Meager Income

Pay Off Debt, Retire Comfortably on Meager Income, Win the Lottery, Not Necessarily in that Order

Waiting for my tax refund

Posted on | April 9, 2015 | No Comments

I’ve now submitted by taxes for both Federal and State bringing 2014 to a close.  I tend to procrastinate  (even when I’m anticipating a refund) and find myself rushing to get them done at the very last minute.  I surprised myself this year and I actually finished early.  Now I’m just waiting for my refunds to be deposited.  I already contributed to my Roth for 2014 otherwise I would be scrambling to get the money submitted on time.

I’m already trying to figure out how to spend my refund.    What a fantastic problem to have!  I have approximately $4500 in outstanding debt that I want to pay off by the end of this year.  Paying off the loan early would free up about $400 a month in cash flow.  The interest rate on the loan is less than 5%.  Unfortunately, my refund won’t cover the whole loan amount but it will definitely help offset it.  On the other hand, I could buy a dividend paying stock and that would also help lessen the cost of the loan.

I’m excited to be getting close to paying off this debt. Once this is out of the way, I can automate more of my savings.  I’ll keep you posted on the progress.



A look back at my spending in 2014

Posted on | March 17, 2015 | No Comments

I am listing my spending here for two main reasons. First, I’ll be able to compare my spending this year to last.  I’ve already captured the data but if I save it to a spreadsheet on my computer I’ll rarely reference it again.  Instead, I’ll display it on this site where I can access it more easily.

As the year progresses, I can see what areas I’m improving in and what areas need improvement on a monthly or quarterly basis. Secondly, I hope that readers can compare my totals with their spending. I’m sure there are people that spend more and some people who spend less or a lot less than I do. I wonder if my spending in certain categories is in-line with the averages of other people’s. By listing mine maybe someone else will benefit.

My goal is to not have to work as soon as possible. Although I’m watching my spending, I haven’t cut out all my fun spending from my budget either. I want to strike a balance such that I’m able to enjoy myself now and still save money every month to buy equities to grow my meager income.

Here is my spending for 2014:
Read more

I’m reducing my 401(k) Contribution

Posted on | February 26, 2015 | No Comments

The stock market has been great for almost 6 years straight now.  Today, the Dow Jones average closed at 18,214.42, the S&P 500 closed at 2110.74, and the Nasdaq closed at 4987.89.  At these prices, I’m skeptical that the stocks can continue on their upward trajectory without a correction.  Take a look for yourself below at how the averages have performed in the last 5 years:
I’m preparing myself to expect a more normal, single-digit, return from stocks moving forward, at least in the short-term.  Thus, I’d like to pay off my debt and wait for the stock market to drop sharply before increasing my contribution again.  Currently, I have $7497 in debt that I’d like to retire this year.  At a minimum, I plan to still save an average of at least $1000 a month in my 401 (k) account.
By doing this, I’ll still be able to receive my company match and still defer some of my tax liability into the future.  Meanwhile, I’ll wait for the next buying opportunity.  Last year, between the company match and my contribution, I was able to contribute $15,626.25.    I also plan on contributing the maximum amount to my Roth IRA for 2014.  I have about a month and a half to raise the $1500 I need to top off my Roth IRA for last year.


Powerball Winners Declared!

Posted on | February 18, 2015 | No Comments

I purchased a few tickets for the Powerball lottery that was held on February 11th, 2015.  While I agree that the odds of winning are so small that one is probably just throwing money away, I still bought some tickets.  When the jackpot goes beyond 200 Million it is difficult to resist buying a few tickets and dreaming about how life might be different with a few million dollars in the bank.  Heck, I’d even by elated to win the 5 of 5 combination – that was worth $1,428,692!  That would be enough for me.  I could live rent/mortgage free for the rest of my life and then I could really start saving toward retirement.

There were three winning tickets that will share in the grand prize of an annuity valued at $564,100,000.00.  That is a lot of moolah!  They also have the option of a cash payment in the combined amount of $381,138,450.16 – also a staggering amount of money.  If they split the cash option, each will receive $166,666,666.  I like the fact that three winners will be sharing the grand prize.  I hope the money gets spread around and makes a positive impact on many lives.

Congrats to the winners in Texas, Puerto Rico and North Carolina!  Spend it wisely!

How much would you need to win to be set for life?

Meager Income – January 2015

Posted on | February 10, 2015 | No Comments

Meager Income update for January 2015

My goal is to no longer have to work and to be able to live off of my Meager Income.  I plan on purchasing assets (mostly stocks) that will provide me with dividend income that will increase over time.  Once my passive income exceeds my expenses, I’ll have met my goal of having the option to retire early.

Moving forward, I’ll be listing the dividends I receive so that in the future I’ll be able to look back and compare my results on a monthly, yearly and quarterly basis.  On occasion, I might make references to holdings in my Roth or IRA accounts but the main focus will be building up the income listed below.

The January 2015 dividends below are from my taxable accounts.  Read more

VISA Stock Split

Posted on | February 9, 2015 | No Comments

VISA recently announced a stock split. On March 19th, 1 current share of V will become 4 shares. Visa is currently trading at around $260 a share.  If it were to maintain this price each new share would be valued at about $65.  Although shareholders will still own the same portion of the business before and after the stock splits, I’m excited to have a larger number of shares. I also expect that the price will go up a little bit because the shares will become more affordable and more people will buy the stock. Although, Master Card also recently split their stock price hasn’t moved much post-split. Will the same happen to Visa?

I like Visa because of the dividend, they have a strong balance sheet and they are very profitable, they have potential for growth and I use their service(a lot!).

My analysis on Visa Inc. Read more

The Secret Millionaire – Ronald Read

Posted on | February 1, 2015 | No Comments

I enjoy reading stories about secret millionaires. I find it fascinating when otherwise normal people manage to accumulate great amounts of wealth by working hard and saving. It gives me hope and inspiration!

I found out about Ronald Read when CNBC published his story on their web site: Janitor bequeaths millions to library, hospital. When he passed away at the age of 92 last year, he left 1.2 Million dollars to the Brooks Memorial Library and 4.8 Million dollars to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. The report indicated that he was worth a total of 8 Million dollars so I imagine he left the remainder to his spouse and family. With the $2 Million that were left, I believe his family can maintain a comfortable standard of living.

After reading the article, I was intrigued and left with a question though: How did he do it? Read more

The Secret Millionaire – Grace Groner

Posted on | January 20, 2015 | No Comments

Grace Groner was born in 1909 and died in 2010 at the age of 100. Upon her death she provided her alma mater, Lake Forest College, with a $7 Million gift. This was in addition to the money she had given to the University already throughout her lifetime. She had previously donated $180,000 to start a scholarship program. The latest gift was through a foundation she had created two years before she passed away. The foundation should earn $300,000 a year and will provide a means for some students to study abroad and pursue internships.

Upon graduating college, she began her career with Abbott Laboratories. For the next 43 years she worked at Abbott. She made an initial investment in ABT stock in 1935. She purchased three shares at $60 each. After years of reinvesting the dividends that initial investment grew to $7 Million.

What struck me about her story the most is that she was able to live simply but still enjoyed her life and friends while still amassing a fortune. She lived below her means, had a steady paycheck and chose the right stock.
Read more

A $400,000 Mistake!

Posted on | January 15, 2015 | No Comments

The account holder thought he had ensured that his children would receive his IRA upon his passing. Unfortunately, because the account holder did not fill out the beneficiary form correctly, the funds were disbursed in accordance to his will instead of the IRA beneficiaries as he had intended. He should have just listed his children and the percentage each was to receive but instead he referred to his will which invalidated the beneficiary designation. Hence, his spouse of two months received the $400,000 IRA.

The article makes some recommendations to make sure that account holders set the beneficiary correctly. I found point #2 might be useful to me someday:

2) When filling out a beneficiary form, don’t forget to designate percentages next to the names of your beneficiaries. You can also write “in equal shares” if you want the assets to be distributed equally. Also know that adding “per stripes,” Latin for “bloodline,” after your beneficiaries’ names and the percentages, will ensure that it will go to your beneficiaries’ descendents.

In the article, Jeanie Ahn reminds the reader that the beneficiary forms can be used so that the assets in the accounts bypass the probate process and the recipients are able to receive the funds quickly.

The full story can be found here.

Before I forget, I need to review the beneficiary designations on my accounts.

When was the last time you reviewed the beneficiary designation on your IRA? Roth IRA? 401K?

My Goals for 2015

Posted on | January 7, 2015 | No Comments

2015 has finally arrived and it is now time to set expectations and goals for this year. Below I’ve written my initial list of things I’d like to accomplish this year. I will add details in the next few days.

1. Reduce debt.
2. Increase my dividend income.
3. Automate and better organize my finances.

I’ll review the progress I was able to make last year and update this post with specific dollar amounts.

« go backkeep looking »
  • Recent Tags

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts