Author Topic: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement  (Read 7742 times)

Villanelle

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #50 on: December 31, 2017, 05:00:14 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the advice and support.

One question I didn't follow up on yet but wanted to ask - many have suggested a second job.  What types of things do people do for this?  My full time job keeps me busy 7-6 most days, but I could spend a few hours at night or time on the weekends.  Are we talking like fast food, or something maybe a bit more lucrative?  Any suggestions?  Kind of an open question and depends on my location and skills I know, but where even to start?

You might consider bartending if you think you'd be any good at it.  (Spend some time memorizing common drink recipes and practicing a once ounce pour--with water and a shot glass.)  Even something like a department store would probably pay slightly more than fast food.  Delivering pizzas, perhaps?  (Not sure how that pays compared to fast food, especially when you take in to account wear and tear on your car.)  Uber or Lyft, maybe, but only if you are smart about it, have an efficient car, and live in an area that has a solid market for it. And your insurance is sufficient. Proceed with caution. 

diapasoun

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #51 on: January 23, 2018, 02:16:27 PM »
Thanks to everyone for all the advice and support.

One question I didn't follow up on yet but wanted to ask - many have suggested a second job.  What types of things do people do for this?  My full time job keeps me busy 7-6 most days, but I could spend a few hours at night or time on the weekends.  Are we talking like fast food, or something maybe a bit more lucrative?  Any suggestions?  Kind of an open question and depends on my location and skills I know, but where even to start?

You might consider bartending if you think you'd be any good at it.  (Spend some time memorizing common drink recipes and practicing a once ounce pour--with water and a shot glass.)  Even something like a department store would probably pay slightly more than fast food.  Delivering pizzas, perhaps?  (Not sure how that pays compared to fast food, especially when you take in to account wear and tear on your car.)  Uber or Lyft, maybe, but only if you are smart about it, have an efficient car, and live in an area that has a solid market for it. And your insurance is sufficient. Proceed with caution.

Also, what's your skill set? If you have saleable skills, you could look at work beyond standard unskilled labor. There's numerous side hustle threads in these forums, and a number of folks with specialized skills have lucrative side hustles -- I always goggle at what the AutoCAD/drafting folks make and wish I'd taken that AutoCAD course in high school! ;)

Similarly, if you have a hobby that results in saleable objects (crafting, woodworking, art, etc), you might sell said objects and get back your materials cost, at the very least. I've been thinking about doing this with my knitting and crochet once I finish a few projects for family members.

CU Tiger

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #52 on: January 25, 2018, 06:52:03 AM »
Have you read the blog No More Harvard Debt?

https://nomoreharvarddebt.com/

He went full out, hair on fire intense to get rid of a lot of school debt. Read it and see.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton

blinx7

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #53 on: February 14, 2018, 01:45:25 PM »

Just tell your friends you have a ton of student debt and are trying to pay it off.

If you tell them you are trying to become a secret retired millionaire they may be a little off-put or think you are weird but everyone gets wanting debt to be gone.

Invite them to your place where you cook them a meal. 

Bad_With_Money

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #54 on: February 21, 2018, 06:22:26 PM »
Hey all, just wanted to check in.  Thanks again for all the advice and support.  I'm still working to make a lot of changes, but have taken some steps towards my goals.  I had some more questions I wanted to see if anyone had feedback on:

1.  I've cut back on grocery spending, and wasteful spending in general.  I know many suggested a budgeting app - which one would be best here?  Right now I am saving receipts and tracking everything in a literal notebook. 

2.  So I am going to have to move in the next 4-6 weeks.  Probably going to get an apartment, unless I can find a cheap house to rent.  In general, any suggestions how to minimize my moving expenses, and good sites for deals on apartments (reduced security deposit or discount on rent?)

3.  I've looked at a few different spots to refinance my loan.  I've upped my payments to 3k/month on it.  What site is the best?  I  tried Sofi and one other one, but are there more?

4.  This is probably the main reason I wanted to check in - taxes (and 401k etc relation to it).  I used the HR Block free estimator - it seems like if I max 18k into my 401k, (therefore reducing my income by tha much), my return jumps by like 5000.  That seems like free money (well, free money I already paid in).  Am I correct in this thinking (I know, consult a professional etc).  If so, would this be a better use of part of my savings, then use the rest to pay down the loan?  Likewise, should I start maxing my 401k for this year? 

Thanks again

CU Tiger

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #55 on: February 22, 2018, 06:53:57 AM »
You should max your 401k.
There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. - G.K. Chesterton

diapasoun

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #56 on: February 22, 2018, 09:44:05 AM »
The investment order sticky should be helpful in deciding whether to put money in your 401k or your loans. Generally, unless your loan rates are VERY high, you should max your 401k.

For the budgeting app, it'll depend at least in part on your psychology. I like Mint. It's free (supported by ads for financial products). Its budget component is very flexible (you can set up individual budgets to be monthly, to only pay once every so many months, to rollover to the next month, whatever). It's also pretty simple -- just "what have you spent on X." That's all I need. Other people here use YNAB, which afaict has a "spend last month's money" philosophy. It also costs $, so I've never tried it.

For moving... do it yourself. Find a few other friends who will help you lift stuff. If you have a medical reason to not lift crap, find a few more friends to help, or canvas on a site like Nextdoor for neighbors who will help. Find free moving boxes on Craigslist or Nextdoor or your local grocery store. Bubble wrap anything that's highly breakable (expensive stemware or a porcelain vase). Rent a U-Haul. I've never spent even $100 on the costs for a local move, and I've done it quite a few times. With respect to other moving expenses -- if your utility wants you to pay a "too low credit score fee", see if they'll wave it if you do direct deposit. That sinks one cost out of the way. Otherwise, my biggest costs have always been around furniture, especially bookshelves or dressers. Get creative with what you've got (feel free to post here if you have sticky spots that you're trying to figure out).

I know zilch about loan refinancing -- sorry. :(

zoe2dot

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #57 on: February 22, 2018, 12:43:08 PM »
I second the suggestion to start collecting boxes now.

If you're moving things yourself I've found liquor stores a great place for boxes that anyone can carry.  I personally cannot carry a lot of large, heavy boxes.  But I can carry a lot of medium, easy to carry boxes.  Your strength/help may vary!

And check Craigslist -- lots of ppl who have moved will post free boxes and moving supplies once they've moved. 

Either way, snap but boxes now and start packing.


diapasoun

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #58 on: February 22, 2018, 01:00:01 PM »
If you're moving things yourself I've found liquor stores a great place for boxes that anyone can carry.  I personally cannot carry a lot of large, heavy boxes.  But I can carry a lot of medium, easy to carry boxes.  Your strength/help may vary!

Ohhh yes this! Wine boxes are the BEST book boxes -- they're meant to hold heavy things, so they're sturdy and appropriately sized so that most folks can carry them.

Wine boxes are also much easier to arrange than big boxes in tight spaces, so can be a lot easier to deal with in U-Hauls around furniture.

Rubic

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #59 on: February 22, 2018, 05:28:08 PM »
1. In terms of lowering the grocery bill, are there any particular weight loss diets that are cheaper than others?  I am trying to lose some weight but ideally it would be done without buying fancy diet foods or anything.  Also to some extent weight loss will help in some small way with my feet/shoes issues which could be more savings in the long term.

If you'll stop eating out and commit to preparing all of your meals,
you'll probably lose weight on that basis alone.  You don't need to follow
a diet plan, just eat healthy food (no processed snacks!) in moderate
portions.

NaN

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #60 on: February 24, 2018, 08:47:36 AM »
I just have to say your attitude is awesome. You put yourself out there. Carefully listened to people's advice. And even checked back in! Keep up the great work!

A couple things:
Quote
2.  So I am going to have to move in the next 4-6 weeks.  Probably going to get an apartment, unless I can find a cheap house to rent.  In general, any suggestions how to minimize my moving expenses, and good sites for deals on apartments (reduced security deposit or discount on rent?)

Move as close to work as you can possibly move. Decreasing your mileage every week decreases your gas expenses and potentially insurance. In addition, you give time back to your life. This can be used to cook yourself dinner, or work out. If you can move such that you can walk or bike to work, even better! But I know how much the Midwest makes that difficult, but if you can do it, do it!

Quote
1. In terms of lowering the grocery bill, are there any particular weight loss diets that are cheaper than others?  I am trying to lose some weight but ideally it would be done without buying fancy diet foods or anything.  Also to some extent weight loss will help in some small way with my feet/shoes issues which could be more savings in the long term.

You do not need anything fancy. And in truth, cutting your food budget is probably proportional to cutting calories. It is simple conservation of energy. You need to burn more than you eat. I have several go to staples that are very useful for me and you can see if any of these can work for you:

  • Oatmeal every morning for breakfast. Find a good bulk store and buy 10, 20, or even 50 lbs of oatmeal. It costs nothing. I pay $0.50 a pound and 50 lbs feeds two people for 7 months. Obviously, oatmeal by itself is bland. I add a little cocoa powder, cinnamon, granola, and almond milk. Also, walnuts when I can find them on sale for about $5/lb. I have friends that add bananas, peanut butter, dried fruit, and seeds. Fresh fruit is a treat when it is on sale. I would say it is less than a $1 for breakfast. And it is healthy!
  • Peanut butter sandwich, an apple (orange, pear), granola bar, some yogurt (bought in 32 oz containers and put in a tupperware), trail mix ($5-7/lb, maybe quarter a bag each day). Yes, the peanut butter sandwich is bland at times. However, there is some aspect of a routine and the same thing that is mentally challenging for the MMM lifestyle. It focuses you to think, 'how much does lunch really matter'. It turns out if you do it every day for years you can look back at those times you ate fast food and say, 'wow, I have totally survived without the serotonin burst from the greasy salty food'. You can make substitutes but consistency for work lunches would be tremendous for your finances and your diet. This probably costs $2-3 for lunch depending on the trail mix.
  • Dinner ideas:
    • Pasta with vegetables (onion, garlic, and bell pepper, or green/yellow squash). Occasionally when spicy sausage is on sale for $3/lb we'll splurge.
    • Burritos with eggs and vegetables. Simple, saute some onions, garlic, bell pepper (and maybe a spicy one), add a cooked potato (microwave for 2-3 minutes), some cumin, salt, and black pepper. Add some black beans, too, or refried beans added on the sid. Then add a couple eggs, scrambling them in, and adding some cheese ($3/lb). Heat up a tortilla, put mix on, add some salsa and maybe an avocado.
    • Stir fry with the same vegetables as the burrito. Saute onions, garlic, bell pepper, with ginger, add a cooked potato (microwave), broccoli, and tofu. Add some teriyaki sauce (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup), or add chicken (when less than $2/lb). Cook white rice (bought in bulk in 7 lb bags at local international market) and combine on plate or in bowl.
    • Egg sandwiches with fried egg and caramelized red onion and bell peppers on a bagel.
    • Hummus. Find some tahini at local international market and pita chips. With the garbanzo beans, add garlic, lemon juice, and any other spices and vegetables to taste. Requires blender (immersion blender is perfect for this)
    • Black bean burgers. Plenty of recipes online, but requires a blender as well.
    • Vegetable lasagna - plenty of recipes online
    • Chili in a slow cooker (super easy to make and great for cold weather)

That is just a small list of dinners we make. Obviously having a partner makes the cooking easier. But, if you give your life more time by moving closer to work you then you will have time to spend an hour or so preparing and eating dinner. It is okay to enjoy yourself with a good meal out ($12/plates) at a favorite restaurant once or twice a month. And when you start making your own food, going out to eat means either enjoying something you won't make for yourself or it gives you an idea of something to add to your rotation!


FINate

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #61 on: February 24, 2018, 09:25:14 AM »
1. In terms of lowering the grocery bill, are there any particular weight loss diets that are cheaper than others?  I am trying to lose some weight but ideally it would be done without buying fancy diet foods or anything.  Also to some extent weight loss will help in some small way with my feet/shoes issues which could be more savings in the long term.

You can easily cut the grocery bill and lose weight simply by eating real food prepared at home. Read (or watch on Netflix) "In Defense of Food" - IMO it's the most sensible advice for eating, a lifestyle/mindset rather than a temporary diet (doesn't work). His approach is summarized as simply "eat food, not too much, mostly plants." It's a little more complicated that it may seem, since 'food' is specifically real food rather than processed food-like products. I gained muscle and still lost 40 lbs (still off 5 years later) while simultaneously cutting the grocery bill using this general approach (did most, not all recommendations).

In order of priority, I would:
  • Cut out all sugary drinks. Energy drinks, soda, juice, sugary coffee drinks, etc.
  • Cut out all fast food.
  • Stop buying packaged snack foods. Drink some water (often you're dehydrated, not hungry), then choose fruit, veggies, and plain (unflavored) nuts. If those aren't appetising then you probably aren't actually hungry :)
  • Cut out alcohol. Expensive, and unnecessary calories.
  • Start preparing more meals at home from real ingredients (not frozen meals/canned food) instead of eating out. Not only are restaurants more expensive, they also serve huge portions.

Do that for 6 months before considering specific diets. The important thing is to move in the right direction, lose weight slowly, consistently and sustainably.

Yes, I'm commenting on my own post :) This was in my news feed this week. IMO it's a solid, well designed study:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/well/eat/counting-calories-weight-loss-diet-dieting-low-carb-low-fat.html

Quote
“We really need to focus on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains.”

Note also that both low-carb and low-fat plans worked. You don't need to go on a super specific diet (Keto, whatever). What matters most is quality of diet: whole foods, fruits, veggies, minimally processed.

NaN

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #62 on: February 24, 2018, 07:13:11 PM »

Yes, I'm commenting on my own post :) This was in my news feed this week. IMO it's a solid, well designed study:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/well/eat/counting-calories-weight-loss-diet-dieting-low-carb-low-fat.html

Quote
“We really need to focus on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains.”

Note also that both low-carb and low-fat plans worked. You don't need to go on a super specific diet (Keto, whatever). What matters most is quality of diet: whole foods, fruits, veggies, minimally processed.

I'll quote the article again so we don't get confused about the first law of thermodynamics. A diet is a diet :)

Quote
Dr. Gardner said it is not that calories don’t matter. After all, both groups
ultimately ended up consuming fewer calories on average by the end of the study,
even though they were not conscious of it. The point is that they did this by focusing
on nutritious whole foods that satisfied their hunger.

Now, nutritious whole foods does not mean only a grocery cart from Whole Foods, where one can have a $800 grocery bill per month for one person. My suggestion to the OP is to buy the whole foods that are on sale (don't buy $4 per lb strawberries). Know your price point, and if you don't know it, develop a list of what is a good price for lettuce, eggs, bell peppers, potatoes, cheese, etc. It will take time as sales and prices cycle through the seasons of the year (and with policy changes - darn egg prices in California a couple years ago!)

Bottom line, if one wants to stay under $200 a month processed foods, sodas, and packaged foods are by default out of the question for 99% of your food intake.

FINate

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Re: Bad decisions (Student loan) ruining any chance of early retirement
« Reply #63 on: February 24, 2018, 07:24:55 PM »

Yes, I'm commenting on my own post :) This was in my news feed this week. IMO it's a solid, well designed study:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/20/well/eat/counting-calories-weight-loss-diet-dieting-low-carb-low-fat.html

Quote
“We really need to focus on that foundational diet, which is more vegetables, more whole foods, less added sugar and less refined grains.”

Note also that both low-carb and low-fat plans worked. You don't need to go on a super specific diet (Keto, whatever). What matters most is quality of diet: whole foods, fruits, veggies, minimally processed.

I'll quote the article again so we don't get confused about the first law of thermodynamics. A diet is a diet :)

Quote
Dr. Gardner said it is not that calories don’t matter. After all, both groups
ultimately ended up consuming fewer calories on average by the end of the study,
even though they were not conscious of it. The point is that they did this by focusing
on nutritious whole foods that satisfied their hunger.

Yes, but the point of the article is that a high quality diet of whole foods can result in weight loss without counting calories or doing anything extreme. Either because you get all the nutrients and micronutrients your need and/or the higher fiber makes you feel satiated sooner and for longer, or some other mechanism we don't fully understand. Whatever the case, no need to think in terms of a specific diet program (low-carb or low-fat, keto, paleo, etc.). Just eat real food.