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Friday, August 7

Money Matters

Home Buying : The drama, dilemma and true costs.
Money Matters

Home Buying : The drama, dilemma and true costs.

We are a DINK (Dual Income No Kids) couple on work visas in the USA. Within this amazing country, we have moved for our jobs, we have moved to be with each other and we have moved for the weather. For the past 3 years though – we have lived in the same apartment that is 1 mile down the road from our place-of-work and we have adopted a beautiful dog. One could say that we are enjoying our lives. Being that we are finance conscious, our friends (home-owners) have repeatedly asked us about our intentions on home buying. The thought does have its merits – after all who doesn’t like the idea of pride of ownership, the idea of putting your stamp on a place, the idea of a white kitchen with a large island, the idea that our fur baby will have an entire backyard to run around, the idea of ...
Those Miscellaneous Home owner Expenses
Money Matters

Those Miscellaneous Home owner Expenses

The other day, I ran into my colleague at work who was dejected that he did not know pest control charges on his new home was 500$. He had closed on his new home just the week before and I just did not have the heart to point out the other expenses heading his way. We have also run into a lot of folks who think that just because they can afford to stay in an apartment where monthly Rent = 1500$, it means that they can afford a Mortgage of 1500$ per month. When we did the research for our buy vs rent scenario, we came up with so many other costs associated with home ownership that it blew our minds. Below are some of the annual costs that we came across: Charge TypeAnnual Cost ($)Mortgage Insurance1200Property Tax4000Home Insurance1000Utilities3000HOA660Pest control500Yard Care350Was...
Vanguard Stock Market Index Fund Experiment
Money Matters

Vanguard Stock Market Index Fund Experiment

Does VTSMX\VTSAX really work? I am a millennial who has heard enough stories about those burned by stock markets. Over the past couple of decades, I have developed a fear (bordering Paranoia) about stock market investing. In early 2017, I discovered Mr. Money Mustache and the online FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) community. They all religiously invest in stock market. After reading tons of blogs all advising index fund investment, I decided to wet my feet before jumping in headfirst. The experiment: Keep money invested for 1 year in an Index Fund. See what happens. On July 24, 2017 I invested 3000$ in VTSMX. I would see where I stand a year from then and make up my mind based on trends. I was neither looking for a raise nor a dip, I was just curious to see what woul...
Keeping up with Dog Expenses
Loki Tales, Money Matters

Keeping up with Dog Expenses

How much Money does it take to keep a dog? I have been asked this question multiple times since we got our dog. I figured, it is easier to list it here and reference this when the question comes my way again. Below are most of our dog related expenses. Detailed Description Amount Comments Adoption Fees 150$ You might get this waived if you visit during any adoption drive Harness, Collar and 5ft Leash 25$ Bought at shelter. Overpriced as it is a donation. Lease modification and 1 time pet fees 325$ Only for those in apartments. Pill Pockets 10$ Our dog had medication when we got him. Found out later that Costco has better rates. Furminator Deshedding Tool 50$ Was suggested to us. Was an unnecessary expenditure Dog Bed 50$ Costco has good...
Cheapest and Best Wireless Carrier in USA – TMobile
Money Matters

Cheapest and Best Wireless Carrier in USA – TMobile

How I came to  realize that TMobile is the cheapest and best Cell Phone Carrier in the USA, that provides the biggest bang for your bucks. My monthly Cell Phone bill has taken quite a steep downward turn after I switched to TMobile One Plan.  I am on one of the best plans available and I pay less than 20$ a month (30$ if I use more than 2GB of LTE). The plan is not grandfathered as of 2018/March/06. The following are what I receive: Unlimited 4G LTE smartphone data Unlimited Talk & Text Free Netflix Standard Subscription Scam ID T-Mobile Tuesday Benefits Other benefits I am unaware of around in flight wifi and international roaming. If you have following, you can follow my hack and get your monthly payments down to ridiculously low amounts: Good Credit Sc...
How much $$$ do I need to Retire ?
Money Matters

How much $$$ do I need to Retire ?

A lot of people go through their lives doing what they are supposed to do. Get education, get a job, get married, make kids, retire and finally the inevitable. Most forget to live their lives amongst all these. What if someone told you that you didn’t have to do all these, or at least…some of these. Recently, I asked a colleague what was the age that he wished to retire. His surprise was genuine when he said he had not given any thoughts to the matter since it was decades into the future. On yet another occasion, I asked another colleague how much did he think was needed to retire peacefully. He scoffed and said ‘Probably in the millions’. The two scenarios above kept making loops in my mind. Most people do not know that Retiring early is an Option. Most do not know how mu...
Practical Lesson: New vs Used Car
Money Matters

Practical Lesson: New vs Used Car

A year ago, after months of new vs used research, we ended up with a 5-year loan on a brand-new over-budget Toyota Rav4. It was my first ever car (new\used). We plan to keep the vehicle for a few years (more than 5).  As apprehensive as we were while buying a new vehicle, the joy of a shiny new toy convinced us that it was a good decision. The 0% interest on the loan helped too. Warning lights for following got thrown out of the window. We owed more on the car than our net-worth. Rate of depreciation was faster than rate of loan repayment. For a family of 2 that uses a local train for commute, SUV wasn’t really a necessary vehicle of choice. Our Rate of savings would take a huge dip thanks to an exorbitant monthly payment. Today somebody backed into our car. The damage was ...
Money Matters

Power of compounding using Curry Leaves

Most of the inspirational blogs I read nowadays tie to some childhood memory that I seem to be hanging on to. I came across the online Financial Independence community recently and most of them talk about the powers of saving and compounding. This reminded me of a story my mom told me as a kid and here it goes A man had 2 kids and when they were grown up and ready to make it on their own in the world, he gave them each a small curry leaf plant* and asked them to take care of it. Curry leaf is widely used in a variety of Indian dishes. A few years later he decides to visit his sons. He makes his way to his first son’s house. After the initial conversations, he brings up the curry leaf plant that he had given him when he left the home. The son replies: ‘Oh, that plant? It was so tiny. ...
The Millionaire Next Door – Book Review
Money Matters, Reviews

The Millionaire Next Door – Book Review

I do not know why but I am into Financial Blogs these Days. And one of the books I came across on multiple blogs is ‘The Millionaire Next Door’. This book was available on EBay for 2$ with free shipping so I got a copy for myself*. Anybody who is $ conscious should read this book. It is about 2 researchers who study common habits of millionaires. Here the term Millionaire is someone who has 1 million in savings\investment\worth. Why should you read it? Because it answers the following questions Where is my money going? Can we live happily and save with 1 person’s salary in the USA. Kids are so expensive these days. It is impossible to save with kid(s) in USA? Some of the most interesting things I learnt from the book People who drive Flashy and expensive Cars are not ...
5 Must Do things before one dies!
Money Matters

5 Must Do things before one dies!

You will never guess what the top 5 to-do things are before one dies. This list does not include scuba diving with sharks or bungee jumping in New Zealand. This is not an emotional or a traditional bucketlist that follows the path of enjoyment and must-have life experiences. Unless you are all alone in this world, there will be someone whom you love. This bucketlist is focused on the practical aspects of death the way it affects the people we leave behind to grieve for us.  However out-of-whack my reasons may seem, know that these are useful and necessary things and could save someone a lot of grief someday when we are gone. Write a Will: I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Everyone should have a will. If you are over the age of 18 and have over 100$ in your bank account...