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Old 01-17-2013, 08:22 PM   #61
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No. He is a Finance Director.
I know someone in a similar position to OP. Not yet 26, but doing well on Wall St at an i-bank. Probably in the $200-250k range. The trick is, her father (prior to being forced against his will to ER) was a fortune 100 COO or CFO or something, and sat on a bunch of Fortune 500 boards during his career. And comes from an old money Long Island family. Needless to say her father and family assisted somewhat with her placement at the bank and with her sudden career advancement.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:31 PM   #62
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As the title states, I am 26 years old. I started in the workforce at 18. I have been making over $160,000 since I was 21 and after 3 promotions I am now at a $350,000 position that I've had for over a year. [...]
I'm here to try and learn how others control spending their hard earned money especially on things they really love. I know my car buying problem is hindering my ability to retire at a very young age. Cheers!
26 years old is very young to be thinking about retiring - what are your retirement goals? What do you want to do after retirement?

Above questions aside, I'd say you're young enough that you can afford to make some mistakes. It's great that you're asking for advice and help, and I think it bodes well for you in the future.

Given the number of cars you say you've gone through I'm guessing you're not paying cash for them.

My suggestion is to follow these two simple points:
1. Give yourself a monthly savings budget - doesn't really matter what it is, the point is just to give yourself the discipline of consistently putting something away. Make sure your savings are going somewhere where you can track them, so you can keep yourself honest (i.e., open a separate brokerage account which you intend not to touch).
2. Buy cars with available cash (and obviously, without withdrawing from savings) - if you don't have enough available cash, don't buy the car until you've accumulated enough to write the check.

If you can hold yourself to a consistent savings rate for a few years I think you'll be able to take the next step, which is to figure out what the rate actually needs to be to meet your retirement goals and hold yourself to that rate.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:07 PM   #63
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Looking back at the paystub attached, I am confused when I look at the SS tax. It is at 4.2% of gross which means it is from 2012. The OP states the check was received a few days ago, so let's assume it's from December. But at a 350k gross, the limit would have been reached after about the first 4 months of the year and the deduction would cease until Jan 2013. At that time it would resume (sadly) at the new 6.2%. Unless I'm missing something.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:11 PM   #64
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I think most people here who have a 7-figure portfolio would think that $5K or $50K is a ton of money. Say you have a $2M portfolio. In this low yield environment, this kind of portfolio can only support about $60K in spending per year if you don't want to eat into your principal. So blowing $50K or even $5K is a big deal. You certainly can't afford to buy Ferraris every other year on this kind of budget.
I like this. A sensible way to think about it.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:39 PM   #65
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Looking back at the paystub attached, I am confused when I look at the SS tax. It is at 4.2% of gross which means it is from 2012. The OP states the check was received a few days ago, so let's assume it's from December. But at a 350k gross, the limit would have been reached after about the first 4 months of the year and the deduction would cease until Jan 2013. At that time it would resume (sadly) at the new 6.2%. Unless I'm missing something.
It could be that their payroll processors just haven't caught up with the latest tax laws. Most likely, the next check will be adjusted to correct for this.

I notice though that while the OP is single, he has 4 exemptions for both federal and MA witholding.
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Old 01-17-2013, 09:58 PM   #66
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It could be that their payroll processors just haven't caught up with the latest tax laws. Most likely, the next check will be adjusted to correct for this.
My ADP check has the correct % taken out.

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I notice though that while the OP is single, he has 4 exemptions for both federal and MA witholding.
Property taxes? The mortgage is almost paid off, according to the OP, so there's no mortgage interest deduction.
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:07 PM   #67
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MDC86, maybe it would help you to think of the cyclical nature of the world (no Simba jokes please). Okay, maybe not the world, but the economy, the job market. When I began college there was huge demand for entry level people in the field I entered. That wasn't why I chose that field, but that happened to be the situation. Six years later when I had finished my MS and was qualified for one of those jobs, they were very hard to come by. The economic cycle had progressed, commodity prices had followed, supply and demand in the labor market had worked its magic, and I was looking at the bottom of the cycle when I got out of school. Because of an earlier summer job connection and blind luck, I was one of the few at that time to get a job right away. Many of my friends had to change fields for at least a while. Since then I have seen four more of those economic/job market cycles come and go, and each time it has had a profound effect on the employment and employability of those in my field, at least for a time. Perhaps not surprisingly, those impacted first during a downturn have been those not at the top where decisions are made, but those near the top, where a cut will save the most. And when those who were cut finally found work again, it was often at a level far below where they had been at their previous mega-corp. (Unfortunately, my daughter is finding the same job market situation this year as she is finishing up her degree. I give her the "cycle" peptalk, but she says it doesn't apply to her...."oh, woe is me.") Surely from your perspective high in your company, you see and plan around cycles of various kinds in the economic world every day. If not, ask Bill (balanced budget) Clinton and George W (where's the revenue?) Bush to give you an example or two.

So I'm suggesting that you consider yourself having just ridden one of these cycles very precipitously to the top. I hear you saying that your job has no more headroom, and I hear most other posters say that there is potentially a long way for you to fall. Who knows, maybe you will be making $1million/year by 2020, and your career will keep growing and growing. Like the budget surpluses were forecast to under Clinton. But maybe instead, the roller coaster will come back down toward earth pretty soon. So if it does, ask yourself whether you’d rather have a couple of shiny European machines in the garage with outstanding loans (and photos of a bevy of earlier rides) or whether you’d rather land on your feet with a nice bank account, ready to hit the ground running (and still ER) with a more down-to-earth salary. What’s the saying? Make hay while the sun shines?

What I would do (have done) is decide how much money I need to live a modest but comfortable lifestyle. That number will be different for everyone, and would change if your job situation were to change, but you could probably look at your 2012 expenses and determine that number right now if you let your rational side take out the “excess” car money. Then make all the rest of your salary beyond, say, 110% of that cost-of-living money disappear from your life. Somehow schedule the rest of it ($15k/mo?) to automatically go into an investment account that you can’t get into on a whim. You’ll still have some mad money in your regular bank account, but let the excess accumulate untouched and half-forgotten. If you find yourself at the ripe old age of 34 in 2020 with a $1 million salary and more money in your account than you know what to do with, give me a call and I’ll help you figure out what to do with it. But if you find that you’re on the ground looking up at the roller coaster at some point wondering what happened, you’ll be able to take care of yourself for as long as it takes to get back on your feet, you’ll have reasonable spending/saving habits, and you may yet be able to ER.
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