Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to my new web series: The Molly Project. Molly is a real person. Molly is her real name. Molly has a financial life. It has serious problems. I decided that she needed a major financial culture shift, and that this blog was the perfect accountability partner. So with Molly’s permission, we are going to fix her financial life together, right here on PeteThePlanner Dot Com.
There are some things that you need to know about the Molly project:
- Molly wanted to do this.
- Molly didn’t want to use her actual picture. Instead she chose Gennifer Goodwin, her celebrity doppleganger, to be the face of The Molly Project.
- Your situation may not be like Molly’s, however Molly’s situation will teach you a great deal about your situation.
- You can comment on the Molly Project below, but if you even hint at poking fun at her situation, then you will be blocked from commenting permanently. We’re here to learn, not hate.
- Age: 35
- Gross monthly income: approximately $4,739
- Net annual income: roughly $40,000??? (According to Molly) Obviously, this is where we will begin
- She recently got a raise as of 1/3/12 and the past 2 pay periods have included bonus money so she’s had trouble calculating the actual figures, but her annual salary is $52,500.
Chase Credit Card (business purposes):
- $155 minimum payment
- 15.24% APR
Bank of America Credit Card:
- $352 minimum payment
- 11.55%APR on purchases ($15,495) & balance transfers ($646.52); 24.24% APR on bank cash advances ($598.20)
GAP Credit Card:
- $25 minimum payment
- 24.99% APR
LOFT Credit Card:
- $25 minimum payment
- 24.99% APR
Wells Fargo (Car Loan):
- Balance: $5044.27
- $225.84 payment
Missouri Bank (personal loan):
Original loan amount $25,000, Balance–$12,678.16 as of 2/24/12 payment, monthly payment-$458.20, 3.99%APR *matures 7/24/12
- $152.11 minimum payment
- 4.5% APR
- Rent: $550 (includes utilities)
- Car payment: $225.84
- Cell phone: $79.99
- Car & Renter’s Insurance: $83.99
- Gas: $150
- Savings Account (ING Orange): $50
Initial Questions from Molly:
- I receive bonus money with each contract I’m on (roughly 3-5 contracts a year). The amount varies ($500-$5,000) depending on the contract and whether or not I reach certain benchmarks. In any event, I anticipate getting approximately $2,500 in the next 6 months from bonus and was wondering what you’d suggest I put that towards—paying off more debt or savings?
- I have a TIAA Cref account from my former employer with roughly $3,000 in the account that I could move & about $3,000 I can’t touch till retirement. Should I leave the full balance in the Cref account or roll the portion I can touch into something else?
- once the store CC’s are paid off, should I leave those credit lines open (GAP, LOFT)?
- My ING Orange account was something I established a few years ago to auto-deduct a small amount each month to give myself a cushion for unforeseen expenses that pop up. Unfortunately, I keep having to dip into this account (most recently around Christmas) and I barely have $200 in it at this time. Should I keep the account? If so, should I be saving more each month even with so much debt?
- I have a wedding I need to attend out of town this July and I’m concerned about how I can make it happen financially. Is this something I can do at all? I have a free airline ticket and will be most likely sharing the room expense with another couple but am not sure this is something I can swing in the coming 6-9 months. It’s a very close friend and feel compelled to be there but would like your advice.
We will be answering all of these questions, and we will be changing Molly’s life. How do I know that I can change her life? What makes me so confident? Because I do it everyday. You just don’t normally get to watch this closely. I encourage you to tune into all of the episodes of The Molly Project. Episode 1 was just about getting you up to speed. In Episode 2, we will get to work.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.