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)

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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

Korea with friends

I didn’t really post an adequate update last time, I’ll fill in some details from October. I think I missed mentioning that I got a new cash rewards credit card while on the east coast to use on gas and dining out. After I came back to California and somewhat recovered from being sick, I was busy practicing the choreography for a group dance I performed during the Diwali celebration at my company. I also organized a Diwali get-together with all my friends at my place. My boyfriend was really impressed with that gathering (^_^) I spent one day at Santa Cruz Boardwalk (my company had raffled free pairs of tickets so we each paid only 1/3 the normal price!) with two alumni of my Masters university the next weekend (I got my Bachelors from one university and my Masters from another). And the weekend before Halloween I got dinner with my cousin who’d flown in from the east coast.

I also had a fitness evaluation the last full week of October where the resident personal trainer at my office gym walked me through what I wanted in terms of fitness for the next 6 months and helped me set goals. Since that week I have exercised on average 3 times a week, up from only doing yoga once a week since mid-2015. I still do yoga once a week, augmented with a run and a group exercise class at my company gym. I also track which days I did which workout in my phone calendar. I feel my thighs getting thicker as my skinny jeans feel tighter as a result. I feel hungry more often and have a good appetite. I have to constantly manage my time so I can exercise 3 days a week, but I hope it eventually becomes a habit.

On to November, so much has happened! I joined a meetup event for a group archery class the first weekend of November. I met up with my Masters roommate the next weekend. But mostly I was wrapping up tasks at work and planning for exciting Thanksgiving travels!

I would work hard at work so I could come home, conference call my friends, and research our trip as best we could without knowing Korean. No joke, we had a shared Google spreadsheet and shared maps account to plan out where to stay, where to eat, what to do, and how to get around. I got a physical, went to a travel clinic and took the typhoid vaccine over the next week. I got a prescription for anti-diarrhea pills, packed a first aid kit, and registered our trip with the State Department. My friend and I searched up and each got a new credit card with no foreign transaction fee and no annual fee. I even looked up my company’s travel insurance policy. I impressed myself on how much of an adult I had become.

A note on health, I fasted and got my blood drawn one day and had an ultrasound another day. Everything is normal, just my cholesterol levels are higher than last year. I had bought new glasses earlier and had mistakenly submitted a claim to my eye insurance even though I paid for them through a separate health account. So I mailed in a request and undid that claim. I made my open enrollment elections for next year during that second week of November and kept my insurance similar to last year. Now after having an eye exam and ordering contacts today, I’m second-guessing that I should have put more money into the tax-advantaged health account, I wonder if there’s any way to modify it now…

I hosted my undergrad friend from Chicago the week before Thanksgiving. I really got to connect with him since it was just the two of us hanging out that week. We talked about faith (he’s christian and I’m hindu), we talked about love (he’s single and I’m not). We talked about parents and siblings, grandparents and ancestry, languages and our lack of competency with them. For some reason I was surprised that my boyfriend hit it off with him. I really shouldn’t have been, he’s starting grad school at the same college my boyfriend graduated from. My boyfriend is a silvertongue chameleon, he can fit into any group I drop him into.

He and I and my college bestie spent all Thanksgiving week touring Korea. It was a blast and I’m so glad I went! I ate the best meal of the year at a temple food restaurant in Seoul and visited a handful of Unesco World Heritage sites, both natural and cultural. I got a layered haircut and bought cosmetics. I impulse purchased a multi-purpose usb hair iron that works as either curler or straightener 😝. I went to a cat cafe, dog cafe, and fish market. He’d gotten in touch with our college friend who teaches English in Seoul so we saw the Seoul Lantern Festival together and she invited us to her place for an expat Thanksgiving. That was my first international trip without my family and I feel really complete having gone.

My boyfriend flew to his parents place less than a week after I got back. He’ll be gone the rest of the year spending time with family. I’m trying to keep myself busy by exercising and spending time with old friends. It’s nice that I had the chance to catch up with my high school math teacher as well as a college friend this past weekend. I’ll get a few days with my civil engineerng friend when she visits me Christmas weekend. One last upside is that I am able to focus on work without being distracted or feeling guilty. It’s a red flag that my boyfriend makes me feel guilty if I spend as much time working as he does. He agrees it’s unfair of him as well. We’ll work on it.

Money-wise, I set up autopay for one of my new credit cards and will work on setting it up for the other one. I’m also not including the balance from the other one under credit card debt since I don’t know what it is. I locked myself out of my online account. I should also save up some cash right now. I’ll get a smaller paycheck come January because of retirement account contributions. Finally I’m reading “The Seven Stages of Money Maturity”, a personal finance self-help book from the buddhist perspective. It guides you through writing a financial autobiography and meditating on your philosophy and biases around money. I started writing my autobiography yesterday and am liking it so far.

Sick

I’ve been rushing and busy and working hard this entire month. I got a fever, cold, body aches, the works during the first week of October plus I was on my period. My body was weak from travelling and doing errands during the wedding and I took some sick days to recover. I’ve had a dry cough all month and I’m still not completely recovered. I had my annual physical earlier this week, my physician said a nasal spray should help with the mucus in my nose and throat.

All about family

I have shifted these entries later and later, to the point that this entry is three weeks late. No bueno. I will work on recording them earlier going forward. I also want to get to work earlier going forward. I’m really busy at work nowadays and I want to get more focus hours by being at work in the morning when fewer people are around. I also signed up to do a small dance at my company in two weeks. Going to dance practice in the mornings will be a good motivator for two weeks at least. Another incentive is that I will go home on time without feeling guilty.

I travelled and attended a family wedding last weekend. It was a nice ceremony and I enjoyed catching up with most of my extended family. At the same time I acknowledge that I have some less than pleasant family members who I don’t enjoy interacting with, namely one cousin who excluded me from performing a dance with her and our other cousins on the wedding stage. Most of my family nembers treat and respect me like a capable adult, I’m learning to ignore the select few who do not.

A new Staff Software Engineer joined my team last month. She came from the same company I was at before I joined LinkedIn. She and I are the two women in our team. Having her around makes me feel less alone. I also had a six-month mini performance review with my manager today where we went through the company’s performance guidelines and he told me I’m performing at my seniority level. I’m lucky to have a communicative manager. I’ve grown a lot in the past six months and I’m happy with myself for this. I have a good job paying an amazing salary where I can learn and thrive without burning out or completely trashing my health. I recognize I should be more confident in my abilities and push back saying I am exceeding expectations, I hope that will come with time.

I spent a lot of time with my parents over the past week and I’ve been pointing out and convincing them of small changes I’d like them to make. Often times my father says some small indiscretion aloud for everyone to hear instead of taking me or my sister aside to tell us individually. And my mother overcompensates for my father when he does this. This happened in August when my father commented, as he often does, that the skirt my sister was wearing was too short. That annoyed her, but she held it together. Then my mom commented that if my sister just got skinnier the skirt wouldn’t expose so much of her thighs. That pushed my sister over the edge and she stayed holed up in bed the rest of the night instead of coming to that important dinner with my boyfriend’s family. I hope my parents improve, I have more hope that my mom will than that my dad will change.

I lived with my boyfriend for over a week and it was glorious except for the last day when we fought and I stormed out. We made up that evening but I’m less confident in this relationship than I was in August. I’ve been having too many arguments with him and we’ve said a lot of hurtful words on both sides.

Other than that, I finally sent the last check from the old 401k to my new one. Yay for me I guess. Till next time!