Before I go on to explain how I intend to pay off my recent spending bonanza, I just have a funny (but pathetic) tale to tell. My big sis and I went to Disneyland on Friday to take advantage of a Disney promotion that gave away free admission to patrons on their birthday. (FYI, if you want to upgrade to a park hopper ticket, it'll cost $25 extra.) As part of the promotion, I also received a "Happy Birthday Shtinkykat" (read:"Happy Birthday You Cheap Bastard") button to wear all day.
We were on this ride called Grizzly River Run at California Adventure and our boat was filled with a gaggle of children ranging from ages 5 to 12. One of the girls wished me a happy birthday. The second girl asked, "How old are you now?" The following is a true conversation:
Chaperone/Mom: That's not a polite questions to ask a lady!
Shtinkykat: It's okay. I'm old.
Boy 1 (Approx. Age 9): You're 72!
Shtinkykat: You're close. Just divide that by 2 and add 1.
Chaperone/Mom: Oh, you're still young.
Boy 2 (Approx. Age 10): You're 26?
Shtinkykat: I'll take that.
Girl 2 (Approx. Age 12): Seriously. How old are you?
Shtinkykat: Uh... 72 divided by 2 plus 1.
Girl 2 (Approx. Age 12): 41? 40? 39? 38? 37? 36?
Boy 1 and Boy 2: 31! 32! 33! ....
Chaperone/Mom: (Getting alarmed) C'mon kids. What's 72 divided by 2?
Kids: (Collective mental straining)
Chaperone/Mom: (Getting depressed) Oh, you're a sad bunch if you can't figure that out!
I truly hope these kids aren't representative of the average kid's math skills in the U.S.
Anyhoo, onto the real topic of how I intend to pay for the $600+ I spent over this past extended weekend.
Back in 2001, I was just starting to contribute to my 401k (vested value at the time = approx. $600) and I didn't own any stocks. This always bothered me since I was pushing 30 and owned absolutely nothing in my life. After the 9/11 attacks, the stock market took a temporary plunge. I suspected that the dip was only temporary would eventually recover. But I had nearly no savings to take advantage of what I thought was a temporary dip.
At the time, most online brokerages had a $5,000 minimum to open. Too rich for me. The brokerage that had the lowest minimum ($1k) was Datek (now TD Ameritrade). Still too rich for me.
I suggested to my sister that we open a joint account at $500/each. She agreed. (Coincidentally, one of our early stock purchases were Disney stocks.) Over the next couple of years, I contributed an additional $400 or so,but since stopped after I opened my own individual accounts at Scottrade. I also never really gave much thought to the Datek account and hadn't included its value in my net worth calculations.
Fast forward to 2009. My sister offered to buy out my interest in the Datek account. She offered to pay half the current value, but I knew that wasn't fair since most of the stocks lost a lot of value and she had contributed much more into the account. After some number crunching, I discovered that I hadn't lost any of my $900 investment despite the market crash, thanks to stock splits and dividends. (Hurray!)
My sister wrote me a check for $1,000 ($100 as a birthday gift). I initially had lofty thoughts of putting that directly into my Roth IRA, but that ain't happening. Looks like I'll be using this "windfall" to pay for the recent spending bonanza as well as a weekend getaway I'm planning with my BFF. Sigh. I know it's unwise and imprudent. But what's done is done and it sure beats using my EF, earmarks or (gasp) going into credit card debt for my spending extravaganza.