NinjaPigeon - My Flight to Financial Independence

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

New job at a startup company

I can't believe I forgot to post about this. Blame it on my hiatus and just being busy in general.

I got a new job ;) As I've written here before, I do a lot of contract work on the side. I have been doing it for a little over a year. Well, over the christmas holidays I was told that the company was generating more business than we could handle as part-timers. So, the owners asked me to jump with them and go full-time.

We all quit our days jobs in mid January and have been working at this since. I'm a lot busier than I was at megacorp, and my job responsibilities have increased beyond just programming. I am involved a lot with business decisions from interviewing and salary recommendations to planning and revenue discussions.

Salary wise, the move was somewhat of a lateral one for me. Meaning, on a yearly basis, the salary is comparable. However, the compensation package is less. I get no paid holidays, my health insurance is four times more expensive, and I don't get a lot of the little perks that add up. However, I have infinite more flexibility with my work hours (even though they are more!), and there is the potential for profit sharing next year if our growth rate continues.

The biggest hit to my bottom line is that I no longer have a side gig paying a 25% "bonus" to my day job. However, it's important to realize that even if I'd stayed at megacorp, I'd have lost that portion of my yearly income. My new company needed a full timer, not another contractor. So that gig would have dried up for me no matter what.

Anyway, I'm getting in at the ground level with a new company. Even though this is technically our third fiscal year, we all had day jobs before this. I'm betting on this really taking off and being a company I can grow with for the next 10 years. Ideally, I'll be able to evolve with the company and take on new roles. After all, I can't see myself being a programmer for the rest of my career.

Wish me luck!

Requisite Downturn Post...

I'm pretty sure everyone is posting about today's market movements. So I'll post it from my perspective.

First, the numbers: Drop of 3.428%, which was a four figure drop for me (my biggest one day loss so far). Needless to say, this has thrown a wrench into the end of year goals I had.

Funny, even with this big of a hit, I'm not really phased. I started investing last year, and threw all my cash into the market right before the big dip in May. That really helped me get used to the idea of buying on the way down, and I ended up stronger for it.

This year will be no different. I've got 4k (a lot for me!) ready to invest later this week. This dip just means I am getting it all on sale ;)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Filing my taxes

I know this sounds kinda sad, but I've never done my own taxes. So, this year I decided I would pick up a copy of TurboTax and run through it. Since this was also the first time I've had capital gains due to stock as well as some dividends on my mutual funds, I figured I'd learn a lot.

I was impressed with how the wizard worked, although the organization confused me a little. I'm assuming the order is based on the way the forms work out. But entering my 1099 income many screens after the W2 kept worrying me. I was scared I'd forget to include something.

I found a sucky bug while I was entering my credit for paying state tax last year. The program kept going in a loop, decreasing my tax liability everytime it went through the loop. Luckily I found a post on the TurboTax support forums that told me how to remove the erroneous credits and got me out of the loop.

Anyway, I finished that up and went to e-file last night. And that's when I find out that TurboTax wants another $30 to e-file my federal and state taxes. Hello, didn't I just pay them $45 for the software?! And to top it off I have to mail the state tax payment myself. They won't direct debit.

I'm hoping TurboTax will tell me where to mail the check after it confirms that Georgia received my taxes. And then I can be done with my taxes earlier than I've ever had them done before. Woo!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Back from the dead

Wow, can't believe how fast the last few months have gone by. I originally planned on taking only a slight hiatus from posting here, but it quickly grew into a 4 month lapse.

I'll confess my original reason for stopping posting was fear. You see, I'm ready to marry my girlfriend and bring her here to the States. So, I felt it was time to show her this journal. But then I freaked out. Do we have the same financial goals? Can I trust her not to wreak havoc on my future? Are we sure marriage is the right idea?

You see, to a lot of people, our fascination with saving for retirement when we are still in our 20s is crazy. The idea of living below your means or building an emergency fund does not make sense to them. And let's not even bring up the concept of App-o-ramas. Just mentioning the idea of rate chasing with online savings accounts is enough to send them running.

They are The Spenders. We are The Savers.

They laugh at us, make fun of us, even pity us sometimes. But why? Honestly, I'm not sure. I just know that for whatever reason, we are "different" than they are.

Now, my girlfriend knows I'm heavy into this kinda thing. I've admitted to her that I have a minimum amount I must save per year and I'm not willing to compromise that number no matter what. That number for me is about $15k. In fact, that number seems tiny to me! I wanna save MORE!

At first I believe she felt I was obsessed with money. It's weird. You hear obsessed with money and it sounds insulting. I always figured The Spenders just didn't comprehend the math behind compound interest. Maybe they think that finances are just too complicated and boring.

Personally, I think they are intimidated by money. And we can help them with that. But there is something of value they bring to the table too.


That's one of the reasons I believe my girlfriend should be my wife. She keeps me grounded. She reminds me that sometimes, you gotta spend a little to keep things in perspective. That there is more to life than a balanced portfolio and saving 15% on your car insurance (yes, I have geico - and they totally saved me money).

And so, with those thoughts in mind, I have decided to pick up where I left off and start posting again. Hopefully you will start reading again. And maybe in the near future my lovely girlfriend will be able to post and give you her perspective.