Monday, December 11, 2006

How I Got a $14,900 Annual Pay Raise

In my last post I mentioned that I was drafted (sort of). Well, everybody in the military gets a bump in their income when serving in a combat zone. While in Afghanistan, I qualify for an equivalent pay raise of $14,900 for my 12 months here.

The way it's broken down is:

Family separation Pay: $250/month
Imminent Danger Pay: $225/month
Hazardous Duty Pay: $150/month
Per Diem: $105/month
No Federal Income Tax: $326/month
Free Food: $187/month

Total: $1243/month or $14916/year

Of course, i'd give this all back for being back home.

I'm planning on using this extra money to help pay off two 401k loans that I took out for a down payment on our primary residence and the purchase of an AC system for a rental property.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I've Been Drafted (By Military), Well Sort Of

I've been a bit quiet lately because I've been going through a fairly turbulent process. I'm already active duty Navy, but in September of this year, I started the "individual augmentee" (IA) process. IAs are essentially piece meal replacements that go over to Iraq, Afghanistan, etc and assume Army staff jobs so that the over-worked Army can free up soldiers for actual missions.

In my title, I said drafted b/c I did not volunteer for my current assignment. Once notified, my current command and I were given 30 days notice to transfer my prior duties to others at work and for me to get ready to deploy for 12 months. In October, I finished two months of preparatory training which basically taught how to be an infantry grunt. I'm a Human Resources officer in the Navy, talk about 180 degrees out...

During my training, I was in charge of a group of 14 people. We finished the training unscathed and way ahead of schedule. Now I'm an Officer in Charge of a small unit in Afghanistan.

As for my on year tour: one month completed - eleven more to go.

As for my blog: I'm starting to settle in over here and am hoping for continued access to computers/internet. I'm still bidding on loans; however, i've scaled back to simply reinvesting interest income. On December 1st, I had about $5000 in Prosper loans. I'm going to watch it grow for a period of time without any new deposits. During this period, I plan on bidding predominately on loans w/ interest rates in excess of 21%. You can watch my portfolio at Erics Credit Community.

Why am I scaling back w/ The main reason is to increase my liquid cash reserves, pay off two 401k loans and participate in a 10% military savings account program. I plan on working towards an eventual goal of 20% of our networth in Prosper. This goal will be reached in years not months. I intend to wait for Prosper to be in the black, financially, before I commit substantially larger sums.

As for my prosper loan portfolio performance:
- 104 loans
- 3 late (while I hate this, i'm still better than the average prosper portfolio)
- Average interest = 21.1%
- ROI = 14.96%