Author Topic: Just discovered MMM and need help!  (Read 8362 times)

AvertingDisaster?

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Just discovered MMM and need help!
« on: March 31, 2016, 03:55:02 PM »
(Please note, this was originally posted on another site where I'm a regular, and I was referred here, so if it looks familiar to anyone, that's why!)

Iíve been considering taking a job that would mean a pretty substantial pay cut (from around $100K/year to around $65K/year), but a dramatic increase in personal happiness (and a vastly more family-friendly schedule). I was trying to figure out (a) whether we could afford for me to do this at all; and (b) whether it made financial sense to do it, and in doing some research, I found my way to MMM.

Oh. My. G-d.

My life is apparently a financial disaster zone (student loan debt, credit card debt, car loan, mortgage), and I have no business taking a pay cut Ė in fact, I probably (by MMM standards) need a second and possibly third job. I justÖ Iím kind of speechless. I sort of vaguely knew we had some debt, and we should probably deal with it, but after reading the blog, I find I feel like Iím about to crawl out of my skin just thinking about how much we owe and how long it will take us to pay it off. I mean, if we (me and my husband, weíre married with no kids) got serious right now, we could have everything Ė credit cards, car, student loans, mortgage Ė paid off in ten years, but thatís assuming we donít have any children and neither of us loses our job or has a decrease in income. My jobís fairly stable and Iím an attorney, so even if I lost this particular job for some reason I donít expect my pay to go down, but Husbandís field is a good bit more volatile, so itís not really safe to assume weíll stay at this combined income level for a decade. And itíll take a decade JUST TO PAY OFF OUR DEBTS, never mind save for retirement.

I canít believe Iíve never done this math before, and that I so blindly bought into the whole ďthis is what people do in suburbiaĒ myth that our families and friends have spun for us. What is wrong with me? And now that I know what an epic mess weíve created, what the heck do I do now? Wait until Iím 41 to try to have a child once weíre debt-free? Get clear of everything but the mortgage (thatíll take three years) and hope my fertility holds out until 34? I was really hoping we would start trying for a child this year since Iím about to turn 31 (and the new job with pay-cut wouldíve been very family-friendly, while my current job is not), but I am absolutely panicked over our financial situation now and donít see how we can afford to bring a child into this financial disaster zone at all, even if I don't take the job with the pay cut. I feel like I unwittingly sacrificed my potential future child for a fancy law degree and a new car, and all I want to do is cry.

Also, I'm concerned that my husband is not going to see things the same way - he's about five years older than I am and did not got to graduate school, so he's been in the workforce A LOT longer and has so far been resistant to the idea of using "his" income to pay for "my" debt, meaning that (a) I don't know if he's going to want to help me at all with debt repayment other than the mortgage; and (b) he's not going to be willing to make any big lifestyle changes like becoming a one-car family or selling our house to move closer to (at least one of) our jobs, so more than 50% of my income is going towards "my half" of our living expenses and there's nothing I can do to change that number (except hope that maybe husband will come around and want to tackle the debt as a team). 

I just don't know where to begin and would love to hear from others who started out with crazy debt and a reluctant spouse and made it through.

Tester

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2016, 04:10:07 PM »
I won't give you any rational advice.
I am 38 now and have a 4 year old child.
My wife is 36.
We postponed having a child for some time, then some more...
Now I would have liked to have a child at 25. Well, to be honest, not exactly at 25, but at 28.
I would like to go hiking with him .
I liked hiking with my parents - and we went each year until we were 14 when we started going on our own.
When my kid will be 14 I will be 48...- so I have to train on purpose opposed to "just doing it" when I was younger.
I am not mentioning the patience which I need to be a good parent - being tired does not help, having more energy when you are young helps I think.
We even started thinking of having a second child.

And not last: don't forget that having a child is not something you can completely control.
We were lucky, but I know people who struggled for 7 years to have a child.
And as far as I know age has something to do with that - but I am also sure stress has something to do too.
So, just in case you decide to have a child make sure you are not stressed :).

Daley

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2016, 04:12:51 PM »
Take a deep breath.

As with all journeys in life, this starts one step at a time, and anything worth doing in life is never easy.

It's going to be suggested that you write up a case study so you can begin optimizing your finances. It's not a bad idea, but don't be discouraged by the tough talk, and also don't let the inevitable tidalwave of mindless cheapskates drag you down, either. The key is to be frugal, not cheap... unfortunately fewer people are understanding the difference these days, no matter how enthusiastic they are to help.

There's a few resources on the forums here that can help you go through the process of optimization on your own (including the FAQ), so actually read the stickies in the subforums.

The most important thing I can pull away from where you are currently though is the need to work on your marriage. You need to learn to work as a genuine team, communicate well, work together, and stop with this false dichotomy of my finances/your finances. You are two people united as one, you need to act like it. In a way, it's best that you start with all of this now, instead of after you've had children. Use this wake-up call to your advantage and fix the foundation of your marriage and rebuild what you have more soundly before you start adding your metaphorical roof, rooms, and furniture.

Welcome, and may your pursuit of greater wisdom be of benefit not only to yourself, but your family and those around you.

elaine amj

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2016, 04:22:21 PM »
@IP Daley said everything. +1000. And with your being able to kill all debt (other than mortgage) in just 3 short years, u are well ahead of regular folks.

Definitely take all this one step at a time. And your marriage is a bigger priority than your finances - so put that first.


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AZDude

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2016, 04:24:06 PM »
Quote
Also, I'm concerned that my husband is not going to see things the same way - he's about five years older than I am and did not got to graduate school, so he's been in the workforce A LOT longer and has so far been resistant to the idea of using "his" income to pay for "my" debt, meaning that (a) I don't know if he's going to want to help me at all with debt repayment other than the mortgage; and (b) he's not going to be willing to make any big lifestyle changes like becoming a one-car family or selling our house to move closer to (at least one of) our jobs, so more than 50% of my income is going towards "my half" of our living expenses and there's nothing I can do to change that number (except hope that maybe husband will come around and want to tackle the debt as a team). 

The big key here, like IP said, is to work on your marriage and communication. Do not make things a contest to see who wins or who is right. I don't understand people thinking like that(many on the forum have separate finances and plan individually for FIRE), and I paid off my wife's student loans without thinking twice. You are asking big changes, and some people hate change. My wife was like that and sometimes she stares at me like I'm insane when I mention some of the more "out there" ideas of MMM. However, we always work as team and talk through things.

Pigeon

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2016, 04:26:43 PM »
Yes to what IP Daley said.

Deep breaths.  Keep in mind that the goal of most of the people here is early retirement.  That's not something that the vast majority of people in the western world do.  Don't worry about  the mortgage for now.  Work on the high interest debt first.  Many, many women have children and continue to work.  I raised two kids and would have been in an asylum if I had to stay home with them.  This tends to be a forum where there is a SAHP, but that's not necessary to raise happy, successful kids.

Doing a case study is good advice.  People can help you see where you can readily cut costs.  Hopefully you can get your husband to join you on this journey.  If not, you can optimize your spending.  You didn't get into debt in a day, and it's going to take some time to get out of it.   The important thing is that you are aware of the problem and can now take constructive steps to get back on track.

mozar

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2016, 04:52:43 PM »
Quote
Get clear of everything but the mortgage (thatíll take three years) and hope my fertility holds out until 34?

This is a good plan.

Jacana

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2016, 05:11:34 PM »
Coming out of nowhere with all of this can be really alarming/confusing for the spouse; you have changed and you want to turn his world upside down. So, as stated above, take a deep breath. This takes time to fix. My suggestion is to lead by example, do what you can from your end first, and answer his questions calmly and rationally about why you are doing it, without throwing negativity on him and his actions or being snarky. I have trouble with the last bit when I am stressed. Allow it to become a relaxed conversation. One way to get through could be stability for starting your family, another could be reducing the stress of him losing his job.

You asked for stories: My husband was very reluctant at first. We weren't in major debt by any means but he liked to spend and I started to fall into that pattern. He likes his toys, hobbies, shiny things that go beep, and he really resisted the gung ho approach. Meanwhile, he had CC debt (which I really hated), we both had student loans, and he had a car loan. And luckily he started saving a bit for retirement but I didn't make much and didn't know anything about investing at all.

So I backed off for a bit, and just started introducing some ideas, one at a time. Like hey you should never carry a balance on a credit card, look how much more money you would have if you weren't paying interest. Then as that clicked, hey sweetie we should have an emergency fund just in case. Then hey why not pay off your car loan, we can do it faster if I cut these budget items. Then hey we should have a bigger e fund cause we want a baby and you want me to stay home. After all that, government furloughs and sequestration hit the same year I had a baby and became a sahm. While all his CW were panicking, arranging TSP loans, and finding new jobs, I reminded him we were fine and wouldn't even miss the cut pay. He was hooked. Now he takes great comfort in knowing how much $ we have in the bank, and that takes a lot of stress off him at his new job. And he doesn't even cringe any more when he sees me on this site or other FI sites, and even (gasp) asks sometimes what I've learned lately. It can be done!

ChinoLawyer

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2016, 05:13:29 PM »
Your post sounds strikingly familiar to my own when I first started to read websites on Financial Independence.  As lawyers we are hard-wired to find a quick solution to a problem and execute.  However, this is a much longer term journey and it can't be completed in one step.

The whole beauty of the MMM philosophy is to understand how great you have it now and how much better it can be with minor adjustments (which wont really affect your quality of life anyway.)

I just try to focus on changing one thing at a time and they will really add up over time.  For example, one month get rid of your financial advisor and switch to Vanguard.  Next month examine your cell phone bill and optimize, next examine your insurance policies, etc.  It will all add up and soon you will find you don't want to buy much and are excited to invest.

Once the debt reduces and the balances raise, it will be easy to get your husband on board (although everyone has different levels of frugality and places where they splurge).

And 34 is plenty young to have kids in today's world.  As you read more, however, you will learn that having kids doesn't have to be as expensive as it is made out to be.

Short story, 31 is young.  You have seen the light, now you just need to make incremental steps to execute a different life.


nereo

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2016, 05:16:04 PM »
Just wanted to say "welcome, glad you are here".

I.P. Daley had some great insight.  There are some good threads and blog posts about helping to get your spouse on board, and I've seen literally dozens come through here with 6-figure debt loads that they have carved down to nothing in 3-5 years (or are in the process of doing so). 

Read the blog, keep posting and you'll find your own way towards financial independence (FI).

ChinoLawyer

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2016, 05:25:27 PM »
Also, key into a way that you can get your spouse on board.  My spouse had a hard time giving up the idea of "more new stuff".  But if I focus her on the idea that saving will lead to more travel, or that we are helping the earth by not filling landfills, etc. it gets easier.

Whatever your spouse "wants" show him how a frugal life will lead to it and increase his independence from relying on a weekly paycheck

elaine amj

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2016, 07:36:03 AM »
Also, remember your husband doesn't have to be on board right this very minute. DH and I have a very strong marriage and work incredibly well together as a team. And even then, we're still individuals.

I tend to go wild and intense about thing in phases. DH knows that and has become rather cautious about jumping into things with me. When it comes to FIRE, he's not all in. He likes the general idea but it took years and some number crunching to get him to agree that it was a possibility. And I think he will play the One More Year game for some time. About 6 months ago, he reviewed some of my plans and projections, and immediately insisted I make some numbers way more conservative. It's OUR lives so while I'm not crazy about it, I did it for his peace of mind.

So start with things you can do by yourself first and slowly explain the different way you are looking at your consumption and your finances. Start by tackling YOUR debt and lowering YOUR consumption. He might have a totally different viewpoint once he realizes how serious you are (which can take time) and what a difference you are making. This could lead him to being more confident in working together on the debt (especially when he can see how it can benefit him and the things he wants to do). 
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 12:30:17 PM by elaine amj »

Mikila

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2016, 07:42:57 AM »
You have come to the right place for advice.  I want to encourage you that you CAN dig out.  There is hope.  Please post a case study so that ones can give you specific financial advice.

So far as your desire for children, examine what precisely is holding you back.  Do you feel that you cannot afford them?  Do you desire to give them the best of everything?  It can be as cheap as you desire- the things you need can be gotten secondhand for pennies.  I would argue, too, that it is a benefit to a child to grow up with frugality and to be denied the latest toys and clothes, and the trendiest experiences.  Many people are dirt poor and raise frugal and hard-working kids. 

 Don't give up.  Rome wasn't built in a day.  You will get your financial house in order step by step if you follow the advice on this site.

AvertingDisaster?

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2016, 08:01:39 AM »
Thanks everyone!  I feel a lot calmer reading everyone's replies today, and I appreciate the encouragement.

My husband absolutely hates dealing with finances and budget conversations, so I think my first task is getting him to actually sit down with me and go through all of our expenses together so that I can figure out where we are (I have a rough idea of his spending, but our finances are mostly separate right now, so I don't have a detailed picture.)

I especially appreciate the advice of making this relevant to him by finding what matters to him - the fact is, I know he'd love to be able to scale back at work so that he could scale up his time investment in other pursuits, and if I can get him to get past the "financial discussion, ick" block, I think he'd be really excited by the prospect of us being FI in our 40s.

Once I'm clearer on my husband's expenses, and on whether and to what extent he's willing to scale any of those expenses back, I'll definitely post a case study!

Stashing Swiss-style

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2016, 08:42:40 AM »
You've got some great advice already.  I just wanted to add that it takes time to get a handle on all this, but now that you have looked at your finances (and you are sooooooo young - I had my first (of 3) kid at 39! And I go hiking all the time - And I work full time...) and seen the danger you are in, you have already taken the first giant step.  Start with your own finances, build a budget for you, stop spending mindlessly, track everything.  Once you are in a stronger.more secure position, you can be there for your husband.  You guys need to be somewhat aligned (not totally) on what financial independence means for each of you.  Get that alignment in place first before you add a child into the mix!  I think ER is too difficult for most of us to consider but i really get that FI means choice.  Choice to work or not work, take this job or that one, one kid or 6 etc etc !!

little_brown_dog

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2016, 11:39:51 AM »
Use the baby as a motivator. You dont need to postpone it for 3 years although I do recommend postponing for a year until you can stablize your situation. I am a new mom and you certainly dont want to be worrying about finances while pregnant or learning to care for a newborn. You also dont want to be in a position where your finances are dictating how you live your life post baby - many moms have found out the hard way that they cant afford to stay home with their child even though they realize they want to. Dont assume you wont want the option of a partner not working or dropping to part time. I also dont recommend taking a paycut when it sounds like you really need the money right now.

Can you make a deal with yourself and set a goal that you have to achieve before trying for baby? For example, maybe you push to get out from the cc debt and car debt before trying. The faster you eliminate these the sooner you can start. So if you buckle down and demolish these goals in the year then you can stay on your original timeframe. Chances are if you can do that you will be so psyched youll start going for thr other debts just as aggressively.

I think this approach may work well for you. I personally understand not wanting to delay childbearing past 35...it is risky. So go for the middle ground....no baby until you get on track, not necessarily completely debt free. How soon that happens is up to you.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2016, 11:46:47 AM by little_brown_dog »

asiljoy

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2016, 12:02:01 PM »
Echoing the need for a case study, and to work as a team.

I'd also like to throw out there that it doesn't always make sense to pay off debt ASAP. You'll find lots of debates around here about what the proper priorities should be and giving out a case study will help the very smart people here point you in the right direction. My personal preference is to let anything less than 4% ride and invest the difference. My student loans are at 3.5% and our mortgage at 3.75%.

Given that our monthly cash allows for savings/investing, I don't really have any problem letting those ride out while we work on saving for the expenses associated with hypothetical baby number 2 and maxing out HSA/401ks. That means I'll be paying debt off for the next 25 years, but that's 25 years of leveraged investing and I'm ok with that.

AvertingDisaster?

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2016, 03:53:59 PM »
New update, for anyone still reading:  I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive my H was to the budget conversation, and I have a much better handle now on our net income and on his expenses.  There is SO MUCH ROOM in our combined budget to make serious headway on debt - the problem seems to be that I'm personally carrying more than 50% of the household expenses and also all of the non-mortgage debt, so I've been coming up broke every month, while H has a surplus that he's been spending pretty much to the fullest (because it was extra, because all of "his" bills are easily paid).  That's obviously untenable and needs to change, and I'm hoping to sit down with him and come up with a plan that still leaves him a decent amount of fun money, but puts us on a stronger footing financially.  It looks like we can be out from under the credit card and car loan debt in a year with relatively little financial pain inflicted on my H.  Tackling the student loans will be harder, as that balance is bigger and the interest rate (6.8%!) sucks, but if we act aggressively we could have it all paid off in 3 to 3.5 years (and that's assuming no raises or bonuses or tax refunds, all of which we both consistently receive each year - if we continue to pull in that extra income and put it towards the student loans, we're looking at an even shorter repayment period, which is encouraging).

I'll likely post a case study over the weekend to see what the MMM community has to say about whatever budget I ultimately come up with.  Thanks again, everyone.  I'm finding this forum so helpful.

dess1313

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2016, 01:37:58 AM »
that's awesome!  There's lots of people here to help you pick over things when you post a case study.

Biggest thing is take it one step at a time.  don't panic.  When you sit down, get the minimum payments, as well as interest rates for all your loans and credit cards and such. 

http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html
look at her budget spreadsheet, as well as her own up to your debt sheet.  those might help you get a handle on the big picture of things

Also, take a look at what is called snowballing your debt.  You take all your extra money and throw it at your highest % interest rate.  usually credit cards in a lot of cases at 20%.  only pay minimums on the other debts.  once you clear one debt, you take the minimum that was used for that, plus your extra money and throw it at the next highest interest rate item.  some items may be big, some may be small.  occasionally people will clear out small debts(sometimes to free up cash flow) but highest interest rates usually give better results

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-snowball_method
http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx

nereo

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2016, 07:22:08 AM »
New update, for anyone still reading:  [snip]
  Tackling the student loans will be harder, as that balance is bigger and the interest rate (6.8%!) sucks, but if we act aggressively we could have it all paid off in 3 to 3.5 years (and that's assuming no raises or bonuses or tax refunds, all of which we both consistently receive each year - if we continue to pull in that extra income and put it towards the student loans, we're looking at an even shorter repayment period, which is encouraging).

I look forward to your case study. If you haven't already, Mint is free budget tracking software that syncs with your bank accounts, credit cards, investments etc. and is very effective at showing you where your money is going every month.  Check it out.

Regarding SLs - SoFi is a pretty popular option around here for refinancing student loans.  It's very possible you can get a much better rate in today's market than 6.8% (depending on your credit history). Of course, the faster you pay it off the less the interest rate matters.

You are on the right path, and lots of people in similar circumstances have made great strides towards FI in just a few years by cutting out what doesn't matter to them and focusing on what does. It's amazing how much economic waste there is in our daily lives.

Tigerpine

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2016, 11:36:58 AM »
that's awesome!  There's lots of people here to help you pick over things when you post a case study.

Biggest thing is take it one step at a time.  don't panic.  When you sit down, get the minimum payments, as well as interest rates for all your loans and credit cards and such. 

http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html
look at her budget spreadsheet, as well as her own up to your debt sheet.  those might help you get a handle on the big picture of things

Also, take a look at what is called snowballing your debt.  You take all your extra money and throw it at your highest % interest rate.  usually credit cards in a lot of cases at 20%.  only pay minimums on the other debts.  once you clear one debt, you take the minimum that was used for that, plus your extra money and throw it at the next highest interest rate item.  some items may be big, some may be small.  occasionally people will clear out small debts(sometimes to free up cash flow) but highest interest rates usually give better results

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-snowball_method
http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx
Please let me apologize in advance for nitpicking, but what you've described is commonly called the "Avalanche" Method.  When using the Snowball method, you prioritize debt by paying off the smallest balance first and working your way up to the largest balance.

In comparison, the Avalanche Method prioritizes by interest rate.  Dave Ramsey advocates for the Snowball Method, not the Avalanche method.  I'm pretty sure MMM advocates the Avalanche Method.

Tyson

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2016, 12:26:43 PM »
One thing that helped me was that I realized I had much more control over my expenses than I did over my income.  So I focused dialing down our spending.  The cool thing was that every time I reduced a cost, it was gone, forever.  And that just freed up MORE MONEY every month to crush the debt.

Once the debt was gone, we'd already adapted to living on only half our income anyway and we were totally comfortable with that, so we just started saving like mad after the debt was gone. 

dess1313

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2016, 05:14:28 PM »
that's awesome!  There's lots of people here to help you pick over things when you post a case study.

Biggest thing is take it one step at a time.  don't panic.  When you sit down, get the minimum payments, as well as interest rates for all your loans and credit cards and such. 

http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html
look at her budget spreadsheet, as well as her own up to your debt sheet.  those might help you get a handle on the big picture of things

Also, take a look at what is called snowballing your debt.  You take all your extra money and throw it at your highest % interest rate.  usually credit cards in a lot of cases at 20%.  only pay minimums on the other debts.  once you clear one debt, you take the minimum that was used for that, plus your extra money and throw it at the next highest interest rate item.  some items may be big, some may be small.  occasionally people will clear out small debts(sometimes to free up cash flow) but highest interest rates usually give better results

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-snowball_method
http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx
Please let me apologize in advance for nitpicking, but what you've described is commonly called the "Avalanche" Method.  When using the Snowball method, you prioritize debt by paying off the smallest balance first and working your way up to the largest balance.

In comparison, the Avalanche Method prioritizes by interest rate.  Dave Ramsey advocates for the Snowball Method, not the Avalanche method.  I'm pretty sure MMM advocates the Avalanche Method.

Im not a ramsay fan.  I know of him but dont followmhim.  Ive never heard it called avalance before.  Here i mostly follow gail vaz oxlade (and she calls it snowballing here in canada)and like i said in my post most focus on the highest interest rate first.

Tigerpine

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2016, 05:21:12 PM »
that's awesome!  There's lots of people here to help you pick over things when you post a case study.

Biggest thing is take it one step at a time.  don't panic.  When you sit down, get the minimum payments, as well as interest rates for all your loans and credit cards and such. 

http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/resources.html
look at her budget spreadsheet, as well as her own up to your debt sheet.  those might help you get a handle on the big picture of things

Also, take a look at what is called snowballing your debt.  You take all your extra money and throw it at your highest % interest rate.  usually credit cards in a lot of cases at 20%.  only pay minimums on the other debts.  once you clear one debt, you take the minimum that was used for that, plus your extra money and throw it at the next highest interest rate item.  some items may be big, some may be small.  occasionally people will clear out small debts(sometimes to free up cash flow) but highest interest rates usually give better results

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debt-snowball_method
http://www.whatsthecost.com/snowball.aspx
Please let me apologize in advance for nitpicking, but what you've described is commonly called the "Avalanche" Method.  When using the Snowball method, you prioritize debt by paying off the smallest balance first and working your way up to the largest balance.

In comparison, the Avalanche Method prioritizes by interest rate.  Dave Ramsey advocates for the Snowball Method, not the Avalanche method.  I'm pretty sure MMM advocates the Avalanche Method.

Im not a ramsay fan.  I know of him but dont followmhim.  Ive never heard it called avalance before.  Here i mostly follow gail vaz oxlade (and she calls it snowballing here in canada)and like i said in my post most focus on the highest interest rate first.
No problem!  To be clear, I completely endorse and second your advice about going after the highest interest loan first.

Thanks for the namedrop.  I'll have to do a search for Gail.

Dee18

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2016, 05:49:03 PM »
I recommend postponing the child three years while you pay down your debt as much as possible.  For one thing, you may want to quit work when you have a child.  I did not, but some women do and I think it's important to have that option be a financially feasible one. 

You don't mention what the new job is, but if it has great job security I'd go for it.  I'm also a lawyer, and fortunate to have a secure job I like with a relaxed schedule.  But I have had several female friends who stepped out of high paying jobs thinking they could go back, only to later find out that wasn't the case. 

If you present a case study I'm sure people will offer many helpful suggestions.  Best of luck to you.

csprof

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2016, 02:56:52 AM »
New update, for anyone still reading:  I was pleasantly surprised at how responsive my H was to the budget conversation, and I have a much better handle now on our net income and on his expenses.  There is SO MUCH ROOM in our combined budget to make serious headway on debt - the problem seems to be that I'm personally carrying more than 50% of the household expenses and also all of the non-mortgage debt, so I've been coming up broke every month, while H has a surplus that he's been spending pretty much to the fullest (because it was extra, because all of "his" bills are easily paid).  That's obviously untenable and needs to change, and I'm hoping to sit down with him and come up with a plan that still leaves him a decent amount of fun money, but puts us on a stronger footing financially.  It looks like we can be out from under the credit card and car loan debt in a year with relatively little financial pain inflicted on my H.  Tackling the student loans will be harder, as that balance is bigger and the interest rate (6.8%!) sucks, but if we act aggressively we could have it all paid off in 3 to 3.5 years (and that's assuming no raises or bonuses or tax refunds, all of which we both consistently receive each year - if we continue to pull in that extra income and put it towards the student loans, we're looking at an even shorter repayment period, which is encouraging).

Congrats on getting started.  My wife and I had some big conversations about money around the time we got married (I came into the marriage with a pretty substantial financial lead, and ended up, e.g., paying the down payment on our house).  One thing we found really useful -- you may not! -- was thinking about how we wanted our finances to *trend* in the long term.  If you picture two lines on a graph moving up and to the right, representing each of our net worth, mine started a lot higher.  Should they:  Stay the same distance apart?  Move apart relative to our income differences?  Or merge together?

We decided that over time, it made a lot of sense for the two to merge together, particularly as we had a kid -- and that made it a lot easier for me to take a deep breath and go "all in" when we bought the house.  Technically, I have more in my retirement savings accounts, but it's a piddling difference at this point.  We ended up with completely shared finances and throw $500/month discretionary into each of our individual checking accounts as "nobody else gets to chime in on how I spend this" money.

FWIW, I was 36 (almost 37) and my wife 34 when we had ours.  Hasn't killed us yet - though the fact that I'm up posting this at 2am while our daughter has an ear infection is revealing.   I'm very tired sometimes - but there are advantages in emotional maturity, too.

Good luck!

naners

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2016, 06:47:22 AM »
I don't have much to add above the great feedback you've gotten except to say your fertility worries might be overblown:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-long-can-you-wait-to-have-a-baby/309374/

One of the principles of MMM is doing your best to ignore anecdotes and make your decisions based on the best available data, which suggest there won't be a huge decline in your fertility if you wait three years. And for every person who wished they'd had kids younger there is one who wished they'd waited until they were in a better position. Good luck!

BlueHouse

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2016, 08:20:57 AM »
One thing we found really useful -- you may not! -- was thinking about how we wanted our finances to *trend* in the long term.  If you picture two lines on a graph moving up and to the right, representing each of our net worth, mine started a lot higher.  Should they:  Stay the same distance apart?  Move apart relative to our income differences?  Or merge together?

This is brilliant!  Love it! 

dess1313

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2016, 12:22:49 PM »
http://www.slice.ca/til-debt-do-us-part/video/

This is gails tv show she did called till debt do us part.  She helps coples in debt get out.  Her system on the show is very similar to her books.  Slice only lets you watch as a canadian but there are plug ins made to fool browsers to fix that if you are states side

Shes come out with many books, though canadian the global principal is the same.  Save.  Pay down debt.  Live within your means.  I used to watch them all the time to remind myself to not become like these people!

LeRainDrop

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Re: Just discovered MMM and need help!
« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2016, 01:03:53 PM »
One thing we found really useful -- you may not! -- was thinking about how we wanted our finances to *trend* in the long term.  If you picture two lines on a graph moving up and to the right, representing each of our net worth, mine started a lot higher.  Should they:  Stay the same distance apart?  Move apart relative to our income differences?  Or merge together?

This is brilliant!  Love it!

Ditto!