Author Topic: Just married, new career path, need help!  (Read 901 times)

LumberJesse

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Just married, new career path, need help!
« on: December 13, 2020, 08:23:47 PM »
Hi folks.

I engaged with this forum a good amount a few years ago but fell off the wagon when I moved to California on a whim following a few months of traveling. I'm happy with my move for a number of reasons, but find myself once again thinking in a more balanced long-term.

I'm 26 and just got married. I have "good" credit, but have had no major loans (no cars or bigger). I carry $8k in student loan debt and no credit card debt. I have about $4k in cash and somewhere in the ballpark of $15k in assets between tools, my truck, and backpacking gear. It's not much.

My wife has no debt, but also has no credit score. We're both college grads and are living a wonderful life in the mountains. We'd like to make a life here.

In three weeks I'll be turning away from pursuing bachelor's requiring degrees and will start working as a carpenter's apprentice for a well-known contractor who's been in the area for 30 years. I'll start out making $22.50 an hour. No health insurance, but I will be able to get on my wife's HI.

She's currently making $14.50 an hour but will start a job with the park service in May at $16.50 an hour with HI and good benefits. Initially it will be seasonal work, but she has a reliable off-season job at $15/hour locally and will work as much as I do.

We take about a month off a year because, well, we love to backpack and camp. Financial freedom is important to us both, but we're not willing to budge on this much. Why live if you're not enjoying it? (Especially when the way you enjoy it is pretty much free).

Currently we share an apartment with a friend and pay $600/month plus utilities. Utilities stay low because we don't use AC and burn wood we harvest ourselves for heat. Electric is $75ish a month, $15 for shared internet.

I know trucks can be sore subjects here, but I have to have one for work. It's a full-size Tundra. I'd sell it for a more fuel-efficient Tacoma, but I bought it cheap and couldn't find a better truck for less. My commute is maximum 10 miles a day but does require I bring the truck. My wife has a '98 RAV4 which we use for longer trips to save gas, but she does not have to commute currently.

What's next? We'd like to buy a home in the next two years. Our savings rate tends to be pretty good. Currently our jobs/location are non-negotiable- we're happy. But we want to cut the fat and fast track a home and some land. Thanks to my degree and previous work experience, I'll be able to get a contractor's license in three years and can start my own business. We'd love to have a home by then.

Thanks in advance!

cool7hand

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2020, 05:28:52 AM »
While more granularity in your numbers might help, it sounds like you have a plan that works for you. If you're happy with this life, there's no need to dial in the numbers further. Dialing in the numbers is necessary if you have some emergency or goal. If buying a home is really important, than you'll need to do some real budgeting to see when that's possible and make adjustments if you need to move up the date when that happens. Maybe you could take even more time off if you spent more time with the numbers, but maybe you don't care. It's all up to you. Pat yourselves on the back for picking a lifestyle that works for you and not buying into conventional consumerism!

cangelosibrown

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2020, 07:19:19 AM »
I agree with pretty much everything cool7hand said. Your lifestyle comes across as one that you've thought through and is in accordance with your values.  The one thing I'd like to make sure you think through is the house plan. It's not clear to me from your post if you really want a house or if you just want a house because it seems like "the next step." I'm not saying it's a good deal or a bad deal to buy a house, but when you're young and free, it can often makes sense to not buy and stay free. Just continue to think through what's important to you and building an efficient life around that. Sounds like you're doing great, your post makes me whistful for when I was just starting out!

Villanelle

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2020, 10:32:40 AM »
If you want to buy a house, I'd work on establishing credit for your wife.  She can easily take out a credit card.  If you are worried about how you might use credit, put one recurring item on the card (internet, anything else you pay monthly), set it up so the card is automatically paid in full each month (but stil check statements to make sure everything is as it should be), and put the card in a safe or out of the way place. 

As far as buying the house... why do you want to buy?  That answer to that question can help with what additional questions need to be explored. 

You gave us almost no financial information so it's hard to comment on anything specific.  Do you have any savings?  Do you anticipate having more savings going forward?  What are housing prices like in the area you want to buy?  Would you be willing to buy a place and continue to have a roommate?

BECABECA

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2020, 11:22:21 AM »
If you want to buy a house, I'd work on establishing credit for your wife.  She can easily take out a credit card.  If you are worried about how you might use credit, put one recurring item on the card (internet, anything else you pay monthly), set it up so the card is automatically paid in full each month (but stil check statements to make sure everything is as it should be), and put the card in a safe or out of the way place. 
...

Along this same vein, you can add your wife as an authorized user to your credit cards and jumpstart her credit score. Then she can apply for her own card and start with a higher credit limit. Id also recommend calling your credit card companies every 6 months and asking them to increase your credit limit. That will boost your credit score too, and all of this will have a real impact on your future mortgage rate.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #5 on: December 14, 2020, 07:14:09 PM »
Youre doing great and are perfectly primed to build your own home. I have a family member who did that (with a little help) and he only did woodworking in high school. Keep doing your thing and enjoying life.

Dicey

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2020, 12:39:22 AM »
I agree that waiting to buy a home could be a better idea. As a contractor you are more likely to discover a diamond in the rough that you can buy for a good price and do your own updates. My <30 nephew is a licensed contractor and that's just what he did. He found the off-market property through one of his connections. He parked a used travel trailer on the lot and lived there while he finished the house, which needed extensive work.

former player

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Re: Just married, new career path, need help!
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2020, 03:43:04 AM »
You have found a way of life and way of making a living that agree with you, so congratulations - you have basically gone straight to the life you would want after FIRE without the intervening years in an office.

You will not be high earners but you don't need to be.  As Dicey mentions you will be in a great situation in a little while to buy a property that you can make into what you want with your hard work and skill set.  The only other thing I would say is that you and your wife just need to ensure that your social security contributions are kept on track, as with your naturally low cost of living social security will be the bulk of what sees you into a secure old age.