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Archive for April, 2016

thoughts on FIRE?

April 30th, 2016 at 09:36 pm

I've always been ambivalent about financial independence and early retirement or FIRE. I am so impressed by those who do it Mr Money Mustache and quit a few other blogs like the frugalwood, Dr Doom, root of good, etc. Now the only one who really retired was Dr. Doom. Frugalwoods, root of good, and even Mr M stayed at home with small children and a spouse that worked. By that logic I'm RE. But I don't see it that way. Mr M now has the the benefit of a multi million dollar blog, but the others aren't there yet.

I guess that's the million dollar question. I've also read a blog about a young 30 year old couple who did choose to FIRE on $1M literally and that's it. I guess I'm unsure since retirement will last say 50 years you can't draw 4%/year. And honestly I worry about the cost of healthcare as we age.

For those couples who still have one spouse working it's fine. You get employer provided health insurance. But for those who really pull the trigger, after our "sabbatical" year I have to say that health insurance makes both people in a couple with kids especially dicey to retire early and not worry about it.

Who knows if Obamacare will ever be repealed. If so will those on it with pre-existing conditions be relegated to "ghetto" pools? Paul Ryan mentioned how much cheaper it would be to repeal Obamacare and toss everyone who is expensive into one pool. But what happens to those people? We know many people don't want to subsidize them but that's how forcing insurers to not exclude them makes Obamacare work. I'm not sure what the answer is. I guarantee and so has every economist said that an open market health policy that allows insurers to not provide insurance to those most at risk mean more people would go without.

So how can one FIRE as a couple in the US without substantial assets? I fully support the idea of living frugally. I also support the idea of financial independence. But I am not sure how to fully determine financial independence? Also how will we know if the retire early part of the equation is successful? That FIRE on $20k/year or $12k/year for a family of four will work in 20 years?

Is the only answer to wait and see? What happens if in your 50s after 20 years of retirement big expenses and medical bills crop up? Do you go back to work then? What happens if you don't have a cushion for your living expenses?

I like SA because people here seem to have a balance of saving and spending. I've realized I can't FIRE like others who are mustachian. I don't want to live on $12k or $20k/year. I guess there is a lot of truth that while we try to live frugally we still have a lot of excessive spending. And without inherently changing our "wants" LAL and Mr LAL won't be retiring without a lot more in the bank.

Do you picture yourself retiring on $12k or $20k/year? Could you? Would you? Have you?

Happy Days

April 28th, 2016 at 07:44 pm

I just wanted a quick post about life. We're super happy. All of us. It's weird and good at the same time.

My DH left yesterday singing because he was so excited by almost being done. Today is hiring day and he left in an even better mood, excited, nervous, but at the same time ready. I can't explain I haven't seen him this excited about work in a long time. He likes what he does more than he has in a long, long time. Turns out the move he was against 2 years ago has been the best thing that ever happened to him. He's even said so recently. Cliche but sometimes what you need is the thing you fight the hardest against.

The kids are enjoying the milder weather and my older kid is dying for the 80s again. When will it warm up? I laughed and said next week. She said I don't miss the snow we can see it from our house. HAHAHA and I don't have to shovel it (that's my comment mentally!) She said we don't even have to wear coats or boots. What a lovely "winter".

As for me? Yesterday some friends came over to play and both ladies said they wanted to go out in May to celebrate my upcoming birthday. I said YES. And then I said I have friends to them. They stared at me and I said it's been a work in progress moving and I admitted it's hard but I feel like I'm settling in and developing roots. That I have people I can talk to. I am getting to know the area and knowing my favorite places to eat and go.

I bought memberships to places like the zoo and children's museum. We're hosting friends this weekend for a BBQ. We're being hosted again and DK1 is doing T ball.

I guess we're all just feeling better about the move. It's crazy that 1 year ago this weekend we were listing our house. That 13 months ago we had no idea we'd turn our lives upside down and do this. But we have and it's turned out great. Well good emotionally for us. Financially DH has to land a job, but honestly even if it were a salary cut since he's singing and enjoying what he does I can't seem to care. He's happy again and maybe it's the location, maybe it's the work, maybe it's a combination of both.

But soon we'll know if the gamble pays off. I'll post more later about some thoughts I have about being financially independent and retiring early.

the secret shame

April 25th, 2016 at 09:47 pm

I read the article in the atlantic. It's here. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

It's really well written. Yes the author makes a ton of excuses. The author really couldn't afford his lifestyle ever. He was a writer who probably should have lived somewhere cheap. This article on vox discusses people moving because they don't make enough. http://www.vox.com/2016/4/25/11503040/midwest-savings-atlantic

He's one of those people. He's someone who probably would have had problems even if he had moved but perhaps it wouldn't have been so severe.

I can't imagine hitting up my parents for their life savings for my kids to go to college. I can't imagine later paying for a wedding when I couldn't afford to pay for college. I can't imagine hitting up my grown child for money to pay my heating bill in old age.

But it happens. I had lunch playdate on Sunday at my friend's Ms DB. Her family is the one that made $300k last year and saved nothing. Her husband makes $200k/year and they save nothing. She said the only saving grace is the fact they don't use CC and only buy what they can afford.

But she said they are trying for the first time to budget. She said she took out $400 cash for 2 weeks of grocery shopping. They have no idea where to start but they are trying to see where all their money goes. Seriously making $15k/month gross and not saving a penny. I'm curious where their money goes too. $3k goes to rent she said and assuming $4k taxes and $1k medical premiums. That's still $7k/month unaccounted for.

I suggested mint.com but since they don't use credit cards she said it wouldn't work. They just use debit cards. Her husband when she brought it up said "we don't have CC debt so we're fine." But they can't find a way to save.

I suggested to her that they just maybe deposit $5k into a "Spending"account and use a debit card and that's it. Maybe they don't have to track every penny since I doubt her husband will. But maybe just set preset "saving" levels and with their income it won't matter.

But here's the truth of what I observed going to their house for the first time. And I really this she's a nice person and will make a good friend.

She's got 4 kids 8, 6, 4, and 2. The 8 and 6 year old each have flat screen tvs in their rooms. They both have ipads and kindles, and the 8 year old an xbox in his room. They have 2 big screen tvs in the two family room areas. There were toys everywhere and the house was very fun and cool. But I'm going to guess that their spending on the kids and stuff is more than 2x what I spend on my kids even though I have 2 kids to her 4. I don't think they proportionally spend double, more likely if i had to guess 4x as much.

I admit to being indulgent with our spending. We could very well cut many, many luxuries and have a very lean budget. But I know where my luxuries are and I'm okay with it. I make a conscious decision for each of my dollars giving it a "name."

I think that's why no matter what you earn you have to save. That even when you can outearn stupid you can still fall into the trap of living a lot higher off the hog if you don't. I didn't tell her but with a similar incomes our "burn rate" previously and now is about 1/3 what they are "burning" through every month. But I wouldn't expect her or her family to do that. She admitted it's shameful they can't seem to save.

I think that going into extreme savings mode would be to depriving. I think for them probably saving 15% is would a struggle and something they have to work up towards. I think starting out with maybe 5% and every 2-3 months increasing it would help easy the pain. And maybe for the rest of their lives they never go above 15%. It would still be better than nothing.

I know that she's trying to change. I maybe naive, but I'm crossing my fingers that they are able to turn things around. At least they aren't in debt.

In a funny turn of events DH has a call with a recruiter tomorrow. I am not sure it's a match. At least he is getting interest already and it's boosting his confidence. I have faith he'll do great. This week is hiring day so we shall see. Cross your fingers. We're about to find out if we gambled wisely or poorly. (as I type this I hear in my head the end scene of Indiana Jones and the last crusade)

I met a MM fan

April 22nd, 2016 at 09:16 am

I met someone who said they read the Mr Money Mustache blog. I nearly laughed but I couldn't say we're die hard followers before it was a word and that we were a case study. I said we're mustachian followers and have long been so.

I just found it so cool that I met someone in real life who might actually like the same things. I've always been a little odd in real life always looking for deals and watching our spending. It's a habit many on here share. It's not what you make, it's what you spend.

And people on here think nothing of watching every penny and making it shriek. The idea of spending freely is a hard thing to do once you get into the mindset.

But this new friend said their takeway from MM blog was that it was too rigid. They didn't want to retire early or save. Rather they decided that streamlining their life and simplifying their spending seemed like a good idea. That they would try to pay off debts and live more debt free, but it probably wouldn't change their retirement age.

I said that we love MM because he preaches freedom. That even if you are working, having a big savings gives you the freedom to say FU to any job or career. To move on and do what you want.

I think that even if people aren't into saving 75% of their income (we're not hard-core in that sense), MM can make sense even for the average person. Don't spend too much and save a little just in case you want to say FU one day to whatever you're doing.

Have you meet any other frugalites in real life?

Privilege of knowledge

April 20th, 2016 at 09:46 pm

After volunteering this week for our monthly shelter birthday party, I realized something. That anyone reading this blog, with a computer, internet access, and time probably has time to spend with their kids. We're very privileged in so many ways.

On SA we have a variety of incomes from poverty to 1%. We also all share a mindset of living below ones means and valuing our time. We've also got the privilege of clipping coupons, grocery shopping in bulk, going to thrift store, and just spending time with our kids.

Anyway we were playing at game at the shelter using colors and shapes. I realized that more than a few kids didn't know all the colors and shapes we were using. If I had to guess these kids hadn't been privileged enough to be read to by their parents. Their parents were probably too busy trying to not be homeless and scraping by to find the time to go to a library and read to them. Or talk to them about their day.

It's funny the difference it makes when you have help even if you are from a very low economic background. I was extremely privileged to have one on one "babysitting/nanny". I mean I was read to, fed, taken to the park/beach/playground/library, grocery shopped, etc. I was given immense attention and my vocabulary was developed by the amount of time I was spent being talked to in both a foreign and english language.

The truth is that my grandmother now lives on $500/month SS and I think $150 pension from Greylines (my grandfather drove a tour bus). She gets medicare and medicaid because she qualifies for welfare medical coverage. She never owned a home, and lives a good life now because her kids provide her with extras. I would say lower middle class is generous, they lived for years without a toilet/bathroom in the house (thus she babysat at my uncle/mom's houses yeah indoor plumbing!)

Anyway I realized these people at the shelter don't have a hand to help them up. They don't have free childcare, or help at nights. They probably don't have a car or time to spend with their kids reading and just playing and teaching. Even without money some people can spend the time. But when you are struggling to pay the rent, put food on the table, and medical bills it seems impossible to do more.

I just had a deep appreciation for how lucky I am to spend time with my kids and teach them everything I received. It's possible my mom didn't make more than some people on welfare but we were so fortunate that our bills were so minimal and we were helped out a lot by our family.

wow elizabeth warren

April 20th, 2016 at 03:08 pm

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/04/20/elizabeth-warren-just-called-ted-cruz-a-whiner/

Have you read this twitter post by Elizabeth Warren? I had to laugh. I don't think her points only apply to Ted Cruz, they probably apply to all the candidates in the presidential race. The only thing is Ted Cruz was the only one who whined and complained about it.

He complained about campaigning and being away from family. I wonder did he consider what being president will do to his family? That it's not just a 9-5 job?

That from photos I don't know if other's noticed but GWB and Obama both looked really haggard after 8 years in office. They had a lot more white hair. They both looked extremely drawn and tired and aged. I mean if you look at 2000 and 2008 campaigning photos they looked energized and ready to go. But by the end both look worn, weathered, tired. I can't blame them. The job is exhausting, stressful, and extremely difficult. Every decision is difficult not to mention scrutinized.

But seriously Mr Cruz? You are complaining about running for office but you know that's what everyone else does everyday? That everyone else trying to make a living is probably living like that now.

maybe we're renters

April 19th, 2016 at 06:13 pm

I know we were hoping to buy and settle in but more and more the signs I think are pointing to renting long term. Maybe even moving into another bigger rental. What brought this on?

Well my neighbors with the 4 bd/2.5, 2000 sq ft home sold today for $712.5k. That makes it $313/sq ft, highest in the area and a record. My neighbors next door in July 2015 same exact layout, same size 4 bd/2.5 ba, 2000 sq ft home bought for $570k. So in 8 months (they bought the 1st weekend of March) the house went up $142.5k in 8 months or 25% in 8 months. The annualized return is 37.5% so the house should be worth in July $783k if the prices keep rising on track.

But I wonder what sort of people participate in a bidding war and end up paying $80k over asking price. Do they have any regrets? Was that always the plan and were they planning on spending more? Did they realize they were setting a new bar for price/sq ft? Do they even care?

But I'm concerned. We left an expensive area for an area that is still cheaper but I'm wondering if in 1-2 years will be just as expensive? We sold around $400/sq ft and but that seemed to be the cap in the sense that it's going up maybe 3-5% a year. Not going 37.5%/year.

So right now I'm not sure it's a sustainable market. Maybe I'm wrong and it's time to buy before it goes up another 40%. But if it goes up another 40% then this "entry" level home will be $1 million.

Thoughts?

so I blinked...

April 19th, 2016 at 01:53 pm

So we had a nice visit with my mom for a week, hence MIA. She asked me how long have you lived here now? I said 8 months almost. Crazy I blinked and fall, winter, and now spring is upon us. I am so excited that I haven't even felt the seasonal depression I expected. Of course I had moments of nostalgia but the beautiful 80+ degree weather has cheered me considerably.

So I sold my jumperoo for $40 and another of my 2016 items gone. I also threw out a worn out hairtie and I am trying to get rid of 30 items by tomorrow. My mom brought another 3 boxes of my stuff from home. Stuff like my old journals and stuff I want to look through before disposing. Of course I'm trying to dispose quickly because we don't have much space.

But otherwise when she was here it was great. We did all sorts of stuff like the zoo, children's museum aquarium, science center, and looking at houses. We also shopped for clothes and shoes (thank you mom for the kids). So we just did a lot and had fun.

But I unfortunately got a ticket for going 40 in a 30 mile zone. My mom was in the car and said she hadn't noticed since we were going downhill. I was speeding and should have been braking, but I wasn't tailing anyone, not on the phone or anything dangerous, we were just chatting and I didn't think much of not braking. UGGGH. The ticket is ridiculously expensive $160 but I'm more worried about my driving record and insurance.

Did I mention my DH is in his 10th week of his program and has 3 more weeks to go? He is literally 13 days until the end. With hiring day being 7 days away? He's nervous as heck and can't believe that we're this close. I'm dying to know if our gamble paid off. I have no idea what to expect job wise, benefit wise, pay. In someways it's harder than getting out of college and finding a job. There you sort of know, friends who found jobs first in your field or older mentors. Here it's something completely different and a big risk.

political corruption

April 12th, 2016 at 05:10 pm

I'm losing faith in the political parties. I don't get it at all. I may not vote for Donald Trump or like him but I think he's right for once. He said both political parties are corrupt. That he's been winning and Bernie Sanders (I support) are winning but yet everyone says they can't be the nominees. That in a contested convention Donald Trump will never win.

I don't get it. If Donald gets the most votes, and people like Marco Rubio suspend their campaigns, then their delegates should be up for grabs right? I think if Donald leads why shouldn't he win the nomination?

As for Bernie well I think superdelegates are ridiculous and have always thoughts so. It should be solely based on the voting delegates. And he's won the last 7 of 8 states and has tremendous momentum. I don't get why he can't win and look at his fundraising! Oh yeah because the establishment doesn't want him to win like they don't want Donald Trump to win.

I think the cards need to fall where they fall and the politicians need to stop interfering. Ridiculous.

I'm disgusted. If I were a republican I'd probably consider voting for donald trump just to thumb my nose at people in DC for deciding what the rest of the country wants. I feel like voting for Bernie (I did) at least I contributed to the "political revolution." But it seems like the establishment on both sides just wants the average joe to fall into line with what they want.

Hillary or Paul Ryan. Who cares what anyone else wants.

the bystander effect

April 12th, 2016 at 05:00 pm

OMG I feel so embarrassed. I ratted out a nanny. I have never done something like this and I always thought I would. But honestly it's a lot harder than you think when faced with it. I can easily return something but turning someone in for a situation you could be "misjduging" is hard. I understand the bystander effect. I'm hoping that if I will speak up and realize it's okay.

So I was walking with my DKs into a Barnes and Nobles. A boy about 8-9 maybe younger I couldn't tell, was holding a dog and crying outside. He asked me to go in and look for his nanny. I said no, and instead I offered to hold the dog and let him go look for his nanny. I was uncomfortable looking for a woman I had no idea what she looked like.

So we waited with the dog outside. I took a photo of the dogs ID tags with the family's contact information. After they came out we went in and I heard the nanny telling the kid he should have left the dog tied up or in the car. It was his fault. I wasn't sure what to make of it.

Torn, I was encouraged to email the mom and I did including the photos of the dog's tags to explain how I got their contact information. I explained the situation and didn't judge just said I had your dog outside a bookstore while your son looked for his nanny.

I received a response that the mom will be investigating the incident because she wasn't aware they had taken the dog out and what happened. I have no idea whether I overstepped and perhaps the nanny has been a long term employee. I feel bad also because I could have been overreacting and cost someone their job.

I write this a bit in guilt torn over maybe getting someone fired and at the same time worried over a kid and potentially an irresponsible nanny.

Trust me I worried about overreacting, considering I had just yelled at my kids for locking me out of the house earlier in the day. My DK2 keeps locking doors driving me nuts as she's locked me in the garage from the house and I've had to go around the house to get back in. So I do worry I was misunderstanding the situation.

I hope either way it works out.

debit versus credit versus cash

April 11th, 2016 at 09:57 am

Interesting thread about how to spend money and use your debit card. I know many who follow Dave Ramsey say "use a debit card." I think even Dave Ramsey has said it's okay.

But I have to disagree. I'm a credit card user without an issue. But I think a debit is too easy to abuse. I think if you have a problem with spending the only way to curb it is cash. If you have trouble with credit cards it's just as easy to spend on a debit card. The bank will keep letting you spend and you'll rack up overdraft fees.

I also think that it's super easy to spend without following spending by swiping a card. But if you had cash and tracked every penny it's harder. Also if you are married or partnered up and sharing an account it's easy for both parties to overspend.

I find we need a CC to track our spending since we don't use cash. Also because we both spend independently it prevents overdraft. But this has worked for 15+ years and we aren't big spenders and haven't ever paid interest. So I'm not concerned.

But for people getting out of debt? I wonder if cash doesn't make it easier?

getting into the groove

April 11th, 2016 at 09:35 am

We had a nice weekend and I had a great Saturday night dinner out. With other moms I'd meet and started to develop friendships with. I mentioned how hard it was, that I was enjoying the area but making friends wasn't easy. And people are very nice but friendship takes time and effort.

I previously mentioned a few weeks ago I felt after months of seeing a couple of moms weekly for group speech therapy I finally felt it clicking. The same thing now. Went out to dinner with a few friends and I felt I could breathe. I was like "wow this is really feeling like home, I can do this."

On Sunday we went to a classmates birthday party and I'd meet a lot of the parents. One mom in particular started to spill everything out to me. She too moved here in July just because. They didn't like where they were living and her husband is a contractor so he works 100% from home. They decided to try it here and she hates it. They are considering moving again this summer to another state (texas).

Since like us they had to pay for their move she said her husband wanted to give it another year. But they both weren't in love with the area. And her son was in kindergarten and she wondered how it would hurt to move again so soon or move after 2 years?

I told her do it. If she wasn't happy here then move. Without a job or family (they are both foreigners no family anywhere in the US) then find somewhere they fit in. I told her it was "okay" to hate it here. I wasn't going to tell her to give it time. I told her I wasn't going to tell her it would get easier. I also told her if that's how she felt it's okay. Not everywhere is perfect for everyone and you make mistakes. She asked me if I loved it? I said yes but it's different for us. We chose to move where we are consciously with many factors involved.

She said she felt so guilty because when she brought it up to others how hard it was they kept saying give it another year. Give it more time she'd learn to like it. I was the first person to say move on and it's okay to hate it.

I didn't tell her but everyone said that to me where we used to live. People all the time would tell me I'd grow to like it. I should make the best of it. Not one person believe me when I said we were going to leave. They thought "oh you've been here 10 years and you haven't left. You're just complaining." I wish someone had been supportive and told me it's okay to hate it. It was okay to be counting the days.

Truth is that sometimes people do need a change. And hearing someone is unhappy in a new area the answer isn't to tell them "give it more time, or you'll adjust." Sometimes it's just giving them the words that it's okay to feel how you feel. That it's okay to hate it.

I was sad in missing our friends after we left. But I never looked back or regret leaving where we moved from. I never in 10 years felt like it was home. It never was. It was a temporary place holder in life. My DH would never go back and we'll never leave the west coast again period. I certainly won't and if he choose a job over us then he can go solo but I know he won't. He's already been recruited by multiple companies and refused to talk to them. We're home and we're happy and the kids are getting settled. I'm making friends and my DH I think is happier since I'm just happier and more relaxed. But the truth is he missed home (very close to where we are) and he didn't know it till he saw it again.

Why would we leave? Now we're those people who could tell others to give it chance. But I won't. Instead I know what it feels like to have people pat you on the hand and say "give it time." Instead I say "it's okay it's not for everyone. You aren't a bad person for hating it. If moving back or elsewhere makes you happier do it."

I hope this mom finds a place to call home that makes her family happy. I know my nephew also living in the area is counting the months until Fall 2017 when he leaves for his MBA program. He hates it and is sucking it up because switching jobs and moving for 18 months doesn't make sense. But he hates it here and I can't blame him. I just hope he can survive 18 more months.

Cable Conundrum

April 9th, 2016 at 03:08 pm

So we have internet for $65 a month with the only cable/internet company we have. Can you say monopoly? And we use so many GB of data averaging 200 GB we can't just use cell phones.

So right now we have amazon prime to watch and use an antenna to watch regular shows. But my kids are asking about disney jr and nick jr. They would love to watch shows. We allow 1-2 shows a day, usually one in morning and one in the afternoon before dinner. Otherwise the TV isn't on. DH and I barely have time to watch tv so we usually turn on TV maybe 1 show a night if that. DH does like to watch sports and with the antenna he's got trouble catching all channels. We have the best flat antenna out there for "cord cutters".

Anyway a friend suggested SlingTV for watching disney jr but it's $25/month. $20 for slingtv and $5 for kids package. But I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper for us to just get a regular cable box for $25/month then we'd have local channels and stuff like TBS, USA, Disney/Nick jr etc for the same price?

We wouldn't have to worry about streaming? The question right now isn't should we spend the $25/month, because I think we're coming around to indulging the kids a little. Cost less than buying the stupid shows on amazon. But what's the most cost efficient way? My friends who are getting slingtv do it out of principal because it cost them the same as regular cable but they hate the cable company and won't give them a penny more than internet. Because I said $25/month is as much as adding cable and they said they had run the numbers and it's about the same honestly.

Thoughts? Experiences?

Is a college degree worth it?

April 6th, 2016 at 01:23 pm

Here's the truth, some people are better at making "returns" on their college degree than others. The truth is that for many career tracks you need a college degree. It's very difficult in the US to go to graduate or professional schools without a bachelor's and even joint 6 year pharmacy programs are starting to give away bachelor's as well. But medical, dental, law, business, and most phd programs won't take you without a bachelor's. It's the way it is in the states (please correct me if i'm wrong).

Second there are many career tracks that a bachelors is absolutely necessary, but the pay is terrible like being a teacher, social worker, public health worker. Jobs that people might love but don't necessarily pay well. I think that perhaps people who choose careers that a degree is absolutely necessary should get paid more but they aren't. So perhaps the answer is loan forgiveness and it should be "highlighted and encouraged" for those who choose low paying careers with lots of debt. Another option is pushing for those who choose such careers to maybe go to a community college then transfer to a four year institution to save money. I certainly would support either of my kids if they wanted to be a teacher or social worker but I'd tell them to do it as cheap as possible. I have A LOT of teachers in my family and my mom was a social worker. They would be the first to tell you the pay sucks but they loved their jobs. They would also agree it makes sense to do it as cheaply as possible.

Third there is the argument to be made that any degree will get you into the door of a corporate job. Even if the first job is being a bank teller, cashier, barista, or administrative assistant. That degree gives you an opportunity to move up.

My relative started at a costco punching a register with a college degree. She soon moved into corporate and started to "climb" the ladder till she quit to stay at home with the kids. Most of the people she knew started with college degrees in the warehouse then got promoted internally. It was rare to find someone just jumping into corporate without knowing the ins and outs of the company.

Second relative went into broadcasting. She did a degree in communications and started as an administrative assistant. Eventually she got to start writing her own new clips and filming. Then she got another promotion into directing or managing the 10 pm news. It all took paying her dues and working her way up. Many people do it.

I have friends who started as bank tellers at wells fargo, bank of america, and chase with college degrees and then worked their way into corporate. They are doing analyst, teaching tellers, etc. The entry level job was a stepping stone and the degree allowed them to move into something else.

I don't think that only "some" degrees valuable. I think that it's what you use it for and the purpose. I had a roommate who wanted to be a teacher and did. Her pay still sucks teaching 3rd grade, but she has been doing it now for ~15 years. She had lunch (on facebook) with a student from her 1st year of teaching who is a teacher now!!! OMG. She has inspired at least 3 previous students to become teachers themselves. I think her contributions are amazing. And imagine if someone had said "well teaching pays crap, you shouldn't do it." Where we would be today?

Did having a college degree help? Do you think it's needed today? Is it useless? Or is it still useful but tremendously expensive?

karma happens

April 5th, 2016 at 01:51 pm

Since moving I've found karma a lot. A woman I met volunteering at the shelter and whom I've become friends with used to work with my cousin. Funny we were talking and she said "oh I used to work so and so". I laughed and said so did my cousin awhile ago. I showed her a picture and she said "Hey I know her." Turns out to be a smaller world than one would think.

Anyway recently I met a woman I went to elementary and middle school with at my DK1 t ball practice. Her kid plays on the same team. We got to talking and she said "oh we just moved here." I said from where and it turns out we went to 2nd to 8th grade. She then moved out of state and I stayed put. She sent me a picture of us on neighboring pages in the year book! OMG it was crazy. We moved to different states years later and meet.

She didn't recognize me and I didn't recognize her but it was weird. I felt bad because she said she'd found it really difficult being an "outsider" moving into a small town and fitting in. She said she was teased and it hard. I apologized in case I ever did anything terrible (I honestly don't remember her and seeing the picture looks familiar but we weren't friends). I hope that I wasn't terrible in anyway. It's weird how when you get older you don't recall being a terrible kid but it's possible that you were.

Anyway that's my karma story. I hope that if I did do anything "bullying" that giving a sincere apology might help my karma. Do you have any weird karma stories?

Decluttering 2016

April 5th, 2016 at 01:41 pm

Okay I signed up for decluttering 2016 things in 2016. This is going to be crazy. I probably easily have that much stuff in boxes that I haven't opened since our move. We have been pulling stuff in and out of the garage with our kitchen stuff. Funny this new house is bigger than our condo was but the layout is different so we have less space for kitchen stuff but we can store more closet stuff like towels and bedding much more easily.

So now I am trying to get rid of 2016 things this year. Today I got rid of 2 things a puzzle and a stamp set by donating it to the preschool. Yesterday I got rid of easily 20 small things like bracelets, figurines, etc to the speech therapist.

I am going to use this blog to keep track of stuff I get rid of. Question does it count to get rid of stuff that is old and well used? Or broken? Or only donatable stuff or paper?

Even when you have enough

April 4th, 2016 at 11:45 am

I don't know how to relieve my mom's anxiety. I know my in-laws are just as anxious and crazy but I let my DH deal with them. BOTH sets of parents are very financially well off. Both mom's are retired with pensions that pay at least 70% of their incomes. Both sets of dad's are working for no reason other than to not die.

Unfortunately both mom's have WAY to much time on their hands worrying about money. They both retired around age 55. My mom retired at 55 because it didn't make sense to keep working and my MIL because she took "disability" with the same condition DH has.

My mom had a state pension worth 2% per year of service, plus free medical premiums for her and my Dad for life which becomes secondary after she hits medicare age. Also their medicare premiums paid for by the state (thank you hawaii) after age 65. So my parents are basically living without a single worry with regards to medical. My in-laws live in Canada and also get an old age fund and they also have free medical for life. They are not suffering and my MIL had also a pension from the university for 2% of years of service. The most horrible thing they face? My FIL complained about being forced to start drawing on his RRSP (retired registered savings plan) by age 71 and he's 65 and hasn't touched a penny that he's saved since 25 for 40 years (my MIL in the same boat). They are "worried" about paying so much in taxes because they need to "spend" down the money. OMG!

Anyway my mom is already having a breakdown over her condo flooding from a neighbor and needing repairs when she gets upset at me for pointing out that insurance will cover it. The insurance is asking her to pay out of pocket and she'll be reimbursed. They are working on a settlement currently and my mom isn't used to doing any home repairs.

Long story my parents never repair homes they basically live in it and consider it disposable (it's a cultural thing trust me sounds nuts but it's true). They finally repaired the roof after it had been leaking for year and my DK1 said "Oh water is everywhere. We need more buckets." It wasn't lack of money but rather my parents just literally have no idea how to even hire people to do home repair. It took my mom 2 years to sell an empty house because she tried to "fix" it up and get just the blinds replaced, carpet replaced and then home cleaned to sell. So put into perspective my parents have lived in the house 25 years and are finally painting it, but the ceiling in two of the bathrooms fell down. And the "painting" of the house has been going on since AUGUST 2015 when we last visited. Because the painter can only paint and repair walls if my mom packs and cleans the house.

Anyway my mom was screaming at me over the phone for not understanding her stress over money. When I pointed out that she makes as much money now as she did working she said that's not the point. The point is that she's having to tap into her retirement funds. She's on a fixed income!!!! I pointed out that retirees who struggle are people who live on only SS! Yes they have a fixed income but it's not the same fixed income as when they were working!!!

She doesn't get it. That retirement money needs to be spent in retirement. That yes you can touch all that money you SAVED for 40 years. We got into it again because my mom yelled about not saving into her Roth IRA yet for 2016. My parents are 85 and 64 and "retired" but my dad works part time at 85 and they are SAVING $13k into a Roth IRA. My mom is still trying to save on her pension. I said why are you saving in a Roth IRA when you are retired? It's for people to use to save for RETIREMENT?

I can't take the ulcer of both sets of parents not spending their money. I want to shake them both. My in-laws are complaining when I said "just blow it on buying the retirement house you want and sell the two story homes you say is difficult to clean." I hear only FEAR.

My mom's answer is "the Roth IRA is for you and the kids." I write this as I slam my head on the table. My MIL says "oh but that retirement money is for when we're really old." I say "aren't you old enough now that you are retired?" MIL "well not really I mean like maybe 90 or 100,".

I don't think either parents wish to spend what they saved for 40 years. What the hell are they doing?????

We don't need it. We don't want it. We're fine. I can't even tell them how fine we are because we have NO job right now. So they are already anxious enough without us telling them we're fine.

I am going to inherit a ton of money. My DH will likely inherit a ton of money. We have a ton of money for retirement saved. But seriously when will either of our parents think enough is enough?

I don't know how to not end up like them. I have a feeling we already are. I think my DH and I will be FI in 5 years or less. In some ways we already are. But my DH has already shown he is interested in providing everything for the kids and has stated he's not retiring for a long time Financially Independent or not. I nudged him a little recently and he said "the kids need college, wedding, maybe grad school, and it'd be nice to give them maybe even a house DP, and we're going to afford it." So he's got this purpose of working because while we might not need it he's got it in his head we're going to give the kids everything.

I don't know how to people who were "born" savers and raised "savers" can even retire because they have enough?