Friday, November 18, 2005

Just a quick recap after the dust has settled. I've paid off my credit cards since my 0% APR deal is up in January. They'll be paid-in-full from here on out. I've decided to transfer $300 into my ING account after my last paycheck and tuition reimbursement check cleared. This is in addition to my automatic $50 contribution.

So on Monday 11/21 (when my transfers will go through) I'll have the following in my accounts:

USBank: $344.34
INGDirect: $1491.70

In addition to the Sharebuilder account and CD.

As far as liabilities, I've already spent $91 on my mtvU card so far this month. I attribute this to bar visits. It'll be PIF again next month.

From here on out we'll focus on my ING account's progress. I hope to have near $1600 in my ING account by the end of this month. If all goes well, I'll hit my goal of over $3000 by the end of this school year. Much of this depends on the amount locked up in my B&M CD, which should mature in February. I don't think it's a lot of money, but who knows. It could range anywhere from <$1000-$5000+. I think it's between $1000-$1500. We'll find out in February. I've considered other investment vehicles, such as I-Bonds and short-term CDs. The problem with I-bonds is I'll need the money in about 6 months. I haven't found a short term CD (<6>4% APY) and doesn't have a large minimum deposit. I'm also leary of CDs since the Fed is expected to raise rates again in December.

So for now I'll just collect the money in my ING account. Futher complicating matters a possible chance to study abroad in Australia next May. That will eat up quite a bit of my funds, but obviously it will be worth it since it's pretty much a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I can postpone my plans to make time for Australia :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

UPDATE:

Finally received my tuition reimbursement check for this semester. At the beginning of each semester I purchase all of my books, then file a claim form with a receipt and wait for my reimbursement check. Well today I finally got my check in the mail, a nice $417. I've also paid my 2 credit cards off completely. After my payments post and my deposits clear, I'll update my status. In the meantime, I have a balance of $985.77 in my checking account. Usually the balance is never this high, so I'll enjoy it while I can. :)

Until then, I'll share the current holdings in my portfolio. I admit, most of these investments (or, more accurately, the paltry amounts held) were mistakes. Oh well. Selling after paying commissions many times the amount invested would be an even bigger mistake. I'll hold onto them for awhile. It should go without saying I'm not an investment professional. I don't recommend my style of investing to anyone.

So now that that's out of the way, onto the portfolio:


Ticker Symbol: Quantity: Value as of close 11/15/2005:
KO 2.317 98.38
PG 2.011 112.59
DIS 1.069 27.87
WEN 1.033 48.68
INTC 0.497 12.46
GVT 0.248 2.16
SVU 0.066 2.13
CIN 0.058 2.28
QQQQ 0.057 2.29
IJR 0.044 2.49
IYY 0.039 2.31
IJH 0.034 2.47
IWV 0.032 2.30
DIA 0.020 2.16
SPY 0.018 2.26

No, those aren't typos, I actually own many fractional shares of stock. All of those $2.xx started as $2 investments in the summer of 2004, to give you an idea of my gains.

Currently, my plans are to hold off on investing until I reach my $3000 goal. At that point, I will open an account with Fidelity in an effort to consolidate my finances. Eventually, I'd like to get the Fidelity Mastercard (1.5% cashback on all purchases.) With Fidelity, I plan on mainly buying index ETFs. I probably won't transfer my existing funds at Sharebuilder over to Fidelity, but I haven't decided for sure yet. From here on out, I will only invest in increments of ~$500, to limit the effect of commissions on my holdings.

More to come later.

This is my first post in the blog. This post will simply serve to get everything started. It'll get better, eventually.

Some basic info:

This is a personal finance blog inspired by other, better known blogs, such as MyMoneyBlog and NevBlog. It is written by a 19 year old college student (me.) At least for the time being, I will post somewhat anonymously.

My personal goals with this blog are to help track my progress in my goal to increase my net worth. More on this later.

Basic background: I'm a 19 year old in my 2nd year at an expensive private university. In high school, I made some poor financial decisions that have left me with very little saved. In other words, I carelessly spent paycheck after paycheck on modifying my car without saving much.

Entering college in 2004, this was the sum of my assets:
  • ~$200 in a 1% APY brick-and-mortar savings account
  • ~$300 in a USBank checking account
  • $??? an unknown amount in a brick-and-mortar CD
  • ~$50 in a Sharebuilder account
  • $3300 in a tax-free, non interest-bearing tuition reimbursement account c/o my high school employer
And that was pretty much it. I had no debt to speak of, except student loans which I won't count just yet. Since this past summer, I have been heavily focused on increasing my net worth. I made some mistakes on the way, but now I have a decent plan I think I can stick to without issue.

As of 11/15/2005, my net worth is as follows:
Currently, I am attempting to increase my savings by automatically debiting $50 each week from my checking account into the ING account. I work 15-25 hours/week at only $6.50/hr, so $50 is generally about 50% of my weekly post-tax income.

So $200/month directly into ING. At the end of each month, any amount over $300 in my checking account is transferred to ING. I only use my checking account to pay my CC bills, so only having $300 in the account doesn't bother me much.

I'll update more later, but that was definitely more than enough info for a first post.

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