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Hi all ...

Well, I'm a little behind in posting the quarterly updates. I changed jobs recently, and although I thought I brought over my financial goals file, I don't seem to have it. No matter, I know what my 2003 goals were and can recreate it. So, rather than send you back to the prior quarters, we'll just begin again.

First, I'll revisit the goals I had for December 2003:

1. Non-retirement investments at or greater than $10,000.
2. Total investments at or greater than $20,000.
3. Student loan debt at or less than $47,000.
4. Total debt at or less than $53,200.
5. Debt ratio at or less than 2.66:1.

Here's where I was at August 31, 2001, October 15, 2002, and March 31, 2002:

8/31/2001 10/15/2002 3/31/2003
Retirement investments $ 3,000 $ 6,101 $ 8,457
Non-retirment investments $ 6,800 $ 9,310 $13,100
Total investments $ 9,800 $15,411 $21,557
Student loan debt $58,500 $53,898 $52,225
Other debt $11,500 $19,648 $16,486
Total debt $70,000 $73,546 $68,711
Debt Ratio 7.14:1 4:77:1 3.19:1

So, I had made pretty good strides in 19 months ... more than doubling my non-retirement investmentts and almost tripling my retirement investments. My debt levels didn't drop much in that period (only $1300), but that was due to the purchase of another automobile for $13,000. The sale of my old automobile would have reduced that debt load at 3/31 by another $7300.

Where am I now?
At July 15th, the picture looks even better, although some things are yet to happen that will improve the situation to an even greater scale.

First, I have eliminated car loan #1 as I FINALLY had a buyer for the car. Unfortunately, that buyer backed out at the last minute, and I still own the @#$%! thing, but I have a number of people interested at the moment, and I have a clear title. The financial hit is seen in my emergency fund, which is back below $10,000. The selling price on my car is around $6500, so if I realize even $6000 of that, my e-fund will jump to a level higher than it has ever been -- and hit my fully funded target of $15,000.

I also was paid to leave my last job, as I took advantage of a voluntary severace program. I should realize the lump-sum payment to me this Friday, which I am estimating to be about $11,000. Regardless of the final number, $10,000 of it is going immediately to Sallie Mae to further reduce my student loan obligation to them, so hopefully by August 1, I'll realize a nice reduction in that debt level and meet my debt ratio goal 5 months early.

Finally, because of the job move, I have a six-month hiatus from investing in my 401(k). During this time, I intend on contributing 6% of my gross salary into my Roth. I won't get an employer match, but I suppose I can't complain about that -- as part of my severance, my former employer has made me fully vested in the pension plan, which should net me another $3000 or so. I suppose I should divert those funds directly into a retirement vehicle, but will instead use them to pay down Sallie Mae (the $3000 is included in the $11,000 estimate from the last paragraph).

Given these situations, it's now necessary to revise the goals for December 2003. Thus:

Retirement investments at or greater than $13,000.
Non-retirement investments at or greater than $15,000.
Total investments at or greater than $28,000.

Student loan debt at or less than $40,000.
Non-student loan debt at or less than $6,500.
Total debt at or less than $46,500.

Debt ratio at or less than 1.66:1.

These goals vary from the original plan as follows:

Retirement investments: + $ 3,000
Non-retirment investments: - $ 5,000
Total investments: - $ 2,000
Student loan debt + $ 7,000
Non-student loan debt - $ 300
Total debt + $ 6,700
Debt ratio - 1:1

And so, we start:

Retirement investments $11,289
Non-retirment investments $ 9,041
Total investments $20,330
Student loan debt $51,606
Other debt $ 8,087
Total debt $59,693
Debt Ratio 2.94:1

Rather than reporting quarterly, I'm going to start reporting monthly. Next report date = 7/31/2003 (and then every month-end thereafter). In addition, to help keep my spending on track, I'm also going to post my monthly cashflow. For those of you interested, it will be included in a separate post.

Let the fun begin!!

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No. of Recommendations: 0
can't... scroll... to see... the rest. Ah, there. Now, where's that next line?

Try to remember to insert hard carriage returns (by hitting enter) when using the table format. Just makes it easier on my mouse. Believe me, he gets enough exercise as it is.

Congratulations on the great progress you've made with your investments! Your "other debt" seemed to be headed in the wrong direction for a while there, but it looks like you've come up with a plan of attack. At least it didn't increase more than your investments did! And it sounds like when you sell your car it'll get significantly better.

One suggestion, which would depend on the rates you're paying - you might want to attack your "other debt" before your student loan debt, or at least more quickly than your student debt.

Keep it up, we'll be cheering for you!

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