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Archive for June, 2017

Extra $5k x 2!

June 21st, 2017 at 03:30 pm

My friend paid me back the $5k I loaned her for her lawyer retainer. I am so excited. I figured the money gone. But she took a dividend payment from her 401k and paid me off instead. Sweet. Yes I know she should have left it in her 401k, but truthfully I told her that it's okay to tap her 401k right now. That getting divorced is more important than retirement and the situation she's in it really is. I can't explain but it's gotten so bad that if she had to cash out her entire retirement savings I would still think it's a good idea. And as it stands she just might have to do that who knows.

But the second $5k? DH got a referral bonus at work for referring someone that got hired and has been working now for 6 months. YES! Sure we saw $3300 of $5000 but hey it's better than nothing. And we certainly can use the money with our move. I think it just paid for the movers and few extras.

Nice found money!

Free Fridge

June 18th, 2017 at 11:03 pm

Did I mention we are getting a free fridge in the garage of our new house? The sellers when we saw them and bought the lawn mower and seeder (awesome) asked if we wanted it. We said sure.

I guess it depends on if we use it. I guess we'll unplug it and sell it for $25 if we don't. I am worried that we'll buy too much food. I'm not sure how to use it.

I mean I can see leaving drinks and the freezer will be nice. In fact I was contemplating buying a 1/4 of a cow or and 1/8 of a cow to start.

Like I've mentioned my DH is anti-frozen anything but I really want to try managing food better. We don't do a lot of deals because he likes things fresh. But I hate shopping so much.

This is sort of a nice experiment without costing us money to buy a freezer. I think if it works out then maybe we could switch it out to a deep freezer and forgo the fridge part?

Anyone have an extra fridge? How much do you use it?

529 versus Real Estate

June 16th, 2017 at 05:31 pm

So we're doing our ESA at $2k/year for each kid. We have mentioned adding to that around $2k/year each kid into a 529.

Right now we are positioning ourselves to be financially independent soon enough not including college. DH will be 52 and I will be 50 when our youngest goes to college. I always had it as a goal that we would be Financially independent by 45 and I think it'll happen. But realistically I think we may have to wait until age 55 for DH to "retire" so that we could cash flow college.

But reading more about investing in real estate and I think in 2 years we could save enough to perhaps consider investing in it. I wonder if it would make sense to do a rental property for each child and use that instead of 529?

There are a lot of negatives including we're starting late, they won't be paid off and the cash flow might not work. Plus we'd need at least 2 homes for each child. But I wonder if this would make sense?

I can't do it for something that generates $100/month cash flow even with the depreciation tax break. I think that means we'll have to invest in something away and be an absentee landlord to make it happen.

Plus I need DH to get on board. I know he'll be anti-real estate. So anything I find has to make a lot of financial sense.

Any thoughts or experiences? Do you think this is a good idea? This is a long term play so I think with our financial situation we need at least 2 years of stability right now and planning. I need time to research to present my report to DH about where and how we will invest and who will manage the property for us. This is not something I feel we can jump into since we'll be needing to foot most of the cash down payment, emergency fund at first.

stuff cost you a lot

June 14th, 2017 at 07:53 pm

Stuff costs a lot. I mean buying yes costs money. Sure you can save money buying it used. Thrift store or garage sale shopping. But even if you buy everything used and cheaper it's still stuff. You need somewhere to store it. You need to move it. You need to organize it.

I saw this as we are about to move and everyone asks me how the packing is going and I say it's not. I say I am throwing things out and I'm trying to organize what I have so that I don't move it. They nod and look really confused.

I say that I think I need to purge more than pay movers to move unnecessary stuff. I've got friends seriously on both sides of the spectrum. Those who buy new and have tons of stuff. They tend to have big homes and lots of space.

The idea that we are moving to a smaller house that cost more seems well ridiculous and in some ways it is. But then we also have friends who buy second hand everything but also have tons of stuff. They are in their home and paying for a storage unit for 5 years because they can't fit everything into their house but they shop all garage sales, craigslist, thrift stores. I get it they probably don't spend as much but I really question that. I mean 5 years of a storage unit?

I don't say this but I'm thinking this in my head. Either way the things in your house costs a lot. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot. I have a lot of junk in my house that I am struggling to downsize and be motivated to get rid of it.

I write this because I am panicking that we are moving into a really small house compared to what we were hoping for and I know there isn't storage. So I am trying to come to terms that I may have to purge more upon moving.

But ever item I look at and ask "does it make me happy" I tell myself it's just stuff. Yes it cost money to buy. But it costs just as much to store. And my life can't be ruled by things.

I need to live comfortably and having less stuff to fit into the house we bought is a priority. The answer is not make more money and buy a bigger house. The answer is make your space work for what you can afford. Maybe if you can't fit your stuff then stop buying things is the answer.

Today's mini goal purge 1 box from the garage. Go through it and sort what I keep and I was discard.

Wedding gift question

June 13th, 2017 at 03:02 pm

We can't unfortunately make it to my cousin's wedding. I'm not sure how much to give in "gift" value. Culturally my mom has always said you give the value of your meal if you go. This is pretty much true and usually it's cash. It also increases if family. However we aren't going.

I'm sad to not be going but with everything the way it is, we just couldn't have gone. It's a super busy time for us with moving that it wouldn't have made sense.

That being said I was thinking from their registry a $39.99 gift from bed bath and beyond with a 20% off coupon so still free shipping at $32.00. Then use a BBB gift card I bought on Giftcardgranny which I save 10% on so $22.50 for $25. And that will bring my spending to around $30? Is this ridiculously cheap? Do I seem cheap?

I know it's the thought that counts. If it were a friend I might have just sent a nice card. But I usually send gift cards to target when other relatives haven't registered.

I guess I don't want to look too cheap. But at the same time I wonder if I have to give $100-200 gift since we aren't going? UGH. I hate this social etiquette thing.

cash on hand

June 12th, 2017 at 04:26 pm

So we bought our house. We still have about 1.5-2 years of living expenses in cash. But we are planning on doing some extensive remodeling of the basement. We also have to stash another $15k for 2017 Roth IRAs and college savings. I'm thinking also that we should start $2k for each DK into a 529. That would take our savings to $19k plus $18k into the 401k.

I find myself hesitating because I don't want to not enough cash on hand to do a remodel cash. But it's a strange feeling after sitting on so much cash to be down to a more reasonable number and still hesitating to invest it.

Plus I feel like we have a tentative spending budget but there are a lot of variables we can't account for yet. Maybe by the end of the year I'll feel comfortable enough to invest some of our cash.

What about everyone else? My goal is 6 months cash on hand and the rest is invested. We used to live like this but when we moved without income we bumped it up to as much as possible.

gofundme question

June 11th, 2017 at 03:53 pm

I see a lot of gofundme pages for people. I get it that people are not financially prepared for something to happen to them. It's always unexpected.

I've never donated but now a friend has been diagnosed with cancer. And is really pushing donations because they are out of work. Being self-employed they don't work they don't make income. I haven't donated yet.

Do most people donate? If so how much? I have dropped off food every 3-4 weeks for the past 5 months instead. I felt it more personal it has certainly cost me more than $100. Should I have just donated cash?

I guess I get uncomfortable donating to all these things. I don't mind donating to organizations and I do. I also don't mind people's fundraisers. But this more personal donating to someone feels strange.

Do people really do it?

Mortgage Retirement Plan

June 10th, 2017 at 05:41 pm

No way will my DH go along with paying down the mortgage early. It goes against all his brain power. It's an emotional thing and I get it. Paying down the mortgage isn't logical nor mathematically correct. But it feels good emotionally. It makes you mentally happier I think personally. But he's data driven so no way am I getting around him on this.

But being 38 and 39 and starting a 30 year mortgage is annoying. I don't care that it makes sense. I don't care that even after retiring it makes sense to draw from a portfolio and pay our mortgage. I like the idea of not owing anyone on our house when we retire. But marriage is a compromise.

So instead I'm going to track our progress to having enough money in our taxable accounts to pay our mortgage in full. Since every penny and bonus we don't spend we invest/save it's reasonable to assume I might be able to talk him through cashing out and paying the mortgage when we retire.

I also think at that point we'll be really FI. Right now we are can pay off 18.93% of our mortgage.

Do I have any goals? I'd like to have 10% of our mortgage a year saved. That is a very big stretch goal. We are on track with principal paydown to paydown about 2% a year in the beginning. Adding another 10% seems like a lot. That would put us at 10 years until we have enough to pay off our house. Life has a way of happening. Plus having enough to pay off our house isn't enough to retire on. That's just a start.

Compounding Retirement Returns

June 9th, 2017 at 06:27 pm

So I wanted to see how compounding has worked for LAL and DH. DH started saving in 2005 when he got his 1st job and LAL started probably in 2001 but didn't save much! I have never had a 401k so my entire retirement account has been in Roth IRA. Here are my balances on the first of the year. In 2005 was the first time I contributed the maximum of $4000. The total contributions for 2005-2016 is $59,000.

1/1/2003 $1,604.43
1/1/2004 $1,649.98
1/1/2005 $1,523.08
1/1/2006 $5,797.28
1/1/2007 $6,055.02
1/1/2008 $11,247.42
1/1/2009 $11,964.48
1/1/2010 $18,810.28
1/1/2011 $21,820.45
1/1/2012 $29,829.13
1/1/2013 $39,922.18
1/1/2014 $62,515.36
1/1/2015 $77,467.00
1/1/2016 $83,467.30
1/1/2017 $93,054.38

On January 1st, 2017 I would have contributed at total of $59,000. But in reality I only contributed $53,500 since I didn't make my 2016 contribution till 4/1/17. So based on compounding I made $39,554. ($39,554/53,500)/12 for a rough estimate return of 6.16% return. The proper way would be to calculate each year but I'm tired.

Currently though with my $5500 2016 contribution I have $104,926.89 in my Roth IRA. Not to shabby considering I have now contributed $59,000 and still have to do 2017 $5500 contributions.

DH is a lot more impressive but he's had a 401k with match.

DH Roll DH IRA 401k B 401k V 401k F

$4,000 $0 $4,871
$4,148 $24,581
$8,322 $9,351 $38,895
$27,149 $13,642 $21,491
$18,497 $38,484 $59,763
$74,170 $100,378
$81,580 $121,116
$97,781 $165,139
$134,170 $247,078
$148,742 $288,367
$148,993 $320,533
$228,543 $304,448

Starting with zero in 2005 he contributed in 2005 the maximum IRA $4000 and $4871 to a 401k. Not bad considering he worked 2 months out of the year. As of January 1, 2017 he has a total $532,991 for retirement in 12 years. He also did not contribute for 2016 IRA but did max out the 401k for 2016 so we didn't miss a year. He contributed $251,000 so an approximate return of 9.36%. Not too shabby. Plus with the $5500 2016 contributions and 401k this year he's at $598,962. We broke the $700k retirement savings mark combined.

I'm not sure where we are heading but we are up $77,840 for the YTD and 2016 we went up with contributions and returns $73,501. 2015 we made $40,157, 2014 we went up $73,151.

I am going to guess we're getting over the hump where our returns will be more than our contributions annually. Which is $29k/year.

While not fantastic or super exciting I'm thinking that overall we're average boring investors in index funds now. Before DH would try to pick stocks which might explain why our returns are poor compared to the market. It also could be we had a few bad years in 2008-2010. But overall I think in another 10 years we'll see around average 8% returns.

we bought a home...we'll be rich!

June 9th, 2017 at 06:26 pm

We closed on our house yesterday. Nothing different. Didn't even move. Just said thanks and ate dinner. Little less than 2 years.

Someone said to me "buying a home is the road to being wealthy." I said "I feel more poor because our mortgage is way more expensive than renting." The person rolled their eyes at me.

I said it doesn't matter whether you rent or buy. The person who becomes wealthy is one who can save in either situation. If you can save the difference between the rent and mortgage then you'll become wealthy. Truth is that anyone who saves the difference and invests it will come out ahead.

But owning is nice stability. FWIW renting probably put us behind because of the appreciation of homes in the areas we sold and bought in. But at the same time we did bank all the extra money and in 1 year we're back to where we should have been financially before we took a sabbatical.

So owning is NOT the end all be all to becoming wealth. Saving money is.

$2k rule for college savings

June 1st, 2017 at 05:41 am

There was an article I read recently that saving $2000/year per year your child is will allow you save half the cost of a public university cost in state.

Text is $2k rule and Link is
$2k rule

The article says if you save $2000/year for a child that you will have $36k after 18 years. Pretty obvious statement. The article says most people don't save for college because they have no guidelines and think it unachievable. But if people followed this guideline it would seem more reasonable goal.

I figure anything you save like retirement will help. I just checked and DK1 has $19,976 and is 7 years old. We haven't contributed this year so we've contributed $12k. And DK2 is 4 and we haven't contributed this year so $8k contributions but has $13,024. Granted the markets have been good to the kids. But I'm just investing in VTI and being boring.

I will contribute after we buy the house each another $2k this year. I'm thinking maybe by 18 each kid could have $50k? Definitely about 50% of the cost of public school tuition. Also assuming we don't save any more.

I'll keep everyone posted as we go along. Since we really did start when they were born and are saving $2k into a ESA it'll be a good litmus.