Tag Archives: net worth

We Got the Keys! And 10 Other Happy Things.

It’s time for a positivity roundup.

  1. A Home of Our Own: Yesterday, we got the keys to our house. We met our realtor after a month-long seller rent back, and she handed they keys over, and we finally were able to say goodbye to her and stay in the ouse on our own for a while without masks. It didn’t really feel likes ours yet, but it was / is ours. And even though it’s not perfect, it IS a perfect *cough*1.6M*cough* starter home. I really like the neighborhood and standing outside and watching families in houses a few blocks down and thinking about how one day my kids will have friends in the neighborhood made my heart all warm and fuzzy.
  2. Family Connections: My father-in-law, who is in his late 70s, loves spending time with my son and is helping us out a lot with him now through a very busy work period for my husband and myself. While not having to spend on childcare is very much an added bonus, it also is so great that my kid gets to bond with one set of grandparents. I hope my next kid also gets to bond with grandpa as well–and next kid should because grandpa will be living with us!
  3. Presidential Hope: While this election is a train wreck fueled by a president who thinks democracy = not counting all legally cast votes, it looks like Biden might win by winning GA and PA, even if AZ falls back to Trump. The loss of the senate is a shame, as it will give Biden little power to do much of anything, but at the very least we’ll have an adult in office again–which is really fucking important through a global pandemic. I don’t care what side of the donkey-elephant fence you’re on, having a commander-in-chief who throws temper tantrums daily on twitter and who hob nobs with dictators and makes enemies out of our top global allies will be pretty great. Knock on wood, he takes GA and PA and after realizing you can’t actually throw out legally-cast votes, he concedes and GTFO of the WH.
  4. So Far: A Healthy Baby. My pregnancy has gone relatively smoothly (knock on wood.) Sure, it’s 2am and I’m always awake these days at 2am with some sort of allergic reaction to my apartment, wide awake. But I’m healthy, I’ve made it to nearly 29 weeks now, and even if I have my baby right now its chances of survival are above 90 percent.
  5. Stocking it Up. I hit the RSU lotto at work. After years of working for startups and getting “stock options” which ultimately resulted in no value (or loss of value since one has to actually buy them when leaving the company in order to keep them), I finally was able to get hired at a fast-growth public company at just the right time for my initial stock grant to grow about 10x. While I vested a bunch before it hit this milestone (and sold along the way), I still have made a good chunk of change. If I can bite my tongue and hold out for 13 more months, I should make another 350k after tax at a minimum, not counting any saving from income/bonus/etc. This is pretty amazing in terms of a bump in my journey to FatFIRE. And it could be closer to 600k, depending on how the markets do.
  6. Career Path Fun: While my new role at work (that I had no say in) is a little scary from the long-term perspective (it will be hard to get a similar job that pays anywhere near as well at another company, which means I will need to pick up some new skills over the next year then quickly move on to maintain any sort of reasonable salary growth (and non shrinkage), I have to say my current position is kind of, well, fun. It’s not easy by any means, and I have a lot to learn, but I get to focus on one area and might actually be able to do a good job for a while. It also feels like a position I can do when I return from maternity leave without constantly feeling like I’m about to fail and be fired, so that’s good.
  7. Husband is Still Husband: I married the sweetest guy in the world and he hasn’t changed. Sure, our marriage isn’t perfect, but at the end of the day I get butterflies around hubby because he is just such a good, kind, and gentle person. He reminds me of the type of person I aspire to be. I know it’s easy to take one’s spouse for granted, and I need to put more work into my marriage esp when I have the energy to. do that again, but I’m so lucky to have found a really really good partner.
  8. Not Dead from Corona Yet: As far as I know, I haven’t had COVID yet, and no one in my family or friends circle has had it. I’m terrified and sad about the loss of certain freedoms and socialization, but the COVID world has also done some wonderful things for me. I’ve realized just how much my social anxiety negatively impacted my life by seeing what life is like when I don’t have to interact with people outside of my immediate family. I do miss friends, but I don’t miss the horrible anxiety that goes into every moment I spend time with other people, especially at work.
  9. Net Worth Growth Overall: my after tax, don’t have to touch it until I retire family net worth is about 1M. Although that isn’t enough to retire on today or for a while, it is more than most people have at my age–or any age. At my current savings rates, the next few years should be very interesting in terms of setting my middle-aged years for a lower-stress life (no more constantly worrying about what happens if I lose my job!)
  10. This Blog, and My Readers: I still get giddy when people leave me comments on here–while there’s the occasional troll, for the most part people leave incredibly helpful and thoughtful comments which help me advance and grow in many areas. I’ve been writing on this blog now for (gasp) over 15 years and it has really helped guide me towards my north start of being financially responsible and at a very good financial place going into my (gasp) late 30s. Because of that, I don’t feel that scared about bringing a second kid into the world, and a third child (something I’ve always wanted despite coming from a family of 2 and being married to an only child) is definitely still a potential reality if my body will cooperate at 39. It also may not happen, and I’m also very happy with a family of 2 kids, and I just can’t wait for my toddler can meet his little sibling and to watch them grow together, especially after this past year of my son not being able to socialize with other kids at all. It is the absolute cutest thing when he points to my belly and goes “baby growing!” I’m not sure exactly what he thinks about it, but I tell him baby is going to come live with us soon, and he seems to get it at least somewhat. So many precious memories ahead if I can just get through childbirth safely without any additional trauma (atheist g-d willing.) I am feeling really good about this upcoming birth, despite the state of everything.

So there you go, 10 things I’m super grateful for and happy about. I rarely talk about them here because I come here to complain or talk about my frustrations and concerns around all things money related, but there is a lot to celebrate here heading into 2021. By the end of 2021, my net worth should have a significant increase, I should have a healthy baby that is approaching 1 years old (and preparing my body in the healthiest way possible to conceive my third and final kiddo), and maybe even feeling at home in the house we bought. Maybe life is going better than I ever imagined it could be and I just don’t know how to handle being so damn #blessed. Yes, I said it. I hash tagged it. But it’s true. I am grateful. I have some guilt for my privilege that led me here, but it certainly wasn’t easy. I have to fight the good fight every day to not let my mental health challenges get the best of me. And, despite a few breakdowns here and there, and a few manic periods I’d really like to forget, I seem to be doing it–surviving… and thriving even. I should try to celebrate all this good while it lasts. I know nothing good lasts forever. But right now, all signs point to–hey life isn’t that bad. It’s ok. It’s good. As good as life can be after losing a parent and never being able to go back to before all that. It’s just good for what it is. For where I am. And I hope next year continues on this trend line. Maybe soon I’ll remember what it feels like to be happy again.

Coast FIRE sounds good to me.

I’m digging the idea of Coast FIRE–which is basically what my goal has been for a while, I just haven’t had a name for it. By “Coast FIRE-ing,” basically you save enough that you no longer have to keep saving. You just work to pay expenses and your savings grow to support your expenses forever. I like the sound of that.

One of my commenters reminded me that at two million in savings, I might already be there. But then I realized I don’t actually have two million in savings. So I need to figure out how much savings I need to Coast FIRE and then focus on getting there, versus some meaningless arbitrary number that sounds good (like five million, though that still sounds good.)

  • Cash – 185k
  • Home Equity (After Sale) – 226k
  • Taxable – 508k (726k at 30% tax)
  • IRA – 211k (353k at 40% tax)
  • Roth – 103k
  • 529 – 90k

Total Actual Family Networth: 1.3M
Minus home equity and 529 = 984k

So… we’re not really at 2M. I think where I’m going is that we need to get to 2M after tax, not including home equity and 529, to be Coast FIRE. I need to run some more numbers, but the above is a more realistic breakdown of our actual family net worth.

It can definitely grow over the next year with my vesting a chunk of company stock, but it will be a while before we hit 2M… and even then I’ll have to make enough income to afford about 12k a month in expenses for the next 30 years without any savings on top of that. I guess if we get to 2M after-tax net worth (minus our home equity and 529 funds), then we have to earn 250k a year together to cover 12k a month in expenses. If my husband makes 90k, that means I need to make 160k to Coast FIRE, once we’ve saved 2M.

Is $2.5M next year realistic?

When I think about numbers like $2M (or look at my family personal capital net worth tracker and see it show $1.9M in net worth) I get a strange feeling. Just 17 years ago, I was a fresh-out-of-college gal with pretty much nothing to my name, struggling to pay $400 a month for a tiny room in a Bay Area apartment (it was more like a closet) and afford gas for my car to get to my internship, where I earned $50 an article the newspaper published.

I didn’t know what I was doing with my life (spoiler alert: I still don’t!) but I knew I couldn’t fail. I couldn’t ask my parents for help. My father had quite an interesting financial philosophy of being overly giving through college but then you’re cut off. I’m grateful for the no college loans, but in hindsight find the strategy unwise overall versus instilling a sense of understanding the value of money.

I had to learn that on my own.

But I’m also glad I did. It worked out for me, while my younger sister is still struggling. I made a choice to be self sustaining. I realized than meant no kids until a decent nest egg was built (I loosely set a goal of $500k in savings before kid #1.) I didn’t want to marry for money and I didn’t feel comfortable dating career-minded men. Due to my mental health challenges it was important to find a partner who would be emotionally there for me and our family. I wanted a guy who I could see being a dad to my children. Granted, when I fell in love with my now husband at 22, I thought he may eventually be motivated to earn more income. It turns out people don’t change. But I’m ok with that. It works for us.

Sometimes I realize that lots of my peers at work (especially women) are married to partners who make equal to what they do, or more. Men overall tend to make more, so those married to SAHMs or “business owners” who barely break even are generally in a more stable boat overall, with earnings of at least 300k per year if not much more. But I also exist in a bubble, where you have a bunch of people who make 500k a year per household and then the rest of everyone who is making like 100-200k (as a family) and actually struggling to get by. We exist in this weird in between.

Saving and investing is the only reason we can stay here and make this work. I’m working with my husband to have him catch up on his retirement accounts (since he is self employed he can put a good chunk into his 401k each year.) I am trying my best to max out my own tax advantaged accounts, which now include 57k with a backdoor Roth through work. As we approach $2M, I feel little sense of stability or satisfaction. It’s a HUGE number, but it didn’t financial security. It’s better than the 10k I had 17 years ago or 100k 5 or so years after that. But it doesn’t make me feel good—yet.

My whole money mentality is broken, though, due to growing up with parents who earned enough for a good life but failed to budget or save effectively (case in point a $200k HELOC on a $500k home that was basically paid off when they were in mid 50s and empty nesters to ADD on to their home—my mom at 67 is just beginning to pay that down.) There were other bad choices and sad errors that led to losing about 100k overall. I’ll write about them one day.

But I grew up not worrying about money. We didn’t have a luxurious lifestyle by any means, but we were solidly middle class. And while I definitely do not expect or want any further money from my family, it is terrifying to me to lose that sense of security, however false or ill-conceived it was. I want to get to a point where I can send my kids to summer camp… or take the family on a nice vacation… without worrying I ought to put that money in the stock market instead. I want to get to the point where I don’t feel like every $1 I spend today is $20 30 years from now invested. Where I can step back and say, ok, we have enough and we just don’t need more even if we can save more.

Right now that number seems to be $5M. The sooner I get to that, the better. Again, it’s another arbitrary number I’ve picked out of thin-ish air, but it just seems right. My goal is to be able to focus on working to pay annual expenses but no longer having to save at that point. If I can no longer work for some reason, the $5M, spent and invested wisely, can last quite a while. I don’t have any desire to keep going and make $10M or whatever—what is the point? Who needs that much money? At $5M I could help my mom out, pay my expense, help my sister, pass on enough to my kids, and even comfortably pay down my 30 year fixed mortgage.

I just really want to get to the point where I can work because I enjoy it. To say fruck you to the golden handcuffs and do my own thing. Start a business. Start a non-profit. Build a company that helps people. Write books or screenplays or direct documentary films or who knows what else. Spend time with my kids because clearly they grow up way too fast. Spend time with my family because they won’t be around forever.

I am not quite sure how we get to $5M. In 10 years at 10% YoY if I don’t touch the 2M that’s 5 right there. I don’t know if 5 will feel enough then, but it will be close. Imagine, $5M when my kids are 12, 10, (and 8??)—what that would mean for the rest on my life. And their lives. I’ll be 46, which is old in that is likely half of my life if not more than that, sadly, but still if I am at 46 with $5M my family is in a really, really good spot. My mom, hopefully healthy and well, will be 76. I can finally feel like I am in a financially safe enough place to pay her back for college and my wedding, through helping her out if she needs it or treating her to massages and other gifts on the regular. I can help my sister buy a house, or buy one and rent it to her at below market (in her lower cost area.) I can finally be free of worry (almost—I’m sure I’ll fear total market collapse and never truly feel secure.) I can donate chunks of money and also buy some frivolous things just because. Like nice furniture. And lots of experiences to create the most valuable asset of all—memories.

This next year will be life-altering for me, and yet even with its income potential it still feels like baby steps towards my goal. I’m so impatient. But next year, as long as the market doesn’t totally crash and I keep my job, I should make $650,000 at a minimum. My husband will bring in about $100k on top of that. So after tax we will be bringing home about $350k, or nearly 30k a month. We should easily be able to save $20k a month for the year, which adds $250k to our net worth. It’s kind of crazy how big the income seems and how many people would kill to be able to save $250k per year and yet that’s just one year. If we could make $650k consistently for 10 years and save $2.5M on that alone, that would be one thing. But this is a special year. After that we go back to about $300k in income, and likely $2k-$3k  a month or so in savings. Back to reality.

So the trick is figuring out how to obtain a series of high-paid (due to stock) jobs for the next 10 years. If I can make 300k per year on my own and my husband can reliably do 100k we will be in a pretty good place. Of course that’s not easy — before this job my highest income was 190 and before that 170. It may be impossible to find another job that pays well. And staying in my current role doesn’t help—due to minimal stock refreshes, by 2022 my annual income will be around 200k WITH bonus. So I’ll need to move on (target date April 1, 2022) in order to have a shot at hitting my goal. April 1, 2022 is actually very soon! But right now I’m trying not to think about that. I have to keep my current job for 18 more months. That’s 3 months of work, 5 months maternity leave, and another 10 months of kicking ass and taking names (or, you know, just meeting deadlines and following through on plans) to remain gainfully employed and win the lottery where I am already holding a winning ticket.

So I can’t focus on $5M now. I have to focus on $2M and really $2.5M. How fast can we get to $2.5? Well, my husband promised me if we have 2.5 we can try for a 3rd kid. Given I’ll be 37 this month(!!!) I don’t have a lot of time left to make that happen. And I’m more than incentivized. It will happen. Somehow.

My Three Year Plan: $2.5M Net Worth, IVF, and Baby #3.

The only reason I’ve achieved what I’ve achieved thus far in life is, quite frankly, this blog. Well, the fact that this blog has, since I was 22, force me to plan my life in tiny increments and seemingly impossible goals that I’ve managed to reach time and again. Despite a ridiculous amount of setbacks caused by my mental health issues, here I am, just short of the goal of hitting $2M in networth (including husband’s savings) by 37, and before having baby #2.

But as my 30s come to a close, I have a few major goals to accomplish that are definitely not givens. While my husband and I lightly talked about having a third child should we have two sons first, this week my doctor completely ruined my “sex surprise” by blurting out the sex at my appointment. So it’s a boy. And I’m happy, I really am, and I just want my son to be healthy and yada yada. I know after my first childbirth with my first son ending up in the NICU, just having a smooth birth where baby comes out breathing is a big win. I’ll take that for sure.

Yet like many woman, I long for a daughter. I know it’s a silly thing–people aren’t defined by their genitals. I could have a daughter who decides she is more manly than my boys. Still… I know I’m not the only woman who wants to have a girl. I also know if I don’t at least try (as in use medical intervention to skew the odds in my favor) I’ll regret it. I also will feel that after two kids if it doesn’t work out, I will be sad but accept it. And if I can, in my ripe old birthing age of then 39, make magic happen–I’ll be quite happy.

So, without further ado, here are my goal for the next three years. Keep checking back here as I update with posts on if I’ve achieved any of these goals…

(All goals based on December EOM of the following years)

2020 (Age 37)

  • $2M in total family net worth
  • Own a home and live in it
  • Pregnant with baby #2
  • Keep job through maternity leave start (start in Jan 2021)
  • Don’t get COVID.

2021 (Age 38)

  • $2.5M in total family net worth (including home equity after potential commissions)
  • Live in home and enjoy it (meet the neighbors)
  • Pregnant with baby #2 (give birth in Jan)
  • Keep job through maternity leave (start maternity leave in January)
  • Remodel bathroom, fix electric, add HVAC/AC, epoxy garage floors, don’t let all plants and grass die around house)
  • Use 1 month of mat leave later in year to go back to my childhood home and visit family, help mother clean out house and prepare for sale 🙁
  • Go back to work in May/June, remain gainfully employed (and do a good job) through end of year. Complete vesting of first stock grant.

2022 (Age 39)

  • $2.75M in total family net worth (including home equity after potential commissions)
  • Begin IVF for baby #3 in March 2022 (or sooner, if weaning prior to 2 years of age); g-d willing, pregnant by September (expect to spend 100k on IVF with PGS but hoping to find a job that covers some of this cost)
  • New job by July 1, 2022 (ideally April 1, 2022) closer to my home

2023 (Age 40!!!!?!!!)

  • Survive and not freak out about being 40.
  • $3M!!!?! in total family net worth (including home equity after potential commissions)
  • Give birth to baby #3?!?!
  • Employed at a job I like, that I’m actually good at.

Hmm. I wonder if any of the above goals are possible. The 2M by end of this year is reasonable as the long as the stock market doesn’t totally tank. And I should defiantly be having a baby this January (and hopefully a healthy baby.) Everything else is very TBD.

But these are my goals. I think if I can reach 3M by 40 that would be pretty insane. That’s definitely a stretch goal, even with my husband’s savings added in. But go big or go home, right?

And… I am so scared about doing IVF to try to have my third child, a girl, at 39. I just can’t not try. And I’ve always wanted three kids. I just Never pictured myself pregnant at 40! Gosh, how did I get this old?

New Goal: $1.3M Networth by 2022 (age 38)

In 2008 or so, I had $29k in total net worth. Ten years later, my net worth closed out the year at $625k. Ten years ago I couldn’t fathom having more than $100k in a bank account. At age 24, I was just getting started in my career, making very little, and wondering how on earth to save money.

I started out ahead of many–a college degree with no loans. I’m not sure I’d be where I am today or even close to it if I had massive loans to pay back, because that would have not only cut into my savings, but also likely prevented me from taking some of the risks I’ve taken over the last 10 years that helped me save so aggressively. But, I do try to take a few moments to be grateful for what I have, and how much I’ve been able to save–despite not being able to afford the high cost of living in the Bay Area.

Today, I’m especially grateful that my current path has not only enabled me to hit my goal of saving $500,000 before giving birth to my first child, but also is looking to possibly support my second goal of saving $1M before my second–which was a long shot just years ago.

Screen Shot 2019-05-11 at 9.26.43 AM

The last few months have been especially fruitful, thanks to vesting stock–my first stock vesting period working for a public company–and selling it off immediately. I do not include any unvested stock in my networth calculations since if I lose my job that $ isn’t real. But it’s hard not to fantasize about it being real–even with it being not that much once taxes are taken out–it’s still a substantial amount and can be life-altering given my whole financial strategy is save as much as possible as fast as possible… not for FIRE, but for financial freedom (working PT, consulting, or pursing more risky opportunities, or those that don’t pay as well, in order to help others and/or just spend more time with my family.) And I won’t give up a decent lifestyle today to assume that I’ll have enough money for a frugal one “tomorrow” that doesn’t require working. I want to LIVE today but support a future where I’m not worried about money and can afford a decent lifestyle with a family.

I’m still uncertain what my “number” is. At last estimate it was about $4M-$6M, including a house worth about $1.8M. I still don’t think I’ll EVER get there, but as I set new financial goals for myself along the way, it helps to keep focused on these mini wins towards this major goal. Even if $4M is my “goal” that’s far off.

I had said I wanted to hit $1M by 40. Right now, I’ve sped up that goal to 38 (I’m 35 and a half now.) Within the next 3 years, I’d like to get to that $1M mark. A lot will depend on the volatile markets — if we have a crash, there is no way I’ll get there. If they stay stable or keep growing, there’s a good chance…

  • April net worth: $847k
  • Remaining 2019 stock value after tax: ~$92k
  • 2020 stock value after tax: ~$123k

With saving my stock amounts, and with the markets staying stable, it’s quite possible I’ll get to $1M even earlier… by 37… which actually is my goal since I want my second kid by 37 and I would like to get to $1M before I give birth. I won’t feel any richer for it, but I think with $1M in the bank I’ll start feeling ok about taking a few more risks when it comes to buying a house. Ideally I’d have $1M in the bank (investments) plus enough for downpayment and closing fees in cash. Perhaps I can get there in 3 years. That requires saving $500k in 3 years, or $150k per year.

  • 2019 (35): $92k (stock) + $25k (interest) + $35k (income savings) = $152k
  • 2020 (36): $123k (stock) + $25k (interest) + $35k (income savings) – $50k (IVF) = $123k
  • 2021 (37): $123k (stock) + $25k (interest) + $35k (income savings) – $20k (preschool) = $153k

Total end of 2021: $1.275M. Not quite $1.3M, but close. Close enough where at that point I’d be willing to put $300k down on a $1.5M house and have $1M in the bank as a safety net.

Past 2021, my savings will go down again… my stock will be vested and it’s unlikely I will find another job where I make anywhere near this much. If I can keep this job until the end of 2021, I just realized… I’ll be really close to my goal–my new goal– $1.3M by the end of 2021.

BUT – big but here – is that to do that, we need to stay living in our 800 square foot one bedroom apartment rental for the next 3 years/until I have my second child. Maybe that’s crazy–but it won’t be that bad. If it means in 3 years we can buy a house and feel financially stable (ish) then it’s worth it, right?

April Networth Check-In: $575k

For a bit of a belated April networth checkin, I’m happy to report my networth is ticking upwards slowly, despite the stock market doing eh.

Given the larger gains of past months, it still feels flat, but at least it’s up. I started 2018 out with $544k in networth, and am now at $575.6k–so I’m up $31.6k of my $100k goal for the year, leaving $7.6k growth per month to hit that goal (or 5% growth for the rest of the year including saving additions and gains.)

Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 8.32.48 AM

The plan is for about $40k-$50k of that to come from after-tax stock vesting before the end of the year. If I don’t keep my job until then for any reason, then I don’t think I will be hitting the $650k goal for the year. But, with that extra $50k, it should be doable for me to save $25k for the next nine months, even with my maternity leave. Continue reading April Networth Check-In: $575k

March Networth: $573k

How did it get to be March 1 already? Oh, right, February was a short month. Amazing what a difference a few days make.

My networth in March was relatively flat – and down a little bit – but that was expected given I ended up having two weekend trips which cost more than planned (and were worth it, pre baby and the no-travel time of my life.) I wanted to be at about $576k by this month, so I’m down $3k. I’m supposed to be at $589k by April 1… which, unless stocks bolt up in the next few weeks, is highly unlikely. Continue reading March Networth: $573k

November Networth Check-In and Retirement Update

Now that I am “in between incomes,” so to speak, I am re-focusing my objectives for total assets this year, and beginning planning for 2016 based on my potential earnings at my new opportunities.

As a reminder, my goal was to close out 2015 with $400,000 in net worth. That figure was always a stretch, but it isn’t going to happen this year. My new goal is to wrap up the year with at least $350,000 in net worth, which is about a 15% increase in my nest egg – not bad but not great either. My goal is to give birth to my first child in the summer of 2017, when I’m about to turn 34 (yikes.) That means getting pregnant in the fall of 2016 or soon after would be ideal. That means that I still want to aim for $500k in net worth by the time I have my first kid (let’s call that July of 2017.) This is about 19 months to increase my net worth by $150k.

Let’s start with where I am today — according to www.networthIQ.com my current net worth is $380,783. I will subtract my car ($8000) and stock options that will soon be worth nothing from that ($16,000) to what is my “actual” net worth — so about $356k. I’m also losing money now since unemployment doesn’t cover my monthly expenditures, so assuming the stock market does decently this month and I land a new job for December start (which is looking quite likely) I should be able to close out the year about $350k. A reminder, in January of 2009 I had about $5k to my name (see graph below.)

november net worth

In order to hit my goal of saving $150k in 18 months (assuming ending 2015 with $350k), I need to “save” $8333 per month. How is THAT going to happen?

If I (knock on wood)  increase my income levels in my next job to $190k (which is super exciting and feels like too much yet if the market will pay that for my services, I’ll take it!), that is a take-home of about $9400 a month (which is a lot and really starts making this dream possible – this is where it gets exciting!) Even with my average spending of about $3500 a month,  I will have $5900 per month to put away. But this also, theoretically, is two years of 401k investment, which I can max out each year. So that’s $36,000 of the total $150k right there (assuming I can keep my job and do well at it!) Ok, so one opportunity has a 3% match of your salary on that, which is awesome (I’ve NEVER had a 401k match in my entire career!) That means each year I’d make an extra ~$5700 just for putting the money in my 401k (if I’m understanding the match thing correctly.) So that is $11,400 on top of the $36k. Ok, so that takes care of $47,400 of the $150,000, and leaves a slightly more realistic $102.6k left to save over 18 months, or, $5700 per month. Income is reduced a bit with the 401k investment, of course, by $18000 a year – but that’s all pre-tax. But with bonus, etc, it should balance out to still taking home somewhere around $9k a month, or maybe a little less. That’s still a lot for the short-term goal.

Now, let’s assume my stock portfolio / the market increases by an average of 5% each year. It could be less and it could be more, but let’s say 2% – 5%. That is somewhere between $7000 and $17500 for year one, and a max of $20.9k in year two (at 5%), minimum of $8368 (for the entire year, but I’ll count that in these numbers since even if I’m not working my portfolio will continue to gain interest.) Ok, so on the more conservative end with just a 2% year-over-year gain, I’ll have another $15,368 covered by investment interest…

$150,000 goal
$36,000 = 401k investment
$11,400 = 401k match @ 3% of income
$15,368 = portfolio interest at 2% YoY
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$87,232 to save in 18 months, or,
$4846 per month

This is very doable, as long as I select a job where I can stay a minimum of 18 months. One opportunity does not have 401k match, so I am leaning toward the one that does, since this clearly helps substantially in reaching my long-standing goal of $500k by childbirth.

Once I have kids, I am expecting to work part-time and see my annual savings levels decrease. Of course, I’ll have a husband who is also working, but he doesn’t earn as much as I do or invest his savings beyond a Roth IRA (which he’ll no longer be eligible for once we’re married – yeay marriage.) We’re not really combining incomes when we’re married – just continuing to split major household expenses. We’ll probably start to split a little more… right now we just split rent (I pay more since I make more) and food (we spend way too much on food for two people) — but in the future when we’re married I can see us splitting healthcare expenses, and maybe things like gas/transit. When we have a kid all those expenses will be split too. Luckily I have a penchant for household accounting. What a great hobby!

Seriously, though, if I can get to $500k before I have a kid, this frees me up so much from this looming fear of the future I have. It’s not exactly a nest egg that will make me rich, but it’s a very good start to be at $500k by 34. The goal was by 30 but so what… goals are meant to be hard to reach, but they keep you focused on getting to where you need to be.

With $500k, if I can manage to not touch that money until I’m 65, at an annual return of 5%, that gets me to about $2M in retirement (not counting any future earnings or my husband’s earnings/savings. At a 10% YoY return that’s about $8.7M in retirement. Heck, if that grows at 10% YoY in 20 years once hitting $500k, that will be worth $3.3M – not exactly placing me in the .01%, but certainly providing enough income for early retirement / starting my own business / doing what I want when I’m 55 years old. I know a lot of women in their early 50s and I can see this age being a good time to have that flexibility. You’re still healthy enough to trade and have fun, your kids are old enough to appreciate spending time with you (hopefully) and overall if you’ve been smart about saving over the years, you can take a moment to actually enjoy life.

So when people read this blog and comment about how this $500k goal is so silly, well, it really isn’t.

The MOST important thing right now for all of this is picking a job where I can stay stable at for the next 19 months, at a minimum. That’s a long time and I’m going to take it month by month and focus on being so productive my employer couldn’t even dream of replacing me. 18 months is just 6 quarters, and that will go fast, especially if I’m pregnant for half of them!

I really hope I can do it. I’ve come so far. This seems within reach. Having my first kid at 33/34 is not ideal, I’m going to have to have my second at 36 and if I want a third, well, that’s going to have to be pretty much right away after that. This leaves me little time to keep earning at the same rate, especially in my field, where having kids doesn’t seem to align with the amount of hours required to work. I have to make the money now, so I can leave the options open for the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve Got $7 in my pocket…

I’m a person of extremes. I eat basically nothing, or, alternately, everything in site. I work my ass off and stay up all night to get projects done, perfectly, or I barely lift a finger. Same goes for my finances. It’s not the healthiest way of living, but it sure works a charm when I’m on the more positive end of it.

This month, I’ve been extremely frugal. Well, not in the sense of purchasing two pairs of jeans. One, my favorite brand, was on sale at the local mall for $100 and I couldn’t resist. I actually thought it was another style, which I realized it wasn’t, so I promptly went on eBay and bought a “slightly damaged” pair of the ones I actually wanted for $70. Given that the original pair I bought last year cost me $170 for one, I felt good about setting up this two-for-one designer jeans deal.

Regardless, that was really my only big spend in the past month. I’ve also been frugal about eating, in ways I probably shouldn’t be. I tend to go for as long as possible without buying food. Around the house, that’s fine, I still have some random frozen things and tuna. But I’m never home. At work, sometimes I’ll work straight through lunch, and live off the various snacks in the office. Lucky for me, at least my work provides some granola bar-type things. Still, not healthy for mealtime, but I survive.

I’ll be posting my January spending charts soon. Lately, I thought about making a goal to reach $50k in Net Worth by the end of the year. I’m still trying to figure out if that’s obtainable. I need to see what my Net Worth is after taxes this year, and then make a plan. I may not be in debt, but I can still live like I’m getting out of debt, so I can one day buy a house.

Monthly Income Goals

While sorting out my expenses is necessary in order to start saving money, I am going to try over the coming months to focus on my income. Here are my goals:

1. Startup / Part-Time Writing Gig: $3300
2. Marketing Company Writing Retainer: $400
3. Freelance for Magazine: $100
4. Freelance for Market Research Firm: $150
5. 5 hours per week for online news mag: $500
6. One Pro Bono (or Paid) Web Design Project: $0
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$4450

Then there’s taxes. So I really won’t make that much. But ideally, that’s what I’d be bringing in, at minimum, each month.