Join Early Retirement Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Early 40s wife, parent and attorney in Jersey
Old 09-15-2016, 10:36 AM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Early 40s wife, parent and attorney in Jersey

Hello all! After two years lurking, reading, learning (and often cheering from behind my screen) I'm taking the plunge to introduce myself. I feel so blessed to have found a community of like-minded people.

I am in my early 40s with a DH and 6-year-old DS. While my wonderful DH and I spent many hard-driving DINK years hitting goals (often to the exclusion of fun and enjoying life), we decided to make a drastic change when DS was born. My DH become the SAHD and likely will remain RE. I love having him home. He takes so much off my plate, that I credit the change with having significantly increased our household income even without the second salary.

We set the goal to join the two comma club by our 40th and made it! We are committed to keeping our DS in one school district through HS graduation, though on bad work days I do fantasize we chuck it all, move to a low cost area and live on 3.5% WR. Then I think about health insurance, college costs, our love of travel and hope to be able to help our elderly parents and get back to work!

New Jersey has many pluses, but the cost of living and taxes here are huge negatives. We think we may sell the house then move when our DS is launched, but that makes figuring out "the number" difficult as we have no idea what the retirement budget needs to be. I'd love any advice on the ever-changing number, why does it seem to grow and grow the older we get, and what some of you did to combat that sense that you can keep increasing it forever.

Thank you ER community. You do so much more good than you can ever know.

thebeachlife is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 09-15-2016, 12:55 PM   #2
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Oct 2014
Posts: 158
Originally Posted by thebeachlife View Post
New Jersey has many pluses, ...

Waiting. Haha Sorry

-Big Dawg-FI since 9/2010. ER in 2015(failed-mentally not $$). Now back for TMY's.

" People say I'm lazy, dreaming my life away Well, they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me When I tell them that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall "Don't you miss the big time, boy. You're no longer on the ball" -John Lennon-
Bigdawg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 01:10 PM   #3
Full time employment: Posting here.
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 502
Welcome, I think one of the reasons the "number" seems to increase is because the older we get the more we focus on expenses like healthcare (which is hard to predict) and and educational expenses for kids. But it could also because you're in a OMY syndrome and "more" is better than "less" even if "less" is more than sufficient.

Have you been tracking your expeneses? I'm sure they've changed recently, but having specific numbers will really give you more comfort when making plans.
Katiek is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 01:52 PM   #4
Dryer sheet aficionado
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 28
You should seriously look at some tax friendly states with lower cost of living (e.g. Texas, Florida, Arizona?, NH?) if you want to FIRE sooner rather than later. BTW I live in Dallas, Texas and I am more than a decade (or two) ahead on FIRE trail compared to my friends (in the same industry, qualification, timeframe) in NJ.
pjigar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 02:28 PM   #5
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 415
Originally Posted by Katiek View Post
the older we get the more we focus on expenses like healthcare (which is hard to predict) and and educational expenses for kids.
+1. These two are out of control in this county.

To OP... Make sure you start calculating your 'number' from the expense side, not income. Also, you probably own a house in NJ which could be replaced with a less expensive dwelling outside NJ.
Once you have your expense budget ready you can run by the forum members. They're great at offering critique .
aida2003 is offline   Reply With Quote
Early 40s wife, parent and attorney in Jersey
Old 09-15-2016, 05:24 PM   #6
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Early 40s wife, parent and attorney in Jersey

Thanks all for your thoughtful replies. I think we have come to grips with the fact remaining in NJ will not be likely or helpful if we want to call it quits when DS leaves for college, unless Mr. Market is VERY kind. Thankfully we're both getting sick of winters anyways. I guess the question we'll continue to wrestle with is how much before I can consider lightening the schedule or quitting altogether. Here our bare-bones budget is $5,000 after-tax per month without health insurance or many "extras". I know quite a few of the expenses would be lower in a more cost-friendly state, but with work covering many of our expenses we'd also take on some of what is provided now - plus we'd like some extras!

Sent from my iPad using Early Retirement Forum
thebeachlife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 05:35 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
ugeauxgirl's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: Rural Alabama
Posts: 122
That varies so widely from one to another- I was just reading the "Meh at a Million" thread- and its quite obvious that one person's livable retirement budget looks like poverty to another. Impossible to predict the future but you might consider the cost of housing elsewhere (say Huntsville AL) and compare it to to what you could sell your house for in NJ. Taxes are absurdly cheap here though health care is not. It would be a fun project to play with the numbers that you think might change with relocating- happy planning-
FIRE date 2/15/2018
ugeauxgirl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 07:04 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
harley's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Following the nice weather
Posts: 5,783
One thing to consider, when DS goes to college it doesn't mean he's launched. It might be worthwhile to stay relatively nearby (PA, DE, etc.) until he actually lands a job and a sweetie and gets a little stable. Then you can make a more educated decision. We moved to our dream house at the shore, then became snowbirds between FL and MD. Our life is fairly idyllic, except we're missing our family. We spend a lot of time figuring out how we can be happy AND be near the extended family. No solutions so far, but I thought it might be something for you to consider. Good luck.
"Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." - Will Rogers
DW and I - FIREd at 50 (7/06), living off assets
harley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 07:20 PM   #9
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Cali
Posts: 229
Sounds like you have a good idea what you spend which is good. Way too many people worry about how much they have and/or what their income will be. It's really all about standard of living and what you can comfortably live on. Work hard to keep expenses down and you can more easily retire earlier in my opinion.
Hoping to get out around September 1, 2022... I hope, I hope, I hope. Until then off to work I go....
CaliKid is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2016, 09:23 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
walkinwood's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Denver
Posts: 2,433
We spent the bulk of our working lives in NJ (30 min outside of NYC) and loved it there. It does come, as you point out, with a high CoL - especially property taxes and health insurance (I don't know if obamacare brought that down a bit).

We ER'd and spent 3 more years in NJ before moving to Denver. The cost of living is lower than NJ, but not drastically so. Property taxes however are much lower. Denver, like most urban centers, is not cheap.

We tracked expenses for quite a few years - about 5 if I remember correctly - and used that to determine our ER budget in NJ. We knew that we would want to live in an urban area, so didn't think that the CoL would drop drastically. If you have a good grasp on your existing expenses, it is relatively easy to substitute another city's property taxes and health insurance costs. It is easier than ever to price and get health insurance now. Real estate prices are easy to determine too. The rest of it - food, utilities, college etc will be roughly the same - or at least no more than NJ.

Model your post ER "income" (fund distributions etc) in a tax program to see what taxes you'll be paying. They will be much lower than what you're paying now. You can use that to estimate your taxes in other states too.

It isn't an exact science, but doing the homework will give you confidence in making the jump. I also recommend having a fair amount of head room over what your estimated budget (you can achieve the same effect by using a lower SWR - like the 3.5% you mention).

Good luck.
walkinwood is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 05:41 AM   #11
Full time employment: Posting here.
Golden sunsets's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 513
Does your run rate include a mortgage which will disappear once your son has graduated? That would help tremendously. At a certain point your investment portfolio will begin generating significant growth which, because you reinvest all income and dividends will become its own engine. When interest and dividends exceed the new contributions you make yearly the end will be in sight.

Sent from my iPad using Early Retirement Forum
Golden sunsets is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 08:05 AM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 542
Proceed with caution! As DS gets older household cost will go up. $5K/month may be good now, but when he's a teenager and involved in whatever extracurricular activities, it will go up or other areas will suffer.

In addition, if you can swing $5K in ER, you'll most likely be haunted by the monthly money you left on the table by not working. This really raises it's head at college time when your EFC may be much, much higher than you budgeted for and hence your college choices become very restricted.

May I suggest a look at ESPlanner, or another comprehensive retirement software program to see where you're at. Good luck and congratulations on coming out.
Retired July 2013 at age 49.

Lazy Portfolio Investor:
AA: 55% Stocks
35% Bonds
10% Cash
NanoSour is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 09:13 AM   #13
Confused about dryer sheets
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 5
Thank you so much all. You have given us quite a bit to think about. We really appreciate all the advice about the cost of living in other areas of the country. While we do want to be careful that we have some ability to live close to our DS in the future (wherever he may land) as harley mentioned, we have to consider options outside this state - which only appears to be getting more expensive. I will definitely do some research. While our $5,000 after-tax expenses do currently include our mortgage (which we should have paid off in the next 18-24 months), the budget is truly bare-bones and not one that we'd want to live with for any length of time in this area. It just doesn't allow enough of what makes money worth enjoying for us. I'll keep working for those "extras" at this point. There is also no way that budget number could pay for the pricy health insurance now covered for our family by my firm. Maybe a solution will be to aim for a "number" and then start trying to cut back my hours at work... but to figure out that "number" we've got to do some digging. You've given us a lot of great advice. Thanks!
thebeachlife is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2016, 10:00 AM   #14
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 355
Originally Posted by Bigdawg View Post
Waiting. Haha Sorry
I live in NJ and can't wait to get out...

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.
- Ben Franklin
retire2020 is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
retiring early-mid 40s - - thoughts Travelwanted Life after FIRE 32 04-14-2014 08:28 PM
Mid-40s And Ready To Stop Working??? cc3159 FIRE and Money 24 07-01-2009 08:34 AM
Getting Health Insurance in New Jersey (NJ) walkinwood Health and Early Retirement 35 05-01-2007 11:20 AM
New Jersey ronin Other topics 17 02-15-2007 07:39 AM
real estate prices in new jersey. Whoa. newguy88 FIRE and Money 24 09-30-2006 05:40 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:55 AM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.