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Old 02-25-2013, 12:20 AM   #101
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Urban exploring
Is this exploring in cities or the other kind of urb ex?
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:09 AM   #102
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Fuego your plans of retiring at 35 look good on paper but those 3 kids are going to cost a lot more than you think as they grow up, Also retiring at 35 leaves a lot of your life not working,hope you have a lot of interests and hobbies as your early retirement may turn out to be many years of boredom and subsequent irrelevance in life.
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Old 02-25-2013, 09:51 AM   #103
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This seems like a good Plan B to have. If you really start to hate the path you're on, you have the freedom to walk away. At age 35, you'll have what Taleb calls "F U money." I doubt you'll retire at 35, though. My guess is you'll pursue a different job for less pay (e.g., maybe try a few Android app start ups).
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:13 AM   #104
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many years of boredom and subsequent irrelevance in life.
That sounds like w*rk!
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:31 AM   #105
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Is this exploring in cities or the other kind of urb ex?
Maybe some of both. Mostly the former. And for the "other" kind of urb ex, I would stick to the least tresspassy, safer kind of urb ex.
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Old 02-25-2013, 10:44 AM   #106
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Fuego your plans of retiring at 35 look good on paper but those 3 kids are going to cost a lot more than you think as they grow up, Also retiring at 35 leaves a lot of your life not working,hope you have a lot of interests and hobbies as your early retirement may turn out to be many years of boredom and subsequent irrelevance in life.
Kid expenses are a big unknown. This thread has motivated me to modify what we are setting aside for kid expenses. I'll have to do more thinking on what exactly we want to budget for those expenses.

As for boredom and subsequent irrelevance if I don't have a job - not a worry of mine. I can always go back and get a job. I doubt that will fill my life with any extra amounts of relevance. Sure, it would fill up my time. But then I'm really in a holding pattern, looking for things to do to ameliorate the boredom until I die.

I guess I am lucky to have enough interesting things to more than fill up my days without needing a job to do that for me.

Today's work tasks that give me relevance (??):
Fill out international travel request forms.
Draft press releases
Update budget spreadsheet to change forecasted out year from 2052 to 2053
Read and revise a contract
Figure out why work email gives me a connection error on my android phone

Not exactly the stuff that gives one relevance in life, just IMHO. Picking my kids up from school, helping them get homework done and interesting them in learning new things, maybe go roller-skating or something else fun after dinner - all more relevant to my life!
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:40 AM   #107
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Fuego, this has been enjoyable reading. I definitely have appreciated watching over the past 6 years or so how you've been working this plan and it is gratifying to see you getting close enough to be down to the finer points.
I'd like to say that one of the best things I can think of about your plan is the ability to take your kids on longer trips out of the country, during breaks at school, or even instead of school. The exposure your kids will have to lifestyles outside of the US will be fantastic and is a really great byproduct of you and your wife's savings and investment goals.
Congrats on your hard work and frugal ways. Y'all know how to have more fun on less money than almost anyone I know.
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Old 02-25-2013, 11:47 AM   #108
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Kid expenses are a big unknown. This thread has motivated me to modify what we are setting aside for kid expenses. I'll have to do more thinking on what exactly we want to budget for those expenses.

You've probably read some of them already, but The Millionaire Next Door series of books by Thomas Stanley have a lot of good advice on living in a neighborhood were you are the Joneses instead of trying to keep up with them. From your comments you may already be in that kind of neighborhood.

It is easier to save money on kids if the other parents aren't spending $500 on prom tickets, limo and clothes. Otherwise if you don't pony up your kids get left out and it is hard to say no if you can easily afford the money.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:44 PM   #109
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You've probably read some of them already, but The Millionaire Next Door series of books by Thomas Stanley have a lot of good advice on living in a neighborhood were you are the Joneses instead of trying to keep up with them. From your comments you may already be in that kind of neighborhood.

It is easier to save money on kids if the other parents aren't spending $500 on prom tickets, limo and clothes. Otherwise if you don't pony up your kids get left out and it is hard to say no if you can easily afford the money.
This is 100% spot on. I have read 2 of the millionaire next door books, and I definitely see myself in the books with respect to spending patterns.

I'm not sure that we are quite the Joneses, because some in the neighborhood do have flashier cars (well, almost everyone...) and better maintained yards and houses. But we aren't out of place here. We mow our own grass, work in the yard, on the house, and under the hood. We cook at home. A play date can be playing in the backyard or an afternoon at the park or an evening at the $1 roller-skating rink. The neighbors aren't in to conspicuous consumption, even though there is a wide mix of families that earn $30k/yr to $150k+. Not hard to keep up in this neighborhood if you're one of the $150K+ families (which we aren't quite yet).

There is certainly a financial arms race among the school age kids, but not so much at our kids' school (it is one of the relatively high poverty schools in the overall great district). I have heard horror stories from other schools about all the bling these kids have and how it is expected. I'm not really interested in getting that entitlement mentality formed in my 6 and 7 year olds. They seem really happy now and are doing well academically, behaviorally, and socially so no worries.

I hear about other parents scrambling to keep up with all these activities their kids are in and it sounds insane. Almost every afternoon filled with something, then travel sports almost every weekend. That isn't what we are looking for at all.
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Old 02-25-2013, 01:24 PM   #110
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Fuego, this has been enjoyable reading. I definitely have appreciated watching over the past 6 years or so how you've been working this plan and it is gratifying to see you getting close enough to be down to the finer points.
I'd like to say that one of the best things I can think of about your plan is the ability to take your kids on longer trips out of the country, during breaks at school, or even instead of school. The exposure your kids will have to lifestyles outside of the US will be fantastic and is a really great byproduct of you and your wife's savings and investment goals.
Congrats on your hard work and frugal ways. Y'all know how to have more fun on less money than almost anyone I know.
Thanks for the kind words!

We definitely look forward to being able to take longer trips with the kids. I have thought about spending a year abroad with the kids but there are currently no concrete plans to do so.

We are lucky (if you value this sort of thing) of having the kids in a diverse school where they are exposed to children from all over the world. Most of their friends are bi-lingual or tri-lingual, and this makes for interesting play dates and birthday parties. Again, if you value this sort of thing. I am sure many would question the wisdom of sending their kids to a school like that. But I figure we have always been interested in exposing them to other cultures, and here is an easy way to do so without leaving our neighborhood. For our oldest girl's 7th birthday party next month, the relatively short invitee list includes her friends from N America, Central America, S America, Europe, Asia, and sub-continent Asia. Her African and middle eastern friends didn't make the parent induced guest list cuts. It's like the UN up in here!

I am sure some of my acquaintances that live the customary upper middle class lifestyle that our household income can support would scoff at our choice of neighborhood and school. Then brag about spending a weekend visiting a poor village in some out of the way country so their kids could be citizens of the world and see how other cultures live. Some people spend all this time and money trying to create this disneyfied experience that they could have organically just around the corner from their house if they open their mind a little. [/soapbox ]

Edited to add: Sarah, I didn't mean any of this as a jab at your post regarding international travel, so I hope it doesn't come off that way. I'm still pondering the 2015 Pan-American highway adventure you mentioned as it sounds awesome, but I'm still trying to get the whole FUEGO family on board.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:00 AM   #111
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Fuego....congratulations on a job well done
I know you and your family will thrive in early retirement, it takes a certain amount of character and discipline to do what you have done at such an early age. You also seem like the type who would have no problems working part time to meet your financial responsibilities when the time comes.
As for kids, they will cost you what you let them. There are many other ways to have them be part of a group, be involved in sports, and get a college education rather than supporting them financially 100% in these endeavors. My step son 16 wants an iphone...the answer was save up for it and pay for your plan...not what he wanted to hear, but it will teach him responsibility and the value of money. One does not have to give their children everything to be a good parent....the time you will give them by being retired will mean more than any material thing you will ever give them. I also agree that they should have some skin in the game for college....otherwise they will never appreciate it.
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Old 02-27-2013, 10:52 AM   #112
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Fuego....congratulations on a job well done
I know you and your family will thrive in early retirement, it takes a certain amount of character and discipline to do what you have done at such an early age. You also seem like the type who would have no problems working part time to meet your financial responsibilities when the time comes.
As for kids, they will cost you what you let them. There are many other ways to have them be part of a group, be involved in sports, and get a college education rather than supporting them financially 100% in these endeavors. My step son 16 wants an iphone...the answer was save up for it and pay for your plan...not what he wanted to hear, but it will teach him responsibility and the value of money. One does not have to give their children everything to be a good parent....the time you will give them by being retired will mean more than any material thing you will ever give them. I also agree that they should have some skin in the game for college....otherwise they will never appreciate it.
Thank you for being an inspiration You will do fantastic, I just know it!
That is pretty much my take on it. I think your iphone example is a great illustration of what we are doing even right now when the kids are 6 and 7. If they want something they can save up for it. They get it.

Fast forward 10 years from now, and hopefully it is the same way. If they want a $100 per month phone (or alternatively pay $400 up front and then $35-50 per month), that is ok, but they have to understand what that means in terms of the labor that is required to purchase and keep service active on the phone. To spend $50 per month, that means 1-2 yards mowed each month, or 5-6 hours babysitting, or 7 hours min wage work.

Maybe mom and dad pay for some of their wants, maybe not. But there is no magic honey pot from which wealth and largesse spills forth in unlimited bounties.

I'd rather the kids make dumb (in my opinion) spending choices when they are young instead of when they are in their 20's. It is usually much cheaper to learn about how money works when you are spending $10 or $100 than when you are spending $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000.
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Old 02-27-2013, 11:42 AM   #113
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I'd rather the kids make dumb (in my opinion) spending choices when they are young instead of when they are in their 20's. It is usually much cheaper to learn about how money works when you are spending $10 or $100 than when you are spending $1,000 or $10,000 or $100,000.
Amen. And somehow, I'm thinking that your crowd is going to turn out better than average!
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Old 02-27-2013, 12:00 PM   #114
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- IMHO, I don't think that it is easy to spend less than ~$800 (~$70/months) per child per year on activities. Kids need to do be involved in some sports. And it is not cheap. Coaching costs $$. Pool time costs $$$.

- But the biggest risk & unknown is health care.
For example:

"Data from the federal Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality and the International Federation of Health Plans suggest the nationwide average price for an appendectomy is almost $28,000."

How do you know that your kids won't require that surgery at some point?
But this is just one small example.

Or take a look at the broken arm surgery prices:

Cost of a Broken Arm - Consumer Information and Prices Paid - CostHelper.com

So, healthcare is your biggest risk, but it is also something that is hard to add to a spreadsheet.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:31 PM   #115
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- IMHO, I don't think that it is easy to spend less than ~$800 (~$70/months) per child per year on activities. Kids need to do be involved in some sports. And it is not cheap. Coaching costs $$. Pool time costs $$$.

- But the biggest risk & unknown is health care.
For example:

"Data from the federal Agency of Healthcare Research and Quality and the International Federation of Health Plans suggest the nationwide average price for an appendectomy is almost $28,000."

How do you know that your kids won't require that surgery at some point?
But this is just one small example.

Or take a look at the broken arm surgery prices:

Cost of a Broken Arm - Consumer Information and Prices Paid - CostHelper.com

So, healthcare is your biggest risk, but it is also something that is hard to add to a spreadsheet.
I disagree with the bolded part.
My sons participate in multiple sports and activities. Little League baseball, park and rec league basketball, as well as FIRST Lego League (which I coach), math club, etc.

Some sports seem to escalate in price quickly - competitive swimming is one. (Friends have their sons on a junior olympic swim team.)

I spend at most $350/year/kid on sports and team activities. It helps that a parent was able to get sponsorship for the Robot kit for FLL the first year - now it's just the season competition costs - which are split among the team. Basketball is $110. Little League is about the same. When given the option to fund raise, volunteer, or give $$ we choose volunteer first, fund raise second. Math club is free - parent volunteers running it - a non-profit school foundation covers the (very inexpensive) competition fees.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:36 PM   #116
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I disagree with the bolded part.
My sons participate in multiple sports and activities. Little League baseball, park and rec league basketball, as well as FIRST Lego League (which I coach), math club, etc.

Some sports seem to escalate in price quickly - competitive swimming is one. (Friends have their sons on a junior olympic swim team.)

I spend at most $350/year/kid on sports and team activities. It helps that a parent was able to get sponsorship for the Robot kit for FLL the first year - now it's just the season competition costs - which are split among the team. Basketball is $110. Little League is about the same. When given the option to fund raise, volunteer, or give $$ we choose volunteer first, fund raise second. Math club is free - parent volunteers running it - a non-profit school foundation covers the (very inexpensive) competition fees.
I am kind of thinking along your lines - many of the sports activities locally seem to have a great option for low cost. Municipal leagues and school athletics to name a few. That $110 is about what it costs locally IIRC for most sports at the city parks dept. Add on some gear and the price goes up a little. This is an area where I want to have some funds available to allow the kids to do what interests them, but as with so many spending choices, there are ways to do it for $100, $1000 and $10000.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:56 PM   #117
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I spend at most $350/year/kid on sports and team activities. It helps that a parent was able to get sponsorship for the Robot kit for FLL the first year - now it's just the season competition costs - which are split among the team. Basketball is $110. Little League is about the same. When given the option to fund raise, volunteer, or give $$ we choose volunteer first, fund raise second. Math club is free - parent volunteers running it - a non-profit school foundation covers the (very inexpensive) competition fees.
Are you adding in the total costs? One soccer season for one kid for us would be $125 sign up, plus maybe another $200 on shoes, socks, uniform, ball and shin guards. Then there are costs to be snack parents ($20), end of season party ($20) and coaches gifts ($20), plus mileage to and from the games (14 X $5 = $70). More if they do out of town games.

So thats $455 more or less for one activity for one kid for one season. Multiple times 2 or 3 activities times 4 seasons times number of kids you have and it adds up. Then add in all of the money the school wants for PTA, annual "donation", special supplies, etc. on top of after school activities. At our kids' public schools this would be thousands per year if you gave the school, teachers, PTA and every fundraising group all of the suggested donations.

When I grew up the local softball team was free or something really cheap, we had different color headbands instead of uniforms. Every game was at the local neighborhood park and I just rode my bike to the games.

So I think neighborhood matters a lot in terms of expected activity costs.
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Old 02-27-2013, 01:58 PM   #118
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Just an alternate (less inexpensive thought.)

We only pay 300-350/kid for sports... but we also pay about $1500/year/kid for piano lessons. That's definitely a bigger hit on the budget. But it was absolutely a CHOICE we made... not mandatory. Our kids would grow to adults just fine, without piano lessons. But we chose to give them musical training to round out their brains/learning. No future Julliard grads - but they'll be able to impress the girls with their piano playing when they are teenagers.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:08 PM   #119
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Are you adding in the total costs? One soccer season for one kid for us would be $125 sign up, plus maybe another $200 on shoes, socks, uniform, ball and shin guards. Then there are costs to be snack parents ($20), end of season party ($20) and coaches gifts ($20), plus mileage to and from the games (14 X $5 = $70). More if they do out of town games.

So thats $455 more or less for one activity for one kid for one season. Multiple times 2 or 3 activities times 4 seasons times number of kids you have and it adds up. Then add in all of the money the school wants for PTA, annual "donation", special supplies, etc. on top of after school activities. At our kids' public schools this would be thousands per year if you gave the school, teachers, PTA and every fundraising group all of the suggested donations.

When I grew up the local softball team was free or something really cheap, we had different color headbands instead of uniforms. Every game was at the local neighborhood park and I just rode my bike to the games.

So I think neighborhood matters a lot in terms of expected activity costs.
My kids didn't take to soccer. But we're just finishing up basketball and just starting baseball - so here's our costs:
Basketball per child -
- Same sneakers they where to school. No extra cost.
- Uniform shirt included in price.
- black shorts already part of wardrobe.
- Same basketball from previous seasons - was $12 at target when we bought it.
- No snack costs.
- $110/season.
- $20 coach gift - optional, but we contributed to one son's team... my husband was assistant coach on the other team.
- We're less than a mile to the park/rec center so commute costs are low... sometimes we ride our bikes.

Baseball - $100 or $120 (I don't remember... so lets assume $120).
Uniform shirt included in price.
Uniform pants - new this year. $15 at Big 5.
Cleats - still fits the ones from last year. They were $20 last year.
Glove - still fits the glove from a few years ago.
Bat - still has the same bat.
Helmet - new this year. $30.
Cup and "magic underwear" that holds the cup in place - same as last year.
League lets you contribute $50 or work the "Snack Shack" for 3 hours. We work the snack shack.
League lets you contribute $48 dollars or sell candy bars - my son went door to door selling candybars.
- coaches gift - we've handled this several ways... same coach as last season... last year we had a potluck and we gave him and his wife a bottle of good wine ($15) as a thank you.

Maybe it's a regional thing. Maybe it's a competitive league vs neighborhood league thing. We're in a high cost of living area - but outside of sports, activities are free (boogie boarding at the beach, hiking the canyons, biking everywhere.)
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:27 PM   #120
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I disagree with the bolded part.
My sons participate in multiple sports and activities. Little League baseball, park and rec league basketball, as well as FIRST Lego League (which I coach), math club, etc.
And this guy disagrees with your estimates:

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but we also pay about $1500/year/kid for piano lessons.
So, the bottom line is exactly what I wrote: it is very hard to spend less than $800 / year per kid on activities. Either it is gymnastics or swimming, or piano, or whatever, there will be some activities that cost less and some that cost more than others. But the average will almost certainly be over $800 from the 3rd grade up.
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