Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hello from SoCal
Old 04-16-2015, 09:31 PM   #1
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
Hello from SoCal

I'm pretty new to this forum, still figuring it all out.

I just turned 40(!), although I feel like I'm still in my mid-20s. I'm married to my second husband, no kids right now, one kitten. Where to start?

The bare bones
Traditional IRAS: $458k
Roth IRAs: $114k
Taxable investments: $96k
Cash: $10k
Mortgage: $511k (latest appraisal was $725k)

Work situation plus retirement saving
Him: $140k - 15% into his 401k plan
Me: $40k (working part-time w/flexible schedule) - 10% plus 3% match
Roth IRAs: Maxing out both of them $11k
Total projected to save for retirement this year: $33k

I have a pension from my ex that will start in 11 years. It's only about $550/month with a COLA every summer. I have the option to roll it out to my IRA, but I like the idea of having a different type of income stream.

We track everything and budget in Mint. Perhaps there is a better way to track this? Our basic expenses are about $7k/month including the Roth IRAs, mortgage & house expenses, property taxes, insurances, auto expenses, tithing and groceries. Doesn't include the "luxuries" of traveling/fun money, going out to eat and that sort of thing. Looking at that number, it seems huge compared to other stuff I've read on these forums!

Once the house is paid off, I think we can easily get by on about $60k/year including traveling, entertainment and all that stuff.

We're child-free at the moment, but are about to become foster parents. I think we should have two children placed with us this summer. At least that is our hope! Along those lines, we set-up my current work situation to be part-time with flexible hours to be able to handle the kids and school schedules, etc. I haven't included any foster care money in our calculations yet. Presumably, any extra (if any) will be put toward the mortgage.

My hubby has very little interest in early retirement, so I've been framing most of our discussions on the FI route instead. I think he would love to be able to take any job without regard for the money. It is very safe to say that I'm the nerd in this money relationship.

My money goals
- Build up a little more cash on hand to maybe $20k(?)
- Pay off the mortgage early
- Optimize our saving/spending to speed up the FIRE-track without my hubby feeling deprived.

I've ran the numbers on paying of the house early and without getting too crazy, I think we could maybe do the 15 year route. We just refinanced at 3.625%.

I love reading the forums because most of my friends are B-R-O-K-E. Two are filing bankruptcy. Most of the others though just don't talk about it. So it's so great to have people to talk to about all this stuff!

Sorry this is so long. I kept changing it and could continue to do so, but instead, I'll just post and answer any questions.
__________________

__________________
Evie 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 Early-Retirement.org 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 04-16-2015, 11:06 PM   #2
Moderator
rodi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: San Diego
Posts: 8,809
Hello and welcome from another So-Cal type... although I'm further south.

Your budget seems in line to me... We budget $7k/month for our family of 4... but we paid off our house, so no mortgage.

Given that you have the mortgage - I assume the $7k is after tax spending. Most folks around here include all of the expenses in their spending - so taxes, health insurance (usually handled as a payroll deduction) etc.

Mint is fine for tracking your expenses. One of the things about tracking your money is you realize where your money is going, and where you can trim the budget. It becomes very rewarding to find ways to trim the budget without impacting quality of life... little stuff like switching cell phone plans, asking for a price decrease, or smaller package from the cable company, etc.

Welcome!
__________________

__________________
Retired June 2014. No longer an enginerd - now I'm just a nerd.
micro pensions 7%, rental income 18%
rodi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 11:29 PM   #3
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodi View Post
Most folks around here include all of the expenses in their spending - so taxes, health insurance (usually handled as a payroll deduction) etc.
Ah, I didn't realize that. I'd have to bust out the pay stubs to see how much is coming out in taxes. I don't think the health insurance is too much, maybe a few hundred a month

Quote:
Originally Posted by rodi View Post
It becomes very rewarding to find ways to trim the budget without impacting quality of life... little stuff like switching cell phone plans, asking for a price decrease, or smaller package from the cable company, etc.
Yes, tracking our spending has helped us tweak stuff quite a bit. I used to be on a fairly inexpensive cell phone plan for years, then switched to a run-of-the-mill one when I swapped out my Palm/Treo for an iPhone. Long story short, after we got married, we switched over to Ting and went from about $160/month for two smartphones down to about $60/month.

When we moved in here, we contemplated cutting the cable, but kept it when the cable company "made us an offer we couldn't refuse"... just under $80/month for internet plus cable with almost all pay channels. And they locked in the price for 2 years, including a cable card for our TiVo. I don't care so much about the cable and pay channels, although I was loving Togetherness on HBO... but it keeps my hubby happy which helps keep me happy.
__________________
Evie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2015, 11:44 PM   #4
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
After looking at the pay stubs, it looks like we're paying about $3,600/month for taxes (FIT, SIT, SDI, OASDI & Medicare) and $450/month for insurance. Both of these numbers are more than I thought!

I suspect that we're paying too much in taxes, but I'm afraid to move it down. Is there an online tool to help estimate this sort of thing?
__________________
Evie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 10:11 AM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ivinsfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,198
This has nothing to do with money, but God Bless you for taking on the roll of foster parents, there is such a need for caring homes for at risk children.
__________________
ivinsfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 11:12 AM   #6
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
The foster system needs foster parents desperately. That said, you think they would make it more streamlined to become one. It's taken almost a year to get all the paperwork and classes done.

Our decision to become foster parents has actually fueled a lot of our money decisions this past year. We used to live in a one bedroom apartment very cheaply. When we started looking at moving to a place with another bedroom to accommodate the foster children, the rent seemed so high that we decided to get serious about looking for a house.

When my job kind of scaled back, rather than have me start looking for a full-time gig, we decided to just keep it at part-time to make it easier on us when the foster kids come.

I'm really excited and nervous too about becoming a foster parent. I just read "How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk" on the recommendation of a couple people. It was great and I'm going to read it again (and again) so I can ingrain those ideas in my brain. I realize the mistakes I make every day in just talking to my husband!
__________________
Evie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 04:29 PM   #7
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 433
Yeah it's amazing that it's super hard to be a foster parent to kids whose own parents had no such trouble. That said I'm kinda glad because you can imagine the sort of things that might happen if people abuse it.

DW and I are almost the same.

Live in socal... I'm 1 month from 40, budget is almost always 8k with over half in mortgage/insurance. We have 2 kids (3 & 1).

It's hard to talk about money and FIRE with people who don't share the philosophy.

Except for a time in my early 20 (when I was Mr. I need all the cool stuff) I've always spent little and saved a lot. And that wasn't because of FIRE goals... Just... Found out lots of stuff is a mind prison and didn't want that controlling my life.

Is was trying to figure out what to do with money that got all the FIRE thoughts going.

The big irony is that I got super lucky with work (stock options... I always negotiate them as much as possible and it's never paid off... Who knew) so now that's just an accelleramt.

One question... Are you committed to socal? DW and I have considered moving which substantially increases the safety numbers. We owe 650 on a house worth around 1.2 (bought for 890). In socal that equity buys you a medium apartment or a shack with a yard. In north Carolina it buys you a beach house or in Austin it buys you a ranch . Both beautiful places.

Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Early Retirement Forum mobile app
__________________
petershk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 04:40 PM   #8
Moderator
Walt34's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Eastern WV Panhandle
Posts: 16,528
Quote:
Originally Posted by petershk View Post
In socal that equity buys you a medium apartment or a shack with a yard. In north Carolina it buys you a beach house or in Austin it buys you a ranch . Both beautiful places.
Heck, in WV it buys you a county, or at least a town.
__________________
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
Walt34 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 05:50 PM   #9
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
@petershk We have definitely considered other areas. We're both originally from the south and considered moving there, especially with our parents getting older. But they're only in their early to mid-60s and in good health, so they don't *need* help quite yet.

We only bought this house last year because we love the area and all our friends. I've lived here for 20+ years. However, things might change in the future, like when we do decide that we are FI. We'll take it as it comes I guess.

After spending several months looking and putting in bids on various houses, I'm all too aware of the big price tags on the houses. On the plus side, we stayed at the reasonable end of the amount the mortgage company approved us for.

@Walt34 I had the pleasure of going rafting on the Gauley on a weekend when the leaves were changing colors. I've never seen anything so beautiful. I almost died when the videographer told me that his house cost about $50k! Crazy cheap!!
__________________
Evie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 06:19 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1,471
Evie, your numbers are actually in line with what you see here, since many of us have paid off our mortgage, and housing in coastal California, especially So Cal and the Bay Area is through the roof.

After reading the following article on SF Gate last week, I have to shake my head at housing prices in many parts of California. But I know there are many places in California where housing is as cheap as it is in other parts of the country.

Here is the article that had me shaking my head in disbelief:

Dilapidated Marin County cottage sells for $70K over asking - On The Block
__________________
EastWest Gal is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2015, 07:18 PM   #11
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
Yeah, I read Dr. Housing Bubble Blog, which is just post after post of houses in the SoCal area that are usually small, crappy and, of course, expensive. The comments are pure gold.
__________________
Evie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2015, 12:04 PM   #12
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 903
Quote:
Originally Posted by EastWest Gal View Post
Here is the article that had me shaking my head in disbelief:

Dilapidated Marin County cottage sells for $70K over asking - On The Block
Unfortunately, this is pretty much why we couldn't buy even if everyone's telling us renting is just flushing money down the drain. We currently live just 5 miles from my work. For a house we can afford fairly easily (but is still going to be $200-300 more than our current rent not including additional costs for utilities already included in our rent), we'd have to move considerably farther - around 40 minutes one-way without traffic. With SoCal traffic being the way it is, that pretty much translates to a 3-4 hour commute every day.
__________________
hnzw_rui is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-29-2015, 02:33 PM   #13
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by hnzw_rui View Post
Unfortunately, this is pretty much why we couldn't buy even if everyone's telling us renting is just flushing money down the drain. We currently live just 5 miles from my work. For a house we can afford fairly easily (but is still going to be $200-300 more than our current rent not including additional costs for utilities already included in our rent), we'd have to move considerably farther - around 40 minutes one-way without traffic. With SoCal traffic being the way it is, that pretty much translates to a 3-4 hour commute every day.
Traffic is definitely one of the major complaints for living in SoCal. I hate it, but my DH doesn't mind it so much. I just don't look for jobs that have me driving more than 30 minutes one way (in traffic). That will only make you hate your life and I have no interest in doing that.
__________________

__________________
Evie is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


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
38 in SoCal, not sure how to make ER a possibility dvalley Hi, I am... 75 10-02-2017 12:18 PM
Real Estate Goes Wild Again in SoCal haha FIRE and Money 13 09-01-2013 12:18 AM
Hi from SoCal U1964 Hi, I am... 0 04-02-2010 01:46 PM
Tony from SoCal newporttony Hi, I am... 5 07-04-2008 11:05 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:36 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.