NinjaPigeon - My Flight to Financial Independence

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Not much going on lately, financially speaking, but I have a couple small updates.

  • Got a $50 check from Chase Rewards. Using it to catch up on some of my over spending lately.

  • This week was my one of my odd checks during the year. Using it to pick up some more VFINX shares.

  • Mailed in my application for BrokerageLink. Hoping to hear back on that sometime next week.

  • Finally got the correct information on my batch of checks.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Net Worth - August 2006

Pretty good month, I suppose. Spent about $1700 on vacation, and was still able to get a pretty good increase in my net worth.

I sold the 50 shares of WAG at $49.03. It's gone a little higher lately, but I got out with a 21.06% gain, which is plenty good enough for my tastes! I used the proceeds to pick up another 50 shares of MSFT at $25.70, giving me a round lot for once. Holding off on any other stock purchases until I find something that I like.

I was also able to increase my savings a good bit this month, mainly because a pretty big contract paid out. I have another medium one that will pay out sometime in September, but it won't be quite as nice.

Mutual funds have seen some improvement, but are still in the red. I'm hoping for some better performance as we get closer to the end of the year.

I'm still on track to hit my goal for the end of the year, but it feels like I should be doing more. I'm pretty behind for my age, I think, and future years probably won't be this strong income-wise. Let's hope I do better in the market so that compounding we all love will work in my favor :)

Friday, September 08, 2006

5th edition of the Festival of Under 30 Finances

Welcome to the 5th edition of the Festival of Under 30 Finances. I'm your host, Ninja Pigeon, and I'll be with you through the remainder of the posting!

Hopefully you are all aware of The Under 30 Honor Roll, which was founded by our very own Kira of Penny Foolish. If you're only hearing about this for the first time, we'd appreciate you stopping by and maybe even checking out the forums, which are sadly lacking in posts since the site was moved to its permanent home. Here is a
little more background information on the Honor Roll.

Also, as a quick reminder, the next edition will be hosted at Molly’s Brother On A Budget. Why not submit an article by going to Blog Carnival?

And now, without further ado, I present you with the main attraction...

Carnival Entries
Bryan C. Fleming invites you all to join his club in The Million Dollar Savings Club Kick Off! It's never too late to get started! So why not head over to his site and track your progress? Or, if you're still not convinced, check out his follow-up post, How to be Your Own Bank.

Want to know The Three Strategies to Maximize Your Financial Success? Well, Steve from Debt Free has just what you're looking for to "reduce your debt, increase the balance in your savings and investment accounts and contribute to your financial security". I've done the first two, and it's certainly working so far. Maybe I should try out number three?

Trying to buy or sell a home? Well Jeannie from Bouncing Back wants to introduce you to The Greatest Real Estate Tool Ever(Part 1). I just tested it on the home I sold a few months ago and it came up with the price I paid for it 2 years ago. Seems pretty accurate and lots of other great info there too.

Ever heard someone talk about the Monte Carlo model but not sure what it meant? Simran Gill has an answer for you in his post on Personal Finance and Simulation Modelling. He is even kind enough to summarize his findings at the end for those of us who couldn't make sense of the pretty graphs!

Katie from Aridni worries about the seeming obsession many of us have with tracking our net worth. Her post, Financial bloggers losing focus asks a very pointed question for all of us - "shouldn’t we be aiming for financial freedom"? I can't speak for the rest of you, but that's exactly what I'm doing. My net worth updates are simply to help me keep my eyes on the prize!

Ken offers us a "little different take on what [he's] been seeing on the under 30 PF blogs". Head on over to his blog, After reading rich dad poor dad, and read his post entitled, Personal Finance Blogs to see if you have an investor or a saver mindset. Personally, I'm mostly a saver right now, but I'm working towards a happy medium. I'll bore you all with the details of my forays into real estate at a later date!

Steven from Finding Freedom wants to help you with Saving Money Buying Diamonds, an important topic for men and women alike. Check out his site for other great posts where he answers the question, "How quickly can a fool find his money again?" Judging by my net worth lately, the fool can lose it much faster!

Ever wondered, What's in Carleton Sheets' No Down Payment Real Estate Program kit? Well wonder no more! Kira from Penny Foolish has your answer. Looks like a nice little discussion is starting on the topic as well, so feel free to contribute to it.

Try not to be scared as you read a post that "contains a lot of details, numbers, and statistics!" Honor Roll member Penny Nickel, from Money and Values, aims to help you with Retirement Planning in Your 20s (& Beyond), Part 3: Figuring Out the Nest Egg Needed. Personally, I'm terrified of that post! But I will give a plug for a handy retirement calculator known as FIRECalc. Many of the posters on one of my favorite retirement forums sing its praises.

Laura from Then Things has a bit of a rant that points out some of the problems you face with transferring money to online banks. Check it out at
EmigrantDirect: PLEASE MAKE TRANSFERRING MONEY EASIER! and see how your experiences compare. I know that the old "send in a check" line is bothering me too. In this age, why can't an account number and a routing number suffice? Heck, throw in a couple of those random deposits under $1 that ING does and you've got some security to boot!

If you are just starting out in the world of credit cards, then Mike over at College Student Financials has some advice for you. His post addresses a Question from a reader and "discusses one way a college student can get a credit card if they have never gotten one in the past". I'm not sure how you guys did it, but I got my first credit card by sheer luck when applying for a free t-shirt Eight years later, I even paid it off!

Honor Roll Insights
Not everyone was able to respond to this edition's question during their submission, so maybe we can get some more feedback right now. Here is the question posed:

Why do you think it's become so taboo in our society to have discussions on finance that don't center around debt?

Kira from Penny Foolish responds:
I think it's easier for people to complain (about their debt) than to do something (about reducing their debt, or saving any money.) Also, it's considered kind of like bragging to say that you are doing better than anyone else - even if others are doing terribly. I really hope this attitude changes in our generation.

Penny Nickel from Money and Values responds:
I think part of it is the idea that salary is a reflection of your self-worth, which is just ridiculous, but still affects the way people interact-- people who make less (or just conspicuously consume less, but as a result conclude they're making less) feel embarassed about it, so they try to avoid the whole thing. People who're making more and/or who are able to buy and do nicer things don't want to brag (if they're decent people), which is a good impulse-- but if there weren't so many emotions tied up in it they could help give context and advice on how they got where they are. Frustrating...

Laura from Then Things responds:
It's just another sign that people equate wealth with self-worth. If people didn't feel that the value of their investments was the value of themselves they would be happy to share information.

Mike from College Student Financials responds:
I think it is taboo to discuess finances in our society because people fight so hard to get the salary they make, or the are embarresed that their friends make more than they do so they don't want to talk about it. My friends and I talk openly about the interest rate we got on our car loans, how long it will take us to pay off our credit cards and how much we net a week. There are other groups of friends I am in where I wouldn't discuss this because I make more than they do and don't want to make them feel bad about not making as much.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Check Problems

Well, if you recall, I recently ordered new checks. Well, they came late last week, and as you might guess by the title, were not what I ordered.

Even though I very explicity stated what I wanted printed on my check, they were still wrong. They had the wrong names on them, and also the wrong address. However, they were at least mailed to the right location and were the color I wanted!

So, last night I called Wachovia back and told them of their error. They are going to print me up some new checks and mail them out next week. They assure me I won't be charged a second time as it was a printing error. If that works out, even though I've still paid too much for my checks, I end up with a few hundred extra that are valid, if not exactly what I wanted.

The only good news is that I need to update my vehicle registration, and the county likes proof of your new residence. I don't have any bills in my name here, so having my current address on my checks should satisfy their requirements.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Chase Credit Protector

Well, about three weeks ago I deposited one of those $15 checks from Chase to sign up for their fraud proection program. The check came with auto-enrollment that was free for 30 days and then was $7.99 thereafter.

Today I finally got around to calling them to cancel. I had to listen to the usual retention type information, which consisted of about a 5 minute long listing of all the wonderful features of the program. Then I cancelled and got a cancellation number as verification.

What I found interesting was that the representative on the phone mentioned that 1 in 40 people experience identity theft. She did not mention the timespan during which those statistics are valid, but it was a much more common occurrence than I realized. She followed that statistic up with a monetary figure by stating that those cases cost between 2 and 16 thousand dollars to "clean up". I'm very curious to find any references for those numbers.

Does anyone else have fraud protection, and if so, what do you have?