Saturday, May 30, 2009

May - Round Up

Things are still running at a slow pace with expected but delayed bills coming our way. I have not been able to pay the same amount towards CC, I used to 2 months ago. I am consciously cutting off all the unnecessary expenses but it seems like paying bills is more like a daily affair now-a days. I received a bill for 360 dollars from my insurance company for my DNC procedure. It seems that the expenses are not covered for a female under 30. I paid off that bill with the amount I set aside for my CC payments. I still have to come up with 660 dollars for my Advance Parole application which gives me the flexibility of traveling in and out the country. I am planning a trip to India this year and I won’t be able to get back into US without an AP. (Green Card looks like a far away dream now). The bright side of this is that I still have a job to take care of the expenses and to not fall behind. I am shooting to pay off my CC balances 3 months before my Trip, that way I can save for my trip expenses instead of digging back to CC’s. I think I got a good hold on my CC expenses. I am able to the go to the mall, admire at a nice piece of clothing and walk away without being tempted to buy it or feeling bad for not being able to afford it. All that said, here is how I did this month.

Balance on CC – $6892 (was able to pay only 765 this month)

Auto Loan – $21300

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Career Confusions:Suze.O comes to the rescue.

The only thing on my mind these days is the “direction” of my career. I graduated with double masters in Finance and International Relations and what I am doing right now has nothing/very less to do with the years I have spent earning those degrees. I work as a financial systems analyst, managing the reporting systems. I should say that not being happy where I am does not stop me from giving my 100% to the job I am in right now. I have learned quite early in my age to do every task/job with utmost dedication. I know I do not want to see myself doing the same job 5 years from now, if I am, then there is something seriously going wrong but on the other hand I do not know which direction to take to keep myself from getting stuck in this job. I have been in this state of flux for the past 6 months. I had this drive in me to excel but I had no clue in what!. I picked up Suze Orman’s YF&B book the other Friday and she mentioned something relating to this problem which made a lot of sense. I have summarized the lessons that I have learnt below:

Do something about it: The most important thing I have learned through meeting people who have excelled in their lives and through reading books is that if you do not like the status quo in your life then “Do something about it”, people can go on and on about how much they hate what they are doing or how much they love to do such and such but if you do not take action to change the status quo then things are not going to change or get better for you. Identifying the problem and taking action are two different things. We need to push ourselves to go beyond the first step.

Do some research: Now that you have identified the problem, the next step is to do some thorough research, I had no clue how to go about this, but again Miss.O’s (not Oprah! it’s Orman) book threw some light on it. Her advice to the YB&F’ers is to pick a career that interests them and do some research on it for at least a week. A thorough research will bring to light the pros and cons of choosing that particular profession.

Make the shift early: If you are in your 20’s or early 30’s making the shift now is much easier now than waiting for couple of more years even if that means settling down for a lower salary. The longer we wait the harder its going to be to make that shift because of the family and financial obligations we might get into. Mr. Scorpio just hit 30 last year and has been working as an IT consultant for the past 7 years. He wanted to get an MBA and make the shift to Finance for a long time and finally he has taken action and is enroute to make that change.

and finally,

Keep the faith: Once we have decided to make the shift or have had made that long waited shift, the initial obstacles might make it tough to ease into the transition and the best thing to do at that point is to keep the faith and have the eyes on the prize. Its more like practicing "frugality", its hard intially but in the long term turns out to be fruitful.

Have you been in situations like these, of so what did you do and how did you make that transition?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Amex just closed off my account that had the longest credit history!!!

Did it ever happen to you that the credit card you had for the longest time is closed off by the issuing company without even letting you know or sending a notification? Well, it happened to me, I have had Amex for 6 years now and infact it’s the first ever CC I got when I first came to US 6 years ago. I have always paid my dues on time and never over charged it; however, I recently paid off all the balance remaining on this CC about 8 months ago and haven’t charged anything on it since. I went to the website recently to see if I have any outstanding balances since I also have a Corporate Card, to my dismay I saw a message on my account website stating that my account has been closed due to inactivity. I am not sure why they would do that, at first thought I assumed that it’s because of the recession. Companies could be streamlining all their accounts and businesses. Amex has been different all the while; they are very stringent on their lending policies, I have had an experience 4 years ago where I was running close to my credit limit and once I paid off the balance they cut my credit limit too. I understand that but cannot comprehend why they would choose to close an account that is in good standing for the past several years. My biggest concern is not loosing the CC but the credit history attached to it, I am aware that credit history accounts for 15% of the FICO score, and its just not right to close an account without notifying the customer, that’s just not good customer service. I will be calling the company today to enquire about the reason that had led to the closing of my account.

Has this happened to you before, if so what did you do, any advice?

Friday, May 1, 2009

April Round –Up.

April has been an expensive month, with some unforeseen expenses coming my way. I had to dig back into the CC that was paid off. The 1000 dollar emergency fund that I had set side has been used to meet another expense. Below is where I stand as of end of April.

Credit Card 1 = $6700
Credit Card 2 = $955

Emergency Savings = $300.00

Balance on CC = $7655

I am planning on bringing up my emergency fund to at least $3000 and pay only minimum on my CC until I meet my emergency fund goal. With only myself working I think we need to have a better cushion for any expenses that come our way.