March 15th, 2023 paycheck


I modified the data to use the universal portfolio language. Technically it was always using the same categories. I’m debating on combining the growth assets into one data point.

I updated the experience for the main page of this series. Instead of the complete list of entries, I broke previous years into disclosures and only list out the current year.

My tax preparer verified I could contribute the full amount to my Roth IRA. I transferred the contribution from savings into the IRA. The extended market fund was up the previous day, so I placed the following limit orders:

  1. market price; executed.
  2. 2 cents under; executed.
  3. 1 percent down; did not execute.

There was enough remaining to place another set of orders. The extended market fund was down the previous day, so I placed the following limit orders:

  1. 2 cents over; executed.
  2. 1 percent down; did not execute.
  3. 2 percent down; did not execute.

The extended market fund was up the previous day. I had enough remaining to place the following orders:

  1. Market; executed.
  2. 2 cents over; executed.
  3. 1 percent down; executed.

Not enough cash left in the Roth IRA settlement account to place more orders.

This contribution, coupled with the orders, brought short-term assets down to 3 percent of the portfolio. 3 percent in the low guardrail. I decided most of the paycheck would stay as short-term assets.

I contributed to the 401k automatically. I contributed the regular amount to the HSA. I put the amount I’d typically invest into the runway account. I put the regular amount into savings and the tax account. And I paid the credit cards. The remaining amount I transferred to the Federal Money Market account at Vanguard; as if I were going to place orders.

All of the funds were down the previous day. However, when I entered the amount I could spend and the current price of the multi-factor fund, I couldn’t buy a full share at 2 cents above the market price. If the fund had been up the previous day, the first order would have been at market price and fractional. Therefore, I could’ve placed orders per the investment policy statement. The fund was down, so the cash stayed in the money market fund instead of a savings account at the credit union. It’ll still earn dividends.

Speaking of dividends.

The long-term United States Treasury fund in the M1 account spit out a couple of dollars, and I put it against the main pie. Ultimately the money went toward the S&P 500 fund.

The fall of Silicon Valley Bank has me wanting to take advantage of downturns. My short-term assets increased to about 5.5 percent, just under the 6 percent target. I was a beneficiary on the life insurance policy for a family member who recently passed away. My portion was less than 1,000 USD. While grateful, I’d still prefer the family member to be alive. It’s one of those bittersweet things.

For the most part, it went through the same flow as any money coming in. Some went to the tax prep account. Some to savings. This time most went to the runway account. However, I started by calculating how much I’d need to add to what was already in the settlement fund in the taxable brokerage account to buy 1 full share at 2 cents over market price; it was less than 70 dollars.

(I’m going to beat this drum until financial folks I listen to stop saying a limitation of the Vanguard platform is you can’t do fractional shares; they have fractional shares on ETFs. The reason I needed enough to buy 1 full share is based on my rules, not the Vanguard platform. I only do fractional shares when a fund is up the previous day and only with the first 15 percent of the investable cash. Back to the story at hand.)

I transferred enough to buy 1 share at 2 cents over the market price. Being able to purchase a full share with 15 percent of the investable cash opened the door to creating all 3 limit orders:

  1. 2 cents over; executed.
  2. 1 percent down; executed.
  3. 2 percent down; executed.

10 minutes into the market opening, all 3 executed. Midday, the value per share jumped up higher than I paid. This set of limit orders falls under buying a dip in that the price for the multi-factor fund was 10 percent down from its 52-week high.

To reiterate, “buying a dip,” in my opinion, is different than “only buy the dip.” Only buying a dip is sitting with cash until a dip happens. I don’t know anyone who recommends only buying dips when they refer to buying a dip.

Most of the money I save and invest is through dollar cost averaging. Most of that happens automatically. If the portfolio balance allows for occasional opportunistic purchases, I might also do that.

Dollar cost averaging

Section titled Dollar cost averaging

This paycheck was an interesting learning experience from a dollar cost-averaging perspective.

All the ETFs I hold are down compared to their 52-week high. At one point, the multi-factor fund was down less than 2 percent; the others are still down over 10 percent.

I stopped actively contributing to my M1 Finance account a while ago, and the main pie showed a total return of negative 18 percent. Meanwhile, I’ve continued to dollar cost average and buy the dip in my Vanguard accounts; the Vanguard account was up 2 percent on the same day I checked M1.

This observation isn’t about the platform. It’s about behavior.

Continuously buying means any upward movement from a valley becomes amplified compared to if I had put the same amount of money in at a peak and didn’t contribute again.

Regardless, with the current strategy and plan, most of the value of my portfolio will be from contributions I’m making, not interest or appreciation. I knew this when I started. With that said, it’s nice to see the portfolio has a positive return overall and, at least in the case of Vanguard, is at an all-time high for total return.

New year, new me?

Section titled New year, new me?

Every year, I reflect on The Motivators Exercise. My motivators changed slightly.

Process and acts of service moved up on the extended version. Therefore, I moved connection above mastery.

I may expand my conception of process to go beyond the order and operations of things and include the guidelines and guardrails. While they aren’t strictly about the order of things or the steps taken, they create the container.

I may change the motivator to reflect that.

Health and wellness

Section titled Health and wellness

Fucking toe edition.

It’s been a while since I had health issues. COVID entered the house, and I dodged that bullet again; I still haven’t tested positive. No more surgeries. And the foot was feeling great for a few months.

I decided to start doing some intentional exercises. I don’t consider it working out. Not even enough to be considered a warmup. My daily goals are:

  1. A one-minute plank.
  2. 10 body weight squats.
  3. 1 regular pushup.
  4. 1 inverted row.
  5. 20 hip abductions, both sides.
  6. 10 hip raises.
  7. 10 ankle rolls, both directions, both sides.

These movements aren’t an exercise routine because I don’t have to do them in one sitting. Maybe I do the plank, and a couple of hours later, the pushup, and so on.

I was a little disheartened that the plank was so hard. Everything else, while challenging, felt like I could do more.

I started on Monday. By Friday, the big toe on my right foot was back to hating life. I don’t think it was the movements I was doing. I think it’s from sitting.

Let me explain.

During the workday, I typically stand. Every so often, I’ll sit on a 12-inch step. One day, in particular, I sat on this step a lot. The next day, I could feel a bit of pain in my toe. I’m also working on some web development client work, and I’ve been sitting a lot while doing that.

I can’t do the regular plank because I don’t want to bend the toe. As a fallback, I’ll use bent knee push-ups when something like this happens; 2 instead of 1. Everything else is the same.

I took a colchicine that Friday. I increased my water intake that entire week. I elevated the foot as often as I could.

My annual checks are due, so we’ll see where the uric acid levels are. And we’ll see how this goes.