As If We Didn’t Have Enough Going On… Let’s Get A New Roof, Too!

Financially, it’s been a bit of a crazy 2015 for us so far. We knew going in to this year that we would be working on our kitchen remodel, which would occupy time and money. We also knew that if FPL opened their solar rebate application that we would throw our hats into the ring for that, though it was a bit of a long shot. Well, the long shot came true and that also cost us (a little) time and (a lot of) money (in the short term).

What threw me over the edge, though, was when we got an unexpected letter toward the end of February from the property insurance company that we use for our duplex. A good friend happened to gChat me that day while I waited for a call back from our insurance agent to help me figure out what was going on.

F: How’ve you been, boss?

Mrs PoP: life is crazy. we started remodeling our kitchen, but got the opportunity to get solar panels, so those are supposed to start to go up tomorrow (despite there being no ceiling in the kitchen) and today I found out we might need to get a new roof on our rental in the next month or lose insurance. Kindof want to pull my hair out today. =(

F: I’m sorry you’re dealing with that… but I think you two are among the best to deal with horseshit like this, if that serves as any comfort. :)

Mrs PoP: Awww, thanks… Doesn’t make the horseshit smell any better, though.

Losing Insurance Is A BIG DEAL

Continue reading As If We Didn’t Have Enough Going On… Let’s Get A New Roof, Too!

Happy Friday – One Month Powered By The Sun!

Four months ago, we celebrated when we found out our application for the FPL solar rebate program had been approved and that we could install a solar system on our house and get a credit to the tune of about 50% of the purchase price back from FPL (our electric utility company).

solarpanelsforblog

Pretty pretty photovoltaic panels!!

The install and getting our new smart meter up and running took a little bit longer than we originally expected, but we’ve finally gotten our first electricity bill and we can report in quantitative and qualitative observations on our experience so far with our PV system.

Our PV System

For the tech/enviro-geeks out there, our system is a 7.56kW rated system (28 Hyundai panels and 28 Enphase microinverters) mounted on our back roof deck that faces almost due south and has a clear line to the sun.  It is expected to produce on average about 1,000 kWh/month or 12,000 kWh/year .  This is just about exactly what our average use has been over the past couple of years, so we should be in the sweet spot of not over or under producing electricity over the long term. On the short term, we will be over- and under-producing from month-to-month, but we’ll be using a system of “rollover credits” where we build up a reserve in overproduction months and use from that reserve before getting charged for usage so we should average out over time to not have any bills at all.

The Finances

The Cost

Continue reading Happy Friday – One Month Powered By The Sun!

He Said She Said – 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting

Today we’re bringing you another round of He Said/She Said. . For a look at some of the past He Said/She Said discussions – check ‘em out here.

Sunrise waiting for the doors to open.

This was our second trip to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual meeting in Omaha, after enjoying it so much last year.  And seeing as we’re already planning our return trip next year, I guess you could say we enjoyed it.

We got to see Warren take a few swings in the intro video where Warren “The Berkshire Bomber” Buffett challenged Floyd “Money” Mayweather to a boxing match (For those not aware of the date, the meeting was the same day as that big Mayweather/Pacquio fight – though maybe I was the only person in the world not to know this before seeing the BRK video), and he certainly didn’t pull any punches when addressing the very first question asked which was regarding a recent Seattle Times article alleging unfair lending practices to buyers of Clayton Homes (a subsidiary of BRK that sells manufactured homes).

A man after my own heart, Buffett asked for the affidavit that the reporter was using to claim there were 20% profit margins on Clayton Homes sales, tracked down the error, finding that the reporter was confusing GROSS profit with NET profit. GROSS might be close to 20%, but net profit is much closer to 3% and that mortgages to low-income/low FICO households will typically have higher default rates than higher income/high FICO households, but that Clayton keeps a large proportion of the mortgages for the homes they sell on their books as assets, thereby keeping much more skin in the game than many other “lenders” that are more like mortgage brokers, selling the loans as soon as they are made.

There were so many other questions that they addressed we can’t possibly discuss them all (to find out more Warren/Charlie insight you’ll just have to join us next year in Omaha!), but like last year, Mr PoP and I came away with different viewpoints and highlights of the weekend Here they are:

He Said

I’ll give you three highlights, and a low-light.

1. When asked “What is the most important thing to you at this point in your lives?” I was shocked at Charlie’s answer. While Warren said that the success of BRK was what was important to him, Charlie said that rationality was the most important thing to him! Not his health, his kids, his charity, his legacy, but rationality! Remarkable answer.

2. Omaha. No joke this town grows on us every time we’re there-this time around we really enjoyed eating at The Kitchen Table; fantastic vegan options for Mrs. PoP and I drank a craft beer from a mason jar. Who said hipsters only hung out on the coasts?

3. We got to hang out with some fellow FIRE bloggers. Shout out to the dynamic duo, Mr and Mrs. 1500, along with Steve (and his wife) from Kapitalust, and Jason (and his wife) from Dividend Mantra. It’s always fun to hang out IRL with people we know from the blogger world.

The lowlight is that you’re never sure how much longer Charlie and Warren are going to be around. When I was young-maybe 13 or 14-my mom told me to read two things for investing advice; Bogle on Mutual Funds and BRK’s annual letters. Mama PoP had very good advice (as usual); Bogle’s simplicity and Warren’s value investing have been true cornerstone’s of our financial success over the past few years.

Continue reading He Said She Said – 2015 Berkshire Hathaway Meeting

PoP Balance Sheet – April 2015

Welcome to our April 2015 Balance Sheet!

We use the structure of a monthly income statement and balance sheet in tandem to make sure we are keeping our expenses low and planting our pennies wisely. If you’re not already tracking your finances using these two methods, go to mint.com and get started today! If you have any questions about how we do this just post a comment and we’ll be sure to help!

April was pretty boring as we mostly just added a little to our 401Ks, held on to a little bit of cash leftover at the end of the month, and just rode the waves of Mr Market, which ended the month with a nice little boost.

So for the month of April:

  • Our total assets went up by $17.9
  • Our total liabilities went up by $1.2 
  • Net worth rose by $16.7K 
  • Total net worth as of the end of March is $887.2K, which represents a 1.92% increase this month.

And for the details…

Continue reading PoP Balance Sheet – April 2015

PoP Income Statement – April 2015

Welcome to our April 2015 Income Statement!

Mr. PoP and I put these income statements together for two reasons. First, we want to be transparent about our finances because we’re trying to be role models for other people who are trying to plant their own pennies (and end up with dollars someday!). Second, we do this to make sure we’re on track to meet our own long-term goals. If you’re not tracking your income statement and balance sheet, we highly recommend you start using a program like Mint to keep track of it all.

Insulation was part of the spending in the kitchen this month – but it’s a big upgrade. Check out the new insulation (R30) compared to the old (R19) side by side!

We got back from Omaha late last night, and will post our thoughts on our second trip to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual meeting later this week, but in the meantime, let’s look at the state of our money in April.

April numbers were were high, but close to $1 of every $2 we spent this past month went into our kitchen renovation, so at least we can see exactly where it’s going. Or we will soon… toward the end of the month we ordered about $2K of supplies that haven’t yet been delivered, but we are excited to unveil them once we make a little more progress with them after they arrive at our home in another week or two.

Taxes were also a big line item for us this month. We, again, opted to use a fabulous tax guy who looks after all of our tax issues, but he does cost us a pretty penny. (Specifically, 50,000 pretty pennies – which is below his normal rates as he does our taxes as a favor of a very wealthy friend.)

Excluding those items, spending was pretty great. Here are all the details for April’s numbers.

The Bottom Line

  • Earnings before principal paydowns and savings allocations of $3,264.

And here are the details…

Continue reading PoP Income Statement – April 2015