NinjaPigeon - My Flight to Financial Independence

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.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Real Estate Investing

A friend of mine had tickets to go see David Lindahl talk yesterday on multi-family investing. Since he was unable to make it, he offered them to me. So, I went with another friend of ours to the all day session.

As usual, the 1 day session is just an extension of the 2hour session, and also is an upsell attempt to get you to go to the bootcamp. Normally $3995, but for that day only... $2900! Now, I'll be honest and say I get a little of a twinge when I see things like this. Meaning, I'm susceptible to them to some extent. But I remained strong and just listened to the talk.

Although there was certainly some fluff for the upsell, there was also a good bit of information in his presentation. He discussed why he did multi instead of SFH investing, and also how you could use SFH flips to get capital to move into multi. Also, he mentioned the difference between a momentum investment (a multi that already cashflows) and a one that requires rehab.

He talked about a lot of other things, but there are too many to list. The gist of it was just that the economy of scale could work in your favor and you could get much bigger paydays than you could with SFH.

I'm still on the fence about whether I should jump into real estate investing. I've got a few friends who are working on their first flip now. They have a $2100/month payment on the property, and issues have come up that are eating away at their profits. They will probably break even if they manage to sell it in the next few months. But, they will have learned a lot.

I'm just not sure if I could sleep well knowing I had $10k sitting on the table that could quickly erode. Although after the hit I took in my mutual funds this week, the diversity could be nice. Plus with a little experience behind your belt, the REI could turn into a decent source of side income. Maybe I'll wait until I can just afford to buy a vacation home that could be rented out 11 months out of the year and I basically break even on. Given 10 or 15 years of that and it'd be a nice chunk of equity ;)

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Woo! My $50 rebate check from T-Mobile came today. Unfortunately it came from buying a $400 phone :) But hey, I'll take it.

I also sent in another $50 rebate for my new laser printer last week. Think I'm gonna put them into my savings account, which hasn't gone up in a while.