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2017 earnings for me

January 6th, 2018 at 09:48 am

I made around $3200 working for the year. I'm happy. It's not a lot but it's a lot of snowflakes. Considering I did the bulk of it when my kids were in school and I paid $0 for childcare it's gravy.

I've been thinking a lot about it. I could probably go back and land a full time job of $50k starting. But I'm not sure that's the path I'm meant to go down. I like being busy. I love having adult interactions. But at the same time I like have the freedom to call in if the kids are sick. I like not bringing work home. I also like being with them.

But let's say I start now making $50k. And work another 10 years and make $80k by the end of 10 years. Not an unreasonable goal I believe. But out of the $50k the biggest savings would be the $18.5k 401k savings I manage to work at a full time job with one. So we'd save an extra $185k in 10 years. But then the rest of my income let's assume 60% ($30k would go straight to taxes). I'm in the 34% bracket or higher so $15k would go straight to federal taxes. Then assuming SS and Medicare I'm looking at another 8% gone. So working full time I will make around $10k/year to spend on after school care since I'll be working full time. That $10k will be gone with 2 kids and after school costs $500/month during the year plus the summer costs? I won't be making $18.5k savings probably closer to $15k/year.

I believe I can make around that much working part-time where I. I can make $15/hr easily and if I make $20-25/hr part-time why not? I'm thinking still of doing the CFP and going out on my own. Writing off expenses would work better.

Anyway I think having more time this year to work out the numbers of my earnings I think it still makes more sense to work part-time and flexible for less money.

Prestige of Job

October 1st, 2017 at 09:36 am

I was thinking a lot about this recently even before it came up on threads. That yes people judge moms who work versus those who don't. But it's more than that. It's not gender specific but rather people also judge what you do. That what you do "should" be prestigious and have a title and sound "important" or worth it.

I've been thinking a lot about this lately. My friend getting divorced started it. She said she is working full time again but is working at costco in the warehouse. But before she was more management tracked and making the same amount. But now it feels like more work and harder versus her cushy office job that paid the exact same. She also feels it's not as "prestigious" but the hours in warehouse is better than her office job. So she says mentally she knows it's better. But she has trouble wrapping her head around being a cashier versus working in the office.

Then another friend recently started working at starbucks making coffee. She said she loves the flexibility and wasn't interested in going back into business/marketing. She was done with full time and long hours. But when she told people they thought her nuts. I can only imagine even for me it's the same. Leaving a lucrative career for one less so.

I have been getting that a lot recently. That what I do is less lucrative and not full time. It's also less prestigious but I like what I do. But what's really strange? I asked my manager why he did it. And he said he gets that a lot. Asked why he doesn't go back to accounting full time. Why is he working at such a reduced salary?

He said he used to do taxes for the extra income 20 years ago. Then about 5 or 6 years ago he started taking care of his mom and quit his full time job and worked only part-time. Then she passed about 2 years ago and he hasn't had much desire or drive to go back to a 9-5 gig. He can make his bills and survive easily on the part-time work. He likes the flexibility of not coming in every day and showing up at 12 pm. He said he's not sure if he'll ever be ready to commit back to being a full time clock puncher. And yet he said a lot of people keep asking him why doesn't he get a full time job (myself included)?

Truth is that when he told me his story I got it. I realized that as a society both genders are told we have to "work" full time. We have to contribute and are expected to be working full time. It's strange to find people not working and surviving. Either because they live on less or have saved a lot. But it's unfathomable that someone (male or female) would choose to live so modestly.

DH and I have gotten it a lot. Judged by many that we have chosen to live on 1 income and that the second income we've given up has been substantial. But the lifestyle we've gotten in return we both feel is less stressful, more relaxed and more us. Even now the choice of not moving back into a more career field has been judged by others. I truly believe if i were a man i'd be judged even harsher. I think men are judged harsher about not earning the "most" they can. Women are given some leeway with kids but those without are expected to climb the ladder.

Have you noticed this? That people really judge both men and women career wise?

$6500 tax bill

April 11th, 2017 at 07:19 am

We owed $6500 this year. Sounds like lot? It is. We actually would have been okay if we hadn't rolled $60k from a 401k into a Roth IRA for my DH and paid the taxes on it.

We did this to fill the 25% bracket we are in and tax advantage of being here for this year. I'm not sure where we will be in the future but I think it's reasonable to guess we might not be able to take advantage of it again for awhile.

That being said we rolled DH's old 401k to new 401k and took a $60k distribution. This way we aren't holding a rollover IRA and that will prevent us from doing a clean back door roth ira annually. Otherwise we have to calculate across all pre-tax IRA dollars the amount we are rolling over. We can now contribute to a non-deductible IRA and roll it to a Roth IRA every year still.

I have to say I'm hoping they streamline the tax laws. I'm curious if the breaks will only be for the rich.

I'm crazy busy working nightly right now and loving it. I will admit it is fun to do taxes.

Life is busy

January 13th, 2017 at 11:15 am

Since I started working part-time things have been crazy. I enjoy it. I love getting away from the kids. But the truth is that the money is good too. I haven't done anything with it but put into our account. But it's nice to be having adult interaction and identity away from the kids.

Next step realtor license. I want to work for redfin doing tours. All this is a long term plan after we buy the house.

a new part-time job

January 3rd, 2017 at 01:22 pm

I did it. I started doing taxes for HR Block part-time. I'm not sure if i'll do this long term. I think I'd like something year round. But this was a break into working again after not working since June 2010. It's minimum wage and I'd have to work next year in order to be able to get the minimum wage and then commission on number of returns done. Thus the high turnover rate of 1st year tax preparers. But with the continuing education prep I've at least made $250 and it's paid for the $149 course.

My next step? I am thinking of studying online to get a realtor license and hopefully landing a job as a redfin touring agent. I prefer doing that sort of realtor work than selling or buying homes.

Perhaps i'll end up doing what I trained for again one day. But for right now I'm liking this part-time gigs. The only problem is I'm trading babysitting since I'm working nights from 5-9 and DH has trouble getting home by 4:45 so a friend is watching the kids for an hour and I'm watching hers during the day. Phew.

a year in financial review

October 8th, 2016 at 07:56 am

It's been a great year. I'm doing it now a little late because as of September 1st we spent a whole year in our new life. It's been amazing for all of us. We got to get closer as a family with DH not working for 11 months. He pretty much did not get a paycheck for 12 months. But he was unemployed from August 15 2015 to July 25 2016.

We burned through $91.5k. Yes you read that right in 11 months. Granted $17k was tuition but still that $74.5k. We spent around $6700/month including our fees for renting our place which was $8k up front costs. So we spent around our normal $5500/month rate we had budgeted. Lucky for us a signing bonus helped bump our spending for the year up to $71.5k including the $17k tuition.

Was it worth it? Yes. We had a great time. I think perhaps our spending will force us to delay "retirement" by 1 year.

I forgot that from our $91.5k we direct $4k to college for kids, $11k to Roth IRA so I guess we "saved" $15k out of the $91.5k. Also we're maxing out Roth IRA and 401k this year on a compressed 5 month paychecks. So we're still on track to save for retirement even if we aren't saving our normal cash cushion.

But the real goals were met. Move and be able to be closer to family. Get job that DH loves. Buy a house. Check on first two and working on the third.

Sometimes in life as I'm reflecting on the past year you have to spend money to make money. You have to invest in yourself, maybe start a business, buy a rental property, go back to school and retrain to get to where you want to be. It's a HUGE risk and it can cost you a lot of money. But the rewards can be significant, not just financial but pay dividends in other ways.

I suspect our net worth might be able net zero with gains in our retirement accounts. But back to regular programming of saving now. I have to admit it was REALLY daunting spending all this cash without any income. To go from being a saver to a spender. This could be why my DH and I are not meant to be true early retirees, we are too nervous nellies and risk averse to pull the trigger. We're actually very close to being able to do it but would rather pad our accounts.

How to find a job?

July 18th, 2016 at 11:35 pm

I have been reflecting a lot on going back to work. But the problem I'm running into is what do I want to do? Not just what do I want to do but how to get there? I mean it's so hard to find your passion. But more than that how to even get back into the job market after so long out.

For me it's been 6 years. What does a person do? I've been toying around with trying to set up and internship. But the question is will that help land me a job? But before finding a job how do I find the right one?

I can see that my DH struggled a long time with his career change. He's so excited with his new career and he's passionate again. The two months he was job hunting I saw the high and the lows and the doubts. The doubt that he had made the right decision. That he would be able to find a job. He wondered if giving up something he knew he could do. He actually still has imposter syndrome. He wonders if he can do it. If they'll realize he's fake.

That's exactly how I feel. I don't really want to do what I did. If I do something new then do I need to get more training? How do I test out the new career track? How did you change careers? Was it worth it?

golden handcuffs and renting

July 6th, 2016 at 08:08 am

This weekend we hung out with my BIL staying at his apartment. He's 36 and never bought his own place. Partially because he's not had a down payment and partially because he's never been sure he wanted to stay put. Truth is his first 2 years working there were layoffs at his company and he wasn't sure if he would stay. He feels secure now but not happy.

So buying a place for a job he isn't in love with doesn't make sense. We've told him if he's unhappy and thinks he'll find a new job or career don't buy. But at the same time he feels he's flushing money down the toilet. And he feels he can't leave his job, he's got some security through a large salary. He's in the middle of being handcuffed to his salary. Honestly if he buys a condo I think he'll be even more handcuffed.

And yes he has been renting his apartment for 4 years and rent keeps escalating. It was $1600, then $1750, then $1900, and now it's $2100/month for a 1 bedroom. But buying means he's committed to the area he doesn't love. It means he needs a big EF in case he loses his job and if he gets a new job and it's not easily commutable he has to sell and move.

SA thread was discussing whether you hate your job. I think if you do you should figure out how to change it or your career. Sometimes it's just the job and sometimes it's the career. And it's hard to leave the job if it's so lucrative for your family/self. It's hard if it's convenient. But you can make a plan and change I think.

What do you think about being handcuffed to a job?

financial planning for 2016

June 27th, 2016 at 11:47 pm

So a fun financial benefit with DH's job is that he gets free food. No more brown bagging it. He's actually a little sad. He's always brown bagged lunch since I've meet him and it's something we've done as part of our lifestyle. Now it'll be weird to not plan leftovers as lunches. Someone at the company a single guy told DH he saved $700/month eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the company's dime. I would estimate he'll save $20/month. I am curious if we'll see a difference in our grocery bill. I'm sure we'll start eating out again.

But on a serious note we've decided already to max out the 401k for the rest of the year. Typically companies allow you to contribute up to 50% of your salary so we decide to rachet it up to 50% of his salary and hit the maximum as fast as possible.

We are also planning on maxing out the 10% ESPP contribution as a general saving plan. With the 15% discount on stock purchase we tend to use the ESPP as a long term savings vehicle we hold in case of emergencies. We tend to sell it after 2 years of purchase because according to tax laws it becomes long term gains but the 15% discount is taxed as ordinary income.

Because of this I think we might be short monthly with the extreme 401k contribution. We decided that we'll use our savings to make up the difference. It'll smooth out next year with a normal income and I think we still might be able to manage since we live pretty frugally.

We also decided to tap our cash savings and contribute to our Roth IRAs $11k and Coverdell ESA $4k as soon as DH starts working. Typically we'd funnel it from our paychecks but this time with the market on sale it makes sense to contribute asap. Plus I am pretty sure we won't qualify for a Roth IRA after this year.

We are also calculating our taxes and potentially refiling 2015 taxes. We have DH's 401k from his old job and we are considering rolling it to his Roth IRA. We could move it to a Rollover IRA and recharacterize a certain amount up to the 25% tax bracket married ($150k). We might not have the chance again. DH quitting mid year and getting a job mid year means that we stretched out our tax basis over 2 years.

But we're not sure about the Rollover IRA. If we do the rollover IRA, DH told me that we couldn't do the backdoor Roth IRA in the future. He said if we did then we couldn't move the money from a non-deductible IRA to a Roth because it'd be pulled from a Rollover and non deductible IRA. So we have a lot to consider.

We have a lot to do in the next month organizing our finances. We also get real insurance and dental insurance and vision. DH hasn't gone since last august so he's been waiting.

I'm so excited. The budget nerd in me is screaming and waiting to get started. I can't wait! I can house hunt and run numbers and spreadsheets and projections. I write this because I am so weird and only people here would understand.

It's official!

June 27th, 2016 at 11:24 pm

DH got a very nice counter offer and took it on the spot. The company called and gave them offer and said he could think about it. The woman barely finished talking before DH jumped on it and said he'll take it. Very excited. They sent it electronically and he signed.

We also resigned our lease today. Property manager sent it to us and we signed and scanned it back in. So we're set for another year.

I also accomplished disposing of a 36 outfits at the second hand store. I donated another 40 items, and threw out about 20 items like crayons, shells, whistles, and toys from the car. I am up to 740 items gone. Not quite halfway but I am feeling like I could potentially hit maybe 1200 for the year? Imagine where I would be if I didn't even try. I may have to keep this up every year.

I also won my second month of my transformer bet by 0.2 lbs. OMG yes! So an offcial win. I will say I sort of cheated because I was ahead in month one by almost a pound so I lost less than I needed. And barely eeked in a winning weight. I am already up above the number the next day. Sigh. Well at least I am moving forward to transform. I struggled a lot this month.

And the dice says...

June 24th, 2016 at 09:06 pm

Well it turns out the gamble was correct. DH landed his dream job. He got two very solid offers from two great companies. Company A offered $x + bonus less money than Company B. But Company B is a lower salary and higher bonus guarantee. He likes Company A but asked for more money. Company B told him to name a number that would guarantee he'd work for them. He's spending the weekend thinking because he really loves Company A.

We've decided he'll take company A even if they can't match the compensation of Company B. It's worth it. Besides the biggest thrill? It turns out that he's making more money than he was making last year. Cheers! Lower cost of living, more money, happier/closer to family, and DH got a year to be with us. Life couldn't be sweeter. Guess the gamble paid off.

We spent the last two days desperately looking at home to buy for pricing ideas and rentals. We decided we just aren't comfortable taking the risk of moving into a shorter commute with the chance we might hate the neighborhood. We don't want to risk moving our kiddos three times in three years. So instead DH has agreed to suck it up and try this commute. If it's miserable our new goal and plan is to spend every day/weekend looking at homes and neighborhoods to figure out what might work. We're going to hang out this weekend in the cities and walk around, see shops, libraries, parks, and overall impression.

We've been very insular since we've moved focusing on where we are and making friends in our area and it's been successful. But now we are honestly able to not focus on studying/school and get out more.

We made a plan that in 1 year we'll be moving into a rental or house no matter what. That we will have a decision made. We've also decided that if DH is miserable we'll hasten the timeline and take a hit on our lease agreement. I'm really impressed DH is taking this hit for the family's well being by making a commute I know will make him unhappy. But this is delayed gratification and in the long term we'll be better off is why he's making this sacrifice for me and the kids. We've always valued minimum commuting time and time as a family has always taken #1 priority. He proved it last year walking away from his job and moving into the unknown. So this sacrifice I know is huge.

Finally our dog survived his surgery. Sounds stupid but I was super worried with him being put under for anesthesia and the dr did say it was possible he wouldn't pass the liver test and the surgery was impossible. He had a fractured tooth that had to be extracted along with other teeth and 10 skin tags that needed removal. He did great and survived. I know it's ridiculous but we were really worried that instead of helping him we might have sent him to die on the table. I'm really glad he's okay. I know our time is limited, but he really is my best friend and support. I walk him 2-3x a day and it's the only time I get to really think and clear my head alone. He listens as I talk and think.

Well life is beautiful. If you had told me we'd be in this position a year ago I'd tell you it'd be a dream. Turns out sometimes it happens.

Now I'm off to figure out the next steps of our plan.

2 offers are coming

June 21st, 2016 at 09:56 pm

OMG this is it. Two job offers are coming in. I am crossing my fingers that they are good. I think so. At least DH is happy with the potential employers. This is a huge deal. Before the 1 year mark the bet we paid is looking to payout. An income again. Potentially moving locally.

Looking over the benefits we are losing some of the 401k match before it was 3% matched at 200% = 6% of salary. Now it's 50% match of 7% so 3.5% of salary and about the same price for slightly worse medical benefits to be expected because we had premium medical care before. Also slightly less vacation 21 days a year versus the 26 days year DH got.

Do you think it's worth moving for a shorter commute into another neighborhood and paying $1000 more a month for a slightly larger house? And testing out another area? Or should we try to buy? Or just be content renting?

My phone died on Sunday so I've been using the free Nokia phones we got last year when we switched to T Mobile. Going to look into replacement by warranty.

counting up!!!

June 20th, 2016 at 10:12 pm

So we probably got rid of around 200 sheets of art work and kids papers this weekend. Took pictures, scanned in and managed the kid's stuff. So with everything else I'm purging we're up to 633 items this year. It is eye opening. I know it sounds ridiculous but I don't count too many broken toys or clothes that are torn. But I do count stuff like all this paperwork that piles up. It's sort of thrilling secretly to be at 600+. I'm gleeful.

On a quick note I think DH has a job offer coming in tomorrow and crossing my fingers on the other two. This is way to nerve wracking.

I also pulled a muscle in my back or it's sciatica. Ughh. I have muscle relaxants and pain meds. Tell me this gets easier.

job hunting is a full time job

June 15th, 2016 at 10:17 pm

Job hunting is stressful in a different way than the bootcamp has been. Both things have been tiring. Honestly having a job was easier since DH would go to work and be done when he got home. He rarely worked late and rarely brought work home. He might go in early and stay late but not on a consistent basis.

During the bootcamp he left very early and came home late everyday, then ate dinner and went straight back to studying. Basically like being in college except he had a wife and two kids who saw him for a few minutes at dinner. Plus on the weekends he would go into the school and study all day, come home, eat dinner, and study more.

I must say his frugality muscles were amazing and everyone in his cohort commented. They said "of course DH brought his lunch, how do you do it with two kids? And they asked him how do you just go home and eat?" He'd pack chips in a sandwich bag, granola bars, etc to tide him over until he got home. Spending money eating out for convenience was not something he ever did. But truthfully this was the exact same thing he did since we've meet through grad school (both of us did) and after when he was making big bucks.

Then the job hunting started and he could relax his schedule. He could leave for school after the kids were up and come home and eat dinner and help put them to bed. Or even cook dinner some nights. But at the same time there were many days and nights where he'd leave around 2-3 pm and be home around 10 pm after a networking event. An average week he'd go to 3-4 networking events. Then there was a conference he did from Friday 6 am to Sunday 10 pm.

It's been interesting watching the job hunt go on while unemployed. It's very different than job hunting while employed. The amount of effort really is a full time job if done properly with studying and networking and just taking the time to tailor each resume and cover letter.

I can see how people can get complacent and stay at a position they hate. Or how it can be very difficult to switch jobs. Sometimes it's just easier to stay put.

Anyway onward we go. Let's see if this ends soon or if we continue on this merry go round.

job update

June 14th, 2016 at 08:52 pm

So we are five weeks out from DH finishing his program. We are 40 weeks since the last paycheck. Our retirement accounts and investments have rebounded and we're still doing well. We've burned through a large chunk of cash with living and tuition.

But DH is hot on the job hunt. He hit a lull I'd say for a month with applications going out and having companies taking time to get back to him. But he is in the final stage of interviewing onsite with 3 companies. He is very satisfied with all three companies. We've agreed if nothing pans out then he'll regroup and apply to more jobs and lower the bar. But right now he's excited at the prospects.

Our lease is supposed to be up July 31st, but we aren't sure we want to stay. All three positions are in the city and where we live isn't the easiest commute. But we're not really ready to rush into buying, but aren't sure we want to commit to staying put. So we're twisting in the wind between buying and moving to another rental.

I'm really torn. I hate the idea of moving the kids after 1 year then potentially moving again if we rent. However we might be able to land a rental in the neighborhood we'd like to buy so perhaps it's a good idea.

Cross your fingers. My DH's week of hell is starting tomorrow. His onsites start Wednesday, Friday, and Monday. I pray that he gets one offer and more than one would be perfect.

DH said the hypothesis we made 1 year ago is about to be proven one way or another. I don't know if we can ever make up the money we burned through not having an income for a year. But instead I feel as though we took a year of early retirement for an opportunity we couldn't pass up and a chance to be happier until we "retire".

job hunt week two

May 19th, 2016 at 04:57 pm

So the job hunt is in full swing for DH. It's actually been a weird schedule. Good in some ways and odd in others. He's able to be home in the mornings, except tomorrow. Tomorrow he's going to volunteer at a conference and has to be there at 6:30 am to check people in. He's valued his time at $150 for 90 minutes. Not a bad investment.

But he's been out many evenings at networking events which means instead he's been gone till around bedtime. Last week it was Mon, Wed, Thurs, Friday. This week it's been Tues, Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun. So the crazy busy schedule I think won't stop until he finds a job.

The bootcamp has made a lot of good suggestions for the job hunt including applying to 10 jobs a week. They've also had panels of prior students come and talk about how they did their job hunts.

Right now my DH has been focusing on studying for the technical exams and networking his way into companies he sees posting for. He hasn't quite been on schedule with applying to as many jobs as suggested and I'm worried he's being a perfectionist. He's obsessing over every job being perfect and the perfect application and not applying.

But either way he's got to find his groove and a position that suits him. Fingers crossed. He's got a couple of phone interviews next week. He also decided to expand his job hunt because there were positions he really was interested in not the local area. I agreed reluctantly because I like it here and don't want to move. But I said if we move this is it. I don't want to move for a job that he felt would only last for 2-3 years and move again. It has to be a dream job.

Here's hoping and praying that things go well. As for me? I found a couple of bootcamps myself I'm interested in and have emailed them to inquire about future job prospects. I'm curious about their placement for part-time work versus a full time positions. How does it work doing a bootcamp as a parent. Some of these programs are women focused but reading the blogs and profiles of students who've gone through the program it's been noted that no one whose gone through has been a mom. Why I'm not sure. Probably not lack of ability but lack of time commitment? Inability to commit because of kids? These are questions I have. Anyway right now it's a pipe dream since DH has to find his dream job and we have to settle in and then perhaps I can find some time to carve out my own niche.

market back on track

March 31st, 2016 at 04:08 pm

Our retirement accounts are rebounding nicely as is our taxable account. Granted we are still spending our other money but it's nice to see retirement heading back up. It peaked June 2015 at $575k and now it's back up to $545k.

Actually all accounts are up that are invested. It helps considering we're still a few months away from income. It's april and DH thinks maybe a job if he's lucky by July. His program ends May 6th and they told him 5 weeks to get a job just due to nature of interviews and offers. I'm praying he lands one he likes quickly. While the housing market is still on fire, I'm glad we didn't buy last year because of this uncertainty. I'm also becoming more certain we'll be renting awhile. Hope things continue as planned.

working or not working as a parent?

February 6th, 2016 at 09:33 am

My mom still hates the fact that I don't work. She keeps saying that I'll understand the plight of working parents when I go back to work. That caring for children is easy because a working parent comes home and cares for their child. When I point out I do exactly what a working parent does when they come home she said we'll they are tired from working all day. I point out that I'm basically an unpaid childcare provider/nanny. When I say "does that mean daycare providers/nannies/sitters are not working?" She has absolutely no response. She says they are but they are. So I say I'm just not paying someone else I'm paying myself to watch my kids. But that child care providers of children of any age are still working, perhaps not "high" paying jobs but they are working. And without them how would any parent go off to their job if they weren't paying someone else? She has no response except I have to go get a job and learn how hard it is to work then come home to parent. But she can't admit that child care providers aren't working though she says "you are working LAL."

She keeps saying "you don't understand what's it's like to "have" to work". I point out that I have met many SAHM/D who stay at home because they don't make enough to pay for childcare. They can't earn enough. Her response "they don't have good jobs". I point out to her there are many careers that don't pay well that people do because they like them and the world wouldn't run without them.

Probably the top "career" for women I've meet staying at home who went to college and liked their job? Teacher. Seriously teachers are very much underpaid and often by kid 2 can't afford daycare over the teaching salary. They liked teaching. I have to say most teachers must because it seems like a thankless job with parents expecting so much, schools expecting so much and such little pay. So they take a break, have kids, then go back.

But my mom till today, she never paid a penny of daycare, so she has no clue what it would feel like to try to make ends meet and not have entire paycheck. Or to calculate how much she really made after taxes and daycare. Or work overtime without free childcare. Don't get me wrong we weren't rich and certainly couldn't have made it without free childcare.

My grandmother didn't really work outside the home, except for a few years at a newpaper printing press after all her kids went to college. But then grandchildren came and instead of minimal salary she watched grandchildren for free so her kids could all work and keep their salaries. There were 3 of us born in 2 years May 1977 to May 1979. So 3 kids under 2 is a lot of work. She did it all. I don't think my mom fully understands what it must have been like. Looking back I have no idea how she did it to be honest. Don't get me wrong my mom paid back her parents as did her siblings, provided cars, housing, etc. But to have free childcare is something that can't be measured.

My point to my mom however has always been, that people who both work obviously they make enough to pay for minimally childcare, and usually have some extra to make it worthwhile to work. They might be able to pay for the dry cleaning, eating out, newer car, more vacations, etc. They have more money in lieu of one parent not working. Otherwise why are they working? If they can't make enough to cover childcare then they are working and going into debt to pay someone else to watch their child? Usually when I meet someone who is working for less than childcare it's because they need health insurance, but their partner makes enough to cover everything but health insurance.

I don't know if I can ever get my mom to understand this. Every word out of her mouth is "well if you work you could afford a lot more. You could buy a bigger house, new car, etc). My response was nope not going to buy more house than we can afford on 1 income. Not going to buy a car we couldn't buy on one income. She keeps saying you can take more risk. True. But the other truth is that no matter what I make my DH and I made a pledge we didn't want to be dependent on two incomes before we had kids back in 2005. We bought our house back then on his income alone and I don't think it was a bad choice. It made for tougher decisions but at the same time when we did go to one income it was without a change in lifestyle.

Perhaps instead of calling myself a stay at home mom I should title myself "private nanny." I'm not sure what I'd make where we live now, but where we used to live? I'd have made at least $50k/year plus gas and car use to watch 2 kids plus all expenses reimbursed. I'd also only work 40 hours and more would constitute either more vacation or more money since many friends ended up paying more because they had to pay for commuting time hourly on time of working time.

Or in home childcare provider? I wonder if it would legitimize my "job" caring for kids if I started to watch other kids? I think this is a sore spot for me because I'm trying to figure out how to get back into the workforce but at the same time I know what I don't want.

financing boot camp

January 26th, 2016 at 11:40 am

So my DH's boot camp starts in 2 weeks. Guess the vacation had to end sometime. LOL. It'll be $16k for the bootcamp and he's put down $1k deposit. They do offer loans, but I'm wondering if instead of paying cash we should do a 0% balance transfer or 0% purchase on a credit card.

I'd like to contribute to a Roth IRA for 2015 (we held back because we hadn't qualified for a few years and had been doing back door Roth IRAs). But now we can contribute and we have until April 15th. This year we can do a direct contribution.

So $11k to 2015 Roth IRA is on the table, $15k for bootcamp and our cash in hand is $70k. I'd rather not cash out any taxable accounts right now but at the same time we don't have any incoming income. That could change in 12 weeks and is likely to do so, but I'm wondering if we shouldn't try to finance the bootcamp ourselves (i don't like the rate they are offer at 6%) and instead hold onto the cash until June?

I wish I had a crystal ball. We are discussing cashing out stock from our taxable account but it's losing money right now to put into our Roth IRA. I also don't believe we'll get a tax refund or owe like we usually do.

Our goal is to get these numbers finalized this week and rough draft of the taxes done.

Are we in a recession?

January 11th, 2016 at 10:20 am

Are we in a recession and don't know it? A few of my friends have had close calls with their jobs. They've had layoffs and survived. One friend went back in the middle of maternity leave because her boss called her and told her layoffs were coming please come back so he could save her. She did and she was saved.

I feel like more than a few of my friends in different industries and different jobs have mentioned feeling insecure and looking or switching jobs. It's weird because gas prices are down but food prices are up. The housing market is supposedly still really "hot" but it's hard to tell with the seasonal market and if it hit a peak.

How is the economy where you are? How is the housing market?

Is your career your life?

December 8th, 2015 at 11:49 am

DH is starting to gain traction on his career choice. He's getting started on his bootcamp in Febraury and is excited. He was called for an interview from Linkedin in his old career and he refused. It would have been a promotion doing what he did but he said he mentally turned a corner and that's what he did. Now is his chance to do something different.

As for me I'm still wavering on what I want to do with my life. But the depressing part? My mom. Last night she tells me I need to get a career and accomplish something with my life. That staying at home raising kids not enough. That she's embarrassed to say I stay at home and do "nothing" when people/friends ask. I need to use my degrees and become "someone" and make something of myself. What am I contributing to this world? Being a housewife isn't enough even if I can do it financially.

I don't know what to write. I am not sure I am that person who wants to have an accomplished career. My DH made a comment the other night "our resumes read like type A personalities, but we're not type A people." That statement is probably why we are together. Neither of us could be with people who have similar degrees from the schools we went to. Instead we're pretty content right now sitting at home doing nothing together but raise our children and hang out. I feel embarrassed right now and I know my DH does too (now) that we aren't ambitious enough.

I guess that's part of the hesitation. Do I go back and get a certificate to jump into something similar to my degree and get a full time job? Or is it acceptable to find a part-time job in retail and work just the hours the kids are in school? Perhaps the problem is that both of us want our life to focus on our life and making money/career is secondary. We work to earn money to live so our jobs aren't important. He wants his job to be fulfilling so when he's looking at job he's adamant he won't take one for the money. Rather he's interested in finding something he wants to do. I support this because I've always said we can make any amount of money work and my DH agrees.

But should we have more ambition? I mean if we lived elsewhere we could retire with more than Mr Money Mustache did. We aren't ready to do that. But in 5 years if DH is unhappy and we continue on our previous saving trajectory % and we have enough is it wrong to leave the career and do nothing again?

Do people love their careers? Or their spouses love their careers? Do you work to accomplish or contribute? Do you work to not be bored? Or is it about the money? Did paying off your debts change why you work?

Next step complete and update

December 4th, 2015 at 03:32 pm

So I said I would mention what has been going on. The dog is in chemotherapy and doing so-so. He's had quite a few treatments and not quite in remission. It is quite expensive. But he's in pretty good overall health. I think this will be our last holidays with him. It's hard to imagine life without a dog.

DH got into his boot camp program officially this week, it starts in February so it appears everything we'd planned is on track. We've hit all our goals for moving and spending and now the job appears to be on the horizon. If DH lands a job during the 12 week boot camp about 75% do within the 12 weeks and 98% do within 6 months of the bootcamp. So we'll see how it goes. But right now every target has been hit. I guess we'll see if we are people who know how to plan and hit goals or if we are gamblers.

We are looking into different options for buying a house as well. We are considering not doing a traditional mortgage but instead leveraging our assets and seeing if might secure a loan that. Friends of ours have done it and gotten a rate between 1-2%. Instead of paying 3-4% we could be looking at half the interest rate. This is something we are starting to research now though we don't have any plans to buy until the summer at the earliest. I've also been researching homes and areas more in depth. This is a slow process, I think I'll be using a redfin agent to get 1% cash back on the process. I've been trying to favorite homes so I can see if the market is still hot or cooling off.

Tips or ideas on real estate? We might also choose to rent another year if we can't find anything we like.

Career Change

November 2nd, 2015 at 09:23 am

So my DH is making a career change and I hope to get back to work and do one as well. So my DH is getting nervous not because he's worried about the job prospects, actually he picked the HOTTEST field in the US to switch into. What field? Data Science. But he's curious as to what will he be paid. Three different websites say Data Scientist are the highest paid career track now [url=http://www.kdnuggets.com/2014/04/elusive-data-scientists-driving-high-salaries.html][/article 1], [url=http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/03/data-scientists-earning-salaries/][/ or 2].

But realistically he's very curious what is he going to make. One articles says it's averaging $118k which is less than what he made, we're actually budgeting $100k. But the other articles says north of $200k for master's level, foreign born male. Well he's foreign born with a science phd and mba and male in the west coast. So it'll be interesting to see.

What makes us the most nervous? We're wondering what's the possibility of getting a job outside of silicon valley? More expensive than NYC now SF has surpassed the cost of living of Manhattan. And even with two income we doubt we'd have a good quality of life. So we're hoping for something more.

As for me I'm torn. The field I'm looking to jump back into is project management. Another hot and growing field though not as well paid and more "Consulting" positions. The only thing I wrestle with is that it's full time and it's rare to find a part-time project management position. There is a 1 year certificate program near where we are for $5k that would tailor perfect with my background and give me an in for an entry level position. The starting salary would likely be around $50-60k if I had to guess with quick upside into the $100k-$120k price point. I do like the idea of going back to my old field but under different circumstances. I'm not sure I want to work full time however since my DH's job we're unsure what the work/life balance would be like.

Or my other option I look at is working at Costco or a Bank part-time. It'll be hopefully more flexible, at least less hours, and there is potential to move up and go full time when the kids are older. But I'd be starting in something completely different if they'll hire me.

Restarting our careers in our 30s is a tough prospect. Perhaps we should have more carefully planned our 20s better. Sigh. I never thought this would happen when I was picking a major in college or graduate school. I was a fool.

As for my kids I'm going to tell them to become a data scientist if they have any aptitude for it. I suspect both will have some aptitude for the math and science but we'll see. As long as they are happy. After all they have parents who are doing what makes us happy rather than money. If I had what made money I'd have been a dentist.

Have you guided your kids to certain careers? Or explained the career tracks?

And then the axe fell

October 21st, 2015 at 01:37 pm

So a few weeks ago the VP of my DH's old company got fired. Well technically he "resigned" because of a difference in opinion with management. But from everyone there he was canned for being a A#&(!)#! He walked into the building and was walking out by noon.

What does that have anything to do with us? Well today there was a massive layoff at my DH's old company. 12% of people are being let go by December but they were being informed today.

So it might have been nice to get unemployment and severance. If he were chosen. But my DH said it's better to not be there. Right after layoffs it's depressing to see everyone laid off being the "walking wounded." They are working until December before the layoff officially kicks in and severance and unemployement are claimed.

What would we have done? I don't know. But right now the market is terrible to sell and moving mid year I would not have enjoyed. In some ways my DH feels he came out ahead getting to leave on his own terms.

He's a little worried for friends who are losing their jobs but at the same time maybe they'll be better off. Certainly we ended up in a place unemployed but cheaper and a much happy place. Plus instead of a old, drafty townhouse we couldn't heat, we're in a newer, single family that is very comfortably insulated!

But it is a pretty depressing day for many friends.

Career Change?

September 10th, 2015 at 06:43 pm

I really like where we live now and our neighbors are super nice people. Yesterday I had a very nice mom talking to me about going back to school and she said she was doing it because she wanted security for her kids.

She was in the restaurant/events planning business before and made good money. She would make around $80k she said being manager of restaurants or corporate event planning. But she gave that up after kids because the hours weren't condusive to having kids.

She loved what she did. Her husband is a head chef at a nice restaurant. She is going back to school to be an ultrasound tech but she's got 2 years of prerequisites but then 2 more years of the program. So at least 4-6 years she said. She wouldn't really be starting until her youngest was in kindergarten or 1st grade. She's in her 40s. She was debating is it worth going back to school?

She potentially thinks she could make $100k as an ultrasound technician. But she wonders is it worth doing all the schooling? Is it a wise investment? She thinks she'll get a lot of financial aid. So not much out of pocket.

But is the years of lost income worth it? I told her I'm not sure. But she should be sure she wants to be an ultrasound tech because worse case scenario is going back and not liking it. Then having wasted time and money.

What are people's thoughts on these sort of career changes?

A Crazy Day

March 12th, 2015 at 12:27 pm

I knew my DH had to be more lazy and obnoxious. Today there were layoffs at his company. 40% of his department. Many of his friends are saying good bye, but not him. DAMN IT! If he'd have gotten laid off we'd be moving yet again. It's like all these signs are saying stay. But let's reflect on the possibilities. They may still fire him next year when they let go of the rest of the department. But can we afford to wait? And will everyone else in his department start jumping ship?

Honestly this layoff was perfect. We would have moved this summer and put the house on next month and moved in June. My DH could have started a 12 week internship with 100% placement June 1st and been set with a job in the fall. He talked with them and is definitely qualified to make this job switch. NO I am not pressuring him. Actually he is taking online courses to learn python (programming) and R. This is to help with his transition and has been doing so since January. Long term he wants to transition to this career field.

Now it would have been perfect. Our DK1 is starting kindergarten in the fall so that would work out timing wise as well. Yes we would have rented and who knows what we would have gotten for our house, but it still would have been the best possibility for us.

Now what do we do? As I write this I have to wait another couple hours for my DH to get home and talk more. I am not sure whether we should just sell the house and prepare to move in September. I think that it's possible in September or October he'll do the 12 week intensive internship and leave his job in which case it would be in San Francisco or Seattle. This would mean that selling with the spring market would be the best situation for us.

Am I worried about not having a job? Absolutely and why the severance and unemployement would have been ideal for us. Besides the fact I think that we were hoping for unlike many of my DH's friends who don't want to move or get laid off. I wish he could have taken on of their spots. They wouldn't be worried about what happens after the severance and unemployment runs out. What if they can't find a job in the field and have to change careers?

This is a weird day. I don't know what the future holds but I think that we just have to keep on moving forward no matter what. If we move to SF it'll be hard, the money we have saved I'm not sure how long it will last. We've got over $100k in cash now, and if I can land a job then we'd likely be able to stretch indefinitely. My DH refuses to touch our home equity, that's to be rolled over into our next house. Seattle I know we can more likely live at least a year or more without jobs but a job again would help our cash cushion.

But now what? For those of you following my crazy posts thanks a lot. I know it seems bipolar but it really is this emotional and hard to keep it all inside.

Struggling here

November 10th, 2014 at 09:36 am

I am struggling where I am. Not with the cleanse, not financially, but where I am mentally. My DH had a phone interview last night with a company on the West Coast. I feel so up and down at the same time. I am excited by the possibility, yet anxious that it'll be another disappointment.

I feel the strain of hoping, planning, and praying we move. I am torn by the fact I face another two winters where we live and I HATE it. I hate everything about it. I wonder if we shouldn't pull the trigger this coming summer 2015. I feel like our lives are on hold in so many ways.

I struggle because I don't want to tell people our crazy plan because it is nuts. We are going to dump our house, quit a good paying job, and move. I don't know where or what we are going to do.

I do know my DH is no longer desperate for a job. He wants to do a career change and is excited at the prospect. He's found a niche he'd like to get into and thinks it's a better fit for him.

But what do we do? Do we move without jobs to Seattle? Portland? Or go to the more expensive San Diego or San Francisco? When? I am struggling because financially we should stay put. But at the same time financially shouldn't we take the risk?

Health Insurance Follow up

June 23rd, 2014 at 10:27 am

So Nika got me curious and I am trying to figure out our savings rate and time to FI. According to our w2 DH's employer pays $20,348.82 last year for our medical premiums We paid $2526 or 11% of the premiums. I had no idea our benefits were so expensive.

Some food photos. I need to get better at this.

Ribs and Strawberries we picked.

Angel food cake with our picked strawberries

Romaine with feta, strawberries, pecans, bell peppers, and greek dressing.

Secrets are killing me

June 21st, 2014 at 07:12 pm

I can't tell our friends in real life because it's too painful to hard we are struggling with trying to relocate and fail. It makes me feel ridiculous because they think I'm talking about a dream that will never happen. And even more stupid when my DH's been on interviews about 1x/year and nothings come of it. I think my friends think moving is a pipe dream for us. Something we talk about but never actually do.

So as you know we are doing it in 24 months. In June 2016 we are moving no matter what. But right now we are still looking at jobs. My DH had a phone interview 2x in the past week and a coffee interview this sunday. One position with a university and the other with a company. Neither are exactly what he wants. Academia has its own issues including pay and tenure or lack there of. Industry well the position pays extremely well more than double what he makes now but is a lot of traveling.

But like I said that's putting cart before horse. Get offer then see what our options are. See if they would even in person interview and make an actual offer. But it's hard not to dream or desire to move.

For me I'm also not telling friends I'm looking into doing something different for work. I'm sure I'll get a lot of "you should just go back to what you did" and keep it simple. But I don't want to. So I'm going to look further into being an enrolled agent.

Dinner was yummy. Fresh strawberries we picked today @ $3.50/lb. Fun time with kiddos. Smoked pork ribs with romaine salad with feta, croutons, strawberries, pecans, and corn. Also made angel food cake to go with strawberries.