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Hey from the Midwest
Old 06-09-2021, 02:16 PM   #1
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Hey from the Midwest

Hi All - Another member recommended that I post an introduction, so here we go. I am from Chicago and married with 2 toddlers. My DW and I are mid-30s. I have lurked in the background on the E-R forum for a REALLY long time, and thought I might as well actively participate. I've learned so much from members here over the years and can point to many here who are my inspiration. I've also received inspiration from Extreme Early Retirement, MMM, Bogleheads and various simple living websites & books.

My DW and I are both white collar professionals and earn solid incomes. More importantly, we have consistently saved anywhere between 60% to 80% of our incomes each year. I like to do more with less and optimize areas of my life, so finding new ways to save money is fun for me. I'm lucky to have a great spouse who is mostly aligned with my financial values. We rent and don't own a home, so most of our money is in index funds. We hit our first $1M a couple years back and our portfolio has taken on a life of its own with market swings often surpassing W-2 contributions. I think both of our families are equally confused about how we spend our money. Most of our peers own homes and we live in a very average apartment with 2 kids, and we sometimes struggle to answer why we haven't bought a home yet. I think both sets of parents equate being home owners with success, so we have taken the approach of diverting when asked why we are "still living like college kids."

My main goals for the future include raising my kids, staying healthy, and transitioning from a W-2 employee to self-employed. I'm fortunate that many members here are older than me so I am hoping to further learn from their wisdom!
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Old 06-09-2021, 02:24 PM   #2
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Welcome to the non-lurker side. Sounds like you are doing quite well financially and happy too. Great position to be in. What type of work are you in and would you do similar work when having your own business?
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Old 06-09-2021, 02:38 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by pacman1234 View Post
I think both of our families are equally confused about how we spend our money. Most of our peers own homes and we live in a very average apartment with 2 kids, and we sometimes struggle to answer why we haven't bought a home yet. I think both sets of parents equate being home owners with success, so we have taken the approach of diverting when asked why we are "still living like college kids.

Welcome! Next time the parents ask about your lifestyle, you may want to refer them to this interview with Robert Shiller: "My students are living alright...I've suggested to them, why don't you just continue to live at that level after you get a job? It would pile up a lot of money." How to bank hundreds of dollars more each month (yahoo.com)
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Whisper66 View Post
Welcome to the non-lurker side. Sounds like you are doing quite well financially and happy too. Great position to be in. What type of work are you in and would you do similar work when having your own business?
I am a CPA. I started at a big four accounting firm and have since worked at various public companies in FP&A and accounting management roles. I have considered eventually going solo and doing part time consulting as a controller or something. However, I would prefer to work on something a bit more scalable that I can do at home, such as a content creator of books, podcasts, videos, training materials, etc. I like researching, writing, synthesizing, and creating new material so I think something like this would be a better fit.

Truth be told, if I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't have gone the CPA route. I've always been interested in programming and cybersecurity, but chickened out when I saw the math requirements for computer science in college.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:34 PM   #5
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Welcome! Next time the parents ask about your lifestyle, you may want to refer them to this interview with Robert Shiller: "My students are living alright...I've suggested to them, why don't you just continue to live at that level after you get a job? It would pile up a lot of money." How to bank hundreds of dollars more each month (yahoo.com)
Thanks for the video. I think my parents would understand this concept, but at the same time be disappointed because they can't brag about their kid who owns a home in x neighborhood. When my mom in particular starts grilling me on my timeline to buy a home, I sometimes just tell her that we are actually considering downsizing into a tiny home or something just to get her nervous
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:40 PM   #6
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on the home do you meant struggle to answer to yourselves or to others as to why you continue to rent?


A home can be an investment and a place to live..honestly if you want to work from home and have access to good schools, home owning is a good option. It's also a way to mix up your asset classes. I'll wager at today interest rates with a healthy down payment it could be cheaper then renting...LOL not telling you buy, but curious as to why you don't want to.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:43 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pacman1234 View Post
Thanks for the video. I think my parents would understand this concept, but at the same time be disappointed because they can't brag about their kid who owns a home in x neighborhood. When my mom in particular starts grilling me on my timeline to buy a home, I sometimes just tell her that we are actually considering downsizing into a tiny home or something just to get her nervous

You're dissing your Mom with the snide bragging comment. Homes can be wonderful stable thing to a young family. Maybe your apartment is "wonderful" but maybe your Mom would like your kids to have a dog and a backyard.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:56 PM   #8
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on the home do you meant struggle to answer to yourselves or to others as to why you continue to rent?


A home can be an investment and a place to live..honestly if you want to work from home and have access to good schools, home owning is a good option. It's also a way to mix up your asset classes. I'll wager at today interest rates with a healthy down payment it could be cheaper then renting...LOL not telling you buy, but curious as to why you don't want to.
Good points. My DW and I did the math and feel like we are coming ahead financially with our renting situation (which is below typical market level rent where we live). The location is pretty convenient as well for commuting and daycare. Property taxes are also high in Illinois and I think we would feel the need to buy "nice stuff" once we actually own a home. Thankfully, I don't need to worry about my kids damaging things with our current situation. Our kids are below school age so schools won't be a concern for a couple years. Lastly, we have decided to stay flexible as we are considering moving out West.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:14 PM   #9
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Good points. My DW and I did the math and feel like we are coming ahead financially with our renting situation (which is below typical market level rent where we live). The location is pretty convenient as well for commuting and daycare. Property taxes are also high in Illinois and I think we would feel the need to buy "nice stuff" once we actually own a home. Thankfully, I don't need to worry about my kids damaging things with our current situation. Our kids are below school age so schools won't be a concern for a couple years. Lastly, we have decided to stay flexible as we are considering moving out West.



You had me at Illinois.. go West young man..
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:17 PM   #10
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You're dissing your Mom with the snide bragging comment. Homes can be wonderful stable thing to a young family. Maybe your apartment is "wonderful" but maybe your Mom would like your kids to have a dog and a backyard.
Thanks for your message. In case my previous comment wasn't clear, that reply to my mom is mostly in jest. I AM actually really interested in tiny homes and simple living in general, but don't think this will be our path in the near future. I am honestly having trouble understanding how my conversation with my mom on this could be interpreted as bragging in anyway, shape or form (feel free to clarify this). I've never shared our financial details with them, but I suppose they are familiar with our career paths.
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:19 PM   #11
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Thanks for your message. In case my previous comment wasn't clear, that reply to my mom is mostly in jest. I AM actually really interested in tiny homes and simple living in general, but don't think this will be our path in the near future. I am honestly having trouble understanding how my conversation with my mom on this could be interpreted as bragging in anyway, shape or form (feel free to clarify this). I've never shared our financial details with them, but I suppose they are familiar with our career paths.

Oh you implied or said your Mom would like to brag about you owning a home in a nice neighbor, or maybe I read that wrong. Actually you did use the word brag in relation to your parents. Maybe you meant that tongue in cheek but I don't know.


Misunderstanding on both sides I guess?
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Old 06-09-2021, 08:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by pacman1234 View Post
Thanks for the video. I think my parents would understand this concept, but at the same time be disappointed because they can't brag about their kid who owns a home in x neighborhood. When my mom in particular starts grilling me on my timeline to buy a home, I sometimes just tell her that we are actually considering downsizing into a tiny home or something just to get her nervous

I actually send our adult kids videos on tiny homes. I think they are a great idea. We've really enjoyed retiring early and having low overhead, and I think they might, too.
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