March 2017 Money Diary: Promises


First Quarter Results

  • Cost improvement: $9,161.41 in quarterly expenses (vs. $10,610 in Q1 2016). A $1,500 expense reduction, or $500 net savings per month.

  • Cooked more, dined out less: Eating Out & Entertainment expenses for the quarter was $664 (vs. $1,356 in Q1 2016)

  • Mishaps: Life Happens category was $833 (vs. $518 in Q1 2016) due to a family setback and an emergency room visit

  • Charitable giving: In keeping with our year-end goals, we donated our first $250 of the quarter to Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative

The Ides of March

Ivan here.

WHERE IS SHE?! Actual photo of Jennie's hand.

WHERE IS SHE?! Actual photo of Jennie's hand.

March ended with a trip to the emergency room. I’ll spare you the gory details. Suffice it to say, Jennie tried to off herself by dropping a glass bowl and cutting open her wrist. Now she’s got four stitches and her hand looks like Batman’s.

This being the land of the free, Jennie’s accident cost us $150 in co-pay and antibiotics with health insurance. As a Canadian, I also got my first look at how much more effective free market healthcare is compared to government death panels (spoiler: not great, Bob). On the bright side, both Jennie and I came away from this experience with some stories. But that’s for another time.

Nothing much else to report. Ivan & Jennie Inc. is tracking well quarter over quarter - even with the unexpected expenses and our $250 quarterly donation.

Something to be grateful for.

Keeping Promises

I haven’t forgotten. Last month, I set myself the following goals:

  • Reach out to five organizations I’d be interested in working with

  • Attend at least two community events/meetups in LA

  • Attend at least one information session for volunteers

So how did I do? I ended up reaching out to three organizations, attended one community event and one volunteer session. I’ve also settled on an organization I’d like to work with: 826LA, a non-profit that supports disadvantaged students with their creative and expository writing skills. With the recent glut of Silicon Valley-type engineers who think they're god's gift to humanity, the ability to communicate an idea with verve and panache is becoming a dying art. Think Monsieur Gustave from the Grand Budapest Hotel.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’d better ask somebody.

Back to 826LA: the background check took longer than expected, but I've already signed myself up for two sessions next week.

Assessing Dollar Impact

Here’s why we chose Evidence Action’s Deworm the World Initiative for our first quarterly donation:

  1. There will always be Americans to fight for issues that affect Americans

  2. The ripple effect of a well-placed, cost-effective dollar abroad is incalculable

Here’s how much it costs for Evidence Action to deliver its program:

Average out the four places and you get $0.25 per child for something with clear, measurable outcomes and a proven distribution model (i.e. school systems).

That’s 4 healthier lives per dollar spent. For $250, we get a whopping 1,000 life return on our investment

But wait, there's more! When you add in the federal tax deduction and assume a 20% effective tax rate, we'll receive $50 back at the end of tax season. Thus, on a per dollar basis, the impact jumps to five lives affected. More importantly, these are young lives. 

So what's the total compounded effect of our $250 over a single generation?