NinjaPigeon - My Flight to Financial Independence

Saturday, May 27, 2006

401k Rollover Update

When I got home yesterday, I was suprised to see that my 401k distribution check had arrived already. Amount of the check was based on the NAVs for the 22nd. Remember how I mentioned in this post that I'd lost some money by being lazy? Well, if I'd done the paperwork on the 16th like I was planning on, I'd have had an extra $479.36! Wow, how's that for a lesson learned?

Also, strangely enough, the check was written to "Vanguard Fudiatiary Trust". I don't know about you, but I find it disturbing that someone who works for Fidelity can't spell fiduciary. I'll have to call Vanguard on Monday and figure out if this check is valid or if I'll need a new one issued.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Fidelity 401k Rollover to Vanguard IRA

Well, this week I finally was able to get this process going. There were some paperwork issues to resolve with Fidelity prior to starting the rollover. First was that my former employer still listed me as an employee. Took care of that in April. Then I had to update my address. That took the first 3 weeks of May. The person on the phone told me that on May 16th I'd be able to start the rollover.

Called Vanguard on Monday the 22nd and they helped me pick the right options on the account request. When I told them the company I'd be rolling money from was Fidelity they informed me Fidelity would only issue checks to them, and not any of the easier methods. So I got the name to have the check endorsed to as well as the address to mail it to. I was able to get the application completed in a relatively short time after my quick phone call to their support number.

Finally I called Fidelity and was able to request they close my 401k and issue a check to me. They got confused at first and were trying to roll my old 401k into my new one. Got that sorted out and they said I'd have the check by June 1st. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to know how much the check is for, as it is based on the NAV on the day of closing. When I logged in that night to check what the NAV had been, my account balance was $0. Apparently Fidelity wastes no time in getting the account closed and the check sent!

Okay, so the process was painless enough, and I'm just waiting on my check now. But I made some mistakes that cost me some money. Mainly, I was being lazy, and so instead of requesting a check on the 16th, I didn't request it until the 22nd. As we all know, the Market has had a rough couple of weeks. So taking my time to get my check cut actually resulted in a check that was between $200 and $400 less than it could have been. If I had sold on the 16th, I'd have still had that money, with funds still getting cheaper, resulting in more buying power once my check arrives at Vanguard. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Poor Market Performance

Well, I've had my Vanguard Mutual Fund account less than a week and I'm already down almost $500. Lump sump investing is not going so great for me so far :) Hopefully everyone will stop overreacting to the increase in interest rates this week and the losses slow down. Including my Roth and my 401k, I'm down about 1k so far.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Paycheck Problems, Part 2

If you recall from this post, my company had a little problem getting my paycheck right last week. Well, my boss told me yesterday that the problem was going to be corrected sometime in the next two pay periods. The details of course, are unknown, but he assures me we will know what payroll is doing soon.

So, of course I'm annoyed quite a bit. They screwed up, and I offered them the chance to fix it. They wait until after it's a pain for everyone involved to fix it too. Also, there's the slight problem that I spent the extra money. Yah, I know that was pretty stupid of me, but I needed it at the time. I spent some of it to help the GF out with her sister's wedding and used some of it to help out my mother.

My best estimate for how bad I'll be docked is about $700 gross and $450 net. Coupled with my paychecks being less than I had hoped for, it looks like I'm gonna have a $900 savings deficit by the end of the year. I'm hoping to be able to make that back through some side projects, but it'll be challenging.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Opening my Vanguard Mutual Fund Account

Finally, this week I had everything in order to start my mutual fund account with Vanguard. I had been waiting for weeks thinking the market would finally dip, but it was going all-out in bullish fashion until the Feds announced the rate increase on Thursday.

So, Thursday night, seeing a nice dip in the market, I completed my online application to start my account. My funding was the following:

NAESX - 38%
VFINX - 24%
VIMSX - 38%

Originally I had considered some REIT exposure, but the RE market of late seems to finally be correcting itself. A 3k minimum investment in a REIT index would have been larger than the 5% exposure I'd be comfortable with.

Anyway, as we all have seen, Friday showed another drop in the market, depressing my purchase cost of these funds even lower. I'm actually hoping that it takes another couple business days for my purchase to go through so that I can get a better sale price on my funds. I don't think the drops have finished yet, however, so I expect to be down for a bit. Maybe it'll help me offset some of the capital gains from my stock sell last week.

Stock sells and buys

So, last week, (WWWW) filed their Quarterly report. Wasn't as great as I was hoping for, but definately not bad. The good news though is that it spurred volume, something that has been depressed ever since they changed ticker symbols. Anyway, I sold my shares at $6.06 for a small profit. My Scottrade account closed at $2047 that day, which was a modest gain of about $120 from this last round of stocks.

So, with a little over $2k to spend, I decided to set my sights back on Walgreens (WAG). It was at a 42 week low of $40.90 on the 4th. I tried to buy it only to find out that Scottrade requires 3 days for my funds to be "settled" and available for trading. Low and behold WAG jumps up 3% by the time that happens. So for a little while I thought I'd missed a great buying opportunity.

I wait a couple days, and Thursday WAG closes at a new low for the year, somewhere around $40.69. I put in a limit order for $40.50 of 50 shares, thinking the stock isn't going much lower. Much to my chagrin it goes down with the rest of the market to $39.97.

Final tally for the week then is down about $40, including two transaction fees of $7. Certainly not the way I had hoped to end up, but not terrible either. I started the brokerage account with $1k in October last year, so I've doubled my money. I'll go ahead and ride WAG out for a little while and see how it does. If it continues to dip I might put more money in that account and increase my holdings.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Paycheck problems

Okay, yesterday was my first payday with my company. I was expecting three weeks of salary to appear on my check. So I log into my bank account hoping for a nice direct deposit, and there is nothing there. I don't panic; I was warned the first check would probably be mailed.

So, when I get to work, I log into this online payroll site that lets me see my checks. Immediately the amount of the check looks funny to me. When I click on the link to get more details I see that they have paid me for 136 hours, rather than 120. Cause for celebration, right? No way. The Man always gets his money. I don't want a 16 hour bonus this week followed by a 16 hour dock the following week.

I called payroll and it turns out they have my payday start as 4/13. Funny, as my start date as an employee was 4/17. I verified all my paperwork and payroll clearly made a mistake. When I ask them how to fix it they tell me they'll push back the 2 days my contracting company billed them. Um, why would you do that? It's YOUR mistake. And if you push that on my contracting company, they're gonna hit me up for the money! Did you forget they paid me more per hour than you do? Argh!

Anyway, I talked to the HR type person that helped me come on board after that. She told me that mistakes like this have happened before, and they company should and will eat the mistake. Apparently, we've had mistakes as big as paying someone several paychecks after they've been fired! So surely my piddly "bonus" is no big deal?

Well, I gave them till close of business to resolve my issue. I offered to return the check if they could issue me a new one. But, as nothing was accomplished by that time, I cashed my check. I didn't have much of a choice since I had already paid most of my bills for the next few weeks out of my flex money. I'm hoping next pay period I don't end up having to come up with that extra money, because I already spent it ;)

Normally I wouldn't spend the extra, but this week has been a little challenging. My GF's sister is getting married, so I've tried to help ease the burden on my GF's finances as she is the MoH. Nothing major, really, but it wasn't in the budget, so it had to come from somewhere. I'm gonna try to make it up with contracting later in the month.

Happy Birthday, 401k!

Well, today is exactly 1 year from my first 401k contribution. In order to celebrate this occassion, my 401k decided to close at an all time high yesterday. I don't know the math behind IRR, so the simple interest I've earned, looking purely at what I've put in versus what I have now, is 16.56% since inception. That's not too shabby for my first year!

Now, I know a lot of this has been "luck" since the market has been incredibly bullish in 2006, but I'm still happy to have started my investing habits when I did. It's a lot easier to weather the bearish times when you've at least experienced the bullish times. But let's just hope the next few years continue to show improvements.