<< Back to all Blogs
Login or Create your own free blog
Layout:
Home > Page: 2
 

Viewing the 'Retirement' Category

Pay down mortgage or invest?

November 6th, 2015 at 10:26 am

Does it makes sense to pay down your mortgage or invest? For the most part it depends. Depends on your risk tolerance. Depends on your age. Depends on if you bought too much house. But honestly the numbers support investing first, especially in tax deferred (401k) or tax free (Roth IRA) accounts before you pay a penny in overage to your mortgage. The big reason being you can't go back and put the money from your mortgage being paid off into past years contributions.

What do the numbers say? I use round numbers because it's easier. Assume a couple with a stay at home mom, 2 kids, and an income of $100k and are 35 years old. Assuming Couple A contributes 15% to their retirement and the rest of their money to their mortgage. Couple B maximizes the retirement savings to 401k+Roth IRA and nothing to their home. They have a mortgage for $300k on a home worth $360k.

What ends up happening?

Couple A
$15k retirement/year, pays home in 15 years because they have an extra $10,500/year for mortgage paydown. They then divert $1551/month into retirement/taxable savings for the next 5, 10, 15 years.

Couple B
Saves $29k/year and pays less in federal income taxes. But they don't pay down the mortgage because all their extra money goes to retirements savings.

Couple A - using a 6% Return on Investment (ROI)
15 years retirement $358,462.00
20 years retirement $566,801.00
5 years tax/retirement $107,773.00
25 years retirement $845,365.00
10 years tax/retirement $251,998.00
30 years retirement $1,218,146.00
15 years tax/retirement $445,002.00
Total savings = $1,663,148.00, No Debt

Couple B - using 6% ROI as well
15 years retirement $693,181.00
20 years retirement $1,095,510.00
25 years retirement $1,633,918.00
30 years retirement $2,354,429.00, No Debt

Couple B has $691,281.00 more than Couple A after 30 years and a paid for home as well.

Couple B has been paying less federal taxes because they are using the 401k to lower their taxes. Because of this they actually after getting close a 40% bonus savings rate. How? Well they are saving $29k/year versus $15k/year for Couple A, but Couple A overall only had $10,500 extra to direct to the mortgage for extra savings. So almost a 40% bonus just from less taxable income.

But after 15 years Couple A is debt free. True, but Couple B likely are decent savers having put savings on auto-pilot. And whose to say either couple won't cash out their homes and downsize? In which case Couple B could in theory be debt free as well. But likely not.

Why you should save for retirement now...

October 30th, 2015 at 09:29 am

I have a lot of friends who are putting off saving for retirement. Many put off retirement savings for a house. They are busy trying to squirrel away money for their first home. Then suddenly they get into the home and it's MUCH more expensive than they expected. They weren't used to saving for retirement. Then suddenly they are 30 or 32 and haven't saved a penny for retirement. Or they are saving for retirement but they want to focus on paying off the mortgage in 15 years. Or start saving for college.

Here's what happened for us. We started in our 20s. As soon as DH got a real job it was #1 priority. We determined before we bought a house that retirement savings maximum was a line item before we determined what we could afford. It just was something that we deemed necessary since we at the time only had $4k saved for me. DH didn't have any accounts being a foreigner and honestly until then I only had a Roth IRA but we were busy paying off car loans, student loans, and living as graduate students on income very close to the poverty line. So saving for retirement was a pipe dream for us. Something we knew we had to do and we felt we had to catch up.

Well we started saving and all money went to saving for retirement, building an EF, more student loans for an MBA, and the house just took a backseat. We made our payments and lived.

When we turned around we had saved over $550k for retirement in 10 years. Using a retirement calculator if we don't contribute a penny more and retire at 55, using a 7% return we'd have $1.8M for retirement. This nest egg will last us at a rate of $80k/year until age 82 not including a penny of Social Security. We currently spend including our rent $65k/year. This means our nest egg will last until 89 without social security and assuming we are still paying $2400/month in rent/mortgage. Our expenses are a lot lower if we are done with a house payment by 55 (not unreasonable). Right now we could easily live on $40k without a rent or mortgage and we've got enough cash to buy our current house without a mortgage. So our nest egg $550k would be $2.8M when we die if we lived off of $40k now and never saved another penny or used social security. Assuming we worked until 60 we'd start off with a nest egg of $2.6M and we'd die leaving behind $1.0M for our heirs.

So by saving from 26 to 36 we basically funded our retirement. If we choose not to save another penny I think with something from social security and a paid for home we'd have enough to retire early at 55 with and income more than we live on now. If we waited until 60 it'd be ridiculous.

So don't put saving for retirement on hold. I know how easy it is to justify that you have other savings like a home, car, etc. I think it's something you just have to get used and do it. Every penny we save now I know will be worth less than we had saved it 10 years ago. But doing this calculation, my plan is that we will continue saving the maximum 401k, Roth IRAs until we retire. And the goal is 100% income replacement and being financially independent by age 50. This is a stretch goal i think 55 is realistic.

Not working and how it's going

September 18th, 2015 at 09:06 pm

It's interesting living a lifestyle eschewed by Mr Money Mustache. We're not "retired" but taking a break from working. We don't have enough to retire fully and live the lifestyle we want. We probably are close especially if we moved further out from where we are and lived very frugally. But the truth is my DH isn't willing to compromise and wants to work so we will continue on the hamster wheel. We just took a short break from "work" in the traditional sense.

It's been a month but a busy month for my DH and I. Since we moved cross country most of the month was spent unpacking, organizing, and just getting settled. For the most part we are close to being done and really getting settled into a routine.

I've noticed a couple of things. We curbed the eating out which is good since it's pricey. I miss it a little but we're trying to limit it to 1-2x a week. So far it's been 1x a week. Our cooking is getting back to where it used to be pre-kids. We have more time to put effort. Also we grocery shop more and look for sales and shop the circular because we're on a tighter budget. This month so far our grocery budget has been an excessive $700 but a lot of it has to do with buying stuff like spices, condiments, flour, sugar, canola oil, olive oil, etc. Things you need to start up your kitchen. Basic goods that all add up. It really was the first 2 weeks of moving in when we bought a ton of extra groceries and we don't have a stockpile either yet going. However we're also running lean and sort of buying enough for a week worth of cooking.

However we fill gas a lot less. So far this month we've spent $77 and haven't filled since the beginning of the month. We don't have cable just internet. The deal happened to be $50/month for 100 mbps and adding cable was an extra $20. Where we were cable was an extra $5/month because the "bundle" of local channels plus hbo was $84 versus $79 for just internet.

This lifestyle is pretty relaxing. I'm not sure if either of us could last long term but knowing we have 4 months of DH not "working" I think will go by quick. He went to a info session of his bootcamp and was told he has to get up to speed on Linear Algebra and Multivariable Calculus. So he's taking online classes to make sure he can ace it. So these 4 months should go by fast. He was also reassured that they had a 100% placement rate after the camp.

Guess it'll be interesting watching our savings dwindle and seeing what happens. We're starting off with $80k cash, $100k invested, and $350k for a house DP. I hope we don't tap any more than the $80k or at least that's our goal.

Staying the retirement course

May 21st, 2015 at 11:36 am

This is the third time I am trying to do this post. I keep losing it. Retirement savings isn't about amounts, but it helps to save more. What does help is staying the course. CCF mentioned savings, we've had a few good years but staying the course helped the most. This is our retirements savings 12/31/....

2005 - $6457 - only my IRA since DH wasn't eligible until now

2006 - $34,782 - $8k IRA, $15k 401k, $2947 401k match = $2378

2007 - $67,785 - $8k IRA, $15.5k 401k, $6079 401k match = $3424

2008 - $74,245 - $10k IRA, $15.5k 401k, $6172 401k match = -$25,212 (big loss)

2009 - $117,055 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $6951 401k match = $9359

2010 - $196,368 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $7438 401k match = $45375

2011 - $232,524 - $10k IRA, $16.5k 401k, $7385 401k match = $2271

2012 - $302,841 - $10k ira, $17k 401k, $8318 401k match = $35,009

2013 - $443,762 - $11k IRA, $17.5k 401k, $8099 401 match = $104,322 (best year ever)

2014 -$514,544 - $11k IRA, $17.5k 401k, $8967 401k match = $33315

2015 - YTD $577,571

Our contributions have been $94,493 IRA and $147,500 401k = $241,993/514544 = 41.89% contributed. The matches have contributed $62356/514,544 = 12% of retirement. So our "contributions" in all have been $304,349/514,544 = 59.15% and we've "gained" about 40% of our money from returns. I think that number will start to skew soon towards returns. Also the match is the only thing that kept us positive for MANY years. Even without it though we would have kept on investing aggressively and I think having the first few years our money go down made us able to buy more.

I suspect that having the market tank when we started investing was better for us. Now if we can "retire" and pull out when the market is going up and hitting a peak we'd probably have "Ideally timed" the market.

There has been a few good years but in the beginning honestly it was pretty flat. My contributions and that was it. I would say it would have been easy to stop contributing and say what a waste. But staying the course was harder and more worth it.


And MM - If we contribute nothing for another 15 years and "retire" at 50 with an average of 6% returns we'd have $1.4M. With our current investment amounts we'll have $2.2M. I think we should be set to not save more, but we probably will.

2014 a review and 2015 Ideas

January 15th, 2015 at 10:31 am

I probably should write goals but what I think we need to do are not really goals but ideas I'd like to see through. It's been a very interesting 9 years living where we live. Like Monkey Mama we've changed a lot. How much?

Net Worth
12/31/2005 $131,762.00
1/1/2014 $878,472.00
1/1/2015 $1,073,474.80

So in the 9 years we've lived where we are we increased our net worth 8 fold. This past year has been particularly good to us as we increased our net worth by 22% or $195k. It was a combination of decreasing our debt by $30k and I valued our house $50k more. We wiped clean the last of our student loans, we had around $8k hanging around at 2%, and $8k 0% CC debt. We also paid off one of our cars and the second car will be done in July.

Account 1/1/2014 1/1/2015
LAL IRA $62,327.00 $77,254.24
DH IRA $132,924.00 $148,527.37
DH 401k $244,399.00 $287,059.53

Fid Tax 1 $86,847.00 $85,389.30
Online Check $1,000.00 $8,642.11
Online Savings $42,510.00 $55,542.43
Fid Tax 2 $54,000.00 $50,959.49
SB 1 $10,788.00 $34,493.33
College 1 $11,239.00 $12,251.00
College 2 $6,369.00 $6,831.00
House $650,000.00 $700,000.00
Subtotal Assets $1,302,403.00 $1,466,949.80

Debts
Car 1 $7,900.00 $3,045.00
Car 2 $3,900.00 $0.00
Sallie Mae $8,000.00 $0.00
CC #1 0% $4,000.00 $1,867.00
CC#2 0% $4,000.00 $0.00
Mortgage $396,131.00 $388,563.00
Subtotal Debts $423,931.00 $393,475.00

Net Worth $878,472.00 $1,073,474.80

So we got close to my last year "goals" of increase NW by $200k, break $1M net worth, and break $500k retirement. But where does that put us?

Well my DH just came back from a job interview out on the west coast. We'll hear back in a month but they contacted him and said he hadn't filled out a formal application just resume and cover letter. So he's guessing they are going to do the background check, credit check, etc and are interested. He also has a second interview to be scheduled on the west coast.

We are still wavering on whether to move this year without a job or wait until 2016. If we wait until summer 2016 we'll have 18 more months of job hunting and potentially a lot more money saved.

As it stands we have I would guess about 1 year in cash living expenses at our current budget and no income. After the sale of the house we stand at closer to 8 years without income, not touching our retirement.

I guess our goal is to continue saving and break $200k net worth increase this year and see if we can't make a big push in saving cash since we don't have to pay down $30k in debt.

I'll write more as the story about jobs unfolds.

So much to be thankful for and yet...I worry

December 7th, 2014 at 05:32 am

So much has happened since my last post. It was right before Thanksgiving and I was thankful for my family and I still am.

So my DH has three job interviews in California. Two are phone interviews this week but one he's passed on the phone and is flying out in January after the holidays. I am super excited and thrilled. I am however nervous and worried about San Francisco cost of living. But my DH says we'll deal with it when it comes. But honestly this might be it. I've had many highs and many lows, but I think this might be the break we need to move.

Now the low. I knew this day was coming but I didn't know it would happen so soon. My DH told me that he probably has to give up his driver's license and will be declared legally blind. He did not pass his field of vision test at the optometrist and will see his specialist in April though he is trying to move that up ASAP. He wants to know for sure what we are dealing with. His visual acuity is still 20/20 and he still has his vision during the day. And as long as I've know him nearly 15 years his night vision has been poor. But I suppose we both thought he'd be driving until his 50s. His mom has retinitis pigmentosa and still drives at 60. But he won't. I'm worried he'll lose all vision and not see our grandchildren one day.

Talks of having a third child are hard. He's feeling unsure because of this. When we had our first 5 years ago I guess he didn't care because he seemed fine. Now he's worried about the kids.

What does this means? We're not sure. But it means that moving closer to family would probably be helpful. It means that if we were to stay where we are it would also be helpful to move where commuting by public transit is easier for my DH. Where we are is great, but it could be better. It means we will likely be a 1 car family soon. It also means that my DH would prefer to move somewhere that there is more daylight, public transit, and less winter. I don't know what it means working wise. He'll still be able to work for a long time, his mother did. But we'll pay a premium to live very close to his workplace.

Previously I had discussed my DH desire to switch careers. Now more than ever he wishes to get a job working from home. I am unsure what to do about my job. I've always planned to go back part-time, but perhaps full time is better? Can I manage a third child?

Retirement obviously we talked a bit more. My DH does want to us to be Financially Independent sooner rather than later. This is imperative. Of course he will qualify if and when for SS disability. That affects our ability to FIRE. I'm not sure how but I think this means we probably could FIRE now if we wanted to. Majority of our bills would be covered. It's something we have to discuss.

Nest Egg

November 15th, 2014 at 08:27 pm

I've been contemplating what our number "nest egg" is. People always say 25x expenses or 4% withdrawal rate. Maybe 33x expenses or 3% withdrawal rate for early retirees.

So assuming we need $40k/year to live on, a little more than we do now, we need $1M or $1.3M to retire. I go back and forth on whether we should count SS as part of the $40k, especially if we retire early. Or should we just assume we'll have to provide all of that income in retirement.

Another assumption for us is that $40k is a paid for home. Right now that seems so out of reach, but if we moved we could very well have a paid for home.

So I guess the question is when can we retire? My gut says 10 years at 45. Why? Because I think our house will have appreciated enough and we can sell it for a lot more, while paying down principal. And we'll have had 10 years of saving and investing which might bring us to surpassing our nest egg number of $1.3M. Currently we are at about half that number but the next half should go faster since our investments will start to generate more savings and our income should increase to allow us to save more while we curb our spending.

What was your nest egg number?

In an aside it's day 11 of my detox/cleanse and it's been both easy and hard. Hard not eating out and preparing exact meals. Easy in that meal planning is done for me and the food is quite filling considering it's fruit and veggies mostly. I guess I'm done 7 lbs.

It's been awhile

September 19th, 2014 at 05:55 am

It's been awhile since I posted and I really need to write a bit more. Right now we are wrestling with whether to do a Roth 401k. It would mean we can save tax free but there is a 34% hit on savings. We'd have to save an extra $6k/year not a big deal, but I am more looking at the tax implications.

What if we withdraw it and it's lower? Should we have taken the tax break now? What if brackets go up? Obviously the tax brackets will get larger, but our deductions will go down as we age and the money will grow tax free. That means if we let it grow 15 years it'll double 2x by the rule of 7. So potentially we'll have another $750k saved or more. This is counting doubling of savings and assuming we are done working in 15 more years or by 50.

I'm leaning towards the Roth 401k for a couple of reasons. At most my DH has 2 years working for this company and where he moves to we may not have it offered. I don't know what the future hold but I suspect we might make more in the future since we are on one income.

Anyway though on a positive note our retirement accounts are at $515k so we reached our goal of the year to break $500k. Our taxable accounts have broken $220k and increased $25k/year and we've paid off $20k in debt. We paid off $4k car and $3k on the other (only $4800 left) we had the interest rate of 1.9% but decided we were tired of seeing the payments. We also paid off a CC we put my dental work on that was 0% $4k and still am paying on the lasik also at 0%. Both were on 24 months interest free but again I got tired of payments. Finally we paid off the last tiny bit of my super cheap 0.9% student loans $8k that I left hanging around.

Life is pretty good.

getting on the same page

July 31st, 2014 at 07:35 pm

I don't know if my DH are on the same page for "early" retirement. We certainly are more in line with spending, budgets, lifestyle. Although we aren't 100% in lock step but what couple is? I'd say he's naturally very frugal (bordering on cheap) but I'm not a naturally spend person period.

Example I got my Dyson he still thinks it's nuts to buy a vacuum cleaner for $300 versus he thought my budget would be $150. Now does the vacuum make my life easier? yes! My house does feel cleaner. So I say it's worth it.

Anyway my DH recently had me borrow book on tape "four hour work week." I was surprised. When I've brought up living frugally, moving somewhere cheaper, buying a house cash he's freaked out. The idea of retiring with sooner because we live simpler I think he's coming around. My DH was mustachian before it became a "word".

But reading Mr Money Mustache retired with $800k in 2006 with one kid, meant the reality set in. I think he's thinking about it, wondering if we could do it. Expenses without our mortgage is very much "mustachian". So where do we need to be in five years? What if we could move buy a home cash with our equity and then live on what we've saved? We'd right now be close to Mr MM. But a few extra years with our extra kid or two?

I hope this is a turning point where my DH starts to believe we can do this. That don't need to work forever. It also helps I recently made a friend whose a single mother, who retired from private equity and supports herself royally. And she herself has said by living "simply" ie $100k/year she can still manage by watching her spending. She eats out, pays for preschool, etc. Life is about choices.