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Update - 2015
Old 06-30-2015, 07:44 AM   #1
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Update - 2015

Sorry you guys/gals it would not let me repost under original post so I have copied and highlighted new information.

Hello everyone, I thought I would come back 2 years later and give everyone an update! Wow a lot has changed! Biggest thing…asked my girlfriend to marry me 3 days after Christmas 2014 and she said yes!
Here is the original post I made in 6/2013…
Hey you guys and gals. I am J. Yes, I know what it's like to be poor. No car, no food, no electricity, no running water hope. I have slept on the floor, battled roaches, and wore dirty clothes. This may be great for homesteaders but not growing up in the city. I grew up poor in the projects of Louisiana and I promised myself I will never go back. So instead, I worry. I worry about money, well, about having enough money. So I have lurked on this forum for quite some time and finally gathered enough courage to open up to you and see what I can do better. So here goes my financial situation. I got out of my situation by joining the military and have never looked back.

Me, 38, and significant other, 33, live in Texas. We keep our finances separate other than paying jointly on monthly bills like electric, cellphones, and cable. (yeah I know, I know but it's my vice.)
I am now 40 and my fiancé 35

Me- Hope to retire at 53, currently work for a local city government.
I can draw a monthly check from TMRS at 53, for $3300 a month. Can continue health insurance from city upon retirement.

TMRS- $3300 at age 53 (I put in 7% and city puts in $14%) Taxable
457 Roth (thru city)- $105K currently putting 18.1% yearly of salary of $68k- in 100% stocks but diversified to my taste
. 457 Roth now valued at $167k got a small raise to $70K and upped contributions to $525 every paycheck. 19% of salary.
Roth IRA- $40K- max out every year in T Rowe 2040 Retirement.
Roth now at $64K, still maxing out
Rental House-1/2 duplex Value 60k owe 40K pay extra $200 month principle will be paid off in 8 years
. Here is a doozy. Got curious and found out that my rental was now worth approximately $105k after having a realtor look at it! Put it on the market and got a 97.5K CASH offer within 3 weeks and took it. So after mortgage payoff I will be walking away with a profit of 57K after originally buying the ˝ duplex for 64k and having a friend pay down the mortgage…..YIPPEEEE. The city the house is in just got a Nebraska Furniture and a host of other businesses making for a shortage of houses. I always counted the mortgage debt but never the equity in our calculations. Just closed today 06/29/15
Cash on hand- $30k
Other assets-$15k

SO-Hopes to retire when I do. Just got really serious about early retirement. Makes about $55k but varies to $65k with commissions. Got a raise now making $70k

401K-18K just started maxing out this year. Gets 3% match from company- Fidelity 2040 Retirement. She is still MAXING IT $18k a year and her balance is now $63k
Roth IRA-$15k maxing out T Rowe 2040 Retirement now
Mutual Fund-$8k unsure what allocation is
now $12K
Cash on Hand-$15k
now $20K
Our total net worth went from $427K in June 2013 and our goal is to reach $800k by the end of 2015. Current net worth with the sale of the rental is $760k.
We have NO debt other than my 1/2 duplex. Both of our cars are paid off. No student loans. We live in an apt for free due to myself providing security. We are saving for a house upon retirement at a rate of $1k a month combined ($18k current balance), so we hope to have approximately $230k by the time we get to retirement. We will stay in Texas because property taxes are low and there is no state income tax. I live on less than $20k a year and my SO is about the same. I know expenses will go up with a home so I am considering that.
Okay so we are really hustling in this area. Now have 73K saved for the house (raised monthly contributions to $1265 per month savings and throw money at it here and there that I have left over from part time jobs and 27K for sale of rental). Looking to buy now as I am tired of being on call 24 hrs a day. We also started 2 car funds with about 7k in each and an emergency house fund for future problems with a future house like a/c going out, leaks, or other possible disasters. It is our goal to have 10k in this fund will have 5k as of Monday the 29th.

I just want to make sure that we are on the right track. Where can I park the house saving money that is safe? It may be the place I put my emergency cash fund also.
Most of our cash is online earning interest.

Our plan is to live off my 457 and TMRS and her 401k the first few years and not to touch either of our Roths until it is mandatory. Her mutual fund is up in the air as to when we will access it. Oh, I was in the military for 5 years so I will have some social security but not much because my currently employer does not contribute. I "bought back" all the military time I could so it counts toward my time at the city. I can technically retire in 2017 but won't. SO will also get social security, but we have not figured those numbers into our
equations for retirement. Thanks for your patience folks and any advice will not go unstudied. Looking at 2029 as the year!!! I couldn’t be happier with our progress. On a side note, my FIANCE (trying to get used to saying that) is really on board. She pushes me to be better, save more, and see the big picture. I hope I do the same for her.
I am not trying to boast with this post, I just know that I enjoy reading updates on the forum and thought you might like mine.

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Old 06-30-2015, 07:56 AM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
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Originally Posted by ReadyAimFired View Post
On a side note, my FIANCE (trying to get used to saying that) is really on board. She pushes me to be better, save more, and see the big picture.
This is huge. As long as you both share the goal, it will be attainable. But if your viewpoints diverge a lot, and they could as "life happens", then something has to give.
What worked for us:
1- Automatic payroll deduction to savings. Never saw the money, never missed it.
2- When the raises came, the majority went to savings/investments. Sure, we increased out spending a little, but never "grew into" the new amount we were making, so putting it into savings never hurt.
3- We seldom checked the balance of our investment accounts, did not fret at all over market down days, etc. The balance wasn't important--we were buying more shares every month, and realized that their value would go up and down daily, but would go up over a scale of years/decades.

It sounds like you guys are doing great.

"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:02 AM   #3
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samclem, looks like we do a lot of things the same.

1. We both automatically deduct house savings, car savings, roth savings, works savings, and regular savings. I definitely pay MYSELF first. You don't miss what you don't have.

2. 100% agreement. My paycheck has been the same for quite some time even though I have received cost of living raises.

3. We do our budget once a month which includes a update of our retirement accounts so we know our net worth.

Thanks sooo much!!!!!!!!!
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:09 AM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
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Originally Posted by ReadyAimFired View Post
3. We do our budget once a month which includes a update of our retirement accounts so we know our net worth.
Super. Just don't get too attached to that net worth thing as a monthly metric. You know (intellectually) that the line will be jiggly, but when the market crumps and you see 3 years of progress go down the tubes in a week, it can be a kick in the gut. But we tried to focus on the fact that we still had every share we used to own, they still represent the same portion of ownership in lots of companies, and they are still producing dividends. We just stayed the course until the share value came back up.

Best wishes.
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:14 AM   #5
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I just want to commend you on your progress. You are doing GREAT! And you have found a partner who helps propels you toward your goals, a way bigger deal than many realize. Stay focused on the goal - you will get there sooner than you think!

Lagniappe (also from your neck of the woods)
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:21 AM   #6
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Thank you for taking the time to show your support. This forum has really helped me to get super focused on what I am doing. It's support from people, who have no stake in my future, giving advice, honest replies, and setting examples that help people like me succeed. Again, thank you for taking the time.

laissez la bon temps rouler!!!!!!!

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Old 07-02-2015, 09:33 PM   #7
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Congratulations on all your achievements including getting out of the projects! My family spent 3 years in the New Orleans projects (St. Thomas projects) when I was young. I'm 20 years older than you so it was not quite so bad back then but there were a lot of teenage boys getting in trouble, stealing cars, burglaries, etc. And my older brothers were shoplifting and skipping school in 5th and 6th grade. The city buses were our transportation. We never slept on the floor or lost our utilities but there were many times we went hungry. No AC and you slept with an electric fan blowing on you. The cockroaches were horrible! Luckily we kids went to live with my dad in Texas who made more money and was much better at handling finances than my mom. Sometimes I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had stayed with my mom - I know I would not be where I am today. Again congratulations on all your success and having the good sense to join the military.
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Old 07-03-2015, 04:52 AM   #8
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Congratulations on your progress!! Nice to hear about people who got their act together and moving forward in a positive way.
There's so much negativity and self proclaimed 'victims' out there; what a refreshing change!
Keep it up.

(but what's with your employer not contributing to SS?)
Living well is the best revenge!
Retired @ 52 in 2005
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Old 07-04-2015, 07:03 AM   #9
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ABQ2015 Thanks so much. People would be shocked at, in my situation, how many significant choices I had to make by the time I was 17. Growing up in my situation sometimes didn't allow for me to just be a kid. I wouldn't say that I was an angel, but thank goodness I preferred sports over alcohol, which always seemed available. I made good grades and finished salutatorian of my high school class. I just always had a plan to leave. So far I have had the privilege of helping my Mom get a car and buying her a new house which belongs to her and her alone. It makes me happy. She was a single mom with a deadbeat ex who refused to pay child support.

Life would have been easier for us if public transportation had been available but it wasn't in the small town I lived in so we pretty much walked everywhere.

Marko, thanks! Growing up I didn't always know what I wanted to be, but I knew it wasn't having $0 money in my acct and wondering where my next meal would come from. I work for a local government and am civil service, I don't know if that has something to do with SS.
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Old 07-17-2015, 10:57 AM   #10
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Congrats ReadyAimFired, you are quite impressive!

I grew up well below the poverty line as well and I have found that poverty and the fear of returning to it has been my greatest motivator. I now live in California and I am always shocked at how many people live at or above their means. I am confident if they had the opportunity to experience what it is like to be truly poor they would second guess their lifestyle and spending habits. <That’s right I said opportunity>

Congrats again!


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