January 1st, 2023 paycheck

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It’s hard to believe this series is almost two years old. I’m pretty sure this is a record for me with consistently posting content. Historically I go in fits and starts.

Basically I’d post everyday for about a month and then disappear for a few months.

With that said, happy new year.

That is, if this represents a new year to you in the calendar you follow.

It’s fascinating how much significance human societies have placed on dates and times. We wait for the end of the year to change our lives and ourselves; new year, new me. Or maybe a birthday. Or a holiday. Or some other arbitrary day we recognize as an anniversary of something.

It’s arbitrary.

Man-made.

One of my mantras is: Every day is a holiday.

Of course, we operate in a world that doesn’t work that way and it really sucks when you go to your favorite restaurant only to discover they’re closed because calendars.

Anyway!

This is a double paycheck. The first came in on December 16 and the second on December 30.

On the first check, I targeted the multi-factor fund, which was down the previous day, so I went with the 2 cents over, 1 percent down, and 2 percent down limit orders. All three orders were executed.

On the second check, I targeted the multi-factor fund, which was up the previous day, so I went with the market price (fractional shares), 2 cents over, and 1 percent down. Two of the three executed.

I also received the last dividends of the year and put those to work where I could. Finally, I cashed out my reward points on the primary credit card.

Allocations

Section titled Allocations

When 2022 started, large-cap equities were over their maximum. So I started rebalancing my 401k at my former employer. At the fund level, the extended market fund started reaching its maximum because it’s in all the accounts for two reasons:

  1. I was trying to keep up with the large-cap allocation in my 401k to hit the target allocation.
  2. The extended market fund has the longest time horizon, so to speak.

I started with the extended market fund only being in my HSA and Roth IRA because I don’t plan on withdrawing from those accounts until around age 70. Next, I added the extended market fund to the taxable brokerage account because I couldn’t keep up with my 401k going only to the S&P 500 fund. Finally, I rolled over a 401k at a former employer into my Traditional IRA using the extended market fund.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t get the small-cap funds to keep up with what was going to the S&P 500 in my 401k. So I reallocated the 401k to be a 33-33-33 split between total small-cap, total mid-cap, and S&P 500 funds. After reallocating, small-cap equities, in general, and the extended market fund, in particular, were near their maximums.

I switched employers midway through 2022.

I rolled over the 401k from my former employer to my Traditional IRA—that went well; see previous paychecks. This resulted in an allocation closer to the targets for the overall portfolio; however, the total market fund was high.

My new employer offers an extended market and S&P 500 fund in their 401k. Last I checked Portfolio Visualizer, an allocation of 66 percent in an extended market fund and 34 percent in the S&P 500 creates roughly an even split between small-, mid-, and large-cap equities. Therefore, I set the allocation in my 401k to be 66 percent toward the extended market fund and 34 percent toward the S&P 500 fund. The value of the extended market fund may head toward its upper limit again. In that case, I’ll switch the allocation in the 401k to be closer to a 50-50 split.

The maximum contribution to the 401k, Roth IRA, and HSA will be increasing in 2023, according to the Internal Revenue Service:

I plan to take advantage of these limit increases, which increases the likelihood that the extended market fund will move toward its upper limit. I’ll keep an eye on how things are moving at the fund level and adjust as needed.

For now, we’re good.

Dining out adjustments

Section titled Dining out adjustments

In 2022, I set a goal to spend more money on regular food than dining out. But unfortunately, I didn’t make it.

I spent about 20 percent less on dining out in 2022 than I did in 2021. Further, the distance between the two was less dramatic in 2022. So I’ll take those as positives.

Going into 2023, I’ll set the same goal and see how it goes.

I’ll use my previous strategy from years past of eating out once a month, usually around the first (or the paycheck for the first) of the month.

Of course, the less I eat out, the more I’ll naturally spend on groceries.

Skill improvement

Section titled Skill improvement

I signed up for Grammarly.

Health and wellness

Section titled Health and wellness

Quick recap: A few months ago, I had severe pain in the big toe of my right foot, then again a month later. While I did not experience all the symptoms of gout, that’s what we diagnosed and treated it as. We checked my uric acid levels, and they did indicate slight hyperuricemia (high uric acid levels). Found a research paper on purine levels in 80 food products.

I don’t classify myself as a spreadsheet person, but I am creating another one.

This spreadsheet tracks the foods I eat regularly. I track calories; purine levels (based on the paper above); fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (macronutrients); and vitamins and minerals (micronutrients).

Breakfast came in as the most likely culprit for high purine content. So I swapped 8 ounces of breakfast sausage for 100 grams each of cashews and pumpkin seeds (pepitas). When it came to calories and macronutrients, things stayed the same. However, for micronutrients, my electrolytes shifted dramatically; sodium went down 50 percent, phosphorous dropped 75 percent, and potassium doubled. As for the purines, they dropped an estimated 75 percent.

While exploring this problem, I went to a podiatrist and sports physician.

The podiatrist agreed to the hyperuricemia (condition) and gout (attack) diagnoses. We removed an ingrown toenail on my right big toe. I learned and started giving myself pedicures, which helped in general. It was one of those things where I didn’t know I was uncomfortable until I became more comfortable. Had some toenail fungus with some dehydration of the toenails and started using a nail mycosis solution regularly. I removed the impacted portion of the big toenail on my left foot.

The sports physician pointed out some weaknesses in the kinetic chain of my right leg and recommended some exercises to strengthen that whole thing, specifically hip raises. In addition, he recognized my upper thoracic spine was a bit locked, so we cracked it to loosen it up, which helped.

I’ve been off the anti-inflammatories (mainly colchicine) for about a month. The week I’m writing this, I also haven’t been taking the medication to reduce the uric acid in my blood (allopurinol).

The second toenail on my right foot had the worst fungus. The regular use of the nail mycosis and “thinning” of the toenail using a light buffer block on the top of the toenail has caused some “dead” layers (lack of a better term) of the toenail to fall off entirely. Also, the new growth of both my big toe and second toe is noticeably less thick than the nail that was there. So, there was definitely some stuff between the layers of the nails.

Spent way too much money

Section titled Spent way too much money

Becca and I were contemplating changing our housing situation. But, in the end, we decided to stay. So we made a list of things we disliked and stuff we liked, and things we thought we could do something about.

  1. Improved router and wifi setup to ensure better coverage for her office setup.
  2. Multiple measuring devices like decibel meters, wind gauges, and thermometers to put numbers to our claims of sound, airflow from the HVAC unit, and temperature issues.
  3. A second space heater (and fan) for my office space because, due to number 2, it gets ridiculously cold or hot depending on outside temperatures.

I’m hoping this will be the last of it, and I can exercise some discipline in the first few months of 2023, at the least to overcompensate.

As a bit of comedy, most of the latest purchases will arrive Friday and Saturday. So many boxes for New Year’s Eve.

Death in the family

Section titled Death in the family

A family member passed away the last week of the year. It sucks and I’m glad they’re no longer suffering.

My employer responded well and I traveled to the funeral.

From a finance’s perspective, it’s an unexpected cost (not that it matters). With that said, it’s worth it to be with family during this time and things like this is why I have the runway account and asset allocation that includes cash. I’m also privileged to have a good salary and low expenses; flexibility.

I’m in a good place.