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.
P.S. I'm happy to be here, as Garrison Keillor would say.