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Is it important to FIRE or FI?

October 7th, 2022 at 06:42 am

Yesterday Barry Sharpless won his second nobel prize.  He is the 5th person ever and only living person to have 2 nobel prizes.  DH was working with Barry when he won his 1st nobel prize in 2001.  It was a privilege to meet, chat, and learn from him.  DH called him a genius and he really was.  I remember being 22 and impressed with his house and the guy himself when I met him.  He drove a Honda Civic hatchback because he didn't care what he drove.  But flew always with 2 seats in first class so he could have space for his papers to read and work on planes.

I remember him talking to a bunch of us young students, hanging yes on his every word, telling us not to give up.  That we needed to find our passion.  That you should love what you do because it will lead to success.  That wanting to go to work would lead to money.  Money he said doesn't do anything but buy you the opportunity to find happiness.  He said when he just wanted to explore where science lead him.

His energy and work ethic because of his passion were amazing.  And we never forget the lesson of being excited about work.  When you stop being excited he said it shows and that's when it's time to move on and figure out what does excite you. 

I get people working hard to FIRE and find their passion.  But not all of us can easily retire super cheap and save tons of money early on.  Instead some of us have to suck it up and work awhile.  But we always remembered that if we weren't excited we should move on.  Because the passion for work showed and it helped us stand out and succeed at our jobs rather than just sliding by and meandering.

It also was enlightening to see someone working very obviously NOT for money (he's a multimillionaire several times over and was by the time we met him).  But because he loves what he does.  His recent interview he was asked what is it like to know that he helped change the world by creating 2 new chemical reactions both increadibly important and revelotionary to drug discovery.  Without these reactions we would not be where we are today in modern medicine.  His answer "it's why he works because he wants to give back to society and loves what he does. He never imagined it would have this sort of impact."  

As for us?  I'm still not sure I want to be working at 81.  But if I still love what I do then I guess I will.  I am reminding DH now that with his startup if he loves what he does great.  But after this I think he's FI, will he RE? I don't know.  He's so passionate about what he does he says he can't imagine quitting.  Guess following our passion has been lucrative and nice.

An update - it's been a busy 2 weeks of june

June 15th, 2021 at 05:50 pm

Where should I start?  Guess with the most interesting.  DH's company turned down the buyout.  They didn't want to go back and work for a Megacorp.  I was surprised but at the same time someone pointed out they left their soul-sucking jobs to do something they believe in. They made enough money already that making more money didn't seem the point.  I can't believe it.  I'm glad because my DH is happy and still moving forward.

Spending for May

Groceries $454
Eating out $473
Alcohol $242.50
Dog $831.59
Travel $1802 (paid for August VRBO)
Utilities $752
Kids Camps/activities $1502
Business LAL $2491

It was a very spendy month. So good thing we refinanced our mortgage last week June 10th. No payment until August 2021.  We are doing pretty well though with our spending otherwise.

EF $40k
Property Taxes $8k (done for 6 months ready for 11/1 Payment and insurance in August)
Sink $5000 (haven't had to touch yet)
Roth $2000 (already saved $10k this year moved it)
Robinhood $700 (my difference in refinance and old mortgage June $700 saved!)

I believe we managed to save $2k from last month and float all the extra charges without touching our sink funds which is what was part of the budget.  My goal is to pay our insurance without really touching the sink funds or property taxes in August (home $1200, auto $1000, umbrella $300) and then also still continue to save $700 7/1 and 8/1 and 9/1. I invested the $700 in small cap ETF Vanguard IWOO

Our networth was up in May by $3886/month.  The markets were down.  But we are up for the year $293469.  Also I did not move the needle on the value of our house.  It appraised by the bank lower for sure than what we could get and a lot higher than what we paid.  

 

 

Crossroads - choices

June 9th, 2021 at 05:06 pm

We are at a crossroads.  Unfortunately we are not able to control our crossroads.  What does that mean?  Well DH has been at a startup as you know.  We took a risk and it's paid off.  There is a serious offer on the table and it means quite a bit of money.  Life changing?  Yes.  We would have hit our FIRE number.  We would be completely able to Fat FIRE.  Combined with our current savings and we are looking at a 2x FIRE number.  DH would not RE because he doesn't want to.

But why the crossroads?  Because he doesn't want the offer.  He likes what he's doing and he wants to continue and maybe make more money.  He wants the risk.  He loves the job. But it's not up to him.  It's up to the group in the whole.  So it's not a one person decision.  The greater good.  I'm not sure how it's going to play out.

There are 8 guys.  I can see how difficult it will be since some will want to continue and others will want to take the security and guarantee.  There are few guarantees in life.  To know that we are financially secure is comforting.  But at the same time we didn't just sign on for this.  We signed on for the chance to do something big.  I don't know what will happen. I guess we'll know in a week or maybe even tonight.  

Fingers crossed.  Who knows what will happen.

new normal and WFH

May 27th, 2020 at 06:24 am

So DH has been given the opportunity to WFH permanently and through the end of the year. What that means for us and what we are doing about it?

First off our house is not exactly suitable for all four of us living in it all the time. It doesn't really work with both of us working, him full time and me intermittently part-time from home. We have a nice home. It's 3bd/3ba with a large playroom/bonus room. But there isn't a fourth bedroom or dedicated office. We have about 2100 sq ft. I love our house and yard.

So here's the deal. We are considering putting in a shed with electric so that we can have a private office. But the trade offs? No guest bedroom. We can't see the kids while we work if one of us is not home. It'll cost between $10-25k.

Or we could move. That is something we're considering. But the next question is if we move, do we move away completely?

Do we move away from our neighborhood? Do we move somewhere cheaper and DH WFH permenantly? His salary would be "Adjusted" down if it were a cheaper cost of living. But does it really matter if he's still earning a good salary?

I mean where we live homes run about $1.5M. So moving even if they adjust his salary we'd probably come out ahead. But the real question is if he ever lost his job would we be forced to move back to an expensive area? Of course we would relocate with him being the primary breadwinner we would follow his job.

So do we stay in a place that is easy and we never have to move for a job until he retires? Or do we take a chance and move somewhere that if he were to lose his job I bet it cold be difficult to find another?

That's the real underlying question to moving anywhere and having a WFH job. What is the possibility of you finding another job like that one? Is it a common WFH job that you could? Or is it a specialized one that may require relcocating?

The answer we're pretty sure is it's specialized for DH. He makes a lot of money. So a job loss would make it definitely worth moving.

We've been talking a lot and looking into our options. I think we're going to build a shed. We are going to watch the local market to move into a bigger home. But we aren't leaving the area because DH wants to work until 2034 when DK2 finishes college and he'd rather stay where he has networking connections and he feels secure about finding a job easily if he had to.

So right now we are in a holding pattern.

being home...

April 1st, 2020 at 09:23 pm

DH has been at home working for a month. I'm about to start and it's going to be hard. I am struggling because right now DH can't do work and be head teacher. I'm doing it and it's hard, harder than I ever imagined. I used to think homeschooling would be cool and I always admired parents who did it. Now I think I'm not sure I can do it but people who do are amazing. However I can't imagine trying to homeschool while working full time. I can easily see how everything goes off the rails fast. When I was trying to work in office (I ended last thursday) the house was off the rails. Everything a mess, barely hanging on. It was a nightmare.

What do I find hard? Maybe it's because I worry we aren't keeping up. I worry that I'm not doing it right. I worry that am I really engaging the kids as much as they should.

I will admit I am lucky. Lucky how? We are not financial unstable so whatever happens DH and I are fine. I don't need to work so I can focus on the kids. Lucky that our kid's are special needs so the IEP for speech and hearing isn't like many others who normally have a full time aid. Parents who need extra support and are floundering. Finally we are also lucky that we live somewhere awesome. How so?

While we are social distancing we are also able to go outside and ride bikes 2x a day rain or shine with neighbors. There are 2 other families with kids exactly in 2nd and 4th grade. And another family with slightly younger kids who is grateful to get them outside. This somewhat social interaction for 30-60 minutes a time gives us time to talk at a distance. Sometimes we even sit in chairs and chat. Also kids get much needed exercise and working out.

On a funny note I keep seeing memes about Generation Xers being ready for this. We were made for this. YES! The once unparented generation of latchkey kids are ready to stay at home. We totally get how to chill at home and relax and be amused. We aren't needing to go out. We are happiest at home. I guess our childhoods of working and/or divorced parents did prepare this for us.

How are you dealing with the lockdown if you are under one?

2017 earnings for me

January 6th, 2018 at 05:48 pm

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 04:36 pm

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 02:19 pm

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 07:15 pm

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 09:22 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 02:56 pm

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 19th, 2016 at 06:35 am

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 03:08 pm

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?