Sunday, April 22, 2007

Newest Addition To The Financial Ladder...

I'm proud to announce that we have a new addition to the financial ladder. Our new bouncing baby boy started climbing with us on April 20th, 2007 @ 5:09 pm. Mommy and baby are both doing well and are in good health. The first financial related question he makes me ask is, what does a natural birth and a 3 day stay at a hospital cost nowa days?

That's not a subject I normally think about when discussing new babies with family or friends. Is there anyone out there willing to share what it cost them to give birth in a hospital, and what the actual cost was? Hopefully both of my wife's insurance companies will soften the hit a bit...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Child-Care Woes and an Imminent Birth...

I mentioned in a previous post that while my wife and I are at work, my wife's aunt will be watching our child. After further discussion with my wife, I found out that nothing in life is free! Turns out We'll be paying our aunt to watch him. So for approximately 6 hours a day, and about 4 days a week we'll be shelling out $30 a day for child-care.

That comes to about $5,800 a year including vacations. I came to the conclusion that it's only fair, she'll have her two grandchildren to watch as well our newborn. Plus, she'll be spending time, food and energy while she's not 100% healthy. A little research also shows me that daycare center child-care is much more expensive, so we have a good deal.

Speaking of baby, the wife visited the doctor the other day. Turns out if he's not born by next Thursday, they'll induce her that night! So we're possibly looking at an April 20th birth. I'll be taking off of work for about 2 1/2 weeks to help/bond with the baby. Now that a "countdown" has begun, she's scared and I'm nervous. She's also having false labor pains, which usually indicates the birth is near as well, so who knows...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Bigger Online Advertising Budgets = More Money For PF Bloggers?

Seeking Alpha reports online advertising spending is expected to be approximately $19.2 billion dollars in 2007. An online market researcher named "eMarketer" expects the financial services sector to increase it's online advertising spending by over 33% to $2.4 billion this year alone, and $3.52 billion by the year 2010. It's now one of the biggest online advertisers online.

Could this mean more money for the personal finance, investing and real estate bloggers out there? We do offer a large audience of the type of clientele they're looking for. They are willing to pay big money to the larger personal finance sites out there like yahoo finance, cnn money, aol's market watch, and msn. CNN Money’s display ad rates are $92 - $143 per thousand impressions (cpm)!

We may not get as much of the pie as the big shots out there, but it's there for the taking, and I'm a bit hungry..

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I Have a Bigger Salary Than The Co-Founders Of Google...

For the third year in a row the CEO and co-founders of google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin received a salary of $1. Interesting, and here I am thinking that I'm underpaid. Their main compensation comes from returns on their ownership of google. As major shareholders, their personal wealth is tied directly to the stock price appreciation and performance. Shares of google stock closed Tuesday at $472.60 each. Guess this helps out in between the pay checks...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Taxes, Insurance, a Baby, Oh My!

Taxes are finally finished and on their way first class. It was an interesting year with us having to actually PAY this year instead of receiving a refund. I adjusted my W-4 earlier on in the year to keep more, and pay less taxes through out the year. Though I may need to do some more fine tuning on it since we'll be shelling out about $1,600 for the year of 2006.

It should be interesting next year with our little tax deduction on the way ;-) Which brings to the heart attack the other day when my wife called me on April fools day to tell me she had the baby! Of course she really didn't, but It was the best scare I had in a while. In reality, she's now dilated 2 centimeters. Could be any day or week now. Oh, and I can't forget insurance on top of the taxes this month. I'm looking at having to pay out several hundred dollars for auto and home insurance this month. Whoa is me...(Que the violins)

Monday, April 02, 2007

Your Personal Finance Skills and Some Sound Advice...

Times Leader brings to light an interesting study on peoples financial skills, and puts forth some sound advice to help you with YOUR financial skills. The people of Harvard, Princeton and the Federal Reserve came together to compile a report: The Age of Reason: Financial Decisions Over the Life cycle.

After reviewing the financial records of tens of thousands of borrowers, they've basically found that the average person's financial decision-making skills reach it's peak at the age of 53, and then gradually decline.

"We find that younger adults and older adults borrow at higher interest rates and pay more fees than middle-aged adults. For the young, the lack of experience outweighs the sharp mind. With older folks, dimming faculties undermine even a lifetime of experience."


They mention a few simple principles you can keep in mind when making some big financial decisions. Here are some of them:

If you plan on hiring any type of financial consultant..

  • Get objective advice. That means relying on advisers who have no stake in whether you do what they suggest. A broker who earns sales commissions has a financial incentive to urge you to buy and sell, even if that’s not in your best interest.


  • Consider hiring a “fee-only” adviser who is paid a flat or hourly rate instead of commissions.


  • Fees matter. Sales commissions, annual account maintenance fees and other “incidentals” add up.


Or if you are a "do it yourselfer"...
  • Don’t rush. Whether you are young or old, assume that investments, loans and other financial choices are commitments you will stick with for years, so you have nothing to lose by taking a few weeks to make decisions.
  • Read all sales materials, prospectuses and other disclosures. Be sure you know your options if things don’t turn out as you expect. Suppose interest rates change or you have a financial crisis? Would you be able to reverse a decision?
I'm not crazy about reading those prospectuses. If you don't either, try a place like morningstar.com or my favorite yahoo finance. If you would also like to see how your financial skills rate, I found a little "financial IQ test" @ MSN.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April Net Worth Snapshot...

It's quiet...too quiet. This is the sound of the calm before the storm...the financial storm. I'm done paying last months bills, and haven't started paying this months yet. Thanks to the timing of a few financial helpers, this is another net worth record for us ($152,120.85).

This month our net worth has increased by 5.99%, for a dollar total of $8,601.65. You can view the blance sheet on the left, click to enlarge. There are a couple of transactions I made last month that stand out. I sold our I-bonds, and made a contribution towards our Roth IRA. I've had the bonds since Oct 05, and they've done pretty well since then, an appreciation of approximately 6.3%. I wanted to use the money for the roth contribution, and for an upcoming tax payment.

We did pretty well on the saving front due to a extra paycheck, auto insurance payment break, some overtime, and a record amount of blog advertising for the month. There was an interesting increase in my companies retirement plan for an unknown reason, almost $2,000. I'm not fully aware of how the plan works, so I can't explain it. My wife's 401 (k) still remains stagnant. She recently became eligible at her fairly new job, but they say they are making a transition to a new financial firm and they recommended she wait. It's been a little too long, so she plans on lighting a fire under a few peoples butts as soon as she's done with her maternity leave.

Thanks to not having to spend too much last month, our credit card bills have been lower than normal. As usual, all student, auto, and mortgage loans slowly being chipped away. Emergency reserve continues to grow, and is now around a healthy 42k. That's something like one year worth of expenses.

Unfortunately I don't have a positive outlook for next months net worth. Taxes, insurance, a baby, oh my!