most profitable things

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week: The Lady’s Animated Memoir

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The Lady in the Black reflects on her week full of moving up, moving on and moving in on her dreams. The week was full of many small accomplishments but only the top 3 are deemed worthy of being called the most profitable things.

The 3 Most Profitable Things I Did This Week

Week Ending August 11, 2017

I can’t wait to say that out loud.

Moving Up

You know that I’m not really The Lady in the Black. I’m really The Lady in the Red but am trying like hell to change that by improving my finances and my outlook on life.

For those that might remember, in June I started fooling around with two financial apps; STASH and Tip Yourself. STASH is an ETF investment trading app and Tip Yourself is a savings app. I’ve been hugely successful with both.

Current App Experiment balances:

  • STASH: $447.96 (spread across 6 funds). My highest allocation is in their Up & Coming fund, otherwise known as Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO.) Currently, due to this week’s recent market “dip”, my total return % is -0.46%. That equates to being down $2.07. I can deal with that!
  • Tip Yourself: $214.00. Since starting this experiment, I’ve “tipped” myself a total of 29 times. Usually I tip myself $10 per post published here on this blog. (I chalk this up to one of my many “pay yourself first” initiatives.) Occasionally, I throw myself a tip to help cheer me up or celebrate a small win.

Seeing that I started these two experiments on June 15, I figure over $650 is pretty awesome, especially from a 47-year old woman who never had a savings account EVER until last year.

However, the biggest thing I did this week was open and fund a TDAmeriTrade account. Why? Because I was hearing about all of these great ETFs that aren’t available via STASH. Plus, I wanted to initiate another experiment–investing in stocks. I know, I know. I have other priorities, namely my past tax debt, my current tax debt, and my future tax debt. Oh, and one blogger out there is shaking his fist that I haven’t funded an IRA before dabbling with stocks. I get it.

But I felt brave enough to try. Plus, this week’s downturn in the market seem to me to be an open invitation to join all the “smart people” exposed to the markets. I don’t know much about investing but rationalized that buying stocks “low” might be a good place to start. So, I took $500 from my vacation savings account and plowed it all into stocks. Goodbye trip to Seattle. Hello NASDAQ.

I did turn directly to some of my personal finance bloggers for insights, especially Dividend Reaper. I reviewed his August stock picks and did a bit of my own research. (Which for this newbie includes toggling through all the charts and reading some related news.) I took him up on 2 of his 3 picks.

Current Stock Experiment portfolio:

  • Starbucks (2 shares)
  • AT&T (3 shares)
  • Texas Instruments (1 share)
  • Kayne Anderson Energy Development Company (2 shares)
  • Ocean Power Technologies (100 shares)

I could go into my rationale for each of these purchases but let’s just say I’m pretty content with this little mix. (Pat myself on back.) Based on the current status as I write this only 1 position is green (indicating positive gain) but I’m not worried. Actually, for now, it’s fun to watch the prices tick up and down throughout the day. Since I don’t plan to do anything but hold these, I find it all relatively fascinating…and a bit addictive.

I’m also respecting the advice of Military Dollar and his raft of expert advice on What To Do During A Market Correction. (Man, is it me or is a financially savvy guy in uniform kinda hot?) He also has a wonderfully educational series about investments aptly named Investment Series. I’ve read a few and plan to sit my ass down and read them all–and soon.

Since my appetite for investing is now whet, I need to learn more and keep an eye (and ear) open for opportunities. However, I also need to realize that this is exactly the “bright, shiny” thing that tends to distract me from my primary goal; eliminate my debt. Expect more big news on that front in a couple of weeks.

You and me both, sister.

Moving On

My loyal readers know that a profitable life isn’t all about the finances. It’s about finding big pay offs in smaller efforts. However, when it comes to matters of the heart, it isn’t always so simple to see your way to the eventual profit.

I’ve made a tremendously, horrifically difficult decision this week. In fact, it’s so raw that I’m having difficulty even writing about it. I won’t bore you with the details but I’ll just say I had to let go of one component of one of my most heartfelt dreams.

You see, I’ve always pictured a certain someone to fill the role of the future Mr. Black, even if he’s said in no uncertain terms that it was highly improbable that he could fit the bill. I’ve invested so much of my time and energy pursuing, waiting, flirting, hoping, wishing for him to change his mind. My heart has been so wrapped up with him (for years) that I don’t think I really gave myself a chance to go it alone, not to mention being emotionally unfair to every other guy I’ve dated since.

I’ve dedicated the next 10 years of my life to rebuilding, to growth, to pursuing my life’s dreams. And unfortunately, I can’t put my whole heart into doing the real work if I am constantly beating it up hoping for a miracle. So I’m giving up on the love of my life. I’m giving up my dream to have him at my side. And I can tell you with all sincerity, it’s one of the most painful things I’ve ever done.

In hindsight, I should have probably “sold high” years ago but, as we all know, “the heart wants what it wants.”

Peel and chop, Motherfuckers.

Moving In

As I alluded above, I should have some very exciting news soon regarding my moving in closer to becoming debt-free. Stay tuned.

However, in the meantime, I also made a big move this week and filed my 2016 taxes.

They are late, you say? Yes. Yes, they are. But I have a terrible history with filing taxes. The fact that 2016 returns are only 4 months late is a small win for me. I was even able to write a $998 check to the state on the spot. Again, another small win. I have another appointment with the IRS next week to address some lingering issues from past years. If I can successfully resolve them, it may mean dumping another $6,000 off my current debt (and my credit report), maybe more.

Moving in on my goals of being debt-free is exhausting and requires A LOT of mental fortitude. In fact, I recently described my debt as an onion. I peel away layers only to discover more debt underneath….and it all makes me cry. But peel and chop, peel and chop. Watery eyes be damned.

It is true that old habits and old loves die hard but it appears my resolve might just be harder. Which–with the exception of a perpetually broken heart–makes me one bad-ass Lady.

So….how was your week? What were the most profitable things you did? Anyone have a homeopathic remedy for a broken heart? 

 

 

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8 comments

  1. Some big leaps this week, Lady. Can’t wait to see your memoir a year from now. I get the feeling you’re going to be looking back on this entry from atop a mountain of progress.

  2. Watery eyes be damned indeed. You are doing amazing things in your life! It’s very exciting to watch your journey. Now hold on fast to those investments, it may get bumpy here for awhile but eventually it will all be worth it!

    1. Yes, sir or ma’am. (I’m saluting.) I wasn’t joking. I’m kinda obsessed with watching the damn stock ticker right now…but assume it’s all in the learning. I’m not worried though because I have confidence and, in the grand scheme of things, $500 isn’t a lot of money to lose. I could blow that on a weekend getaway. I’m serious about sitting down with your Investing Series soon. Can’t wait actually. Just need to find time between beating debt and breaking hearts.

    1. Seriously, dude. Best piece of advice I’ll give you. Put 30% of any freelance income aside…and pay quarterly estimated taxes. No joke.

  3. Sorry to read about the broken heart. The only thing I’d add is to watch commissions when stock trading. They can easily eat up your gains! And buy and hold is, indeed, the best strategy in the long run, if people like Warren Buffet are any guide.

    1. Yes, I was trying to figure out how the trading fees get rolled up into things. At $7 at trade, I’ll definitely be cautious! Thank you for the reminder. I’m particularly eager to understand all the ins and outs. And thanks for the kind words.

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