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Mid December Update

December 15th, 2008 at 07:03 am

Just a couple weeks left before we close out 2008. So this quarter was to concentrate on three things: 401(k) maxed – DONE, Pay off all consumer debt – almost done, and no new holiday debt – so far so good.

The medical debt keeps shrinking. I have $768 left to fund before I send in the check to Amex. I'll probably have it all funded this Friday and will send the check this weekend.

The closer we get to the end of the debt, the more excited my wife gets. For most of this journey this year, she was happy to just review the monthly summary reports, ask for slight adjustments, and manage a few of the categories (groceries, household items, and clothes).

Now, she wants to know what day everything is going to be paid off. She is telling all her friends and family. She's ready to really start attacking other goals next year like the EF and college accounts.

The real part of the journey I enjoyed this year is the honest and open communication with my wife. When we started last year, our marriage was very strained. I would yell at her about how much she spent on groceries and she would yell at me about how much I spent for lunch and breakfast every day.

Once we came together about the budget and started to respect each other and really listen to what is important to each other, the financial sacrifices didn't seem like a big deal.

So right now I am looking at the close of 2008 meeting most of my goals. I have our goals for 2009 set and approved by my wife. I am looking forward to spending the holidays with by family (not worrying about if I have enough money in January to pay for this month) and continuing this journey next year (getting closer to my wife and accomplishing more of our goals together).

As an aside, I blogged about having long term 5 year goals and all my short term goals move towards these goals. With that in mind, I have added two other goals. These goals are really to start preparing me for 2010. In 2010, I would like to start saving up to invest in real estate and start a foundation.

So, 2 new 2009 goals are to educate myself and start preparing for this. I would like to put 10% of my salary (right now, I don't know gross or net) into a foundation for charitable giving.

This really came about in a couple of places. Having two sons, I want to instill onto them an idea of charity. I also want it to be something they can be a part of – contribute to, chose the charity, and help with the investments.

At this point, I don't know enough about foundations to know if it is even feasible to start a foundation with less then $10,000.

In any case, I'll probably be asking for some thoughts on this in 2009 as I prepare for 2010.

6 Responses to “Mid December Update”

  1. ceejay74 Says:

    That is a great idea about the foundation. I'm going to start up our charitable giving again once I get pregnant. I only stopped so I could focus on my debt and be a more effective philanthropist in the future. Even if I can only manage $25 a month or whatever, I just feel I have to be doing something if I'm going to bring a child into the world.

  2. merch Says:

    It's amazing of the extra money you have when you start paying off debt.

    Looking at my budget, I can give more to charity then I have ever given in the past.

    I also wanted to set up something multi-generational that the family could do together, even after my children grow up.

    I'll keep you posted on what I finbd out.

  3. lizajane Says:

    "The real part of the journey I enjoyed this year is the honest and open communication with my wife." This is just wonderful! I like how you describe it going from yelling about spending, to just small steps in managing pieces of the expenses, to really excited about the final payoff and wanting to spread the word to everyone.

  4. lartiga Says:

    I also believe in the importance of giving, in big and small ways. When I first created my revocable living trust 5 years ago, I included the establishment of an endowment to my alma mater. In 2009, I plan to update my trust to augment charitable giving. I believe first and foremost, that one should make their own way in the world, so my DDs do not need to inherit 100% of my estate. Don't get me wrong, they will still get something, it's just that they DO NOT need it all, especially if they are financially secure in their own right. However, I have to die before any of this comes to pass.

    In future years I also want to focus on giving where I will see the impact while I am still alive. I don't think there is any minimum required to establish a foundation, and $10,000 can be used as start up or seed money if you solicit matching funds. It is a wonderful idea.

    In 2007,I coordinated the establishment of a "memorial fund" to honor a dear friend who died, and the major donor (his partner) contributed $100,000 as the start up. The interest and subsequent donations are used to fund science camp scholarships for poor, inner-city students. In 2008, we funded between $75 - $200 of the $250 tuition for 56 kids.

  5. Ms. Pearl Says:

    yay! I can relate so much about the marriage part. My husband and I have been getting along so much better with our plan and everything out in the open. Good luck with the charity, I think it sounds wonderful.

  6. gamecock43 Says:

    I like the honestly you said about you and your wife's communication. Sounds familiar. But I smile thinking how involved she is getting.

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