Big changes settling in

Wow! So much has happened in the past two months: professionally, personally, health and adulting-wise, and within my family. I told you big things were afoot last month but it didn’t seem right to write about them while they were still developing and I still had strong feelings about them. Life has settled somewhat this month, certainly my net worth has hardly changed!

The biggest change is that my manager quit at the beginning of this month to explore his gender identity. He was a super interesting guy, and I respected how he always went out, took classes, tried different things, and welcomed new perspectives. I felt close with him, he knew not just my work but also my feelings about my work. He had taken coaching sessions and I enjoyed the times he coached me at work, he made me realize some things about myself which made me smarter about my attitude towards work. For example if I feel my life is heading in the right direction I am often content doing less impactful tasks at work, which could be holding me back professionally. I continually need to keep those insights in mind and keep acting on the learnings by making sure I am working on the tasks which will deliver the biggest impact for my company and my career. The senior-most engineer on my team went through manager training and will become our new manager and a new engineer will transfer to my team next month.

In my personal life I feel closer not only with my boyfriend but also with his family. His sister graduated with her masters degree in mid-May; I flew and attended her college graduation. Afterwards she moved in with my boyfriend and they are both job-hunting so I try to help her by giving her my transit card and referring her to my company. My boyfriend received a job offering 240K/year in total compensation (base salary, bonus, and stock) but turned it down because he didn’t like the teammates on the team he would be joining. I hope he studies hard and accepts a job at a place he wants to work in July, I know he is more than qualified and prepared. He took up the ukulele and practices it for 1hr every day, if he also prepped interview questions for 1hr every day that would be enough for a really nice offer with a good team and company in the next month.

I am taking a more hands-off approach with his job search nowadays, it’s healthier and less stressful for both of us this way. Meanwhile, he is actively thinking about my development all the time. In May he told me, “You’re a woman now. You never put time or effort into physical appearances before. But it’s time to let that identity go. You have no limits.” and he gave me a portrait session and brainstormed how I should pose at work to look like an alpha female. I love this boy so much! (^_^)

On the health front, I hardly exercised the first half of May. I’ve been taking advantage of the awesome weather and catching up on missed workouts since then, but I’m going to miss exercising again next month since I’m going on vacation. I got my annual physical, blood test, and dental cleaning (everything’s normal), and ordered traveller’s diarrhea pills to take on vacation (just in case). I also bought a scale which estimates body composition and started creating Fitbit competitions every week. I am close to last each week but it keeps me paying more attention to how much I walk on a daily basis, especially compared to others who also have full time jobs.

I’m definitely maturing because I took extra care of my car this month. I shopped around, bought new tires, and filled out a mail-in rebate for them. I took the car into the dealership for a recall and basic regular maintenance. I had bought ding-and-dent protection on the car and I actually made use of it by getting all the exterior dents fixed and the interior stains removed at no cost to me. These fixes cost as much as I had paid for the ding-and-dent protection, so I’ll count that as money well spent. Finally, I paid off my car loan!!! My 5 year old car would look new were it not for my friends breaking two grab handles. My boyfriend broke one coming back from Clearlake in mid-May and a girlfriend broke another this past weekend getting into the car while tipsy. D: Oh well, so it goes. *shrug*

Lastly, I got sent the save-the-date for my cousin’s wedding in November. My aunt just called me today asking if I could participate in a dance in the wedding reception and filling me in on the dates of the different events. And my cousins decided to plan a bachelorette party next month, it’s going to be five of us cousins and cousin-in-laws flying to Denver for a weekend. Between my July 4th vacation and this, it’s going to be a hectic July.

P. S. : In mid-May, I took two weekend trips to Clearlake with my boyfriend. The 4-hr one way drives gave us ample chance to re-acquaint with each other. In one discussion he said, “The same way economics trumps racism, necessity trumps toxic masculinity.” to which I replied, “De taali! (Gimme five!)”. But he was like, “What!? No! No taali!”, and made me chuckle. So he’s a feminist but not excited about being one. lolol

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Taxes and overview

Monthly Networthshare Entry: https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2018/04

I did my taxes in April. I’d set up automatic withholding but I still had to pay the IRS because of capital gains. I should be getting a state tax refund soon though. I also took a DXA scan to compare with the one I took last April and I’ve lost 2 lbs of fat since last year! Yay for a lifestyle of healthy diet and exercise! Otherwise, I’m spending all my time with work or with my boyfriend; just showing up, buckling down, and pushing through.

This month I’ll revisit where my net worth comes from:
Cash: From my checking and savings accounts. Does not include : Venmo balance (currently 2K!), Splitwise balance owed to me, or cash rewards balances.
Stocks: From two brokerage accounts. Does not include: Coinbase wallet or Robinhood since they aren’t significant amounts of money compared to the other two.
Bonds: I own T-bonds, like actual physical pieces of paper. I had assumed they were filed away somewhere, but I could not find them when I went through all my papers for taxes in April. I’m listing $500 but this is mostly a flag for me to hunt them down.
Retirement: I have a 401K and a Roth IRA. Most of my 401K is my Roth contributions but a small part is a taxable employer match.
Other Assets: A rollover IRA, this is a taxable account.
Credit Cards: Balances from the two credit cards I use. I have auto pay set up to pay these off every month.
Auto Loans: a 0% loan which I’m 3 months away from paying off.

Work and friends

I’m putting a lot of time and effort at work lately. I had my annual review at work and got a sweet bonus. I’m aiming for a promotion this year so I’m making friends of my teammates and figuring out how to work on the most important tasks with good visibility for the next few months. I’ve been spending a lot of time at work but I observe myself getting better both technically and socially. It’s been gratifying. My manager is learning how to be a life coach and he guided me through finding my top 5 values. They are, in order of importance: practicality, integrity, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, and caring.

I went skiing for the second time ever this past weekend. I went with teammates and it was actually really nice, my coworkers are a fun bunch even though I was terrible at the actual skiing portion. I had taken a break from taking exercise classes for two weeks last month in order to attend dance practice for my performance in my company’s Chinese New Year celebration so I worked out extra hard this past month to make up for it. I’m able to see my triceps now!

A college friend is visiting from the east coast and I had dinner and a nice conversation with him two days ago. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to keep so many friends from college even though I live so far from them, there’s a handful of friends I phone with on a weekly or monthly basis. Old friends are the way I keep in touch with the world outside of the tech bubble I live in, they keep me grounded by sharing what they’re up to, what they’re excited for, and what they’ve been thinking about lately. Finally, I’m thankful for my boyfriend who pushes me to become emotionally mature. He meditates regularly and had me join him a couple times. Afterwards he asks me what thoughts I had during the meditation, but I didn’t have any because I fell asleep. (o^_^o)

RSUs are awesome!!!

IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE FOR BANK/BROKERAGE WEBSITES TO BE DOWN FOR “MAINTENANCE”!!! Are Google, Facebook, and other internet companies ever down? No! And here is how: There are many computers in the rotation hosting traffic to these websites. Instead of taking them all down for maintenance at once and rejecting users outright, tech companies take a few computers out of the rotation at a time to upgrade them. This is called a rolling upgrade, it is very easy to do and commonly used during low traffic times so as not to interrupt service.

Okay, now that that’s out of my system after not being able to log into three separate institutions, here’s the big news: My RSUs are vesting!! *happy dance*!! Here is how cushy code monkey compensation works: There’s sometimes a signing bonus which you get with your first paycheck. If you’re moving long distance you may get relocation money or temporary housing. Then there’s salary. There’s usually over-the-top benefits (free food, 401K match, allowance to spend on wellness). Finally if you work at a public company you could get Restricted Stock Units (RSUs). RSUs are usually granted on a 4 yr schedule with a 1 yr cliff. The 1 year cliff means that stock doesn’t vest for your first year, and then vests all at once around your one year anniversary. I passed my one year anniversary at my company and the bump in net worth you see is the result of a year’s worth of company stock vesting all at once. ^_^

In other news, I bought for 6 months of car insurance as well as plane tickets to Europe so my credit card balance is a bit high. I’m proud of myself for actually shopping around for car insurance this time, I got like 5 separate quotes to convince myself to stick with the same insurer. I did increase my deductible by $500 to save some money on premiums, only time will tell if this is a smart decision. It’s the little things, these small signs of adulting. Next up: taxes

I continued to focus on myself and my friends this month. A friend visited me for MLK day and we went hiking and horseback riding. I performed a dance at my company’s Chinese New Year celebration so I halted my workout routine for two weeks to make time for dance practice. I want to get caught up with exercising in the next few weeks. My boyfriend was feeling a lot of pressure from his work and self-pressure to switch jobs, but the pressure is drawing us closer. I’m trying to pressure my sister to apply for scholarships, but I know it’ll be hard for her since she’s busy with midterms.

Lookback on 2017 & Plan for 2018

Monthly Networthshare Entry : https://www.networthshare.com/user/labangel/2018/01

This past month has been nice. I’m focusing less on work and more on friends. I met up locally with a few friends from high school and college over the weekends, and I flew to Seattle over MLK Day long weekend to meet friends there. My boyfriend’s resolution is to change jobs so he is following a strict schedule these days. I’m trying to give him space by using my time to deepen my friendships and rekindle my creative side. I used a vinyl cutter and heat press to add a design on a shitrt yesterday and I bought a voucher for horseback riding with lessons today.

As you can tell, I’m in that cash crunch week right now. One bank’s site is down for maintenance so the credit card debt number is an estimate. I did finally fill out the autopay form so I won’t need to do it manally from next month onward.

My net worth increased by 112K to 214K in the past year, I personally contributed 64K (after 5K excess contribution withdrawal) and the rest was company match and investment gains. Here’s how my investments have changed between the December 2016 and December 2017 entries:
Stocks (Brokerages + ESPP proceeds): 20K original amount, +65K change, +35K personal savings, +16K ESPP contributions for three quarters, +14K gains
Retirement (Roth 401K + Roth IRA): 75K original amount, +46K change, +18K my contributions, +8K company contributions, -5K excess contribution and earnings distributed from Roth IRA because I contributed too much for my income level in 2016, +25K gains
Car Loan: -4K
Everything else: Stay the same, within $3K of current levels

I don’t really plan out how much of my savings I invest, it just ended up being 35K in 2017. Here’s what I know will get added in 2018 assuming I stay at my job (I plan to):
Stocks: +22K ESPP contributions for four quarters, +119K current value of RSUs which will vest in 2018
Retirement: +18K my contributions, +9K company contributions
Everything else: Stay the same, within $3K of current levels

My monthly money tasks

My credit card spend is much higher lately because of holiday travel, dining, and gift expenses as well as medical costs from physical, dental, travel, lab, and eye appointments. I got health checkups, flew to Korea, and spent $1K over 9 days in November. I flew to my parent’s house in December and gifted my mom a Fitbit. I expect it to be high again for January or February since I’ll pay for 6 months of car insurance and I’m contemplating spending time with friends for MLK day and/or President’s day. It will go back to normal around March. I also need to add the payment information for my new credit cards into my online accounts like Amazon, Uber, Comcast, etc. Right now they just have my old credit card information so I end up making purchases on it when I really should be using my new credit cards which give better rewards.

What I really need is more cash to both pay off the credit cards and for cash flow. I pay all the rent and bills for my 3 bedroom apartment and my roommates pay me back. But that means I am cash strapped for 7 days at the end of the month because I pay rent three days early, my roommates pay me on time, and it takes 3 days for my roommates’ Venmo’d funds to get to my bank account. I have recurring transfers automatically moving money from checking to savings to brokerage and I cancelled the next few occurrences so funds should slowly pool in my checking account.

I’ve always tried to automate my retirement savings and personal savings by setting up paycheck deductions, DRIPs, etc. I recently realized my 401K has an automatic rebalancing feature. But there’s still a lot that happens manually. Here are the manual money tasks I do monthly, ususally when I make a Networthshare entry:
1.) Schedule paying $3K rent to my landlady at the end of the month.
2.) Cancel the auto-transfer to savings or make purchases using transferred cash in my brokerage acct as needed.
3.) Review my credit card purchases from the previous month and dispute transactions as needed. Nowadays I also make note of whether I would have gotten better rewards had I paid using a different card so I can improve in the future.
4.) Put bills from the previous month on my roommate Splitwise group. My roommates Venmo me $2K for their share of rent so I pay back my friends from my Venmo balance and transfer the rest to my bank account.
5.) Schedule paying off the cash rewards credit card, the bank mailed me a form to set up auto-pay but I haven’t filled it out yet.
6.) I sell ESPP stock once a quarter. Starting 2018 I’ll sell RSU stock quarterly as well.

Out of curiosity, I went on Creditkarma while making this entry. My credit score is ~790. I also logged into Personal Capital and saw my asset allocation, this was an impetus to sell ESPP stock and rebalance a little. One year ago my asset allocation was 100% US stocks. Now I bought some IXUS, with the goal of getting to a 70-30 US-international allocation. I’m currently around a 90-10 allocation.

I exercised 14 times in the first three weeks of December, whereas on average I exercise thrice a week. I caught up on workouts I’d missed over Thanksgiving and kept doing extra workouts knowing I’d inevitably miss them over the holidays. I hosted a friend over Christmas weekend and was at my parent’s place from Christmas to New Years Eve.

I had a long distance relationship for all of December. It was actually really refreshing because we often get distracted by minutiae like “Wow! You look stunning!” or “Can we turn the fan down?” when we spend time in person. Our phone conversations were on much longer term topics like “How do you plan to take care of aging parents in 10 years?”. My boyfriend got back to California after I left for my parent’s house. I came back at night on Dec. 31 and he met me at the airport. We celebrated New Years in the back of an Uber riding back from the airport. Today he told me he still hasn’t met his hair goals. I exclaimed, “OMG I have a boyfriend who has hair goals!” and he called me out as being sexist. ;-D