Though I've paid off my debt, my financial health is still very much a work in progress. To chart my evolution I've decided to check in at least once a month with a progress report.
So what's been going on since last month:
I've met with my financial planner a few times. We had our initial session in October, during which he collected all my paperwork -- the mortgage papers, insurance papers, bank statements, payroll statements ... the works. We didn't talk about much during that session, but we had a teleconference almost two weeks later, after he had a chance to analyze everything. We used GoTo Meeting and he was able to show me my spreadsheets. He thinks I'm doing OK but he thinks I can (and should) save more per month than I'm saving. He wants me to save at least another $150 per month.
We met yet again a few days after the teleconference so that he could review in person everything we had talked about and tell me his plan for the next year. I left feeling good about things, and that's how you want to feel after these things.
We have one more meeting this year so that we can redistribute some of my 401(k) investments, and at some point we'll probably talk about my employee benefits. (He's thinking that I would benefit from the high-deductible health plan if I use a health savings account, which my employer will be offering for the first time this coming year.)
Another change is that I've lost my monthly freelance gig. They've decided to cut back and try to do more stuff in-house. To be frank, I debated last year and recently whether I wanted to continue doing it. While I appreciate the extra money, it's not that much, and by the time the taxes come out of it, I have to question whether it's really worth it. So I wasn't too upset about it. Besides, as three separate people reminded me that day, it will give me more time to write. (More on that in the day in the life blog.)
As for the debt, I'm still doing very well at staying debt free. I do have one outstanding balance -- for about $60. It was for about $112, and I was about to pay it all off. But then I remembered that it's good to have some activity on your account to keep banks from slashing your credit limit or canceling your card altogether. So I paid off part and will pay of the rest next month.
But I have to say how relieved I am to still be debt free. I came across this article today on how much debt actually costs thanks to interest. A few years ago -- heck, just one year ago! -- I would've felt such anxiety from reading it. Now it just serves as a nice reminder of where I came from and what not to do again.
So that's how things are these days. See you next month!