Author Topic: 2YR Progress!  (Read 2532 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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2YR Progress!
« on: July 18, 2017, 07:54:52 AM »
Hi all,
Almost two years ago I began to grow my mustache :) and my life has changed for the better. The wife and I have become much more aware of our spending and savings and most importantly we have become proud parents of a beautiful baby girl!

Here is my original post from two years ago./!-i-want-to-be-fi!/msg742037/#msg742037

I guess this is an intro, but I did not want to post in the sticky thread because there are no replies and I have a few questions, especially about having kids and how they affect the MM and your FI.

I discovered the MMM site about two years ago from the comments on some reddit thread and glanced over it but it never stuck to me. Now two years later I realize that I should have paid more attention to Mr.MM and that I could have been MUCH closer to Retirement!

So here is my short story. I am currently 29(going 30 :/), and have been working the same job since leaving college. Started off with around $55k a year and my current salary is just about $98k. I bought a house for $225k in 2010 thinking that I am getting a great deal but in reality I kind of screwed myself and the house is valued at $185k according to my tax statements and recent PMI evaluation, but I am sure that $200k can be taken. Two years ago I bought a Nissan Maxima for $21k (Cash) and I got married last year. My wife is a teacher with $50k salary, but not very mustachian :/ and loves to travel. We both like to travel and since we started dating we have been to many places including Dominican Republic, California, Europe, and are planning on going to Japan this year. We plan on having children so my wife wants us to travel while we can, and I agree but my new found love for having a mustache and FI clashes with the expenditures hehe.

Over the last 3 months I have completely rearranged my money, and priorities. I closed my savings accounts, drained and capped my two checking accounts ($2k and $5k max at any given time), and created a betterment account to invest the extra cash.

So here is what I did over the last few months.
- Removed monthly PMI insurance +$ 100mo (but paid $5k into the mortgage)
- Combined auto insurance (duh) +$50mo in savings
- Paid off a %5.5 $2.5k student loan ( $6k left total, $3,600 @ %5, $2,400 @ 0.07%)
- Have a %15 TSP contribution (for the last two years)
- Tried to lower food bills to $80 a week (or tried to get my wife to do it lol)
- Turning off and unplugging audio equipment/TVs/PCs/ lights
- Shorter(er) showers :)
- Cut down on restaurants (once or twice a month) and go out to lunch less (once or twice a month instead of say 5 times)
- Started using my wife's Civic to commute to work for the better MPG and regular gas. (wife's commute is 10mi total, and mine is 24mi)
- Try not to buy useless crap on Amazon (mostly successful)
- Try to convince my wife to get a betterment account and close her stupid CDs! She did put $10k in betterment but refuses to contribute monthly or do anything with the CDs.
- Trying to plan a "budget" Japan vacation (no souvenirs, or expensive hotels)
- Selling things on Craigslist
- Biking to do small errands to Lowes/Food Store
- Using the cars a lot less, especially the Maxima (hitting stores on my way back from work rather than doing a round trip from home)
- Walking in my job complex instead of taking my car from building to building.

My financials:
- Net worth is approx. =-$79k. Yes negative, since I factor mortgage and student loans.
- TSP approx. =  $52k
- Betterment =  $24k
- TD Ameritrade = $20k
- Cash = $5k
- Mortgage: = $-175k

So over the last few months I actually spent a lot of my checking account cash to pay off mortgage and some student loans, and it feels like I have been loosing money and barely saving, coupled with a 2% loss on my betterment account it feels like I haven't made progress, even though I know it's the right thing to do.

However I am worried because the wife and I really want to move out of our current house and get something better in the $300k range, and we also want to plan for a child in the next year or two. Those are some huge financial hits that will be taken during that time, and I feel that I will never be able to retire in a reasonable age. Ideally I want to do it in 10 years but it is hard right now for me to get to 50% savings rate (15% TSP, and 35% on take home check). However in the last 3 months I have been paying down on loans, repairing/prepping the house for possible sale, and I pay most of the utilities (water, electricity, gas, and mortgage) while my wife pays for TV/Internet, food, car insurance, and helps out financially with house repairs. The current house is mine and I am the single owner on paper but when we decide, my wife will be paying a share of the mortgage on a new home.

How do you mustachians manage to be FI with kids? Any of you FIRE with 2 kids? And have any of you been able to become FIRE while you had 2 kids? I am wondering if there is/has been anyone in my situation and how they managed.

Thanks all, looking forward to contributing!

Now for the financial stuff.

Major changes:
- Decided to keep our house and we refinanced last November @3.5% for 30yr. We plan on moving out and converting to a rental.
- Mortgage went down from 5% @ $1,780/mo to 3.5% @ $1,325/mo
- Maxing out TSP
- Maxing out ROTH IRAs
- Depositing anything extra left of my paycheck into Taxable accounts
- Moved my wife's 403B form AXA 1.2%+ fees to an alternative of 0.35% fees and Vanguard Funds (best I found at the time)
- Began recording our monthly spending in a spreadsheet

My financials:
- Net worth is approx. =$275k. if I factor mortgage
- Investments + cash =  $232k (aprox)

- TSP approx. =  $114k
- Betterment (New House Downpayment Fund)=  $48k
- Betterment (Safety Net) = $5.6k
- TD Ameritrade (Stocks) = $29k
- Vanguard (IRA + Brokerage) = $27.6k
- Cash = $10.6k
- House = $200k
- Mortgage: = $-158k

2015 Net worth = 121k
2017 Net worth = +$275k
2015 Investments = $101k
2017 Investments = $222k

So considering my 2 year progress, I think this is pretty bad ass!

Now my wife did help with the refinance and putting down $ toward the house, but I am not counting her assets in this. Also I am aware that the Market has been doing extremely well and that it might correct itself at any moment.

Thanks all and MMM!!!

7/19/17, 0907
Updated to include my house as part of my net worth.

« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 07:10:12 AM by Mr.GrowingMustache »


  • Guest
Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2017, 08:04:18 AM »
Wow!  Awesome work :)


  • Bristles
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Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2017, 08:18:44 AM »
I noticed you don't include your home value in your NW but you do include your mortgage which makes your NW seem much lower.  Any particular reason?


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2017, 08:54:47 AM »
I noticed you don't include your home value in your NW but you do include your mortgage which makes your NW seem much lower.  Any particular reason?

I was wondering the same thing.

OP, congratulations on your progress!  Keep on trucking!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2017, 11:40:12 AM »
Wow!  Awesome work :)


I noticed you don't include your home value in your NW but you do include your mortgage which makes your NW seem much lower.  Any particular reason?

Because I am sour about it.... hehe.

Long story short is that I bought a 1180sq/ft house for $225k 2010 at what I thought was a great deal and expected a nice price increase by now, only to discover the opposite. The house has been losing value ever since, its got 1 bathroom, technically 2bedrooms (since I took out a makeshift closet in the family room), an illegally built room in the garage, and a mandatory $2k flood insurance (imposed by the mortgage company). When we tried to sell it last year, the realtors appraised it from 185k -200k price range which basically a crappy house here. I have redone the kitchen, bathroom,  all the floor with hardwood, new water heater, and maintained the building excellently. So if I sold the house I would have blown away 50k in "equity" i thought i put in it and walked away with like 5-10k.

So let's say the house is worth $200k (I can probably list now for $220k).

Oh yeah and I live near the water where Sandy flooded a bunch of houses down the block. But within 10min walking radius there are some million dollar waterfront houses, playgrounds, grocery store, diners, and a very nice bay beach!


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2017, 03:44:32 PM »
Nicely done, good turnaround!

But yeah include the value of your house. It's the only "real" tangible thing you own. Everything is just financial assets - pixels on a screen / records in a ledger basically.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 03:46:23 PM by marty998 »


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2017, 04:02:05 PM »
Congrats!  You are making real progress!


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 86
Re: 2YR Progress!
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2017, 07:06:29 AM »
Thanks all! You're right I should include it :)

I've updated the post.