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Why Am I Doing All of This (10-Year Plan)

I have become quite obsessed with finances lately. January 1st was the fiscal birth of my 10-Year Plan, but it is something that is already over a year old, in my mind. I have been so anxious about opening my HSCB Direct Saving Account that I have been driving them nuts. Why all the obsession? My past.

Here is a breif run down of my situation:

  • I am 25

  • I am approaching my seventh wedding aniversary

  • I have three daughters

  • I have over $100,000 left on my mortgage

  • I owe a little under $20,000 on two fairly new vehicles

  • I have been working in IT for nearly seven years

  • I will be completing my undergraduate work in May

Now, this may not seem very bad... I by all accounts I should not be complaining. I love my family, and they have a nice home, and we do not suffer. However, this was not always the case.

My father died in a motorcycle accident just before I turned six. He was only 26 at the time. He was smart enough to have a life insurance policy, and I received $60,000. He was divorced from my mother, and she was not to get any of it. However, she got half of it somehow and blew it on a car and clothes and gave $10,000 to my grandparents. So, it is down to $30,000. It got put in an annuity and I could not touch it until I turned 18.

In addition, my mother received about $800/month in Social Security benefits, in my name, to cover things for me (replaced child support). I soon received a monster of a stepfather, and then the trouble began. He made decent money, and my mother worked most of the time. You would think that we would have been financially sound, but that could not be further from the truth.

While I lived with them, I had to work to buy my own clothes and my lunch money for school from the time I was 12. This is not entirely bad, except for the fact that my living expenses should have been covered by the $800/month in Social Security. My mother had to sell her decent, but modest, Pontiac Grand Prix because she could not keep up with the payments, but my stepfather spent $500 a month on a boat that we used one-third of the year. I wanted out.

The day before my eighteenth birthday, I was on my way to work and I got into a physical altercation with my stepfather (this was not the first). I was gone. That was it.

The next day, I am wondering where my $65,000 (I cannot believe it just barely increased two-fold in twelve years, but that is what happens when you get into a stupid annuity with a ridiculously low interest rate... especially for the mid-80s) is. I try to find the lawyer who was the custodian over my annuity. Apparently, he became the judge for a small suburb town court (and I just met him last week for a stupid speeding ticket and he cost me another $2,500 in increased insurance and fines... and no, I was not speeding... the officer did not even have his radar gun out... sorry for ranting). So, I talk with one of his friends, and he sets it up so I can get $5,000 out. I figure that should be great, I will be able to get a new car (part of the altercation with my stepfather resulted in the inability to drive my car), and I will have some left over to keep me from being tempted to pull the rest out.

A month rolls by, and I am about to get married, and I need to find a place of my own. I had always planned on using the money and buying a foreclosed property and then I would fix it up, and I would flip properties for a while (I was thinking about this when I was ten). Well, I was too excited. Instead of being patient, I bought a freaking mobile home! WTF!?! I paid $19,000 for it and then spent abother $6,000 on appliances and furniture. I had also quit my job, so I was living off of my annuity by this time. Finally, I got married, and I got a really good IT job for someone with no college, and no experience. I made more than enough to get my in by hillbilly shack on wheels (actually, it was quite nice for what you would expect from a mobile home). I had the best health insurance I have ever witnessed, and they would pay for me to go to school. I started taking classes one night a week after work, but it seemed to hard, so I stopped.

About a year later, tax time rolls around and the IRS is pissed. Apparently, I was not supposed to touch my annuity for another nine months after I turned 18 (the freaking lawyer said nothing about that, nor did Prudential). So, I owe the IRS $10,000 for a penalty, and I owe them taxes on the money (I had no idea... I was a silly snot-nosed kid). Annuity gone, and then some. No house flipping. No college. Then the branch office closes of the company I was working for.

Well, the branch manager started his own company, hired me, and gave me a $5,000 raise (no what I know now, I should have asked for $10,000 because of the troubles that would follow me for dealing with him). The place lasted six months, but I was able to find a lateral position before they went under. And I had just bought a house that was about $200/month more than I could afford.

Well, I became depressed and stopped going to work. Then, I nearly foreclosed on my house. I met a super nice Realtor that was able to help me sell it before it foreclosed, though. She is one of the best contacts I have made in my life.

I had no home, and we moved in with my in-laws. I found a very good job for the economy at the time, and I was making about $8,000 more than before. I worked there for nine months, and then I was fired. We had just moved into an apartment to get out of my in-laws... back to the in-laws.

The only job I was able to get paid what my original job was paying, minus any benefits. I just kept working that job, though. Then, I finally got enough courage to start school. Too bad, though. I went to a barely accredited school that offered training courses for certifications. This was great, because I could use financial aid to get my certifications. I was determined to pull myself out of this mess. I got the certification, MCSE, and then I found a new job that started the week after my contract was over! Great! I wowed them. And I worked there for almost three years, and went to school full-time, in the evenings while working full-time. I started a 401(k) (which is now in my Rollover IRA), and I paid off my vehicles and saved for a down payment on a new home.

Time for a breather. Okay, so, we get into the new home, and I get a new boss. He is really stressing me out. I find the best job I have ever had, and I get a 40% raise! Yippy! Plus their 401(k) match is awesome, I put in 5%, they put in 14%, I am almost getting 20% of my pay saved for retirement without it affecting my take home pay too much!

Anyways, I have been down some slippery roads very early into my adulthood. I have seen people not make ends meet when they were more than capable, and I have done so myself. I will be graduating from school soon, and then my wife will be going to school to become an RN. I want to work from home and have ultimate flexiblity. And when my wife starts working, she will only be working three or four days a week (but still full-time). So, we will have insurance, and three or four days a week together instead of just two. That is why I am doing this. We have been through a lot already, and we deserve to give ourselves the future that we desire. I want to be financially secure before any of my kids start college. I want them to see financial success, and to learn from it. And, I want them to know they have a father that can put them first, no matter what.


Blogger Pedro Says:

January 15, 2006 12:48 AM 

Very touching. What did happen to the $60,000 though? After the IRS took the $10,000 did you keep the rest. Maybe I read it wrong but I think you failed to tell us what happened with the money your father left you.

Blogger Dus10 D Says:

January 15, 2006 8:38 PM 

Well, by the time I learned about this, I had already spent most of the the money. I bought the mobile home along with appliances and furniture. Further, I lived on it for several months. When the IRS came knocking, I only had the amount that they wanted as a penalty. Then, I had to come up with the back taxes. I paid the IRS for two years after that for what seemed very silly and frivilous. It is all in the past now, and I have grown because of it. I wish I could have found a voice of reason in my early life, but I was the most reasonable of them all... and I was only a kid. I guess my real education came from the school of "hard knocks," and I guess that is why I am able to cruise through school now.

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