Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Networth Update

I have dreaded this day for the past week, realizing that today would be the day all my crazy spending will really strike home.

Although certainly the month had circumstances that are abnormal, ie. moving into a new apartment and having to buy a new computer, it nevertheless is just an excuse for the spending, rather than a financially responsible situation.

Compared to last month's networth update, I have made a 0.12% decline, decreasing my networth by $1,200. $500 still continues to be tied up in my student loans, as my new lender has not received the refund from my old lender for paying too much yet (and I may have lost this $500 if it weren't for the fact that blogging made me remember).

My networth is -$21,251.37 or -2.13% of the way to my million dollar goal.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Stocks on my mind

After a week of tumbling stocks last week, and a huge gain for the market today, I think its a good time to recommend to the world the stocks I've been thinking about.

Typically, my top 3 choices are Apple (APPL), Google (GOOG), and Exxon Mobile (XOM). This week it's no different.

Why do I pick these 3 stocks consistently when I talk to my family and friends? Because these three company continue to amaze me.

And this week especially, I recommend these stocks because two of the three (Google and Exxon) missed earnings expectations, making them especially juicy buys after the initial dip in their stock prices.

Let's start with Apple. With all the hype of iPhone, and the continued success of the iPod, it shouldn't be hard to see the media attention Apple gets. But, with initial reports that the iPhone sales were below analyst expectations, the market was worried, until they heard about the "sweet deal" AT&T gave Apple (story here). AT&T is not only subsidizing the cost of the iPhone, but Apple is picking up monthly residuals on each subscriber, each $9 a month per user. Apple may be an one-product company now, but when that product is so huge, it doesn't really matter.

Speaking of one-product companies, Google is another one of those technological wonders that has succeeded off the back of one good product, their search engine. However, they too felt a huge hit to their stock price when their quarterly reports missed analysts expectations. But the stock has been creeping back slowly. Why? Because a further analysis of the 10 cent miss, and according to their CEO Eric Schmidt (story here), shows that a majority of the miss is attributable to a 10% increase in headcount and a shoring up of their accounting procedures. For a large stable company, such a hiring bonanza is cause for worry, but for a growth company, such an increase is akin to buying a larger factory or any other asset. Sure it costs money now, but eventually, they'll figure out how to turn that expense into profit.

On to Exxon Mobil. I don't need too much of an explanation. With continued high profits and soaring crude oil prices, who wouldn't think a gas company is a great (long-term) buy?

One day away...

Judgment day is upon me, or at the very least, month-end reconciliation is coming, and I fear the damage.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Simpsons Movie is AWESOME!

For fans of the show, the entire movie is about knowing the characters and understanding the references. For those who have never seen the show, you will be disappointed the first time, but if you watch the show for a bit and then watch the movie again, it'll be a whole lot funnier.

I can't wait to see it again tomorrow (Friday night, since it's still Thursday for me until I go to sleep.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

CFA Level I Results are in

And I, along with 60% of the other test takers, did not pass CFA Level I's. Like the OWL's of Harry Potter, I won't be moving on to the next level until I can pass this one.

Honestly, I saw this coming, as I didn't really spend as much time as I should have studying all the material, figuring my MBA studies were enough. Not until later, did I realize how true the saying, "MBA is a mile wide in business and an inch deep in finance, and CFA is a mile deep in finance and an inch wide in business."

Looking at the breakdown of the section, the parts I was good at was ethics, economics and quantitative analysis. Other aspects, such as portfolio management and alternative assets, I did not do as well in.

I'm just going to have to hunker down and study hard for the December one.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Finally, things have settled down for me. I'm fully moved into my apartment, I have furniture, I have cable, and work hasn't been as hectic since quarter close.

Since then, I know I've skipped a lot of opportunities to blog, and I really need to get back into the swing things.

One of the biggest financial differences (other than paying rent) I have noticed is that I am spending way too much on food. I never really tried to quantify how much it costs to buy and cook food, but considering by typical $10 lunches and $15 dinners, that's adding up way past what I had originally budgeted for food, $400 a month.

I have to seriously reconsider by eating habits, and definitely start cooking for myself again. Although back in grad school, I did cook for myself, my time constraints were a bit different. For one, I wasn't actually exhausted at the end of the day. Second, I didn't have to worry about having enough time to both cook and eat.

This increased expense has me worried. For now, I tell myself it's a temporary increase in expenses, but I need to start clamping down on that by next week.

Also, it's getting to the end of the month, ever closer to updating my networth, and frankly, I'm a bit scared to do it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Alive, but working hard

SO I haven't been able to find much time to post. I have settled in, and this week at work has been rough. More posts to come this weekend.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Moved in, but without internet...

For the last few days, I have been in the process of moving into my apartment. It was a bit rough, as I had to deal with the world's slowest elevator and intermittent shutdowns of the elevator for maintenance and other people's move-ins.

On top of that, my desktop computer did not survive 3 months in my basement, forcing me to go out and buy a new one. That was a fun $900 unplanned expense.

Yesterday, I also waited about 7 hours for the cable guy to show. They promised me they would show up between 2-5, and ended showing at 9:15. The guy played around with the cables for an hour and told me that he couldn't get cable to work, so no tv or internet.


So I can look forward to wasting more time another day.

In the mean time, I think I'm stealing wireless internet from my concierge's unsecured router.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Continued good news on furniture

Turns out, the sales people were in a huge rush last night, and when they audited their orders this morning, they realized that I had created a bundle package, and so were able to give me $105 off my price!

That's just amazing customer service. So to the sales reps of Bob's Discount Furniture, well done!

Also, I officially signed my lease documents, cut the checks, and received my apartment keys.

I'm all set for my Friday morning move in.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I own furniture!

Or at the very least, I've paid for furniture. Yesterday, I posted about my furniture budget of about $1100. Unfortunately, I was a bit naive and didn't include tax and delivery charges, of about $150. On top of that, I left out a $100 box spring I need with mattresses, which equal out to about a $1380 purchase today for:

Queen Headboard, Mattress, and Frame
Dresser and Mirror

Also, if you were paying attention, you'll notice that doesn't include a desk. One, I didn't like of the matching desk sets, and more importantly, I went with something a little more expensive but that were solid wood. I figure, spend a little more now, and I can keep using the furniture for a while.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Rising Costs of Living

As I prepare to move out, I realized that I have a large chunk of fixed costs involved in moving into my apartment. I currently don't own any furniture, or even a bed, so I have to go out and buy a mattress, bed frame, and matching bedroom furniture. I'm also going to need a desk.

Here is what I'm thinking of spending:

Mattress - $400, I want to get a nice one. Probably the most important purchase
Bed Frame - $250
Nightstand - $40
Dresser and Mirror - $250
Desk - $125

All told, that's about $1100, on top of which I have to pay first month rent and two months security deposit. Theses big cash outs almost empties my bank account until my next paycheck.

I think it's an ironic twist that with all the education and pay I'm receiving, I'll still be living paycheck to paycheck. Of course, things will improve next month, since I'd obviously won't need to buy furniture or pay security deposits again.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Moving out soon

Can't wait. I've found a brilliant 3BR apartment, 1500 sq. ft. today, that I'll be sharing with two other 23-year olds. It is about a 10-minute walk from work, and for the price of $1275 a month, I am getting the master bedroom with two closest, one of which is a walk-in, and it also comes with my own bathroom.

There is also a concierge service and a small gym. The entire development is newly built.

I think I'm ready to get out from under the parent's free room and board, and finally get out there entirely on my own.

It does hurt my networth growth though. My monthly increases are going to slow to probably no more than $400.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Sticking to a budget

Is really tough. So far this month, I have already gone through 25% of my food budget and 15% of my "discretionary" budget.

Food has mainly just composed of going out to eat, while discretionary budget has been spent mainly on expensive bars / paying for parking.

I expect even more expenses this weekend, as I have my fun night in NYC planned, plus someone's birthday on Saturday.

With all of these unexpected expenses occurring, my budgeting is all out of whack. Maybe I'll only eat and have fun for the first two weeks of the month, and turn into a monk for the last two weeks.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Working on July 4th...

...pretty much sucks. My only consolation was knowing that my managing director and the financial controls team were also in the office today.

I guess I'm finally understanding the sacrifices I am being compensated for with my salary.