Author Topic: Tripled my income.....now what?  (Read 8694 times)

LateBloomer

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Tripled my income.....now what?
« on: July 31, 2013, 09:03:34 PM »
Hi,

I will make this as short as possible, but the tale needs telling so that you will understand the type of help I am looking for.

Last September I left a job I had been at for 10 years. When I left, I was making less than $14 per hour. I moved across country, alone, from Western Colorado to Boston for a temporary six month job that would pay me $25 per hour. When that six month job ended I found a similar job, within two weeks, that I was offered based on the experience I had just received, for $45 per hour.

My children are grown and have families of their own in Colorado. I was on my own and when the opportunity came my way, I jumped on it. I just believed so very much that I could do better if given the opportunity and this seemed to be my chance. I had never been east of the Mississippi River. I jettisoned most of my belongings, packed my clothing and a few mementos in the back of my *saved up and paid cash for used 10 year old Jeep Liberty and drove 2200 miles in 3 days to start the first day of my new job. I knew I didn't have enough money to stretch until my first payday, so I slept some in my car and some in Motel 6 until I started getting paid.

For the past 20+ years, it was just myself and my two kids from the time they were toddlers, so I can stretch a dollar and pinch a penny like nobody's business. I know how to have a nice happy life with no money. I have no idea what to do WITH money. I have not changed the way I live at all. I still do not have a television, I still have my Virgin Mobile unlimited everything prepaid phone, I have not splurged on clothing or jewelry. The one thing that I have gone way overboard on is eating out. I did some soul searching about it. I was wondering..do I go out to eat so much because I'm lonely? because I miss my family? do I need to socialize more? After much thought, I realized I pretty much do it because I'm lazy when it comes to cooking. So, obviously, that needs to be corrected.

Monthly Bills - $2214 ($800 of that from eating out...I know, I know, I'm disgusted too.)
Monthly take home - $4600 (after taxes and insurance)
Debt - $0
Assets- nothing but my smile
Monthly money to invest for retirement - $2346

My thought is that if MMM can teach folks to retire early....in 10 years or less time. I should be able to retire at normal retirement age of 63 or so. I'm 52 now. My previous retirement plan was to get the biggest and best box I could find for under the bridge. I'm hoping to do better now.

I have read read read read read every entry in MMM's blog in addition to other FI blogs and books on investing. What I would really like is for someone to help me understand what I do next? What should be the first step with my new income?

I'm happy to give more specifics if needed.

I also want to say how thrilled I was to find this blog and forum. This is my path. This is my future. I am excited!

I am grateful for any assistance or advice.

Late Bloomer

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2013, 09:35:21 PM »
Is this job permanent?  Are you a W2 employee?  Does the company offer any benefits?

You need health insurance of some kind and a place for your retirement funds.  If you are a permanent W2 employee, are you eligible for a 401k and health insurance through the company?

If not, you need to look at your retirement account options.  A Roth IRA will be helpful to start, $5,500 per year if you are under 50, $6,000 if you are over 50.  The simplest way to do this would be to open an account at Vanguard or Fidelity and invest either in index funds or a target date retirement fund.  Massachusetts has Romneycare, which will be swapped out for Obamacare in January.   If your employer does not provide insurance, I would look at the various options and select something affordable.

If the job is short term, I would keep my eye out for a permanent job in a similar field with some benefits.  In the meantime, I would bulk up my regular savings.

Congratulations on having taken a risk and succeeded! Tripling your income the way you did is an amazing accomplishment!


Emg03063

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2013, 09:39:56 PM »
Congrats on tripling your income!  My first advice would be to save up 3-6 months of living expenses in cash.  You never know what kind of emergencies life will throw your way, and having some emergency savings to deal with it is always a good idea.  On the expense side, if you've read the article on shockingly simple math, you should know that a 50% savings rate is not going to allow you to retire in 11 years (unless you're factoring in some social security to supplement your savings).  You've identified an issue with your eating out, which is good.  I would suggest you make a realistic estimate of what you can expect to get from social security (their website has an estimator), and then develop a plan for yourself that closes.  That will tell you the savings rate you need to be at.  Good luck!

mikefixac

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2013, 11:30:06 PM »
Congrats Mr Bloomer. Sounds like you'll do just fine.

I started my own business 25 years ago and was so po, I couldn't afford the or. Yep, I made that one up myself.

Anyway, once I had money, I started to eat. Buffets weren't popular back then, but they were around. I would eat so much it hurt.

And Boston has the greatest steak subs in the world. Man, I'd give anything for a steak sub from Boston.

Excuse me while a book a flight.

MissStache

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2013, 08:45:39 AM »
Congratuations on your new job!

I used to live in Boston, so I know the temptation to eat out there is strong.  So many good restaurants and seafood and Italian food in the North End and classic pubs and...

Whew. I need to stop for a moment!

Anyway- congratulations on not falling victim to lifestyle creep with your newfound riches.  You have a lot to invest and can have even more if you get that CRAZAY eating out budget under control. 

I'm also curious about what benefits, if any, are available from your employer. 

corelli

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2013, 09:28:59 AM »
As for addressing the loneliness part of this post.... I hear ya. I moved to Boston 6 years ago and found it to be a very lonely city at first. I was always very social back home and found myself having dinner with friends (at home, on the cheap) and enjoying the outdoors. I found myself in a new city and knew virtually no one... which got me going out a lot and spending a lot of money (especially at bars) and traveling back home often.

I got passed that by forcing myself to get out more a bit and found plenty of cheap things to do around the city. Cambridge and Somerville have plenty of outdoor movie nights (Clover Food Labs hosts them all the time, and the Esplanade has stuff like this too). I was also really lazy with cooking, and living alone made that even more difficult. My solution was to find a friend to cook with and maybe trade nights. Also cook enough to bring it to work with you the next day. I know some offices where it is the norm for everyone to go out and grab lunch, and its very socially rewarding.. BUT one thing I did to combat this was just start "eat-in" days here at work. People bring in food from home and we have a little buffet maybe one or two days a week. It was hugely successful and people really look forward to it.

Congrats on your new job (I must admit I'm totally curious as to what it is...) and good luck. Just put yourself out there, talk to people (even people on the T) and trust me you'll have way funnier/better days and crazy stories.


Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2013, 11:17:53 AM »
Max the 401K and the Roth IRA.  Then use the rest for taxable investments.

aj_yooper

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2013, 11:18:03 AM »
Way to go, Latebloomer!  This blog has the most amazing people!

You show amazing courage and strength to get to where you are.  Tripling your income!  Going from temp to a more regular job, having great prior saving skills, and appreciation of MMM concepts!  You must be a very good employee.

Find out about the company benefits like health insurance (Romneycare will help you), 401k, and further education to improve your job skills.  Set aside a big chunk in savings, say 4-6 months worth, to provide security to yourself.  You might even have that already?  If your company has a 401k and a match, contribute to catch the match; if they match your contributions, say to 6%, then contribute 6%.  Then, setup a Roth IRA; you are over 50, so you can add $6,500.  Personally, in your situation, if there is no match on the 401k, I would do the Roth IRA first as it helps you be more liquid.  I use Vanguard because they have a wide variety of lower cost index funds; I would recommend the Total Stock Market Index as your starter fund.  Of course, knock off the restaurants, except the North End stuff, heh, heh. 

As noted, check out the Social Security website (http://www.ssa.gov/pgm/retirement.htm) and see what your benefit would be in various scenarios-@62, 65,70-to see where you are at.  With a higher paying job now, the SS benefits could improve in 10+ years so that could help you out too. 

The FI chart suggests you would need to be at a 65% savings rate to get to FI, but that is not counting SS benefits.  Some decide to take the benefits later, say 67 or 70 to build up the payments, but that depends on your personal situation-health, other assets, love/hate job.  Your full SS retirement age is probably 67;at 62, you would get 70% of your full benefit.  After your full retirement age, you get about an 8% benefit increase up to age 70.  You could also do a straddle and work part-time and then ease into not working at all.

I would say you are on your way, especially given your frugality skills and pluck in improving your income. 

Welcome to the forum.  You can help a lot of people!




LateBloomer

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2013, 04:22:58 PM »
Thank you so very much for the advice and interest!

To answer a couple of questions...

I am a contracted W2 employee with health care benefits thru my job. At this point I expect to be hired on as a regular employee in December. That could, of course, change. There does appear to be plenty of job activity in my field, so I feel confident I can get a similar job if necessary. I will not be able to participate in the company 401k program until I am hired outright.

I am not going to count on Social Security. We'll just consider that a bonus when the time comes. After reading the comments, I think I will re-jig my budget, obviously cut out the restaurant thing, but hopefully tighten up some other areas, as well, so that I can get to the 65% savings point. I also have a goal of setting up two additional income streams within 6 months.

My first step is to set back 4 months of expenses in my emergency account.
Secondly, open a Vanguard IRA before the end of the year. I hope to contribute as much as allowed, we'll see if I can swing it.
This weekend, I'll make a grocery list and head to the store. I'm starting my mental exercises now to psych myself up for cooking. Actually, once I start, I will enjoy it again, I'm sure.

The advice and comments about living in Boston were both helpful and encouraging. I think I was really needing the positive reinforcement. This blog truly does have amazing people!

As for my job...I didn't mean to make it sound mysterious. I was just trying to not write too much. I am a Technical Project Manager. I came by this quite accidental. My long term job in Colorado was in a technical area. I had no experience and was entry level, but it did give me the opportunity to remotely work with a couple of great folks from a company based in the Boston area. One of these great folks reached out to me several years after we had worked together. He had moved on to a different company, still in Boston, and had this position available on a large project his company was starting. This gentleman was a pay it forward kind of guy and he thought I could do the job well and get my foot in the door of a profession that he felt I was naturally good at and would change my life. He was right about the changing my life part, for sure. There will never be enough words of gratitude for his kindness.

Once I get my emergency fund and IRA set up, I'll be asking, "what next?". Your guidance is invaluable.

I guess the last thing is I'm not a Mr. Bloomer, I'm a Ms. Bloomer. :)

Thanks again!

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2013, 10:26:28 AM »
Great job LB! Very impressive!

As someone in the Boston area, I want to say that I know it can be tough to meet people. Personally, I've had great luck with meetup.com. Not all groups are right for everyone, but I think it's worth trying several of them until you find the one that's right for you. I've made some really great friends through those groups.

Also, there's going to be an MMM Boston-area meetup in a couple of weeks, so you should check out that page: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/meetups-and-social-events/boston/50/

Maybe I'll see you there?

macky

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2013, 10:56:43 AM »
good going, as others have said, cutting your living costs is more powerful than increasing income because they last a lifetime. on cooking the best advice for a lazy chef(I am myself) is batch cooking, be it curry, Bolognese, whatever you like, and quick reciepes, steak and salad(10 mins), breakfast is good anytime of day.

Zaga

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2013, 11:10:31 AM »
Awesome job!  Remember that you have until April 15 to contribute to your Roth for this year, that should give you plenty of time to max it out!

seattlecyclone

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2013, 12:21:09 PM »
Do you plan to retire in Boston? If so, I would recommend saving for a down payment on a home as one of your first priorities after building an emergency fund and maxing out your tax-advantaged retirement accounts. Interest rates and house prices probably won't be getting much lower in the near future, so the sooner you can get this done, the better. Then when you have a house paid off and a big enough stash in other investments for the income to meet your other living expenses, you'll be ready to retire.

On the other hand, Boston is a fairly high-cost area for housing. You will be able to retire sooner if you retire in a lower-cost area. If this is your plan, buying a house in Boston and paying mortgage interest if you're only going to live there for 10 years might not make sense. You may find that renting until you retire while building up a big stash that you can use to buy a house outright when and where you retire will be a better option for you.

To those who recommend a Roth IRA over a traditional one, can I ask why? LateBloomer's quoted pay rate of $45/hr puts her annualized earnings at about $75k pre-tax (assuming full-time employment), which is solidly in the 25% federal tax bracket. I would think a traditional IRA would make more sense in her circumstances, since she would avoid some 25% income taxes now in exchange for 10-15% tax rates during retirement. The benefits would be even higher if she plans to retire in a state with lower income tax rates than Massachusetts.

aj_yooper

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2013, 01:36:27 PM »
I suggested a Roth IRA at this time to add additional liquidity to LateBloomer's mix, as it seemed her EF was just starting to grow, but she wanted to start investing now.  You raise a good point as a regular IRA funded at $6,500 (over age 50) might save OP $1,625 in taxes this year, if she is below $59,000 income for 2013.  (See for details on phaseout of IRA tax benefit:  https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/personal-finance/taxpayers-guide)  OP could also put 1/2 in each IRA type, still save some on taxes, and stay somewhat more liquid.  The regular IRA would be taxed at 10-15% in retirement while the Roth would not so she would be paying 25% on the cash to get the Roth funded, but the capital gains and dividends would not be taxed when taken out.  With at least a 10 year time frame, at 7% annualized real return, OP has doubled her initial Roth, which puts the average tax (12.5%) paid similar to the tax she will pay on the regular IRA, but she has more liquidity.

When OP retires, she will probably be in the 0% long term capital gains tax bracket (<$72,500), so a properly funded taxable account (Bogleheads:  http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Bogleheads_investing_start-up_kit)  is a major tax saver then.  In retirement, her tax advantaged accounts would be taxed at 10 or 15% so a 401k would be beneficial (10-15% income tax savings by using the 401k) too. If OP can do a 401k for next year, I would do enough to get the company match and then the following, in order:  an HSA, if available, then the Roth IRA (to add more liquidity), followed by the 401k, and then do a taxable account.  OP did say she had frugality muscles, right? 

The HSA in her case is golden (pretax money, portable, and no mandatory distributions) as OP can use any monies left over when she retires.

seattlecyclone

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2013, 03:51:08 PM »
Thanks for the explanation. Liquidity is important for emergencies. The Roth IRA can provide liquidity if you don't also have a cash emergency fund, while the traditional IRA can't. Good point there.

I would quibble slightly with the "12.5%" average tax rate for traditional IRA distributions. Let's invent a hypothetical single, 65-year-old retired person with a frugal lifestyle. Their income comes from a combination of capital gains/dividends from a taxable account (taxed at 0% below $36,250 taxable income), and distributions from a traditional IRA or 401(k).

The standard deduction for a single person over 65 (who isn't blind) is $7,600 in 2013 (and indexed for inflation thereafter). The personal exemption is $3,900. So the first $11,500 in traditional IRA distributions are completely free of federal income tax. The next $8,925 is taxed at 10%. So a 65-year-old with $20,425 in IRA distributions will be taxed only $892.50, or 4.3%. The next $27,325 is taxed at 15%. Someone at the top of the 15% tax bracket ($47,750 in gross IRA distributions) will only be taxed $4991.25, or 10.4%. You don't hit a 12.5% effective tax rate until you're into the 25% bracket. You're probably not living a very Mustachian lifestyle if you need to withdraw $50k for one person's living expenses, though.

aj_yooper

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2013, 05:57:03 PM »

I would quibble slightly with the "12.5%" average tax rate for traditional IRA distributions. Let's invent a hypothetical single, 65-year-old retired person with a frugal lifestyle. Their income comes from a combination of capital gains/dividends from a taxable account (taxed at 0% below $36,250 taxable income), and distributions from a traditional IRA or 401(k).

The standard deduction for a single person over 65 (who isn't blind) is $7,600 in 2013 (and indexed for inflation thereafter). The personal exemption is $3,900. So the first $11,500 in traditional IRA distributions are completely free of federal income tax. The next $8,925 is taxed at 10%. So a 65-year-old with $20,425 in IRA distributions will be taxed only $892.50, or 4.3%. The next $27,325 is taxed at 15%. Someone at the top of the 15% tax bracket ($47,750 in gross IRA distributions) will only be taxed $4991.25, or 10.4%. You don't hit a 12.5% effective tax rate until you're into the 25% bracket. You're probably not living a very Mustachian lifestyle if you need to withdraw $50k for one person's living expenses, though.

Good description of how the deductions work in retirement!

My explanation was not clear. 

If the Roth money doubles in the 10 years, it is as if she paid 12.5% on the total amount in the Roth, as OP was at 25% marginal rate when the Roth was funded.  She pays no taxes on any Roth dividends or any capital gains then on.

If OP did the regular IRA, her IRA retirement distributions will be taxed at her marginal tax rate which will probably be lower than 25%, so she saves more money that way, but OP does not have the liquidity which I thought she wanted or needed.   

If she is in the 15% marginal rate at retirement, then OP pays slightly more in taxes at distribution, but she saved on her taxes when the IRA was funded.  If OP got the full IRA credit of 25% (maybe possible, but I suspect she will gross over the start of the $59,000 phase out of the deduction), that is $1,625.  If that was placed in a taxable account and also doubled in 10 years, that $3,300 would then be taxed as capital gains and the dividends as ordinary income (marginal rate), which would probably be 15% for both, maybe less.   So, if she took the entire regular IRA as a distribution and sold the taxable account (total of $16,250), she would pay 15% taxes (capital gains and income tax marginal rate) or $2,437 and have $13,812.50 cash.  If she took the entire Roth distribution, she would have $13,000, but I don't think she will get the full tax deduction on a regular IRA at this time.

I was also talking marginal rate, rather than all-in, overall tax rate. 

I hope this is clearer.
« Last Edit: August 07, 2013, 07:12:34 PM by aj_yooper »

frugaldrummer

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2013, 06:53:01 PM »
Congrats on tripling your income!  You rock!

A few random thoughts:
 - this is my favorite retirement calculator - simple to use but flexible enough to test out many scenarios:  http://financialmentor.com/calculator/best-retirement-calculator

 - cooking - get a crock pot!  And/or a George Foreman grill. When you're single it's hard to get motivated to cook for one; but it's easy to pop a steak or burger on the grill, and delightful to come home to a delicious stew that's been cooking while you worked. Consider the strategy I used in college - make one big pot of something at the start of the week, and just reheat it for several nights.  May get boring but saves cooking and saves $$.

 - social life - check out meetup.com and start getting involved in some groups. Could be a great way to make new friends.

 - definitely build up that emergency fund.  As a single woman, you'll sleep better at night.

 

 

twbird18

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2013, 08:12:14 PM »
I would also recommend meetup.com - both for social activities & if you want to learn more about different forms of investing, I know that there are several different groups that meet in and around Boston discussing those types of things.

On a side note - I won't be attending the Boston meetup because I'll be on vacation that weekend, but if you ever want to get out of the city & do some cooking, I live about a 45 min commuter rail ride away south of Boston. I love to cook and I like to help people brush up on their cooking skills.

LateBloomer

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2013, 05:09:44 PM »
Hi there!

Thank you for the great advice. I will definitely check out meetup.com. This might be just what I am needing. I plan on retiring back in Colorado (children and grandchildren are there). I'm basically just in Boston to make money. While I'm here, I am loving New England and all it has to offer!

I have to say, I am fairly clueless on the investment, IRA, tax stuff. Some of your comments were over my head. I am studying and researching every single bit of advice you are providing. Right now, I am saving my emergency fund and will start the IRA investing after. I didn't realize I had until April 15th. With that time frame, I expect to be able to contribute the max.

I am getting into a pretty good grove about cooking and eating at home. I do still have room for improvement in this area.

Before I found this blog, I thought I was doing the right thing by moving away from the middle of the city (Brookline) and moving to a much much cheaper area north of town. Brookline would have been a quick green line ride away from my job, rather than the hour plus commute I have. *sigh* Lesson learned. It is the situation I am in, so I have tried to optimize it the best way possible. I work one day a week from home (hoping to make that two days soon) and carpool the remaining days. This puts me driving my car 8 times a month. To be honest, I love the apartment I am in now. It feels very much like a home to me, which I am needing. I am not sure I would want to move closer. I know, I know....face punch!

I was happy to see that eventually owning a home may be within reach when I retire. I had very much wanted to do that, but feared it was not in going to be an option. I love the happy little soul jolt of hope I just got. Thank you for that.

Last weekend I bought wise choice food for a balanced Mustachian diet. This weekend I will hit the thrift stores for a decent crockpot and a George Forman grill. Great suggestions. Since I moved here with only what fit in my car. I am slowly but surely and cheaply purchasing what is needed. (Turns out that's not much.)

It seems to me that there are those who strive to save and struggle with the "sacrifices" that need to be made. Then there are those who live lean without a second thought. They do without because it is what feels right, "sacrifice" doesn't even enter their minds. I am wondering if like developing a habit, a switch is flipped in our brains at some point. "Sacrifice" looses it's power. I have never had cable and therefore do not miss it. It is not a sacrifice for me to not have it. However, not eating out and not buying books at B&N feels like a great sacrifice to me. In time, I am sure that feeling will subside. I am focusing on keeping my eye on the prize. At this point, it almost feels like a game. How quick can I score? When will I get to my first big milestone? Maybe I need to make a chart with gold stars. :)

Here is my budget, suggestions are appreciated.

Rent - 850
Utilities - 50
Internet - 45
Phone- 55 (unlimited everything, not willing to cut this since my family is far away)
Car Ins - 54
Parking Garage - 120 (my share)
Gasoline - 75
Food - 200 (this is greatly reduced from my eating out budget)
Misc (personal items, day trips, household) - 200

Total expenses -1649
Take home average - 4980 (I know this is a different amount than my first post. I forgot to figure in those two extra paydays a year)
Money to invest - 3331

If I'm figuring it correctly, this puts me at 67% savings. Right?

The encouragement is absolutely invaluable. I thank you for that.

LateBloomer

seattlecyclone

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2013, 06:30:51 PM »
67% savings is great! Per MMM's table, that puts you on track to afford retirement in about 10 years (potentially less if you plan to move to a lower-cost area and spend less in retirement). Way to go!

Most of your budget categories already look to be pretty well dialed down. Total annual expenses under $20k for a renter in the Boston area is no small feat.

I personally wouldn't want to deal with a commute over an hour each way if there was any way to avoid it. I know you said your far-away apartment is starting to feel like home, and that feeling is certainly worth a lot. Is there any chance you could find an apartment that feels just as "home-y", but is within biking/transit distance of work? It could even cost a bit more than you're paying now, since you're currently paying $195/month just to drive to work and leave your car there during the day. And that two hours you're driving every day is time that you can't really be doing anything useful around the house, or reading, or whatever else you might want to be doing.

frugaldrummer

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2013, 07:03:59 PM »
Since you plan to retire to Colorado, and have family there now - you might give some thought to the idea of buying a house or condo there and renting it out.  This would have the advantage of locking you into the current low interest rates and relatively low housing prices, plus you would benefit from the renter's contribution to paying off the  mortgage.  Normally a long-distance rental is a bad idea, but if your kids could monitor and manage it?  Do they live in the part of Colorado that you'd like to retire to?

There's more risk involved in that, though.  I wouldn't attempt it until you have a nice fat emergency fund, and are able to put down a sizable down payment so that you are cash-flow positive on the property. (Meaning the rent more than covers the mortgage and maintenance on the property).

You're doing an awesome job with your saving - imagine how great it will feel when you reach FI!

NestEggChick (formerly PFgal)

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Re: Tripled my income.....now what?
« Reply #21 on: August 11, 2013, 09:56:22 PM »
First, about your book-buying habit, have you checked out your local library. I don't know what town your in, but the libraries around here are in systems. For example, if you live in the suburbs more or less west of Boston, that's the Minuteman network, and if your local library doesn't have the book/audiobook/cd/dvd you want, you can order it have it delivered to any library you want. You can also return it to any library in the system. If you live in Cambridge and work in Newton, you can have a book delivered to either place and then return it to either place, or to someplace else. Find out which system you're in and start taking advantage of it! Also, all Massachusetts residents are eligible for Boston Public Library cards. This is only useful if you work near the BPL, of course, but you might find it handy.

Also, when it comes to investing just keep reading and eventually you'll get it. Bogleheads.org is a good forum for asking questions, and I highly recommend this blog post series to get a better understanding: http://jlcollinsnh.com/category/stock-investing-series/  Also, back to the library, check out their selection. But keep asking questions here and you'll have it figured out in no time :)