Author Topic: Help! Financial Dilemma...  (Read 28281 times)

Rekon

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Help! Financial Dilemma...
« on: July 04, 2014, 06:19:52 PM »
Hello,

I'm a new member here... I would like some advise to increase my overall income and reduce my expenses. 

Age = 26
Location = Canoga Park, CA (Los Angeles county)
Occupations = Finance Assistant Manager... Wife is a Legal Secretary
Income = $58k/yr... Wife makes $28k/yr
Rent = $1,500/month
Debt = 2011 Acura TSX ($480/month at 3% APR -- 3 years left on loan) - 2013 Acura ILX ($280/month 36 mo. Lease -- 2 years left on lease)  I regret buying these cars
School = No student debt.  However, I went back to a state university to obtain my B.S. Finance degree.  I did this in hopes that having a degree would land me a higher paying job.  I did not get a student loan and I am paying this cash as I go.  $9k/yr + books. 
Assets = 401k account with $24k - Company offers 3% match.  Note:  They also offer share match program.  Where every company share you buy they give you one free.  I am thinking about putting my money in this.

My wife and I live exactly 10 miles away in opposite directions from our jobs. I purchased a $600 used road bike a few months ago and I have been riding to work 3-5 days a week.  I did this to get in shape but I also noticed how much I'm saving on gas!  My goal is to ride my bike to work every day and be car-less once my wife's lease is up.   

So, that's my financial story and here is my dilemma.  My wife and I would like to have a kid soon.  However, before we do so we would like to buy a house or condo.  Problem is we could only save approx. $1k/month comfortably with our current expenses.     

What can I do to increase income and lower expenses?

Should I look into trading in one of my cars?  Should I get a second job or start a side biz?  Is buying a property even worth it... should I just rent and invest?

^^ Obviously I'm a little confused about what to do.

Please help -- advise is appreciated!!


zataks

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2014, 06:31:11 PM »
Probably need to give a more detailed breakdown of your monthly expenses so we can see where your money is going and how/where you can reduce waste and expenditures.

You'll have to double check but I thought you could set up a 529 plan for yourself to pay for school.  Not sure all of the tax implications of this (I read this here or on /r/personalfinanace I think, so likely someone here will better explain) but I'd think you should be able to save some money that way.  Will work pay for/reimburse you for any schooling at all?  If you aren't in your final or maybe even penultimate year of the baccalaureate degree, consider taking whatever classes you can at the community or junior college.  CA is great for community colleges because they are so heavily subsidized you should be able to pay <$50/credit+books&fees. 

No idea what the LA county housing market is like but if it's anything like Bay area, on your income, unless you have a very healthy down payment, it may be difficult to find much of anything to purchase.  =\

Good job on riding your bike!  Can wifey start riding or taking public transport to get to work?  Does your work offer pretax commuter vouchers (commuter checks) or rideshare programs? 

You didn't buy the ILX, you're renting it.  If you're already comfortable riding, maybe see how much it would cost you to break the lease; with $6720 remaining in the lease term, I wouldn't be surprised if you can get away cheaper cutting your losses.

Another Reader

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2014, 06:47:37 PM »
You are in a very expensive area to buy.  With only $86k of household income and cash flowing a degree, you are not in a position to buy a house or even a condo.  You will have to rent until your income is much higher.  Renting gives you the flexibility to move to take a better job anyway.

The cars are poor uses of what limited funds you have as you have discovered.  You may be upside down on the purchase and it would be tough to get out of the lease unless someone wanted to assume it.  In your shoes, I would get rid of the one with the $480 payment as soon as I could.  The leased one can be replaced by a basic used car when the time comes.

An experienced legal secretary in the LA area should command a much higher salary.  Yes, there is a lot of excess capacity in the legal field, but $28k is about what local government agencies pay entry level clerical staff.  If I were her, I would be looking for a better paying job.  Preferably one with a strong benefit package to help with the children.

Can you get a second job if you are a finance manager?  Do you have a schedule that would allow that?

Are you settled in the LA area?  If not, moving to a less expensive area opens up more options, provided you both can find similar jobs.

Those are the things I would look at in your shoes.


viper155

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #3 on: July 04, 2014, 07:19:22 PM »
I would lose both cars. Those are killing you. Forget the stock purchase. That's too many eggs in one basket. One or both of you should pick up second jobs and save enough cash for a 20% down payment on a 15 year mortgage. Kids don't really get expensive till later in their lives.

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YoungInvestor

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #4 on: July 04, 2014, 08:04:04 PM »
Forget the stock purchase. That's too many eggs in one basket.

This stock purchase plan literally yields 100% automatically. If the company is even somewhat solid and you think the odds of it going down before the stock is yours (I'm guessing you can't just turn around and sell) is low, I'd go for it.

I know I took my employer's.

TomTX

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2014, 08:24:22 PM »
I would lose both cars. Those are killing you. Forget the stock purchase. That's too many eggs in one basket. One or both of you should pick up second jobs and save enough cash for a 20% down payment on a 15 year mortgage. Kids don't really get expensive till later in their lives.

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Unless sale is restricted, I'd go ahead with the plan. Buy shares, sell them immediately. Pocket it. A friend of mine has a company that offers shares at a 15% discount with no restriction on sale (there is a cap on how much you can buy each month, though.)

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2014, 12:52:37 PM »
Thank you everyone for the feedback so far!!  So, what i'm hearing is get rid of my cars and make more money...  I'm thinking of getting rid of the lease.  Also, I will probably look for a second job and help my wife get a better job or raise.  I agree that legal secretaries in LA should demand more.

Probably need to give a more detailed breakdown of your monthly expenses so we can see where your money is going and how/where you can reduce waste and expenditures.

Good job on riding your bike!  Can wifey start riding or taking public transport to get to work?  Does your work offer pretax commuter vouchers (commuter checks) or rideshare programs? 

You didn't buy the ILX, you're renting it.  If you're already comfortable riding, maybe see how much it would cost you to break the lease; with $6720 remaining in the lease term, I wouldn't be surprised if you can get away cheaper cutting your losses.

I'll provide a detailed breakdown of monthly expenses and provide details of breaking my lease shortly.

 

Unless sale is restricted, I'd go ahead with the plan. Buy shares, sell them immediately. Pocket it. A friend of mine has a company that offers shares at a 15% discount with no restriction on sale (there is a cap on how much you can buy each month, though.)

No ride share programs or commuter checks -- i wish!!
 


You are in a very expensive area to buy.  With only $86k of household income and cash flowing a degree, you are not in a position to buy a house or even a condo.  You will have to rent until your income is much higher.  Renting gives you the flexibility to move to take a better job anyway.

The cars are poor uses of what limited funds you have as you have discovered.  You may be upside down on the purchase and it would be tough to get out of the lease unless someone wanted to assume it.  In your shoes, I would get rid of the one with the $480 payment as soon as I could.  The leased one can be replaced by a basic used car when the time comes.

An experienced legal secretary in the LA area should command a much higher salary.  Yes, there is a lot of excess capacity in the legal field, but $28k is about what local government agencies pay entry level clerical staff.  If I were her, I would be looking for a better paying job.  Preferably one with a strong benefit package to help with the children.

Can you get a second job if you are a finance manager?  Do you have a schedule that would allow that?

Are you settled in the LA area?  If not, moving to a less expensive area opens up more options, provided you both can find similar jobs.

Those are the things I would look at in your shoes.


I could get a second job and work on the weekends and a few nights a week.  I would be trading my time for money at that point.

I'm not settled in the LA area I'm open to other areas such as Riverside.  I've looked into jobs out there but for the work I do pay starts around 40k and I would have to start over as an analyst.  I haven't looked into moving to another state.

I would lose both cars. Those are killing you. Forget the stock purchase. That's too many eggs in one basket. One or both of you should pick up second jobs and save enough cash for a 20% down payment on a 15 year mortgage. Kids don't really get expensive till later in their lives.

I cannot lose both cars.  I like to travel sometimes (e.g., san diego) and public transit would be hell.  I was thinking of losing one car - probably the lease since the financed car is almost paid off (15k left).  I agree about the 20% down.  I do NOT want to pay PMI.  :)

Forget the stock purchase. That's too many eggs in one basket.

This stock purchase plan literally yields 100% automatically. If the company is even somewhat solid and you think the odds of it going down before the stock is yours (I'm guessing you can't just turn around and sell) is low, I'd go for it.

I know I took my employer's.

My company offers a 15% discount, however there is a 3 year restriction.  So, If I sell the shares before 3 years... I only get back the the principle shares and I loose the shares the company bought for me. 

You'll have to double check but I thought you could set up a 529 plan for yourself to pay for school.  Not sure all of the tax implications of this (I read this here or on /r/personalfinanace I think, so likely someone here will better explain) but I'd think you should be able to save some money that way.  Will work pay for/reimburse you for any schooling at all?  If you aren't in your final or maybe even penultimate year of the baccalaureate degree, consider taking whatever classes you can at the community or junior college.  CA is great for community colleges because they are so heavily subsidized you should be able to pay <$50/credit+books&fees. 

I'll have to look into the 529 program.  I already maxed out my community college units.  I graduated last June and I have to transfer to get my bachelors degree.  I have 2 years left.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2014, 01:40:11 PM »
Here is a rough breakdown of my expenses (based on previous 3 months expenses using mint.com):

Total Monthly Income = $5,400   
Total Monthly Expenses = $3,620
Balance = $1,780

Note:  With the balance above I put $780 towards tuition and $1,000 towards savings.


MONTHLY EXPENSES   

Rent/mortgage = $1,500.00
Electric = $50.00
Cell phone = $100.00 (this includes 2 cell phones)
Groceries   = $400.00
Restaurants = $200.00 (this varies every month... $200 is on the higher side)
Car payment 2011 Acura TSX = $480.00
Car payment 2013 Acura ILX = $280.00
Auto Gas = $180.00
Student loans = $0.00
Credit cards = $0.00 (I refuse to carry CC debt)
Auto Insurance = $170.00
Personal care = $160.00 (this includes my hair cuts and wifes nails etc.)
Cable = $70.00
Internet = $30.00
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 01:42:54 PM by Rekon »

CDP45

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2014, 01:43:05 PM »
You need to sell both cars and get a used honda civic or something similar.
Your rent and just car payments are 31.5% of GROSS, not net, so those must be north of 40% of your take home pay, ouch. Could you write what your net take home pay is per month and all expenses?

Also you need to either get a higher paying job or move to a less expensive housing area. A $1500/mo 30yr PITI mortgage payment implies about a $300,000 house, and at 2.5x gross you'd only be able to afford a $215,000 house, so already you're overpaying, and with the kind of rent and car expenses you have currently, it will take like a decade or more for you to save up a 20% downpayment.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2014, 01:46:54 PM »
You need to sell both cars and get a used honda civic or something similar.
Your rent and just car payments are 31.5% of GROSS, not net, so those must be north of 40% of your take home pay, ouch. Could you write what your net take home pay is per month and all expenses?

Also you need to either get a higher paying job or move to a less expensive housing area. A $1500/mo 30yr PITI mortgage payment implies about a $300,000 house, and at 2.5x gross you'd only be able to afford a $215,000 house, so already you're overpaying, and with the kind of rent and car expenses you have currently, it will take like a decade or more for you to save up a 20% downpayment.

I just listed my net income and expenses above...

Where do you suggest I move to?  The main reason I haven't been actively looking for another job is because I don't have my B.S., degree yet and It's a little tough to market myself without one. 
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 01:56:24 PM by Rekon »

frugaliknowit

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2014, 01:57:29 PM »
Cut these two in half:

Restaurants = $200.00 (this varies every month... $200 is on the higher side)
Personal care = $160.00 (this includes my hair cuts and wifes nails etc.)

Get rid of this:

Cable = $70.00

Spudd

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2014, 02:00:44 PM »
I would do the following in your shoes:

1. Get rid of one of the cars. Having 2 Acuras at your income level is not sustainable. It sounds like you can get by with 1 car since you bike to work (and presumably you could take the bus if you were unable to bike for some reason).
2. Get rid of cable. Netflix/Hulu over the internet should provide you with enough entertainment options.
3. Take the company stock deal. 3 years is not crazy long, and if you can hang onto it for that long, you'll get a 100% payback which is amazing. If you have to sell it early you'll still get back whatever you put into it, hopefully (obviously, not if the stock goes down, so it's a risk.. but if you think you'll be there for 3 years then I'd do it for sure). \
4. Keep contributing as much as needed to the 401k to get the full company match.
5. Stay where you are till you finish your BA. Once you have that, then you can start job hunting around in lower cost of living areas.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2014, 02:10:06 PM »
I would do the following in your shoes:

1. Get rid of one of the cars. Having 2 Acuras at your income level is not sustainable. It sounds like you can get by with 1 car since you bike to work (and presumably you could take the bus if you were unable to bike for some reason).
2. Get rid of cable. Netflix/Hulu over the internet should provide you with enough entertainment options.
3. Take the company stock deal. 3 years is not crazy long, and if you can hang onto it for that long, you'll get a 100% payback which is amazing. If you have to sell it early you'll still get back whatever you put into it, hopefully (obviously, not if the stock goes down, so it's a risk.. but if you think you'll be there for 3 years then I'd do it for sure). \
4. Keep contributing as much as needed to the 401k to get the full company match.
5. Stay where you are till you finish your BA. Once you have that, then you can start job hunting around in lower cost of living areas.

Thanks!!  Cable is easy enough to get rid of and my wife currently uses her sister's Netflix account. :)

I will take on the company stock deal.  Stock has been historically increasing over the past 10 years.  How much do you think I should put in each month?

Totally agree about the 401k!  I'm currenly taking advantage of the match.  I contribute 6% into a Fidelity lifecycle fund and my company matches 3%.  That is the max match contribution...

Regarding the cars, which car do you suggest I get rid of?  I was thinking of getting rid of the ILX and keeping the TSX since it's a purchase and I would ride it until the wheels fall off!  Thoughts? 

frugaliknowit

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2014, 02:15:42 PM »
You say the ILX is on a lease, so you are stuck with that for now.  The TSX is not appropriate for your income, nor your goals, so sell it and buy a used civic or something like it.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2014, 02:18:01 PM »
You say the ILX is on a lease, so you are stuck with that for now.  The TSX is not appropriate for your income, nor your goals, so sell it and buy a used civic or something like it.

Hmm.. I was thinking about breaking the lease for the ILX.

MBot

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2014, 02:21:08 PM »
As far as the cars, get rid of the lease. Even if you break it you will not be spending that monthly payment anymore.

For the owned car, how much is it worth? It probably makes more sense to sell it and buy out the financing. Then with what's left over, get a used reliable car with the profit? Or even if you just break even, and save $480/mo for a reliable used car for a year.... With no car payment, you have 480 more a month in your pocket. (Edit: it's worth more than you still owe! Sell it and get a ten-year-old Civic instead or similar). Automatically you'll have that 480 a month!

Your job has a pretty decent salary.  Till you finish your degree, staying on the same area and finding a better job for your wife seems smart.

For food, try combining groceries and restaurants into one category and reducing the total to $450 or so. It will force you to think about reducing your grocery bill in order to have any money left to go out to eat. And if you overspend on restaurants you eat less fancy groceries for example. Later you can reduce this number even more

Does your place have a 2nd bedroom you could rent to offset some of the housing cost? Or a storage area/shed/locker you could rent? If not, is moving to a 2-3 bedroom and getting housemates feasible?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 02:29:12 PM by MBot »

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2014, 02:41:48 PM »
As far as the cars, get rid of the lease. Even if you break it you will not be spending that monthly payment anymore.

For the owned car, how much is it worth? It probably makes more sense to sell it and buy out the financing. Then with what's left over, get a used reliable car with the profit? Or even if you just break even, and save $480/mo for a reliable used car for a year.... With no car payment, you have 480 more a month in your pocket.

Your job has a pretty decent salary.  Till you finish your degree, staying on the same area and finding a better job for your wife seems smart.

Does your place have a 2nd bedroom you could rent to offset some of the housing cost? Or a storage area/shed/locker you could rent? If not, is moving to a 2-3 bedroom and getting housemates feasible?

According to KBB the 2011 TSX is worth $20,400.  I owe 16.8k left on my loan.  So I can feasibly pocket the difference. 

I tried calling Acura regarding the lease and inquire what the penalty is to break the contract.  Unfortunately, their lease dept. is closed.  So, I'll try again on Monday.

My place is a 2 bedroom (1,000 sq ft) condo that I'm renting.  Currently the spare room acts as storage for the bikes, room for my dog (small maltipoo), and a study room for me.  With that said, I'm not sure if we would feel comfortable having someone else living here.  We enjoy our privacy. :)

zataks

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2014, 02:49:18 PM »
Enjoy your privacy more than not having money?  I get it though, I don't care for roommates much either but maybe consider downsizing to a 1bedroom instead of getting a roomie?  Or just suck it up and get a roommate until you finish your degree?  This is probably the most reasonable compromise in that regard. 

CDP45

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2014, 02:49:36 PM »
How much longer until the degree? I wouldn't try to get a second job because you dont have any debt at this point, good work! I would double-down on the degree with your all your free time. You're doing good for 26, keep working hard.

Wife needs to find a better job, $13.50/hr in LA? Ouch. Could she babysit for a rich family during the day with like 2 kids? I bet that would clear $40k/yr.

Don't do the shared roommate thing, dangerous at worse, stressful at best. You don't have an income problem, you have a spending on cars problem.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2014, 03:01:46 PM »
Enjoy your privacy more than not having money?  I get it though, I don't care for roommates much either but maybe consider downsizing to a 1bedroom instead of getting a roomie?  Or just suck it up and get a roommate until you finish your degree?  This is probably the most reasonable compromise in that regard.

I don't want a roommate.  I got a pretty good deal in my area... decent 1 bedrooms are $1500+.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 03:17:44 PM by Rekon »

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2014, 03:09:26 PM »
How much longer until the degree? I wouldn't try to get a second job because you dont have any debt at this point, good work! I would double-down on the degree with your all your free time. You're doing good for 26, keep working hard.

Wife needs to find a better job, $13.50/hr in LA? Ouch. Could she babysit for a rich family during the day with like 2 kids? I bet that would clear $40k/yr.

Don't do the shared roommate thing, dangerous at worse, stressful at best. You don't have an income problem, you have a spending on cars problem.

Thanks!  I started my job at $30k when I was 21.  5 years later I was promoted to asst. manager.  I know managers make upwards of $85k.  My goal is to get there. 

2 more years until I get the degree.  So, it would cost me $18k'ish more to obtain.

I agree, I have a car spending problem - not a debt problem.  I was tempted taking on debt for school but I refused! :)  I will take your advise in knocking out my school work ASAP.

Regarding my wife's job... problem is my wife has experience with personal injury law and most PI attorney's don't pay their assistants them much.  $15/hr at most with no benefits.  She is studying for the NALA to get certified so she can market herself to other types of law firms (contracts, criminal etc.).

« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 03:12:05 PM by Rekon »

mm1970

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2014, 03:20:29 PM »
So, to put it in perspective, you wrote "$15k left, it's almost paid off" for the expensive car.

$15k is not almost paid off.  As a percentage of the purchase price, maybe.  But dollar value, no.  (For the record, the most I've ever spend on any car was $18k, for a new Honda Civic).

Break the lease, sell the car with the big payment, replace with a used smaller vehicle.  Civic.  Maybe a Matrix (the two cars we own).  Matrix has more space and gets better gas mileage for us.

I'd stay where you are renting, especially if you've been there awhile.  I'd suggest a 1BR, but often once you've been in a place, your rent hasn't gone up like market rents, and going to market is worse.

Otherwise, I'd aim for the following:
Cut out cable and replace with Netflix.
Cut down on personal care.  $160 for two people?  That's awfully high.  We spend way less than that for four people. 
Cut your eating out in half.

Do some research on salary.com on what your wife should be making, and have her go in armed with info on the next review.  I did that for my husband on his first review, and after the boss grumbled and suggested he look elsewhere - he slept on it overnight - and doubled the raise.  Sadly, it's never worked for me.  My bosses are either the go-getter types who treat their people well and pay them, or misers who say FU.  (Right now I'm looking for a new boss.)

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2014, 03:33:44 PM »
So, to put it in perspective, you wrote "$15k left, it's almost paid off" for the expensive car.

$15k is not almost paid off.  As a percentage of the purchase price, maybe.  But dollar value, no.  (For the record, the most I've ever spend on any car was $18k, for a new Honda Civic).

Break the lease, sell the car with the big payment, replace with a used smaller vehicle.  Civic.  Maybe a Matrix (the two cars we own).  Matrix has more space and gets better gas mileage for us.

I'd stay where you are renting, especially if you've been there awhile.  I'd suggest a 1BR, but often once you've been in a place, your rent hasn't gone up like market rents, and going to market is worse.

Otherwise, I'd aim for the following:
Cut out cable and replace with Netflix.
Cut down on personal care.  $160 for two people?  That's awfully high.  We spend way less than that for four people. 
Cut your eating out in half.

Do some research on salary.com on what your wife should be making, and have her go in armed with info on the next review.  I did that for my husband on his first review, and after the boss grumbled and suggested he look elsewhere - he slept on it overnight - and doubled the raise.  Sadly, it's never worked for me.  My bosses are either the go-getter types who treat their people well and pay them, or misers who say FU.  (Right now I'm looking for a new boss.)

I'll look into breaking the lease and selling the expensive car.  A 2006 civic is roughly 13k (I wonder if a dealer would buy back my two cars if I offered to buy a used one).

I tried the salary.com with my wife and her boss is a type who says FU.  However, this has worked for me many times!  I got 10% X 2 raises in the span of 6 months with this technique. 

We've been here for a while and the owner has never raised the rent.  The market is much higher now trust me I've looked.  Unless it's a 1 bedroom with roaches, no AC and a bad neighborhood -  there's nothing below $1,500 for a one bedroom.  I like being able to walk my dog at night and not having to worry.  :)

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2014, 03:45:37 PM »
What do you guys think about refinancing the TSX?  60 month term would be around $300 a month.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 04:20:10 PM by Rekon »

curler

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2014, 03:50:28 PM »
It looks like your wife is very underpaid.
Based on http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-5 over 90% of legal assistants/paralegals make more than she does.  If her boss wont give her a raise, she should look for another job.
Also, you spend over $1,000 each month on cars.  Refinancing them wont solve this problem, it only delays the solution.  Sell them now and buy something cheaper.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #25 on: July 05, 2014, 04:01:27 PM »
It looks like your wife is very underpaid.
Based on http://www.bls.gov/ooh/legal/paralegals-and-legal-assistants.htm#tab-5 over 90% of legal assistants/paralegals make more than she does.  If her boss wont give her a raise, she should look for another job.
Also, you spend over $1,000 each month on cars.  Refinancing them wont solve this problem, it only delays the solution.  Sell them now and buy something cheaper.

Thanks!  I will job hunt with her ASAP!

Re: the cars what do you suggest I buy?  I agree refinancing would delay the problem but what's the difference between buying a 15k civic vs. refinance my 15k balance?  The payments would be about the same.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #26 on: July 05, 2014, 04:14:26 PM »
It would cost me $1,602.77 in total to refinance the expensive car (TSX).  But I would have more $ left over each month that I can save towards a down payment and/or invest.  Thoughts? 

Refinancing into a 60 month term:

New monthly payment: $
314.71
Monthly savings: $
165.29
Difference in interest: $
-1602.77
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 04:21:53 PM by Rekon »

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #27 on: July 05, 2014, 04:22:48 PM »
I'm psyched that you're so willing to break that lease, sell your $20k car and buy something less expensive and more efficient. You will find that there are lots of great cars out there under $10k. For the best deal, buy off of craigslist and don't be afraid to make the deal contingent upon a mechanic's inspection. Dealerships are the most expensive places to buy cars.

As for what car to buy? Check out MMM's post on cars under $10k. I did a quick search but couldn't find it. I'm pretty sure he wrote it within the last year. The Civic that you saw listed for $13k at a dealership might be $10k or less from a private party seller.

After selling your Acura, how much cash could you put down on a new-to-you car?

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #28 on: July 05, 2014, 04:24:26 PM »
It would cost me $1,602.77 in total to refinance the expensive car (TSX).  But I would have more $ left over each month that I can save towards a down payment and/or invest.  Thoughts? 

Refinancing into a 60 month term:

New monthly payment: $
314.71
Monthly savings: $
165.29
Difference in interest: $
-1602.77

How much time do you have left on your current loan term? Refinancing and starting the clock on 60 months of payments for a 2011 car doesn't seem so wise to me, even if it marginally lowers your payments.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #29 on: July 05, 2014, 04:26:36 PM »
I'm psyched that you're so willing to break that lease, sell your $20k car and buy something less expensive and more efficient. You will find that there are lots of great cars out there under $10k. For the best deal, buy off of craigslist and don't be afraid to make the deal contingent upon a mechanic's inspection. Dealerships are the most expensive places to buy cars.

As for what car to buy? Check out MMM's post on cars under $10k. I did a quick search but couldn't find it. I'm pretty sure he wrote it within the last year. The Civic that you saw listed for $13k at a dealership might be $10k or less from a private party seller.

After selling your Acura, how much cash could you put down on a new-to-you car?

Thanks I should be able to profit 3-4k from the Acura. 

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #30 on: July 05, 2014, 04:27:15 PM »
It would cost me $1,602.77 in total to refinance the expensive car (TSX).  But I would have more $ left over each month that I can save towards a down payment and/or invest.  Thoughts? 

Refinancing into a 60 month term:

New monthly payment: $
314.71
Monthly savings: $
165.29
Difference in interest: $
-1602.77

How much time do you have left on your current loan term? Refinancing and starting the clock on 60 months of payments for a 2011 car doesn't seem so wise to me, even if it marginally lowers your payments.

35 months left on current loan term...

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #31 on: July 05, 2014, 04:30:37 PM »
As for your wife's salary -- just because she has experience in PI doesn't mean that it can't translate into other legal fields. PI is litigation-heavy, so I'm guessing she's familiar with a lot of the court documents and the court systems involved in PI. She could go into corporate litigation, which should have more financial stability for the lawyers involved, and therefore higher salaries.

Other stable areas are trusts and estates and corporate transactional law. They require similar skill sets -- attention to detail, using document templates and modifying them for special situations, etc. But they would require some new substantive knowledge because they don't involve litigation.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2014, 04:31:48 PM »
It would cost me $1,602.77 in total to refinance the expensive car (TSX).  But I would have more $ left over each month that I can save towards a down payment and/or invest.  Thoughts? 

Refinancing into a 60 month term:

New monthly payment: $
314.71
Monthly savings: $
165.29
Difference in interest: $
-1602.77

How much time do you have left on your current loan term? Refinancing and starting the clock on 60 months of payments for a 2011 car doesn't seem so wise to me, even if it marginally lowers your payments.

35 months left on current loan term...

Does your savings analysis take that into account? Or would you only be saving $165/mo for the 35 months left on your current loan?

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #33 on: July 05, 2014, 04:45:34 PM »
It would cost me $1,602.77 in total to refinance the expensive car (TSX).  But I would have more $ left over each month that I can save towards a down payment and/or invest.  Thoughts? 

Refinancing into a 60 month term:

New monthly payment: $
314.71
Monthly savings: $
165.29
Difference in interest: $
-1602.77

How much time do you have left on your current loan term? Refinancing and starting the clock on 60 months of payments for a 2011 car doesn't seem so wise to me, even if it marginally lowers your payments.

35 months left on current loan term...

Does your savings analysis take that into account? Or would you only be saving $165/mo for the 35 months left on your current loan?

Yes, i'm taking remaining term into account.
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 07:49:37 PM by Rekon »

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #34 on: July 05, 2014, 10:22:40 PM »
In summary, I am considering the following:
  • Get rid of our leased car and cancel our cable service
  • Cut down on restaurant and personal care expenses
  • Get wife a higher paying job

Estimated Savings Breakdown:

Lease Payment ILX:  $280
Gas for ILX: $100
Auto Insurance for ILX:  $80
Cable: $70
Restaurants: $100
Personal Care $60

This sums up to approx. $690 in savings.  Note:  this excludes any savings from auto registration and auto maintenance.

So, by doing this I would be able to save a total of $1690. (this includes paying tuition expenses cash)

Now when my wife gets a higher paying job... I estimate she would make at least $16/hr. which translates into an extra $400 a month and would put us at $2080 in monthly savings. 

With that said, once I finish college in 2 years we would be able to save $2,780 a month. 

With that said, my goal is to reach $60,000 in savings (20% down payment for a $300,000 house) and I believe the following will help:

  • Remedy 1 - getting rid of lease and expenses ($1690 monthly savings):  achieve goal in 36 months
  • Remedy 2 - apply remedy 1 + get wife a higher paying job ($2080 monthly savings):  achieve goal in 29 months
I'm still not convinced on getting rid of the TSX... Can someone show me on how I would save money by getting rid of my TSX and still have a very reliable car?  My car is a 2011 and has 23k miles.  I'm paying a $480/month payment and I have 35 months left to go.  If I buy a cheaper car I fear the risk of it breaking down and having problems.  I understand buying a cheap used car could us save money but this shit has to be reliable since it's going to be our only car! ;)
« Last Edit: July 05, 2014, 10:25:32 PM by Rekon »

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2014, 07:37:25 AM »

I'm still not convinced on getting rid of the TSX... Can someone show me on how I would save money by getting rid of my TSX and still have a very reliable car?  My car is a 2011 and has 23k miles.  I'm paying a $480/month payment and I have 35 months left to go.  If I buy a cheaper car I fear the risk of it breaking down and having problems.  I understand buying a cheap used car could us save money but this shit has to be reliable since it's going to be our only car! ;)

Like others posted, I'm glad you're so willing to change. I have seen many threads get to a few pages before the original poster gives in to the suggestion of getting rid of a lease. Getting rid of an expensive car that has payments is next-toughest nut to crack :)

Here's how it will save you money to downgrade to a used car under $10k:
  • Save money on insurance -- because it's a less expensive car, your insurance goes done. If you pay cash for it, you will not need to have a hefty collision policy on it (as required by the loan company).
  • Save money on the interest you're paying on the loan (here, I guesstimate that's around $800 over 2 years)
  • You have the room in your expenses to pay $480/mo on your car loan, so that means instead of paying the loan, you can put that monthly payment into savings. If you put it into savings to replace what you paid for the car (presumably, $6k after you sell your current car), you will replace it after a year -- and sooner if you put your insurance savings into your account as well. So, that entire amount you would have spent on your car loan during the 13th - 25th month is completely banked.

I think it's pretty common to be wary of buying a cheaper used car, but you will find that there are a lot of reliable, used cars out there. We bought our Prius at 3 years old for $12k and have been driving it for almost 4 years with no problems that weren't regular maintenance or caused by my bad driving! ::knock on wood:: I bought our 1999 Corolla used in 2003 and it has over 150k miles on it now. We've spent no more than $2k over the life of the car on maintenance issues unrelated to the expected costs of new brakes and tires, etc. ::knock on wood::

So, if you think about how much you'll save during the second year ($6k+), I doubt that a reliable used car will cost you that much in maintenance. If you drive an Acura now, I'm going to guess that you'll be comfortable with the reliability of a Honda or maybe even a Toyota? In my experience, they are good investments.

Grab a free 14-day trial to Consumer Reports online and see what cars you can find for under $10k (or whatever your cash budget may be) and assess their reliability. You might be surprised with the results. And, unless you're comfortable with some serious negotiation, I would avoid buying used at a dealership and I would absolutely avoid trading in your car there as part of the sale.

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2014, 07:43:04 AM »
I'm sorry for monopolizing your thread, but I just want to add that we rent and we have a 4-year-old. We haven't been in a good enough financial position to buy, and until he goes to kindergarten next year, we don't feel a need to rent in a town that has good school districts. But, we plan to move to a better school district next year -- and that's when we may plunk the money down on a house if we can't find a rental we like.

Buying a house is a huge commitment, and you can never change the location, so try to avoid buying something just because you feel it's "the thing to do" before having a child. At this point (22 weeks pregnant), my mom is telling me that "the thing to do" is to let each kid have their own rooms. But really, I know plenty of well-adjusted people who shared rooms with their brother/sister; so that's what we're going to do for now. It's hard to buck expectations, but when you crunch the numbers sometimes it's what's best for your family.

CDP45

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2014, 10:06:20 AM »
You already drive a used honda, just get a simpler version such as a civic. Sell your cars on craigslist, don't get scammed by dealers trading it in, they will not give you a deal.

You can trust the reliability of honda, Toyota, and nissan. I could go into the details and costs of auto repair what if scenarios, but you'll be just fine. Find a pre-purchase inspection mechanic to do a thorough examination and you'll be set. Civic, carolla, or sentra, take your pick.

As for my personal experience I have only owned nissans for the past 15 years, and we also have a CRV with 90k miles, running strong.

Chrissy

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2014, 10:43:54 AM »
What about the cell phones?  What service do you have?  Your bill isn't outrageous, but a lot of people on the forum are doing much better than $50 per phone.  Have you looked into Republic Wireless, AirVoice, Page Plus, Ting?

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2014, 10:57:36 AM »
Thank you everyone for all of the feedback!!  Re: selling the TSX, it's still a little hard to justify...  I've found a few priuses for sale on craigslist under or about 10k.  However, these cars have well over 100k miles!  Keep in mind my acura may be 5k more expensive but it only has 24k miles!!! TBH selling the TSX doesn't make sense to me.

You are doing great, and I love your openness to change. 

I just wanted to chime in, kids can be very expensive.  I've got a 1 year old and we are going to be paying more than $10,000 this year between the kid's medical expenses and daycare (wife and I both work FT), and that's not unusual.   We don't spend money on toys or fancy clothes (we get hand-me-downs), and we're still talking 10,000/yr.  So please keep that in mind. 

Also, don't rush on the house, particularly as you're still building your income streams and lowering your expenses.  The flexibility you enjoy as a renter is one of the things you won't fully appreciate until you're locked into a home.  I remember my wife wanted to purchase a home because she wanted more room for the kid.  Keep in mind you don't really need room, kids are tiny people.  If you REALLY want need more room, consider renting a house.  Remember that when you purchase a house, a huge chunk of your money goes POOF and it can take a helluva long time to build that savings back up, particularly if your revenue streams haven't yet matured.

Thank you for your feedback!  I kind of had a "WTF really!?" face when another person on here said kids are not expensive until they get older.  We both work FT as well and we would also need to find a daycare.  Plus all other misc. expenses.  It adds up!!!

Re: the house, thank you for your advise.  We would keep living in our apt as long as possible to continue saving money.  Ideally we would love to find a house outside of LA (i.e. Riverside) that's pretty new and in decent districts.  We don't see the value of houses in LA!  They are generally old (built in the 70s or 80s) and small.  In order to get something decent in LA it would cost upwards of half a million!

So, in order to do buy a house in Riverside, my wife and I would have to find jobs in Riverside (obviously).  But I would need to stay put and get my degree before we move so I can maximize my options.  From my experience employers take advantage and low-ball people without a degree.   

« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 11:42:11 AM by Rekon »

MBot

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2014, 11:21:18 AM »
Do you have dedicated or underground parking at all? I used to get $100/mo for renting out my underground parking spot in a suburb. Once you get rid of the second car that could be a painless income boost. Much more painless than renting out a bedroom.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2014, 11:41:03 AM »
Do you have dedicated or underground parking at all? I used to get $100/mo for renting out my underground parking spot in a suburb. Once you get rid of the second car that could be a painless income boost. Much more painless than renting out a bedroom.

Agreed!  I'm going to call Acura's lease dept. first thing Monday morning.  I wonder what the penalty fee is going to be...

Yes, I have dedicated underground parking.  Not a bad idea.  I'll look into renting it out.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 12:17:29 PM by Rekon »

CDP45

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #42 on: July 06, 2014, 01:20:29 PM »
Thank you everyone for all of the feedback!!  Re: selling the TSX, it's still a little hard to justify...  I've found a few priuses for sale on craigslist under or about 10k.  However, these cars have well over 100k miles!  Keep in mind my acura may be 5k more expensive but it only has 24k miles!!! TBH selling the TSX doesn't make sense to me.

You're still PAYING for a $34,560 TSX even though it's currently worth $20,000. It's good you're not underwater on it but you really can't afford it.

Here:
2012 Honda Civic LX - $13,999 - 24,000 miles
Permalink: http://cargur.us/1hYk0

2012 Honda Civic LX - $13,900 - 30,440 miles
Permalink: http://cargur.us/1lXt4

You can do it man!! These are practically brand new! Newer than what you're driving, amazingly luxurious autos.  (PS the TSX is an Accord, ILX is a Civic).

WiseGuy

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #43 on: July 06, 2014, 08:35:54 PM »
I'm still not convinced on getting rid of the TSX... Can someone show me on how I would save money by getting rid of my TSX and still have a very reliable car?  My car is a 2011 and has 23k miles.  I'm paying a $480/month payment and I have 35 months left to go.  If I buy a cheaper car I fear the risk of it breaking down and having problems.  I understand buying a cheap used car could us save money but this shit has to be reliable since it's going to be our only car! ;)

I think it's possible to be a reliable car for $2000-3000.  You just need to know how to buy a good used car.  I bought an old miata a while back, and paid $1600.  I replaced the top and the clutch for $500 and it ran like a new car.

There are some sites/blogs that describe how to buy a good used car and I'd suggest researching it.

I basically would scour Craiglist and had a few reliable brands in mind.  I'd look for one owner cars with good maintenance records.  I'd go test drive the car and always, always, always take it to a mechanic for a pre-purchase checkup.  I might call up 100-200 owners over several weeks, test drive about 20-25 cars, before finding the "one."

Overall though, I think that you could focus on increasing you income, and that might mean looking for a new job or new career path.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 08:37:39 PM by WiseGuy »

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #44 on: July 07, 2014, 10:16:48 AM »
Thank you everyone for all of the feedback!!  Re: selling the TSX, it's still a little hard to justify...  I've found a few priuses for sale on craigslist under or about 10k.  However, these cars have well over 100k miles!  Keep in mind my acura may be 5k more expensive but it only has 24k miles!!! TBH selling the TSX doesn't make sense to me.

You're still PAYING for a $34,560 TSX even though it's currently worth $20,000. It's good you're not underwater on it but you really can't afford it.

Here:
2012 Honda Civic LX - $13,999 - 24,000 miles
Permalink: http://cargur.us/1hYk0

2012 Honda Civic LX - $13,900 - 30,440 miles
Permalink: http://cargur.us/1lXt4

You can do it man!! These are practically brand new! Newer than what you're driving, amazingly luxurious autos.  (PS the TSX is an Accord, ILX is a Civic).

So, if I understand correctly, below is how much I would save by selling my tsx and buying a civic. 

2011 acura tsx value = $20000
2011 acura tsx debt   = $15000
   
Net profit of sale = $5000
   
2012 honda civic purchase = $13000
   
cost to keep acura = $15000 (across 35 payments)
cost to buy honda = $8000 (upfront cost)
   
Net Savings over 3 years to sell tsx and buy civic = $7000

With that said, buying the civic is an upfront cost and the acura would be spread across 35 months.  I'm assuming 7k is enough evidence that I should do the transaction above.  However, should I consider present and future value of paying it upfront vs. over a period time? 

Edit:  Nevermind if I take future value of 15k into account, selling the TSX would yield a greater savings!  ;) 
« Last Edit: July 07, 2014, 10:50:39 AM by Rekon »

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2014, 07:54:50 PM »

So, if I understand correctly, below is how much I would save by selling my tsx and buying a civic. 

2011 acura tsx value = $20000
2011 acura tsx debt   = $15000
   
Net profit of sale = $5000
   
2012 honda civic purchase = $13000
   
cost to keep acura = $15000 (across 35 payments)
cost to buy honda = $8000 (upfront cost)
   
Net Savings over 3 years to sell tsx and buy civic = $7000

With that said, buying the civic is an upfront cost and the acura would be spread across 35 months.  I'm assuming 7k is enough evidence that I should do the transaction above.  However, should I consider present and future value of paying it upfront vs. over a period time? 

Edit:  Nevermind if I take future value of 15k into account, selling the TSX would yield a greater savings!  ;)

The flaw in your analysis is that you are saying you're paying $15,000 over 35 payments. But that's just the principal that you owe. Your actual cost to pay over 35 months is higher -- depends on your interest rate. PLUS you are paying more for your insurance (you need to have collision if you have lien on your car).

CDP45

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2014, 10:52:23 PM »

So, if I understand correctly, below is how much I would save by selling my tsx and buying a civic. 

2011 acura tsx value = $20000
2011 acura tsx debt   = $15000
   
Net profit of sale = $5000
   
2012 honda civic purchase = $13000
   
cost to keep acura = $15000 (across 35 payments)
cost to buy honda = $8000 (upfront cost)
   
Net Savings over 3 years to sell tsx and buy civic = $7000

With that said, buying the civic is an upfront cost and the acura would be spread across 35 months.  I'm assuming 7k is enough evidence that I should do the transaction above.  However, should I consider present and future value of paying it upfront vs. over a period time? 

Edit:  Nevermind if I take future value of 15k into account, selling the TSX would yield a greater savings!  ;)

The flaw in your analysis is that you are saying you're paying $15,000 over 35 payments. But that's just the principal that you owe. Your actual cost to pay over 35 months is higher -- depends on your interest rate. PLUS you are paying more for your insurance (you need to have collision if you have lien on your car).

You're incorrect, most consumer loans are fully amortized with interest included in the payment.

Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2014, 11:15:43 PM »

So, if I understand correctly, below is how much I would save by selling my tsx and buying a civic. 

2011 acura tsx value = $20000
2011 acura tsx debt   = $15000
   
Net profit of sale = $5000
   
2012 honda civic purchase = $13000
   
cost to keep acura = $15000 (across 35 payments)
cost to buy honda = $8000 (upfront cost)
   
Net Savings over 3 years to sell tsx and buy civic = $7000

With that said, buying the civic is an upfront cost and the acura would be spread across 35 months.  I'm assuming 7k is enough evidence that I should do the transaction above.  However, should I consider present and future value of paying it upfront vs. over a period time? 

Edit:  Nevermind if I take future value of 15k into account, selling the TSX would yield a greater savings!  ;)

The flaw in your analysis is that you are saying you're paying $15,000 over 35 payments. But that's just the principal that you owe. Your actual cost to pay over 35 months is higher -- depends on your interest rate. PLUS you are paying more for your insurance (you need to have collision if you have lien on your car).

You're incorrect, most consumer loans are fully amortized with interest included in the payment.

yep!  My loan is fully amortized. Whether I pay it now or in 3 years same P&I due.

hexdexorex

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2014, 11:34:38 PM »
2012 civic isn't their best....really cheap interior...consumer reports didn't even recommend it


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Rekon

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Re: Help! Financial Dilemma...
« Reply #49 on: July 09, 2014, 11:48:29 PM »
2012 civic isn't their best....really cheap interior...consumer reports didn't even recommend it


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that's the main reason why I went with Acura everything felt a lot better.  Also resell value holds up well..