Help with figuring out your 2009 paychecks

For those of us working for an hourly wage, just updated their handy Hourly Paycheck Calculator with 2009 taxes. I've used it in the past to help me get an idea of what my paychecks will look like for the following year and they've always been pretty close.

Looking back on my 2008 goals

Back in January I told myself what goals would be achieved by the end of the year, as a way to "visualize success." The blue bars on the right suggest that I've achieved most of them, but lets go back to that list I made in January and see where I really stand.


"After much thought and procrastination, below are the things I will be able to say at the end of 2008/beginning of 2009:

$10,000 of my pre-tax salary went into my 401k.
True. This was on automatic deduction from my paycheck, so no worries there.

My 401k portfolio is aligned and balanced towards my long-term goal of aggressive growth and diversity.
True. I rebalanced my 401k back in January.

I've evaluated carefully whether or not to keep my Roth IRA with my bank or move it to another broker like Vanguard or T. Rowe Price. In the end I made the best possible decision that aligned with my long-term goal of growth and keeping my overall retirement portfolio diverse.
True. I decided to move my Roth IRA from my bank to a target date account with Vanguard that I believe complements my 401k holdings to create an overall diverse stock/bond portfolio. Also, the fees are much lower.

I contributed the full amount of $5,000 to my Roth IRA.
True. And it's all been lost, and then some, due to the market. Meh.

I've stayed out of debt.

I reached $10,000 in my unemployment fund, then put it in a CD-ladder.
True to the first part, but not to the last. As the economy declined, I decided it was more logical to have all the money available.

My health care/deductible fund reached $1,500. That's enough to cover my deductible for the year and one hospital copay. Let's hope I don't need it! I choose to save my money this way instead of going with an FSA because if the funds go unused by the end of the plan year, I would have to forfeit them. This way, if I don't use them, I can put them in a high-yield savings account to earn interest and will be the seed money for the following year's deductible. Makes sense in my head, anyway.
True. The good news is that I didn't need the money for health care. The bad news is that I'm sure my mother will need this money sometime this year to help her out due to my dad's recent cancer diagnosis. That said, I'm glad I have it to give.

I set aside $1,000 for travel this year. Just in case. The only thing that may come up would be an extended weekend to visit a friend. If that money doesn't get used this year, it will be seed money for next year's travel fund.
I didn't get a chance to visit that friend, however the money did come in handy for travel to help maintain a long-distance relationship. Who knew?

I saved $7,000 towards the purchase of a new computer and kick-ass monitor.
This goal got scrapped as the economy turned more bleak. I changed it to be a combined 2009 Roth IRA contribution/New computer goal of $8,400 thinking that the 2009 Roth contribution would be $6,000, leaving $2,400 for a new computer. However the contribution is actually $5,000 and the new computer takes on less importance as other realities make themselves known. A few weeks ago I upped the goal to $10,000 however I'm $500 short. I'm only the slightest bit bummed about this because if I controlled my spending more, I would have met this goal. However I realize I'm $1,100 above the $8,400 goal an d$2,500 above my original goal, so I'm alright.

While I have more goals and dreams that I want to fulfill, I'm far better off this year than I was the year before.
Without a shadow of a doubt, I feel fortunate to be able to realize this as a truth and hope that it will continue for 2009 and beyond.

A 2008 Goal Realized

I have met or exceeded almost all of my 2008 goals. The one that I was very happy to meet today was being able to donate $300 to Rolling Dog Ranch, and animal sanctuary in Montana they allows animals with severe disabilities a chance to enjoy their lives.

My goal was to donate $260 however thanks to accruing interest and being able to chip in a bit more, I was able to provide a bit more padding.

Chistmas came early!

Thanks to me being like an annoying kid the day before Christmas, BF gave in to my nagging let me open my gift early. Actually, I started it by giving him his first. I was so excited to give it to him. What was it? The Truck Turner DVD! Early on in our relationship I brought this movie up because it stars Nichelle Nichols as a pimp. Imagine a movie with Issac Hayes playing a cop, Nichelle Nichols playing a pimp, and Yaphet Kotto playing...hell...anything! I always meant to get it get it for him, so I figured now would be as good a time as any.

I'm absolutely delighted with my gift he gave me, which is a Hello Kitty pendant like the one in the picture, as I'm a HK fanatic!

We both seem to be happy with our gifts, so it's a win for the both of us for getting something we both like and not breaking the bank! Woo hoo!

Making progress

Today is payday!

■ I've added $1,000 to my 2009 Roth/Computer fund, making me 90% of my goal.
■ I found out my raise is 2.5%. Below market, even for this year, however I'm just happy to still have a job and thrilled that I even got a raise. There are some people that won't be getting anything.

Just read on Craigslist

In a listing for a studio apt.:

"--- NO SECURITY DEPOSIT --- TO MOVE IN ----- JUST $250.00 plus $475.00 and $35.00 Application FEE..." (emphasis by me)

Are they serious? :::eye roll:::

BF sees the value of savings

BF has a 75 lb. lovable pup named "Q." Q. is having surgery on his hip, much like the one he had on is other hip a year or so ago. The difference this time is that BF has the money in savings to cover it without having to go on a payment plan/take out a loan to do it. Sure it puts a dent in his savings, but that's what the savings is for, to cushion the blow of unexpected events like this and to keep them from wrecking you financially.

Also, since he's cleared out a lot of debt that he had last year, he'll be able to build up his savings again much faster. Woo hoo! Yay BF!


I made a couple of changes. Obviously, I've added a new template. Also, I've added a Twitter feed to the right. Wanted to see what all the cool kids were talking about.