Hello friends! It’s been a long while since I last posted, but all of a sudden I got the urge to document our progress and give an update, so that’s what I’m doing before scurrying off to work.
Recently I calculated the amount we’ve paid down on our loans and it totals $2,000. Not too shabby, considering our payments for interest alone total $485 per month. My goal is to continue to focus on debt repayment while saving a little bit each month to contribute to our travel fund and investment portfolio. June has been expensive for us, and I’ve noticed myself making choices about spending money vs. saving money lately. This summer I’m aiming to re-focus and get back into a better money groove. We’re still paying down our loans, but we could be doing a lot better than we are now.
Another decision I recently made was to invest some of our funds with TIAA-Cref. I still have to call them to set up a brokerage account, and determine if there are any hidden fees I’m missing, but I feel pretty confident in my decision. RIght now we both feel that it’s best to invest our money and watch it grow, but also want to have access to it in case of an emergency or to have a larger safety net than we do now. Initially we’ll be investing in a TIAA-Cref Index Fund (similar to a mutual fund) with the $2500 minimum required and are going to opt-in for the automatic investment plan. This way we’ll have our investments automatically set up, and we’ll also take advantage of dollar cost averaging. The fund I’m initially going to invest in is TIEIX, with an expense ratio of 0.05% and an annual return of 12% (16.3% in the past 3 years, and 14% in the past 5) I feel confident that we’ll see our money grow over the long term.
To keep our savings as they stand we’ll be adding back in the $100 that is taken out every month, and like I mentioned above we are also saving $200 per month to add to our travel fund (currently around $2,000). One of our biggest goals is to take a trip to India and Southeast Asia after we graduate (Fall/Winter 2016) and I want to be sure we have the funds to get us through at least a month of traveling. There will be no better time to go, as we’ll be in between jobs, won’t have kids, and have friends and family that we can stay with in India. It’s going to be amazing, and I know it’s going to feel great that we’ll have that money stored away when we finally do get to travel.
Other than all of our money goals, I also have fun summer goals! I’ve recently started a new weight lifting routine, with the hopes of slimming down and getting stronger over the next few months. Grad school and a new marriage has taken a toll on my health habits (eating out with the husband is fun but not good for my waistline or wallet!), and with the long summer days and beautiful weather hitting Seattle, I’m ready to shed my winter weight and get outside for some awesome hikes and camping trips. I also want to look great for a few of the weddings we’re going to in August and October, and it always seems easier to make healthy choices in the summer.
What are your summer goals? Any excellent adventures you’re currently planning?