Jan 27, 2016 To May 15, 2017 [Paid Off!]

#41
Small update. Salary bumped $3k per year. Maybe $66 more per paycheck, $130 per month. As a percentage of my spending it's like 7%. But as a percentage of salary it's like 2%. Not life changing but helps against inflation. Annual review at work was positive, so got more stock option lottery tickets. I need to push myself in the next year to advance my career. It is stagnating. I've been doing the same damn thing for 5 years, which is an eternity in tech.
 
#42
hooray, paycheck. $40,533 saved of $46,948 balance. I've been pretty disciplined in March and April, but I can feel myself getting tired of it. I can also feel a kind of "senioritis" - the finish line is so close, it almost feels like I'm already finished, and I don't have to try as hard. But I'm not finished! And there is so much to do after the condo gets paid off. I have to build back the emergency fund. I have to build a war chest either to sell the condo, max out retirement, or start a business.

In some ways, debt is easy. A vanilla fixed mortgage has a fixed opportunity cost. Soon, I'll be completely done with debt, and I'll be focused on investment. Efficient investment has risk. Profitable investment usually also has some information asymmetry, and it may take many conversations and a lot of research to find the best investments. I don't have a lot of experience with investing, so right now most of my reading is focused on it. I'm reading "The Future for Investors" which is written by the same guy as "Stocks for the Long Run." So far, it has emphasized the value of investing in older companies with long track records of good returns rather than investing in new companies that are growing quickly. Stocks are good, but I want more personal deals. Things where I can have deeper knowledge and more control over the outcome of the deal.
 
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#43
Randomly got $2630 from the startup acquisition deal. Apparently, it was a complicated deal and I'll get 2 more payouts sometime in the next 3 years. This puts me 2 weeks ahead of schedule! I'll be at 97% by this Friday! About $45k/$46k. Woohoo!

 
#44
Today my horoscope said:

Don't you dare ignore your phone or your email today! You might not be in the mood to talk with anyone initially, but you'll be amazed at how many people will be trying to contact you -- and at how many of those communications will arrive from a long-distance place. You may have thought they were gone from your life, at least temporarily, but obviously, that's not the case. Besides, you'll have some wonderful surprise news. Just don't say you heard it here.
And I got an email showing an account balance from old startup stock:
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
 
#45
Today my horoscope said:

Don't you dare ignore your phone or your email today! You might not be in the mood to talk with anyone initially, but you'll be amazed at how many people will be trying to contact you -- and at how many of those communications will arrive from a long-distance place. You may have thought they were gone from your life, at least temporarily, but obviously, that's not the case. Besides, you'll have some wonderful surprise news. Just don't say you heard it here.
And I got an email showing an account balance from old startup stock:
Imgur: The most awesome images on the Internet
... and ...

ATTENTION: Due to a clerical error the "Contingent Consideration" "Initial Deposits/Holdbacks" number reflected on the statement you received previously is incorrect. It has been updated to reflect your actual Contingent Consideration in this revised statement. We sincerely apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

*poof* the money is gone. Astrology INDEED!
 
#46
11 days until I finish! I came across an interesting article last night, one that I think deserves more thought.

Why Time Slows Down When We’re Afraid, Speeds Up as We Age, and Gets Warped on Vacation

It discusses some of the mechanics around how we perceive time. What makes time go faster and slower. Think this is especially relevant when we think about our long term goals. It can seem to be going very slowly! I remember Jan 27, 2016 when I was writing my first post here, and my goal was to finish by December 2016. It was months and month away! I remember thinking about it, and believing that I'd feel a big sense of relief when I reached the 50% mark, when I reached the 20% mark, etc. (sadly, I didn't feel much relief). Even now, 11 days stretches out like infinity. That perception can make these long term goals seem very daunting, so anything we can do to distract ourselves from it, to enjoy the time and *remember that we enjoyed it* so that we don't mind it so much, that will help us reach the big milestones with sacrifice and sanity.
 
#47
Payoff statement arrived today. Same numbers as the estimate ($46,058.77). In typical Bank of America style, the "We noticed you requested a payoff statement" mortgage refinance upsell arrived before the document I actually requested. Will be so glad when I'm rid of them. I think B of A is evil. A particularly vicious kind... acute evils are often extinguished (Hitler, serial killers, etc.) but B of A gets to screw people over for years and years like some kind of awful chronic genetic condition. I think they're organized criminals.

"And the administration--and this means both administrations, Obama and Bush--have refused to do even the most basic thing if you are serious about prosecuting, which is to require the banking regulatory agencies to renew their former practice of making criminal referrals against these elite frauds. Again, our agency made over 30,000 criminal referrals in the savings and loan crisis. In the current era, the largest banking regulatory agencies made zero criminal referrals. It is a scandal of epic proportions."

Bank of America Escapes Criminal Charges for Securities Fraud
 
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#51
Nothing super solid. Maybe get together some friends for sushi. I'll definitely be finishing the bottle of tequila I bought to celebrate closing on the condo 8 years ago. Most of my thinking is already around... what can I be excited about next? I chose to pay off the condo b/c it was an achievable, predictable win. Now I'll have about 75% of my income to do something with... about $6k a month, and I want to do something more meaningful than just stick it all in index funds.
 
#52
Nice way to bookend that mortgage! Sticking 75% of your income into index funds doesn't sound too shabby to me :D But if you already have adequate retirement savings, then maybe you could look for a rental property? Build yourself a Tiny House and rent out your paid-off condo? Start investing in classic cars, or rare tequila? The options are endless.
 
#53
Nice way to bookend that mortgage! Sticking 75% of your income into index funds doesn't sound too shabby to me :D But if you already have adequate retirement savings, then maybe you could look for a rental property? Build yourself a Tiny House and rent out your paid-off condo? Start investing in classic cars, or rare tequila? The options are endless.
I've been maxing retirement whenever I have the option. Many startups don't have 401k.

The bay area giveth 20% more salary than US average, and the bay area taketh pretty much everything else. I've looked at rentals, but the numbers (ratio of net worth, percentage rental return, etc.) just don't work out, and the market is definitely in a bubble right now. Building regulations make tiny homes illegal... it's an absurd system. Hundreds of people are living out of vans and RVs on the side of the road. I've considered switching to the RV life, but now that the condo is paid off, housing is ~7% of take home pay, so I really wouldn't make much progress from it.

Taxes and job market point strongly in the direction that I need to start a business to accelerate things, so I'm just thinking of any way to reduce risk. I want to sell financial education, but I'm still talking to people and trying to figure out the most helpful angle.
 
#57
Haha, this is awesome San Jose! II'm a little jealous and happy for you! ;) I've also thought about finance ed, and as a teacher already, this is a subject I'm pretty passionate about.

In a different kind of twist, my best friend moved from El Paso, TX to Tucson, AZ and decided to stop teaching high school math to become a "financial educator" with Primerica. I've already been texted by her and asked "what can I do to bring you on our team?" Umm, nothing. I'm boring- index funds through Vanguard all the way.
 
#58
Update. A little over 5 months after I finished paying off the debt. In that time, I've:

1) Visited my family on the east coast
2) Took a great hiking / gluttony vacation in the PNW in August.
3) Hermitted again for October. Completed 2/3 of my 401(k) contribution. November / December are easier b/c the paychecks don't include social security anymore.
4) Joined Moviepass... $10 lets me see a movie a day at almost any (?) theater. I've seen 3 movies this month. Blade Runner 2049 was awesome but Geostorm was awful.

But...*drum roll* how do I feel? That's what everybody wants to know, right? Does a flood of eternal calm and relief wash over you after pay off the mortgage? Not really. I've still had nights of nameless anxiety. After I paid it off, I wasn't wow'd. I was hoping it would kick in over time, but it hasn't really...

That doesn't mean there's no upside. I gotta say, since the mortgage has been paid off, it just seems like the cash is always there. I still budget, of course, and I try to be conservative with spending (I changed my phone plan to save $50) / aggressive with saving. When problems happen (relative needs $1000, GF got mugged in LA for $200, Fry's gets the Nintendo Switch in stock and I want to impulse purchase, etc.), the money is just magically there to deal with it without compromising my savings goal. While I'm still anxious about relationships or about the meaning of life, I'm not anxious about money. In the four months after may, I've saved $19,681 (~60% take home pay) and 2017 is on track to be my best savings year ever.


 
#60
Time moves on. I've been able to produce a new video every day, but definitely some days are easier than others. Much better if I can get it out of the way in the morning instead of the evening... in the evening I slow down, and it's just harder to explain things clearly when I've already been awake for 18 hours.

January and February spending is at around 24% of take home pay. That's going well. What I've learned from filming 48 videos is that quality takes time - more time than I have right now. But I keep soldiering on anyway.

The market took a dive recently. I kept my long term investments in 100% equities, but I'm putting all my savings into a safety net fund of 60% bonds and 40% stocks right now. If the market drops more, I'll buy lower. If there's a recession, I'll have a big pile of money even if the market drops more. Getting rid of the mortgage made my costs so low that it doesn't take much cash to keep going.