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Archive for December, 2010

We Have a Goal

December 30th, 2010 at 08:09 am

Yes, it's true. WE really have a goal for 2011. It's as much Mr H's as mine. . . although it helps when you can see the finish line coming pretty quickly.

Our goal is to pay off our mortgage. As of today, December 30, 2010, we owe $4,990.38. Our mortgage payments themselves are very low we bought our house 13.5 years ago using an ARM and just paid extra. When the mortgage re-amortizes every year our payment drops. We don't have a specific plan for paying it off, but as extra monies present themselves they'll be applied to the mortgage.

Would You Ever Have a Blog?

December 28th, 2010 at 07:06 pm

My mother asked me this the other day as I read something from my blog reader to her. She was visiting from out of state for Christmas.

I don't really like to lie to my mother, so I think I side stepped the question. Did I want to explain to her that I already have a few languishing blogs, including this one? No I did not.

But. . .

Thrift-o-rama recently commented on how blogging must be magic, because if you write it on your side bar magic seems to happen and the goal you were pursuing falls in your lap. When I started this blog almost three years ago my biggest money issue was really a relationship issue - how to get Mr H involved in our finances. In the early part of our marriage he was somewhat involved. I woke up one day about 10 years ago and realized that he was not involved at all I was making all the decisions, paying all the bills and dealing with all the stress by myself. As time passed I realized that I could drop the bill paying on him without too much stress on either of our parts. I had set the finances up so the bill paying was all done using an account that didn't generally run short (the stressful part of bill paying) and Mr H excels at routine tasks. Paying the bills and making entries in quicken was easy for him (and he does something similar as part of his job) and also exposed him to our general finances. But he still wasn't really involved in financial decision making. He also wasn't very engaged in other parts of our mutual life that are outside the scope of this blog. I wrote several times about my attempts to get him involved in our financial life. Each attempt required planning, preparation and strategy. My attempts were somewhat successful although they did wear me out a bit.

In this last year. . . something happened. Part of the something was that Mr H's father died after a short illness. A death of a parent pretty much always seems to get a person to think about their life. Mr H tends to avoid thinking about and dealing with stuff (I don't mean this unkindly; I think even he would tell you that about himself) but I think his dad's death coupled with some boundaries I'd set got his attention. In the last months he:

Initiated a Sunday meeting to discuss general finances. We now do discuss finances more regularly and HE initiates it.
Had his car totaled (he's fine, was hit on an on ramp while waiting for a flow restrictor light). Used insurance proceeds to purchase a new used car and handled all the details with it.
Received his annual bonus; realized that he'd made more money this year than any year previous. Seemed quite proud of that.
Worked extra on an irregular basis; set money aside for taxes and, using percentages we'd decided on together, allocated money for family fun, car replacement, retirement, and mortgage payoff.
Opened a Roth IRA. Was tickled when it made more money than our savings accounts and CD's.
Thanked me for not giving up on long term goals even though he didn't participate for most of our marriage. He realizes that my focus got us where we are today. Although we've had lots of other problems (outside the scope of this blog) our financial picture has been modest but comfortable. Focusing on a long-term strategy means that the bumps of life (like his car being totaled) are just bumps and not huge stressors.
Wanted to discuss what to do with his annual bonus. He already has ideas he didn't wait for me to make suggestions and then just agree with them.

Is this really my life? Maybe this year will bring us out of the onion patch and into a flower garden.