Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What the Financial Planner Said

The meeting with the financial planner went well. It was more a discussion of the process and what we would work on together, so no actual advice was given. Still, it was good meet with him and lay the groundwork.

He typically visits with clients three times a year: during tax season to go over deductions and whatnot and discuss what to do differently in the coming year; during the summer to discuss how to achieve long- and short-term goals; and during the fall, to discuss employee benefits. But during the first year, we'll meet four or five times to get a foundation in place.

And, of course, he's available via e-mail and telephone if something comes up that I want his advice on.

His fee is more than I expected, though. My friend who uses him pays a lower fee because he started seeing him a several years ago. And once you hire him at a rate, it stays that rate. So if I hire him at this higher rate, it will stay the same even when his rates increase again. Also, the planner's confident that he'll be able to recoup my money for his fee and save me even more. (And to that I say: He'd better. Otherwise, what would be the point?)

I'm going to do it at least a year. I didn't have to do much thinking the last few years, since my financial "planning" was simply to pay off my credit card. Period. Now that that's done, though, I don't know what to do. It will good to have someone who does know take the reins and help me get some kind of structure in place.

Our first meeting is in October. I've already started completing my profile. So many questions! I'm encouraged; this will be good.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I was ineloquent in my last post. What I meant to say is that since becoming debt free, I've been thinking and behaving from a place of lack rather than a place of abundance. This is the wrong mindset and I am working to improve my thinking. To help me along, I e-mailed a financial planner today to see about setting up an initial consultation. It'll help to have an objective party provide some guidance ... and maybe give me permission to loosen up a bit. :-)

Monday, August 16, 2010

The 200th Post

Yep, still debt free. But you know what? I'm still living like I did while I was deep in debt.

I'd planned to treat myself to a much-needed massage after I moved. Didn't do it; didn't want to spend the money. I've wanted to treat myself to a getaway. Haven't planned anything; afraid to spend the money. I desperately need to replace my old mattresses. Haven't done it; haven't wanted to ... well you get the idea. I haven't even had the new prescription put into my eyeglasses yet.

This is not acceptable. The point of getting out of debt and increasing my savings was so that I could live my best life. I had to sacrifice a lot and learn some new habits. Turns out I learned those habits so well that I can't break myself out of them. I'm not saying I should go crazy and throw responsibility out the door, but when I start second-guessing small purchases -- like a frappe, for crying out loud -- something is wrong.

I'm afraid of that slippery slope. That it'll be a little here, a little there, and before you know it, all my hard work was for naught. But life is about balance, right? Seems I've swung too far the opposite way.

How am I going to fix this? I don't know yet. I've only been debt free for a week. Who knows? I could be handling this the right way. Maybe it requires small steps...

... and maybe it's time I called a professional. My employer covers the cost of one visit with a financial planner. I've met the guy at a few of the talks he's given at our company. He's a nice guy. In fact, one of my friends uses him and likes him. We'll see.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The End

The credit card debt? It is done.

The payment was posted yesterday but it didn't appear as such until this morning. After working toward this day for over three years, I could barely contain myself the last 24 hours waiting to see that zero balance.

I had the goal of 10/10/10, but I very much wanted to pay it off earlier. I couldn't see how that would be possible, what with buying a place and moving. But here I am. I still don't know how it happened (beyond divine intervention) but I am so thankful for it I have to testify.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Giving Back

While I wait for that last payment to get posted, I thought I'd check in to comment on something I've been doing lately. Ever since I signed the papers for my place, I've been donating more to charity. It started when I got money back from my settlement on my place. And since then, whenever I've received extra funds, I've made it a point to donate a portion to a worthy cause.

It feels amazing.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Debt-Freedom Eve

The money from savings was transferred to checking today, and the payment -- the full payment -- for my debt is scheduled to be paid tomorrow. Yeah, yeah, I know that it usually takes a day or two for the amount to get credited, but just knowing that the payment is scheduled for tomorrow gives me such joy I can barely contain myself.

Only one person knows, and he knows only because I sought his advice last week about what to do. And, obviously, anyone reading this knows. As much as I'd like to shout it from the rooftops, I know that sometimes, despite the best intentions, people have a hard time feeling happy for others in these situations. On the contrary, sometimes they feel envy and spite. I don't want anyone to feel bad. I've been there -- heck, envy is something I still struggle to overcome. It sucks to feel that way. And so I'll keep my secret.

The money that I had been dedicating to my credit card has been scheduled to automatically go into my savings starting in September. I'd still like to have $10K in savings, and the only way to do that is to save. So that's what I'll do. As I've learned with the debt, every payment counts. It might take some time, but I'll get there.

And with that, I'm heading to bed. I'll check in with the official zero announcement later this week. See ya then!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

August 2010 Update

How crazy is it that it's already August! Is it me or has this year just flown by? And my, oh, my, what a year it's been. Just a year ago I never would have imagined that I'd be thisclose to paying off my debt and living in my own home. Wow...

Anyway, let's get this monthly update off the ground:

The Debt: $1,622.74
The Savings: $5,947.26

The spike in the savings amount is because of money that I'd had parked in checking for a while but finally moved over to savings. I hadn't been counting it as savings since it technically wasn't in a savings account.

You might be asking yourself, "With her savings, why doesn't she just go ahead and pay off her debt?" That's a very good question. In fact, about three days ago, I asked myself the same thing. You know what? I didn't have a good answer. And so I'm paying it off next week. It's scheduled for next week.

And that brings me to this: What should I do with this blog after that? Certainly I'll keep it up. It is my hope that others will stumble upon this blog and realize that if I could do it, they certainly can. Do I post about my savings? I did name it "Saving Veronica," after all. It'll just be a tweak of the meaning from verb to adjective. We'll see.

For now, though, time for bed. I'll check in again soon. :-)