Author Topic: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals  (Read 19646 times)

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #50 on: March 13, 2015, 06:42:57 AM »
My father's been taking care of his own pool since the 90s. He makes more than the OP. It is not that hard.

begood

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #51 on: March 13, 2015, 06:57:02 AM »
The Honda CR-V has acres of backseat room - plenty for infant and toddler car seats - and my 6'3" husband fits very comfortably in it. It gets decent gas mileage and is very reliable. The 2015 model is having vibration issues, so I wouldn't buy a new 2105, but you could probably get a 2013 off lease for about ~21K.

KCM5

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #52 on: March 13, 2015, 07:21:55 AM »
We will rethink the car situation.  Luckily we are just casually looking at this point and in no big rush to purchase.  Hopefully it will be different with a toddler car seat, but there is no way I could drive with the infant car seat behind the driver's seat in either the Prius or the GrandAm.  But I'm absolutely open to other smaller options if they work.

And I have zero desire to be a partner. It's probably bad to admit given my profession, but I'm not a fan of lawyers in general.

Put the infant seat on the passenger side.

A lot of lawyers burn out before they can make partner.  They go in-house, small law/hang a shingle, or get out of the profession.

Regarding the car seat, another option is to put the infant seat in the middle and a forward facing seat for the toddler on the side. I'm assuming the toddler will be 2.5-3 before their sibling is born so it should be safe to turn them and most seats nestle side to side that way quite well. A driver, even at 6'4" or whatever should have no problems with this. Just make sure to install the seats before you buy the seats or the car to make sure it's going to work. Big box stores will let you do this.

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #53 on: March 13, 2015, 07:28:11 AM »

Regarding the car seat, another option is to put the infant seat in the middle and a forward facing seat for the toddler on the side. I'm assuming the toddler will be 2.5-3 before their sibling is born so it should be safe to turn them and most seats nestle side to side that way quite well. A driver, even at 6'4" or whatever should have no problems with this. Just make sure to install the seats before you buy the seats or the car to make sure it's going to work. Big box stores will let you do this.
^^^ This.  I can put a rear-facing infant seat plus a front-facing toddler seat in the back of my '95 Corolla. And there's still plenty of room to slide the driver's seat back, even if I put the toddler behind the driver.

yoga mama

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #54 on: March 13, 2015, 07:48:09 AM »
Buckeye, I just wanted to give you a thumbs up.  You are taking a lot of heat here, you really put yourself out there and you are taking the criticism with grace and humility.  Good for you.  My hubby and I were a lot like you guys when I discovered MMM.  We have a large income and paid for convenience.  Cutting costs with the ultimate goal of ER has been very liberating.  Is your wife reading MMM?  Is she open to it?  There are lots of posts here about getting your spouse excited about saving $$ by focusing on shared goals.  Maybe you will introduce her to the site and she will blow you away with her badassity. 

Re: the car - I agree with PPs about the highlander.  If you're looking for functional space, a minivan will beat an SUV hands down.  However we have successfully taken our Prius on road trips and camping with two kids and two dogs, using a rooftop cargo box.  (We also have a 2013 Toyota Sienna so I'm not bragging, I still suck.)  As for putting car seats in, we have a 3 year old who faces forward and a 1 year old who is rear facing.  The forward facing seat goes behind the driver seat in the Prius and that way my husband (only 5'11") can comfortably slide the seat back to drive.  Anytime we go somewhere together he has to drive because the rear facing seat does force the passenger seat to be uncomfortably close to the dashboard, even for me (5'3").  Our kids are just under 2 years apart so when we first had the second, they were both rear facing for a couple of months, one in the infant seat.  He pretty much had to drive the minivan until we got the big boy front facing at 2 years.  As for putting one seat in the middle as I think someone suggested, I just don't think that would be functional, at least in the 2005 Prius, because the front seats are wide enough that you still wouldn't be able to slide it back with a car seat in the middle of the back seat.  If you plan on your kids being at least 2 years apart, I think you could manage just about any car, since you could put the forward facing seat behind you. 

KCM5

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #55 on: March 13, 2015, 08:03:06 AM »
As for putting one seat in the middle as I think someone suggested, I just don't think that would be functional, at least in the 2005 Prius, because the front seats are wide enough that you still wouldn't be able to slide it back with a car seat in the middle of the back seat.  If you plan on your kids being at least 2 years apart, I think you could manage just about any car, since you could put the forward facing seat behind you. 

I works in my 2010 Prius so it might just depend on the model and the seats you have. You might need to get a different rear facing car seat, but you can definitely make it work. We have a rear facing Clek Foonf in the middle. This seat is a huge seat the will rear face until, I think, 43" or 50 lbs and with it in the middle both my husband and I can be comfortable in either front seat (5'8" and 6'4").

Buckeye in TX

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #56 on: March 13, 2015, 08:30:52 AM »
Thank you again for all of the suggestions, y'all are awesome.  I knew we had some work to do, and the constructive criticism is appreciated.  I started touching on a number of these items with my wife this morning.  It was a little bumpy, but I think she is open to the idea of making changes.  She loves the house (as do I) so I don't see her being willing to sell until the kids are gone or if we move out of the DFW area.  That being said, she agrees with aggressively paying down the mortgage to refinance.  I think we could get to 20% within a year and a half, two years tops, if we move our taxable investment savings each month to the mortgage and cut the travel budget some.  The travel budget was a hot topic.  She is concerned about surprise trips home and future big/expensive trips. I tried to explain that, other than Disney trips (which we are super excited about), we probably won't be going on expensive trips when the kids are really young.  The grocery expense was also not a great topic.  She immediately got defensive because she does 95% of the grocery shopping. Maybe I suggest that we do weekly shopping together rather than her buying groceries after work?

Would you suggest also moving the extra student loan payments to the mortgage in the short term? The mortgage has a slightly higher interest rate at this point?

The car suggestions are great, and we will definitely consider other options going forward.

hodedofome

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #57 on: March 13, 2015, 09:00:18 AM »
Your kids won't remember snot about Disney until they are 4-5 years or older. I wouldn't take them when they are 2.

KCM5

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #58 on: March 13, 2015, 09:12:43 AM »
Your kids won't remember snot about Disney until they are 4-5 years or older. I wouldn't take them when they are 2.

Well, they won't really remember anything until they're 3-4-5 but we still do fun stuff with kids every day anyway. Because it's fun! Personally, I'm no big fan of Disney, but this argument that they won't remember it therefore it's useless ignores the fact 2 year old's are people, too. They have preferences and enjoy things. Now, of course, they'd probably enjoy the local amusement park just as much, but parents opinions matter, too. And if the parents are aware of all of this and still want to spend 2 or 3 grand going to Disney from Texas, then I hope they all have fun!

Regarding travel with small children in general, while we only have one child we've found travel to be not that difficult. It's certainly harder with a child than without, but we do things we enjoy and our daughter enjoys it, too. If you want to travel with your young children, it might be easier and more enjoyable than you imagine.

hunniebun

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #59 on: March 13, 2015, 09:18:07 AM »
Your kids won't remember snot about Disney until they are 4-5 years or older. I wouldn't take them when they are 2.

 If the goal is have a fun family vacation for kids...Disney really is the happiest place on earth. We just took a 2 and 6 year old and the 6 year old was almost too old. The 2 year old had an amazing time and thought everything was magic. Will she remember in 10 years...not likely...but she likely won't remember me reading to her every day since she was born or that I took them to the playground yesterday...but that doesn't mean I should do those things. The point of a family holiday is to enjoy each other in the moment...not so you can remember it at some point in the future.  I will never understand why everyone insists that you must wait for Disney until the kids will remember it for years to come.   

Buckeye in TX - I am in a similar situation with a decent income and a face-punch worthy lifesytle that took years to accumulate. I have a reluctant spouse as well..but don't get discourage. I am amazed at the progress we have made in a few short months in paying off debt...reigning in ridiculous spending (I haven't had a manicure, pedicure, haircut etc. in 3 months and those things used to be a regular part of my life). Instead we are now on the road to zero debt (except the mortgage which will take a while longer) and should be done paying it off by September. We drive less, have more money in the back, shop less for the kids and guess what...we are just as happy. In fact happier because we are making conscious decisions. I have been able to take the summer off to be with the kids and in September will work only part time.  We aren't necessarily aiming for 'early' retirement (50 for dh...55 for me), but we are looking to have an awesome, mindful life with the things that we really want in it. Good luck to you and keep us posted :)

hunniebun

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #60 on: March 13, 2015, 09:22:24 AM »

[/quote]

Regarding travel with small children in general, while we only have one child we've found travel to be not that difficult. It's certainly harder with a child than without, but we do things we enjoy and our daughter enjoys it, too. If you want to travel with your young children, it might be easier and more enjoyable than you imagine.
[/quote]

And I second this. I was quite worried about the actual travel portion with two kids and a willful toddler...but it was seriously amazing. People told us how well behaved and pleasant our kids were.  They had so much fun enjoying all the new experiences like flying and riding the moving side walks at the airport etc. that it didn't even dawn on them to be naughty!  Our travel day didn't end until midnight and despite that being really really late for little kids...they were happy as clams.   If you have the money...I think traveling with kids is a great idea. (ie. don't put a 10K vacation on a 18% credit card like my coworker just did).

hodedofome

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #61 on: March 13, 2015, 09:36:05 AM »
I will never understand why everyone insists that you must wait for Disney until the kids will remember it for years to come.   

It's just my opinion but a 2 year old in Dallas will be just as enthralled by a children's museum, Hurricane Harbor, Great Wolf Lodge, Six Flags, zoo, etc, as they would be with DisneyWorld. And you'll save thousands of dollars in the process. It doesn't take much to impress a kid that age.

I took my 2 year old to Destin and he cried the entire 12 hours both ways. I said never again until they are at least 3 or 4, would I drive that far for a trip. I want my kids to entertain themselves somewhat, and be old enough for a forward facing child seat. I probably wouldn't enjoy being in the car that long staring at the ceiling or the back of the car myself. If you're flying, that's even more money. It's like a right of passage here in TX to take your kids to Disneyworld as much and as soon as possible. Then when they get a little older you start doing the ski trips, then beach trips, and before you know it it's gotten out of hand. It's easy to do when all your friends are doing it too.

And all this is fine if you plan on working till 65 and are ok putting in the hours to afford a lifestyle like this. Many of my friends would never dream of retiring early or sacrificing their lifestyle to be financially independent. I'm taking a different road and it seems the OP wants to as well. Everything has to get put on the table and decisions have to be made how valuable a certain material possession, or service, or experience is compared to other goals like freedom from debt and freedom from needing to work.

Full Disclosure: I'm taking my 2 and 4 year old to DisneyWorld this Thanksgiving but my parents are paying for it. No way I'd pay my own way :)

BlueHouse

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #62 on: March 13, 2015, 09:53:54 AM »
Hi Buckeye,
I commend you for taking so much criticism so graciously.  You obviously are looking for ways to improve your life's outlook.  I see a lot of similarity in my own experience.  I did a case study about one year ago and got a lot of good feedback, and also a few harsh (but true) criticisms. 
I make a good income, and have a house that is much larger than I need, but I love it too, and this is what I chose to make my priority right now. I also spend a lot on convenience items and gadgets.  Some people made the comment that they could retire in 1 or 2 years time if they had my income, and it's true.  Other made the comment that I could retire immediately, if I changed my lifestyle.  I don't really want to change my lifestyle THAT MUCH. 

Many MMM readers have "hair on fire" emergencies where they needed to cut a lot of expenses at once, and they had a great experience doing it.  My experience has been different.  I get a few good ideas and when I'm ready, I implement.  So far, most of my changes have no immediate impact, but as the years go by, I'll absorb more of them, or simply not experience MORE lifestyle inflation. 

For instance: 
*I'm not going to sell my house because I love living here and it gives me a number of benefits that cannot be counted in $$$. 
*I did cancel a few subscriptions that I can live without easily (XM radio, etc.)
*I buy fewer books in favor of using the library.
*I'm not selling my (paid off) semi-luxury car to get a cheaper one, but I will keep this one as long as possible. Based on comments here, I long for the day that I can get rid of it completely and drop insurance payments too.   
*I learned enough about credit card rewards programs that I FINALLY traded in my free Amex with 1-5% cashback to Blue Preferred and earned back the annual fee in the first month.  I may experiment with some others.   
*Learned more about retirement and investment strategies and I'm implementing some of the changes.

My point is that it's about progress, not perfection, so don't let the criticisms make you think this may not be the right place for you.  I've almost left the forums a few times, because my spending is quite embarrassing compared to others.  But I'm learning and reducing on my timeframe.

When I first joined the forums, my financial predictions told me I had to wait until 74 y.o before I could stop working.  I now know a number of ways to change that.  Today, without any drastic changes to my lifestyle, I have my retirement planned for age 60 (13 yrs from now).  Each day I look at it to see if there's something else I can cut or something else I can optimize to bring that number down lower. And I will. 

I think you're doing a great job so far and you have many years in the future where if you just avoid doing stupid things, you'll come out far ahead of most. 

Re: the Roth.  At your income, why a Roth instead of a traditional?  I don't pre-pay any taxes right now because income is at its peak. 

Good Luck Buckeye! 

jdrose

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2015, 10:28:57 AM »
I'm guessing you mean you cannot deduct IRA contributions because you are maxing out employer 401Ks.

Re: the Roth.  At your income, why a Roth instead of a traditional?  I don't pre-pay any taxes right now because income is at its peak. 

With OP and his wife's combined income, they cannot deduct traditional IRA contributions because they are covered by a workplace retirement plan and their modified AGI exceeds the IRS limit (for 2015, $118,000 if married filing jointly).  The lack of tax deductions for traditional IRA contributions is independent of whether OP and his wife max out their workplace retirement plan or not.

http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/2015-IRA-Deduction-Limits-Effect-of-Modified-AGI-on-Deduction-if-You-Are-Covered-by-a-Retirement-Plan-at-Work

Psychstache

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #64 on: March 13, 2015, 10:31:30 AM »
Thank you again for all of the suggestions, y'all are awesome.  I knew we had some work to do, and the constructive criticism is appreciated.  I started touching on a number of these items with my wife this morning.  It was a little bumpy, but I think she is open to the idea of making changes.  She loves the house (as do I) so I don't see her being willing to sell until the kids are gone or if we move out of the DFW area.  That being said, she agrees with aggressively paying down the mortgage to refinance.  I think we could get to 20% within a year and a half, two years tops, if we move our taxable investment savings each month to the mortgage and cut the travel budget some.  The travel budget was a hot topic.  She is concerned about surprise trips home and future big/expensive trips. I tried to explain that, other than Disney trips (which we are super excited about), we probably won't be going on expensive trips when the kids are really young.  The grocery expense was also not a great topic.  She immediately got defensive because she does 95% of the grocery shopping. Maybe I suggest that we do weekly shopping together rather than her buying groceries after work?

Would you suggest also moving the extra student loan payments to the mortgage in the short term? The mortgage has a slightly higher interest rate at this point?

The car suggestions are great, and we will definitely consider other options going forward.

If you have a Tom Thumb near you, then tend to be the best deal for most groceries (except Aldi, but you and your wife may not be ready for that kind of transition yet). If so, be sure to use their app to load relevant coupons onto your card for easy, instant savings:

http://www.safeway.com/ShopStores/Get-Connected-Mobile-Apps.page

Also, if you have a Sprouts near by, they are better, price-wise, for fruits and veggies generally. Wednesdays are usually the best days to go as both weekly sales are on Weds.

celticmyst08

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #65 on: March 13, 2015, 10:33:14 AM »
Your kids won't remember snot about Disney until they are 4-5 years or older. I wouldn't take them when they are 2.
Hey, I went to Disney Land when I was ~2 1/2 and I remember being terrified as my parents tried to get me to let Mickey Mouse hold me for a picture.....lol.

nobody123

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #66 on: March 13, 2015, 10:56:46 AM »
Hopefully it will be different with a toddler car seat, but there is no way I could drive with the infant car seat behind the driver's seat in either the Prius or the GrandAm.  But I'm absolutely open to other smaller options if they work.

As someone 6'2", I can't drive my Camry with a rear-facing car seat right behind me.  I need the seat all of the way back so my knees aren't hitting the dashboard, and the rear-facing seat we got required the seat to be moved about 1/3 of the way up.  My 5'6" wife had no issues.  A forward-facing seat was fine, until my kid realized how much fun it is to kick the back of my seat, but that will happen with any vehicle you drive.

Genevieve

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #67 on: March 13, 2015, 11:24:26 AM »
Hi Buckeye --

Congrats for taking steps to improve your finances. If you work through your expenses step by step, both you and your wife will be in a position to do what you want with your lives sooner rather than later.

I concur that you should get your phone/cable/internet bill under control ASAP. If sports are your only hang-up to ditching cable, check on the on-demand service Sling. It's $20 a month and they have ESPN.

Re: travel. I suggest you keep your eye out for the 50,000 frequent flier miles cards on Southwest. Get two of those in one person's name and spend $10,000 on the cards. If you get to 110,000 points, you'll earn the Southwest companion pass where your wife can fly for $5.60 for the year that you earn and it and the following year. Those points will pay for your flight for awhile, too. That should cover your domestic trips. Is your family not in the US? If so, optimize the points for international flights.

Go through your expenses one by one and figure out how to do the same thing -- or just about -- for less.

BlueHouse

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #68 on: March 13, 2015, 08:00:41 PM »

Re: the Roth.  At your income, why a Roth instead of a traditional?  I don't pre-pay any taxes right now because income is at its peak. 

With OP and his wife's combined income, they cannot deduct traditional IRA contributions because they are covered by a workplace retirement plan and their modified AGI exceeds the IRS limit (for 2015, $118,000 if married filing jointly).  The lack of tax deductions for traditional IRA contributions is independent of whether OP and his wife max out their workplace retirement plan or not.

http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/2015-IRA-Deduction-Limits-Effect-of-Modified-AGI-on-Deduction-if-You-Are-Covered-by-a-Retirement-Plan-at-Work
Thanks Jdrose. I keep forgetting that so many here are much younger than I am. At my advanced age ;) , I already have significant savings in a traditional, so if I open a Roth, all of the traditional gets treated as if I rolled it all over. And I don't want that tax event happening in my peak tax years. I have to keep reminding myself not to do a Roth but sometimes I forget why!  Point taken.

BCBiker

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #69 on: March 13, 2015, 08:39:07 PM »

Re: the Roth.  At your income, why a Roth instead of a traditional?  I don't pre-pay any taxes right now because income is at its peak. 

With OP and his wife's combined income, they cannot deduct traditional IRA contributions because they are covered by a workplace retirement plan and their modified AGI exceeds the IRS limit (for 2015, $118,000 if married filing jointly).  The lack of tax deductions for traditional IRA contributions is independent of whether OP and his wife max out their workplace retirement plan or not.

http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/2015-IRA-Deduction-Limits-Effect-of-Modified-AGI-on-Deduction-if-You-Are-Covered-by-a-Retirement-Plan-at-Work
Thanks Jdrose. I keep forgetting that so many here are much younger than I am. At my advanced age ;) , I already have significant savings in a traditional, so if I open a Roth, all of the traditional gets treated as if I rolled it all over. And I don't want that tax event happening in my peak tax years. I have to keep reminding myself not to do a Roth but sometimes I forget why!  Point taken.

Blue house: Maxing a Roth is not an either or compared to a traditional.  You can max out both - find the appropriate posts on whitecoatinvestor.com .  The reason to max a Roth via backdoor is because it is better than investing in a non-tax advantaged account (where the investments get taxed and therefore you have less money than you would otherwise). 

Also opening a Roth does not make it such that you have to roll your traditional into it.  You should probably do a little more research into this or find an hourly financial advisor to sort this all out. You are likely loosing thousands of dollars by not properly using tax-advantaged accounts in your favor so having someone sort this out for you would be well worth the money for advice.

You can have many many separate retirement accounts.  In order to properly do a back door, you have to have an empty IRA as to not accidentally mix money.

BlueHouse

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Re: Case Study Young family, conflicting goals
« Reply #70 on: March 14, 2015, 04:03:26 PM »
Also opening a Roth does not make it such that you have to roll your traditional into it.  You should probably do a little more research into this or find an hourly financial advisor to sort this all out. You are likely loosing thousands of dollars by not properly using tax-advantaged accounts in your favor so having someone sort this out for you would be well worth the money for advice.

You can have many many separate retirement accounts.  In order to properly do a back door, you have to have an empty IRA as to not accidentally mix money.

I'm going to open another thread on this topic to make sure I'm not losing out on opportunity.  I don't want to derail this thread.  Thanks for input.