Time for a quarter-life crisis

I’m hoping today’s post will be therapeutic, not so much for your benefit, but for mine (I know, I’m selfish). I was on a walk with Girl Ninja the other day and we grabbed some dinner at Subway. All three of the Subway employees appeared to be in their mid 20’s. I walked out slightly depressed that I didn’t work at Subway.

Yeah I know….I’m freakin’ crazy. I have a pretty awesome job, but sometimes I wish my job was kinda lame. Deep down inside I dream of working at Starbucks, McDonalds, or Costco. Why? Because they can all be part time and have flexible shifts. I went from immature college senior to special agent working for the government in just a couple months.

I thought it was an unwritten law: After college you must bum off mom and dad for a couple years, work a part time job, spend your free time hanging out with friends and backpack Europe (twice). After two years in the workforce, I’m feeling like McDonalds wouldn’t be so bad. Not because I hate my job, but I would love the freedom to have a completely fluid work schedule. 

I know, I shouldn’t be whining like a little school girl right now. There are a ton of college graduates out there that would love to do what I do. Heck, I love doing what I do, but sometimes I’m a little envious of the part-time lifestyle. I was blessed to get the job I did, and know it’s going to pay off huge in the long run, but the kid-ninja inside of me just wants to rap to Ludacris and play some video games, maybe even watch a little Spongebob.

Am I the only one suffering from a minor quarter-life crisis? Anyone else experience a little “Holy crap, I’m kind of an adult” moment? Will my passion to be part-time slowly fade? Or am I doomed to envy those that live on their parents couch forever?

I aint need no Kollege

After two years in the work force, I’m learning a lot about the way the world works. Particularly in reference to my college degree. It really is funny how much emphasis has been placed on the value of a bachelors. Don’t get me wrong, I think they’re important, but to be perfectly honest…I don’t really need it for the job I’m doing.

I honestly didn’t take one class that is even remotely related to my career. I know, I know college is not necessarily about the degree you receive, but the work ethic necessary to reach graduation day. But why is a degree an ABSOLUTE requirement for most professional positions?

Take for example family physicians. They have to take all kinds of science and math classes as prerequisites for medical school. I’m sorry, but I don’t really remember the last time my doctor needed to know the formula for the inelastic collision of two objects. I’m pretty sure he just needs to know what my body temperature should be, how fast my heart should be beating, and other random stuff about my body. Why are physics and calculus a requirement for ALL doctors? I don’t care if my doc knows how to do integrals, I want to know if he can cure my gonnohrea cold. Best way to cure someone of their sickness is to be exposed to a million other people with that sickness, not take earth science.

Think about how different life would be without mechanics. We would all be screwed and have no way to get our cars fixed. I’m taking a shot in the dark, but I’m willing to bet most mechanics didn’t go to college. Instead, they shadow and work with mechanics day in and day out for years, and eventually (if they know their ‘ish) will get to work on cars without supervision. Why doesn’t that philosophy apply to more positions. A degree is required for my position, but I can tell you right now, I don’t think anything I do is beyond the intellectual capacity of an 18 year old, although it is above the maturity of most kids that age.

Some of you may be getting a little offended thinking I’m saying your degree is useless. Sorry, but it’s probably true. The primary reason a degree is valuable is because society says so. Be honest, is your degree absolutely essential to your position. Not meaning is it a requirement to get the job, but would you be a total waste of space at work without it? All I’m saying is I think “on the job” training is really what helps us be great employees, not a bland degree in business administration.

p.s. if you are a physician, thanks for suffering through o-chem and microbiology, my body appreciates it 🙂

Bring it on haterz

I still stand by my statement the other day “Personal finance bloggers are a pretty tolerant bunch.” That said, after Dr. Faith shared with me the comments on this Give Me Back My Five Bucks article, I’m learning that personal finance readers, may not be. Krystal bought a new car for $30k and received a verbal beating from several readers. Well, after today, it might be my turn. I welcome the abuse 🙂

I finally have enough money to pay off my student loan…but I have no plans to do so at this point. If you follow my Net Worth updates, you will have noticed I have $5,182 in my checking account and $14,735 in my savings account. Together I have essentially $20,000 liquid. My student loan balance is at $17,867. I could pay off my loan today, and never make another payment to Sallie Mae again. I could, but I wont.

I have had quite the history with Ms. Mae. I started out making double minumum payments, then after some insight from my readers decided to up the ante to at least $1,000 a month. Then just a couple months ago, I got real crazy and decided to throw all of my discretionary income, paying between $1,000 to $2,000, on it each month. It seems that my plans may be changing yet again.

I’m probably going to be decreasing my monthly payment to about $500 each month for the foreseeable future. There are a few reasons I’ve decided to decrease my debt repayments and increase my savings rate.

1) I’m still going through the application process for my dream job and a “final offer” is hopefully not too far away. If I do get the job, then I will be entitled to receive “full” relocation benefits. One of the benefits that comes with this relocation package is aid in purchasing a home (down payment or closing costs). That could be anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 in free money. The catch is, you only have two years to claim your benefits. That means I could potentially be purchasing a house within three years. I want to build a large cash savings, to give me more flexibility and options, when looking at what house is right for me.

2) I don’t anticipate being single much longer. While there is nothing set in stone with Girl Ninja, I don’t plan to date her for another 4 years. I want to bring a healthy savings account in to the relationship for peace of mind. Having $30K in the bank would make me feel much more at ease.

3) I can always pay off my loan in full with the money I’ve saved. If a year from now I’m not any closer to getting hitched or landing my dream job, I can always pay off my student loan at that time. Sure, I would be paying 7% interest on the $17K over the next year, which would be like throwing away a grand, but I save a crap load of money by, having a roommate, cooking most of my meals, rarely driving, no alcohol, etc. So consider this one of my PERSONAL expenses. You may think I’m crazy for throwing away $80 a month on interest, but people drop far more than that at the bar each month.

4) Most important reason: It’s what I feel like doing right now. I know it may not be the smartest financial decision, but oh well, it’s my choice.

I still plan to pay $500 a month on my student loan, which is more than doubling the minimum payments. Plus, my financial lifestyle is very fluid, so a month from now I could very well be back to hating my loan and paying the sucker off ASAP. I welcome any and all opinions. Am I being a complete moron? What would you do? Although I’m defying Dave Ramsey logic, can you see where I’m coming from? Let me know what you think, good or bad, I have some thick skin 🙂

I’m an idiot

 

I’m freakin’ stupid. Not only am I stupid, but I’m also $180 poorer. On Saturday I pulled my car in to my parking space. The car in the space next to mine was about half way in to my spot so I had to pull super close to a fence on the other side of my stall. I made a mental note to myself: “When you back up don’t forget how close you are to the fence.”

Guess what. This morning, when I was backing out of my spot, I forgot how close I was to the fence. Instead of listening to the sweet sounds of my radio. I was welcomed by crushing plastic as my passenger side mirror was being pulled off by one of the fence posts. As my attention turned to the mirror, I swear time stood still, and in an epic slow motion scene, I watched the plastic casing around my mirror explode in to the air and fall to the ground. Fence: 1, Debt Ninja’s driving: 0.

It pretty much ruined the rest of my day. I couldn’t stop thinking what an idiot I was. Who explodes their side mirror? Unfortunately I do. I called the Toyota dealership to get a quote and they told me it would be $350+ for parts and labor. Hell to the no, I said. I did a little google research and was able to find the entire side mirror for $180. Fortunately the install is extremely easy, takes about five minutes, so I should be able to save myself $200 bucks by doing it ghetto ninja style.

Let this be a lesson to all: Don’t run your car’s mirrors into a metal fence, chances are the fence is going to win. Thankfully, I can afford the repair and don’t have to put it on a credit card. If you got car issues, you should always google for installation instructions to see if it can be a do it yourself project. I might be $180 poorer, but it’s a whole heck of a lot better than being $400 poorer.

Help me feel a little better about my stupidity and share some sweet stories about costly things you have done. Have you had some stupid car issues? Ever sit on a really nice pair of glasses? Or maybe you threw your Nintendo Wii remote at your flat screen tv like this guy.

Net Worth: Nov ’09

October was a fabulous month for my Net Worth. That extra paycheck last month, was amazing and allowed my NW to continue moving on up. I’ll take you all out to dinner to celebrate. And by “take you out to dinner” I mean “Do absolutely nothing for you.” Let’s take a look at the growth, shall we?. (p.s. I have had a couple people ask about my NW graph….I use quicken to track my finances and it makes the NW graph for me.)

Note: My NW is pretty easy to calculate because I don’t own very many things. I have a savings/checking account and a couple retirement accounts . I chose not to include things like personal belongings (laptop, camera, etc) or my car (which would add probably $8K to my worth) because I figure those are things I will always need and wouldn’t really want to go with out.

Checking Account: $5,182 +$3,939. I usually try to keep $1,000 in my checking account at all times. It got a little stacked recently because I didn’t do any money transfers while I was abroad. The internet I used was all public wifi and I was hesitant to login to my bank accounts on the internet. Now that I’m home, I’ll initiate some transfers. 

Savings Account: $14,735, +$23. My savings account currently earns 1.3% interest, so that is the only reason it grew over the last month. I stopped contributing to my savings account for the time being and will focus all my discretionary income to my student loan.

Roth IRA: $11,192, -$469. Freakin’ stock market pissed me off last week. It better not keep up these shenanigans. Although, if it does I might have to do some more investing 🙂

401K: $9,849, +$448. Eight percent of each paycheck makes its way in to this account. I invest in very similar funds in both my Roth IRA and 401K (mutual funds). I get 5% of my paycheck fully matched, so you know I’m not about to pass up free money.

Student Loan: -$17,867, +$127. Bleh. Worst decrease in student loan ever. It’s not my fault though, like I said I didn’t want to log in to my financial accounts on public wifi, so I didn’t make a huge payment in October. Don’t worry though, I’ll be diverting some of my checking account stash this way.

I’m rocking a solid  $22,420 net worth. I’m up $3,247 from last month. Usually I can grow by about $2K each month, so the over $3K gain for me was AWESOME. Mostly due to the extra paycheck and some overtime while abroad. Okay, I have to go pay down my student loan now.

If you have wondered why the blue bar (debt) in the graph sometimes increases, it’s because my credit card balance gets taken in to account each month. Even though I pay the balance in full it still appears as a “liability” in Quicken. I just deduct this from my checking account balance to give myself an accurate net worth reading.

Take care ya’ll.

Tolerance

Everyone needs to be a personal finance blogger. Not so much because I think personal finance blogging is the greatest thing in the world (even though it is pretty awesome), but more so because personal finance bloggers may quite possibly be the coolest thing in the world (except for the snuggie).
The motivation for this post comes from the response I received from yesterdays article. I’ve been watching a lot of cable news while on my business trip, and have become depressed by the intolerance many of these shows portray.  On MSNBC you have Keith Olberman spending one hour bashing republicans/conservatives and everything they believe. I click over two channels only to hear Glen Beck yelling about fascism and socialist Obama. Neither host is tolerant of any view but their own. I’m not gonna lie and say I wasn’t a little hesitant to talk about a personal belief out of fear of people ripping me to shreds.
If you read yesterday’s comments, you’ll notice something magical. Tolerance. No one claimed their opinion more righteous than their counterparts. We all had our thoughts and preferences, but we all were clear that they were OUR individual beliefs. Pretty freakin’ awesome if you ask me.
Everyone should be a personal finance blogger because personal finance requires tolerance. We all have different budgeting, spending, and saving priorities. We value different things. We come from different walks of life, yet we all have the same common goal: Manage our money at least quasi-responsibly, and possibly get ridonkulously rich in the process.
Did today’s post have anything to do with personal finance? No. But I felt it was more important to thank everyone that stopped by for his or her intelligent and thoughtful contribution to yesterday’s article.  So is it just me, or does anyone else feel like their is a bit of hostility in society today?

Whoa, I just realized this post ended up being much more serious than my others. Don’t worry though, I’m still gonna kick Sallie Mae in the nutz when I see her.

Leave me alone, I don’t want to live with my girlfriend.

I think it’s quite funny how puzzled people become when I tell them I don’t want to live with my girlfriend. I’ve been with Girl Ninja for three and a half years now, and apparently I didn’t get the memo that I was required to move in with her after the first year. People look at me like I’m crazy, or making a big mistake. Everyone, it will be okay, our relationship transcends continual proximity. Here are some of the comments made during these arguments…

“Dude, you’ll save money by living with your girlfriend.”

Really? I beg to differ. If anything it will probably cost me more to live with her. I already have a roommate so my living expenses are split right down the middle. If I lived with Girl Ninja, I gurantee my expenses would go up. Why? Because I’m a guy, and I live with a guy. We don’t care about decorations, good smells, or if our carpet matches our drapes (I know what some of you perverts are thinking right now). I have a feeling my bachelor pad would suddenly become page 43 of the newest Ikea magazine if I moved in with the GF.

“Dude, you’re crazy, I would never marry someone unless I lived with them first.”

Dude, you’re crazy for needing to live with someone first. I would hope anyone that moved in with their significant other, did so because they are absolutely sure that is the best thing for their relationship. If you’re committed enough to move in together, I say you’re committed enough to get married. After all, what’s the difference? So I wait till marriage and move in with the girlfriend, she’ll discover I fart (very rarely of course) and I’ll get frustrated because she folds our towels in a different way then I prefer. I’m sure we will learn a great deal about each other that we didn’t know before, but why do I have to spoil the excitement of marriage by moving in with her early. To require that you must first live with your partner, to me, essentially means “If this doesn’t work out, I’m outta here.” My mentality is “Hey this isn’t working, but I love you and you love me, let’s figure out how to make it work better.”

“Dude, you’ll get to be around your best friend all the time.”

I don’t really argue with people when they bring this up. I get all giddy inside when I think about sharing ALL of my life with Girl Ninja. How fun would it be to wake up next to your best friend each morning or have someone rub your back after a long day of work? Pretty freakin’ awesome if you ask me. But guess what. I can be patient. Just like I’m throwing money in to a Roth IRA that I wont see again for 40 years, I can invest four years with the GF without getting all the perks. We are fortunate that we both love each other a great deal, but are not dependent on one another. A little patience will go a long way.

Those are just a few of the reasons people provide when trying to convince me to move in with Girl Ninja. I’m old school, okay? I’m a big boy and I can make my own decisions. It’s a decision I’ve made and I don’t understand why my decision is “crazy”.

Before all the cohabiters start foaming at the mouth, let me be clear, I don’t have anything against people that move in with their boyfriends or girlfriends. To each their own. If you’re sold on the idea of living with your partner, then by all means go for it. This article isn’t about whether living with your girlfriend is right or wrong, it’s about people criticizing me for choosing not to. Let’s open the floor for a little dialogue. Do you, or would you, live with your significant other before marriage? Why or why not?