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Introducing...Me!
Old 01-07-2005, 07:50 AM   #1
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Introducing...Me!

Hello everyone:
I just found this board today, from Holly Ordway's web site, and I have been lurking around all morning (it's a slooooooowwwww day at work). 8)
Anyway, about me: I turned 40 last summer, and have been giving a lot of thought to what I want to do with the rest of my life. Like everyone here, I dream of ER. I have a rather tough financial situation, though.

I only make about $34,000 a year, and DH does not work and may not ever be gainfully employed (emotional problems). I have accepted financial responsibility for both of us, at least in the short run. I have about $23,000 in my 403(b), and I'm putting in as much as the college I work for will match. (DH heard this morning that this amount may be going up this year.)

I don't have any consumer debt, and I have $5K in an emergency fund. I also have a small fund for recurring expenses such as car insurance, Xmas, etc. I'm saving for a new car (have about $1,000 already). I save $120/month in a savings account and think I can put away another $100. I don't have any type of vacation fund, and I rent a 6-room home for $400/month. Eventually I'd like to own a home but am scared of making the leap.

I don't really have a lot of monthly expenses--we've always been somewhat frugal out of necessity. The biggest unnecessary expense right now is the cell phone ($73/month). I'm looking into getting a pay-as-you-go cell. I'd like to keep one for emergencies/convenience.

When I read stuff about people making $60-70K a year, and saving $1,500 a month, I fall into despair. I don't think I can really increase my salary, certainly not double it!

Does anybody have any solid advice for me? Is there hope for my ER?

I should also mention that DH has no Social Security and no retirement savings whatsoever.

Help!

P.S. I'm happy to be here, as Garrison Keillor would say.
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-07-2005, 08:18 AM   #2
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Quote:
I rent a 6-room home for $400/month. Eventually I'd like to own a home but am scared of making the leap.
Depending on your heating and other housing expenses, that is a great deal! There are programs for families wanting to purchase their first home, find and attend one. Purchasing a fixer may not be wise because of your wife's condition- she may need the attention the fixer will require.

If your wife is disabled there may be home purchase programs available, but make sure that you will participate in any appreciation when you sell. You are shopping for more than a roof over your head, you should seek a home whose value will grow and contribute to your retirement nestegg.

You mention you work for a college. Homes near a college, close enough for student housing, usually appreciate or have stable value.

That said, $400/mo is hard to beat!
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-08-2005, 03:43 AM   #3
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Quote:

You mention you work for a college. Homes near a college, close enough for student housing, usually appreciate or have stable value.

!
Good Morning and welcome! $400 is hard to beat but if you were to buy a home near your work and have room so you were able to share your home with a couple of students you could supplement your income that way. Students are not usually fussy. I have no way of knowing if that is possible in your circumstances, but it is an idea. I know of one lady who is doing this now.

Bruce
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-08-2005, 12:40 PM   #4
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Re: Introducing...Me!

We have had international students stay with us in the past thru a homestay program. If there were problems the program dealt with it, but we had very few. We are not doing it now mostly because the program was cut back after 9/11. Something similar might be available for you, tho.
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-08-2005, 12:51 PM   #5
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Forgot to say that you are ahead of many in that you have savings (your 403b) an emergency fund and an account for recurring annual expenses. In these ways you are ahead of many who make more and save nothing.

Bruce
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-09-2005, 04:26 AM   #6
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Quote:

I should also mention that DH has no Social Security and no retirement savings whatsoever.

Help!

Why do you say your spouse has no social security? Not enough quarters of work? Is he so disabled that he might be eligible for social security disability?

Welcome!

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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-09-2005, 04:53 AM   #7
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Or SSI disability benefits?
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-09-2005, 06:38 AM   #8
 
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Re: Introducing...Me!

My understanding of SS disability benefits is that you must prove that you can do no meaningful work
whatsoever. Although many "game the system",
the government
makes it extremely difficult even for those truly qualified for the program. Thus, even for those who might be dipping illicitly, in a sense they earn their money.
Of course, whether they qualify or not makes no
difference to me, either from a moral or fiscal
responsibility point of view.

JG
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-10-2005, 04:17 AM   #9
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Quote:
My understanding of SS disability benefits is that you must prove that you can do no meaningful work
whatsoever. *Although many "game the system",
the government
makes it extremely difficult even for those truly qualified for the program.

JG
John Galt, DH is capable of some type of meaningful work, we're just not sure if it's going to be 40 hours a week. He has no SSI for retirement because he hasn't worked enough quarters. Did most of his work "under the table" for most of his life. Was self-employed for 10 years as well.

Thanks, everyone, for your help/welcomes!
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-10-2005, 05:40 AM   #10
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Re: Introducing...Me!

" He has no SSI for retirement because he hasn't worked enough quarters." [/quote]

I don't know whether your husband would qualify, but SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is the federally funded disability program for folks who don't have the Social Security quarters of coverage. It has income and asset limits (I don't know if your income and assets would be attributed to him), and has a pretty strict definition of disability. But it might be worth a look.

Best,
rapoole
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-10-2005, 07:32 AM   #11
 
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Re: Introducing...Me!

On my last annual SS statement, they informed me that
I was no longer eligible to apply for SS disability as I had been out of the workplace too many years. I had no plans to apply, but was not aware that I would lose
the option if something really bad happened.

JG
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Re: Introducing...Me!
Old 01-10-2005, 11:42 AM   #12
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Re: Introducing...Me!

Regarding eligibility for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance): you must have a total of 40 credits of earning history (~10 years of work) to qualify. But, twenty of those credits must have been earned in the 10 years prior to application for benefits. So once you ER, the clock is ticking. After about 5 years you will no longer qualify for SSDI unless you earn enough through part time work. For 2005 I believe you get 1 credit for each $920 earned.
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