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Old 08-03-2007, 08:58 AM   #1
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Hello Everyone!

I just wanted to say that this forum has wealth of information. I've spent many hours reading and learning from all of you.

Let me introduce myself. I'm 30 years and my husband is 39. We have 2 toddlers. My goal is to retire in 20+ years. I manage all our finances and my husband leaves all the decisions to me, so it seems that it's up to me to start planning OUR retirement .

We both work and have a combined income of $90,000.
Savings (hsbc direct @ 5%) 28K
80K left on mortgage (240K equity)
2 new cars paid with cash
TSP retirement $70K
Roth IRA $6K
I know I shouldn't figure this in my calc, but there's a trust set up for me from my grandparents $300K

I put at leave 15% (not including company 5% match) in TSP plan. We save at least $1K extra a month after all the expenses. Not much, but I'm working on the budget. Our monthly expenses are around $4200 a month. Our biggest expense is spending around $1300/month for food and $7500/year for property tax (I've been complaining ever since we moved to our town, hehe).

I would love to retire early and travel around Asia with my husband and don't have to worry about work. I would also love to go back to Vietnam on a regular basis. For sure, it won't be anytime soon because we have to put our kids thru college (in 15+ years).

I would love to practice LBYM, but it takes alot of self discipline. We are so blessed for what we have. We often splurge on vacations and entertainment, but try to save also. Now I realize that we should harvest/reap now and so that we can enjoy our rewards when we retire.

I love to hear from all of you and receive inputs.

devoted7
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Old 08-03-2007, 09:39 AM   #2
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Welcome Devoted7.

You and your husband appear to be doing well. In a few years, your mortgage would be paid off, allowing you to contribute more to the retirement fund.

It's propably very early now, but have you thought about college saving for your toddlers? I did that for my kids when they were in elementary school, they are now in college with tuition and fee already paid for.

Ahh, Vietnam. I can't wait to get back either.
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:52 AM   #3
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Welcome to the boards

We are glad that you have come out of the shadows and introduced yourself. We look forward to your contributions.

You look like you are doing well with your saving although I agree that you do pay a lot of property taxes. Also, note in the Forum Admin forum there is a discussion about having a travel forum.
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Old 08-03-2007, 11:55 AM   #4
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Hi Devoted,
We have a couple things in common, I'm new on the board too and am a Fed as well. Great to see that you're taking full advantage of the TSP matching funds. I'm CSRS and will be retiring in about 7 months.

Sounds like you're doing a good job balancing saving for future retirement and college expenses while enjoying life with your family right now. Keep it up and welcome!
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Old 08-03-2007, 01:25 PM   #5
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Of course, another thing to think about is retiring overseas. One of my cow-orkers retired back to Vietnam to take care of his mother and did quite well, financially. There are members in Argentina, Italy and one of the Baltics States (Estonia??)
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Old 08-03-2007, 02:12 PM   #6
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Our big mistake was trying to save like crazy and payoff our mortgage. We live in the midwest and houses here do not appreciate that much over time. After reading this forum, I realized that carrying a mortgage is not a curse. My husband's priority is to payoff all debts, but I realized that debt is good especially for 5.2% interest and also tax deductible. Only if I've known earlier, I could use the money more wisely.

Truthfully, we are not sweating over the kids education (basically telling them that we are not contributing). I know it sounds terrible, but I want my daughters to pay their way thru college and be independent and understand the value of hardwork. I will encourage them to choose an affordable-good college and try to apply for scholarships, loans, and grants that are available. After they successfully graduate from college, we will pay most of the remainder of the loans that are left.

From experienced, I came from a poor background without government assistant nor any help. I worked my way thru college and did not ask my parents for any money. I paid off my loan in 3 years and this made me humble and appreciate what I have. Hopefully my children will realize that too.

I am happy to work for the federal government. I've left several years ago for more pay (greener on the otherside) and realized that we can't depend on job stability. I came back and plan to focus on my RE plan rather than complaining about my government salary.
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Old 08-03-2007, 03:28 PM   #7
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About the college education, I agree with what you say as far as the value of hard work, having paid my own way through three degrees. However, be aware that the cost of college (even instate publics; eg.ours costs about 17k/yr to attend) has increased at a much higher pace than earnings. And while, like you, I paid off loans in a few years, the amount of loan debt students are graduating with has risen substantially and can severely limit post college options.

I have a daughter who will be a freshman in the fall. When she first started getting interested in college a few years ago, I told her to work hard and she could get scholarships to get her through school. What I wasn't aware of was that outside scholarships first reduce the financial aid that the school gives, NOT your expected family contribution (which will be higher than you think it should be). And while they usually take away from loans and workstudy first, they also erode the grants given. Also, your child will not be considered independent, so part of how financial aid is calculated will be based on the parents salary and savings.

I am very much on the same page as you as far as entitlement and teaching my kids about earning rather than being given things, but please take a hard look at current college costs and how financial aid and scholarships function, the situation is complex and changing. Of course, we are nearing the peak of the boomer's boom, so there are more kids applying to college than ever before. By the time your kids are ready for college, it may be more of a student's rather than the college's market. At any rate, if you are interested, get a copy of "How to pay for college without going broke", it will give you a good idea of how things work today.
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Old 08-03-2007, 06:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by devoted7 View Post
Our big mistake was trying to save like crazy and payoff our mortgage. We live in the midwest and houses here do not appreciate that much over time. After reading this forum, I realized that carrying a mortgage is not a curse. My husband's priority is to payoff all debts, but I realized that debt is good especially for 5.2% interest and also tax deductible. Only if I've known earlier, I could use the money more wisely.
Devoted, I won't even concede that's a mistake -- and certainly not a "big" one. Paying off debt is a wonderful thing to do with money.

And generally it's wise to not count on inheritance. But a trust can be a totally different animal. Depending on the terms of the trust, it can be a heck of a lot more dependable that a vague promise or hope of an inheritance that can disappear at any time.

It sounds to me like the two of you are doing pretty darn good. If you stay committed to investing for retirement, I suspect you will be in great shape to retire in 20 years.

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