Author Topic: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?  (Read 1716 times)

sojanyajones

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Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« on: May 11, 2018, 05:16:42 PM »
Life Situation: I am 25 and my soon to be husband (now on referred to as dh for simplicity sake) is 29. We are both engineers in Minnesota and have had significant raises in the past year. For the 2018 tax year we will be filing as married for the first time. We live together in a 2 bed 1 bath house with our 2 dogs (yeah un-mustachian but we're both suckers for dogs). We started to join our finance last year but "officially" merged them in January.

Gross Salary/Wages: Total expected 2018 income (already had raises and bonuses this year)
$93,038.50   me ($9700 was from bonuses)
$103,000.20 dh    ($5740 was from a bonus)

Individual amounts of each Pre-tax deductions Also expected for 2018
   $6,300.00    HAS   (Employer Contribution 300 each)
 $22,693.00    T401k   (Employer Matches 50% up to 8%, so essentially 4% match)
   $1,151.00    Insurance   (Individual HDHP Plans Deductible $2400, Out of Pocket max $3500)
      $792.00    Metro Pass   
        $38.88    SupADB   

No other Income

Adjusted Gross Income: $165,063.82

Taxes: This is an estimate of this years taxes based of of last years taxes so I think I am overestimating...
 $30,434.90    Fed Withholding
   $2,551.39    Fed MED/EE
 $10,908.11    Fed OASDI/EE
 $10,308.85    MN Withholding

Other Deductions:
   $1,636.76    UnitedWay
 $14,307.00    Roth 401k

Take Home Pay:
$94,916.81 Annually
  $7,909.73 Monthly


Current expenses:
Monthly   Average for January through April with some adjustments up for know future expenses
$1,300.00   Mortgage   (TI-$274 PI-$1026)
     $98.00   Electric   
     $45.00   Internet   
   $118.00   Phone   
     $22.00   Trash   
     $45.00   Water/sewer   
   $122.00   House & Car Insurance   
$1,250.00   Student Loan   (My father is paying $1600, we agreed to pay 50% of school cost each and I paid for a semester in cash)
       $9.00   Netflix   
   $400.00   Individual   ($200 to individual accounts, ie personal entertainment etc, not really spending that much every month)
   $563.00   Groceries   (Includes household items, I know it's high and we've been working on it but my dh loves to cook fancy food)
   $113.00   Liquor   (this is surprisingly better than it used to be)
   $305.00   Eating Out   (Again I know it's high but we like to be social and enjoy good food we're working on it)
   $142.00   Gas & Maintenance   
   $299.00   Dogs           (Includes food, vet, medicine, both dogs had unusually high vet bills this year that we don't expect to continue)
   $155.00   Wellness   (gym and race entries - triathlon & Swimming, should go down we paid for all activities for this year besides gym)
   $200.00   Travel   (We haven't spent this much but have some upcoming trips that haven't been paid for yet)
   $150.00   Gifts           (Includes  savings for Christmas time)
     $75.00   Clothing   
   $140.00   Home   
   $185.00   Miscellaneous   
$5,736.00   Total   Annually=$68,832.00

$2,173.73  Left over   (Roth IRA first then what?)

Assets:
    $7,298.99   Checking   
       $522.38   Savings   
  $57,013.39   Money Market   (0.3% Savings rate)
  $26,608.10   My Vanguard 401K  Target Retirement 2055 Trust 1
  $80,987.65   DH's 401k same^ (Current Allocation VSMPX 53.8%, VTPSX 36.0%, VTBNX 7.2%, VTIFX 3.0%)
$192,140.00   Home Estimate (Zillow)   
    $2,397.79   Optum H.S.A Me   ($360 invested in VTSAX, $2000 min balance before investing)
    $2,000.00   Optum H.S.A DH   (Guess right now as don't have it connected to PC)
$368,968.30   Total   

Liabilities:
    -$3,443.63   American Express CC (Paid off every month)
  -$81,792.93   Sofi Studen Loan (Refi'd to 7 year term 3.875% with $1341.78 min payment 6.5 years left, plan to pay off in 2020)
-$170,616.56   House Loan (Original $180,000 at 4%, minimum payment $1133.37, in dh name)
-$255,853.12   Total

$113,115.18     Net Worth   

Specific Question(s): I've been leaning more and more mustachian as I've spent more time on the site. My dh was reluctant about the whole idea but has been slowly coming around. I know we have lots of room to grow. We are planning on fully funding Roth IRA's by the end of the year, but it will be new for both of us. This is also the first year that we are maxing out our 401k's and HSA's. We probably deserve a few punches so go ahead and throw em, I'll do my best at implementing solutions.

In general just looking for some helpful guidance about what to do next on our (long) journey to FIRE. Our wedding is next month and I am expecting about a $10k hit to our savings in the next month. I know, I know but it was all planned before I found MMM and FIRE, gah!

I really appreciate any help!

somers515

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2018, 05:51:26 PM »
Welcome to MMM!  I wish I had been thinking about this stuff when I was in my 20s!  It worked out for me because I was naturally a saver and then MMM opened my eyes to the freedom that money can buy and after tracking our actual expenses for a year or so I realized I could quit my job when I was in my 40s.  My wife still works because she's not as sold on the full MMM lifestyle and it works for us.

For questions about what you should be doing with the money you save I would refer you to the Investment Order link:
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/investment-order/

If reaching FI early is an important goal then you'll want to get your savings rate as high as possible:
http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/

My initial reaction to your post is it seems to me that you have a lot of money tied up in a low interest savings account and you could get more of that money working for you in a Vanguard account.  Also your overall savings rate seems a little low if reaching FI early is your goal.  But mostly my message is just be thoughtful on how you spend your money and avoid lifestyle/spending inflation as your salaries increase over time and I predict much happiness in your future.  Congratulations and good luck!

jlcnuke

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2018, 01:03:20 PM »
Plenty of people will probably come along and tell you to cut a bunch of those monthly bills down, so I'll focus on this:

Quote
  $57,013.39   Money Market   (0.3% Savings rate)

WAY too much money sitting around losing value at your age imo. For the most part I agree with you looking over the investment order personally (though differ in thoughts on #7 some, assuming US). My emergency fund is just a part of my taxable brokerage account now that there is enough "cushion" in there so I can invest it with confidence enough will be around if I need it, even with a significant market downturn.
Delta card referral, 10k extra for both of us (60k total bonus miles for you) http://refer.amex.us/JEFFRCP8UT?XLINK=MYCP

sojanyajones

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2018, 10:01:27 PM »
Thanks to you both!

@somers515 I have read both of those articles but I read them both again as a refresher and it was good to review. Especially now that weve been trying to implement some the mustachian ways. Yes Im definitely working on actively not expanding our lifestyle and finding some ways to pair back. I did the calculation and if I did it right our savings rate right now is 50% which would get us FI in 16 years (I would be 41). Does that sound right?

@jlcnuke thanks! Yeah I agree thanks for pointing that out to me. I think we will probably wait until after the wedding (in 3 weeks) and then move most of it to first Roth IRA and then just a taxable account.

somers515

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2018, 05:11:53 AM »

@somers515 I have read both of those articles but I read them both again as a refresher and it was good to review. Especially now that weve been trying to implement some the mustachian ways. Yes Im definitely working on actively not expanding our lifestyle and finding some ways to pair back. I did the calculation and if I did it right our savings rate right now is 50% which would get us FI in 16 years (I would be 41). Does that sound right?

50% is pretty decent and yes that all sounds right.

One thing to consider is calculate how much you need for the wedding + how much you want in your emergency fund and then take the rest and get those dollars to start working for you by investing them.

Again sounds like you are on a great path - good luck and keep reporting back how it goes!

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 07:40:17 PM »
You two definitely have the income part of the equation right.  Since others haven't punched you in the face for your spending, I'll take the opportunity to point out some opportunities for optimization:
Your cell phone bill should be way lower
You spend too much on groceries
You have too much "blow" money
You spend as much on electricity as our family of 8 does
Your gift budget is ridiculous, especially considering your massive monthly allowance

On the other hand, you have some things really dialed in:
Your mortgage payment is nice and low
Your savings rate is pretty darn good
No car payments
Only mortgage and student loan debt

Currently, you're socking away about $60k, and spending about $68k (ignoring taxes).  And you're paying almost as much in taxes as either of those.  It seems to me that the best place for optimization is your tax bill, since you're in the 24-32% marginal bracket.  If I understand the income limits on IRAs correctly, your MAGI is below the phase-out level, so you can contribute another $11,000/year to your tax-deferred accounts.  Or perhaps plow more into your HSA.

At the same time, however, you'll need to have enough in your (Roth 401k contributions + Roth IRA contributions + taxable accounts) to cover the first 5 years of expenses in retirement while you build your Roth ladder, so you may find it more beneficial to ramp up Roth IRA/401k contributions and taxable accounts to make sure you have enough there when you're ready to retire.

OkieM

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 08:34:55 PM »
My wife and I were in almost this same place a few years ago. Similar income, same mortgage, same students loans. Income is pouring in and we were saving a lot and paying down a lot of debt but there was a lot of waste, too.

We stopped eating out and ate at the places with the best value when we did (hard to make pho at home!). We started inviting people over instead of meeting at restaurants. We radically cut our grocery bill, mostly by not shopping at Whole Foods. Cooking fancy is fun but making awesome, healthy meals inexpensively is a fun challenge, too. I quit the gym, fired the lawn crew, and started biking to work and got in my best shape since high school.

Your income is so high it is easy to save even with no discipline. A little discipline goes a long way. We were on a 5 year FIRE plan but I ended up pulling the trigger after two years (My company allowed employees to invest alongside in projects and my projects did well). So its been great, hasnt really been a sacrifice. You just have to think and learn some new skills. Literally MMM was made for people like us. And if you get things under control before kids (if thats your thing) you can have them without a huge financial burden.

If you fix the food stuff, move all the extraneous stuff to personal and/or cut accordingly, and finish off your loans, you will be close to 75% savings. Then it happens so fast. Each of you doing 10 hours of contract work per week could allow you to quit in 2-3 years.

sojanyajones

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2018, 08:23:11 AM »
Your cell phone bill should be way lower Yes I know, I plan to get on a different (and much cheaper plan) next month!
You spend too much on groceries Face-punch received.  Right now we're taking baby steps to reduce it but I should probably focus more on this
You have too much "blow" money Do you mean our personal accounts? If so, I agree but unfortunately dh doesn't...
You spend as much on electricity as our family of 8 does It does also include gas so that might make it better? but still. I ordered a clothes drying rack so we don't use the dryer as much! It is a very old house so doesn't have the best insulation or seals. 
Your gift budget is ridiculous, especially considering your massive monthly allowance Again, I agree but my dh is a big gift giver and it's been hard to rein that in.
We are already maxing out the 401k's and HSA's. From my research so far it looks like we would not be able to contribute to a traditional IRA, or at least not be able to get the initial tax benefits from it, so my plan is to take $11,000 from our savings and put it into a Roth IRA soon. @somers515 I know we should do that now but dh isn't comfortable moving tons of money around right before the wedding but we luckily only have a couple weeks left to go so i'm not gonna push that particular button to hard.
From there we will start contributing to a taxable account (probably VTSAX).

If you fix the food stuff, move all the extraneous stuff to personal and/or cut accordingly, and finish off your loans, you will be close to 75% savings. Then it happens so fast. Each of you doing 10 hours of contract work per week could allow you to quit in 2-3 years.
This would be amazing! I know we have a lot of work to do and I don't know if my dh would be comfortable with that timeline, but overall that is very encouraging! Thanks for sharing your story!

Thank you all for your helpful tips and I will continue to work on cutting our costs and let you know how it goes! Right now it's hectic and weird spending due to the wedding but we are keeping those costs in check.

Laura33

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2018, 09:47:01 AM »
You have too much "blow" money Do you mean our personal accounts? If so, I agree but unfortunately dh doesn't...
. . . .
Your gift budget is ridiculous, especially considering your massive monthly allowance Again, I agree but my dh is a big gift giver and it's been hard to rein that in.

FWIW, I was in a very similar situation with DH, and it spurred many annoying little snippy fights.  I agree that the idea of blow money/allowance can be a marriage-saver when you have these kinds of fundamental disagreements.  In fact, I would even make it bigger:  give each of you say $300 for fun money + gifts.  Then he can do whatever dumb-ass thing he wants to with his -- and you can save almost all of yours!  That way he gets to be happy with the luxury of all his spending money, without you looking disapproving every time he wants to buy a big present, while you get to be happy with your "stealth" extra savings. 

Yes, it is not MMM-ideal.  But your DH isn't into that, and you guys make enough money that his extra $100-200/mo. isn't going to make the difference between FIRE and working to 70, so it seems like a reasonable compromise to me.
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mxt0133

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2018, 10:24:43 AM »
The good old spouse is not fully on board dilemma.  If you search the site for un-mustachian spouses or how to get your spouse on board the MMM train, it all pretty much comes down to you can't change someone.  The best you can do is set an example and present them with alternatives that are even better than the more expensive options.  Focus on household expenses that you both agree to and your own spending habits first.  Try not to be judgmental about your spouses spending as it will just cause contempt.

I spent years banging my head against the wall after discovering MMM after the birth of our first child, started entertaining getting a divorce, until I finally worked with her instead of against her on how we spend our money.  We are in a much better place now and will be FI together eventually vs being FI alone sooner.

Just remember that the both of you are off to a great start, enjoy the ride.

ChpBstrd

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2018, 10:41:03 AM »
First of all, this is a very well organized case study. Good job for that!

The most important thing to do now is get on the same page as your hubby. Talk about where you are going as a couple. How soon do you want to be millionaires and how much are you willing to cut back to achieve that objective? Draw up a plan together - what are we working for? Talk about how you will handle expensive hobbies and pets and travel. How nice of a car do you each expect? What services will you outsource and what will you DIY? What's your target savings rate?

Talk about values. Will you live in a new suburb where everyone has a lawn service or downtown where you get less housing for your money? To what extent will you engage in passive entertainment after long days at work? Junk food or healthy food? What counts as a "date"? How much clutter/decor do you like and what should it cost?

Write down all these plans and review them each anniversary to detect when you're drifting.

Other items:
-upon marriage, consolidate into the cheaper insurance plan.

-I don't think your $57k in cash is a travesty, but you should find something better to do with at least 35k of it. Your debts are low-interest and I don't advocate paying them off, but even that would be a far better application of the money than where it is. I'd put it in VT, VTI, SCTM, or VWO because you are many years away from retirement. The bigger issue is that this cash pile will psychologically drive up your spending. By staying cash-lean, you not only get a better ROI, you also avoid the wealth effect.

-After consolidating households, insurance, bills, etc. and paying off that credit card, your cash generation will go up. You have to decide as a couple to hide this cash flow from yourselves by funnelling it into investments. Otherwise, a bunch of lifestyle upgrades will consume it all. This happens to almost all couples.

PNW Lady

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Re: Getting Married - Are we on a good path to FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2018, 10:45:28 AM »
You have too much "blow" money Do you mean our personal accounts? If so, I agree but unfortunately dh doesn't...
. . . .
Your gift budget is ridiculous, especially considering your massive monthly allowance Again, I agree but my dh is a big gift giver and it's been hard to rein that in.

FWIW, I was in a very similar situation with DH, and it spurred many annoying little snippy fights.  I agree that the idea of blow money/allowance can be a marriage-saver when you have these kinds of fundamental disagreements.  In fact, I would even make it bigger:  give each of you say $300 for fun money + gifts.  Then he can do whatever dumb-ass thing he wants to with his -- and you can save almost all of yours!  That way he gets to be happy with the luxury of all his spending money, without you looking disapproving every time he wants to buy a big present, while you get to be happy with your "stealth" extra savings. 

Yes, it is not MMM-ideal.  But your DH isn't into that, and you guys make enough money that his extra $100-200/mo. isn't going to make the difference between FIRE and working to 70, so it seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

+1. I have come to terms with our 50% savings rate, even though it could be 65%+ with a bit more effort. DH is naturally frugal in most areas of his life but his work environment drives him to spend socially (mostly restaurants and clothes). Our compromise is that we each get a $500/mo personal allowance to spend however we choose. DH spends every dollar of his allowance every month, while I usually spend half and then "cover" other spending categories that "we've" gone over that month. Everyone is different, and the whole spending to your values hasn't worked for us so we maintain an annual budget and I review our spending every month.

We are much older than you (40 & 39) and are in a much more settled stage of our lives so I am able to predict our annual spending with a great deal of accuracy. A 50% savings rate is where I draw the line though. As we get older, and as political and social media influences have a more direct impact on DH's job, his employment feels much less stable than it used to.

IMO, folks with high incomes that do not save a substantial chunk of it are especially foolish. My dad was forced into an early retirement at 55 (2007) and didn't flinch (visibly, anyway). In the same year a situation at my mom's work had come to a boil so she decided to "retire" from her teaching career and go the sub route. They were both facing somewhat demoralizing situations and were able to put their FU money in play, retiring earlier than originally planned. They spend one month a year in their favorite vacation spot, have traveled the world going on a month-long trip in another country each year, and spend their days playing golf and relaxing.

We also struggle with reigning in grocery/restaurant spending, so I constantly remind myself of my parents situation and how differently it could have played out. You are young now but you won't always be young. Stay nimble and don't get sucked into lifestyle inflation. Enjoy today but also prepare for temporary job loss. I highly recommend building your lifestyle around one income (the lower one) and then investing the rest.

You are certainly starting in a great place with your high incomes and awareness of FI. Congrats and good luck!!