Author Topic: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)  (Read 24507 times)

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #100 on: May 18, 2020, 03:58:53 PM »
Thanks for the feedback! It helps me feel like I'm not doing something COMPLETELY insane/irresponsible, despite what others may think!

Do you have any connections with small vet practices which might need a vacation vet?  Just to keep your fingers in after this pandemic ends if you choose?

I do have three local practices for which I occasionally do relief work. I don't anticipate working any during this pandemic, because there won't be many vacations to cover, but I don't see any reason that I couldn't continue working with those practices on an occasional basis to stay somewhat up to date. I could also stay on as a relief vet with my current employer (as long as I work one shift per quarter), but I kind of feel like I need a clean break.

robartsd

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #101 on: May 19, 2020, 03:18:19 PM »
Our expenses will decrease by $1000/month in 1.5 years when both vehicles are paid off. I could pay them off now, but that seems silly with the low interest rate.
Yes, but cars are depreciating assets that need replacing semi-regularly. I wouldn't count on this reduction in expenses (at least not at 100%) through retirement.

Still, I agree with others that your freelance income plus husband's salary should be enough that you don't need to keep your PT job. Reduction to one shift a week would reduce your exposure some, but I wouldn't count on it being 50% of your exposure at two shifts a week.

My projection is that with the PT job, you'd reach FI in about 6.5 years, cutting that income stream permanently will probably add about 4 years. If your absolute goal is to be FIRE in 10 years, I'd suggest that you look for ways to optimism more spending or find new income streams in the next few years, but you're likely enough to reach FIRE within 10 years that I wouldn't worry too much about it in making this decision.

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #102 on: May 20, 2020, 09:08:22 AM »
Our expenses will decrease by $1000/month in 1.5 years when both vehicles are paid off. I could pay them off now, but that seems silly with the low interest rate.
Yes, but cars are depreciating assets that need replacing semi-regularly. I wouldn't count on this reduction in expenses (at least not at 100%) through retirement.

Definitely true! But, I expect these cars to get us through the next 10 years, until we retire.... especially since I'll be giving up 80 miles of weekly commuting.

Once we retire, we'll replace our current $500/month in charitable giving with volunteer work, so that will free up additional money in our budget. Plus, I'll drop my $110/month disability policy at some point. I think it will all even out, theoretically.

And honestly, I suspect that one or both of us will continue some degree of paid work even after we officially hit FIRE in ~10 years. I just want the knowledge that we don't necessarily HAVE to.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #103 on: May 20, 2020, 10:58:49 AM »
I would undoubtedly quit the PT job now. For all of the reasons you already mentioned, and the most glaring one.....your life is worth more than some "secure" income when you already won the game and have a ton of resilience built into your plan.

Just leave on good terms, in case you do change your mind down the road. 

mm1970

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #104 on: May 20, 2020, 02:13:50 PM »
I rarely rarely say this, but I'd quit the PT job too.  Usually I recommend staying and "wait and see", but you've been off - and you see...

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #105 on: June 26, 2021, 11:14:42 AM »
Hey folks, just popping in for a quick update! I did end up returning to my PT job once I ran out of leave... but I went back at just 1 day/wk and actually used saved vacation days to bring it down to just 2-3 days/month. Then, in the fall, we ended up moving!! Honestly, it's the best possible scenario... the move was for a better job for my husband, but it also brought us closer to the beach (where I wanted to be). I took the plunge and went FT on my freelance work, which has been even better than I could have possibly expected.

We've increased our spending... partially because it's a higher-COL area, partially because I've loosened up a lot (to my husband's great joy!) and have accepted a slower glide to FIRE now that we're in a better/happier position overall. I no longer feel like we need to run away from life, like I did before. So, while I'm certainly even less Mustachian than I was, I'm still calling it a big win overall. My whole goal was flexibility and I feel like we've achieved that.

My freelance work has been overwhelmingly busy for the last month or so, to the point that I'm debating scaling back a bit... but I think I'll just ride it out, because it should calm down once I finish my current big project.

Here are some updated numbers, for anyone who is curious and because I enjoy having them to look back on. LOL.

Current income:  ~$200k/yr
Husband's FT job: $80k/yr
My freelance income: ~$120k/yr (estimate)

Current expenses: $8865/month
mortgage/taxes/insurance 1615
water/sewer/trash 130
electric 200
cable/internet 125
cell phones 245
car insurance 120
subscriptions (personal/professional) 95
disability/life insurance 110
after-school care 345
violin & gymnastics 200
Jeep 500
my car 728
gas 80
pets - food, meds 100
horse boarding 400
groceries 645
eating out   430
misc. shopping/fun spending 323
lawn care   105
pool service 105
meds 35
health/dental insurance 1276
charitable giving 950

Total Net Worth: $693k
Assets (excluding home): $612k
- savings $45k
- HSA $25k
- Roths $197k
- Employer retirement accounts $119k
- Rollover IRA $170k
- SEP IRA $44k
- Taxable investments $12k
Liabilities (excluding home): $28k (bought a frivolous/fun Jeep at 2.9% interest, still have a few payments left on my car at 0%)
Home equity: $109k

Yes, our spending is completely insane... but it's working for us right now and still letting us save enough that we should hit FIRE in 8-10 years. My car will be paid off in a few months and I should have it for at least another 5-10 years. (I could easily pay it off today, and I think about doing that pretty often... but it seems silly at 0% interest, even though it would make our monthly budget look a lot better!) After-school care may or may not be an ongoing expense, but we're doing it for the next year because my daughter and I need a break from each other after homeschooling for the last year and a half and we figure it will help her meet more kids in our new neighborhood. The horses are geriatric, so the boarding expense isn't forever. We definitely eat out more than necessary, but we moved from the middle of nowhere to an area with lots of laid-back waterfront restaurants and that's my husband's preferred way to blow off steam after work. All that said, our predicted FIRE budget is only $6k/month due to reduced/eliminated expenses (such as charitable giving, life/disability insurance, after-school care, etc) and the fact that health insurance will hopefully be cheaper.... so we should be on track to get there in 8-10 years. We'll also downsize our house at some point around FIRE, because the current house includes both an office for me and a separate guest room for my in-laws *a non-negotiable for my husband who had never lived more than an hour away from his family). Even if it takes a bit longer, we're enjoying the journey more and we should still get there well before "normal" retirement age, so I'm good with that. (I'm currently 42 and husband is 37.)


« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 12:19:04 PM by startingsmall »

lhamo

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #106 on: June 26, 2021, 11:18:34 AM »
Great update -- so happy for you that you are happier now!

Just curious, why the super high cell phone bills?

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #107 on: June 26, 2021, 11:36:42 AM »
Great update -- so happy for you that you are happier now!

Just curious, why the super high cell phone bills?

We use Verizon, which I know isn't the cheapest but it seems to be the one thing I can't break. (Note all of the previous facepunches in this thread, LOL.) That includes unlimited talk/data for my phone (including $26/mo for the phone itself), husband's phone (including $35/mo for the phone itself), and husband's Apple watch. Also includes our Disney + subscription ($9/mo).

Villanelle

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #108 on: June 26, 2021, 03:12:34 PM »
Why do you think health insurance will be lower when you retire?

Also, does that FIRE budget include sinking funds for a periodic new cars, home maintenance, etc.? I don't see any place in your current budget for maintenance, either.    And is your husband fully and truly on board with downsizing your house in retirement?  Are you prepared for the emotions of selling your children's "home" and moving to a place that is new to them (that's challenging for many people)? 

Finally, how do you plan to spend your time in retirement?  I don't see any line for travel now.  Is that not something you will do as the kids get older with all of you, and then with you and your DH when you are retired?  Do you plan to travel to see those in-laws you mention? 

You guys don't seem good at denying yourself much, so I am skeptical that you are going to be able to hold to some of these things, or keep from wanting to do All The Things once your kids are older and then out of the house and you are retired.  Are you certain that a new horse isn't going to call to you, and a cruise to the Bahamas, and maid service as your bodies get older, and...  It just seems a bit optimistic to me. 

bacchi

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #109 on: June 26, 2021, 03:15:13 PM »
Great update -- so happy for you that you are happier now!

Just curious, why the super high cell phone bills?

We use Verizon, which I know isn't the cheapest but it seems to be the one thing I can't break. (Note all of the previous facepunches in this thread, LOL.) That includes unlimited talk/data for my phone (including $26/mo for the phone itself), husband's phone (including $35/mo for the phone itself), and husband's Apple watch. Also includes our Disney + subscription ($9/mo).

US Mobile uses Verizon. It's $30/line unlimited for 2 lines.

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #110 on: June 26, 2021, 03:44:26 PM »
Why do you think health insurance will be lower when you retire?

Also, does that FIRE budget include sinking funds for a periodic new cars, home maintenance, etc.? I don't see any place in your current budget for maintenance, either.    And is your husband fully and truly on board with downsizing your house in retirement?  Are you prepared for the emotions of selling your children's "home" and moving to a place that is new to them (that's challenging for many people)? 

Finally, how do you plan to spend your time in retirement?  I don't see any line for travel now.  Is that not something you will do as the kids get older with all of you, and then with you and your DH when you are retired?  Do you plan to travel to see those in-laws you mention? 

You guys don't seem good at denying yourself much, so I am skeptical that you are going to be able to hold to some of these things, or keep from wanting to do All The Things once your kids are older and then out of the house and you are retired.  Are you certain that a new horse isn't going to call to you, and a cruise to the Bahamas, and maid service as your bodies get older, and...  It just seems a bit optimistic to me.

Those are all valid points. And you're right that I'm not very good at being assertive and denying my husband's requests.

I'm expecting health insurance to be lower due to ACA subsidies, if it sticks around in some form. There's no guarantee, but I'm hoping.

Right now, all of our travel is done through travel hacking. Family is all within driving distance, so costs there are relatively low. We do put $100/month in savings for travel and $2000/mo in savings for my freelance taxes & any needed home repairs, which I forgot to list.

At the moment, my husband doesn't ever plan to retire. I'm sure eventually he'll want to, though, which is why I don't feel comfortable giving up work until we meet at least some level of FI. I view that as the point where me working becomes optional. You're right that he has some very expensive tastes (he likes travel more than I do, loves restaurants, really wants a Rolex, insists on keeping cable, etc.) so the current tentative plan is that if he keeps working after we hit FIRE, he can use his salary for all those luxuries. We have very different priorities, so it's a constant battle to find a balance that keeps both of us somewhat happy.

Honestly, I'll probably keep up some level of freelance work to also have some fun money... the goal is just to hit the point where we don't HAVE to work. My retirement plan is FT volunteer work, which may actually translate to a paid position (although at a lower rate than I make now). I just want to know that I have provided for my family before I make that transition.

ETA: What's funny is that I have found myself thinking that I'm working way too hard right now for us to just piss it away, and maybe I need to work less so our income goes down and I have better footing to stand on when vetoing expensive requests.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 04:16:08 PM by startingsmall »

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #111 on: June 26, 2021, 03:48:09 PM »
Great update -- so happy for you that you are happier now!

Just curious, why the super high cell phone bills?

We use Verizon, which I know isn't the cheapest but it seems to be the one thing I can't break. (Note all of the previous facepunches in this thread, LOL.) That includes unlimited talk/data for my phone (including $26/mo for the phone itself), husband's phone (including $35/mo for the phone itself), and husband's Apple watch. Also includes our Disney + subscription ($9/mo).

US Mobile uses Verizon. It's $30/line unlimited for 2 lines.

Talk to me like I'm 5. How do I transfer our current phones over to that? So many of those services look like scams to me and I'm not the most tech-savvy.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 04:14:23 PM by startingsmall »

Villanelle

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #112 on: June 26, 2021, 05:35:42 PM »
Why do you think health insurance will be lower when you retire?

Also, does that FIRE budget include sinking funds for a periodic new cars, home maintenance, etc.? I don't see any place in your current budget for maintenance, either.    And is your husband fully and truly on board with downsizing your house in retirement?  Are you prepared for the emotions of selling your children's "home" and moving to a place that is new to them (that's challenging for many people)? 

Finally, how do you plan to spend your time in retirement?  I don't see any line for travel now.  Is that not something you will do as the kids get older with all of you, and then with you and your DH when you are retired?  Do you plan to travel to see those in-laws you mention? 

You guys don't seem good at denying yourself much, so I am skeptical that you are going to be able to hold to some of these things, or keep from wanting to do All The Things once your kids are older and then out of the house and you are retired.  Are you certain that a new horse isn't going to call to you, and a cruise to the Bahamas, and maid service as your bodies get older, and...  It just seems a bit optimistic to me.

Those are all valid points. And you're right that I'm not very good at being assertive and denying my husband's requests.

I'm expecting health insurance to be lower due to ACA subsidies, if it sticks around in some form. There's no guarantee, but I'm hoping.

Right now, all of our travel is done through travel hacking. Family is all within driving distance, so costs there are relatively low. We do put $100/month in savings for travel and $2000/mo in savings for my freelance taxes & any needed home repairs, which I forgot to list.

At the moment, my husband doesn't ever plan to retire. I'm sure eventually he'll want to, though, which is why I don't feel comfortable giving up work until we meet at least some level of FI. I view that as the point where me working becomes optional. You're right that he has some very expensive tastes (he likes travel more than I do, loves restaurants, really wants a Rolex, insists on keeping cable, etc.) so the current tentative plan is that if he keeps working after we hit FIRE, he can use his salary for all those luxuries. We have very different priorities, so it's a constant battle to find a balance that keeps both of us somewhat happy.

Honestly, I'll probably keep up some level of freelance work to also have some fun money... the goal is just to hit the point where we don't HAVE to work. My retirement plan is FT volunteer work, which may actually translate to a paid position (although at a lower rate than I make now). I just want to know that I have provided for my family before I make that transition.

ETA: What's funny is that I have found myself thinking that I'm working way too hard right now for us to just piss it away, and maybe I need to work less so our income goes down and I have better footing to stand on when vetoing expensive requests.

Make sure you include those things, plus a car fund in your FIRE budget (not the taxes).  And funds for travel or whatever you think your hobbies will be.  I'm not sure $60k is going to be feasible. 

Are you not planning on contributing to your kids' college?  (It's fine if you aren't, but another thing to consider.)

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #113 on: June 26, 2021, 06:08:45 PM »
Why do you think health insurance will be lower when you retire?

Also, does that FIRE budget include sinking funds for a periodic new cars, home maintenance, etc.? I don't see any place in your current budget for maintenance, either.    And is your husband fully and truly on board with downsizing your house in retirement?  Are you prepared for the emotions of selling your children's "home" and moving to a place that is new to them (that's challenging for many people)? 

Finally, how do you plan to spend your time in retirement?  I don't see any line for travel now.  Is that not something you will do as the kids get older with all of you, and then with you and your DH when you are retired?  Do you plan to travel to see those in-laws you mention? 

You guys don't seem good at denying yourself much, so I am skeptical that you are going to be able to hold to some of these things, or keep from wanting to do All The Things once your kids are older and then out of the house and you are retired.  Are you certain that a new horse isn't going to call to you, and a cruise to the Bahamas, and maid service as your bodies get older, and...  It just seems a bit optimistic to me.

Those are all valid points. And you're right that I'm not very good at being assertive and denying my husband's requests.

I'm expecting health insurance to be lower due to ACA subsidies, if it sticks around in some form. There's no guarantee, but I'm hoping.

Right now, all of our travel is done through travel hacking. Family is all within driving distance, so costs there are relatively low. We do put $100/month in savings for travel and $2000/mo in savings for my freelance taxes & any needed home repairs, which I forgot to list.

At the moment, my husband doesn't ever plan to retire. I'm sure eventually he'll want to, though, which is why I don't feel comfortable giving up work until we meet at least some level of FI. I view that as the point where me working becomes optional. You're right that he has some very expensive tastes (he likes travel more than I do, loves restaurants, really wants a Rolex, insists on keeping cable, etc.) so the current tentative plan is that if he keeps working after we hit FIRE, he can use his salary for all those luxuries. We have very different priorities, so it's a constant battle to find a balance that keeps both of us somewhat happy.

Honestly, I'll probably keep up some level of freelance work to also have some fun money... the goal is just to hit the point where we don't HAVE to work. My retirement plan is FT volunteer work, which may actually translate to a paid position (although at a lower rate than I make now). I just want to know that I have provided for my family before I make that transition.

ETA: What's funny is that I have found myself thinking that I'm working way too hard right now for us to just piss it away, and maybe I need to work less so our income goes down and I have better footing to stand on when vetoing expensive requests.

Make sure you include those things, plus a car fund in your FIRE budget (not the taxes).  And funds for travel or whatever you think your hobbies will be.  I'm not sure $60k is going to be feasible. 

Are you not planning on contributing to your kids' college?  (It's fine if you aren't, but another thing to consider.)

I do have a car/maintenance fund in the FIRE budget, but I think it's ~$500/mo so it could probably be beefed up a bit.

College expenses should all be covered. We have a 529 that already contains about $45k (not included in my net worth stated above because I don't consider it "our money") and several family members contribute to it for birthdays/holidays. It should have enough to fully fund college at a state school.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2021, 06:22:32 PM by startingsmall »

startingsmall

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 6/26/21)
« Reply #114 on: June 27, 2021, 09:00:18 AM »
@Villanelle - Thanks for all of your helpful comments/questions yesterday! I will admit that my initial reaction was to become a bit defensive, but they have provoked a lot of thought and some preliminary discussions with the husband about changes. Thanks for the insightful observations/questions and for taking  the time to write them out!!

Gin1984

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Re: Case study: Baby steps so I don't scare the hubby. (UPDATED 5/17/20)
« Reply #115 on: June 27, 2021, 12:11:29 PM »
Hey folks, just popping in for a quick update! I did end up returning to my PT job once I ran out of leave... but I went back at just 1 day/wk and actually used saved vacation days to bring it down to just 2-3 days/month. Then, in the fall, we ended up moving!! Honestly, it's the best possible scenario... the move was for a better job for my husband, but it also brought us closer to the beach (where I wanted to be). I took the plunge and went FT on my freelance work, which has been even better than I could have possibly expected.

We've increased our spending... partially because it's a higher-COL area, partially because I've loosened up a lot (to my husband's great joy!) and have accepted a slower glide to FIRE now that we're in a better/happier position overall. I no longer feel like we need to run away from life, like I did before. So, while I'm certainly even less Mustachian than I was, I'm still calling it a big win overall. My whole goal was flexibility and I feel like we've achieved that.

My freelance work has been overwhelmingly busy for the last month or so, to the point that I'm debating scaling back a bit... but I think I'll just ride it out, because it should calm down once I finish my current big project.

Here are some updated numbers, for anyone who is curious and because I enjoy having them to look back on. LOL.

Current income:  ~$200k/yr
Husband's FT job: $80k/yr
My freelance income: ~$120k/yr (estimate)

Current expenses: $8865/month
mortgage/taxes/insurance 1615
water/sewer/trash 130
electric 200
cable/internet 125
cell phones 245
car insurance 120
subscriptions (personal/professional) 95
disability/life insurance 110
after-school care 345
violin & gymnastics 200
Jeep 500
my car 728
gas 80
pets - food, meds 100
horse boarding 400
groceries 645
eating out   430
misc. shopping/fun spending 323
lawn care   105
pool service 105
meds 35
health/dental insurance 1276
charitable giving 950

Total Net Worth: $693k
Assets (excluding home): $612k
- savings $45k
- HSA $25k
- Roths $197k
- Employer retirement accounts $119k
- Rollover IRA $170k
- SEP IRA $44k
- Taxable investments $12k
Liabilities (excluding home): $28k (bought a frivolous/fun Jeep at 2.9% interest, still have a few payments left on my car at 0%)
Home equity: $109k

Yes, our spending is completely insane... but it's working for us right now and still letting us save enough that we should hit FIRE in 8-10 years. My car will be paid off in a few months and I should have it for at least another 5-10 years. (I could easily pay it off today, and I think about doing that pretty often... but it seems silly at 0% interest, even though it would make our monthly budget look a lot better!) After-school care may or may not be an ongoing expense, but we're doing it for the next year because my daughter and I need a break from each other after homeschooling for the last year and a half and we figure it will help her meet more kids in our new neighborhood. The horses are geriatric, so the boarding expense isn't forever. We definitely eat out more than necessary, but we moved from the middle of nowhere to an area with lots of laid-back waterfront restaurants and that's my husband's preferred way to blow off steam after work. All that said, our predicted FIRE budget is only $6k/month due to reduced/eliminated expenses (such as charitable giving, life/disability insurance, after-school care, etc) and the fact that health insurance will hopefully be cheaper.... so we should be on track to get there in 8-10 years. We'll also downsize our house at some point around FIRE, because the current house includes both an office for me and a separate guest room for my in-laws *a non-negotiable for my husband who had never lived more than an hour away from his family). Even if it takes a bit longer, we're enjoying the journey more and we should still get there well before "normal" retirement age, so I'm good with that. (I'm currently 42 and husband is 37.)
Have you considered "sub-contracting" VS scaling back?  I've looked into your kind of freelancing but because I have a master's and not a PhD I'm not eligible for many even though I have published.  I've considered trying to sub contract under a Phd.  They get the contracts, reviews the work and I get a portion.  You might find someone like me who is interested in taking on your overflow.