February 2012: A look in the rear view mirror

February turned out to be another good month for The Stoic Investor.  I managed a 79% savings rate of my gross income and I’ve continued to stay the course with investing in cash.  This is still an easy task at the moment as the market continues its upward trajectory.  Oh well, I can be patient.  Nothing wrong with sitting on a bit of cash for a little longer.

March will probably see a drop in my savings rate as I will be paying my tax liability for 2011.  Blah, I’m not a huge fan of taxes, but I doubt many people are.  2012 is starting out on a very good note and I’m looking forward to seeing how it progresses.

That’s it kids. Not much going on these days while I’m still investing in cash.  I do have a few stocks I’m watching closely, waiting for that ever elusive pullback.  You seen one of them lately?  Me neither.  Oh….. I did rake in 399.50 in divi income.  Not a bad month for dividends.  Granted last month it was zero.

How was your February?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

11 thoughts on “February 2012: A look in the rear view mirror

    • Thanks for stopping by IRF. I think there may be a lot of us now deciding to wait for this market to cool off a little. Perhaps I’m guilty of market timing, but when something is overpriced, it’s overpriced.

  1. Wow, congrats on the 79% savings rate! Question – why do you calculate your savings rate based on your gross income and not your net income?

    I spent a lot more than normal in February due to moving, so my net worth increase was pretty much just my investment gains.

    I’m doing my taxable investing in cash for the rest of the year so that I don’t have to deal with capital gains taxes if/when I need the money to fund a down payment. My 401(k) contributions are still on auto-pilot though.

    • Hi Leigh, thanks for stopping by. I made the decision to calculate my savings rate from my gross pay because of the favorable tax advantage of working overseas. Since I’m taking more money home from my salary and paying less in taxes I think it’s better to use the gross figure. Whenever I do make it back to the states I will start basing the savings rate on net income.

      You’re doing great even with the hit from moving expenses. Keep up the great work!

  2. Are you working in Kuwait, Iraq, or Afghanistan? I spent a few years in Kuwait. The tax advantage is awesome. If you’re paying taxes, you must be doing extraordinarily well (up to ~90K is tax free). Congrats!

    I’ve seen contractors who had nothing to show for 5 years in the Middle East due to lavish vacations, divorces, and other poor spending habits. If you’re smart you can turn the high tax free income into assets that will make the rest of your life much better. Saving 79% is smart, very smart indeed.

    Good stuff!

    • CI– Currently I’m in Saudi, I have spent some time in Afghan as well. The income is nice, but honestly I think it is the low cost of living that is even better. For example, my rent is 131.00 a month for a one bedroom apartment. Not quite as good as your situation, but better than most.

      I’ve seen the guys you talk about that have nothing to show for their time away from home. Honestly, I was heading down that road myself. I finally got a hold of my tendency to overspend and now I’m doing quite well. I want to use the opportunity to benefit my future self. Being able to save close to 80% of my gross income allows me to take a bit more risk than would normally be feasible and I want to take advantage of that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to just throw money away on bad investments, but I do want to take advantage of good opportunities even if they do come with risk. I’m hoping to be wise enough to assume the good kind of risk…

      • Wow, $131 per month for a one bedroom apartment! Wow. I’m paying just under $1,700 per month for a one bedroom apartment. I never even paid $131 per month for a bedroom in a 3+ bedroom house in university.

        I’m happy to hear that you have turned your finances around and are finally taking advantage of that 🙂

      • 1700 for a one bedroom? Ouch, that like physically hurts me. I’m guessing you live in a really expensive area? The cheap living here, subsidized by the company, makes it a great situation and one that is honestly hard to leave. I was writing in my journal last night about how long I wanted to stay. I initially thought of three more years to become vested in the pension, but I may stay longer. Moving back to the states scares the shit out of me, because I know that the cost of living is so much more expensive and my pay and benefits won’t compare to what I have here. Sure, health issues or political change could cause me to return, but I’m seriously considering staying for the long-term. The quality of life is great and I’ve had opportunities to pursue several interests that I had not been able to do before. It’s been a good experience…

        Thanks for stopping by Leigh!

      • I paid about $1,300 when I first moved here a few years ago and rent just keeps on going up each year. $1,300 was hard enough, but $1,700 is really starting to push it. But what can I do? It’s important to me that I live in a place that I feel comfortable in, to live by myself, and to have plenty of space. I really can’t go much cheaper than that without sacrificing something on that list, so I’m paying it.

        Sounds like you’re having a good experience in Saudi! I’m somewhat jealous, but as a woman, that area isn’t exactly on my list of places to move 😉

      • Leigh–That is another thing I like about being here, the lack of inflationary rise in costs. I’m sure it is here to a degree, but not like you would find in the states.

        It is certainly different for women here and I’m sure to a degree is challenging. I think life as an expat should be experienced by anyone who has the slightest curiosity about living abroad. The Middle East may not be your cup of tea, but there are several other options out there depending on your interest and what your trade is. I’m planning on doing a post soon about the benefits of expat life. I was thinking about limiting it to just financial benefits, but maybe I will include non-financial benefits as well. What do you guys think??

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