Author Topic: Feedback - New Mustachian  (Read 2408 times)

Chris86

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Feedback - New Mustachian
« on: September 16, 2013, 02:29:15 PM »
Hey there - I'm new after stumbling upon the site a few months ago, and would appreciate your mustachian feedback and advice! I am graduating college this fall with my BA in finance (graduating with very little student loans, thanks to Uncle Sam) and would like to buy a house eventually while also planning ahead and attempting to retire early. I have no wife or children and have been with my company for 2.5 years. I am also in the national guard and save about 70% of that paycheck (about $400/mo) into the TSP (similar to 401k).

Age:26
Location:Colorado Springs, CO
Annual Salary: $60,000

Pre-tax deductions (bi-weekly):
401k/457 contribution - $922 (40%)

Net Income:$1966

Monthly expenses:
Rent: $400 / mo (splitting rent with 2 other roommates)
Utilities: $75
Internet: $18
Food: $250
Eating Out:$200
Gas: $275
Auto Insurance: $90
Pet: $40
Entertainment: $150

Typically, left over cash gets put into investments.

Assets:
$3800 in 401k/457
$5400 investments (one mutual fund, equities through direct stock purchase, ~500 in lending club)
$900 cash

2007 F-150 (paid off and well-maintained)
2008 Kawasaki ZX6R (also paid off and well-maintained)

Debt:
No credit card debt
~$2000 in student loans

Right now, I've been getting rid of a bunch of belongings I don't need. I have posted my motorcycle on craigslist this past weekend for $5500 since I rarely ride anymore and it just sits in the garage and I know that money could make me more money. I also inherited an old bicycle and the repairs were finished last week with the intention of riding to work a few times a week. I bring my own lunch 4 days a week and have been trying to cook more at home (my cooking abilities are sub-par for a 26 year old) and I also live close to work, about 7 miles one-way.

I want to do better and would love for advice and thoughts.

Thank you,
Chris

Lans Holman

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Re: Feedback - New Mustachian
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 02:43:37 PM »
This looks really good. I think you've correctly identified gas and eating out as the two categories you need to work on, and it sounds like you've got plans for both.  Maybe instead of thinking about the "left over cash" going into investments it might be time to set up a regular transfer to an investment account earmarked toward buying a house. 

Rust

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Re: Feedback - New Mustachian
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 02:50:21 PM »
Welcome and congrats on you're progress so far.

First I wanted to share a link about cooking.  It's part Humor and part good knowledge.  Hand to Mouth! When you can only afford the internet! http://www.youtube.com/user/Hand2MouthShow?feature=watch
More food here http://www.youtube.com/user/smbctheater?feature=watch

Before others jump on the bandwagon.  The truck is it really a necessity to have?  If you look in your heart of hearts you may realize that it's a bit much and downgrade to something more affordable on insurance and gas.

Based on what you are contributing to the 401(k) currently you may be exceeding the annual contribution limit of $17,500 for 2013.  http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/401(k)-Resource-Guide---Plan-Participants---Limitation-on-Elective-Deferrals

$992 bi-weekly *26 pay periods. = $23,972.

I'd look into it but I'm almost certain that the TSP contributions also count towards that $17,500.

so $400*12 =$4,800 +$23,972 = $28,772
28,772 - 17,000 = $11,272 over.

What you don't speak towards Chris are your goals.

What do you want to do?  Do you desire to be a homeowner?  If so I'd start saving money towards a down payment.  Buy a house have the guys move in with you and pay your mortgage for you.

More low hanging fruit.  Pay your loan off and grow a bit of a cash reserve.  Hell if your bike sells pay the damn loan and keep the rest in a Money Market for a rainy day fund.

Just my two cents.  Your doing must better than I was at your age.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2013, 02:55:51 PM by Rust »

seattlecyclone

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Re: Feedback - New Mustachian
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 02:56:32 PM »
Overall I would say you're doing all right spending-wise. $400/month for rent is a pretty sweet deal and utility cost seems reasonable as well.

The food budget could be improved. $250/month for one person's groceries is somewhat high. Take a look at MMM's advice on ways to reduce this spending. By using less expensive ingredients (such as grains, oils, and beans) as a base for your meals and using more expensive things (like meats, fruits, and fancy vegetables) as more of a secondary ingredient, you should be able to cut back on the grocery bill considerably. $200/month on eating out is something that could also be lowered. There's nothing wrong with going out to a restaurant with friends from time to time, but push yourself to avoid going out for lunch in the middle of the work day, getting fast food instead of cooking for dinner, etc.

Car-related expenses could also be improved. Your budget indicates that you're burning about 70-80 gallons of gasoline every month. That's a lot! The fact that your primary vehicle only gets about 15 MPG is a big factor in this. What fraction of your driving actually requires a pick-up truck, and what fraction could just as easily be accomplished in a fuel-efficient sedan? If you're like many large-vehicle owners who only "need" that much towing capacity for the relatively rare furniture moving job, I would strongly suggest selling the F-150 and downsizing to a small car. Bonus points if the sedan is older than your current vehicle -- the value will be much less this way, and you may save quite a bit on your insurance bill by dropping comprehensive and collision insurance.

That said, you're at a great starting point. You have very little debt, you have plenty of time to save, and your annual spending is only about $18k on a $60k pre-tax salary. Keep on saving and you'll do well.

Chris86

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Re: Feedback - New Mustachian
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 03:37:02 PM »
Thanks for your feedback so far. I think my goal at this point it to purchase a house in the short-term (1-3 years) and identify ways to be better with my money. Renting rooms out is definitely an option.

I especially appreciate the food links. Out of the learned skills from military and school, cooking was never one.

The truck is...a weird thing for me. I've spent the last two weeks thinking long and hard about it. I've had the truck since it was new and have never had any issues with it. It's amazing in the snow and through the recent floods that we've had. At the same time, you're absolutely correct in your calculations. Gas is a killer and I have been considering trading it for a sedan that is a few years older in the 25 MPG+ range. That will be my plan for this weekend - see if I can get any reasonable offers on it.

For the maxing out of retirement accounts - the 401k and the 457 each have the $17,500 limit. The 40% is split evenly between the two.

Thank you again :)