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Any financial changes for 2015?
Old 01-06-2015, 03:01 PM   #1
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Any financial changes for 2015?

Do you have any financial changes for 2015, Young ER Dreamers?

We have updated a few of our contributions due to the new 2015 limits. We did some end of year analysis and figured we can start contributing to our 403b which were put aside for a while. The plan is $1000/mo for each of us on top of the maxed Roths, 457bs, HSA. Our employers contribute 14+% of our salaries as part of our benefits (401a). So we went from an equivalent of 49% of our income going to retirement to 64.4%! Excited to see how this goes! The take home it leaves us should be more than enough for us to live on and there's a buffer savings too.

We are also looking to refi the house and get a shorter term, so the pay off date will be sooner but for less than what we're spending now. Woot!

Other than that, husband plans to cut cable AFTER the super bowl (savings of $95/mo). His teams just disappointment him he complain. I asked if he's happy when they win and he said it's just more a relief. He's ready to put this anguish away for a while!

I'm planning on stopping (or severely curbing at least ) my clothing purchases. I've overhauled my outdated, ugly wardrobe with nicer, more appropriate pieces (all thrifted, not a single retail item), and now I think I'm set for a long time. I've eBayed or donated everything else I owned, unless I really loved it. Made about $1500 on eBay last year!

In addition, we'll just pay attention to our expenses more, like that $120/month alcohol expense. I also am aiming to waste less food in general. It's like putting money down the disposal!

Oh and get a will/living will set up also on the list.

We're on track to hit $1M in <2 years!

This could actually be before my 40th birthday!
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Old 01-06-2015, 03:48 PM   #2
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Great job. I wish I could cut my cable bill too. Maybe after it warms up, and I put a good aerial antenna up.

I paid off two mortgages for 2014, so 2015 should have an additional $2548 per month over 2014. Total savings is only $14,772 for 2015 as I paid about half the amounts last year.

I am increasing my 401K contribution to $24K in 2015, due to the increased contribution limit. Also taking advantage of the over 55 HSA contribution of $4,350. The company should match ~$4K.

Depending on how I calculate how much I will be saving in my final calendar year of working, it will be between $16K and $17K per month. That assumes that 2014 is a good predictor, and my savings actually materialize.

I passed the two comma mark in NW a few years ago, and passed it in investable assets last year, but paid off a $188K mortgage so lost it. It should cross again soon, if the markets do not tank. One more year to prove out my plan, and I should be good to go.

I keep my expenses to a minimum, and save more than I make at my FT job. LBYM, and make as much as you can. A year ago I was unsure, now I am having a difficult time waiting until my FIRE date...
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:03 PM   #3
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I've dedicated 2015 to improving our financial system. This includes streamlining accounts and finally started on some saving vehicles. We are a 1 income household and about to welcome baby #2 so saving is an active battle every month despite living below our means.

Recently opened up a Roth IRA for my wife. I'm slowly carving out sections of our spending plan to work towards fully funding that each year. Hoping we can hit that point in 2016. I'll continue to max my 401k and when we get to maxing her Roth I'll open one for me.

We will be decluttering and selling some things to try to bring in a little extra cash. Also working on adding another income stream this year.
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Old 01-06-2015, 04:05 PM   #4
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We

- just completed a refi on our primary home to a 3.25 30 yr fixed. Savings about $2000 in interest.

- dropped one smart phone, and reduced data plan on existing phone, monthly savings of about $60 bucks.

- Will continue to reduce cable bill by buying modem, replacing bundled phone with other internet phone, and dropping cable package, additional savings of 30-40 bucks a month.

- Continue to convert TSP to ROTH IRA, stopped withdrawals from DW Roth.
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Old 01-06-2015, 06:45 PM   #5
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Check those auto insurance premiums, especially collision on older cars.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:12 PM   #6
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Not sure if I qualify to post on young dreamers - I'm 53, and just retired this past year...
My changes for 2015:
- First year with no earned income for me and taking withdrawals from investments... that has me freaked out.
- First year on a non-employer, non-cobra health plan. Went with a high deductible HSA plan... so now I have to find HSA administrators and fund the HSAs. Really that's just moving money from 1 pot to another - but it feels like an expense.
- My main thing will be watching our spending like a hawk. We already downgraded our cable, switched cell phones to Ting (and bought used unlocked phones from ebay to use on ting). I have to watch the little things that add up. One of the ones I need to be careful about is older son will be going to a magnet IB HS in the fall. His magnet middle school has a uniform - so clothes were cheap and easy... he's developing STRONG preferences about style/clothes... and I need to keep the clothing budget in line. His younger brother, DH, and I are fine with looking like slobs... so we'll help offset some of this expense.
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Old 01-06-2015, 07:42 PM   #7
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Lots of changes here for 2015...

In our case, I have volunteered for layoffs at my megacorp and so my last day will be Tuesday. I had already shared my intention to quit due to travel when the layoffs were announced, so the severance package is above and beyond what I was hoping or planning for. But this will be my first time since I was a teen where I won't have regular income, so like rodi, I expect an adjustment period.

Probably more of an adjustment will be the c-section my wife has scheduled this Friday. I've interpreted the RIF at work coinciding to the arrival of twins (our firsts) to be a strong signal that it was my time to rebalance away from work and take two years off to be a stay-at-home dad. I'm thinking the stress will go down and the benefits will go up... but so will the hours!

The hope is to continue on my wife's salary and benefits for the next few years and re-evaluate then. Were it just the two of us, I'd say we are pretty close to being financially independent -- with two kids, I think we want to establish our new spending baseline before we make any further changes. So I'm not going to claim that I'm "done", just taking a chance to prioritize our family before deciding what comes next.

Here's to a great 2015 for all!
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Old 01-07-2015, 01:48 PM   #8
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Woah, Lurking! A baby is coming Friday and you are now a stay a home dad to be! Those are some big changes!

rodi, well you're new enough to ER, so sure! Interesting to see a glimpse into the first year of retirement. I'm sure many have the "freak out period" too.

Senator, I've been researching alternative TV options and this was a good starting place: Music Mondays – Changes | Financially Blonde. I did not know about these HD antennae. But maybe a regular old one works for your area.

Good changes everyone!
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:19 PM   #9
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Senator, I've been researching alternative TV options and this was a good starting place: Music Mondays – Changes | Financially Blonde. I did not know about these HD antennae. But maybe a regular old one works for your area.
You should know that there is no such thing as an "HD antenna," that is marketing BS. A regular antenna receives HD broadcast signals just as any other antenna would. I use a $13 regular rabbit ear antenna that I put in my attic and I get HD quality 1080 audio and video signals on my TV that are clearer than my old cable signals. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, but it is true.
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:26 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JustCurious View Post
You should know that there is no such thing as an "HD antenna," that is marketing BS. A regular antenna receives HD broadcast signals just as any other antenna would. I use a $13 regular rabbit ear antenna that I put in my attic and I get HD quality 1080 audio and video signals on my TV that are clearer than my old cable signals. I know, I know, it's hard to believe, but it is true.
You should go educate the author of the article I quoted. I know nothing about this stuff! I don't even know how play a DVD in my house.
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Old 01-07-2015, 02:57 PM   #11
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Lurking - congratulations on both fronts! New work role (parenting) and new members of the family.

The old addage "sleep when the baby sleeps" is BS, by the way. When babies are tiny they sleep in 15 minute increments. If you don't already have a recliner (ugly, I know) they are the BEST for getting some co-napping in. I'd prop a pillow under my elbow to raise it up a bit, then snuggle the baby in to eat or sleep... and next thing you know we'd both be asleep. You'll need two pillows - one for each elbow - since you'll have twice the sleep deprivation.

Now that my kids are 12 and 14 I can honestly say -it gets easier as they get older... but they're no longer cute, and definitely don't have the pheromone laden smell on their heads.

Congratulations on the big changes in the coming week.
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Old 01-07-2015, 03:09 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by ginadog View Post
Do you have any financial changes for 2015, Young ER Dreamers?
DW and I did the money/portfolio review over the weekend. A few adjustments:

- Increasing purchases of Vanguard Total International and decreasing purchases of VTSAX in our taxable account (our bi-weekly purchases in taxable were 60/40 US/Int, now 20/80 US/Int). This is to help achieve our ISP goal of 30% international equity exposure in our 85% stock allocation. We're currently at 20%, part due to market performance and part due to allocation of purchases in the past. I like this move right now because it's reducing purchases of a likely overvalued asset and shifting to purchases of a likely undervalued asset. We are not moving existent shares in any accounts.

- We did not increase our gross investment amount this year, opting to hold a little bit in cash for potential car replacement and/or vacation. We'll look at this again in July during our next review.

- I raised the deductibles on both auto policies to $1000, saving us $130/6 months. I'm exploring deductibles on our homeowner's policy as well, but that's a smaller fish. May increase our valuable personal property coverage as well, but that's even smaller fish.

That's about it. Things are tracking...
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ginadog View Post
Other than that, husband plans to cut cable AFTER the super bowl (savings of $95/mo). His teams just disappointment him he complain. I asked if he's happy when they win and he said it's just more a relief. He's ready to put this anguish away for a while!

I'm planning on stopping (or severely curbing at least ) my clothing purchases. I've overhauled my outdated, ugly wardrobe with nicer, more appropriate pieces (all thrifted, not a single retail item), and now I think I'm set for a long time. I've eBayed or donated everything else I owned, unless I really loved it. Made about $1500 on eBay last year!

In addition, we'll just pay attention to our expenses more, like that $120/month alcohol expense. I also am aiming to waste less food in general. It's like putting money down the disposal!

Oh and get a will/living will set up also on the list.

We're on track to hit $1M in <2 years!

This could actually be before my 40th birthday!
Those are all smart moves. Looking back we should have paid closer attention to our expenses at your age and younger. We've cut out a lot of fat on expenses that haven't really lowered our overall quality of life these last few years, but I wish we had started even sooner.

We still keep finding expenses we can cut and not miss. Like this year we reduced some sneaky banking fees that had crept up over the years, cut the energy bill some more, cancelled Hulu Plus, signed up for mileage based car insurance since we don't commute to work, started planting native plants that won't require watering and bought our cable modem instead of paying monthly rent.
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:48 AM   #14
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Increased our insurance liability umbrella policy significantly and changed auto insurance policies to higher liability coverage in line with umbrella policy requirement

It's about being more in control and not having someone else p&$@ on my pop tart!
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