Author Topic: Starting at 35, can it be done?!  (Read 3033 times)

overdrive23

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Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« on: June 20, 2018, 08:51:26 AM »
My #1 main question is how someone in my current situation can expect themselves to do well with FI/RE. Most of the FIRE stuff I've read is great for people that are early in their lives/careers.

I'm 35, have a wife, house, kid, 2 cars, CC debt, college debt etc..... the "sadly typical trap" of life.

I'm paying as much as possible into our highest interest debt, just got confirmation from VZN that we have no contract and will be switching to Ting or RW shortly.

But honestly, I'm very far from making this happen and it just  seems insurmountable. Can anyone give positive guidance on how someone where I AM NOW can succeed??

moonpalace

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2018, 08:57:45 AM »
But honestly, I'm very far from making this happen and it just  seems insurmountable. Can anyone give positive guidance on how someone where I AM NOW can succeed??

YOU CAN DO IT.

I was basically in the position you're in now, two years ago. I was 40. CC debt, huge tax bill coming due, student debt, no control over spending, etc. Net worth was about $30k. Life was stressful because we were living check-to-check, juggling credit cards, all that stuff. Was on track to retire at like age 80.

Now, NW is $190k and rising fast, CC debt is gone, money stress is completely gone, and the "new normal" of spending below our means feels truly easy.

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 09:00:55 AM »
thanks for the fast response. (still wanna hear from anyone else that started where I did)

Moonpalace,

Did you start by dumping money into high interest cards, making the cell swap....spending smarter etc? Or is there another piece to this puzzle I'm missing?

PoutineLover

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2018, 09:04:33 AM »
There are many inspiring stories in this forum and plenty of people have probably started lower and later than you. I paid off all my debt in a year and my net worth is on it's way up. Start by making a case study, you have to know where your money is going, what is non essential/wasteful, and how much you are willing to cut to reach your goals on a timeline that makes sense for your family. Without any idea of your current assets and liabilities and cash flows, it's hard to say how long it'll take to dig out of your hole.

Laura33

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #4 on: June 20, 2018, 09:14:35 AM »
You can only start where you are.  Comparing yourself to others is part of the same keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mindset that gets you in trouble in the first place. So you wonít be able to FIRE in 10 years - so what?  Where will you be in 10 years if you keep on your current path?

Look, I get it.  I am old, overweight, and out of shape.  I was too embarrassed to go to the gym, because I couldnít keep up with the buff youngsters there.  But where does that get me?  In 10 years, Iíll going to be 10 years older, no matter what I do; the only question is whether I let myself continue down the sedentary spiral, or whether I stop worrying so much about what people I donít even know might think of me and work on being as healthy and active as I can be.

You can guess which one I did.  And now I am still old and still overweight, and my cardiovascular fitness is middling at best.  But I can also deadlift 220 and do (a few) actual, real push-ups ó things I couldnít do even when I was young and thin.  I am never going to be perfect.  But I am a much better version of me than Iíd have thought possible two years ago.

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2018, 09:32:52 AM »
That's awesome to hear Laura!! Thank you!

I owned a gym for 6yrs and have helped hundreds of people with their health & fitness, if you ever wanna chat; fire away! I'm here to help, not just ask the community for help :)


robartsd

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2018, 10:30:50 AM »
The tools used by this community can help you plan and project your FI (even if the projection is not RE). If you embrace the majority of the frugal living choices others make, you can almost certainly RE (at least by many people outside this community's definition of early).

I was also in my thirties when I came across MMM and the idea that frugality can lead to early FI. I had already chosen to live within my means and was somewhat frugal. I had a healthy emergency fund and a small balance in a Roth IRA. I also had student loan debt and a car loan (probably about 20-25k total debt). Tools from this community helped me realize that I was really doing quite well on my path to regular age retirement even though I really didn't start saving until my mid-thirties. My biggest struggle has been getting my wife to catch the vision of FIRE. As a team we certainly could change the projections to RE in about 10 years. If you're current projection is financial disaster, changes must be made; as long as you're making changes, you might as well look at changes that would get you to RE.

If you can stop commuting by car, you can probably convince your wife that your family doesn't need two. Getting rid of one car saves you thousands every year. Careful choices for TV/streaming subscriptions can save about a thousand per year (I have a computer based DVR receiving free over the air broadcasts supplemented by free internet streaming; occasionally tempted to supplement with paid internet streaming). You're already moving your phones, so that is great. You can also analyze and optimize your investment and insurance strategies. All of these things are things you can figure out how to make work on your own and simply propose to your wife as ways to save more money with minimal impact on her. Post a full case study to get more suggestions on ways to save more money - though lots of things will require more of a team effort.

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2018, 10:36:09 AM »
Thanks for the post Robartsd!

I'm seriously trying to find a way for us to have 1 car. I work at home; but we have a child & my wife's job involves driving around and she can't stop to go get our kid if she's needed. She also has a variable "end of day" time & daycare ends at a hard 5:30pm.

I'll go through more tools of the community and post a case study this week! :) Thanks again!

FreshPrincess

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2018, 10:53:01 AM »
What @Laura33 said.  You can only start where you are.

We started at 34 (DH and I are the same age, separated by 5 months)... we weren't crazy in debt, but our savings rate was the typical 5-10%.  Everything else I found a way to spend at Target... or TJ Maxx... or Amazon... or anywhere else that was willing to take my money.

That was September 2017.  We are now both 35 and we have made BIG TIME improvements and changes, but we are still behind other 35 year olds on this site.  Maybe it's 6 years to FI, maybe it's 10 years... hell, maybe it's 15 because we've had some unexpected expenses and have a house that needs repairs... either way, it feels really good to get off the rat wheel of spending and being more mindful about what's really important to us.

We canceled cable.  We stopped going out to eat as often and cook more together.  I unsubscribed from all tempting email sites and stopped going shopping just to go shopping.

Make the small changes today.  They will feel like big changes and they will be worth it!

« Last Edit: June 20, 2018, 10:54:43 AM by FreshPrincess »

Dicey

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2018, 10:55:33 AM »
HaHaHaHaHaHa...ROFLMAO!!

In my twenties, TWICE I left jobs within weeks of at least some kind of vesting (How much? I'll never know.)

In my twenties, all my savings were in cash, because I wanted to buy a house. At least I actually did that. Bought  in 1988 for $100k. Spent $6k fixing it up. Sold in 1996 for $115k. Big whoop. (I've done much, much better in all subsequent properties.)

When I was 31, I took a job with more than a 50% pay cut to chase a bucket list dream. Fortunately, they had a decent profit sharing and 401k program. I stayed the minimum seven years and then some to become fully vested, which cost me a lot of potential income. But the bucket list dream was awesome. (A cycling trip through Nova Scotia with Outward Bound. Yeah!)

At 42, I became self employed.  The first few years, I put my (Sep?) IRA contributions in a fucking Money Market Account because I didn't know what to do with it.

I started earning better money, so I sought out the services of a financial planner! Then another one!! Finally, I found a good advisor and my investments took off. Still have them, which is a minority view around here, but it worked for me, finally.

I got to FIRE in Dec, 2012, at the ripe old age of 54.

Honey, if I can do this, anyone can. Just keep reading. This shit really, really works. I'm rich beyond my wildest dreams and being FIRE is indescribably awesome. Every fucking day.

+1M (hee) on the case study. You literally have nothing to lose.

rubybeth

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2018, 11:01:09 AM »
I'm older than you are, and I think anyone can do it. Will it be as early as others here? No, but that's not really the goal, the goal is whatever you set it to be--and that's kind of part of the fun.

DH and I got married in our late 20s and paid off debt until fall of 2013. During the time we were paying down students loans, we also had to replace both of our vehicles, which cost about $14,000. We paid down about $54,000 in debt from around 2009-2013. A few times, we got lucky (an inheritance was passed along to us, so we put all $5k toward debt), and there were setbacks (husband was diagnosed with a chronic, expensive medical condition), but ultimately we were glad to pay off the debt and look to the future. It can be done, and like others have said, you can only start where you are!

A big bonus for us was that paying off the debt got us to the point where we could pay for my husband's graduate degree without loans, which meant that when he got a better job after grad school, that pay increase felt significant in our budget and allowed us to save more.

You can do it!!

Laura33

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2018, 11:03:35 AM »
That's awesome to hear Laura!! Thank you!

I owned a gym for 6yrs and have helped hundreds of people with their health & fitness, if you ever wanna chat; fire away! I'm here to help, not just ask the community for help :)

Can you make me stop loving grits and biscuits and ice cream, and start craving fish and vegetables?  😉

rdaneel0

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2018, 11:04:14 AM »
Of course you can do it, don't be ridiculous! :) But seriously, you're still playing into the mainstream game that trapped you (thinking 35 is old, comparing your situation to other people).

People find this site at all different times and with varying backgrounds. I did find MMM in my early 20s, but I was making $7.50 an hour so most of what I read didn't even apply to my scenario. Obviously retiring on the timeline many people here do was out of the question, but I still used the principles I learned. Now I'm 31, no debt, over $100k net worth and my household income just broke six figures, mainly because of decisions I made after reading here. DH and I should be fully FIRE in 11-14 years depending on our earnings.

I am so happy I didn't look at this forum, see all the massive incomes and super young people with high net worths, and get intimidated and leave. That's what a lot of people do. There's no point in regretting what you did or where you are, keep moving forward! Think of all the insane advantages you have just  by being you and by being born where you were born in the body you're in!

Ditch that mainstream mindset and invite possibility into your life. Where could you be in 10 years if you commit to this? Where will you almost certainly be in 10 years if you don't?

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2018, 11:08:34 AM »
That's awesome to hear Laura!! Thank you!

I owned a gym for 6yrs and have helped hundreds of people with their health & fitness, if you ever wanna chat; fire away! I'm here to help, not just ask the community for help :)

Can you make me stop loving grits and biscuits and ice cream, and start craving fish and vegetables?  😉

No I can not haha, but I can say that those "vices" are waayyyy better the less you indulge. Just like finances; you've gotta have a plan and a schedule. Don't call it a "cheat meal" or anything negative....reward yourself 1-2x a week but there's gotta be a reason. You can't just eat ice cream "because"  or the reasons will find you ;)

birdiegirl

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2018, 11:08:37 AM »
I got a late start as well, discovered this blog and concept about 3 years ago (at 38).   I was in a similar situation, no kids but a husband, cc debt, student loans, leasing cars, and upside down on the mortgage.  The best thing to do is just get started, take small steps or big steps but just do something.   We started with just really thinking about purchases and focused on only buying what we actually need.  Sounds simple now but I can't believe how much money I wasted on stuff that didn't really add any value to my life. 

Once we started down that path, we started to see positive results and had some momentum going and it got easier over time.  In 3 years, I've paid off $30K of cc debt, $20K of student loans ($10K left), we have two used cars with $5K left to pay off.  We were fortunate that the housing market picked up a couple years ago and we able to sell and break even.  We've also greatly increased our retirement savings and now have solid emergency fund.   Still have some way to go but we are in such a better position than we were 3-4 years ago. 

Over time, you'll probably also be thinking a lot about what your goals are and what you really want for yourself and your family.  Our goals have changed and evolved over time.  Instead of pushing for full FIRE, our goal now is for both of us to be able to work part time.  We want to live a comfortable lifestyle (for us) right now and have decided the trade off to keep working part time will be a good compromise.   

It does seem like a big hill to climb when you're first starting out but don't get discouraged.  Even if you don't hit FIRE or your goals as fast as you'd hope, you'll be much farther ahead than your are today. The better your financial situation becomes, the more options you will have to design your life the way you want it. 

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2018, 11:10:06 AM »
Wow, the responses from y'all are amazing and make me smile. :)

Thank yoU!!!!!

kpd905

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2018, 02:54:11 PM »
OP, if you would like some specific advice for your situation, posting a case study would help a lot.

robartsd

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2018, 03:25:21 PM »
I'm seriously trying to find a way for us to have 1 car. I work at home; but we have a child & my wife's job involves driving around and she can't stop to go get our kid if she's needed. She also has a variable "end of day" time & daycare ends at a hard 5:30pm.
So you have to figure out picking up a kid from daycare. I found MMM from the blogroll of a family biking blog I was reading. I'd recommend learning about cargo bikes and think about how you can make the daycare run with one. Warning: cargo bikes are addictive - if you go down this road you might end up spending a decent fraction of your savings from going down to one car on bikes - seems the family biking bloggers are always adding to their fleets (and occasionally letting some go because they're running out of space). If you feel that daycare is too far to bike, what daycare options are closer? Even if you spend more on daycare to have it closer to home you could save quite a bit if it takes a car out of your expenses.

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2018, 06:12:37 AM »
I'm seriously trying to find a way for us to have 1 car. I work at home; but we have a child & my wife's job involves driving around and she can't stop to go get our kid if she's needed. She also has a variable "end of day" time & daycare ends at a hard 5:30pm.
So you have to figure out picking up a kid from daycare. I found MMM from the blogroll of a family biking blog I was reading. I'd recommend learning about cargo bikes and think about how you can make the daycare run with one. Warning: cargo bikes are addictive - if you go down this road you might end up spending a decent fraction of your savings from going down to one car on bikes - seems the family biking bloggers are always adding to their fleets (and occasionally letting some go because they're running out of space). If you feel that daycare is too far to bike, what daycare options are closer? Even if you spend more on daycare to have it closer to home you could save quite a bit if it takes a car out of your expenses.

I like the idea of a cargo bike! Daycare is super close, 3/4mi away. I've walked to drop off & pick up many times. Just gotta play it right with the florida weather (super hot in the PM and rain intermittently )

but a bike....now that would be super!!!

Hirondelle

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2018, 06:25:04 AM »
I'm seriously trying to find a way for us to have 1 car. I work at home; but we have a child & my wife's job involves driving around and she can't stop to go get our kid if she's needed. She also has a variable "end of day" time & daycare ends at a hard 5:30pm.
So you have to figure out picking up a kid from daycare. I found MMM from the blogroll of a family biking blog I was reading. I'd recommend learning about cargo bikes and think about how you can make the daycare run with one. Warning: cargo bikes are addictive - if you go down this road you might end up spending a decent fraction of your savings from going down to one car on bikes - seems the family biking bloggers are always adding to their fleets (and occasionally letting some go because they're running out of space). If you feel that daycare is too far to bike, what daycare options are closer? Even if you spend more on daycare to have it closer to home you could save quite a bit if it takes a car out of your expenses.

I like the idea of a cargo bike! Daycare is super close, 3/4mi away. I've walked to drop off & pick up many times. Just gotta play it right with the florida weather (super hot in the PM and rain intermittently )

but a bike....now that would be super!!!

Sounds like starting off by walking as often as possible would be a great starting point! 3/4 miles is a really nice walk and provides both you and the kid with some time outside - which unfortunately most people tend to get too little of nowadays. For further activities the cargo bike might be a perfect fit.

My commute is also about 3/4 mile and I've recently switched from biking to walking to work. At first just during sunny days, but now I walk just as happily in the rain (I currently don't live in a tropical climate but I have previously so I get your heat/rain point!). A bit of rain - even a tropical rain shower - usually won't kill you nor the kid and in the heat it can even be quite fun! Just make sure to bring some dry clothes and/or a rain jacket if you're going to something.

I also believe it's good to teach a kid (and yourself!!) to be outside and that walking/biking are nice activities opposed to taking the car. If all a kid knows is that every distance has to be traveled by car, this is what they'll most likely do themselves. If a child is used to walking/biking no matter the weather, they're very likely to keep it up :)

robartsd

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2018, 08:49:05 AM »
I like the idea of a cargo bike! Daycare is super close, 3/4mi away. I've walked to drop off & pick up many times. Just gotta play it right with the florida weather (super hot in the PM and rain intermittently )

but a bike....now that would be super!!!
Rain is easy enough to dress for. In hot humid area, I'd probably choose to ride in quick drying clothing and just let the rain get me wet (would still want fenders to keep road spray of me and my bike - be sure to add fenders to your bike if it doesn't come with them). An e-assist won't take the heat away, but could allow you to travel fast enough to really feel the breeze without working very hard. Many front loading box bikes have optional rain covers available (or you could make your own), but if it's hot and wet, I'd rather just get wet than block the breeze.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2018, 10:01:32 AM »
My #1 main question is how someone in my current situation can expect themselves to do well with FI/RE. Most of the FIRE stuff I've read is great for people that are early in their lives/careers.

I'm 35, have a wife, house, kid, 2 cars, CC debt, college debt etc..... the "sadly typical trap" of life.

I'm paying as much as possible into our highest interest debt, just got confirmation from VZN that we have no contract and will be switching to Ting or RW shortly.

But honestly, I'm very far from making this happen and it just  seems insurmountable. Can anyone give positive guidance on how someone where I AM NOW can succeed??

35? You ARE early in your life/career. lol.

Trifele

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2018, 11:54:04 AM »
You can totally do this @overdrive23 !  I had negative net worth until I was in my late thirties (mostly from huge student loans).  I'm 51 now and FIREing soon.  Don't compare yourself to the young'uns around here.  Just do what you can, and you will get there -- faster than you think.

+1 (again) on the case study.  It will really help. 

:)

overdrive23

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2018, 12:16:26 PM »
Thanks everyone!

I put together a Case Study today at lunch. I posted is here:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/starting-out-behind-the-8-ball/new/?topicseen#new

Fingers crossed! We are making smarter choices already!

Kepler

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2018, 04:32:30 PM »
I was older than you when I realised my then-partner had a whole second life, complete with other child (!!), and had run up huge amounts of debt in my name without my knowledge...  Once the dust settled from the divorce, I was carrying about $50,000 in his debt, and owned literally nothing but my clothing, and was a single parent...

I buckled down, paid everything off, met my wonderful partner and had another child - and ran into this site when I was about to return from maternity leave, debt-free and starting to accumulate, and idly wondering what I was meant to do with all this extra money.  I'm a bit slow, and early retirement had never occurred to me until I stumbled across all this... 

I did many, many stupid things along the way - not least locking a large amount of money away into accounts that I can't touch until normal retirement age (outside the US, so can't use standard US hacks - if I had been smarter, we could have been retired already).  So we will not be retiring early by the standards of this forum, but we don't have many years to go at this point - I guess it's almost five years since I stumbled across the forum, and we likely won't retire until our early to mid-50s (with the earlier date reflecting full-time work and an abrupt exit, and the later date reflecting a gradual ease into retirement via part-time work over a longer period). 

So: it absolutely can be done - and it's not a competition.  It would have been great if my life had turned out such that I could have retired in my 30s, but that wasn't the hand I was dealt...  The early retirement goal is still useful - even if the result is a traditional retirement age, but without so much financial chaos along the way...  Best of luck!

Trifele

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Re: Starting at 35, can it be done?!
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2018, 03:58:05 AM »
Thanks everyone!

I put together a Case Study today at lunch. I posted is here:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/case-studies/starting-out-behind-the-8-ball/new/?topicseen#new

Fingers crossed! We are making smarter choices already!

Yes -- just doing the case study causes that.  Good luck!