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Old 08-11-2015, 07:25 PM   #21
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The best time to look for a job, is when you have a job.

It makes interviewing a lot easier in that the prospective hirer knows your employable, that you have the gumption to find something better to take care of your family, and you don't have to explain any break in your employment history.

You're also not as desperate so you have a better negotiating start point.

I'd also advise that you focus on the near term issues: securing reliable employment, omit excess purchases, paying off any high rate debt, building some cash reserves, and pay just the minimum on your (DW) low rate debt. Once you have those sorta under control, start reading the above mentioned books or maybe "Investing for Dummies", which does a good job of covering the breadth of investing, and keep reading this forum and asking questions.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:00 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post

..

Buy a subscription to Money magazine and read it every month....
Egad, I wouldn't wipe my behind with Money magazine, much less read or even pay money to subscribe to it.

A much better education would come from reading the "start-up" books recommended on this site:

Books: recommendations and reviews - Bogleheads

The site also lists outstanding books in most other areas of personal finance. Read them, and you won't have to listen to "pundits", "gurus", "experts", or other charlatans, or read financial porn by the financial publishing industry (this includes magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and anything having to do with a prediction). You'll know what to read and pay attention to instead.

There is no shortcut to financial education. Take one at your own financial peril. Written by someone who learned the hard way before getting redeemed.
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Old 08-11-2015, 08:01 PM   #23
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I agree with this. If the idea of the envelope method resonates with you, try YNAB. It is a great tool (my DW and I use it) and follows the principles of the envelope method. Visit Personal Budget Software - Finance Software for Windows & Mac where they have a description of their methodology, and videos/resources to show you how it works. Check it out to see if it's right for you.

Good luck!
-
Another +1. I don't use the above program, or paper envelopes, but I have adhered to a budget for most of my adult life. Whether you literally use envelopes, or budget software, or simply (as I do) a basic Excel, budgeting can be of great help in meeting short term and long term goals........and also helps define where your money is and is going.
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Old 08-11-2015, 09:39 PM   #24
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Egad, I wouldn't wipe my behind with Money magazine, much less read or even pay money to subscribe to it. ...
Good for you... I respect your right to your opinion no matter how misinformed it is. Funny that you have such a firm view of something that you wouldn't read or subscribe to ... sounds like a real informed opinion!

I concede that one needs to read past the sensationalism (after all, they do need to sell magazines) and look at the underlying themes, but as a long time subscriber I can tell you that the underlying themes are similar to what you read on this forum. Some people can ignore the sensationalism and others can't I suppose.

Good luck to you.

I retired early and have a solid portfolio that supports our retirement but I haven't read one of the books on the list but I am a long-time and regular reader of Money and Kiplinger Personal Finance. I tried reading some of those personal finance books but they are too long and too boring.

Different strokes....
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Old 08-12-2015, 01:55 PM   #25
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Good for you... I respect your right to your opinion no matter how misinformed it is. Funny that you have such a firm view of something that you wouldn't read or subscribe to ... sounds like a real informed opinion!

I concede that one needs to read past the sensationalism (after all, they do need to sell magazines) and look at the underlying themes, but as a long time subscriber I can tell you that the underlying themes are similar to what you read on this forum. Some people can ignore the sensationalism and others can't I suppose.

Good luck to you.

I retired early and have a solid portfolio that supports our retirement but I haven't read one of the books on the list but I am a long-time and regular reader of Money and Kiplinger Personal Finance. I tried reading some of those personal finance books but they are too long and too boring.

Different strokes....
Read it (and others) a decade or two ago, so I know what it's about. Also have monitored "Suzie", "Kramer", and all the other shills, along with the many failed "expert" guru predictions (even some of their newsletters--ugh). Nothing has changed in the financial porn industry, going back to a few hundred years (one of Bernstein's pillars in the 4 Pillars of Investing--I strongly second the recommendation to read this book made above).

I'm surprised you found the "start-up" books recommended on the BH site too long and boring. It's a simple read--really--as is The Bogleheads Guide to Investing. If you take the time to read these magazines, why not read something like Bogle on Mutual Funds?

In investing, it's been said it's not so much doing everything right, but making the least amount of errors possible. No one cares more about our money than us. We can trust it to no one but us. There is just no substitute for taking the time to educate yourself. Yes, it's some work, but the payoff is very much worth it in my experience.

Knowledge short cuts, particularly those that rely on mainstream financial media, lead to all sorts of financial perils, behavioral biases chief among them. I recommend going back and giving a few of the start up books a read. It could save you from making mistakes costing literally hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, over your investing lifetime.
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Old 08-12-2015, 06:54 PM   #26
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Welcome to the forums. Starting a post on here probably puts you on a road that is ahead of 90% of the population... using the information everyone on here provides will put you ahead of 99%.

Here's my thoughts:

1) It sounds like things are very separated in your household. Is there a reason for this? Does your wife object to pooling everything (assets and debts)? If not, I'd sit down with her and have a full blown financial conversation. You need to see where BOTH of you are spending your money so you can evaluate where all the leaks truly are.

2) Regarding the debts, what are the interest rates? The school debt is probably 4-6%, but the credit card debt could be as high as 30%. I agree with everyone else about the cash reserves, but you two need to prioritize and figure out where the biggest bang for your buck is, in terms of debt pay down.

3) Someone else already asked this, but the child care situation is very important. Do you have family that can help? Is one of you planning to stay at home? I personally pay out a small fortune in daycare, but both of our jobs far exceed the daycare payout, so it works. If you are considering daycare, you need to start interviewing and gathering cost estimates.

4) Unless you are driving a car that is TRULY unsafe (i.e., no airbags, significant mechanical/electrical problems, etc.), buying a new vehicle would be a tremendous mistake at this stage. Again, you HAVE to prioritize.

5) I'll actually take the car issue one step further. What's the possibility of dropping to one vehicle? I don't know the value of your vehicles, but if you could unload one for $6K, half your wife's debt is GONE. If one of you plans to stay home with the baby, maybe this could work.

Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that you've made a wise first step, in coming to these forums to gather information. But now you need to take a step back, and the two of you need to treat this as a financial EMERGENCY. Cut all nonsense spending. Teas, drive-ins, dinners out, whatever you "blow" needs to stop. You have 99K pretax income, 1K/month in rent and no car payments. You could build a tremendous cash cushion over the next 3 months AND pay off your debt. Get a laser focus on every dollar coming in.

You have an amazing reason to focus in on this... your daughter. How would it feel to have no debt and $30K+ in the bank the day she is born? Wouldn't that be amazing? Let that be your motivation. I'm not trying to be harsh, but when you say you may lose your job, your wife has debt, and you still want to buy a new vehicle, it doesn't seem like you are taking this quite as seriously as you need to.

I hope you continue using these forums, and I genuinely wish you the best of luck.
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Old 08-12-2015, 09:47 PM   #27
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I would add that if you don't want to take the time to read investment books, you can at least read quick and excellent summaries of many of the books posted by Taylor Larimore on the BH forum.

Here's the description of the summaries:
Quote:
Taylor Larimore's Investment Gems. The gems are selected as a quick way to learn many of the best ideas from the best authors, and to help you decide if the book merits further reading.
Taylor Larimore's Investment Gems - Bogleheads
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Old 08-12-2015, 10:33 PM   #28
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Congratulations on the baby on the way. My personal favorite books to get started on improving your finances would be Your Money or Your Life, The Millionaire Next Door, the successor books in the TMND series and Risk Less and Prosper by Zvi Bodie.

I agree with the others who advised you to focus on your immediate cash needs first. With a baby and a possible layoff on the way I'd forget the new car for now, eliminate all non-essential expenses, and not pay down more debt that you have to until your employment situation looks better.

And as a first small step, buy a jar of instant ice tea at a warehouse or discount store (without added sugar - sugar is cheaper to buy on its own) and use an online calculator with compounded interest to see how much this one small step will increase your savings over the next 50 years.
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Old 08-14-2015, 06:51 AM   #29
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Welcome to the forums. Starting a post on here probably puts you on a road that is ahead of 90% of the population... using the information everyone on here provides will put you ahead of 99%.

Here's my thoughts:

1) It sounds like things are very separated in your household. Is there a reason for this? Does your wife object to pooling everything (assets and debts)? If not, I'd sit down with her and have a full blown financial conversation. You need to see where BOTH of you are spending your money so you can evaluate where all the leaks truly are.
Things may seem separated in the household, but it's really like that only on the surface. So my wife and I dated for about 6 or 7 years before getting married. We kept separate accounts (bank accounts) but split everything evenly. When we got married we just kept those separate accounts because it worked well like that. That's honestly the only reason. She was paying off her debt and every week I would put my money in our savings. We continue to do that. But for rent, groceries, etc. we split everything 50/50. I'll usually pay for dinner if we ever go out to eat, or i'll pay for a movie, things like that and she'll do the same so it's pretty even but we never consolidated our bank accounts.

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2) Regarding the debts, what are the interest rates? The school debt is probably 4-6%, but the credit card debt could be as high as 30%. I agree with everyone else about the cash reserves, but you two need to prioritize and figure out where the biggest bang for your buck is, in terms of debt pay down.
I'm not sure of the exact interest rates. I think the school debt is the most. I think she consolidated her credit cards some time last year into one card, and the interest isn't too bad. I'll need to check on this.

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3) Someone else already asked this, but the child care situation is very important. Do you have family that can help? Is one of you planning to stay at home? I personally pay out a small fortune in daycare, but both of our jobs far exceed the daycare payout, so it works. If you are considering daycare, you need to start interviewing and gathering cost estimates.
Yes, we're covered with the child care situation. In my current job I work from home so I'm always home. My family lives within 45 minutes of us, and her family lives within 30 minutes from us. So I think we're covered with the daycare situation. One less expense!!!

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4) Unless you are driving a car that is TRULY unsafe (i.e., no airbags, significant mechanical/electrical problems, etc.), buying a new vehicle would be a tremendous mistake at this stage. Again, you HAVE to prioritize.

5) I'll actually take the car issue one step further. What's the possibility of dropping to one vehicle? I don't know the value of your vehicles, but if you could unload one for $6K, half your wife's debt is GONE. If one of you plans to stay home with the baby, maybe this could work.
So I own my own vehicle that's completely paid off. It's a stick and she cannot drive it. It's actually a two door so it's not ideal for the baby. The other car we own is an olddddd Buick that my parents gave to us. It's old, lot of miles and while it's safe I don't fully trust it because it's just an older vehicle. I wanted to sell that, would probably only get 1 or 2k from it and purchase a new, family-friendly vehicle for both us and the baby. Something that gets good mileage. That's why we were looking to purchase. So it may not be doable or ideal to cut down to one car. I dunno. Thoughts!?

Quote:
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Ultimately, what I'm getting at is that you've made a wise first step, in coming to these forums to gather information. But now you need to take a step back, and the two of you need to treat this as a financial EMERGENCY. Cut all nonsense spending. Teas, drive-ins, dinners out, whatever you "blow" needs to stop. You have 99K pretax income, 1K/month in rent and no car payments. You could build a tremendous cash cushion over the next 3 months AND pay off your debt. Get a laser focus on every dollar coming in.

You have an amazing reason to focus in on this... your daughter. How would it feel to have no debt and $30K+ in the bank the day she is born? Wouldn't that be amazing? Let that be your motivation. I'm not trying to be harsh, but when you say you may lose your job, your wife has debt, and you still want to buy a new vehicle, it doesn't seem like you are taking this quite as seriously as you need to.

I hope you continue using these forums, and I genuinely wish you the best of luck.
I agree, 99k pretax income is ridiculous to only have 30k in the bank. I used to think, wow, at my age 30k is a nice chunk of money to have in the bank!!! we're doing alright! And keep this in mind.... It's only been over the last 5 years that we were able to save up 30k. Before that we had nothing. I was only making 9 or 10 dollars and hour. Hell, even after that I was only making 30k/yr until 2011/12. It's only been the last two years or so where I was at 50ish a year. So it's not like we had this cash flow coming in over the last 10 years or anything. And living in NYC is super exensive. We since moved. Also take into account we had a big move last year. Movers, transportation, etc. But yeah......

I'll try to go back and answer everyone's questions or comments. Sorry for the delay, things have been super hectic at work over the last few days.
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Old 08-14-2015, 07:16 AM   #30
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.....Yes, we're covered with the child care situation. In my current job I work from home so I'm always home. My family lives within 45 minutes of us, and her family lives within 30 minutes from us. So I think we're covered with the daycare situation. One less expense!!!.....
You may want to rethink this. Our nephew works from home and his wife works out of the house. Babies and toddlers are demanding. Our nephew found that there was no way that he could simultaneously work from home and babysit.... so they have child care. If you can pull it off then great, but don't just assume that you can do both at the same time... it's much harder than it looks for the uninitiated. So think hard on it for both your sanity and peace of mind and the safety of that baby.
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Old 08-14-2015, 09:49 AM   #31
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So I own my own vehicle that's completely paid off. It's a stick and she cannot drive it. It's actually a two door so it's not ideal for the baby. The other car we own is an olddddd Buick that my parents gave to us. It's old, lot of miles and while it's safe I don't fully trust it because it's just an older vehicle. I wanted to sell that, would probably only get 1 or 2k from it and purchase a new, family-friendly vehicle for both us and the baby. Something that gets good mileage. That's why we were looking to purchase. So it may not be doable or ideal to cut down to one car. I dunno. Thoughts!?
If you really feel like you need an updated vehicle, consider buying a low mileage used car. The depreciation runoff on a new car is flabbergasting.

It's terrific that you're looking at all of these issues now. I agree with many that the job situation and the baby have to be the priorities right now. And the baby will change things a lot

Personally, I would get an expense tracking system in place asap. You need to know exactly how much money is going where. You will need to reduce your expenses because:

1) You'll want to increase your saving rate (15-20% is probably a good goal) and,
2) Baby will bring on additional expenses that you don't have today (food, diapers, saving for college)

Once you get some detailed tracking, you might be surprised how much things like "an iced tea here or there" is sucking out of you!! Once you know where money is going, you and your wife can make informed decisions about what you want to change.

Good luck, congratulations and try not to get overwhelmed!
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Old 08-14-2015, 11:02 PM   #32
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Well, today I was let go from my job. Wow! I'm able to finish out the rest of the month and then I'm outta there! That happened quick!
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:41 AM   #33
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Well, today I was let go from my job. Wow! I'm able to finish out the rest of the month and then I'm outta there! That happened quick!

Ok, keep moving forward. You have quite a bit to work on. Good luck with your search.

Soon you'll be able to pick up your child many times each day.
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Old 08-15-2015, 06:06 AM   #34
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Well, today I was let go from my job. Wow! I'm able to finish out the rest of the month and then I'm outta there! That happened quick!
Sorry to hear that. So now time to change your spending habits drastically. Cut out all non essential spending. Ditch the idea of buying any vehicle, even used. No iced teas, no dining out, minimum payments on debt only. Sell the hobby collection. Dust off and update your resume. Don't wait until the end of the month to start your job search. Companies are hiring and the job market is strong. With a little bit of luck you might find a new job before your severance runs out. Oh and about the idea of being the SAHD while also working-not a good idea. You can't expect an employer, especially a new one to accept that you are putting in 40 hours while being the primary care taker. Good luck.
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:59 AM   #35
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Well, today I was let go from my job. Wow! I'm able to finish out the rest of the month and then I'm outta there! That happened quick!
Sorry to hear that, but on the bright side your intuition was spot on. So now you have a new job that starts Monday.... getting another job.

I've seen two very different outcomes over the years for people who lose their jobs. The vast majority find something better and the job loss is a small bump in the road and becomes a blessing in disguise in the long run. A small minority get into a bad funk and have trouble getting out of it. From what you have written in the past, I would bet that you are the former.

Did you get a decent severance package?
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Old 08-15-2015, 12:50 PM   #36
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Sorry to hear that, but I agree with what the others have said. Start cutting back any costs you can, and make sure you keep insurance for when the baby is born. Good lluck on the job search.
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:15 PM   #37
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Oh, forgot to mention. No severance payout either. I'm getting my 3 weeks vacation but that's it. And was told if I file for unemployment that I'll get it. They will not deny it. So that's good at least. $575 per week so it's not that bad. That will easily pay the bills, etc.
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:33 PM   #38
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Also, I have a feeling that a lot of people in this forum are realists. Meaning, only go after the tangible that you can feel in your hands at this very moment... But what about chasing the dream? Is anyone opposed to that?

A little backstory, so I have a double degree in video and film. But I didn't end up getting into that line of work professionally. I went a complete different route because the opportunity just landed in my lap. Anyways, Over the years I still did video/film related work. Made some short films. Entered and won competitions, etc... It's my passion.

Over the last year or so I had this idea for a video series that I wanted to launch on youtube. I finally got around to it and launched the first video around May. It instantly got about 11k views. I launched my next video and got around 65k views and the last video go around 10 or 11k. I'm a youtube partner and made money off of their adsense program with my videos. Nobody else is doing what I'm doing online, it's a completely unique idea. I think it could really go somewhere and from the views, around 90 thousand just from 3 videos it's kind of proof that it can go somewhere. Oh, one of my videos also went viral. It was on a lot of major websites, it was being retweeted on twitter every couple of minutes for many days... So the concept worked. I was approached by Youtube talent agents. The plan was to release a new video every other Monday, repetition and a set schedule are KEY for having return viewers.... BUT then things got crazy at work and I had to take a back seat with this video project. Now that I'm no longer employed I would be able to treat this youtube project as a full time job and be able to release a video every other Monday like originally planned. I could work on the growth which generates money from advertisements. I have a plan to release merchandise... Posters and T-Shirts so there would be money being generated from that. I definitely have big plans for this.

My question is, even if tons of money isn't falling onto my lap this very moment. It feels, to me.... Let me rephrase that. Everything inside of me. My gut, my mind, my soul is saying "GO FOR IT, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE, SHOW EVERYONE WHAT IT CAN DO" should I do it? Should I work on this youtube project as a full-time job and try to make it grow? There are people making 6 figure salaries on youtube, it's insane.... I honestly think this idea can be right there with them but it would have to be treated as a full time job. I can't be working 9 hour days at a day job and then working evenings until 3am working on my youtube project. I was doing that every day when I was releasing stuff and it whooped my arse!

Sorry for the long rant, I know this is a Early Retirement thread but this is all money related and future related... I just don't think I could work for someone ever again. It's not my cup of tea! My talents definitely shine in other areas, specifically with this project I have been doing....

Thoughts?
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:48 PM   #39
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I don't think that you will likely ever have a better time to chase your dream so it is something worth considering.

How easy or hard do you think it would be to get another job? Could your family at least tread water financially between unemployment and what your wife makes? Most important of all, what does she think about this idea?

My off-the-cuff is that it might be worth giving it a go for 3-6 months and then assess its potential at the end of that period, especially if your job skills would not go stale and whatever you do is in high demand.

If it might be hard for you to get another job, then perhaps pursue this venture and job hunt at the same time and if you end up getting a job offer then you'll have a tough decision to make.

Is it possible for you to work part-time (say a couple days a week) and also pursue this venture? (especially after unemployment has run out).
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Old 08-15-2015, 08:11 PM   #40
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Also, I have a feeling that a lot of people in this forum are realists. Meaning, only go after the tangible that you can feel in your hands at this very moment... But what about chasing the dream? Is anyone opposed to that?
Not at all. I have often told my story, so will not repeat it here other than just to say that my dream turned out to be a nightmare costing me a lot of money in lost opportunity. I am fortunate to be able to retire early despite the setback.

About what you are thinking of doing, same as Pb4uski, I think this break in employment is the perfect time for you to devote some time to it. But set yourself a reasonable goal, and know when to call it quit if it does not work out. Also, get your wife on board. You will need her support.
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