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Old 10-04-2015, 11:02 PM   #21
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Congratulations, both on your upcoming marriage, as well as your strong income & wife with savings. Now the trick is to keep focus, you'll have time.

Suggestions:

- Aim for FI (financial independence) for your early 50's. Note that I don't say ER, or early retirement. FI will allow flexibility and margin for error/trouble; ER is a separate decision. You'll sleep & live better. Don't assume you'll keep on making good money well into your 50's and beyond; don't assume you won't hate your j*b or working in general by then. Things change in "only 20 year"; they did for me and I FIRED at 45.

- Strongly agree with recommendation to save VERY heavily. I'm guessing 20% or more of your gross, maybe 40% of after taxes. Even better, you can run "what if" scenarios in a retirement planning tool like Firecalc to guesstimate what it would take to retire in "x" years. I wish I had access to such tools & knowledge when I was your age.

- Avoid marital conflict; invest in your marriage. Avoiding divorce hastened my ER by 5 to 10 years.

- Avoid financial advisors who charge a "percentage of assets under management" (most of them). Avoiding such a FA hasted ER by at least 5 years.

- Minimize lifestyle creep start with your saving goal, per above, based on roughly when you want FI. Some time in your 50's seems realistic with aggressive savings, but still living a life. Count the cost of having kids. I'm not saying don't have kids, but do at least some rough planning. Not having kids hastened our ER by at least 5 years.

- Track expenses, maybe even budget. But it's important to live your life with the rest! Just need to know where the money is going, then only you can decide if it's worth it; your know :-)

- Despite my enthusiasm for FI and ER, live and w*rk well now. I'm concerned about some others who obsess about FI and ER when in their 20's and early 30's. It's an amazing gift to yourself, but don't rob the present in hope of a better future. You just don't know what 20-30 years in the future will bring. So save some money (pay yourself first), then love and be loved now on whatever is left!
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Old 10-05-2015, 12:14 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by FreeBear View Post
- Despite my enthusiasm for FI and ER, live and w*rk well now. I'm concerned about some others who obsess about FI and ER when in their 20's and early 30's. It's an amazing gift to yourself, but don't rob the present in hope of a better future. You just don't know what 20-30 years in the future will bring. So save some money (pay yourself first), then love and be loved now on whatever is left!
This is what I like most about this forum. Other websites take the savings thing to the extreme and would have you subsist on a daily diet of ramen.

At least members here know the value of moderation.
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:50 PM   #23
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This is what I like most about this forum. Other websites take the savings thing to the extreme and would have you subsist on a daily diet of ramen.

At least members here know the value of moderation.
Agreed, same here. I have been visiting this forum much more these days because of this exact reason. ER.org and Bogleheads seem to have a better ratio of pleasure/savings.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:16 PM   #24
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One very important habit, and one that I can't emphasize enough, is to set up an investment account that will pull a significant amount from your paycheck every month. At your age, this could be invested in 80/20 stocks and bonds. The big brokerage houses all have index funds that have low expenses.
So if I'm maxing out my Roth IRA and solo 401k every year, what do you suggest as an investment account here in 2015? Please specify.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:18 PM   #25
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How long have you had this high income. What circumstance lead to you owing the IRS 8000 dollars?

You won't make much progress if you don't figure where your money is going. Your wife-to-be is in better money shape then you are with savings of 20K, unless you pay all the household bills and she doesn't contribute anything.
Roughly 2 years of high income. I was saving for my down payment on my house, and didn't want to pay my huge income tax bill in one lump sum. I could pay off in full today if I wanted. As mentioned 0% interest in current IRS payment plan.

I do pay for the house and bills. She doesn't contribute more than a few things here and there.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:21 PM   #26
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Gulp. This has got to be job 1 for you. If you don't know where it is going, how can you control it? Agree with slow but steady that you should divert $$ to investment right off the top (which the 401k does do for you), but you need to get a handle on your spending.

I've used quicken for many (too many!) years to track everything we spend outside of small cash expenditures--everything noteworthy is via credit card or direct from bank account, which makes it easy. Others swear by YNAB, various forms of envelope systems, and the old reliable spreadsheet. [and, duh, Mint.com] I don't think it makes any difference which method you use, but nail the outflow down.

With that income in Austin, you are in a fantastic position; you just need to figure out how to take advantage of it. This might be a very useful endeavor for you and your gal to do together so that you have a course charted before the wedding.

(AND, three cheers for your plans for Roth and 401k maxing--that is a very good thing.)

Edited to add....


Setting up Mint today.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:31 PM   #27
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Definitely agreed on this point especially since by next year, both of you will probably have to do backdoor Roth contributions (hopefully, Obama doesn't close that loophole).


With your level of income and very reasonable mortgage, definitely pay off the IRS and student loan debt and then set aside a huge chunk towards investments (taxable, tax-deferred and Roth). You should be able to easily max out your 401k and then some.

Also, as others have mentioned either track spending or develop a budget. Personally, my budget consists of fixed expenses + big percentage for savings + large goals (e.g. vacation). The savings are automatically transferred on payday so I never see it in the checking account. Whatever's left, I just spend as I like.

Paying off student loan and IRS tomorrow!
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:39 PM   #28
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So if I'm maxing out my Roth IRA and solo 401k every year, what do you suggest as an investment account here in 2015? Please specify.
I wasn't the one to whom you directed this, but just a regular investment account at Vanguard, fidelity, schwab or the like. At any of those, you can get your pick of low cost index funds to start an investment foundation. (Many folks here, including me in my lucky younger days, also do individual stocks--but probably a good idea to get an index foundation first.)

And, second/third the upthread comments about making sure you allocate some of your income/time for fun. Theoretically, if we hadn't had children, stuck with a merely large house, drank only cheap wines, and hadn't taken all the exotic dive trips, we would have been retired 10 years ago. But (for us, at least) the detours on the journey were worth worth it.
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Old 10-13-2015, 02:40 PM   #29
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Thanks for all the advice so far! This forum is clearly a great wealth of knowledge and experience.

I'm seeing a lot of common things in the comments to far, I appreciate it!

Current question for everyone.... OTHER THAN maxing out my Roth IRA and solo401k what can be done to make make cash savings grow and grow?? I'm sitting on cash, and it's not doing much!

Also, without an employee match 401k option, is there any aggressive plan I can look into? Hitting 7 figure is a must these days!
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Old 10-13-2015, 03:52 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by dsp0725 View Post
Roughly 2 years of high income. I was saving for my down payment on my house, and didn't want to pay my huge income tax bill in one lump sum. I could pay off in full today if I wanted. As mentioned 0% interest in current IRS payment plan.

I do pay for the house and bills. She doesn't contribute more than a few things here and there.
The IRS doesn't make a habit of lending 0% money, this whole story is odd. Are you telling us they levied no underpayment fines at all? Do you think mortgage lenders want to see an IRS tax lien? More important, what is your mindset that you think not paying taxes is a way to "save" down payment money.

Track your spending, that is, your discretionary spending..this is where you can make legitimate savings happen.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:08 PM   #31
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The IRS doesn't make a habit of lending 0% money, this whole story is odd. Are you telling us they levied no underpayment fines at all? Do you think mortgage lenders want to see an IRS tax lien? More important, what is your mindset that you think not paying taxes is a way to "save" down payment money.

Track your spending, that is, your discretionary spending..this is where you can make legitimate savings happen.
Let's not get side tracked with this IRS topic... My situation is a payment/ installment plan. I recall asking what the interest was, and they told me over the phone 0%. Not sure what else to tell y'all. I wasn't going to argue it!

Correct, there were no underpayment fines, I've seen the statement of accounts. I was keeping all my cash liquid for the down payment, that's why I didn't pay the IRS in a 1 lump sum. One thing to note the tax liability came from my LLC down to my Schedule K on my personal. Maybe (not a tax pro) that's why there was 0% interest! Not sure and don't really care at this point.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #32
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by dsp0725 View Post
Thanks for all the advice so far! This forum is clearly a great wealth of knowledge and experience.

I'm seeing a lot of common things in the comments to far, I appreciate it!

Current question for everyone.... OTHER THAN maxing out my Roth IRA and solo401k what can be done to make make cash savings grow and grow?? I'm sitting on cash, and it's not doing much!

Also, without an employee match 401k option, is there any aggressive plan I can look into? Hitting 7 figure is a must these days!
Before digging in to other methods for investment, how are your Roth and 401k invested? Index funds? Individual stocks? Bonds? That will help guide the advice for where excess money can and should go. It's always good to diversify and spread the risk.

That being said, did you say your wife is maxing out her Roth allocation? If not, you may look in to helping her do that.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:22 PM   #34
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What time period is this showing? "Shopping" is pretty generic and somewhat alarming. Do you recall where that $15,000+ went?
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:22 PM   #35
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From May 2015 to October 2015
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:28 PM   #36
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From May 2015 to October 2015
Okay, so next step is to dig a little deeper. Most of these categories aren't really telling the whole story, and I bet there's plenty of easy cuts.

1) What is included in Shopping? This is definitely the elephant in the room, and I feel confident there is significant savings to be had in this category.
2) What is Business Services? Is this work related/work reimbursed?
3) Nice housing number. Is rent really that low?
4) Why $3,000 in taxes? You may want to modify your W-4.
5) Is Food & Dining for you, or both of you? There's definitely savings available there without major sacrifice.
6) Let's try to Categorize that other $1,000. Possibly more savings there.
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:47 PM   #37
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Before digging in to other methods for investment, how are your Roth and 401k invested? Index funds? Individual stocks? Bonds? That will help guide the advice for where excess money can and should go. It's always good to diversify and spread the risk.

That being said, did you say your wife is maxing out her Roth allocation? If not, you may look in to helping her do that.

Attached is my 401k screen shot so you can see allocation. My Roth IRA is all in VANGUARD RUSSELL 3000 INDEX FD ETF SHARES

My wife to be will be opening her roth ira soon!
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Old 10-13-2015, 04:51 PM   #38
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Okay, so next step is to dig a little deeper. Most of these categories aren't really telling the whole story, and I bet there's plenty of easy cuts.

1) What is included in Shopping? This is definitely the elephant in the room, and I feel confident there is significant savings to be had in this category.
2) What is Business Services? Is this work related/work reimbursed?
3) Nice housing number. Is rent really that low?
4) Why $3,000 in taxes? You may want to modify your W-4.
5) Is Food & Dining for you, or both of you? There's definitely savings available there without major sacrifice.
6) Let's try to Categorize that other $1,000. Possibly more savings there.

1 - engagement ring is in there...
2- My LLC's expenses, including marketing, ads, etc.
3 - I owe my home so that "home" cat is probably home store, furnishings?
4 - 3k taxes, probably business taxes, i'll look into this
5 - I eat out once in a while. We go on dates as a couple roughly 4 times a month
6 - on it!
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:04 PM   #39
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1 - engagement ring is in there...
2- My LLC's expenses, including marketing, ads, etc.
3 - I owe my home so that "home" cat is probably home store, furnishings?
4 - 3k taxes, probably business taxes, i'll look into this
5 - I eat out once in a while. We go on dates as a couple roughly 4 times a month
6 - on it!
Fair enough. I actually think you're in pretty good shape for just starting to budget/monitor. As you continue to monitor, you'll easily find areas to chip away without diminishing your lifestyle.

Obviously the engagement ring is a big one time purchase, and I'm assuming it was $10K+, so the Shopping category isn't as scary as it first looked. That being said, others may disagree with me, but it may be worthwhile to get a ring insurance policy. My wife's ring is appraised in that range, and her policy runs about $115/year. Your call, but that's a high enough sum to justify some inexpensive insurance. I'd insure a $10K car, might as well do the same for an easily lost/damaged ring.

Assuming the LLC expenses are more than covered by income from the LLC, I'd consider those expenses a relative wash.

Like someone else said, you've got to enjoy your money. If dates are how you and your fiancee choose to enjoy and build your relationship, go for it. You aren't blowing your budget with that sum.
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Old 10-13-2015, 05:17 PM   #40
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Yes, if you have paid off the IRS, that's great. Actually I was just curious about the circumstances of your 0% figure. Maybe the IRS is getting more lenient as long as they get their money. Sounds as though you accidentally came up short on your taxes and they gave you a good repayment deal.

So, you don't consider real estate taxes, insurance, and mortgage interest part of your housing expenses? You can't get a real picture of your cash flow until you put in everything you spend. You need to know where your money is going and right now you are the one spending it, it will be harder when you have 2 people's spending to track. Were you able to pay cash for the engagement ring?
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