NinjaPigeon - My Flight to Financial Independence

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rolling over my 401k... again

Last year, when I left my job at a medium sized company and joined Megacorp, I needed to get my money out of their 401k plan. So, I did a rollover from a Fidelity 401k to a Vanguard IRA.

One of the quirks that tripped me up then was that my previous employer had not updated my status as no longer being an active employee. That ended up costing me a week or so of time. So, this time I thought to call and ask about that first.

Well, when I called, they informed me I was indeed out of the plan and I could start the process if I wanted. I decided to do so, and found out this experience will be slightly different than the last one.

Specifically, my money at Fidelity is actually in a BrokerageLink account, and not directly in the 401k plan. So, I first have to liquidate my shares in the BrokerageLink account and have them transferred back into the plan. Once that has happened, I can then call back to request a check be cut.

My shares should be sold tomorrow at market close. I will try to contact Vanguard tomorrow and confirm that the check needs to be made out the same as last time.

End of Balance Transfer Promo

Well, it's been a year since I signed up for a 0% balance transfer from Citibank. I estimate that I made about $600 in interest from their money, but I haven't had time to fully calculate it.

Since I knew the promo date was due to expire, I called Citibank and asked the date it would end. They informed me it would end on the 16th of April. So, sometime last week I pulled the remaining money out of my EmigrantDirect account. Then I paid off Citibank. I estimate it took maybe 2 hours of work over the last year to earn the money. Not too shabby!

Sadly, I'm now out of BT money. I am thinking about applying for some more, but I won't go crazy and pull an app-o-rama since I plan on buying a new car in December or January. But 10 or 15k couldn't hurt!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Helping out someone financially

I haven't mentioned it before, but I suppose it's only appropriate to disclose it here. Starting in January, I began paying my girlfriend's student loan payments.

If you recall, I helped her in the past with tuition since she has had to make ends meet on a pretty meager income. Well, around December she got hit with a double whammy - graduation, which required she start paying back her loans, and shorter hours at work.

She humbly asked for my help, so I've taken over the payments so she can keep from being overwhelmed. Thankfully, I've had a good year and I was both able and willing to lend her my assistance.

However, I can't imagine what it's like to be in her shoes. It's got to be hard asking for help. Even if the person you ask doesn't expect anything in return, there's got to be feelings of owing them something. And it can cause you to doubt yourself, even believe you're a failure. Unfortunately, that doubt can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Because of that, I try very hard to not make her feel guilty for asking for my help. I remind her that the first year out of college can be pretty challenging and that getting on your feet can take time. Heck, I've been out of college since 2002 and I only hit a positive net worth last year!

Now, I'm not suggesting that you should help every family member that comes to you for assistance. But you have to remember that not all hardships are brought on through irresponsibility, and everyone can come upon hard times. Our money may come and go, but the relationships we form can endure it all.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Annoying Credit Card Payment Rules

As I've mentioned in a previous post, some credit cards actually limit how often you can pay your bill. In my case, this would be Chase. Since I'm fairly confident I'm one of a fraction of a percentage of people who ever have this problem, I thought I'd include a nice screenshot so you guys can see what I have to deal with on a semi regular basis ;)

I guess I'll have to fight back the overwhelming urge to pay my card until tomorrow. But this will drive me nuts all day.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Request by IRS

As I stated before, I used TurboTax to file my taxes this year. I sent everything off a few weeks ago and was pleased with how easy it was.

Well, I got a letter this week from the IRS. Apparently they want me to send proof that I had overpaid social security by $290. They have asked me to send back a copy of the letter they sent (they provided 2 copies) as well as copies of all my W2s. And they gave me exactly 20 days from the date of the letter to do so, which meant I had about 15 days.

I must admit this worried me a bit. I've never done my own taxes, and I was trusting TurboTax to do a good job. So, just to be safe, I created a new return and reentered just my W2 information in it. Sure enough, it still believes I overpaid by $290. So, I'm gonna assume it was right.

I mailed back the letter to the IRS along with my three W2s. I'm hoping this satisfies the IRS and they move on to bothering other people.