Originally Posted by Potstickers
Are you maxing our your 401K this year and each of the years until you retire? (With catch-up contributions) Do you get an employer match?
Does your employer pay you actual cost for meals or do you get a per-diem for meals and incidentals while on the road? I stashed away quite a bit while I was a five night a week traveler on a per diem by choosing to eat much less expensively several days a week.
Either way, you should be able to sock away a bunch more into regular (not tax advantaged) savings while you're traveling this much since you aren't buying food and stuff at home and you probably don't need to keep your home heated/cooled to quite the same degree you need to have it when you're living there. (I realize you have a dog, so I'm just suggesting minor adjustments, not major ones.) Having a nice pot of money that is not in a taxable account is very handy -- no restrictions on when or how you use it.
Living leaner now would seem to put you in a much better position to make your dreams a reality in five years.
I haven't been maxing out my contributions but I will do that next year after the CC debt is paid off and I will also max out my ROTH IRA contribution. Right now my company matches me 75% up to 8% of my salary. Another thing I started last year that makes me want to kick myself is that my company, when I started, used to match based on how much you earned. About 20 years ago, they changed that to how much your salary was and didn't include overtime. In my defense, back then, you couldn't make changes very often either. Anyhoo, now what I do is I boost my contributions up to max or near max based on the OT I've earned for that 2 week pay period. Now Uncle Sam gets far less than he used to and I get to save far more tax deferred income.
My employer pays actual costs only. I wish it were per diem but it hasn't been that way for about 25 years and I didn't need it then.
You're right about lowering the heat, raising the AC setpoints. I actually have two yellow lab but I also live in MN, where it's extremely cold in the winter and can be unbearable hot in the summer. So, the amount of money one can save is minimal. I did replace all of my windows last year though to help minimize my energy bill. That's why I have CC debt. I put it all on my Delta Reserve card then transferred it all to the Chase Slate card with 0% transfer and 0% interest for 15 months. I ended up taking 4 international vacations last year (hell, enjoy life while you're young, I say...plus I get 28 days of vacation!) so I didn't pay it off. Just a couple of weeks ago, I transferred the remaining debt and some I racked up from the two international trips I took this year from my Reserve to an Alliant Credit Union account that also had a 0% transfer and a 0% interest rate.
The pot of money you mention is basically my ROTH IRA. I just started contributing to it almost a year ago. I think I'm doing pretty well for having it for only 11 months. I still have money I can contribute to it for this year. But, I also made some dumb mistakes trying to get rich quick. I don't do that any more.
Aloha from Honolulu! I just flew in today for the week (double time and a half for today and more OT when I return!). Next week is Tulsa and then I hope to work from home for a couple of weeks. I really do have a good gig. I just wish I could take my dogs with. I'd never retire.