Author Archives: Savvy Financial Latina

Why I Resigned

On Monday, I walked in to the office and gave my manager my two weeks’ notice. It was the shortest conversation ever.

Me: “Just wanted to inform you my last day will October 13th.”

Manager: “Where are you going to work?”

Me: “I’m leaving to pursue other opportunities.”

Manager: “Are you leaving the city.”

Me: “I’m leaving the company.”

Manager: “Well, best wishes.”

Then, I got up, mentioned something about using the rest of my vacation, and left the room. You’re probably wondering, what the heck. But the truth is the conversation went as expected. The reason I left the company is because my manager was bullying me and treating me differently (negatively) than my male colleagues. I had documentation, had gone to HR, and nothing happened.

I hope to never have to go through it again. It was scary. I felt powerless and it was awful. But thankfully I was not alone. Could I have moved internally? Yes, I was working on leads internally, but I, also, wanted to get the heck away from manager. I went from being a top performer to being criticized about things that were uncalled and inappropriate remarks. I started to look externally for a job, and landed a position that was a better fit (5-6 weeks after I started looking). I really could not turn it down, once I got the offer. It would have taken me a couple years to finally land a similar position at my current company.

Once I put in my notice, apparently I shocked people. But I didn’t shock my current manager. I made some great relationships, but it’s time to move on.

What I learned from this experience:

  1. The Importance of Confidence: I could have stayed longer, endured, waited for management to change. But I decided it just wasn’t worth it right now. I’m at a point in my life where I can take risks. Taking this job was a risk, but I learned a lot and it helped me land the new position. But I’m valuable. So if the company doesn’t value me, then I will find somewhere else where I will be valued.
  2. The Importance of a Supportive Spouse: I love my husband. He’s very supportive and is actually the one who said I shouldn’t have to put up with a manager who doesn’t value me and who attempted to bully me.
  3. The Importance of a Network: For support, for job leads, for help in desperate times.
  4. The Importance of Friends: For support, for help in desperate times. Friendships are so important.
  5. Bad Managers Suck: Bad managers are demoralizing. I had never had a bad manager before and it totally sucked.

We’re not financially independent yet, but the reason I want to be financially independent is because I want to have freedom. I don’t want to be stuck to a job because I can’t survive without it. I want to have power.

Did I make the right move? I don’t know. Time will tell. Am I making a bad move? No, I am not.

2 Weeks Notice

On Monday, I will walk into the office and give my two weeks notice. Oh, also, I will tell my manager I will need to take 5 days off to use up all my vacation. My company does not pay full for vacation, so I’m going to take the vacation instead.

I’m both excited and anxious. I will go into more detail of why I decided to resign after a little over a year with the company when I think it’s appropriate. I write anonymously, but still…

One of my college professors told my class that our generation will work for seven companies in our career. I’m five years into the corporate life (started at 22) and will be on my third, once I start my new job with my new company.

We’re, also, relocating once again. We are moving back to Dallas. I received/accepted an offer and it happens to be in Dallas. It’s going to be a crazy few months.

I’m super excited about this new opportunity. I’m, also, very grateful for this opportunity came at the right time when I need to exit from my current role. But seriously, I’m going to stick at this company for a few years. I’m nervous. I’m starting over again and I was just starting to build a network at my current company. But I learned so much, so I just need to remind myself to focus on the future and be positive. I will do awesome at this next job and I will be close to friends and family (pro’s and con’s on that one). But I’m beyond excited to be close to my best friends. The ones, where I can just show up and fall asleep on their couch.

I have an amazing husband, who is once again moving and putting his job security at risk again for my career. He landed a job a few months and he’s working for a really good team. He’s going to be here for a bit longer, then he will work from home until sometime next year.

There are many decisions coming up. Yes, more than deciding to resign from my current job, and accepting another. Like where are we going to live?

So, we have been tossing the idea around of buying a second house in Dallas. Our current house is rented to a couple of friends. So this is a great opportunity to start on the rental income path. So here are the options:

  1. Buy a house – the market is so crazy hot in Dallas. I never thought I would spend as much money as we’re thinking of spending, but there’s really nothing available below $200K. I increased our budget to $250K, and even then, it’s slim pickings.
  2. Build a house – This would be a super complicated ordeal. But we would get everything we want (well hopefully) for as much as we would spend buying an already built “used” house.
  3. Move into our old house – We move into our already purchased house after we give notice to our current tenants. We will spend money fixing it up. We bought this house in 2013 as a fixer upper. It needed a lot of fixing it up. When we moved in, it barely had running electricity. We decided that if we moved in, we would spend the money and time to work on a lot of internal projects while we are not in the house. Projects: Install hardwood floors throughout house, gut the bathrooms, drywall and insulate the garage, remove popcorn ceilings, paint the inside of the house. We could probably wait to do the garage once we moved in, but the floors, bathrooms and popcorn ceilings would need to be completed before we moved in to the house.

It’s a hard choice to make. I don’t know what’s the right decision. I don’t want to be house poor. I don’t want to buy an overvalued house. We have long term plans to get to financial independence, and I don’t want our current decision to put a damper in our plans.

I’m 27 year old who’s just trying to make the right decisions in life. I swear after we finish this episode in our lives, life will slow down.

Making Decisions at 27

This blog has always been about sharing the ups and downs of someone trying to manage all aspects of life: money, career, personal.

I always admire the people who have made it: Mr. Money Mustache, Root of Good, Retire by 40, and Mr. 1500 are just a few of the bloggers who inspire me. I started following them when I was 21, working on my master’s degree, and living paycheck to paycheck.

Last year, I received an opportunity to switch jobs and increase my salary. The upfront incentives were nice. It was a really hard decision to make. I was not actively looking for a new job, but was recruited through LinkedIn. I had a great boss and a really good team, but part of me wanted to grow and learn something new. I was ready for a new challenge. So, I accepted the offer. We moved across the country, my husband quit his job, took some time off, and then found a new job. So much change. So little time.

Things were going really great. I was nominated for top performer of the year, received great feedback from my manager. But then I moved to another team (I didn’t really have a choice). I was put in a very challenging role, and I was ready, and excited to tackle it. It took me a few weeks to realize my new manager is super green, micro manager, insecure, no idea what he’s doing. But I thought ok, I can do it, I can make it. Then, things started getting worse. The perfect storm. I can’t share a lot at this moment, but will write more when I can.

I had to quickly figure out what I was going to do. If I left the company for another position, I would have to pay back part of the incentives, and lose out on my employer 401K match. If I stayed, I’m not quite sure what would happen. Through the grapevine, I found out some things about the fate of the last team he managed two years ago. I started to lose faith.

I have a really strong support network. My husband is amazing. He moved across the country for me. I, also, have great friends. Great mentors.

Something else resonated with me. Stacking Cash wrote a comment on one of my posts in July. “Be and feel empowered with yourself, it will go a long ways in your life.”

I’m not sure if I’m making the right decisions. I hope I’m making the right decisions.

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We are not at a point where I don’t need my job. Not FI yet. Maybe in five to ten years we will be there. But at this point, not quite there for me to just say I’m not going to have a job. But this is why FI is so important for me.

When things like this happen, and you’re faced with a situation where you don’t know what to do internally. I think the best everyone can do, especially women, is to be empowered.

Life Update: Sept 2017

My 2018’s resolutions will have to include publishing more posts. I have been MIA the past couple of months…well maybe more than a year to be honest. Once you stop writing, it’s hard to start writing again. It feels a bit weird starting to share again. But honestly, it’s very much like running. Once I finish running, I feel great. Writing is therapeutic.

About a year ago, we relocated to the MidWest for my job. It has been a year of transition. The new company has been an adjustment. Honestly, I can’t believe how much I used to complain about my old company and now, there are days where I miss my old company so much. There is something to be said about being comfortable where you are in life and how hard it is to change.

It’s been an adjustment to live in a new city and make new friends. In Dallas, we had a circle of friends, and a network to support us. In this new city, we are starting from scratch.

The allure of more money enticed me to accept my current job, but there are days where I wonder if more money was/is worth it. I increased my salary, but work more hours. Not sure. I do have to say that you get used to the increased income. We haven’t increased our lifestyle, but it’s nice to be able to save a bit more money.

Honestly, I’m looking at other options. At 27, I feel so young and old at the same time. When I was 20, I had so many dreams. I don’t feel settled at 27. Maybe it comes when I turn 30?

My anxious self often has me second guessing myself. I just have to hope that I’m making the right decisions for my career and life.

Corporate Gig Warning

Just finished a pretty rough week. Well, actually most weeks have been pretty rough lately.

Today being Friday though, my mood did improve. I smiled, I laughed….I did a great job of faking it today!!! Payday is 10 days away!

I wanted to write a quick post to warn people. Corporate america is very cut throat. It’s all about numbers. We just started our new budget season. Sales are down, which means there will be people cuts. I know for a fact there will be cuts because I’m close to the numbers.

It’s a reason why I’m more determined than ever to hit FI. Yes, it might take 15 years, but there’s no way we can be fifty trusting we will still have jobs.

Companies are no longer loyal. Plus, you are expected to do more with less.

There are days where I want to tell my 20 year brother about how horrible it is. But I have to be careful not to strip him of his motivation.

I’m already encouraging him to save money and learn how to manage a budget.

On another note, I have spoken with 3 soon to be dads in the past week. When they mentioned they will soon be going on paternity leave, I asked when they will be back. Our company’s paternity policy is two months if you will provide 50% of the care. If you will provide less, it’s 2 weeks. It’s basically a technicality for when both parents work for the parents. One parent has to declare primary, and the second parent, secondary. In my department, 3 dads have taken the 2 months in the past year. I encouraged all of them to take the 2 months. After all, I’m a proponent of equal parenting.

All 3 dads said they were taking 2 weeks. They are afraid to take more than 2 weeks for fear of losing their job.

Life Update – FI Number

It’s July 2017.

In May 2017, I was promoted and moved to a new team. More money, more stress.

Remember how I said we were thinking about buying a house? Scratch that. The last couple months have made me realize I can’t keep doing this until I’m 65. And my husband has wanted to retire since forever ago. The whole climbing the corporate ladder is also not looking enticing at all.

In a moment of desperation, I sat down, opened an excel sheet, and started figuring out how much money we needed to get to FI.

Yes, after saying that I didn’t want to figure out a number because I have to worry about my parents, I still calculated it.

We spend about $40K a year. I want to add another $10K of buffer, just in case. If I multiply $50K x 33 = $1,650,000.

I would like to have additional buffer, so I’m aiming for us to hit $2,000,000 on the safe side. I estimated we can get to $2M in 15 years.

And that’s how I came up with a number to get to FI. 15 years seems like a long time…But I’m hoping the more money we start front loading, the more money will snowball (compound interest) and we will get there sooner, rather than later.

What Keeps Me Up At Night

I’m super busy. Work, gym, home, sleep. These days are all blurring together. Pardon any grammar mistakes, I wrote the following post very quickly. 

I don’t know what it is about this week, but it’s been quite challenging to focus on work. I just want to be doing something else completely different. My husband just started a new job and he feels the same way. He is a lot more vocal about it.

I tend to just grind it out and just power through it. But there are moments, many, many moments where I wonder how much longer? I really try not to think about it because personally I don’t think I’ll ever retire. Why?

Am I pessimist? Yes. But there is another reason that keeps me up at night. The reason? My parents.

While some people worry about health insurance and maintaining it in financial independence, I don’t particularly worry about it. I spent 20+ years until I got my first corporate job uninsured. My family was/is still uninsured. What worries me is how do I account for my parents.

I think most people my age and in my socio economic circle have well-off parents. They don’t worry about taking care of their parents financially in the near future. I even listened to a podcast talking about whether people had their parents in mind when calculating FI dates. Most said no. Maybe because most of the personal finance space is predominantly (nothing against it) Anglo –American. But when you come from a Hispanic family, it’s different. It’s hard to explain. Believe me I’ve tried with my husband (who is not Hispanic). We are taught at a very early age parents come first, and as kids, we must take care of them in old age. When you come from a poor family, well your parents don’t really have access to a 401K, and don’t even make enough money to put any money in retirement accounts.

So my parents will depend on my brother and I. It’s a situation that is constantly at the front of my mind. How to prepare? My parents are pretty frugal, so I know they don’t spend money nilly willy. They have a house in Mexico. It needs work. But with a $10K investment, it could turn into a real gem. However, I don’t think they want to live there full-time. They like the U.S. more. My parents have their little house in the US, but honestly, I want them to live in a better house. Not a bigger house…although it would be nice to have one more room…but mostly a nicer house.

Financially taking care of my parents full-time scares me a lot. So on top of having to worry about our retirement, I have to worry about my parents! Yikes! Super scary. Thus, my hesitation to even put a $ figure to what I consider financial independence. 

The takeaway? The situation causes a lot of anxiety. A lot.

Is anybody else tackling this scenario? What’s your take on taking care of parents? Are you anxious? 

The Benefits of No Commute

When we relocated for my job this summer, we had to find a new place to live pretty quickly.Having only been in the city for twenty four hours during my final interview, the search for a place was a bit overwhelming. Since we were packing up our house, saying our goodbyes, dealing with family, and work, we had no time to go and search for a new place. Most people would be scared. Most people would choose to rent a hotel, or find another temporary assignment. But I’m not most people. 

It took me about a week to find our apartment. I asked for recommendations from several people. These people included the company’s recruiter and hiring human resources manager. We, also, lucked out when a family member recommended we get in touch with their friend in the area. We received some tips as to what neighborhoods were safe.

Then, the search began in the targeted neighborhoods. I had a budget. Our budget for housing was no more than $1,000. Ideally, we would get a 2 bedroom apartment or house.

I ended up finding an 2 bed, 1.5 bath for $965 per month. Under budget and within five minutes to work. So now, unto the benefits of no commute.

1.       More time in your day. I took part of my day back. Granted I still work long hours, but at least I can squeeze in some gym time without getting home super late.

2.       Minimize gas expenses. I fill up my gas tank max once a month. I walk to work every day and use my car to run errands.

3.       Less Miles. Since I’m driving less, my car will last longer. I have a 2007 Honda Civic, 2 door with 93,000 miles. Since Hondas are highly dependable cars, my car should last for many more years. Hopefully, well into my 30s.

 On a final note, we really like living in our neighborhood. It’s very walkable. There are many restaurants, bars, and a farmer’s market on the weekend. We do live in the city, so have to go to the suburbs to get more affordable groceries. 

Planned 2017 Budget

Here is the planned budget (expenses) for 2017.

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A couple of key points:

          The T-Mobile bill is for 5 people. I pay for my parents’ and my brother’s cellphone bill. My brother reimburses me $32 every month to pay for his portion of the bill and his Iphone. I’m definitely giving him a great deal since he is in college. So really, the bill is $144 ($36 per person). I miss not paying for cellphones (we used to have work cellphones). While I’ve looked at other options, T-Mobile’s plan is the best because we all have Iphones. My parents find Iphones easy to use and we prefer Iphones. T-Mobile’s free international calling and roaming is a huge plus. My mom spends time in Mexico and she can now be reached whenever and she can also communicate freely. Plus she calls Mexico a lot when she is in the US.

           Food is budgeted for $515. We usually go over on this category. Actually, every single month. I should probably give up and raise it to $600. That’s a more realistic number to shoot for every month. Will review next month…

          I don’t have travel or health &medical budgeted for in the budget. It’s zero now. We have a savings account where we put travel money every month, so when we spend money for travel, the money comes out of that savings account. This fund came in useful when I had to fly for my grandmother’s funeral in early January. I had to book an international flight same day. It was very expensive, but I’m glad I went. Health & medical will usually include prescriptions, medical appointments. We usually average $700 with contacts, glasses, dentists, prescritions, etc. It’s hard to budget on a monthly basis though. Expenses come at different times of the year.

          Did you notice there is no gym membership? I use my work gym (win!). I’ve actually never paid for a gym membership. My husband hasn’t signed up for one. I’m hoping when he lands he has access to a gym for free. A girl can dream.

          Shopping is for any shopping that’s not related to groceries. Clothes, video games, etc.

          Auto Insurance – We own 2007 Honda Civic and a 2008 Mitsibushi Lancer. The cost is split up and sent to a separate savings account since the payment is semiannual. This is for full coverage. Need to review in 6 months whether it would save us more money to drop full coverage and switch to liability only. Our deductible is already at $1,000.

          I try to make sure out actual spending stays within our budget. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

Monthly budget is set at $2,426. Let’s say we come in usually around $2,500. I think that’s pretty good. We could cut food, but it’s really hard. We like food. I think an easy win would be to relook at our insurance premium when it renews in 6 months. 

Home Ownership Emotional Side

I have a weird emotional connection to home ownership.

Maybe it’s the immigrant attachment to owning hard valuables you can touch or fulfilling the American dream? The truth it is I keep running the numbers behind whether we buy a home in the new city or keep renting. I know renting provides flexibility to move wherever, whenever. But owning a home in Texas didn’t stop us from picking up and moving last year. We bought a house where the numbers made sense and we are now renting it. We have 3 years to figure out what to do with the home, although we are leaning towards keeping the house forever.

 This is all me and my random thoughts….

 So, now I want to buy another house. My husband looks at me goofily; he is not sure whether he wants to buy another property right now. He thinks the market is too high, but market timing is so iffy. So, I’ve been running the numbers and thinking about why buy a house. NY Times Rent vs Buy calculator is pretty useful. From my perspective, I feel like buying a house would keep me motivated. I need a carrot to keep running on the treadmill. Financial independence should be the carrot that keeps me on the treadmill? Yes and no. Yes, it keeps me motivated long term (in the decades horizon), but not necessarily in the near term (5 – 7 year horizon).

Our apartment is nice, no maintenance, and yet…I want to own 20% of my walls around me (the bank owns the rest until the house is paid off). In order, to run the numbers, I have been trying to get a gauge for the real estate and what we can get.

Criteria 1: Stay within walking distance to work. Save gas, miles on car, and time. Which means city living.

Criteria 2: 2 Bath, 2 Bed Min.

Criteria 4: Single family home.

 Criteria 5: No big updates to do, no carpet, energy efficiency windows, furnace/HVAC fairly new, good location, single lot (no townhome), place to park the cars. Gosh, our tastes sure have gone up.

So looking at $250K price tag for 1500 square feet, 2 bed,2 bath, carport. Whoppers. It’s going to be hard to pull off a 15 year mortgage. Actually it’s going to be more beneficial to get a 30 year mortgage. I never thought I would say that. By the way right now, our monthly rent is $965 for a two bedroom apartment, 890 square foot apartment.

So yeah, the only hesitation is the amount of debt we will have to take on. So glad we don’t live in California or Portland. But if it’s within walking distance, I could take 50% of what I have budgeted for gas and allocate to the home budget. Oh if we stay within walking distance to my work (which we are right now), my car will last longer, potentially delaying my car needing to be replaced until my 30s. Do you see me playing with numbers? Trying to figure out what I could reduce in the budget to make the numbers work.

Let me tell you we have kept our budget pretty consistent ever since we graduated from school. So, I’m trying to NOT increase the budget. This way we can still travel, have money for unexpected items, etc.

 Sometimes I want to be like YOLO…especially when you heart wants something and your brain is skeptical. 

 Open for comments, questions, telling me I should stop being emotional, continue look at numbers.

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