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39 more years? How about 10.
Old 07-09-2008, 08:44 PM   #1
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39 more years? How about 10.

So I'm 26 I've got a couple degrees and have only had a serious job for 2.5 years, and if this is a preview of the next 40 years I might as well shoot myself now. After working about a year I saved enough and was making enough to buy a fixer-upper type 2 bedroom 1 bath 900 sq.ft house, that was essentially a complete redo, for $145,000. So I tore it down to the studs, reinforced where necessary, rewired and replumbed everything, all that's left is the bathroom and one bedroom of this 3 bedroom 1100 sq.foot house. Working sucks and I wish to be done. I rarely buy anything, I'm never going to get married or have kids so why should I have to work for 40 years? My current job is working out alright, but I just got finished interviewing as a field engineer for the oil industry and if I end up getting the job I'll be making $62,000 base plus bonuses making the total between 72,000 and 96,000 plus during the training I would be living for free in dorms and if I opt for an international assignment I could be making 1.75 times the standard amount plus all my living expenses would be payed.

The Stats:

Negative:
-$20,000 @6% in student loan
-$114,000 @6.5%mortgage
-$14,000 @7.5%2nd mortgage
-$12,000 @19% in credit card debt used to finance the repairs on the house.

Positive:
~$210,000 house
$500/month roommate
$2,500 401K Down 15% so far this year!
$2,000 Roth IRA $47,000/year job + $3000 yearly bonus + $1500 401K contribution
Checking: $1500
Savings:$28
Net Value:
Roughly $50,000

In January I had $20,000 in credit card debt from the house so I've been paying it off pretty rapidly. With my roommate's contribution I bring in $3500 a month. If you consider money going to the mortgage and paying off debt saving then I'd be saving at a rate of 80% after taxes!

Now naturally my first goal is to pay off the credit card debt which should be done by the end of the year. After that I'll take a a breather for two months and just build up my savings account to $6,000. Then it's time to make the tough decisions.

Do I invest in the system that has given me no luck so far? The 401K was only up one month in the last year and a half, all of the options I am allowed to invest in have been down all year so there is nothing I could have done to not lose that money. In 1999 my uncle died and left me $40,000 in his IRA. I decided to leave it there because I thought the mutual fund guys had a clue about what there job was. so in fall 2000 when I was ready to spend the money on college I had a whopping $17,000.

Or do I pay down my mortgage and rent out the house?
I could get $1100 to $1200 per month if I rented out. If I kept paying as much as I currently do (snowballing) assuming I never get a raise I could have all of my debt payed off and own the house in 5.3 years. At that point if the rent didn't increase I'd be taking home about $1000 a month from the property while thevalue of the house would be increasing as well. If the house value only goes up 7 percent a year I'd be making a 14% ROI.at This point I could use the money I'm making to buy more houses and rent them out as well. Even assuming I don't get the better paying job I don't seen how I shouldn't be retired within 10 years.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:27 AM   #2
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So I'm 26 I've got a couple degrees and have only had a serious job for 2.5 years, and if this is a preview of the next 40 years I might as well shoot myself now. Working sucks and I wish to be done. I rarely buy anything, I'm never going to get married or have kids so why should I have to work for 40 years?
I'd say with your education and job possibilities you will probably make enough money to live a comfortable life if you spend your money wisely. i'd be more concerned about getting rid of the attitude you now have for your future.
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Old 07-10-2008, 06:43 AM   #3
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Your off to a great start!

Consider the hard effort you have put in Re-habbing a house from the ground up while working a Fulltime job!

Of course the next forty years looks miserable!

But that does not have to be indicative of your future unless your the type that always has to have that next thing going... Then I see more stress and dispair because you are not working to live but living to work.

Now that you finished the house how about a breather? How about a year where all you do is your 8hrs and then home to relax or out with friends...a vacation etc... You sure sound like you deserve it after college and your remodel job .....

Keep up the good saving and planning but take time to live NOW also.

As far as the 401k -- Is it invested in the broader stock market? If so leave it IMHO ... long term your in good shape -- stop looking at it - You are buying the market "on sale " right now. Historically your best move is to keep chunking it in and forget it.
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:22 AM   #4
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Reasons to invest in your 401(k). You need time in the market.... a year and a half isn't a lot of time. It's tax-deferred growth. It lowers your tax liability. If you get a company match, then it's free money.

You might want to share more about what your fund choices are here or over at diehards.org. Compare them to indexes for their corresponding asset classes to see if they're doing significantly worse than the market.

If you're close to a tax threshold, then you might want to contribute enough to get your AGI down. If you get a match, then you should at least contribute enough to get the full match.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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@ jambo101: Changing my attitude going to require heavy medication and therapy since I've had it as long as I can remember.

@ militaryman: The reason I got the house in the first place was because I hated working and saw it as a way to make money outside of work so I could be done sooner. Initially I was thinking I'd just sell it and take a couple years off, but finding someone that will hire you when you took a 4 year vacation after working 2 years doesn't sound like fun so I'd rather build up a passive income so at most I would only have to work part time or maybe do some consulting a couple months a year.

@Marquette: Yes it is tax deferred growth but paying taxes on everything I made plus all the interest I made at standard income tax rates hoping that somewhere along the line the corporatists in congress decide to lower taxes doesn't sound like a smart bet when I can get a near garaunteed 14% return. I have zero faith in fund managers, after going through school I'd rather buy lottery tickets then trust that someone with a business degree can perform statistical analysis.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:43 AM   #6
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Well if you're looking for validation and not assistance, then I'd say to go with your gut!
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:43 AM   #7
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Well if you're looking for validation and not assistance, then I'd say to go with your gut!
I want to do whatever will allow me to retire the quickest. 401K's can't fit into that plan because They would be locked away for another 34 years and if I go broke before then I'll have to go back to work. If building up an IRA is a better idea then I will do that. I want to put my money wherever it will be most effective.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:36 PM   #8
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There a lot of changes you can potentially make that will improve your financial situation, some of which have not been mentioned.

First, let me say your hands-on decisions were good, it sounds like you did fine in school, picked a good job and got a house you could handle. Knowing about renting and being willing to do it is very good too. I think you have done a decent job so far, but most of this post is going to be on how to improve.


There are a number of things you did wrong and definitely need to learn more about, and it mostly deals with the fuzzy non-hands on things. Not that big a deal though, as you are just starting out, and it can be corrected by picking up good investing and financial habits. Most of the mistakes are also fairly easy to fix.

Some of the concepts you need to brush up on are market timing, the difference between long term and short term investments and what they are (something you are going to use in a couple years is definitely short term), how to properly use credit cards, how to lower your mortgage rate, the order of importance for investment vehicles, the risk/returns of different investments, knowing the difference between active/passive managment (it sounds like you are very interested in passive self-managment) knowing how the market works in general and knowing what a high-interest savings/checking account/money market is.

My suggestions for things to immediately do:

1) Pay off the credit card, you would need a return of about 25%+ to beat how much money you are sinking into that credit card, this needs to be done to the exclusion of all else. If the amount were larger, I would have suggested balance transferring it to a card with a very low %, something like a %0-3 card, but you can pay off just 12k quickly. Learn how to use credit cards (meaning, you should never be holding a balance on a high-interest credit card, you just get the rewards money and pay it off the next month).

2) Get whatever match from your 401k you can and max your Roth. This is of course after paying off your credit card.

3) Get a lower interest rate for your mortgage, at one point, some reputable banks were recently offering 4.5-5% fixed. Never get an ARM, at least not for a long time until you really understand one of the few situations you would use it in.

4) Put your bonus directly into your 401k, you can avoid the excessively high bonus tax rate, in other words, you get a gigantic amount of extra money by doing this rather than letting it get taxed extra heavilly. It sounds like you get big bonuses, so this matters a lot.

5) Figure out your risk tolerance, then select something easy like a low-cost target retirement index fund. You will get good returns (in the long run) something around 8-10% on average. When you gain a lot more investing knowledge, you may be able to setup an allocation that does better. You can also learn about real-estate investing and landlording, since it sounds like you would be able to at least handle the repairs aspect, once you update your investing knowledge.
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:58 PM   #9
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So I'm 26 I've got a couple degrees and have only had a serious job for 2.5 years, and if this is a preview of the next 40 years I might as well shoot myself now.
So you have a negative, rather nihilistic attitude. So you might have a shot at a job that pays ~ $62,000. So you have a net worth of $50,000. So you want to stop working ASAP.

So these are my suggestions:

(1) read Charles Long, How to Survive Without a Salary (and anything by Ernie J. Zelinski);

(2) stop worrying about money, and focus all your energies on finding something that gives your life a sense of meaning or purpose.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:25 PM   #10
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1) Pay off the credit card, you would need a return of about 25%+ to beat how much money you are sinking into that credit card, this needs to be done to the exclusion of all else. If the amount were larger, I would have suggested balance transferring it to a card with a very low %, something like a %0-3 card, but you can pay off just 12k quickly. Learn how to use credit cards (meaning, you should never be holding a balance on a high-interest credit card, you just get the rewards money and pay it off the next month).
Yeah I kind of got slammed with the credit interest. The card initially was only 5% of the company got absorbed into bank of america which changed the grace period on my and then jacked up my interest and rate and beat down my credit score for following the old grace period for a couple months before I noticed late fees. now due to my low credit score (611 from 740) I can't get a card with a high enough limit to transfer to.

Quote:
2) Get whatever match from your 401k you can and max your Roth. This is of course after paying off your credit card.
The company pays in 3% of my salary whether I contribute to it or not. Is contributing to a ROth a better use of my money than paying down the mortgage or Saving for a downpayment on another house?

Quote:
3) Get a lower interest rate for your mortgage, at one point, some reputable banks were recently offering 4.5-5% fixed. Never get an ARM, at least not for a long time until you really understand one of the few situations you would use it in.
Again my currently poor rating makes getting a better rate not possible, I looked into it at my credit union a couple months ago and it would be horrendous. I opted for a 30 year fixed rate when I got my house.

Quote:

4) Put your bonus directly into your 401k, you can avoid the excessively high bonus tax rate, in other words, you get a gigantic amount of extra money by doing this rather than letting it get taxed extra heavilly. It sounds like you get big bonuses, so this matters a lot.
This is a good idea, though this year, if I'm still with the same company, my bonus is going to be used to finish paying off the credit cards.

Quote:
5) Figure out your risk tolerance, then select something easy like a low-cost target retirement index fund. You will get good returns (in the long run) something around 8-10% on average. When you gain a lot more investing knowledge, you may be able to setup an allocation that does better. You can also learn about real-estate investing and landlording, since it sounds like you would be able to at least handle the repairs aspect, once you update your investing knowledge
Every single fund I had the option to put my 401K into lost money in the last 12 months. I'm going to wait until I see some kind of bottom before I put anything more in the market. If it was just a risk then there should be at least one or two companies that did well. and since none did I'm going to have to put the odds at less than 50% of making any money in the short term, I'd prefer to hold off until I can do my own investing.
Right now my 401K is in:
40% Phoenix Mid-Cap Value Fund
30% Janus Adviser International Growth Fund
30% SSgA MSCI EAFE Index Strategy Fund
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:36 PM   #11
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I'm never going to get married or have kids...
At the risk of side-tracking your thread, why do you believe that you'll never get married? Does you mean that you'll never have any long-term romantic relationship, or just that you'll never formally be married?

When I was 19, I seriously doubted that I would ever get married. I was married at 22. When I was 26, I was married, but had no kids, and DW & I agreed that we did not want kids. We now have 2. Funny how things turn out.

"Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:22 PM   #12
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So you have a negative, rather nihilistic attitude. So you might have a shot at a job that pays ~ $62,000. So you have a net worth of $50,000. So you want to stop working ASAP.

So these are my suggestions:

(1) read Charles Long, How to Survive Without a Salary (and anything by Ernie J. Zelinski);

(2) stop worrying about money, and focus all your energies on finding something that gives your life a sense of meaning or purpose.
I'll admit I'm an existentialist and my only goal is to be left alone.
Sound good, I'll head to the library after work.

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At the risk of side-tracking your thread, why do you believe that you'll never get married? Does you mean that you'll never have any long-term romantic relationship, or just that you'll never formally be married?
I'm a textbook schizoid. It's extremely difficult to form any kind of emotional attachment to anything or anyone and if there is an emotional connection it is only in a negative respect of pain and sadness. I've never even had a close friend. I'd really have to hate someone to form a close relationship, but then why would I be around someone I hate?
I'd rather be alone.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:29 PM   #13
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2) Yes, a Roth is a lot better than paying down extra principle on a 6.5% loan, even with a 7.5% loan, it is still better (as long as you can make the normal payments, obviously missing payments/defaulting is very bad).

3) Hmm, well try later then if the rates still aren't bad, also, your local credit union is probably not as good as some of the national credit unions, though it is good to have a brick and mortar you can use for banking services.

4) Another thing, if you really want to retire as soon as humanly possible, such as in your 40s, you will have to probably save a huge chunk of your salary, definitely within the 40-60% range. If you did that you could probably pay off the credit card, get a Roth and max your 401k with all of your bonus, though, if you live in a really high cost area, it would be tougher to pull this off. Having a roommate who pays a good chunk of the mortgage and utilities should make it doable though. Obviously though, easier said than done.

5) Hmm, I don't know the cost-ratios on those, but I am guessing they aren't very good (0.5% or greater), you may even have gotten suckered into loaded funds. Your portfolio is also horribly imbalanced. As I said, you probably want to do some reading on investing, such as seeing what people do on the boglehead forums.

As to waiting it out to invest until the market is way up again, at least for your long term goals (retirement), not a very good idea. This is a pretty easy way to get poor returns for the rest of your life (you miss most of the growth and then eat at least a good part of the losses). However, if you need the money for short term goals (future payments), it shouldn't be in the market at all, you should have it in a money market/CD/high interest savings or checking earning 3.5-6% with just about no risk.
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:35 PM   #14
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I'm a textbook schizoid. It's extremely difficult to form any kind of emotional attachment to anything or anyone and if there is an emotional connection it is only in a negative respect of pain and sadness.
Sorry to hear that. I hope that you are receiving some sort of therapy ... presumably some things can be done to alleviate your suffering and improve the quality of your life (Risperdal might help).
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Old 07-10-2008, 04:41 PM   #15
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Sorry to hear that. I hope that you are receiving some sort of therapy ... presumably some things can be done to alleviate your suffering and improve the quality of your life (Risperdal might help).
From what I understand of people with schizoid personality disorder, most of them don't perceive it to be a problem, and don't feel that they're suffering. To make a crude analogy, it's probably a bit like the way a Vulcan would react if you expressed sympathy for their lack of emotion.

Given the personality attributes that the OP listed, I'd say foregoing marriage and kids is a good call.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:57 AM   #16
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..... Working sucks and I wish to be done. ...
Agreed wholeheartedly! My feelings exactly. (& I'm 48 & my job is actually not that bad compared to many).

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... I rarely buy anything, I'm never going to get married or have kids so why should I have to work for 40 years? ...
I don't regret getting married & having a kid one bit. However, were I a single fella with a paid for house & health insurance, I could probably get by just fine financially picking up aluminum cans & panhandling. I don't need too much.
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:02 AM   #17
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I'll admit I'm an existentialist and my only goal is to be left alone.
Sound good, I'll head to the library after work.
I see a lot of guys like you at our local library. They wander over during the day from the shelter across the street. Apparently all ER'd!

(Just kidding )
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Old 07-11-2008, 09:37 AM   #18
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Frugal, I think you might benefit from reading a basic investing book or two. I would also suggest reading Zelinski's stuff. He's kind of a goofball, but if you haven't bought into the married, 2.5 kids suburban life with all its commitments and requirements, he does offer a fresh perspective.

A tactical suggestion for you based on my own experience: Pay down your credit crad as quickly as possible and be scrupulously punctual about making every payment for every obligation on time. I would also suggest ordering your credit reports and disputing any negative items that are even close to being inaccurate. Once the CC debt is gone, your FICO should rise by a lot, assuming you have been on time with everything else. Then you can go refi your first and second mortgage. If your market value is corect, you should be able to refi both the first and second into a new loan with a lower blended cost than what you are paying now.
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Old 07-11-2008, 07:56 PM   #19
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2)
4) Another thing, if you really want to retire as soon as humanly possible, such as in your 40s, you will have to probably save a huge chunk of your salary, definitely within the 40-60% range. If you did that you could probably pay off the credit card, get a Roth and max your 401k with all of your bonus, though, if you live in a really high cost area, it would be tougher to pull this off. Having a roommate who pays a good chunk of the mortgage and utilities should make it doable though. Obviously though, easier said than done.
As I said above I'm currently using 80% of my aftertax income to pay off credit, mortgage, and loans.

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5) Hmm, I don't know the cost-ratios on those, but I am guessing they aren't very good (0.5% or greater), you may even have gotten suckered into loaded funds. Your portfolio is also horribly imbalanced. As I said, you probably want to do some reading on investing, such as seeing what people do on the boglehead forums.
Of the ten funds I am allowed to put the money into these were among the top performing. I'd much prefer to pick my own funds or stocks directly than use the ones my 401K is limited to.

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As to waiting it out to invest until the market is way up again, at least for your long term goals (retirement), not a very good idea. This is a pretty easy way to get poor returns for the rest of your life (you miss most of the growth and then eat at least a good part of the losses). However, if you need the money for short term goals (future payments), it shouldn't be in the market at all, you should have it in a money market/CD/high interest savings or checking earning 3.5-6% with just about no risk.
I don't want to wait until the market is high again, just on the way up. The market has been on a downward spiral for a few months and I haven't seen any improvement to any of the root causes and there's no way to short sell my 401K or I would invest in that. Right now everything is going to pay off credit anyway so it's a moot point. Hopefully things will start to turn around by the time I'm ready to invest.

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Frugal, I think you might benefit from reading a basic investing book or two. I would also suggest reading Zelinski's stuff. He's kind of a goofball, but if you haven't bought into the married, 2.5 kids suburban life with all its commitments and requirements, he does offer a fresh perspective.

A tactical suggestion for you based on my own experience: Pay down your credit crad as quickly as possible and be scrupulously punctual about making every payment for every obligation on time. I would also suggest ordering your credit reports and disputing any negative items that are even close to being inaccurate. Once the CC debt is gone, your FICO should rise by a lot, assuming you have been on time with everything else. Then you can go refi your first and second mortgage. If your market value is corect, you should be able to refi both the first and second into a new loan with a lower blended cost than what you are paying now.
Sounds like a plan. I hope my market value is correct because it's the number that my city taxes are based on. I wish I had just taken out a HELOC for the repairs instead of using a credit card but that would have required a home inspection which probably wouldn't have valued my house very high as it appeared to be more of deathtrap than a house when I bought it.

Thanks everyone I appreciate the advice.
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