Author Topic: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.  (Read 19369 times)

averageJoe

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I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« on: August 06, 2014, 12:12:13 PM »
My story isn't unique or special so I'll spare you the long and wordy post.

- 35 y/o man.  Married 10 years.  One child, six y/o son.  No other children planned.
- $158k a year gross household income.  This hasn't always been the case.  When we got married, our gross was $56k a year.  It has gone up substantially in the past 4 years.  We got married with no money to our name.
- We both work 40 hours a week with excellent benefits.  We both work for a wealthy, established companies that offer the comfortable illusion of job security and upward mobility.
- We live in Lexington, SC.  Cost of living is extremely low.  My mortgage on a 2200sq ft. house in a nice neighborhood (HOA, pool, etc) with great schools is $1k a month.  House was $175k, 30 year fixed, 4.x% interest rate.  No HELOCs etc.  Owe $157k.
- $120k saved between 401k, 529, investments, and cash.  $10kish in assets that I could easily dispose of for cash.  Professional grade DSLR equipment, firearms, automotive tools, aquarium setups, etc etc.
- $34k in credit card debt
- $36k owned on two vehicles.
- 735 credit score. 
- Our family is in good physical condition and health.

Life is easy.  We bring home ~$8300 a month, pay all of our bills on time, don't care when gas prices go up, go on vacation and mini trips several times a year, etc. 

I'm also bored.  Is this it?  We service our debt, send our son to college, retire in our 60s, and then watch our bodies age and our time on earth dwindle. 

I am not convinced that the answer to my boredom is to sell our cars, ride a bicycle, and save every dime I can.  But, on the other hand, why the hell not?

Now that I have typed more than I meant to, has anyone else been in a similar situation?  What was the tipping point for making a change?  Do you ever regret it?  How has your life improved since? 

Angie55

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2014, 12:15:40 PM »
My story isn't unique or special so I'll spare you the long and wordy post.

- 35 y/o man.  Married 10 years.  One child, six y/o son.  No other children planned.
- $158k a year gross household income.  This hasn't always been the case.  When we got married, our gross was $56k a year.  It has gone up substantially in the past 4 years.  We got married with no money to our name.
- We both work 40 hours a week with excellent benefits.  We both work for a wealthy, established companies that offer the comfortable illusion of job security and upward mobility.
- We live in Lexington, SC.  Cost of living is extremely low.  My mortgage on a 2200sq ft. house in a nice neighborhood (HOA, pool, etc) with great schools is $1k a month.  House was $175k, 30 year fixed, 4.x% interest rate.  No HELOCs etc.  Owe $157k.
- $120k saved between 401k, 529, investments, and cash.  $10kish in assets that I could easily dispose of for cash.  Professional grade DSLR equipment, firearms, automotive tools, aquarium setups, etc etc.
- $34k in credit card debt
- $36k owned on two vehicles.
- 735 credit score. 
- Our family is in good physical condition and health.

Life is easy.  We bring home ~$8300 a month, pay all of our bills on time, don't care when gas prices go up, go on vacation and mini trips several times a year, etc. 

I'm also bored.  Is this it?  We service our debt, send our son to college, retire in our 60s, and then watch our bodies age and our time on earth dwindle. 

I am not convinced that the answer to my boredom is to sell our cars, ride a bicycle, and save every dime I can.  But, on the other hand, why the hell not?

Now that I have typed more than I meant to, has anyone else been in a similar situation?  What was the tipping point for making a change?  Do you ever regret it?  How has your life improved since?

There is a HUGE contradiction in your post..... You are not paying your bills on time if you have credit card debt. BTW that is an obscene amount.

FIRE_HELP!

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2014, 12:18:01 PM »
My story isn't unique or special so I'll spare you the long and wordy post.

- 35 y/o man.  Married 10 years.  One child, six y/o son.  No other children planned.
- $158k a year gross household income.  This hasn't always been the case.  When we got married, our gross was $56k a year.  It has gone up substantially in the past 4 years.  We got married with no money to our name.
- We both work 40 hours a week with excellent benefits.  We both work for a wealthy, established companies that offer the comfortable illusion of job security and upward mobility.
- We live in Lexington, SC.  Cost of living is extremely low.  My mortgage on a 2200sq ft. house in a nice neighborhood (HOA, pool, etc) with great schools is $1k a month.  House was $175k, 30 year fixed, 4.x% interest rate.  No HELOCs etc.  Owe $157k.
- $120k saved between 401k, 529, investments, and cash.  $10kish in assets that I could easily dispose of for cash.  Professional grade DSLR equipment, firearms, automotive tools, aquarium setups, etc etc.
- $34k in credit card debt
- $36k owned on two vehicles.
- 735 credit score. 
- Our family is in good physical condition and health.

Life is easy.  We bring home ~$8300 a month, pay all of our bills on time, don't care when gas prices go up, go on vacation and mini trips several times a year, etc. 

I'm also bored.  Is this it?  We service our debt, send our son to college, retire in our 60s, and then watch our bodies age and our time on earth dwindle. 

I am not convinced that the answer to my boredom is to sell our cars, ride a bicycle, and save every dime I can.  But, on the other hand, why the hell not?

Now that I have typed more than I meant to, has anyone else been in a similar situation?  What was the tipping point for making a change?  Do you ever regret it?  How has your life improved since?

There is a HUGE contradiction in your post..... You are not paying your bills on time if you have credit card debt. BTW that is an obscene amount.

Could be one of those 0% introductory offers

We have quite a few of those built up (you wouldn't believe the balances), with varying promotional end dates, while we invest or pay off other real estate loans earning a nice positive carry.

GuitarStv

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2014, 12:26:28 PM »
Blow your life up?

Take some toluene and treat it with fuming sulfuric acid.  Then take the result of that and treat it with some nitric acid in an ice bath.

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2014, 12:28:00 PM »
There is a HUGE contradiction in your post..... You are not paying your bills on time if you have credit card debt. BTW that is an obscene amount.

My repayment history on my credit report is perfect and always has been.  Your pejorative use of the word "obscene" aside, I'd say your analysis is relative.  Regardless, I am aggressively paying down the balances while not accumulating additional debt.

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2014, 12:31:18 PM »
Blow your life up?

Take some toluene and treat it with fuming sulfuric acid.  Then take the result of that and treat it with some nitric acid in an ice bath.

Haha, that would do it.   But seriously, when reading MMM's blog entries and from lurking this forum, it sounds as if people are making dramatic, life altering changes.   I'm just asking for feedback from others in my situation who have adopted the MMM lifestyle.

MrFancypants

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 12:32:28 PM »
My story isn't unique or special so I'll spare you the long and wordy post.

- 35 y/o man.  Married 10 years.  One child, six y/o son.  No other children planned.
- $158k a year gross household income.  This hasn't always been the case.  When we got married, our gross was $56k a year.  It has gone up substantially in the past 4 years.  We got married with no money to our name.
- We both work 40 hours a week with excellent benefits.  We both work for a wealthy, established companies that offer the comfortable illusion of job security and upward mobility.
- We live in Lexington, SC.  Cost of living is extremely low.  My mortgage on a 2200sq ft. house in a nice neighborhood (HOA, pool, etc) with great schools is $1k a month.  House was $175k, 30 year fixed, 4.x% interest rate.  No HELOCs etc.  Owe $157k.
- $120k saved between 401k, 529, investments, and cash.  $10kish in assets that I could easily dispose of for cash.  Professional grade DSLR equipment, firearms, automotive tools, aquarium setups, etc etc.
- $34k in credit card debt
- $36k owned on two vehicles.
- 735 credit score. 
- Our family is in good physical condition and health.

Life is easy.  We bring home ~$8300 a month, pay all of our bills on time, don't care when gas prices go up, go on vacation and mini trips several times a year, etc. 

I'm also bored.  Is this it?  We service our debt, send our son to college, retire in our 60s, and then watch our bodies age and our time on earth dwindle. 

I am not convinced that the answer to my boredom is to sell our cars, ride a bicycle, and save every dime I can.  But, on the other hand, why the hell not?

Now that I have typed more than I meant to, has anyone else been in a similar situation?  What was the tipping point for making a change?  Do you ever regret it?  How has your life improved since?

There is a HUGE contradiction in your post..... You are not paying your bills on time if you have credit card debt. BTW that is an obscene amount.

So uh, I love the welcoming attitude that the average forum member takes here.

If he's paying by the time the statement says he needs to each month, he's paying his bills on time.

I think he came here looking for ideas on how to change his financial direction.  I'm guessing that most people wouldn't be interested in coming here if they knew they were going to be abused for past decisions.

MrFancypants

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2014, 12:37:36 PM »
averageJoe, my first step in your shoes would be to pay down that credit card debt as fast as you possibly could, and I personally would sacrifice to do so as that is a lot of debt.  Next I would turn the fire-hose on the auto debt and maybe evaluate if these vehicles fill an absolute need or want, and replace them with less expensive vehicles if possible.  If your vehicles bring you joy and happiness, pay them off and drive them until the wheels fall off.  Once the cars are paid off, in my situation, I'm working to pay off my residence as fast as possible.

While going through the debt elimination process comb through your life carefully and repeatedly ask the question "is this expense useful?  Is it making me a happier person and bringing joy to my life?  Can I replace it with a product service that costs less or is free that would bring the same amount of usefulness/joy?"

Do a detailed financial inventory and see where your money is going.  I use Mint to track my expenses, it lets you break things down in pretty good detail and it's free to use.

wtjbatman

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #8 on: August 06, 2014, 12:38:54 PM »
There is a HUGE contradiction in your post..... You are not paying your bills on time if you have credit card debt. BTW that is an obscene amount.

My repayment history on my credit report is perfect and always has been.  Your pejorative use of the word "obscene" aside, I'd say your analysis is relative.  Regardless, I am aggressively paying down the balances while not accumulating additional debt.

You can obviously afford your debt, but why have it in the first place if you have so much extra money? Assuming any of your car payments or credit card payments have interest rates, you are throwing your money down the drain as you maintain your "perfect" repayment history and pay finance charges month after month. If all of your debt is 0% interest, well, congrats :)

Or think about it another way. You have saved much less than a single year's salary. Is early retirement a goal of yours? With that debt, it's still pretty far off unless you change your financial habits. You didn't post your actual budget, but clearly you take in much more than you spend. So if you're coming here talking about changing things for the better, maybe you should listen to people's advice before defending your lifestyle choices that you previously said needed to change.

TLDR: You will be face punched, hopefully you're not too sensitive to handle it.

AverageMarriedDad

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2014, 12:40:29 PM »
Our life situations sound very similar: similar age, similar gross income, similarly married (I have two kids though). My house stuff is quite a bit more, but we have nearly 4x the savings and basically zero debt on CC or cars. If I were you, I would be paying off those big money items and plowing as much into savings as you can. That may mean cutting back on things - based on your situation you're likely heavily in the consumer mindset. We have no regrets on living a mostly frugal life. We aren't MMM frugal, but consume wisely, are plowing roughly 30% of net income into savings (nothing like those 50%+ people, but we're admittedly more moderate than extreme) and live a fairly simple life that we're immensely appreciative of. With limited or no debt, it's like a weight lifted and you feel more free to explore things in your life or career possibilities that maybe you wouldn't before.

Have gratitude for your great life, find hobbies for which your passionate about, enjoy your relationships, and find a higher purpose. Doing those things, you'll find you will be much less bored. Anthony Robbins has a saying for which will constantly keep you occupied and motivated: CANI - Constant And Never-ending Improvement. No endpoint, but constantly learning and developing more skills. Not acquiring new things, but improving within. I do that everyday and am happier than ever. We read books as a family instead of watching TV. Play board games, cook our own meals, home brew wine and have some side hustles of various sorts. It's actually really fun.

Good luck finding your own motivating factors and getting your wife on board!
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 12:50:27 PM by AverageMarriedDad »

Angie55

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2014, 12:41:58 PM »
Well, its a reality check. That amount of debt should not be boring, normal, or carefree.

I may have been harsh. But it disgusts me to hear someone say that they spend freely, have a bunch of crap, 40k in debt and they think its "normal".

hybrid

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2014, 12:43:31 PM »
Sure, I'll try. For starters, you are not normal if you are making $158K in SC. You are definitely on the high end of the income v.COL curve, I'd bet you are one standard deviation off from more normal folk. So stop thinking you are normal, you aren't. MMM claims he made normal money but he grossly exaggerates, he made better than normal money in a profession that pays quite well.

So you have been presented with a huge opportunity here. You already have figured out the first half of the equation to not retiring in your 60s or later - you make damn good money. We aren't that different from you, so this is not the musings of someone in a radically different bracket. So what do you want to do with all that coin? Would you rather use it to enjoy life most comfortably while you are still young, or are you looking for a challenge instead? I think you are up for a challenge, else you would not be posting here.

The question becomes what do you want to do? You can save damn good money and keep the fancy cars. A bike is a great way to be frugal but if it doesn't flip your lid, so be it. You can still retire much earlier in life than most while hanging on to many of the trappings you enjoy now.  Retiring at 55 would be pretty sweet indeed. I think the bigger question you need to ask yourself is this. If you were 55 and money were no longer a concern, how would you fill your days? If you cannot answer that question, then yeah, why bother taking the less travelled road to early retirement? Just go on living your perfectly normal, perfectly acceptable, perfectly boring (to you) life. 

LalsConstant

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2014, 12:44:27 PM »
Honestly, get rid of your debt.   It will give you the hobby of learning what makes you happy and you will feel so much better once it's gone.

MrFancypants

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #13 on: August 06, 2014, 12:45:56 PM »
Well, its a reality check. That amount of debt should not be boring, normal, or carefree.

I may have been harsh. But it disgusts me to hear someone say that they spend freely, have a bunch of crap, 40k in debt and they think its "normal".

Here's a reality check:  when somebody comes to you looking for advice, the best way to get put on the "irrelevent" list and ignored is to be rude and then defend that behavior by calling it a "reality check."

mxt0133

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #14 on: August 06, 2014, 12:47:15 PM »
I can't say that I was in a similar position as you are, I had no debt and was saving about 30% of my income before I got serious about FIRE.  Like you tough I was bored, I made a lot of money doing bullshit work, to me anyway.  I meant nothing to me, I like learning and enjoy the people I work with but my actual tasks were meaningless to me.  Every time I would come up with work that was meaningful to me, I could not live on what they paid.  So that is why I decided to lower my expenses and save as much as I could so I could do meaningful work to me and still be able to raise a family and do the things that I value.

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #15 on: August 06, 2014, 12:47:31 PM »
averageJoe, my first step in your shoes would be to pay down that credit card debt as fast as you possibly could, and I personally would sacrifice to do so as that is a lot of debt.  Next I would turn the fire-hose on the auto debt and maybe evaluate if these vehicles fill an absolute need or want, and replace them with less expensive vehicles if possible.  If your vehicles bring you joy and happiness, pay them off and drive them until the wheels fall off.  Once the cars are paid off, in my situation, I'm working to pay off my residence as fast as possible.

While going through the debt elimination process comb through your life carefully and repeatedly ask the question "is this expense useful?  Is it making me a happier person and bringing joy to my life?  Can I replace it with a product service that costs less or is free that would bring the same amount of usefulness/joy?"

Do a detailed financial inventory and see where your money is going.  I use Mint to track my expenses, it lets you break things down in pretty good detail and it's free to use.

Thank you, this makes sense.  I use Mint as well.  It's nice to have everything on a single pane of glass.  I am currently addressing the credit card issue.   Things will start to snowball soon.  There are several obligations that will be gone in 12 months.  That should free up a substantial amount to continue the repayment process.  I have always loved cars.  One them is almost paid off, the other not so much.  I guess the thing is that the car isn't hurting me.  Is there a smarter use of the money?  Sure.  But it isn't hurting me, I'm not upside down on it, and I like it.  I *almost* bought a Honda Fit like MMM said but just couldn't bring myself to do it. 

I think the thing is that when you read this blog, MMM is advocating an extreme (I use the word in a non-confrontational manner) lifestyle.  The emphasis seems to be on making a huge change and dare I say a political statement with your lifestyle.  It sounds like the 60s but with money.  I am just not sure how to apply this to me.  Life is good.  I've got no worries.  Why would I want to flip everything upside down just because I am bored?  This world is full of people who are hurting, sick, living in poverty etc.  I've got it great.  I dunno what my point is, exactly.  Just looking for other peoples' experiences.

hybrid

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #16 on: August 06, 2014, 12:51:50 PM »
I may have been was harsh.

My edit.

The OP does have a lot of credit card debt though, and to the OP I also agree your first priority would be to pay that off ASAP and build up an emergency fund. I don't know how or why you got there (nor care, it's irrelevant), but now that you are making serious coin you should be paying that off on the hurry-up whether you pursue a different lifestyle or not. Any financial planner would counsel you the same way.   

odput

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #17 on: August 06, 2014, 12:52:18 PM »
If life is good, I would not call it boring.

Sounds to me like you are looking for some meaningful charity or volunteering...there are lots of avenues for that by picking a cause you are passionate about (sounds like poverty is a big one) and Googling good charities for it.

You sound like a decent candidate for the Gates foundation...they do lots of work fighting disease and poverty in 3rd and 4th world countries

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #18 on: August 06, 2014, 12:55:40 PM »
Well, its a reality check. That amount of debt should not be boring, normal, or carefree.

I may have been harsh. But it disgusts me to hear someone say that they spend freely, have a bunch of crap, 40k in debt and they think its "normal".

At least you are consistently confrontational as you've doubled down from not only calling me obscene but disgusting as well.  I've read through your post history to get a better handle on your perspective.  It sounds like we have very different lives with different stresses and obligations.  Best of luck to you. 

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #19 on: August 06, 2014, 12:59:02 PM »
The OP does have a lot of credit card debt though, and to the OP I also agree your first priority would be to pay that off ASAP and build up an emergency fund. I don't know how or why you got there (nor care, it's irrelevant), but now that you are making serious coin you should be paying that off on the hurry-up whether you pursue a different lifestyle or not. Any financial planner would counsel you the same way.

Agreed, thanks for the feedback.

AverageMarriedDad

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #20 on: August 06, 2014, 01:07:10 PM »
I think we don't see our lives being "flipped upside down" because we save, are frugal, or don't have debt. Would your life really be that different by driving something paid off and less expensive? MMM, me, many people here don't feel like we're missing out on the good things by lifestyle choices. By packing my lunch, it allows me other opportunities. By not having cable, by extensively using the library, by having essentially a free phone, we can use that money in other ways that mean more to us.

As a society, we're in the top 1% of wealthy in the world, even with half your income. http://www.globalrichlist.com/ . Figure out what you value more - working 30 more years, or being out of the rat race earlier to pursue other passions. There's no right answer, but we can say in this venue, we're not exactly living like paupers by not driving $50,000 cars or going on expensive vacations each year.

hybrid

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #21 on: August 06, 2014, 01:08:58 PM »
averageJoe, my first step in your shoes would be to pay down that credit card debt as fast as you possibly could, and I personally would sacrifice to do so as that is a lot of debt.  Next I would turn the fire-hose on the auto debt and maybe evaluate if these vehicles fill an absolute need or want, and replace them with less expensive vehicles if possible.  If your vehicles bring you joy and happiness, pay them off and drive them until the wheels fall off.  Once the cars are paid off, in my situation, I'm working to pay off my residence as fast as possible.

While going through the debt elimination process comb through your life carefully and repeatedly ask the question "is this expense useful?  Is it making me a happier person and bringing joy to my life?  Can I replace it with a product service that costs less or is free that would bring the same amount of usefulness/joy?"

Do a detailed financial inventory and see where your money is going.  I use Mint to track my expenses, it lets you break things down in pretty good detail and it's free to use.

Thank you, this makes sense.  I use Mint as well.  It's nice to have everything on a single pane of glass.  I am currently addressing the credit card issue.   Things will start to snowball soon.  There are several obligations that will be gone in 12 months.  That should free up a substantial amount to continue the repayment process.  I have always loved cars.  One them is almost paid off, the other not so much.  I guess the thing is that the car isn't hurting me.  Is there a smarter use of the money?  Sure.  But it isn't hurting me, I'm not upside down on it, and I like it.  I *almost* bought a Honda Fit like MMM said but just couldn't bring myself to do it. 

I think the thing is that when you read this blog, MMM is advocating an extreme (I use the word in a non-confrontational manner) lifestyle.  The emphasis seems to be on making a huge change and dare I say a political statement with your lifestyle.  It sounds like the 60s but with money.  I am just not sure how to apply this to me.  Life is good.  I've got no worries.  Why would I want to flip everything upside down just because I am bored?  This world is full of people who are hurting, sick, living in poverty etc.  I've got it great.  I dunno what my point is, exactly.  Just looking for other peoples' experiences.

Look, you gotta go with what makes you sleep well at night at the end of the day. I would not use the word extreme, I would use the term different, even radically different. I do not live that extreme MMM lifestyle, our budget is a lot bigger than MMM (thus my moniker hybrid, I am a hybrid of the "normal" lifestyle and MMM, but certainly closer to MMM). There is nothing extreme or abnormal about having rock solid finances, and although money can't buy you happiness it can damn sure get rid of a lot of stress. What MMM offers is a way to turbo-charge the path to financial security and independence. Maybe you don't want the full turbo experience. I say you can take what works for you from this blog and throw away the rest, just so long as you are responsibly preparing for your family's future in the process.

trailrated

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2014, 01:09:42 PM »
My story isn't unique or special so I'll spare you the long and wordy post.

- 35 y/o man.  Married 10 years.  One child, six y/o son.  No other children planned.
- $158k a year gross household income.  This hasn't always been the case.  When we got married, our gross was $56k a year.  It has gone up substantially in the past 4 years.  We got married with no money to our name.
- We both work 40 hours a week with excellent benefits.  We both work for a wealthy, established companies that offer the comfortable illusion of job security and upward mobility.
- We live in Lexington, SC.  Cost of living is extremely low.  My mortgage on a 2200sq ft. house in a nice neighborhood (HOA, pool, etc) with great schools is $1k a month.  House was $175k, 30 year fixed, 4.x% interest rate.  No HELOCs etc.  Owe $157k.
- $120k saved between 401k, 529, investments, and cash.  $10kish in assets that I could easily dispose of for cash.  Professional grade DSLR equipment, firearms, automotive tools, aquarium setups, etc etc.
- $34k in credit card debt
- $36k owned on two vehicles.
- 735 credit score. 
- Our family is in good physical condition and health.

Life is easy.  We bring home ~$8300 a month, pay all of our bills on time, don't care when gas prices go up, go on vacation and mini trips several times a year, etc. 

I'm also bored.  Is this it?  We service our debt, send our son to college, retire in our 60s, and then watch our bodies age and our time on earth dwindle. 

I am not convinced that the answer to my boredom is to sell our cars, ride a bicycle, and save every dime I can.  But, on the other hand, why the hell not?

Now that I have typed more than I meant to, has anyone else been in a similar situation?  What was the tipping point for making a change?  Do you ever regret it?  How has your life improved since?

First off, welcome to the forum! I started turning my life around about a year ago when I found out I was going to be a dad. My life has improved so much in such a short period of time and I am thankful for that. Just some thought I have on your situation...

- Your income is awesome, congrats on that!
- When you compare your assets and liabilities your net worth is a little less than your salary for half a year. While your goal might not be to retire early, or consume drastically less than you are...with your income you could be doing much better than that.
-The whole point of being here is to improve yourself, so why not make it a challenge to pay off more of the debt and stache some more away.

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2014, 01:13:32 PM »
I think we don't see our lives being "flipped upside down" because we save, are frugal, or don't have debt. Would your life really be that different by driving something paid off and less expensive? MMM, me, many people here don't feel like we're missing out on the good things by lifestyle choices. By packing my lunch, it allows me other opportunities. By not having cable, by extensively using the library, by having essentially a free phone, we can use that money in other ways that mean more to us.

As a society, we're in the top 1% of wealthy in the world, even with half your income. http://www.globalrichlist.com/ . Figure out what you value more - working 30 more years, or being out of the rat race earlier to pursue other passions. There's no right answer, but we can say in this venue, we're not exactly living like paupers by not driving $50,000 cars or going on expensive vacations each year.

That's a good point.  I've been slowly coming to the same conclusion as well.  I disconnected the cable a year ago, found a less expensive cell phone plan, brown bag my lunch, changed my home internet plan to a less expensive one, turned up the thermostat a few degrees, and we have been going through the house and getting rid of the clutter.  Quite a bit has been donated to charity, sold, etc.   A few months ago I went through my expenses and just by getting rid of the stupid crap, I freed up $300 a month.  I added the savings to my credit card repayment.

I really, really liked what MMM had to say about hedonistic progression.  It really resonated with me.  I had been planning on installing an expensive home theater setup.  I've since changed my mind.  I honestly think that after the newness wore off, I wouldn't be any happier than I am now with just a TV and Netflix.

sirdoug007

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2014, 01:17:47 PM »
How much of your income are you saving each year?  10%? 

10% a year with a real return of 6% means you will have to work for nearly 50 years before you retire.

From what you have written I don't get the feeling you have really run the numbers on what it takes to retire, even in your 60s.  It is by no means automatic.  Spending $100k per year means you need $2.5 million in invested assets to support your spending.

The amazing thing about reducing spending and increasing savings is that there is a double improvement.  First your increased savings means you accumulate investments faster.  Second, your retirement number goal becomes a smaller number as you need less annual income to support your spending.

I would recommend reading this classic MMM post and running your numbers on networthify.com and then reflecting on what that means for you and your family.  You may reconsider whether that car is "hurting you."

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2012/01/13/the-shockingly-simple-math-behind-early-retirement/

http://networthify.com/calculator/earlyretirement?income=50000&initialBalance=0&expenses=20000&annualPct=5&withdrawalRate=4

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2014, 01:19:33 PM »
I did not call you as a person disgusting. If you took it that way I'm apologize. It is not what I meant. The view of a "normal life" the US has plagued you with is disgusting. You have a great job, are raising a family, spending carefree, and are doing what everyone is around you doing. Yet none of it is making you happy! You're bored! Looking for for answers in "stuff". All along the stuff and following through with "normal" will just be keeping you in a continual cycle of being unfulfilled. I'm far from finding what I'm looking for. And I've been bogged down with bull for awhile I admit but that is besides the point.

You have tremendous opportunity to allow yourself more flexibility in life with your salary and location in a short amount of time. There is no need to do anything extreme like biking everywhere, moving to the country, working towards ER if you enjoy your job, etc. There's certainly a lot of room in between if ER is not your goal. Working on your debt and dropping the concept of "I can afford it now" is the best thing to strive for in my opinion. Even if there is no stress in your life now it won't always be that way. Once you are at a point when you don't require a certain amount of income you're free to do what you find to be inspiring or fulfilling, whatever that may be (even if you don't know yet!).

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #26 on: August 06, 2014, 01:19:43 PM »

First off, welcome to the forum! I started turning my life around about a year ago when I found out I was going to be a dad. My life has improved so much in such a short period of time and I am thankful for that. Just some thought I have on your situation...

- Your income is awesome, congrats on that!
- When you compare your assets and liabilities your net worth is a little less than your salary for half a year. While your goal might not be to retire early, or consume drastically less than you are...with your income you could be doing much better than that.
-The whole point of being here is to improve yourself, so why not make it a challenge to pay off more of the debt and stache some more away.

I think you pretty much nailed it.  That's the conclusion I reached as well.  There's no reason for us to have debt, getting rid of it would be a huge improvement, and we need to save more.  My wife keeps telling me that it doesn't have to be a dramatic, sudden change.  She says we can make continual adjustments and smarter decisions. 

On a more personal note, I've been working on other areas of my life as well.  I have recently lost a ton of weight and am continuing to lose.  We exercise regularly and have gotten more involved in the community.  Turning a critical eye towards our finances seemed to be a natural progression of the self improvement theme.  Hence this post.

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #27 on: August 06, 2014, 01:20:06 PM »
Hi there! I mostly just wanted to stop in a say Hi to a fellow SC'er. I am right across the river from you, but it's good to know there are mustaches nearby.

I like the idea of blowing up your life if you are bored with it. But you might want to have an idea what your goal is. I can offer a few suggestions: 

1. Live of one income for the next 12 months. Save 100% of 2d income.
2. Live on median household income for your area (I think around 60K for Lexington) - Use excess to pay off debt/save for awesome vacation/contribute max to all retirement accounts/etc.
3. Find a charity to donate to. I have some local suggestions, including the non-profit I work for :)

I know living in these parts makes it difficult to...branch out from the norm too much. I personally don't care about the norm. I live off of 1/2 my income and I make about 100K less than you. But that is me and you are you. You are lucky to live in a low low COL area with a lot of awesome outdoor adventures within minutes or hours of where you live. Shake it up. Try one new thing a week. There is so much to do out there!

AverageMarriedDad

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #28 on: August 06, 2014, 01:21:51 PM »

I really, really liked what MMM had to say about hedonistic progression.  It really resonated with me.  I had been planning on installing an expensive home theater setup.  I've since changed my mind.  I honestly think that after the newness wore off, I wouldn't be any happier than I am now with just a TV and Netflix.

You've taken the first steps, and those are the hardest. Coming around takes time, and you don't have to do it all at once. For some that works, but others find it better to make small steps, building each day and year and have it last, than go full hard-core penny pinching and regress because it's "too hard." Also, those married don't live in a vacuum, and it takes some time for the spouse to digest and come around too. Don't need to cause resentment and bitter feelings by ramming it down their throat. MMM did some interesting posts recently about presenting it to the spouse as "here's what can happen if we change our mindset" with some big picture results (in a powerpoint format to boot). I think you've swallowed the Red Pill Neo, now just let it digest and you'll see what this world has to offer.

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #29 on: August 06, 2014, 01:23:49 PM »
You're married. Have you and your spouse discussed what your future should look like?

Because if you're actually content with what you have now, I wouldn't ask you to change a thing. Where is the motivation, really?

hybrid

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #30 on: August 06, 2014, 01:26:12 PM »
That's a good point.  I've been slowly coming to the same conclusion as well.  I disconnected the cable a year ago, found a less expensive cell phone plan, brown bag my lunch, changed my home internet plan to a less expensive one, turned up the thermostat a few degrees, and we have been going through the house and getting rid of the clutter.  Quite a bit has been donated to charity, sold, etc.   A few months ago I went through my expenses and just by getting rid of the stupid crap, I freed up $300 a month.  I added the savings to my credit card repayment.

It sure sounds to me like you've been implementing a lot of change one step at a time already. No cable isn't the norm. Cheaper cell phone plans aren't the norm. Etc. And you lost a ton of weight too? All sounds really good. So I have to ask, now that you've made these changes, do you honestly feel any better or worse for it?

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #31 on: August 06, 2014, 01:27:21 PM »
I did not call you as a person disgusting. If you took it that way I'm apologize. It is not what I meant. The view of a "normal life" the US has plagued you with is disgusting. You have a great job, are raising a family, spending carefree, and are doing what everyone is around you doing. Yet none of it is making you happy! You're bored! Looking for for answers in "stuff". All along the stuff and following through with "normal" will just be keeping you in a continual cycle of being unfulfilled. I'm far from finding what I'm looking for. And I've been bogged down with bull for awhile I admit but that is besides the point.

You have tremendous opportunity to allow yourself more flexibility in life with your salary and location in a short amount of time. There is no need to do anything extreme like biking everywhere, moving to the country, working towards ER if you enjoy your job, etc. There's certainly a lot of room in between if ER is not your goal. Working on your debt and dropping the concept of "I can afford it now" is the best thing to strive for in my opinion. Even if there is no stress in your life now it won't always be that way. Once you are at a point when you don't require a certain amount of income you're free to do what you find to be inspiring or fulfilling, whatever that may be (even if you don't know yet!).

Thanks for this, great post.  You want to know what's really silly?  I realized YEARS ago that the accumulation of stuff and buying things did not make me happy.  Yet until recently, I did it anyway.  I think MMM is spot on when he calls the consumption of goods "sweet consumer crack" or something to that effect.  It really is and it's a difficult habit to break.  That why I have been trying to grab onto the intangibles.  Fitness, more time with family, community involvement, etc.


averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #32 on: August 06, 2014, 01:29:08 PM »
It sure sounds to me like you've been implementing a lot of change one step at a time already. No cable isn't the norm. Cheaper cell phone plans aren't the norm. Etc. And you lost a ton of weight too? All sounds really good. So I have to ask, now that you've made these changes, do you honestly feel any better or worse for it?

I definitely feel better about, probably the best I've felt in years.  I think that's where I found the courage to post on this forum.  And I think I see what you are driving at - if the small changes I have made so far haven't hurt anything, then step it up and see what happens? 

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #33 on: August 06, 2014, 01:33:02 PM »

You've taken the first steps, and those are the hardest. Coming around takes time, and you don't have to do it all at once. For some that works, but others find it better to make small steps, building each day and year and have it last, than go full hard-core penny pinching and regress because it's "too hard." Also, those married don't live in a vacuum, and it takes some time for the spouse to digest and come around too. Don't need to cause resentment and bitter feelings by ramming it down their throat. MMM did some interesting posts recently about presenting it to the spouse as "here's what can happen if we change our mindset" with some big picture results (in a powerpoint format to boot). I think you've swallowed the Red Pill Neo, now just let it digest and you'll see what this world has to offer.

I read that post today and once again, MMM nailed it.  I like your Matrix analogy.  We'll see...

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #34 on: August 06, 2014, 01:35:45 PM »
Hi there! I mostly just wanted to stop in a say Hi to a fellow SC'er. I am right across the river from you, but it's good to know there are mustaches nearby.

I like the idea of blowing up your life if you are bored with it. But you might want to have an idea what your goal is. I can offer a few suggestions: 

1. Live of one income for the next 12 months. Save 100% of 2d income.
2. Live on median household income for your area (I think around 60K for Lexington) - Use excess to pay off debt/save for awesome vacation/contribute max to all retirement accounts/etc.
3. Find a charity to donate to. I have some local suggestions, including the non-profit I work for :)

I know living in these parts makes it difficult to...branch out from the norm too much. I personally don't care about the norm. I live off of 1/2 my income and I make about 100K less than you. But that is me and you are you. You are lucky to live in a low low COL area with a lot of awesome outdoor adventures within minutes or hours of where you live. Shake it up. Try one new thing a week. There is so much to do out there!

Great ideas.  Thank you.  I've made my peace with South Carolina but it took a while :)

hybrid

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #35 on: August 06, 2014, 01:43:59 PM »
It sure sounds to me like you've been implementing a lot of change one step at a time already. No cable isn't the norm. Cheaper cell phone plans aren't the norm. Etc. And you lost a ton of weight too? All sounds really good. So I have to ask, now that you've made these changes, do you honestly feel any better or worse for it?

I definitely feel better about, probably the best I've felt in years.  I think that's where I found the courage to post on this forum.  And I think I see what you are driving at - if the small changes I have made so far haven't hurt anything have improved my life, then step it up and see what happens?

Not to quibble, but you are couching it in negatives (my edit above). You're undeniably better off than before, so yes, see where else you can optimize and see what it brings. Make a game out of burying that debt. Get a small decorative glass and fill it with 34 pretty glass beads. To anyone else that looks like some sort of decoration. To you it's 34K of consumer debt in 1K increments. Every time you pay off another 1K, out goes a bead. We do this once a month with paying off our rental and home mortgages and I love seeing the progress over time, and the missus digs it too. When you empty the glass, come up with some cool way to celebrate your achievement.

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #36 on: August 06, 2014, 01:51:55 PM »
Welcome to MMM averageJoe, and congratulations on the success you've already set up for yourself! I dunno, sounds to me like you already "get it" -- you've already discovered some of the keys about stuff not equating to happiness, etc. Your questions, to me, seem more existential, beyond anything MMM necessarily touches on -- basically, what is our purpose for this life on Earth. Do you have a philosophy or religion you follow that provides answers to those kinds of questions?

Regarding the more mundane, money part: Man, I'll tell you that nothing is quite as liberating as having complete financial independence. Once you can accumulate enough wealth (which implies getting rid of bad debt like CC debt) such that you'd never have to work another day in your life if you didn't want to, and could instead devote your time and energy to whatever pursuit you want -- there's almost nothing quite as awesome IMO. At your salary and cost of living in SC, you could be there incredibly quickly.

surfhb

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #37 on: August 06, 2014, 02:06:24 PM »
It sure sounds to me like you've been implementing a lot of change one step at a time already. No cable isn't the norm. Cheaper cell phone plans aren't the norm. Etc. And you lost a ton of weight too? All sounds really good. So I have to ask, now that you've made these changes, do you honestly feel any better or worse for it?

I definitely feel better about, probably the best I've felt in years.  I think that's where I found the courage to post on this forum.  And I think I see what you are driving at - if the small changes I have made so far haven't hurt anything have improved my life, then step it up and see what happens?

Not to quibble, but you are couching it in negatives (my edit above). You're undeniably better off than before, so yes, see where else you can optimize and see what it brings. Make a game out of burying that debt. Get a small decorative glass and fill it with 34 pretty glass beads. To anyone else that looks like some sort of decoration. To you it's 34K of consumer debt in 1K increments. Every time you pay off another 1K, out goes a bead. We do this once a month with paying off our rental and home mortgages and I love seeing the progress over time, and the missus digs it too. When you empty the glass, come up with some cool way to celebrate your achievement.

I live this idea a lot!

OP. I'm happy you found this site because at the rate you are/were going, you're close to the cusp of complete financial ruin along with everything that goes with it.   Either that or you'd be working till you're dead.   

I think the next step would be to rid yourself of the cars.   Get a 6 year old civic with under 100k miles for around $7000

You're right though....maybe people here take it to the extreme.   
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 02:09:27 PM by surfhb »

trailrated

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #38 on: August 06, 2014, 02:11:29 PM »
On a more personal note, I've been working on other areas of my life as well.  I have recently lost a ton of weight and am continuing to lose.  We exercise regularly and have gotten more involved in the community.  Turning a critical eye towards our finances seemed to be a natural progression of the self improvement theme.  Hence this post.

This is awesome. One post that MMM had really struck me so I decided to take a look at the book. If you are looking at "living the best life" I would highly recommend checking it out. http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/02/what-is-stoicism-and-how-can-it-turn-your-life-to-solid-gold/

While I found the writing to be a bit academic at times, the thought process and putting it into practice has made a profound effect on how I appreciate what I have in life.

A mom

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #39 on: August 06, 2014, 02:12:19 PM »
I agree with DoubleDown; I think your question is mostly philosophical.  What do you want people to say about you when you die? What legacy do you want to leave behind you? My suggestion is to focus on those questions and then figure out if you need to make financial adjustments in order to make it happen.

Cheddar Stacker

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #40 on: August 06, 2014, 02:18:15 PM »
Life is easy.
I'm also bored.  Is this it? 
Now that I have typed more than I meant to, has anyone else been in a similar situation?  What was the tipping point for making a change?  Do you ever regret it?  How has your life improved since?

Pardon my dismantling of your original post. I wanted to pull out a few "highlights" that caught my attention so I could respond.

1) Read Muscle Over Motor
Quote
I think you might be noticing a pattern here. And the pattern is of course Muscle over Motor. Itís more than just an article. Itís a Founding Principle of Mustachianism, because when you embrace it, it adds great fun to your life even while it simultaneously strips away the fat from your physique and your budget. Itís one of the most powerful little three-word sentences you can embrace.

And Is it convenient?

I linked these two posts because, well, life shouldn't be so easy. Part of the enjoyment I've found from this movement is from getting back to basics, enjoying the daily struggles, and becoming a stronger person from them.

2) I used to be bored. I still am when at work, but outside of work my purposely designed "hard life" keeps me on my toes.

3) I was in a relatively similar situation exactly 1 year ago. I say relative because there are a few major differences in my "snapshot bio" or whatever you want to call your opening post, but just know it was pretty close. The tipping point was finally feeling like I understood everything, then just getting off my ass and leaving "easy street". I have no regrets about my life changes, but then again I don't do regret. My life has improved in more ways than I can list, but if you want a small taste take a look at my journal in the signature line.

Good luck to you averageJoe. I hope this time next year you are not so average, and you are banging the drum on averageSallie's first post.


averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #41 on: August 06, 2014, 02:21:23 PM »
I live this idea a lot!

OP. I'm happy you found this site because at the rate you are/were going, you're close to the cusp of complete financial ruin along with everything that goes with it.   Either that or you'd be working till you're dead.   

I think the next step would be to rid yourself of the cars.   Get a 6 year old civic with under 100k miles for around $7000

The cusp of complete financial ruin is a bit of a stretch?  As for the cars, I really like them.  A lot.  I am capable of performing a lot of very advanced repairs / troubleshooting and I enjoy doing it.  I'd rather not get to personal, but there are a lot of deep rooted emotional / psychological issues around my choices in transportation.  For now, what works for me is to drive my car, pay it off, and then continue to baby and maintain it.  Perhaps when the time comes that I have to replace it, I'll have grown enough to do something like you suggest. 

MrsPotts

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #42 on: August 06, 2014, 02:40:21 PM »
Hi Joe. 

1.  All agree that your hair is on fire with your credit card debt.

2.  You mentioned that your cars aren't hurting you because they are not upside down.   However, they are depreciating rapidly, and the $$ you have locked up in them could be used to help pay off your credit cards.  A couple of small, used sedans, or maybe a sedan and a used pick-up (you all do drive pick ups in SC, don't you?) might be all your family needs.

3.  Finally, have you considered a re-fi to a 15 year mortgage?   Your equity will build much more rapidly.

gimp

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #43 on: August 06, 2014, 02:51:17 PM »
Let's move past the debt issue. Obviously it's an issue, but you said it's going to disappear in twelve months. Good.

Money-wise, yeah, save a bit more. Pay off your house. Pay off your cars. Max out retirement contributions. And throw money into a 529 for your kiddo.

Get those DSLRs you have, get the guns, get the aquariums, get the cars and tools, and start shooting and writing. I mean, shoot the aquariums with the DSLR, not the guns, but you get my point. These things interest you, share them with the world. Grab the cars and travel. Combine your hobbies and interests. Make it fun. Less day-in, day-out slog, and more spontaneous weekend adventures.

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #44 on: August 06, 2014, 02:54:38 PM »
Let's move past the debt issue. Obviously it's an issue, but you said it's going to disappear in twelve months. Good.

Money-wise, yeah, save a bit more. Pay off your house. Pay off your cars. Max out retirement contributions. And throw money into a 529 for your kiddo.

Get those DSLRs you have, get the guns, get the aquariums, get the cars and tools, and start shooting and writing. I mean, shoot the aquariums with the DSLR, not the guns, but you get my point. These things interest you, share them with the world. Grab the cars and travel. Combine your hobbies and interests. Make it fun. Less day-in, day-out slog, and more spontaneous weekend adventures.

To be clear, my credit card debt will take more than 12 months to pay off.  However, as obligations are payed for in the next year, it will decrease rapidly.

I like your ideas.  Thank you.

averageJoe

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #45 on: August 06, 2014, 03:06:25 PM »
Hi Joe. 

1.  All agree that your hair is on fire with your credit card debt.

2.  You mentioned that your cars aren't hurting you because they are not upside down.   However, they are depreciating rapidly, and the $$ you have locked up in them could be used to help pay off your credit cards.  A couple of small, used sedans, or maybe a sedan and a used pick-up (you all do drive pick ups in SC, don't you?) might be all your family needs.

3.  Finally, have you considered a re-fi to a 15 year mortgage?   Your equity will build much more rapidly.

For sure.  The credit card debt is a priority. 

Despite my last post about my emotional attachment to cars, I have given the idea of selling them some thought.

My wife's car is a 2011 with 57k miles on it.  I owe 11k and it's worth 18k private party.   It's under warranty through 70k miles.  Like it or not, our life requires the extensive use of automobiles.  I found a few candidates in the $7,000 range that might work but they would be huge tradeoffs in reliability, space, and utility.  I finally concluded that I currently own the best $11,000 car I could hope to find.  I'm not convinced that the juice is worth the squeeze so I am keeping this one.

As for my car, it's a 2012 with 27k miles on it. I owe 25k.  It's a ridiculous expense and I deserve to be punched in the face.  It gets 13 - 15 mpg, currently requires premium fuel, and is currently setup to require $1200 in tires every ~15k miles.  It's also a cop magnet.  This is a car I should definitely sell.  I only need one reliable car.  I can fix whatever breaks on the second one. 

I just don't think I have grown to the point where I can do this.  I understand the logic.  It's the emotional aspect that I am working on.  I recently spent a lot of time shopping for a replacement for this car with a budget of $5,000.  There is a lot out there, especially on Craigslist.  For now, I am going to stick with what I have and work on the other things discussed in this thread.  Please don't judge to harshly :) 

gimp

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #46 on: August 06, 2014, 03:19:19 PM »
When someone tries to lose weight, you don't tell them to cut from 4000 calories to 1400 calories and run 10 miles a day. You tell them: for the first month, just stop drinking soda, only drink water. The month after that, cook at least one meal at home using only 4 ingredients, at least one of which has to be a vegetable. The month after that, cut down your fast food to two cheat days a week.

Because the massive, rapid, change - while incredibly effective - is incredibly difficult and most people give up and do even worse. If you start slow, but steady, a year's out and you've lost 60 pounds or 60k in loans or whatever it may be.

I'd sell the car more because it's a cop magnet than anything else. That alone costs one hell of a lot of money. I love cars too; I'm tied to my method of transportation not by need but by desire because my car is my freedom to go anywhere, do anything, be anyone. I wouldn't buy a 1995 econobox, or a 2015 econobox for that matter, unlike most people who post on this forum. No Hondas for me. But my car, which has a rather beautiful 3.8L V6 supercharged engine, is a complete sleeper car - an old buick, black - and cost me 6k out of pocket with another 2k in repairs and upgrades (better tires and brakes). You can drive a fun, reliable car, with the horsepower and torque you want, with the gas mileage you want, that doesn't attract any attention, without spending a lot of money. And also without compromising your day-to-day enjoyment.

horsepoor

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #47 on: August 06, 2014, 03:32:19 PM »
Wow, I'm curious about what kind of car you have?  13 mpg?!  That's barely better than my ridiculous V-10 F-250 horse trailer towing machine.  For less than you owe on it, you could buy a brand new Prius and save a ton just on the gas, insurance, tires, etc.  No excuses about poor reliability, lack of warranty, etc.  I also have a 2012 with 21K miles on it, but I've decided to keep it.  However, it gets over 40 MPG and I owe under $10K now, @2.79% interest.  Maybe try looking at the "true cost to own" for your vehicle compared to something more economical, in a late-model.  You don't have to drive an old clunker to make a big win by getting rid of that car.  Look at the cost savings, and what that is taking away from your potential retirement stash.  It doesn't sound like your 401(k)s are being maxed, so if you save a couple hundred on vehicle expenses, how much is that in pre-tax income that could go towards retirement funds, and start earning 7% interest?  Or how much more quickly could it help you kill those CC balances?  Every time you look at that car, if you think of how much it's robbing from your future freedom, you might not stay attached to it for long.

I can actually relate to your post quite well, as I also lost a bunch of weight amidst an early-30's "bored, is this all there is?" phase and started streamlining my life, then ended up here.  We even have similar income levels and housing costs/mortgage balances.  If you can get your expenses down, and ax your debt you'll have many more opportunities to "blow up your life".  If you or your spouse wakes up one morning and realizes that quitting the lucrative job to follow a dream of writing a book or whatever would lead to great happiness and fulfillment - well, that would be much more possible with a nice cash cushion, more secure retirement savings, and fewer/smaller fixed expenses. Or if an opportunity to work part time and spend more precious time with the kiddo comes along, would you want to be in a position to jump on it? Is a fancy car with fancy tires really worth possibly forgoing a big future opportunity?  It sounds like you've taken some great steps, but I also agree that you're not too far from, if not financial ruin, quite a bit of financial hardship.  We don't have the whole financial picture of where that $8300 a month is going, but it sounds like if one of you lost a job, or could no longer work, it would be a huge problem.  Wouldn't it be a great feeling to know you could not just get by, but thrive, on one income if the other one was lost?

CryingInThePool

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2014, 03:35:08 PM »
Boredom is one thing; outright dread or misery is another and I donít think you are preparing enough for the likelihood that the status quo at work will change in the next 30 years and not necessarily for the better.   I think  many of the strong opinions on the forum come from regrets on what we spent not just in money but in time.  You donít know when the day will come that youíll be fed up and want out of the rat race and if you havenít done the math on leaving at 65 then you really wonít be prepared if it happens for you at 39. 

Even if your career is as stable and lucrative as you believe youíre still one bad manager or long term project of doom away from hating your work life.    Youíve got a mortgage, car payments, and massive credit card debt which means youíll be trapped.   Do your future self a huge favor and get rid of it all asap.  It really does boil down to independence and choice and you are far from having either so the quicker you Ďblow it upí the more empowered youíll feel Ė not to mention less bored.   

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Re: I'm a normal guy, living a normal life. Help me blow it up.
« Reply #49 on: August 06, 2014, 05:22:24 PM »


The cusp of complete financial ruin is a bit of a stretch? 

Hmmm....actually no... you're living paycheck to paycheck at this moment based on what numbers you have listed and your $100K of negative net worth

At least you recognize you need to grow :)
« Last Edit: August 06, 2014, 05:32:56 PM by surfhb »