I don't know how else to describe it - I just feel really blah about our money right now. Usually I feel motivated to track our spending, and each time we sock a little more away I get a burst of adrenaline seeing my retirement date get pulled in.
But there have been a few things going on that have left me feeling less than motivated.
1. I was out of town this weekend and I didn't really track our spending and now I am dreading trying to sort it all out. I kept some receipts, and I put some of the spending into our envelope app, but I know I forgot some of that. Also, I went straight to a business trip after that and now I feel like the weekend was a life time ago and the spending for work versus pleasure is getting all messed up in my head.
2. I've been tracking my taxes wrong, and so my networth spiked up suddenly. I track our networth a bit differently than most people. First, I don't include possessions, which isn't so weird, but then I also take predicted taxes out of our investments. I was previously taking out 20%, assuming I'd hold them for at least a year and then qualify for capital gains treatment, but I was doing research last week and realized that next year the tax rate is actually only 15%. I made the change and then my networth jumped, which is great, but not reflective of true progress, which is what I actually want to measure.
Just to make things more complicated, I don't take taxes out of my 401K tracking. I rationalize this because I won't be getting to that money for so many years, while I may cash in my investments in a much shorter time frame, and thus want to track how much I'll actually have at my disposal to spend on things like a house.
But now I feel like we should just track the amounts and forget about the taxes. What if the capital gains tax goes up in 2015? My networth tracking will indicate our total went down, when it really didn't. But, it would be accurate in that my money won't go as far as it would have before. Ah, this is beyond annoying to me. On top of that, if we stop tracking taxes, our networth jumps up to over $500K. I know this sounds great, but I feel like we missed out on feeling the accomplishment of working so hard to see our goals come to fruition. It feels like we cheated, and got cheated out of the celebration.
3. This tax issue with my company stock is really bringing me down. I'm meeting with our accountant tomorrow and he's going to tell me how much we would have now if we sold my company stock at a high price but had to pay regular income tax on it. He'll then tell me how low the stock would have to dip in price a year from now if we held onto it and only had to pay capital gains tax, to make less. Then we just have to make a decision on what we think the stock will do, and hope for the best.
The truth is that I feel really awful about the position we're in, because I knew we had to sort this out for the last two years and I just didn't take the initiative to find an accountant. I looked half heartedly and gave up, and now it could cost us tens of thousands of dollars. If we had already purchased our stock a year ago we could sell today at the high price, pay capital gains tax, and feel really good about our situation. When I think about how much I stress over spending a couple extra dollars, but then let this fall through the cracks with huge financial implications, it makes me want to cry (which I've done).
I'm hopeful that tomorrow the numbers will speak for themselves and we'll have a clear path to follow, but there's always a risk. At the very least, we'll make a decision which would be a relief in and of itself.