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May 1st, 2022 at 07:27 pm
Well retirement is down $140k and if it wasn't for our windfall I think we'd be substantially more. Probably in the ball park of $250k. I have already had to talk to multiple friends and clients into staying invested and not being spooked. And when asked I said I can see it dropping another 10-20%.
But what do you do? Nothing. If it makes you nervous wrong asset allocation. If you just leave it invested or invest more well then you know what type of person you are. I am kicking myself for buying more amazon and google before their big drops.
I invested all of our windfall. A portion was put into a 10 month CD paying 1.1%. That's to pay our taxes. Then I dumped $150k into the 529s VOO this month. Bad timing? Probably and they will need it in 6 and 8 years. But truthfully that's a long time to ride it out and I the only thing I could do is invest monthly. But really just leaving it alone for the next 6 years.
Does it make sense to rebalance and put into more conservative investments? Most people would but i am not. Why? Because here's the question someone asked me. Will it matter what the balance is in 6 years? Answer is NO. I am paying for college no matter what so I might as well aggressively try to maximize our investment for college. And what people don't realize is that you don't use all of it in 6 years, I will need it 6-9 years for one and 8-11 years. So that's a long time to ride out the market. Retirement is more iffy because we need to fill our buckets, but knows?
January 7th, 2022 at 08:26 pm
2021 was an interesting year for us in so many ways. Financially we did well even with a paycut. Our net worth went up about $500k. We paid off 2% of our mortgage or about $15k. We refinanced to a 7 year arm at 2% in June. We currently pay ~$1400/month to rent our house and ~$1800 in principal. We saved about 45% of our income even after the paycut.
DH and I both started our own companies and not working for the man. I'm self-employed and working solo. We'll see how this year goes as my first year really doing it. My DH started a company with others and is working like crazy as a founder. It was a large risk but it appears to have paid off he's still working but it's going well.
We were fortunate to lose no one to covid this year. Although my uncle passed away from old age my family did well overall for 2021 and that is amazing. I'm hoping that 2022 is just as fortunate and everyone stays in good helath. My DK1 was diagnosed with autism and it was a bittersweet moment. Good because everything I thought and suspected was confirmed. But at the same time it hard to hear and worry about the future had me stressed out for a month. I cried (obviously I blogged) a lot for a month.
But overall it was a good year. I'm hoping 2022 will be equally well. Happy New Year! 15 years (i missed my anniversary and so much has changed). At that time we had a net worth of probably around $80k. Wow.
July 1st, 2021 at 03:58 pm
Where do I start? Well I guess our retirement is on track at $1.5M we breached the number, up $280k from the start of the year. We completed our refi to $845k @ 2% for 7 years. I saved June and July difference of $720 into Robinhood and have $1443. I'm investing it into VIOO (small cap index). It'll be an interesting experiment if I can significantly invest in VIOO and help offset the potential increase in rate. Of couse that's using the assumption I keep the house that long or don't refi again. We did with our numbers hit our FI before DH's 45 birthday so that's good. And no we aren't going to do it though. And interesting tidbit is we have saved since the beginning of 2021 $79476 and if we count last year's savings of $16k for Roth/ESA in january then we are at $95473 for the year. My end of year goal is $100k (so $6k or $22k). That $22k seems like a large stretch. $78k is about 29% of our gross saved.
Spending in June was pretty good. $669.45 groceries, $435.92 eating out, $438.91 dog, $519.73 (current trip gas and alcohol), $245.93 Gas (went camping and clamming), $400.63 Utilities plus other categories $3668. Not a terrible month. I was budgeting aroudn $3600 so we are on track.
I moved $9k to our brokerage today wiping out our sink fund. So we have $8k property taxes and no sink funds. Things I see in August are our auto insurance and kids activties we need to pay. I would guess around $3k. But we have $4k in our checking just sitting so I'm debating moving the next two paychecks $1000 each to sink or brokerage.
I have to admit once things go to our brokerage they don't ever come out. So it's basically gone like our retirement. I think that's why I struggle with moving money to our brokerage accounts from our cash savings.
April 22nd, 2021 at 06:44 pm
Can you be financially independent retire early (FIRE) with kids? Yes I believe you can. I think the easy part is FIRE when they are young. You can budget for health insurance, budget for living, travel, fun, etc. But the unexpected/unpredictable part? College. I mean you can easily homeschool your children. You can say no to private schools. But college or even trade school? How do you budget for that?
I guess if you are super FAT fire where you saved a ton like 5M by age 40 and saved $100k by the time you retired and your kids were 7 and 5 for each of them then no problem. But I feel like there are a lot of people who "FIRE" who had nothing saved for their kids or they FIRE super lean. Then they think we'll my kid can take out loans and live at home. But what if part of the fire plan was downsizing the house and using that equity to help FIRE? What if your kid doesn't go to college and instead just works and lives with you? How does that affect the budget? And you didn't expect to keep hanging on and living in your expensive home? And expected to FIRE maybe abroad or relocate even domestically somewhere cheaper? What if your 4 bedroom house you thought you'd move 30 miles outside the city instead of the great school district?
I think that kids can throw a wrench quickly ino the best FIRE plans. I read a lot of blogs about FIRE. But most don't have kids. Most are couples without kids. The few who do don't have kids as old as mine 8 and 11. Their kids are younger and they haven't gone through college and after while being FIRE. I do read about couples FIRE after the kiddos are gone or left for college or in high school. I feel like by the time they are 16 or 18 you have a lot of question markets about college and future expenses sort of answered. Like you know if they are going to college and how your investments did and if you are helping, if they need loans. So a lot of uncertainty is gone.
I am curious since my kids are finally getting older and I'm thinking a lot about paying for college. My DKs both have asked me if we have saved for college. I said yes we're working on it. My DH teased them though this week and said if the startup is an epic failure then we'll need their college savings. But the truth is that I believe our kids will be fine. We'll figure it out. I am thinking it's time to start educating my kiddos on not just saving and speding but also investments and how they work at least for my 11 year old.
February 9th, 2021 at 07:19 pm
Do you ever go back and read your old entries? I am surprised by how much has changed since 2014 when I started the blog here at SA. 7 years ago I was unhappy where we lived so we changed that. We had been planning on staying and buying a different house. Turns out we did buy a home instead of our townhouse. But it's a completely different town and we paid a lot more than we had expected to at that time and got still a small house. BUT I love it. I love where we've been since 2015 so no regrets. I'm happier now in the middle of winter than ever.
We didn't have that third kid because we ended up moving without jobs. We ended up better financially surprisingly. Here's an interesting take.
July 2014 NW $963k / January 2021 $2.3m (6.5 years later, so by rule of 72 it should have doubled...)
Retirement - $505,286 / $1.37m
Taxable Investment - $160,881 / $710k
DD1 College - $12,118 / $85k ($42k ESA)
DD2 College - $6,758 / $75k ($32k ESA)
Cash - $64,540 / $45k - might be going up soon and debting investing more
Checking - $5k, one month float sameish
We definitely doubled our money. The kids savings happened because we stashed quite a bit into their accounts. But the ESA I started when they were born and am limited to $2k year. DK 1 is 11 (2010) and DK 2 is 8 (2012). So heavy liftying was done by the stock market. Both net worth only account for home equity paydown not what I guess to be the homes are worth.
Here's a funny thing we are back to our old buget of $5k/month. Seems like no matter how I try I have trouble getting away from that number. We had it back when we were more frugal and we are back again. I'm unsure how to save coming up. I think i need about 3 month to figure out new income and budget.
Who'd have guessed our finances would change so much for the better in 7 years. Have you looked back at all?
February 8th, 2021 at 06:30 pm
A lot of people on SA want to work to keep busy. They are fiscally responsible and enjoy it. But I'm the one planning on retiring early and want to be done. My DH I can tell will not want to quit. But here is my perspective and take.
I don't know what the future holds and I believe the One More Year (OMY) syndrome could easily happen to myself and DH. We could be easily able to retire in 10 years or less. But will we? I don't know. I mean postulating, running the excel spreadsheets, using firecalc it's all awesome and nerdy and fun to do. It's super fun to imagine not having to work. It's super fun to imagine being answerable to no one. Having no debt. Just able to live.
But when the reality hits will we pull the trigger? Would we says "sure let's walk away from DH's cushy job earning $XXX" and we're cruising along? Will we be just risk averse because our kids are in college? I don't know how we will feel at that time. I think you have to be standing at the precipice of retirement to make that call. All the planning is great but if you aren't ready it's not going to happen.
Or what if you we are forced into early retirement because of your health? Or if you just can't mentally take it anymore? Or you are 50 and downsized and can't get another job? Do you get something paying less you like less? Get retrained? Or do you call it a day?
I think that you should make a plan but like all plans be willing to adapt it based on new information that arises. What if we buy a newer more expensive home? What if we decide we can't live where we live? The what ifs.
For those of you retired, did you make a plan and stick with it? Did it happen accordingly or did you change it on the fly? Or did your retirement plans change ahead of time and you know it?
February 4th, 2021 at 06:39 pm
We have a lot of people pondering retirement and what you really need? The answer? It's really self dependent. You can say you need 33x your expenses. Sounds good. But here are some questions that influence that.
1. How old are you when you retire?
2. Will you take SS and when will you take it?
3. Do you have a pension?
4. Are you retiring early and need to pay for medical insurance?
5. Will you be retiring with a mortgage or without?
6. Do you plan on moving or will be tapping into your home equity?
These few questions alone influence what you need to retire. I always point out my mom retired at 55 with $200k in her 401k and Roth IRA. That's it. Yep not much. BUT she retired with a COLA pension, which she's not even sure what she makes but it's around $4k/month after withholdings. Yes my mom doesn't know what she makes but that's a different argument.
They did not have a $1M in savings. I believe my dad probably had $400k but he was already 75+ and drawing SS. My parents had medical through the state so my mom at 65 got dual coverage but for years 55-65 she had BCBS from the state employer paid 100%. My dad already had medicare so he was fully covered.
So there my parents are with $4k pension, $3k SS Dad, RMD of $1500/month, no medical expenses, 2 paid for homes and cars. What savings did they need? According to rule of thumb they should have at least $1m saved. Truth? NOT even close.
Their monthly haul was close to $8500/month after taxes withheld! So I think $10k/month pretax not unreasonable or unlikely. My parents were bringing in $120k/year without touching their savings and they were still earning income. So the $200k is gravy. They don't spend close to that a year and have kept on saving.
So the rules of thumb are a bit ridiculous. It also explains how so many people are able to retire without saving more than $100k in 401k. They have pensions and ss which pay for the bullk of their needs.
Is that a reality for people who are 41 like me? Nope. DH and I have no pension. We'd have to have $1.5M saved to generate the $60k/year my mom gets from a pension. We might get SS and but then we have to save more in our IRA in order get more RMDs.
I think you have a lot to look at when you retire and a lot of consider individually. Saying you need a $1m to retire is not realistic. Maybe the truth is you've never earned a lot, never spent a lot, and have a pension. So the reality is even $50k is enough to make it.
December 1st, 2020 at 10:18 pm
It's been a very good year for us. Our retirement is up to $1.24m. We have $680k in taxable accounts. Our debt is down $29k. Our nw went up $506k for the year. Fingers crossed that we end up doing just as well next year.
I also made a large payment to the IRS today and we paid off a bunch of credit cards because we've been building a shed and stuff. Yuck.
December 5th, 2019 at 05:16 pm
$996,205 is our combined retirement balance. So close yet so far. UGH. Ha I guess we'll hit the magic $1 million in January. I'll do a max out Roth IRA and then we'll be over. It's been a good year. Our retirement started out at $789,426 and it's grown $200k. Yes a big chunk was savings but also a big chunk was growth.
The plan seems to be firming up that we are going to stay put until DK2 is launched and finished with college in 2034. That means 14 more years? Considering how fast these years have gone I imagine these next 14 years will pass by in a blink of an eye. After all I think I found this site 14 years ago and a lot has changed.
Does it scare me? Yes absolutely. It seems surreal. They numbers on the page are real but it doesn't seem like it should be. I always wondered how did people amass so much money. It always seemed unreal The answer? One day at a time. Honestly. Keep on trucking and suddenly at 40 life is a lot easier.
At least for us we had a lot of big bills and lower salaries earlier in our 20s and 30s that made it really hard to save and see a difference. We lived frugally like college students because of our extended college educations and minimal salary. But things began to change in 2010 and then by 2015 we had really started to ramp up earning power. And suddenly here we are almost 5 years later even more so.
I will say however right now i'm crunching our numbers and I'm still tempted to buy a bigger home. I don't know though.
November 4th, 2019 at 10:53 pm
DK2 will finish high school in 2030. Woah typing that makes it real. I believe she'll be done (fingers crossed) in 2034. DH will be 56 turning 57 and I'll be around 55 depending on graduation date.
We have 14.5 years until we are done. I am freaked out a bit reading that. Based on the rule of 7 we should be able to double our investments 2x over. Since in theory your investments double every 7 years. By that rule we'd have a ridiculous amount of money.
I guess I feel it going by in a blink because I believe I started blogging here and on my own website in 2005. So it's been 14 years or so and my how times have changed.
If I can figure it out I should put one of those countdown days. It might freak me out though to watch it. For many of you I'm sure you are also feeling the passage of time as I read your blogs and smile. I find incredibly interesting to see how people's live have changed sometimes very rapidly. To see how much has improved often times because of this site.
Anyway I was just musing about time.
December 12th, 2018 at 04:46 am
So I've been doing 1 class at a time to be a Certified financial planner. It will cost $5000 to get the certificate. I enjoy the online classes. I'd like be a fee for service financial planner.
I had a phone call evaluation by personal capital today and they tried to sell me their services. It was absolutely rotten, horrible experience.
The website is great. I use it to track my spending and x-ray my investments. But I would NEVER pay 0.89% of the value of our portfolio to have them to tell me which 90 stocks to buy to replace Vanguard Total Index Stock market ETF. Let alone buy the SAME etf small cap (russell) and international, and real estate. Why would anyone?
I mean they have to beat the returns I get by a solid 1% not including all the trading fees and inefficient costs of BUYING and SELLING stocks. I got oh we know how to properly tax loss harvest. I said great so do I. And I don't need to do that since I don't take money out of my investments usually. I keep cash and hence why I have so much cash on hand so I can just pay for stuff like the car we are buying without cashing out our investments.
The woman was like oh you shouldn't have bonds or dividends outside an IRA. I was like I pay 15% mostly on our dividends. It's well worth it. Oh but if you put it in your IRA you won't pay any. Better off taking risk and having greater returns in IRA (especially Roth IRA) and not paying any taxes on large long term gains. Even 15% isn't bad on long term capital gains honestly.
It was such a miserable call. It was infuriating that she's basically trying to sell me 90 individual stocks that will "beat" the total vanguard stock index. That because I invest so heavily in the index I am too weighted in technology and not enough elsewise.
Yes if I let them manage my money they would keep techonolgy at 15% and buy 90 stocks to diversify and properly balance my large US cap investment. I can't imagine a worse sales pitch.
It made me hate idea of being a CFP if all you do is a sales pitch. Versus the idea of being fee based advisor who gives advice not to make money off commission or portfolio size.
Anyway it just left a super terrible taste in my mouth. She also said they would help me invest my DH's 401k, but when I pointed out why? There is limited optionsor investments why do I need advice?
Oh well it's a big picture thing. I told her I already did that and I rebalance my entire portfolio anyway based on his 401k because we can't pick our investments. So we have Bonds index and total stock market index in his 401k. Those were the lowest costs index.
November 1st, 2018 at 05:27 pm
We are down around 7.5% from 9/1/18 which it peaked. We are down in mostly our retirement investment accounts. We aren't doing a darn thing. We are holding onto our cash, will invest in January Roth IRA and kids ESA the $12k and $4k. In december we will likely buy out DH's lease for $22k. Right now we are still hanging onto my car loan but that's something up for negotiation to just pay off. But it's at 2.24% and we're earning 1.9% on savings right now with potential for more.
I'm also considering buying the I bonds. Right now the fixed rate is 0.5% announced and that seems good. I'll talk to DH tonight.
June 8th, 2018 at 06:55 pm
So I did my friend Mrs N taxes and peeked at her mom's financials. Mostly because she hasn't been filing and I just wanted to confirm it was okay to not file. Nana was fine not filing.
But in the process of looking over all her documents I told her that she now owed $65k on her condo. She freaked out and said what, why, how?
Well in 2010 she owed $14k on her condo but she was tired of paying the monthly note. She was convinced by her ex-SIL to get a reverse mortgage in the amount of $47k. Her note was paid off and she got $23k in cash, and $8k in fees. She was told that she could live in the house till the end of her life and then Mrs N would have to sell it and pay it off. All true but I guess it wasn't explained that like a Credit Card the $47k would continue to accrue interest and fees every month and the amount owed would balloon.
It also could occur that she would reach the maximum limit to be borrowed from the reverse mortgage, in her case $150k and then be forced to refinance or sell the condo. She sat there stunned. For 8 years she actually believed she could live in her house rent/payment free and never be kicked out. It was soul crushing to see the realization kick in.
I suggested that she consolidate the reverse mortgage and get a regular mortgage now before rates keep on going up. Mrs N just got her divorced finalized yesterday so they have a rough idea of budgeting and finances.
Had I realized they were paying $1k/year in fees and $3k/year in interest on the reverse mortgage I would have suggested a year ago they consolidate while rates were lower.
She also owes an assessment on her condo but she has no idea how much. And a car loan of $10k just started in January 2018 at 5%. That being said if they consolidate all their debt, I'm including Mrs N, to the tune of $120k the payments will be around $600/month. Arrgh because they should have refinanced last year and been saving the money. And the rates are so much higher now about 1%.
I don't know what to say because I don't know if Reverse mortgages are good. I feel like maybe people should sell the house and live in it. But they get the appreciation of staying put and paying interest and fees. I guess it's a risk.
March 29th, 2018 at 04:48 am
I just linked tonight all our data on personal capital website. It was an interesting and enlightening snapshot of our assets and investment allocation. I did it myself earlier this year. Gave me fits figuring everything out efficiently because I worked with what my DH had done and with his 401k.
First up, we have enough in our investments to pay off our mortgage. Not enough in taxable but more than enough to pay it off if we cashed in our retirement accounts. Hadn't every really looked but interesting. Only thing taxable is the 401k and looking at it, I think we'd still have enough after taxes. Very nice.
Second, they checked my target asset allocation and I pretty much hit it dead on. I'm interestingly at a higher 90% stocks and 10% bonds mix. Higher than I thought. I thought I was at 85% and 15%. I wanted to be more at 80% stock/20% bonds. But I guess it's okay.
I just readjusted DH's 401k from VINIX to a mix of a small cap, mid cap, international growth and more bonds. I think we are holding cash that it makes sense to perhaps put a bit more into bonds even with the cash. Actually looking at it more carefully this portfolio does not include our cash position so with it included we are at my 80% stocks/bonds 10%/10% cash so maybe I shouldn't have adjusted the 401k. But I feel like this year bonds might go big and the stock market is due a correction.
A really impressive point is my management fees were evaluated at 0.07%. Yes that's awesome I think. Something I am considering is building a stock dividend portfolio. Investing in our taxable account maybe 5 stocks that pay heavy dividends.
I am also 52.2% US stocks and 23.74% international stocks. I guess things are looking good overall. This is a very nifty tool.
I also am considering buying RE as a diversification play. This is something I want to put 25k into or as much as $50k into a rental. We are talking about partnering with friends, which we'll see.
Finally the retirement projections. Well it says I have a 96% chance of retiring at age 53 with $7600/month. Substantially more than the $4k/month I was projecting. I'd like to hit that instead in 10 years but we have save more than I'm projecting which is entirely doable because I'm projecting only saving $40k/year, right now we're doing more but I want to be conservative.
We are also projecting unfortunately to be $30k short for each kid's college fund by 18. I'm thinking we might be closer to $15k. Why? Because I think it's assuming we won't have the projected $81608 by the time they start which is true. But we still have another 4 years to "save" the $2k/year we are doing and that takes care of $8k. And seeing the number in black and white being a projected $30k short each, means that if I for the next 10 years saved an extra $2k/year we wouldn't be short for either. I'm thinking maybe this year we do a one time $10k contribution to each kid for college and call it a day? I think we might have that the cards.
Anyway try using personal capital. It's an amazing website. https://www.talkable.com/x/cbBCMQ
January 18th, 2018 at 06:52 am
So I calculated that maxing out our 401k and IRAs for the next 15 years will give us a 100% success rate of retiring for 45 years with a $90k/year income. This is with $0 SS income coming in.
2032 retirement gives us a 2% chance of failure. 2031 retirement gives us a 14% chance of failure. So if we continue down our path the earliest I think we could retire is 2031.
However if increase our savings to $40k/year, saving $10k/year outside for 13 years the failure rate is 2% in 2031. And in the year 2030 it's 12% failure, and in 2029 it's 18% failure.
Also adding back SS does nothing to the success rate. Because we're assuming a lower SS and taken at age 62 even if we retire at age 55.
I think it would be easier to lower the number we need to retire not $90k/year. If we lowered it to say $60k/year we can retire in 2028 or 10 years with 1% failure rate saving $30k/year and 50 years of retirement. That would take us to 100 years old. About what I guessed off the cuff.
I have always said DH and I are about 5 years away from FI. According to Fire Calculator we are. If we save $100k/year for the next 5 years and spend $60k/year, we would have a failure rate of 1% of living on $60k/year for 50 years to age 95.
But the reality is while I know we spend around $60k/year and live well, we need more because we aren't done with say college. Plus I'd rather know that everything above and beyond is gravy rather than cutting it so close.
Have you ever calculated?
January 12th, 2018 at 07:04 pm
I'm curious who on this site is not investing. Or cashing in their chips now to take some of the risk off the table. I've been thinking a lot about it. We're dumping quite a bit into the market right now and I do worry it's high. This is a big topic if you can imagine in a tax office. We're all discussing whether we think the market has another year of gains. So it's on my mind.
Well I decided the other day that we're staying invested. We are sticking with the plan. I am going to put more in and hold it. I'm not going to sit in cash or buy more bonds. I will put rebalance being the beginning of the year, but I'm not going to hold back or change our aggressive stance.
What made me decide this? PS wrote that. Well as I perused our previous net worth and years of record keeping. I know we kept investing in 2007/2008 when we had less than we saved. But then it paid off gangbusters afterwards.
So now yes we have a more invested. And yes we are 10 years older. But talking with DH, he's in it for 10-15 more years. He's not planning on retiring until 15 years when our youngest should be done with college. If they lay him off that's a different story but as of right now it's in our heads he's going to work 15 more years.
That being said I think with a 15-20 year time frame of investing we risk it now. We stay in an aggressive investment strategy of 85% stocks/10% bonds and 5% cash. I don't think we cash in and take some of the returns off the table because we could miss out on more gains. My thoughts are until we are 5 years out we keep on investing aggressively. At 5 years out we switch more to preservation. And perhaps because at 5 years we can make a year to year decision to retire if the market is down maybe work 1 more year.
Do you think you'll keep on investing? Or is it better to take gains off the table?
January 11th, 2018 at 08:51 pm
2018 has been good so far. Today I deposited 2017 and 2018 IRA contributions for DH and I. $5500 each for each year for $22k in contributions to our Roth IRAs.
Second it's weird but we ended 2017 a bit short of $800k and now it's powered through. We are at $810k, I think the company match came through for DH's 401k at the beginning of the year for last. And now we just contributed $22k. I wonder if I should rethink our stretch goal?
I also wrote down all our investments and I'm going to clean things up this next month.
December 31st, 2017 at 06:03 pm
We bought a 2015 Toyota Sienna AWD Limited minivan. I love, love, love it. I can't say how nice it is to have the space and ease of a bigger car. The car was $28k plus taxes and fees and we borrowed $24k for 4 years at 2.24%.
We are giving my mom the 2010 Subaru Outback. I do feel guilty about getting rid of a car so new, but the minivan I think will be good for 7 years. The plan is to evaluate it when it is 10 years and decide what we need at that time. My mom is getting rid of a 21 year old 1996 Toyota Avalon. And she could buy a new car but refuses so my used car is perfect. Sigh. Trust me I was trying to get her to buy a new car.
2017 wrap up. Our retirement accounts were ridiculous. We started at $626k and contributed $29k. We ended up with $790k today and approximate 21% return for the year.
We started the year with $435k taxable accounts and ended the year with $294k and $250k home equity we put down. Up $109k for the year. Guessing not as much saved as we should have but we did pay a lot of expenses this year.
Overall our NW went up $263k. Our kids have $22k and $14k in college. Plans to discuss this month pay off the car, how much for driveway/drain repairs this summer, roth IRA $11k, $20k taxes, and how much we plan on front loading the kids college.
I think we should earmark $10k per kid this year and see how the year goes. Then with the continual $2k/year per kid we could do another $10k in Jan 2019. I think this should cover 4 years of college?