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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.