog tomorrow. My only rule is that I actually put some thought in to the letter this time.

It would be awesome if at least a few of you fellow PFers followed suit and wrote to your future selves. It’s an easy and efficient way to share with your readers, not only what is important to you today, but what you hope is important to you 10 years from now. I don’t care if you link back to my article or not. This isn’t about self promotion, it’s about taking a little time to reflect on how far we have come, and how much further we would like to go.

What do you say? Are you in? (if not I’ll feel like a total tool, but that’s okay I guess)

This aint no competition

debt pwned

Achieving financial freedom should not, I repeat SHOULD NOT, be a competition. Unfortunately, I often find myself making it one. Sure, financial stability/freedom/security is important, but shame on me if I lose sight of my journey and become distracted by jealousy, envy, or excuses.

Have you ever thought something like “If only I had a larger income I’d be financially happy” or “Bob is putting 5% in to his 401K, so I should too”? There is nothing wrong with earning a larger income or contributing to retirement, but if you are only doing it for bragging rights or to “keep up with the Joneses” then you are…how shall I put this nicely… an IDIOT!

You shouldn’t be comparing your financial situation to mine, or anyone elses for that matter. Yes, I post all of my financial stats (income, expenses, net worth) on this blog, but let me be clear. I do not do this so you can compare yourself to me. I do it for one reason and one reason only: To share my journey. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. Usually I talk finance, sometimes I talk wedding, and occasionally I just talk life.

PDITF is not a pulpit from which I preach great wisdom. I’m probably stupider (err more stupid?) than you anyway. Please don’t let my blog (or any other PF blog) become a crutch for you. Maybe my monthly expenses are lower or income higher than yours, but don’t you dare begin saying “If only I had Ninja’s income, life would be so much easier.” You have to make due with what you got and play the cards you were dealt.

It took me about two years to go from the red to the black. FB at FabulouslyBroke fought her way out of $50k of debt in one year. Maybe you won’t be able to get out of debt for another 5 or even 10 years. Guess what? That’s okay! It’s not a race. There is no prize if you pay off your debt before me (at least I don’t think there is).

Don’t be confused, I’m not saying you shouldn’t attack your debt and get rid of it quickly. I want you to get out of debt, but I want you to do it at your own pace. Much like I want you to save for retirement, but only when you think you are ready and at whatever rate you want.

While I want to be an example of how a little financial insight can drastically change one’s life, I NEVER want this blog to become something you use as a metric to measure your financial success. I’m not really interested in how fast (or slow) you can turn your financial life around. All I care is that you turn it around. I’m pretty frustrated right now because I have so much I want to say, but for some reason can not communicate my thoughts. Instead of rambling on, let’s get some dialouge going.

Did this post make any sense to you? Have you found yourself focusing on “the competition” only to lose sight of “the journey”? At what point does comparing your situation to your peers go from healthy to crazy? Have you ever felt like someone else was competing with you (i.e. rubbing their xmas bonus in your face, etc)? And most importantly, Did you have a good weekend?

Male = Income, Woman = Kitchen

I approximate mine and Girl Ninja’s combined income will be between $80,000 and $100,000 per year when we get hitched in August. At that point I will have just turned 25 and she will be 23. We will barely be in our mid twenties and could be potentially earning a six-figure income. That makes me very, very, very excited.

As we begin to plan out the rest of our lives, we have started discussing what we want our family model to look like. While I would like to explore the idea of adopting a 30 year old millionaire, Girl Ninja is really set on having babies of our own (I know selfish, right?). Kids come with a good deal of responsibility (so I hear). Neither of us are big fans of the idea of childcare, so one of us will be a stay at home parent… and by one of us I mean Girl Ninja will be šŸ™‚

We were both raised in households in which Dad worked hard and made a decent income and Mom was able to stay at home and watch Oprah and do pilates (that’s all stay-at-home mom’s do, right?). Both of our mother’s did, however, begin working at least part time once the kids were old enough to go school. Girl Ninja and I have begun mapping out what we think would be the best for our particular situation and here is what we have come up with thus far…

  • Begin exploring the option of baby ninjas after two years of newlywed bliss. (yay newlyweds)
  • As Baby Ninja #1 comes along, the wifey will quit her job as a teacher and become a full time stay-at-home mom.(yay babies)
  • Our income will take an immediate $40,000 a year hit (boo loss of income)
  • Babies our expensive!!! (boo increase in cost of living)
  • As Baby Ninja #17 finally enters kindergarten, we will begin to explore GN going back to work (yay possible income boost!)

Girl Ninja totally wants to be a full time mom, and I am in full support of that decision. I’d be lying if I said having a loss of income, and a rise of expenses didn’t stress me out, but at the end of the day I think all will be okay. We want a very traditional, cookie cutter, leave it to beaver type household. Man works and builds things, woman makes dinner and cares for children.

I know in today’s culture, many woman have little or no desire to be a stay at home mom. They want to work just as hard (if not harder) than their male counterparts. That’s just not how Girl Ninja and I were raised, and not how we envision our family. So now I turn the soapbox over to you and ask what was your parents family model when you were growing up? If you’re married, What does your household look like? If you aren’t married, what do you envision for your future? For those of you that have a parent stay at home, was it hard to adjust to the lost income? For those that both parents stay working, was it hard to put your child in prison daycare? As always, any help/advice/insight is GREATLY appreciated.

p.s. whoever said all babies are cute, lied, as evidenced by the following picture…

Operation Sexy Body

Every so often I like to stray from the typical financial mumbo jumbo and write about some stuff I’m sure none of you really care about. As the title alludes, I am currently on a mission of utmost importance… getting sexified for my wedding.

The wedding is tenatively scheduled for August 8th, which leaves me with approximately 8 months to get totally ripped. Just like I got my financial life in order (or at least am trying to) I need to set up a game plan for Operation Sexy Body.

Fortunately my roommate is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach/Personal Trainer so if I need any help or resources he can whip my butt in to shape. I originally planned on joining a gym to help get in shape, but I’m just too darn frugal to pay for the membership (How many of you actually use your gym memberships consistently?). Plus my roomie has a bunch of workout supplies like free weights, pull up bars, bands, and a big giant rubber ball thingy.

Here’s what I think I will be looking to accomplish…

1) Run three to five miles three times per week

2) Be able to do 20 pullups

3) Work on a 6-pack, currently have a 2.5-pack šŸ˜‰

4) Run 2 miles in under 14 minutes

5) Reach goal of 50 consecutive push ups

6) Not look like this guy…

You’ll notice I did not include a weight loss goal in my list. I’m 6’1 and weigh 175lbs so I am not overweight, so I don’t really need to drop weight as much as I just want to make sure I am lookin hot as H-E-double-hockey sticks come wedding day.

It’s one thing to have a stated goal to get in shape, it’s a whole other thing to actually do it. So mark my words bloggers, I WILL BE SEXIFIED BY AUGUST 8TH. Are you a sporadic worker-outer like myself? How frequently do you break a sweat? Do you practice what you preach when it comes to your health?

Wife = asset or liability?

Screen shot 2009-11-17 at Nov 17, 2009, 8.15.38 PMSo I have this great plan in my head: Get married and get rich. They go hand in hand right? Okay, I know it may not be all gravy, but I still can’t wait for the days of being a DINK (Dual Income No Kids). I’ve got a gameplan in my head, but I wanted to run it by all you married folks to see if it was reasonable.

The plan is simple: Live off my income, put wife’s income in the bank. Let’s pretend I get married in a year. At that point, I’ll be making $62,000 annually. That is easily enough money for both me and the Mrs. to survive on. Let’s not forget she will be working as well. I’ll assume she will be making roughly $40K/yr. Whatever is left after taxes are taken out of her paycheck, will go straight to Roth IRA’s and savings (probably about $25K/year).

I’m not naive though, I’ve listened to my fair share of Dave Ramsey and it is not uncommon to hear a caller indicate his wife is responsible for accumulating a significant amount of debt without his knowledge (Don’t label me a sexist, I know this works both ways). The power of a larger income can lead to a tendency to live a more frivolous lifestyle. New cars, lavish vacations, and dining out become the norm. High income often causes increased spending.

The main reason I want to be able to survive off my income, and save hers, is I don’t think my wife will work forever. Once baby ninjas enter the picture I want her to have the option to stay at home. If we allow ourselves to become accustom to surviving off both of our incomes, it would be super difficult to take a $40K hit in income for her to stay home. I feel like a lot of people purchased huge homes based on their dual income, and now find themselves struggling as one lost employment or decided to stay home with the kids. I would like to avoid that situation at all costs.

If I play my cards right and buckle down on the budget, future Mrs. Ninja and I should be able to comfortably live on my salary and take hers to the bank. Hopefully accumulate $100K in savings come time to make a home purchase, and then she can quit and stay home with the kids. Am I living in a dream world? Is there something to the DINK formula I’m overlooking? For current Dinks, is it totally awesome? Have you become dependent on both incomes? Has the dual income caused any issues? I need all the info I can get so I can plan accordingly.