Thursday, June 19, 2008

Riding it Out!

I was led to write this post after reading Single Ma's post Holding Pattern.

During my last semester of undergrad, Fall 2006, I was actively interviewing in preparation to starting my career once I graduated. Eventually, I found a position that I believed would fit perfect with my goals, aspirations, and interests. It was a position in real estate finance. I went through the first round of interviews, and later was called to participate in the second round. I eventually made it through the third round where I was told by one of the executives I was one of the top three considered for the position. I was eventually given a verbal offer, but a formal job offer would not be extended until the company completed its budget for the fiscal year of 2007. The position was part of a management training program in which the number of positions offered was established by the budget. Unfortunately, the region I had applied to work in had not been allocated any funds for the position I had applied for. Probably because the company saw the direction in which the financial markets, especially those related to real estate, was headed.

Two months after graduating, I was still an intern and desperate for a full time job and eventually settled for a job which I was merely interested in. Let alone the petty salary I was offered. I made the big mistake of not counter offering (advise given by an acquaintance), and later finding out they had budgeted much more for the position. Things only got worse as the construction industry deteriorated in South Florida, and guess what industry I was working in? Construction! Yet, I stayed there not wanting to start job hopping and performed! I was given bonuses even through times when payroll checks started bouncing. The feeling of you get when finding out your payroll check was returned for insufficient funds is not very pleasant. Thoughout all of this I was actively seeking employment and had a very successful interview where again was verbally offered a position and later the executives decided to hire from within. I would have received almost a 28% salary increase.

In late February of this year I was finally laid off, after a little over a year working there. Though a little worried (I had a newborn at home) I knew my ability and competence (though lacking experience). After about a week without a job, the VP of the old company called me telling me he wanted me to go with him to a new company (he left also). With bills around the corner, I interviewed with the CEO of the new company and felt great chemistry. Though again in the field of construction, I needed a job. Just because we had great chemistry did not mean I should've accepted the job offer and weighed my options. With not many options I accepted the offer. Though not as bad as I thought it would be, I'm still here several months later.

So I have a year to go to complete my MBA in Real Estate Development. I'm here waiting, trusting in God, riding out the economy and poor job market. Some economists are predicting the economy will bounce back in 12 to 18 months, if true I will be graduating just as the market will be turning around. I am willing on going global as well since there are great opportunities overseas. I have been performing extremely well in such an intense MBA program and know I will be able to perform in my real estate development career. I am just looking at my past and current employment as a stepping stone since I realized there are many transferable skills. I am learning as much as possible in order to prepare for future success.

That being said, I am in great need of a mentor right now. I've realized that possibly a mentor would have helped extremely in the past. Or maybe all of this has just been God's will all along. I will continue networking as much as possible, acquiring skills, and performing to the best of my abilities.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I registered and set-up an account at and am amazed by the aesthetics of the site, let alone the functionality. I was able to sync all of my bank accounts (checkin, saving etc.) and all my dreadful credit cards. Being able to see a side by side comparison only reminded me how badly I need to get out of debt. I have not even added my student loans in since that service is not yet available but coming soon. I went ahead and catgeorized several expenses it did not recognize and was able to compare my actual expenses with my excel created budget. There is also a feature to create a budget which it will analyze and compare against your acutal costs.

The best thing about is that it is free compared to Quicken. Everyone should check it out. I did some research prior to registering and the only concern some people had was of potential security breaches.

I can now log in and update account balances and see the balances of all my assets and liabilities (except student loans). I will continue to use my excel spreadsheets along with

Friday, June 13, 2008

2008 Goals

Though almost through half of the year, here are my short term goals for the rest of 2008! Eventually being entirely debt free, purchasing a home, and building a net worth of plus $2 million are our ultimate long term goals.

1. Open Roth IRA

  • I currently do not have any type of retirement fund since my employer does not offer a 401k plan. My goal is to open a Roth IRA and begin funding for retirement by setting up automatic deposits from my checking account.
  • I plan to begin allocating 5% of my gross income for this retirement account. Once I get in the rhythm (or get comfortable) I plan on increasing to 8-10% of my gross income (expecting that income will increase as well). Allocating 5% beginning in July is realistic considering my net cash flow rather than the 10% contribution I feel is necessary.
  • By increasing my income/cash flow (see goal #2 below) I will be able to contribute more in the future. Beginning in July through the end of 2008 the foundation will be established. I will reconsider the contribution percentage at the beginning of 2009.

2. Increase Income

  • Though I am not due for a raise throughout the rest of this year, I am going to ask for one towards the end of the year. I am expected to obtain my MBA in the fall of 2009 when I expect a major salary increase. Though not guaranteed, as everything else in life, I will continue working hard and obtaining as many skills possible in order to be much more competitive.
  • I am currently also looking into creating multiple streams of income. If anyone has any ideas let me know!
  • My wife is currently not working as we decided it would be best for her to stay home with Baby J until she is about 1 to 1-1/2 years old (maybe even 2 years old). Once we feel safe with leaving Baby J at a daycare our income will increase since dominiqueen will begin earning income again.

3. Continue funding Baby J’s Custodial Savings Account

  • My wife and I recently opened a custodial savings account for Baby J with about $80 part of which was gift money from her Christening.
  • We currently put all the spare change we get into a 5 gallon water jug. Once full we will deposit the money into Baby J’s account and will continue the cycle.
  • I will be contributing $20 a month to her account. Though not much, it is a start. Once our income increases and our debt is paid off we plan on opening a 529 plan for her.

4. Continue Reducing Debt, especially Credit Card Debt

  • As of right now I am paying off the smallest debts first rather than paying the balances with higher interest rates. Both are very popular methods and though paying off debts with the higher interest rates makes more sense financially, paying the smallest debts works best for me.
  • I have almost paid off the first (smallest balance) credit card down to about $185 from almost $600 several months ago. Once that card is paid off I will attack the next biggest giant applying what I paid to the previous card.
  • I have tried to consolidate all CCs into one but none of the CC companies want to extend credit to almost $6,000. The credit limits range from $800 to $3,000. (One bank increased from $1,400 to $2,200 when I called requesting a balance transfer earlier this month).
  • We recently moved to a much more affordable place which will allow me to make double payments on my car loan, so instead of paying $300, I now pay $600 in hopes of paying off by the end of next year.

5. Increase emergency fund from $900 to $3,000

  • Though $3,000 is a little over 1 month’s expense it is a start to increasing our emergency fund. Though I am thinking of focusing on reducing CC rather than increasing the ER fund.

6. Gain 15-20 lbs of muscle

  • In February I began going back to the gym again and have been as consistent as time could allow. I have only missed a week here and there (basically during mid-terms or finals).
  • I have been sticking to a weight gain diet, which has increased my expenses but has been extremely satisfying!

7. Prepare for post MBA career

  • Schedule and attend an informational interview with a top company within the industry I plan to work in to get a feel of what they are looking for in preparation for employment opportunities after graduation.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Beginning to Sucess!

I am a 23 year old ambitious Dominican-American, born and living in Florida from Dominican parents whom migrated here. I consider myself a "go getter". I hold a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree in Finance from a private 4-year university. I obtained my degree in 3-1/2 years taking almost 18 credits per semester throughout. I am currently working full-time and pursing an MBA which I began in October of 2007 and expect to graduate in 2009. I have an entrepreneurial spirit and will eventually be self-employed in the future.

I just celebrated my one year anniversarry with my wife (DominiQueen), we have a beautiful baby girl (Baby J). In securing my family's financial future I plan on establishing strict saving targets, establishing college savings for Baby J, and opening several non-retirement and retirement accounts. I understand of the power of compound interest (I am a finance major), pounded in my brain from professors.

I finally found some time to create a blog. I have been reading several blogs and was inspired to begin my own to track my progress. Eventually I would like others opinions of how I am doing financially as one of my main goals is to get my net worth out of the negetive and into postive. Even with scholarships I was forced to take out major student loans, the cost of private institutions! I will post my several goals I set for mt family and myself. I wrote these goals before I had even considered creating my very own blog.

Not only will I discuss about my financial goals and progress, but also various topics of interest including the progress of my current MBA, family issues, career goals, and time management (work, school, baby, and wife). I have been reading blogs and have not posted on any of the blogs i regularly read. Although now that I have my own I will become more active within the blog community and hope to learn even more. I welcome all to join in my excursion through life and expect to learn much of everyone's advise. I know the ROI of time and knowledge invested in this blog will be worth it!