- Hello WTFier’s! I know I’ve been MIA for the past few months. Sorry. Life has gotten in the way of me posting on this blog. Since my last post, I’ve made a trip back to the U.S. for a graduation, I quit my ESL job (Yes, I said it), I started a new ESL job, and I traveled to the Philippines for a 4-day vacation. I hope this post shows you how these things affected my life financially.
Since most of my income is coming from VIPKID. I THINK, I will be responsible for paying U.S. taxes. Even while living abroad. So… I’ve been saving about 20% of each check to send to good ole Uncle Sam at the end of the year. I will look into finding an accountant to help me file this year, because I haven’t gotten a clear answer on how this income is viewed by the U.S. government. I still plan of filing using the ‘Foreign Earned Income Exclusion’. Until I get more concrete information, I’ll keep stashing money away every month. If I’m wrong, Ill be in for a SWEET bonus on April 15th!
Living close to two huge International Airports (Hong Kong and Shenzhen) gives us the ability to travel Southeast Asia for relatively cheap. So… in April we booked our first trip to another Southeast Asian country, the Philippines. I originally budgeted $250 of play money for the 4 days, boy was I wrong. The cost of food was a little higher than anticipated and I almost doubled that to about $450. Overall, this was a great trip, but moving forward I’m not going to under budget for travel. I don’t have another trip planned until February of 2019 (Thailand baby!), so my travel expenses should decrease drastically.
This is definitely the category I’m most ashamed of, and it has the largest negative pull on my net-worth. My debt has grown significantly since my last post.
Credit Card Debt
My credit card debt has gotten out of control! When I traveled back to the U.S. I put all of my expenses on a credit card and never fully paid them off. I accumulated more debt and I’m just now working to pay it all off. Between quitting my job and traveling back home, I made decisions (poor ones) to hold on to cash instead of paying off these bills. Going forward eliminating this debt will be priority #1.
Student Loan Debt
Even though I have a large amount of student loan debt I plan on taking my time paying this debt off. My student loan is at a much lower interest rate than my credit card debt. So I need to make the credit card debt the priority for now.
The stock market ended July 2019 at an all time high! Over the last year I’ve earned an 9.6% return, and I look forward to many more years of similar returns. This was the first month that I didn’t make contributions to my brokerage accounts. I figured I need to use this money to pay down credit card debt, which has an interest rate of 22%. YIKES! I think this is the better investment decision with market prices being so high and the size of my credit card debt.
Since February of 2019, my net-worth has grown by more than $2500 to -$3,366. This is much more than I expected because I have been neglecting the financial parts of my life. Finally, looking at these numbers is a huge motivator to continue down this path to financial independence. Expect more from me in the future.