Wednesday, December 9, 2015

401k, raises, expenses, etc.

My 401k balance has been very disappointing this year.

 I had hoped to be at a total of $50,000 by the end of this year, but it's sitting at under $45,000. This time last year I was at $39,000, so the increase is only a result of my and my employer's contributions. That is disappointing. We will get our matching and profit sharing for this year (mine will be about $4000), but that doesn't usually get deposited until June-ish of the next year. My boss made a comment to me the other day that the company owners were discussing the idea of putting even more into our 401k accounts in the form of profit sharing (free money!) but she didn't think it was a good idea. WTH! She said she felt like if everyone were just "given" their retirement savings, they wouldn't save on their own. Hmpf...I kind of tried to use the example that people used to have employer funded retirement plans (ie Pensions) and that was a good thing :). I wish they'd just put our bonus program back to 20%! That's what it used to be before the economy crash. Since it got re-implemented last year it's been at 10% (much appreciated) but I sure do miss that extra 10%.

About 7 more months and DD will be graduated and taking over her own expenses in full. It will save me car and health insurance, as well as the $100 a month college living expenses I give her.  Not to mention other misc expenses that come up throughout the year, but aren't a regular monthly payment, along with, when she is here living, she uses up food, electricity, etc. She will be moving in with her boyfriend upon graduating. If for some reason that relationship goes south (which I highly doubt) she will most likely have a job and get her own little apartment. If she chooses to live with us, she'll still have to take over her own expenses, as well as pay some rent. Either way, we'll be done supporting her.

It's getting close to annual reviews at work. Seems like just yesterday I was complaining about my really crappy raise I got. I am hoping for a better one this year, that's for sure. After my $1000 raise, I got a copy of the annual budget (done up in Nov) and it showed I was supposed to get $2000. I didn't question my boss about it. It was what it was, for whatever reason. If I get only get that again, this year - and everyone else gets those 6-10% (or more!) raises again, I will probably ask what is up. I don't expect huge raises, but I certainly think 3% is reasonable.  Last year I got a little over 1%. Yesterday I printed out for my boss all the "total compensation" reports that everyone gets at their annual review. It shows total compensation, including bonus, benefits, etc, so I know reviews are coming in the month or so. I have braced myself for another disappointment, though.  We had another stellar sales year (already past our annual goal before year end) so it's not like the company is struggling at all. I did keep a little word document this year, where I wrote down some of my accomplishments throughout the year. That is one of the things we have to list 3 in our "self reviews" and most of the time I totally forget all the little accomplishments, so at least now I have something to work with when I sit down to fill it out. Later yesterday afternoon I got a peek at the 2016 budget - it is showing me with a $2000 increase, again. We'll see, I guess. I at least hope I get that, this time.

The only credit cards I have been able to get approved for since the bankruptcy (now 5 years past) has been store cards. I'd like to get my credit score up over 700. When I tried to refinance our mortgage last month I was given a copy of it and it was 685, per the banks report. I decided to apply for a secure card with Capital One. I had to make a $49 deposit to have on hold and got a credit card for $200 limit. Not much, but gotta start somewhere with it. It will report to the credit bureau's and eventually help. I already have savings account(s) through Capital One and this new card linked right up to my online account. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out it comes with free credit score tracking. Now I can really know (even though CreditKarma and CreditSesame are pretty close) exactly what it is. It is showing 703, so that made me feel better. When the time comes to apply for a mortgage for a new home, the higher the credit score the better we'll do.


  1. Since you're not close to retirement yet, I think it's probably a good thing that your 401k isn't above $50,000. Your contributions are buying more shares with the market the way it is now than when it is high. I actually think I would say something that your raise last year didn't match the budget. If you were meant to see the budget, which I assume you were, then why not say that it doesn't match?

    1. Good point! That's what I keep reminding myself when I look at the balance. I'm buying lots of shares cheap with my (and my employer) contributions and when it goes up, then my balance will go up nicely.

      You are right about the raise/budget. I am just not always a very strong person when it comes to speaking up for myself. I haven't looked, but most likely most peoples did not match the budget. Some were probably higher, some lower. I think she just throws in there a flat % for everyone (since we do the budget before reviews) and then it's later when everything is decided, based on each person's review. Our budget is just to get a close approximate of what our overall expenses for the year will be. There is LOTS of wiggle room.

  2. It'll be interesting to see the savings when your daughter takes over her bills won't it. My son and his gf lived with me for 3 years, fed and watered etc. for free. I didn't mind, but now they have moved out (one month now) he has taken over his medical, driving licence, phone and everything so it will help. He is still an apprentice so only makes half the minimum wage as yet but she is a fully qualified nurse so I expect her to stump up when necessary, after all I didn't have to support her for 3 years for free, particularly since her own mom lives just 500 yards down the road. But as I said, I will help him if necessary and she can do the rest. What I will be really curious to see, however, is the savings on heating, water, electricity, food etc, being on my own now. It's just not tangible as yet. Anna