Author Topic: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'  (Read 2469 times)

StarmanJones

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« on: July 09, 2018, 12:22:37 AM »
Was prompted to post a case study based on an earlier post on Ask a Mustachian (https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/a-cure-for-last-mile-itis/), so here goes….

Male 54, DW 52, DS 17yo. British ex-pat, living in US, HCOL (Boston). Filing Jointly, Sole earner (DW is stay-at-home Mom and has minimal savings or SS). Both in good health at present
Working @Mega-corp; stressed and pretty burnt out, looking to get out soon; I'm close to my numbers, but last mile of working career proving tough for me.

TNW $2.75M currently (Full details below). 'Plan A' is to sell up and move to LCOL area on retirement (somewhere warmer, NC,SC,VA,FL perhaps); After house purchase of 650k (expensive because I'd love a water view) and 200k college for DS, leaves $1.9M effective net worth. FIREcalc says I need $2.4M for a 96% probability of covering estimated retirement expenses of $96k PA for 35 years (I'm including assumed SS of 18k PA from age 70).

At current savings rate & 6% assumed growth; I should hit these numbers in December 2019. Broadly, I’m trying to decide if I should hang in until then, or rationalize my planned retirement expenses and get out earlier with my sanity mostly intact (end of this year would make sense, once I turn 55 in December, company benefits will then cover a big chunk of future healthcare costs). 

I know my expenses are high, they're broadly based on current spend, with some adjustments. What do you think I can reel in  (without getting too frugal as this probably won't suit us)? Did I miss something anything in my other assessments that would need a rethink for better or worse?
Thanks for any inputs


Full details:
TNW $2.75M; Effective NW: $1.9m (Deducted 650k to purchase house in LCOL area in retirement, deduct 200k College Costs). Anticipate 18k PA ‘Social Security’ from age 70 (combined UK State pension  and US SS Benefits)

Income: $390k pre-tax (290k including bonus, plus share allocation of 100k)

Savings per annum: $225k  
-$66k: Pre-tax contributions (company has a ‘supplementary savings plan’, so after I max out my 401k, pre-tax investments switch to the supplementary plan)
-$30k: After-tax contributions (initially to 401k, Rolled annually to Roth via Mega Backdoor)
-$41k: Company Match Plus Pension Contribution
-$82k: After Tax annual share vesting  (moved to investment account)
-$6.5k: After Tax Backdoor Roth

Current Net Worth $2,750,000:
-$640,000 Post Tax accounts
-$1,270,000 401k (includes $500k in UK ‘401k equivalent’ SIPP)
-$450,000 Company Stock & Options
-$160,000 Roth IRA (via Backdoor & Mega Backdoor)
-$230,000 Home Equity

Investment approach - 90% Low Cost Vanguard index funds, remainder in niche investment themes (via motif investing). Not big on bonds

Liabilities
Mortgage $500k (25yr remaining on a 30yr mortgage, property value $730k)

Estimated Monthly Expenses in retirement total: $8000 ($96,000 Annually)

‘ESSENTIAL’ = $5400 (64k PA)
Health Insurance   $1,600 (company supported plan If I work ‘til 55)
Property Tax   $300
Electricity / Heating   $670 (will probably have a pool)
Home Insurance   $200
Internet   $80
Groceries + non-food consumables   $800
Clothing etc.   $300
Car Insurance   $170
Gas   $200
Car (maintenance & depreciation) $400 (always buy used, and will do my own maintenance)
Phone   $80
House Maintenance   $300 (will do most myself)
Tax on Income   $300

NON-ESSENTIAL = $2600
Travel   $1,500 (we really want to travel a lot in retirement, so this is realistic for early years but will we want to travel extensively every year?  )
Restaurants   $300
Entertainment   $300
Misc.   $500 (padding, because I'm sure I've missed things)

Estimated Social Security (at 70) $18,000 pa

Contingency: I have a range of marketable skills that will keep me employable despite my age, and would not be averse to some part time work should the stock market plummet; assume I can earn 50k PA as needed, hence I'm comfortable with 96% in FIRECalc, and a riskier equity-heavy portfolio
Additional Contingency: Could relocate back to the UK, where even lower COL would allow us to drop to $80,000 PA
Yet more contingency: Not averse to thinking about moving overseas and arbitraging income - Mexico, Portugal, Belize, Spain, Malaysia might all be possible, perhaps for 10 year stretch. 


gpyros85

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 12:41:51 AM »
Not averse to thinking about moving overseas and arbitraging income - Mexico, Portugal, Belize, Spain, Malaysia might all be possible, perhaps for 10 year stretch.


Start packing your bags now!! Malaysia is the cheapest. Portugal/Spain is very nice. Belize if you absolutely need an ocean view.

As far as the US, I calculated a 350,000 hour now with your necessary 2.4M...  If you look in certain parts of Fl or even Tx you can find this level of house on the water for 350k...


What stood out in your bills;

Electricity / Heating   $670 (will probably have a pool)        This is CRAZY high, parents had a 3500sq ft with a pool and jacazzui and dual AC and AC in Florida was $250-$300/month. Obviously no heating necessary.

Car Insurance   $170        Probably can ge this to $70  This is also very high, don't know what kind of car you are insuring or how many...

Gas   $200      This should go down a lot with FI... Probably 2-3 tanks/month, $80-$100....

Car (maintenance & depreciation) $400 (always buy used, and will do my own maintenance)     This is very high, used Japanese models do not depreciate this much nor cost this much to maintain, I would say $200/month

Monthly savings of $770 a month or $231,000 net worth not needed.

I haven't even touched your internet or clothing budgets.

Also, why is your SS so low? Is this US social security or UK?






reeshau

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2018, 01:44:05 AM »
No definitive answers, but four questions:

1) You list your son as 17.  When does he graduate?  Relocation that late into a high school career could have big implications for him.  And retiring while staying in place because of his schooling will strain your early budget.  Also, what are the plans for him for college?  I didn't see any cost for this listed in your plans.

2)  You have a high percentage of your net worth in company stock and options.  (which is the point of such programs, to keep you focused)  You may work for a stable, steady company, but this is your riskiest asset.  Do you have any specific plans to address this risk?

3)  What is your plan for the UK account?  I don't think FIREcalc is going to anticipate UK taxes on withdrawals, so the value may need to be de-rated to compensate in your model.

4)  You mention a high expected value for your new house, but how will you fund it?  Are you planning a large, lump sum withdrawal, or are you planning for a mortgage payment in your retirement budget?
« Last Edit: July 09, 2018, 06:50:02 AM by reeshau »

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2018, 06:07:00 AM »
Your tax on income and home maintenance lines both look light, possibly by a lot. I do as much DIY repairs as probably 99.9+% of the population and there's no way I keep the figure that low on a brick house. A painted house would be worse.

If you're able to live comfortably in a $730K house in Boston, you'll have no problem finding a suitable replacement in a LCOL area, even with an amazing view.

I concur with the prior poster about staying to have your kid graduate high school at this point. We had kids (2) a couple years later than you did, and their graduation is setting the timing for retirement freedom much more than any financial concerns. You have the money now, especially with the flexibility you indicate to earn money later and I read in some flexibility based on the realities of life that may hit you. Starting with a $2M plus stasche (even if you tie some up in equity in the house), you'll be fine in any reasonable scenario.

For me then, timing is about family member limits rather than financial.

lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7907
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2018, 09:31:53 AM »
Depending on how you structure your "income", your estimated taxes may be too high -- if you are living primarily off of dividends at capital gains, those are untaxed up to $77.4k/year in income if you are MFJ, and just 15% after that.  If you stay in your current job until the year you turn 55, you should be able to tap your full 401k balance without penalty, so you can pick and choose where you take money from to try to stay below the taxable threshhold, or just bite the bullet and be happy with the 15% rate on any excess (which will be more like 4-5% after you figure in deductions and allowances).

I would not buy an expensive house in a new location until you are sure you want to stay there.  You can also significantly decrease your sequence of returns risk by not going too big on the house budget from the get go.  Why not get a nice 2-3 br condo or townhouse in a complex with a community pool, preferably something you can sublet while travelling.  Then you can do longer, extended trips and have someone else foot much of the bill.

Travel hacking can really reduce your travel expenses.  I'm looking at buying roughly 5k in plane tickets in the next few days, but I'll probably used cc points to knock at least 2k off that bill.  And I'll accumulate another 60k miles on Delta to use on a future flight through a new card bonus offer.

Agree that the electricity bill is probably WAAAAY too much, even with a pool.  Can you do solar in Florida?  Might be worth the investment if you do move up to a house, but again given that you want to travel extensively I'd start smaller/easier to lock up with your first housing purchase.

800$ in groceries seems very high for three people.  We eat very well and have a lot of splurges (including wine and cider), and typical monthly grocery bill is around $700 for two adults and two teens.  And that includes household supplies.

Have you priced insurance in the areas you are looking?  $200/month seems high, but maybe that is the hurricane factor.  Ours is about $80/month.

Gas seems extremely high.  We have only one car, a hybrid, and try to combine errands to limit our driving.  I do drive the kids around a fair amount though.  We typically only use a little over 1 tank/month -- more if we take a long road trip, but those are infrequent.

Why will you need to spend $300/month on clothing in Florida?  Buy some shorts and flip-flops and stock up on tshirts at goodwill.  $300/year is probably more likely (most of that on shoes, but if you up the flipflop portion of the budget you won't need as many of those, either)

Phone:  T-mobile senior plan is $70/month for two people, taxes and fees included.  Unlimited data, text and calling.  My DH and DD are on it.  DS and I are on Google Fi and average $60/month.

It is nice that your company offers retiree insurance, but that is REALLY expensive.  You could probably do better on an ACA plan with subsidies if you can keep your cap gains/dividends reasonably low.  Understand if you don't want to take that risk, though.  Re-evaluate every year -- also remember you will only need to pay that until Medicare kicks in.

$400/month for car maintenance and depreciation also seems very high.  How often do you replace your vehicles?  Remember you can stretch that time period out if you aren't driving as many miles in retirement (no commute, not using the car when traveling abroad, etc).

Your SS estimates also seem very low.  My DH is a little bit older than you, and I am a bit younger, but our estimates are around 2k/month each with only a 15 year work record (we both spent a lot of time in grad school) and at MUCH lower salary levels than yours (combined income was in the $100-150k range for those 15 years).  That takes into account a string of $0 contribution years since we FIREd at ages 47 and 57.  MDM's case study spreadsheet has a great SS worksheet that you can fiddle with.

I agree with others that you should probably stick with the job until your kid graduates/heads to college -- maybe plan a big family trip next summer to celebrate your retirement and his college admissions?

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1524
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2018, 10:25:25 AM »
If you plan to travel extensively for the first few years of retirement, why allocate $650K for a house right after.  I would rent a very modest apartment to see if the new area suits you and you will be away traveling anyway.  Let the money grow until you are ready to settle down in a location you know you will stay for a while.

Like other's have said I think you are overstating your projected expenses, once you have the time you can be much more efficient with your spending especially with your child of to college.  Do you really think you will never earn another dime from paid work after quitting megacorp?

It seems like you just want to stay until you get the company healthcare benefits, which if you are in good health and don't let your job give you a heart attack until then, then just coast until then.

We be free if we try

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
  • Location: Bay Area
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2018, 02:44:47 PM »
Both your "advice" question and your case study are extra-interesting to me because I am hopeful we will be in a similar place in about 5 years, when our youngest will - hopefully! - be partway through college. I'm hoping to FIRE at that point - when our numbers may be where yours are right now, and we'll be 53 / 56 years. My mom (70) and her husband (75), who retired at the normal time, are spendy and stache-y, and claimed they would travel lots, really take one big trip a year, lasting about two weeks - one year Spain, then Japan, and this year perhaps Scandinavia. They also take a few long weekends within driving distance. But at this age they don't have the energy to do more, and I think they question whether the big trip is too much as it is. YMMV, but I would not expect to travel a lot after the first 10 years retired - even travel gets old.

Not that it matters, but I'd pull the trigger at the end of the year, enjoy the last few months with your kid at home, and figure things out from there. You've got "enough", congrats!

StarmanJones

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2018, 03:25:39 PM »
Thanks to all for some awesome ideas! - some of my expenses I expected critique on, which I deserved, but also some great insights around timing of house purchase spend and travel plans. I'll take a look at SS again also. 
A lot to incorporate - so I am going to work through in detail and post a revised plan incorporating inputs.
 
Thanks again, great to get some new thinking to help get me unstuck!

daverobev

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3029
  • Location: Canada
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2018, 04:11:55 PM »
If you're going to do Spain/Portugal, do it NOW, before Brexit hits. You as an EU citizen have a right to move wherever in the EU you want, and AFAIK will have the right to remain.

I considered moving to France (where my mum lives), but their 'solidarity' tax is a joke. Oh well.

StarmanJones

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: help with 'last mile-itis' - Full Mustache workover
« Reply #9 on: July 09, 2018, 11:12:08 PM »
Ok
With everyone's help and guidance, I have Mustache'd the hell out of this. It's not the most frugal plan by a long shot, but it does feel like a good balance between the inputs I have received, and self-awareness of our spending habits.
Moreover, (and still hard for me to take in)  - I can retire today, with some wiggle room to spare!

TNW today 2.75M
Deduct $650k   $500k for comfortable property
Deduct $200k for DS College Expenses
Annual Expenses $96k $75k per mustachian guidance (updates below)
Estimate Social Security (at 70) 18,000 pa $24,000 pa (I have only been stateside 10 years, and UK State Pension is also not great, so keeping this on the low side - will investigate further)

Run these numbers through FIRECalc for 35 years retirement - 100% success!

As some had noted though, with DW in high school for one more year, we are somewhat stuck in HCOL world for a little while longer, so here's a plan I'm cooking up:
  • Will FIRE March 2019 with estimated TNW $3M (Timed to hit stock vesting and next year's pension contributions, and because $3M)
  • Will spend some time fixing up house (big DIY backlog) and selling years of accreted stuff. House on the market end of May
  • DS graduates High School Summer 2019 - Will set aside $200k to cover College. TNW $2.8M
  • Will take an awesome family vacation in summer 2019 per recommendations (maybe check out Belize/Mexico as potential retirement spots)
  • Hopefully will be homeless and with few material possessions by the fall: Road trip!  AirBnB down the east coast to hit Florida by December trying out a few states for size along the way
  • If we're up for it, over to the west coast  and slow idle up to Vancouver and across Canada by summer 2020
  • Then - who knows? If we still have the travel bug, we'll head overseas - (Asia, Australasia), or maybe somewhere stateside will have caught our eye to settle

Thanks to all for your inputs and helping me find a way forward! I have a whole new perspective.


Revised Expenses Total $96k PA $75k PA

‘ESSENTIAL’ = $5400 (64k PA)   $4550 ($55k PA)
Health Insurance   $1,600 (company supported plan) Expensive - but high coverage and certainty of pricing, so keeping this
Property Tax   $300 $200 (smaller property)
Electricity / Heating   $670  400 (or better still, DIY solar!)
Home Insurance   $200 100
Internet   $80 (fastest money can buy - keeping this, call it a vice)
Groceries + non-food consumables   $800 (keeping this for now - another vice of mine)
Clothing etc.   $300 $200 (my budget is $200 per year, DW is more stylish though)
Car Insurance   $170 $120
Gas    $200   $100
Car (maintenance & depreciation) $400 $200
Phone   $80 $50
House Maintenance   $300 $400 some feedback that original estimate was low
Tax on Income   $300 (Some say too high, others too low - income will be from a mix of pre-tax and post tax accounts, some UK tax potentially, so keeping as 'worst case')

NON-ESSENTIAL = $2600 $1700 ($20k PA)
Travel   $1,500  $800 (per suggestions, we will travel extensively for 10-15 years, then cut back, also will have option to adjust upwards in years when accounts are doing well, downwards when not)
Restaurants   $300
Entertainment   $300
Misc.   $500 $300


Quote
reeshau
1) You list your son as 17.  When does he graduate?  Relocation that late into a high school career could have big implications for him.  And retiring while staying in place because of his schooling will strain your early budget.  Also, what are the plans for him for college?  I didn't see any cost for this listed in your plans.

2)  You have a high percentage of your net worth in company stock and options.  (which is the point of such programs, to keep you focused)  You may work for a stable, steady company, but this is your riskiest asset.  Do you have any specific plans to address this risk?

3)  What is your plan for the UK account?  I don't think FIREcalc is going to anticipate UK taxes on withdrawals, so the value may need to be de-rated to compensate in your model.

4)  You mention a high expected value for your new house, but how will you fund it?  Are you planning a large, lump sum withdrawal, or are you planning for a mortgage payment in your retirement budget?

1) - see above plan that accomodates timing and costs for DS
2) - Yep - strong, stable company, but still too much risk - much is out of my control because of vesting periods, but will be unwinding this as quickly as I can whilst keeping tax efficient
3) - UK/US reciprocal tax agreements mean I should be mostly able to limit excessive UK tax - but need careful withdrawal strategy
4) - Probably lump sum, but now looks like few years into retirement before we pull the trigger


reeshau

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
  • Location: Dublin, Ireland
Re: help with 'last mile-itis' - Full Mustache workover
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 01:42:50 AM »
Congratulations on an exciting turn in your plans!  I also take the fact that they are much more specific as a good sign of your own internal alignment and growing comfort with the fact that they are (or could be) real!

Estimate Social Security (at 70) 18,000 pa $24,000 pa (I have only been stateside 10 years, and UK State Pension is also not great, so keeping this on the low side - will investigate further)

...

3) - UK/US reciprocal tax agreements mean I should be mostly able to limit excessive UK tax - but need careful withdrawal strategy

I am just learning this myself:  just landed in Ireland for a 3-5 year stint.  In my case, I won't be here long enough for a separate Irish pension, but when I claim SS, Ireland will be paying for some of it.  Imagine my surprise when I calculated that it would have been better for me to just have continued accumulating SS!  (not that that was a choice I had)

The interactions are complex, and do depend on the individual countries, but when you have 2 state pensions, there is also a provision that the benefits can be reduced because of that.  Between the reciprocal tax agreements, SS calculations vis a vis foreign state pensions, and your defined benefit deduction, I am sure it will keep you busy, if not nauseate you.

https://www.ssa.gov/international/wep_intro.html

gpyros85

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 152
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 01:51:52 AM »
Your child, what college is he/she going to for 200k??!!! I hope medical doctor and will make 500k/year!

kei te pai

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 02:22:00 AM »
Ive seen a few others planning to sell up, travel, and be of "no fixed abode" at least in the short term, as soon as their youngest child finishes high school. Just wondering about the wisdom of this -bound to be some advice from forum.
The first year out of home is not always easy or fun. How would your son feel with parents travelling and no family home any more?
Has he got good relationships with extended family or friends parents?

ZMonet

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 166
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 08:08:18 AM »
Congrats on the kickass saving/earning!  Awesome that you didn't lifestyle inflation get the better of you in a HCOL area like Boston.

Regarding college for your son, you might run your post-retirement numbers through a college aid website.  I don't believe a lot of your NW would be used in calculating your financial aid package and therefore the cost might be surprisingly low.  I believe, depending on which financial aid approach the college uses,  they look at your last year's income.  So, based on the calculation, this might be a data point towards your retiring sooner.

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6430
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 10:45:04 AM »
You've done a great job saving and investing. Time to get out of MegaCorp while you are still alive. Since you have a bit of flexibility around working again and since in most cases your portfolio will continue to grow even as you withdraw from it...it's time to cut and run. You've won. Congrats!

Unique User

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #15 on: July 11, 2018, 11:35:16 AM »
Amazing job on your NW and story.  I came here from your Last-Mile-its post as I'm 22-24 months away and know I'll feel the same way.  My DD will be 17 in a couple months and about to start her senor year here in NC, luckily in state tuition in NC is a great deal.  She knows we plan to sell everything and be nomads the summer after her freshman year.  We sold it to her that we would pay for her housing over the summers so she can stay put or go somewhere for the summer to work/intern, we'd fly her to where ever we are so we can see her on breaks and we'd fly to NC whenever she needs us, no questions asked.  We aren't planning any international travel while she is still in school though unless it is short or she is with us.  Great plan and good luck, I'm envious!

StarmanJones

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #16 on: July 11, 2018, 04:03:47 PM »
Ive seen a few others planning to sell up, travel, and be of "no fixed abode" at least in the short term, as soon as their youngest child finishes high school. Just wondering about the wisdom of this -bound to be some advice from forum.
The first year out of home is not always easy or fun. How would your son feel with parents travelling and no family home any more?
Has he got good relationships with extended family or friends parents?

..She knows we plan to sell everything and be nomads the summer after her freshman year.  We sold it to her that we would pay for her housing over the summers so she can stay put or go somewhere for the summer to work/intern, we'd fly her to where ever we are so we can see her on breaks and we'd fly to NC whenever she needs us, no questions asked.  We aren't planning any international travel while she is still in school though unless it is short or she is with us.  Great plan and good luck, I'm envious!

Something I think about a lot; interested if anyone has experiences of how this works out?  as 'Unique User' suggests, On the one hand we will be travelling; on the other, our plans are so flexible, we could spend a month or two close by DS until he settles at college (or he begs us to go far away). We can also drop by anytime he needs, fly him out to travel with us on holiday breaks, whatever. 


Your child, what college is he/she going to for 200k??!!! I hope medical doctor and will make 500k/year!

Quote
Regarding college for your son, you might run your post-retirement numbers through a college aid website.  I don't believe a lot of your NW would be used in calculating your financial aid package and therefore the cost might be surprisingly low.  I believe, depending on which financial aid approach the college uses,  they look at your last year's income.  So, based on the calculation, this might be a data point towards your retiring sooner.

Suggests I need to explore in depth a little more, I'd assumed we would be paying list prices for college (because of TNW), plus accommodation; so budgeted 50k per annum (this is not even worst case for higher tier colleges);
Interesting suggestion around timing; perhaps DS may consider a gap year whilst we work on becoming homeless and low income


lhamo

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7907
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #17 on: July 11, 2018, 04:34:35 PM »
You are probably already out of luck for gaming the FAFSA -- it now looks at your finances the year your kid is a junior for considering freshman financial aid calcs.

FAFSA does not include home equity or retirement savings in the EFC (expected family contribution) equations.  If you can game it so that you have minimal income in your child's junior year, that will get you the most according to FAFSA calculations.  But they do consider taxable savings, and will take a big bite out of those (I think up to 20%).

Most selective private colleges use a different form that does consider the whole asset picture.  But a few have generous packages if your income (including income from rentals, businesses, and dividends/interest) is below a certain threshold.  Many use 100k but I think Stanford and some others are higher.

One strategy to game the system would be to buy a REALLY over the top house in your kids junior year with the available taxable funds, and then plan to sell it/downsize as the kid is going into their senior year in college (since the FAFSA would be based on junior year taxes).  But you'd need to minimize other income during that 4 year stretch to get full benefit.  And be confident the big house wouldn't tank in a real estate crash, or be willing/able to wait one out until selling.

sokoloff

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1198
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #18 on: July 11, 2018, 04:36:24 PM »
[4434.msg2066877#msg2066877 date=1531330516]
Quote
Regarding college for your son, you might run your post-retirement numbers through a college aid website.  I don't believe a lot of your NW would be used in calculating your financial aid package and therefore the cost might be surprisingly low.  I believe, depending on which financial aid approach the college uses,  they look at your last year's income.  So, based on the calculation, this might be a data point towards your retiring sooner.
Interesting suggestion around timing; perhaps DS may consider a gap year whilst we work on becoming homeless and low income
I don’t see much reason for that to be the reason. If he needs a gap year for some other reason, fine, but you’ll get the benefit from lower income of the FAFSA form on years 3 and 4 anyway, so you just have one or two “bad” years. I’d rather see my kid graduate a year “earlier” in order to have one more year of free, adult life than to save $50K in tuition.

As you see what options you have, you might also decide to take any subsidized loans, even if you could cash flow it and even if you need to co-sign. (If you’re going to pay it anyway, no harm in co-signing.)

StarmanJones

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #19 on: July 11, 2018, 09:28:58 PM »
A quick run through with aid calculators; they just laughed at me;

I'm almost relieved, It would be a crazy world if we were eligible

Unique User

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 433
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2018, 08:10:20 AM »
Ive seen a few others planning to sell up, travel, and be of "no fixed abode" at least in the short term, as soon as their youngest child finishes high school. Just wondering about the wisdom of this -bound to be some advice from forum.
The first year out of home is not always easy or fun. How would your son feel with parents travelling and no family home any more?
Has he got good relationships with extended family or friends parents?

..She knows we plan to sell everything and be nomads the summer after her freshman year.  We sold it to her that we would pay for her housing over the summers so she can stay put or go somewhere for the summer to work/intern, we'd fly her to where ever we are so we can see her on breaks and we'd fly to NC whenever she needs us, no questions asked.  We aren't planning any international travel while she is still in school though unless it is short or she is with us.  Great plan and good luck, I'm envious!

Something I think about a lot; interested if anyone has experiences of how this works out?  as 'Unique User' suggests, On the one hand we will be travelling; on the other, our plans are so flexible, we could spend a month or two close by DS until he settles at college (or he begs us to go far away). We can also drop by anytime he needs, fly him out to travel with us on holiday breaks, whatever. 

We specifically chose to wait until after her freshman year as I was concerned it would be too much her first year at college.  It was originally after her sophomore year and we can wait another year if it doesn't feel right.  I think flexibility is key.  I'd love to hear insight from forum members, keeping in mind that each child is different. 

If you are looking at state schools and thinking the Southeast, Alabama and University of South Carolina have generous packages for out of state students based on GPA and ACT/SAT scores.  My daughter qualifies for the equivalent of what we would pay for in state in NC just based on their calculations. 



BMW Jalopy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 9
  • Age: 55
  • Location: Nevada
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #21 on: July 13, 2018, 02:23:18 PM »
University of Alabama/Tuscaloosa (The Crimson Tide) awards up to full ride scholarships based solely on GPA and SAT. No essays, no needs-based-testing. Get on collegeconfidential forums for current information; the universities offering these automatic, merit-based scholarships change every year. Do be aware that student must maintain 3.0 GPA and only gets 8 semesters. My DD bombed out via GPA violation after 7 free semesters due to engineering.

fuzzy math

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 564
  • Location: PNW ---> Midwest (for now)
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #22 on: July 14, 2018, 07:33:44 AM »
Quote
..She knows we plan to sell everything and be nomads the summer after her freshman year.  We sold it to her that we would pay for her housing over the summers so she can stay put or go somewhere for the summer to work/intern, we'd fly her to where ever we are so we can see her on breaks and we'd fly to NC whenever she needs us, no questions asked.  We aren't planning any international travel while she is still in school though unless it is short or she is with us.  Great plan and good luck, I'm envious!


Quote
Something I think about a lot; interested if anyone has experiences of how this works out?  as 'Unique User' suggests, On the one hand we will be travelling; on the other, our plans are so flexible, we could spend a month or two close by DS until he settles at college (or he begs us to go far away). We can also drop by anytime he needs, fly him out to travel with us on holiday breaks, whatever. 

Quote
We specifically chose to wait until after her freshman year as I was concerned it would be too much her first year at college.  It was originally after her sophomore year and we can wait another year if it doesn't feel right.  I think flexibility is key.  I'd love to hear insight from forum members, keeping in mind that each child is different.

This is a topic I think a lot about.

On one hand, my parents did this to me the summer I left for college (not retirement, just a job transfer). I went "home" for thanksgiving, Christmas, spring break, and summer to a city / state I'd never lived in before where I knew no one. Pretty miserable actually. My 3 yrs older sister's and my rooms had been combined into a singular guest room. Talk about feeling like I no longer existed or was welcome. Then my parents divorced and things got really weird and I no longer had a home to go home to with either of them really and was forced to find work / housing for the following summers (and breaks were still completely miserable). All I wanted as a young college kid was to go back to my hometown and see my friends.

On the other hand, as an adult now I feel a lot of turmoil about  my FIRE plans vs. potentially doing something similar to my kids (hopefully not including the divorce!) My kids are 11, 8 and 6. Due to school enrollment however the first two are 4 yrs apart and the youngest two are 2 yrs apart grade wise. So my oldest would finish college right before my second starts college (in a traditional 4 yr plan), then the last kid starts 2 years after that.

It's important to get my oldest into an in state situation, but at some point during his time I plan on retiring and would like to move out of state. In theory I'd need to time it so my second wouldn't have her high school years uprooted, but that could also mean losing out on in state tuition, or waiting years and years (AAUGH) until my 3rd kid is safely settled into college.

I know some of that depends on how much scholarship $$ is available, what they want to study etc. but I can't give up remembering how resentful I felt coming home to a weird city and not really having a place to be from at that juncture.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 07:41:44 AM by fuzzy math »

Retire-Canada

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6430
Re: Reader Case Study - help with 'last mile-itis'
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2018, 10:17:30 AM »
I went to university at 17...a military school no less and my mom moved to a new city/home. I didn't see anyone except for holidays. It was no big deal. We all need to grow up at some point and facing some challenges are part of that process. As long as you are warm/loving with your support you don't need to be standing next to them. Let them spread their wings. Overcome a couple hurdles and then high five them for being so rad when you see them at the holidays.

If you are retired and something really serious happens you are free to change you plans and be there for them for as long as it takes. But, why assume that is required?