Author Topic: Husband and Wife Team Truckers  (Read 10959 times)

Karen

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Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« on: December 09, 2014, 08:10:30 AM »
Hi everyone! I sure would appreciate some thoughts and advice from fellow Mustachians. I had better explain our situation as it may not occur round these here parts too often.

My husband and I are 38 and 39 respectively. In 2012, we had been living in the UK. We both had a dream of early retirement and as we weren't having kids, we saw no reason to have a "normal life". We unfortunately came to this realisation quite late in life as we both come from aspiring working class families who are the very definitions of Consumer Suckas! We therefore got rid of all of our possessions, quit our mediocre jobs, got my husband a green card (I'm the American) and sailed (literally!) to the US to embark on a career of team trucking.

Fast forward to now and our plans have been realised. We live in our company truck for 48 weeks out of the year (12 weeks on with one week off). We travel all over the US. We have no home, so our only costs of living are groceries and a mobile phone. We like not owning a truck as no stress is involved.

We don't have a fixed income so our earnings are not consistent, but we can realistically save around $80,000 - $90,000 per year. As of this very moment, we have $130,000 saved up in 1 year and 8 months of trucking. The first year is always the hardest money wise. We have a trusted financial advisor (this life is very very different and it's worth it to us to have him) who invests our money in a somewhat aggressive growth portfolio. We give him what savings we've amassed every quarter.

Here's where things now get tricky. This job is fine, but we both want to finish this career as soon as possible. We're thinking that we can finish by the time I'm 49 (I.e. 10 more years). We work hard to stay as healthy as possible but it's still not ideal sitting and driving 11 hours a day. It's a strange life as we are almost 100% out of society, dwelling on the fringes, not really welcome anywhere normal people go to as the world is not made for 18 wheelers! Things you take for granted (sleeping in a non-moving house, walks, libraries, friends and family, cooking what you want when you want it, continence, private bathrooms) we do not have. We make a lot of money but it's compensation for our lives. So the quicker we can make our "fortune", the better.

Second, when we retire, all we will have is money as we don't own a single thing. So we'll need enough to buy a house outright (neither of us have ever had a credit card and we have no credit history so we're assuming no mortgage lender will touch us with a barge pole. Whenever we've tried getting a credit card to build credit history, we're turned down because of our lack of credit history). We'll need everything you normal people have accumulated over the years. Therefore, we think we'll need about $2 million amassed before we can retire.

We want to return to the UK and live in Cardiff as we both love it there for its convenience (everything is within walking or biking distance), its parks and the small city feel. It's close to friends and family, the mountains, the gorgeous western welsh coastline, it's as perfect a location as one can get. However, property is expensive! For a basic 2-bedroom terraced house in a safe area with parks, trails and well, everything within easy reach, we're looking at around $450,000 equivalent. This price kind of depresses me because it's a huge chunk that would have to come out of our hard earning investments! We also want to buy a nice campervan (VW has some great ones) so we can take trips around the UK and Europe and we need enough for that too (probably around $80,000 equivalent for a top of the line used one).

I would really welcome and appreciate any advice or comments regarding this plan of ours as we don't really know how realistic we're being. Also, if I have incorrectly assumed anything, please set me straight. I really like the idea of still earning after retirement in order to protect investments, but our problem is that if we weren't trucking, we have nothing useful to offer. We both have absolutely useless liberal arts degrees as a result of receiving zero guidance growing up. So earning after retirement may not be an option for us.

It's so nice to find such a community as yourselves as I'm afraid that in this life, we are quite alone with our values and priorities. Our respective families think we are wasting our lives by not living normal lives of spending. Other truckers squander money even faster and can't believe we don't gamble at the many casinos for truckers.  The only person who thinks we are doing well has been our financial advisor.

Thanks so much for reading!


MrFrugalChicago

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2014, 08:32:51 AM »
This is an interesting plan indeed. Does your truck have enough room to both sleep at once?

I think your plan of work hard 10 years then retire is very possible. Don't be afraid to take a month off here and there though, 10.5 years + sanity is better than 10 years + insane.

For your credit issues: Get credit started! 10 years is plenty of time to build credit. Who knows what will happen down the road, but no reason NOT to have credit. Say you get some kind of airline miles card... if you charge + then payoff 100% of your basic necessities... I bet you could earn yourself a free vacation every few years (or do what I do, use 1% cashback card to just get a nice free check at the end of the year). Maybe in 10 years you will still want to pay cash, but maybe it will make more sense to take out a small mortgage.. who knows, credit gives you options. Don't close doors early if there is no harm in doing so.


DrF

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2014, 08:51:18 AM »
Almost everyone here would love to have the ability to save as much as you do per year (granted, you do give up much personal time/luxuries). With your current savings, $130,000, plus annual additions of $90,000 at an annual return of 7% for 10 years will give you ~$1.58M.

1. Advisers tend to be very expensive. Please look into how much it is really costing you. Also, please read this link. https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/low-cost

2. Do you really need to buy a house? Can't you rent for much less? This will allow you to travel/move around more. You are choosing to live in a very expensive area. Isn't there another town somewhere else that you could buy a house for 1/2 or 1/3 that price?

3. What are the cost benefits of being an owner operator? If you save ~$300,000 and buy your own truck, how much would you be able to make? The truck is a business cost that you could deduct. There are lots of things that seem like they would be deductible if you ran your own small business instead of being just drivers.

4. How are you employed? Small business? Independent contractor? Sole proprietor?
You have a lot of options depending on how you are employed. Do you have access to a 401k? If you are self employed, are you doing your own 401k?

You earn/save a lot of money. Try and align your retirement goals to better fit with the reality of what you will be able to save. Reduce fees wherever possible. Pay less taxes where ever possible.

forestbound

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2014, 08:57:49 AM »
Trucking is a hard life. If you can power through 10 years, good for you. Save and invest.

I would offer a word of caution on the financial advisor. How is this person paid? Fee based is best, otherwise they are working on commision and "selling" their products as opposed to what may be best for you. Not all finanical advisors are bad, just watch the fees!

In the meantime, brainstorm other opportunities. Would either of those worthless liberal art degrees be in writing? All you would need is a laptop, blogging, writing about "life on the road", trucking life, or other may be a possibility. Or editing, something you could do with "downtime" on the road? It could then carry over to retirement.

Best of luck.

gillstone

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2014, 09:03:13 AM »
Awesome plan! Just a couple suggestions.

1. Don't touch owner-operator with a ten foot pole.  Owner-operators are constantly at risk of having their sole source of income break down and become a financial liability.  If you can't drive, you can't earn. If you can't earn, you can't fix your truck.  If you can't fix your truck, you can't drive.  When I worked in lending we ever had an owner-operator not get caught in this cycle at some point.

2. Look into a secured credit card if you really want to get something down on paper for a credit score.  Basically, you get the card and have a CD or restricted account at the credit providing bank in the amount equivalent to the card.  If you default on the card, the bank gets the cash.  Of course be mindful of terms and conditions.

3. You are now experienced over the road truckers so you are in high demand.  You could consider looking at other companies and assemble a better package of benefits and even better pay.

4. Ditto on the financial advisor comments from everyone


Bob W

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2014, 09:27:28 AM »
Interesting lifestyle and god bless you.  Here are a few of my off the cuff suggestions.

1.  Exercise, fitness and diet are a key for you.   I would develop the habit of getting out of the truck every 3 hours and stretching for 10 minutes.   Also do a complete body stretch daily followed by some weight lifting.   You should consider some HIT training as well.  Health food should be an extreme fixation in your situation.  My personal suggestion would be to stick strictly to a paleo type diet of mostly veggies, healthy oils and meats.  (google marksdailyapple.com)
2.  Learn lots while trucking.   A suggestion would be that you learn 2 or 3 languages over 10 years together.   I would also suggest you continue education in a certified field available on the computer.   
3.  Consider writing a blog for fun and profit.  You could title it something like "Two for the Road" a husband and wife's truck driving team journey to financial freedom.   As the blog progresses you will begin to make friends in the trucking and other industries and be able to keep up with many people around the country.   I can imagine that you could make a friend in every state within a short period of time.   And with other truckers you might make 100 or so friends with other couples who you could periodically meet up with.   It would make your journey far more interesting.  You could do monthly budget and savings reports,  talk about your income with various truck companies, blog how to get hazardous material certified etc.   In a few years, you'll be an expert on truck industry financials and be the go to couple for advice.   You might even be able to pick up a few gigs of speaking engagements.
4.  Ditto on the financial advisor --- you should become your own expert.  Start by looking (searching) around on this site and progress to the boggle head site.
5.  With foreign languages under your belt,  retiring in a developing nation would be a breeze on 30K per year.  So your goal to financial independence could easily be reduced to 750K and accomplished in less than 5 years.  At that point you could decide if you want to power on or not. 

What a great opportunity you have!   Keep us posted. 

mveill1

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2014, 09:56:00 AM »
The thing that bothers me about the advisor, that I don't think has been mentioned by others, is that his strategy doesn't really make sense to me. A normal mix of equities, like broad indices diversified across geographies, are risky enough for a 10-year horizon - assuming that is your maximum retirement time. If your "aggressive" portfolio was to tank in year 7 and take 6 years to recover, would you enjoy the extra years' driving? Also, your main outlay in 10 years is the purchase of a house in pounds. Hopefully your advisor has thought of an appropriate balance of sterling-denominated investments in your portfolio? That can be as simple as a FTSE tracker - but do make sure it does not hedge for currency fluctuations!

Do get a rewards credit card if you can, again as others have mentioned, though I understand that it will be a challenge with no fixed abode. Another issue I can see is that there's no guarantee your credit history will transfer to the UK. Mine didn't when I came over. Your best chance would be to open an account with HSBC as you will probably qualify for "Premier" status. They have services for expats or future expats, so that you can transfer your finance over along with your history. If you manage to become a client, your life may be made easier when you come to move. In fact, you may have kept your UK accounts? If so, do whatever you can to keep them. Give family addresses; the danger is that they will get shut in batch cleanses.

I suggest you download the "7 minute workout" if you have a smartphone, or something similar, and don't worry about how that will look at the truckstop! You'll be fitter than everyone else there!

Finally, I note that you're in a position to save close to 100k/year, you are thinking about potential issues 10 years ahead, and are planning to retire in a low-cost location. I'm not worried for you at all!

« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 09:58:05 AM by mveill1 »

Bob W

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2014, 10:03:55 AM »
Ditto on the credit card rewards program.   Search this site for more info. 

If you use the cards for gas you could be racking up 100s of thousands of miles of airfare and lots of cash rewards each year.   My guess is you could do well over 15K in reward scams if you work it right while building up an 800 credit score.  That would mean that you could travel internationally during your 4 weeks vacation.   (might take a couple of years to get to this point without current credit cards)

Winter here -- the islands here we come! 

It makes it nice knowing you have a fun plan in store at the end of each cycle.   You cold also upgrade your on road accommodations on a pretty regular basis to some pretty swanky digs.   Would make the journey a bit more interesting and fun.   

arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2014, 11:13:46 AM »
That financial advisor will (highly likely) make it take longer to get to ER and be a huge drag on your portfolio after (which in turn means you need to work longer to accumulate a higher stache).

Find out how much they're charging you.  Even if it sounds like a little, that may not be the case.

An advisor charging just 2% can make it so you have to work nearly TWICE as long as you would otherwise.

1. Don't touch owner-operator with a ten foot pole.  Owner-operators are constantly at risk of having their sole source of income break down and become a financial liability.  If you can't drive, you can't earn. If you can't earn, you can't fix your truck.  If you can't fix your truck, you can't drive.  When I worked in lending we ever had an owner-operator not get caught in this cycle at some point

You probably also never had a Mustachian operator.  A Mustachian operator would have the cash to fix their truck.

We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Karen

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2014, 11:24:18 AM »
Hi everyone, and thank you so much for your extremely thoughtful replies! I'm definitely going to try harder getting our credit score up.  I'll admit, I've sort of given up hope as it's hard being rejected time and time again for stupid things like an Amazon card!  I'll try to elaborate a bit on some points now.

First the controversial financial advisor!  He's an independent advisor who takes 1% from any gains per year.  He has a 25+ year record of an annual average return of over 8%.  Minus his 1% fee, that leaves his clients with a 7% return.  He was able to get my parents retired a few years earlier than they had planned on which to me, is nothing short of a miracle!  The portfolio is diversified enough that if some of the investments tanked, some would remain intact. Also, down times are good times for bargains so stuff evens out I reckon.  I do appreciate how anti-mustachian it is to have a financial advisor and I promise that if I was in normal life, I would never in a million years have one, but we're in quite a vulnerable position with patchy internet access at best, no weekends, no stability in our routine, and very long working hours.  Our free time is spent trying to remain as healthy as possible. Also, psychologically, having this third person in our financial "family" so to speak, gives us the motivation to not spend when sometimes it's not so easy. 

My degree was in Japanese language and my husband's was in art and sculpture.  He does amazing small sculptures of Buddhist masters like Dalai Lama and Thich Nhat Hanh but each one takes him about half a year  as they are so meticulous. 

I would personally like the time to write a blog or something for husband and wife team truckers.  In this industry, we are quite rare as we are still considered very young.  Your average husband/wife team will be in their 50's, kids are all grown up and the couple realise they have nothing in the retirement pot.  People our age are busy raising young families and anyway, modern society is very concerned with the dreaded "property ladder" and keeping up with the Joneses to ever even consider a life such as this.  But there must be those who would like a way to financial freedom but the lack of information available as far as team trucking goes is shocking.  When we started, I was so desperate for some tips and guidance as to life in a truck but couldn't find anything, so we spent our first year making a lot of mistakes and bumbling by quite painfully at times.  Perhaps when we have completed our goal, I can consider that more.  But while we're on the road, I don't think I have the time or mental energy to concern myself with much other than keeping healthy, both mentally and physically. I'm only just now getting to grips with the job and life, and I'm in no position to help anyone right now as I still have those "This life is just too hard - screw the money just get me off this truck!!" moments. 

We wouldn't consider becoming owner operators in a million years I'm afraid, as having Major Stress as a constant companion is not something we'd relish.  We are company drivers and every single thing is taken care of for us.  We don't pay a penny for diesel (which costs hundreds of dollars every time we fuel up daily), we don't pay for repairs, permits, insurance, upkeep, nothing.  We are experienced drivers now so we are given brand new equipment to drive which means we're hardly ever sitting in a repair shop for days on end like the owner ops do.  We don't have to fight tooth and nail for loads as they are just given to us by the company.  We aren't a flashing red light for the DOT as because we're with a large company with very strict safety standards, we get to bypass most weigh stations and are rarely called in for inspection.  That's a huge time saver for us. 

We eat one hot meal a day which we cook ourselves using trucker stoves.  We roast vegetables in olive oil, have a bit of chicken, goats cheese and a baked potato.  We eat eggs, omelettes, bananas, spinach salads, whole grain cereal with no sugar, we stay away from sugar and our only concession is a couple of squares of 85% chocolate each day.  We try to get in at least 4 workouts per week using interval training, high intensity jogging, boxing, calisthenics.  Lots can be done in a moving truck! 

I personally have an issue with going out in the truck stop to exercise.  As it is, when I'm fuelling, I get more than enough attention just by being.  I don't look like your typical trucker and I stick out like a sore thumb when I'm in a place for truckers.  It's great when I do have to go into a weigh station as I'm definitely given special treatment but here in a truck stop, doing squats or whatever jiggling about would give me a very unwanted audience.  Remember, I'm in a world where a social nicety is saying "You have a very nice bosom".  In normal life, I'm nothing special at all but this is not normal life.  I tend to keep to myself or I stay with my husband when out in the open and let everyone assume I'm just a trucker's wife.  Inside a truck stop, I blend with the 4-wheeler drivers so that's OK. 

Funny enough, except for housing, living in the UK is pretty inexpensive!  We could rent for sure.  I'm not dead set on buying but if we're going to be in the UK, I would really love to live in the area of Cardiff that we want to - an area called Pontcanna.  My husband is adamant that if we can afford it, he wants to live near friends and family as we are sacrificing community for so many years.  Me, I'm not so bothered about where in the world we live (being not such a social creature myself), although if all went wrong with the goal, a frugal life in a log cabin in the Appalachian mountains wouldn't be much of a sacrifice!


arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2014, 11:30:53 AM »
First the controversial financial advisor!  He's an independent advisor who takes 1% from any gains per year.  He has a 25+ year record of an annual average return of over 8%.  Minus his 1% fee, that leaves his clients with a 7% return.

Wow.  That's... terrible.

The last 25 years the S&P has returned 9.425% annually.  His 7% net of fees is drastically underperforming.

Your parents may have needed the help, and it may have been worth underperforming.  They likely thought they were overperforming, because people don't analyze.  Nothing against your parents, the vast majority of people are that way.

But luckily you can ask smart people and find out what is realistic and the actual value of an advisor, and how to do it yourself to outperform advisors.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2014, 11:34:16 AM »
Also his 1% fee means you'll need to save 33% more dollars (and work about 25% longer) to sustain a 4% WR in FIRE, even if he doesn't ever underperform the market, but outperforms the market by 1% in your accumulation , and can match the market during your ER.

Do you want to work 13 years instead of 10, basically?  (Way more, if he underperforms like he has been.)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

skunkfunk

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #12 on: December 09, 2014, 11:40:11 AM »
Do you keep a bicycle in the truck? Could be a way to get around town that doesn't require taking a huge rig with you.

rujancified

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2014, 11:49:54 AM »

3.  Consider writing a blog for fun and profit.  You could title it something like "Two for the Road" a husband and wife's truck driving team journey to financial freedom.   As the blog progresses you will begin to make friends in the trucking and other industries and be able to keep up with many people around the country.   I can imagine that you could make a friend in every state within a short period of time.   And with other truckers you might make 100 or so friends with other couples who you could periodically meet up with.   It would make your journey far more interesting.  You could do monthly budget and savings reports,  talk about your income with various truck companies, blog how to get hazardous material certified etc.   In a few years, you'll be an expert on truck industry financials and be the go to couple for advice.   You might even be able to pick up a few gigs of speaking engagements.

Seconded. Your story is BADASS!

Karen

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2014, 12:36:11 PM »
I only said 7% because that's what he said was realistic. The portfolio we have has been performing at 15% but he said that as he can't ever guarantee that, he prefers being way more conservative with his estimates. I think what we'll do is keep him for now and IF this job gets easier and I find myself with free time and space in my head, I'll reevaluate. Because no, we don't want to work more than we have to if it's all going to the advisor...in the meantime though, I'm definitely going to take everyone 's advice and learn all I can so I can make a much more informed decision.

We thought about strapping bikes to the truck. Unfortunately, that doesn't always go down well with the DOT who (depending on the officer) don't like seeing stuff strapped to the catwalk and will issue a citation for that.

arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2014, 12:43:12 PM »
I only said 7% because that's what he said was realistic. The portfolio we have has been performing at 15% but he said that as he can't ever guarantee that, he prefers being way more conservative with his estimates. I think what we'll do is keep him for now and IF this job gets easier and I find myself with free time and space in my head, I'll reevaluate.

Fair enough. Start to think about it at least, let it percolate for awhile.  :)

Because no, we don't want to work more than we have to if it's all going to the advisor...in the meantime though, I'm definitely going to take everyone 's advice and learn all I can so I can make a much more informed decision.

With a 1% fee, when most people have a 4% SWR, that means you're giving your advisor 1/3rd of what you get to spend (1/4th of the overall budget).

In other words, if you wanted to spend 30k and had no 1% fee, you'd need to save up $750,000 for a 4% WR.  If you wanted to spend 30k and had an advisor with a 1% fee, you'd have to save up 1MM.  And that would provide 40k at 4% WR - so then each year you would get 30k, and your advisor would get 10k (1/3 of your amount, and 1/4th of the 40k).

Saving up an extra 250,000 (and presumably working several extra years to do so) so my advisor can get paid a big chunk annually doesn't much appeal to me personally.  :)

(I know I'm beating a dead horse, as you said you'd consider it, I just wanted to put some more numbers on it for you so you have stuff to think about; I'm hoping you'll eventually come around, even if it's not for a few years.  :) )
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

MayDay

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2014, 01:02:50 PM »
I think the value of the blog is starting it now.  It would be super interesting to follow your journey, as a non-trucker.  So you could have a dual audience of providing info for truckers, and entertainment and insight for non-truckers.  I would urge you to start it now.  Could you write up posts offline while your hubby is driving, and then upload them all at once when you have internet access?  I know nothing about blogs, but there are a lot of people here who could help you get started!

Karen

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2014, 01:04:08 PM »
Arebelspy, those figures you give are quite sobering and alarming (as they should be!) Thank you for explaining it like that. I do have work to do!!!

On a good note, I tried again to apply for the Amazon Chase Visa and have been approved!! We're both so excited!! Thanks everyone for the kick in the pants to take action!

Bob W

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2014, 01:26:24 PM »

3.  Consider writing a blog for fun and profit.  You could title it something like "Two for the Road" a husband and wife's truck driving team journey to financial freedom.   As the blog progresses you will begin to make friends in the trucking and other industries and be able to keep up with many people around the country.   I can imagine that you could make a friend in every state within a short period of time.   And with other truckers you might make 100 or so friends with other couples who you could periodically meet up with.   It would make your journey far more interesting.  You could do monthly budget and savings reports,  talk about your income with various truck companies, blog how to get hazardous material certified etc.   In a few years, you'll be an expert on truck industry financials and be the go to couple for advice.   You might even be able to pick up a few gigs of speaking engagements.

Seconded. Your story is BADASS!

Yes, this is a journey people would want to follow.  Hell, damn, this is a perfect reality TV show.   I think the mmm community and the rest of the world needs to hear more from you guys.   Japanese and little sculptures --- high intensity training --- you guys are some badass folks!

I couldn't imagine spending all that time with my spouse in a moving vehicle.  We almost kill each on 3 hour drives.   She drives too fast,  I drive too slow!

Please, please keep us posted and at least consider a journal here at the MMM site?

arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2014, 01:28:58 PM »
My wife and I actually discussed team trucking like you are doing a few weeks back.  When I opened this thread I was hoping it was a link to a blog or article to read about it.  So definitely a big +1 for all the blog comments.  I'd totally read it.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

mm1970

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #20 on: December 09, 2014, 02:37:43 PM »
I second the blog idea.  I used to read the blog of a woman who thru-hiked the PCT.

After she finished she went to truck driving school and she and her husband drive together across the US.

She doesn't post much about her experiences anymore, just a little.  But it's fun to read!

Chranstronaut

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #21 on: December 09, 2014, 02:42:47 PM »
I would definitely read your blog or journal!

gimp

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #22 on: December 09, 2014, 04:21:21 PM »
I would definitely read this.

The two things I'd say, not from personal experience but from family friends who have done trucking...

1 - It's a really, really fucking hard job. Though I assume with two people in a single truck, it's much easier. I can drive for 16-18 hours a day in a car for a week or two straight, but that's for fun... if you're made of stern stuff, I could potentially see each doing 10-12 hours a day, but it's still gonna suck. It kills your health since you're almost forced to live unhealthily, living off fast food and sitting all day. You're always shaking, always nervous and anxious. You're dealing with unsavory types, sleeping in the cold or heat. You can basically forget how to talk; I remember a few times walking in somewhere to eat after days on the road and struggling to speak. Save as much as possible and get the fuck out. And being trapped in close proximity to each other for weeks on end will wear any relationship thin. But two to a truck, if you can manage it, will be ten times better than doing it alone.

2 - Owner-operator is the real way to make money; you never make the best money working for someone else. However, owner-operator has big risk associated with it, as has already been mentioned. If you're able to keep cash reserves and do business wisely, you'll do great. Otherwise, you won't.

Oh, and don't pay a financial advisor. Stick cash into index funds, or if you're less ambitious but want more safety, index and bond funds. Very cheap. Market returns will be acceptable.

Oh, and "weird advice" (not really advice you're asking for, but whatever): take a couple bucks and buy a nice (used) dslr and lens combo. Or, these days, instead of a prosumer dslr you can get a prosumer mirrorless camera (basically a different way of doing the same thing with similarly high quality results.) America is fucking beautiful. You'll see once-in-a-lifetime sunsets and locations... regularly. Take some photos, throw em up on your blog :)

Karen

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #23 on: December 09, 2014, 04:32:51 PM »
That's funny with you and the wife! We live together in this tin box just fine. We've received a whole lot of training before our company would let us loose with their equipment and we drive very similarly.  We have to have trust for each other because when he's driving I'm sleeping and vice versa. We take our driving very seriously and safety is always a priority.

I think the blog thing will need to wait a while. I'm no authority on anything and I don't have the time to devote. I'm still relatively new to all of this. Besides, I'm the most technologically uninterested person ever! I've never used Facebook and don't have a clue what twitter is about. But if anyone has anything they'd want to ask about our job or are considering it as a career option, I think it's possible to send me an email and I'll do my best to answer.

gatorNic

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #24 on: December 09, 2014, 10:57:05 PM »
Well if you really can't get a credit card, whatever it is high interest or a store credit card then I would suggest getting a secure credit card.  It's basically meant for people like you with no or bad credit.  You essentially put up the money to prefund the card, which seems stupid but allows you to build up enough credit to get a different card.

of course with all cards watch the fine print.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2014, 11:03:22 PM by gatorNic »

mrsggrowsveg

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #25 on: December 10, 2014, 07:23:48 AM »
This is a really interesting story.  If you do want to start a blog in the future, I would highly recommend wordpress.  It makes blogging very simple and there are many tutorials and forums.  Wordpress will create a very professional looking blog especially if you buy your own domain.  If you want something really easy, go with Blogspot (www.blogger.com).  You can create a simple free blog almost instantly.  You could start with a simple free blogger blog and then eventually move it over to your own domain.

arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #26 on: December 10, 2014, 07:36:19 AM »
I think the blog thing will need to wait a while. I'm no authority on anything and I don't have the time to devote. I'm still relatively new to all of this. Besides, I'm the most technologically uninterested person ever! I've never used Facebook and don't have a clue what twitter is about. But if anyone has anything they'd want to ask about our job or are considering it as a career option, I think it's possible to send me an email and I'll do my best to answer.

The time thing I can understand (or lack of interest).  But you don't have to be an authority at all - most people like reading it through the beginner's perspective and seeing the whole journey.

The earliest popular personal finance blogs were just idiots screwing up their finances and sharing.  (Sadly most of that hasn't changed; luckily there's MMM now as an alternate.)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Hopper

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #27 on: December 10, 2014, 08:11:16 AM »
I think what you are doing is very cool.  But it does seem hard to not be able to get around without the truck.  If you can't strap a full bike to the truck, what about packing a folding bike?  They are really low profile and could stay in the cab I bet.   

http://foldingcyclist.com/index.html

I don't have one, so I can't personally recommend a specific type, but I have been eyeing them for awhile to make it easier for my commute combined with public transportation (traditional bikes are not allowed on the subway in my city during rush hour).   

Hopper

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #28 on: December 10, 2014, 08:51:10 AM »
As an aside, I just realized my first post on this site (I have been reading for awhile now) is a suggestion to buy something! Argh. Even though my saving rate is pretty darn good, I guess old habits die hard and I am not a great mustachian yet.   

arebelspy

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2014, 08:55:50 AM »
As an aside, I just realized my first post on this site (I have been reading for awhile now) is a suggestion to buy something! Argh. Even though my saving rate is pretty darn good, I guess old habits die hard and I am not a great mustachian yet.   

Your second post was a facepunch for yourself though, so I think you'll fit in just fine.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

LadyDriver

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2015, 11:53:34 AM »
My husband and I have been team trucking for about 10 years and are in our early 40's. We have been company drivers (our first year driving together we did 300,000 miles with a certain orange company) and owner operators. We currently run under our own authority.

We thought as you do when we started. However, by the end of my first year driving I was ready to work a little longer for more freedom now. Running under your own authority can be more stressful, but it is worth it to us. We have saved enough that the retirement date is out there. Now every time we work it gets a little closer, but if freight is really stinky we don't work and turn our attention to other interests.

Here are some recommendations based on our experience:
-keep shopping your employers. Job hopping is a fact of life for truckers and now that you have over a year of (incident free?) experience you can probably find a better job with a company that doesn't hire newbies.
-keep up with your eating right and exercising. Studies continue to emphasize how horrible the trucking lifestyle is for your current and future health. Truckers tend to die about 8 years earlier than the average population because all we do is sit motionless and eat garbage.
-pay attention to your sleep. Especially if you are the one who does most of the night driving. I do most of the night driving on our team and getting into a consistent sleep pattern is essential.
-re: cell service. We have used Verizon for years because they have the best nationwide coverage. I know they are expensive, but you actually have a signal in all the desolate parts of the country. This is useful when your piece of garbage company trailer has a wheel fall off 100 miles from the nearest service.
-You are right. Trucking is a lonely life on the fringes. You think when you start that it will be great getting to see the country. In a truck, the entire US looks remarkably similar because you only get to stop at truck stops and truck terminals. Make the effort to stay in contact with your friends and family because it is very easy to drift apart.
-Your relationship: Be careful that you don't become simply coworkers. When we were driving all those miles, we rarely spent any time together doing fun stuff and remembering why we liked each other. For people who lived together in a space the size of a small closet, we hardly ever saw each other.
-Taxes: be sure you are paying them correctly and not taking credits to which you are not entitled. For example, if you do not have a permanent address outside of your truck then you cannot take the per diem credit. Per diem only applies when you are away from home.

If you or anyone else has a question about being an owner operator or running under your own authority I would be happy to answer them.

LadyDriver

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2015, 12:00:19 PM »
One last thing:

If you haven't recently, declutter your truck. You will be amazed. As a new trucker, you pack a lot of stuff you think you will need but never use. I found that the space was always more valuable. I assume you drive a Freightliner because that is what most companies have. It was such a feeling of spaciousness to be able to fold up that upper bunk.

SantaFeSteve

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Re: Husband and Wife Team Truckers
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2015, 12:28:06 PM »
What an Awesome thread!
I was a solo driver for several years after I got out of the Army.  It is a family tradition, My dad, mom, three grandfathers, great grandfather... all truckers.  It is a much harder life than most people imagine.  I didn't quite make 4 years but the money I made allowed me to pay off some stupid credit card debt I had racked up in the military and afford to buy my first home. 

As far as the blog conversation, I will join with many other here and encourage you to consider starting one.  Don't let your concerns about wanting to "hop out of the truck and never look back" keep you from sharing your story.  That is what its about, good, bad, otherwise.  It is a lifestyle most people will never experience, and so there is value in it being shared.  In fact, someday it may even help you on your way to retirement by providing some additional income.  MMM, and other bloggers, gets companies that provide him with their products for testing/review on a semi-regular basis (according to what I read) (and no pun intended but I did chuckle to myself) which might provide you with some additional entertainment/efficiency/fun. 

I agree with the others about the benefits of bringing along some bikes if you can work it out.  The folding commuter style bike idea is a good thought.

Best of luck and I hope we hear much more about how you're doing!