Tag Archives: savings

The Path to Not Feeling Like a Mess is Not Necessarily a Lower-Earning Job

If I could be handed a job that makes $100k less than my current role where I knew I would be mentally well in the position, I would take in a heartbeat. But the reality is that no matter the pay of the job I struggle. In fact, roles that tend to pay more where I can focus more on strategy and less on execution are ones that I tend to feel overall better in (though I still have work on interpersonal skills and comms to get to a point where I can be successful in these roles.) And the reality is I can’t just get a job that pays less — those jobs are hyper competitive as well and will likely go to someone from a top school with less experience.

Early this morning I ran the numbers again regarding my potential earnings and when I can / should leave my current job. This as the head of my department sent out a shoutout to everyone who worked on a project that I oversaw as part of the pool of work that I theoretically own and while everyone including my boss (who hasn’t touched the project) was given a shout out, guess who was left off?

I’m just tired of having a job that doesn’t make sense. I want to have real ownership over something so it’s clear what success is. The only success metrics that exist for my role right now is if everyone else likes me or not. Apparently no one else likes me. Which I’d like to fix. But I would like some other metrics to be included in whether or not I deserve a “below expectations” or “meeting expectations” on my performance review.

What I do know is that I failed to come in to the org when I had the chance to build a scalable function properly. But I also was given a role that was multiple roles with no clear job description. I can’t believe that was FOUR YEARS AGO but somehow it looks like I’m making it to my final vest date. Even getting to the end of this month is a huge win as I get the third of four ESPP periods bought and the second to last RSU vest. There was a long time when getting through this September was my victory. The next final big income moments are icing on the cake — December for RSU, Feb for bonus (if I get a bonus), and March for final big ESPP and a much smaller RSU vest. December is maybe not “icing” as it’s an extra $139k (pre tax) give or take… which is more than my husband makes in a year… but after this month is over I’m looking at ~$300k income for 12 months that drops significantly the following year, which means finding a role that pays $250k more consistently might be an ok move. Or I interview for a long time and really wait until I find the right thing, but if the right thing happens to pop up sooner than expected I can leave and feel good about it.

For me what’s important is feeling like I’m appreciated. I know if one is appreciated financially then who cares about the rest. But to me appreciation means being given opportunities that make sense on a resume with clear ROI and objectives. Being trusted with the things that matter. Of course my projects are high visibility in many cases, but they aren’t seen as core to the business success. And I’m also being pushed further and further into a project management role where my creative and strategic insights aren’t needed anymore. And trust me, I’m the last person who should be project managing anything as a full time job.

I really can’t figure out if I should leave or stay. Staying means feeling like shit all the time because there is no room to grow and I’m in a role that is ill defined. Leaving means starting over and needing the energy to show extremely well for at least 6 months while still not getting enough sleep as a relatively new mom. I also struggle with wanting a job that’s remote for the flexibility (which has been wonderful) and knowing that I really am feeling disconnected from my peers and the inspiration that helps me do my best work by never seeing them in person. Not that most jobs are back in person yet anyway but I go back and forth between looking for a job that is always going to be remote vs one that when covid ends will be back in the office a few days a week.

And I really don’t even see how I can get another job so there’s that issue too. Who really wants to hire me anyway?

Our Path to 3 Million Dollars

The lack of sleep has been getting to me and my sanity, but I need to keep my head in the game and focus on the prize. While the FIRE goal remains $5M, I have accepted that once we hit $3M I can start slowing down — a bit — as at that point we’d be basically Coast FIRE and not need to save more en route to the $5M (and we’d probably still end up saving a bit.) Since this year has been quite interesting in terms of net worth growth, I want to lay out the path to $3M and how long it will take to get there…

Current: $2.25M

Cash: $35k
Stocks: $874k
Bonds: $26k
Retirement: $763k
529: $287k
Home Equity: $264k

Goal: $3M (+$750k) 

Cash: $60k (+$25k)
Stocks: $1.3M (+$430k)
Bonds: $30k (+4k)
Retirement: $1M (+$237k)
529: $326k (+$39k)
Home Equity: $294k (+$30k)

Growth Only (2 Years)

Cash: $35k of $60k goal
Stocks: $963k of $1.3M goal
Bonds: $30k of $30k goal
Retirement: $841k of $1M goal
529: $316k of $320k goal
Home Equity: N/A (+$30k Principal Payment)

Need Additional in 2 Years (Approx)

Cash: $25k
Stocks: $337k
Bonds: $0
Retirement: $159k
529: $4k
Home Equity: $30k

TOTAL SAVINGS REQUIRED: $555k

… Path to $555k Savings…

Sept – Dec 2021 (+$125k, remaining need $430k… still a lot!!)

Cash: +$25k
Stocks: +$55k
Bonds: +$0k
Retirement: +$19.5k
529: +$20k
Home Equity: +$6k

Jan – Mar 2022 (+$100k, need $330k to goal)

Cash: +$0k
Stocks: +$16k
Bonds: +$0k
Retirement: +$78k
529: +$0k
Home Equity: +$6k

TOTAL VALUE / GOAL APRIL 1 2022

Cash: $60k of $60k goal
Stocks: $1M of $1.3M goal
Bonds: $30k of $30k goal
Retirement: $939k of $1M goal
529: $326k of $326k goal
Home Equity: $276k of $326k goal

Or something like that…

Getting us to ~$2.6M net worth by April 1, 2022.

Still a long ways a way from $3M, but progress in the right direction. And that’s only 7 months away for a net worth increase of ~$350k.

So I guess the $3M goal will have to come next. Step one is to get to $2.6M. After hitting this target then the next major goal will be $3M. I do think hitting $3M will be significant. I guess that’s because in 10 years if we don’t touch that money and don’t save a dime more it will be worth close to $5M. Now, I should probably remove the home equity from the equation entirely, but I’m keeping it for now because it’s a significant part of our net worth and I still dream of selling our home and moving somewhere affordable where we can FIRE and live a good life and have time to travel and see my kids and stuff. So it’s included for now.

Excited to see what will happen in the next 7 months. Of course, the stock market can fall fast and hard and given how heavily we are invested in the markets we can hit $1.5M or worse in 7 months.

Will keep tracking here to see how close we can get to the $3M by April 1… which, incidentally, is when I want to look for a new job!

 

2021 Networth Goals

This year will be challenging, especially when it comes to keeping my job through Jan 1. My goals below are listed here to inspire me to get through the hard days and work to what is a realistic networth breakdown at the end of 2021. I will change jobs in 2022, possibly change fields entirely. But this year, I need to hit these goals. Do you think we can do it? Including total family goals. It’s only 9 months…

  • Retirement: $614,629 ($521.5k now)
  • Taxable Investment: $822.5k ($804.5k now)
  • Emergency Fund: $60k ($60k now)
  • IVF Fund: $65k ($65k now)
  • 2 Yr old 529: $196k ($91.6k now)
  • 0 Yr old 529: $151k ($41.3k now)
  • -3 Yr old 529: $63.7k ($63.7k now)

Total 9 Mo Gains (*not including home value and equity) = $326k

I’ll be tracking to this over the coming months. By the end of 2021, I want us to have $2M total in investments and cash, not counting our home mortgage or equity.

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.

My Journey to $2,000,000 — A Quick FIRE Check-In

2020 is weird. Remember when our stocks dropped about 30%, then bounced right back? I made some not-so-wise money when the market was down, but also made a few good ones. And maybe the bad ones weren’t so bad after all.

My asset allocation is all out of whack. Still. It’s worse, because I admit I’m a wee lil addicted to individual stock buying and those individual stocks are primarily US tech stocks. I do not recommend this to anyone, this is me being dumb and seeing investing as a hobby outside of my actual diversified index fund investments. It was fun when I had about $50k in my old Sharebuilder account and I could see if I could beat the market, for kicks. Now I have about $300k in that account (moved to another broker but nonetheless), it’s getting a little, well, scary.

Right now, my networth (after tax*) looks like this:

  • Cash: $318,937 (downpayment fund + emergency fund)
  • US Large Cap: $546,150 (65.5%, target 43%)
  • US Small Cap: $31,810 (3.8%, target 5%)
  • International Developed: $183,258 (21.9%, target 27%)
  • Emerging Markets: $28,546 (3.4%, target 5%)
  • US Bonds: $0(0%, target 12%)
  • Int Bonds: $45,142 (5.4%, target 8%)

TOTAL: $1,154,954

(*why after tax? I count my networth based on after tax value, not including any penalties or fines for early withdrawals, so I have a full picture of my actual savings and asset allocation)

As you can see above, I’m wayyyy overweight in US Large Cap.

This doesn’t tell the whole picture, because:

  • it doesn’t include my husband’s savings or investments (~$200k which help the diversification but not much, total ratios look like 65/3.9/21.8/3.7/.4/5.3 %)
  • it has $0 in bonds because I sold US bonds for downpayment, and need to rebuild my bond fund
  • the above does not include my potential RSU earnings in the next 16 months, which after tax = ~ $536,896 if I can keep this job for another 16 months, which I hope I can! (total networth including 16 month RSU vested and taxed = $1,691,850)

At this point, for my goal of $2M after tax networth by 40 (solo, not including husband’s savings/investments), I think I’m making good progress. The next 16 months will be key. If the stock market crashes, given how heavily I am invested in stocks, the $2M goal could be far off. If it goes up, then I could be closer than I think.

$2M isn’t a substantial goal for me. I won’t feel good about my personal finance progress until I get to $5M. I want to do that by the time I’m 50, so I have enough money to raise a family in a very HCOL area and help my mother and sister out, so they don’t have to worry. My mother will be 76 then, and I expect that to be the age she is running out of money. When I hit $5M, I plan to pay her back for my college education and wedding (if she really needs the money before then, I will definitely help her out and I already pay for her trips to visit my family, etc.)

$5M seems like a long way off, but if I can find another company growing at anywhere near a similar rate to my current company and get an equivalent or larger RSU grant, maybe 2-3 more times, it’s somewhat possible.  I didn’t think $100k was possible just 15 years ago, so who is to say adding $3.5M in 10 years isn’t possible? With my current funds growing at 5% a year, that will add about $1M in 10 years, so I just have to makeup for $2.5M, which is saving $250k a year. That’s going to be rough, maybe impossible. It depends what kind of salary and total comp growth I see in the next 10 years. It’s probably impossible… but I always pick impossible targets, why not this one?

 

Networth Check-In Before End of Year

I just ran my numbers for the year and realized that I crossed the $1M threshold on my own (not counting my husband’s smaller nest egg) and I feel like I should celebrate somehow. (Blows a party horn alone.)

I have a fairly unique way of calculating networth so I consider this a false victory… my before tax total account value is $1,127,789 BUT after I factor in probable taxes (conservatively) my total networth is $845,052. Wah, wah.

Still, $845,052  AFTER TAX in networth isn’t so bad at 36. With my husband’s savings, we’re close to $1M total.

I’ll feel much better when I get to $2M after tax networth, but that will take a while. However, right now I’m on track to hit $1,869,286 before tax (solo) in two years and $1,215,801 or more AFTER TAX in two years as long as my company stock holds close to its current value (TBD.)

I will do a more formal breakdown at some point but just pausing to smell the fiscal roses and celebrate with my fellow readers who have been following my blog for many years (and new readers as well.) When I was 22 and had less than $10k in my bank I thought $1M was an impossible feat to accumulate let alone $100k. That was a long time ago, but on my worst days when I feel hopeless and like I’m a total failure, I just need to remember where I came from and how I’ve somehow held it together to build some sort of stability in my life, at least to cover a few mental breakdowns. Go me. (Blows party horn again.)

The after-tax breakdown is as follows:

  • Cash – $144k
  • Debt – $3k
  • Investment (Taxable) – $457,951
  • Retirement (Roth) – $69,355
  • Retirement (IRA) – $144,580 (assuming 50% tax rate)
  • College Savings – $32,455
  • FUTURE RSU AFTER TAX Next 2 Yrs – $370,749

Trying to feel accomplished because I feel like a big ‘ol failure these days.

Q1 P&L Report

Better late than never.

This post is a P&L report on my Q1 profit and “loss.” It does not include my husband’s income or spending. (We split household expenses 50/50.)

Key Notes:

  • Maxed our 401k (so overall take home higher since $19k of it was pre-tax)
  • Includes one quarter of RSU vesting (on incredible, fairly life-altering vesting schedule for 3 years if I keep my job and my company keeps performing as well as it has.)
  • I also did not pay enough tax yet but my husband’s income is much lower so it might balance it all out. Making 2x last year at least so we will at least be safe harbor tax wise. Keeping a substantial amount in cash to pay taxes next April.
  • We have about $20k in my son’s 529 plan so have delayed monthly investing more in that, and considering skipping 529 going forward as its tax benefits in CA are not that great, and just keeping my investments in taxable accounts.

Q1 Profit Analysis

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.19.31 AM Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.19.24 AM

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.26.37 AM

Loss Analysis (Spending)

Notes

  • Household expenses generally split 50/50 – below notes my 50% of household spending + personal spending (i.e. 1/2 rent, food is not included here. Yes, we spend too much on food.)
  • I pay for any travel to visit my family out of my income
  • I pay $1200/month for “childcare” to my husband that he will put into a Solo 401k for his retirement (this includes that amount – since his father watches our son, I “pay” my husband 50% of what daycare would cost, plus $200 a month for doing my laundry… which hasn’t really happened yet. 🙂 )

Spending by Category

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.36.42 AM
Spending vs Saving

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.42.22 AM
Monthly P&L

  • Jan: +$29,215 (*includes annual bonus)
  • Feb: +$4,571
  • Mar: +$30,457 (*includes quarterly stock vesting)
  • Q1: +$64,243 

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 9.57.38 AM

As noted above, this does not include enough taxes being taken out, so my annual report will be more accurate. I am going to meet with my CPA because we now have the very nice to have problem of having no idea how much in taxes we will owe for the year, since it is all dependent on my quarterly stock vesting amounts. I can estimate but it’s really impossible to know what our stock will be doing in a week at this point, let alone December.

By tracking quarterly, I hope to achieve my goal of $1M in networth by 2020.

Networth Report ($833,655 Q1)

Screen Shot 2019-05-25 at 10.09.12 AM

Target networth rest of year:

Q2: $850,000
Q3: $875,000
Q4: $900,000
2020: $1M Year!!!

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

Mid Year Networth Check In

It’s been a while since I’ve written about finances on this blog, and since it’s somehow half way through the year it’s time to do a quick check in. So, the first half of this year has not been as profitable as it should have been given my high income, but the wedding just wiped out most of my gains. My stock has been performing ok so I haven’t lost money on paper, but I could be doing much better right now had I not gone crazy on my wedding. I don’t regret it, though, and it just inspires me to tighten my wallet for the rest of the year to hit my goals.

My goal WAS $500k before having kids and it still kind of is — I’m not pregnant yet and I’m at $373k in net worth right now… leaving $127k left to achieve my goal before I have my first child. Even if I got pregnant tomorrow, that leaves me nine months to accumulate $127k, which is $14k a month… not exactly doable (I figure being frugal with my current income I can save about $6k a month) but this is all on the hypothetical if I get pregnant tomorrow which likely won’t happen. More likely it will take me at least a year to get pregnant (and we aren’t going to really start trying until after our actual honeymoon next spring) so that buys me an extra 9 months at least… getting me to $7k a month savings/interest needed to hit my goal. While it will be tough the goal actually seems POSSIBLE to hit. It all depends on when I get pregnant and if I can keep my job – both serious up in the air variables – but if I’m not quite at $500k when I have a kid it won’t be the end of the world. It’s just a random goal keeping me on track to $2M+ in retirement.

(See first half of year being kind of bleh below:)

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 3.39.43 AM

I’m counting wedding gifts towards my total which I guess I should split in half with my husband, but he/his family didn’t pay for much of the wedding, so I’m currently keeping them toward my net worth (it still doesn’t cover all of what I spent on the wedding.) I’ll have to write another post on married finances because that’s worth a post (at least) but for now I’m still tracking my net worth independently. I think I will until I get to $500k because what fun would it be to merge our finances and get there by cheating and adding his small savings into mine. I want to get to $500k so I can move on to my next goal of $750k and then the big $1M. I think $1M by 40 is achievable but I might not go for that… I might aim for $1M by 45 or 50 and slow my career down a bit and seek out a better career that brings more happiness and creative fulfillment. Once I get to $500k I don’t want to go under it by much, I feel that’s a good amount for financial freedom when I still want to work full time.

How I Increased My Networth 13% in 2015

Last year I increased by net worth from $309,894 in January of 2015 to $352,066 in January of 2016 (increase of $42,112 or 13% YoY increase.) This is not accounting for the last week of declines, which may or may not hinder 2016 growth. With a total net worth of $352k to start this year, I’m focused on my goal of hitting $400k by the end of 2016. Although this isn’t my original goal of $500k by the end of 2016, I think $400k is still a very aggressive and challenging goal for this year.

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 9.28.52 PM

In 2015, my stock portfolio increased from $144k to $171k. My retirement portfolio increased from $152k to $171k. Thus, the year concluded with approximately $342k in active investments (mostly stocks.) This is why when the market dips my portfolio significantly decreases. Since I have a substantial amount of funds in the stock market I tend to wait now a bit before putting large sums into play beyond what is already invested.

Goals for 2016:

Stocks: $200k, including $15k additional in Vanguard admiral healthcare fund, which has a $50k minimum. This would = $29k in net new investment, or ~$2.5k per month. If the market drops lower than monthly investments will have to increase to make up the difference.

  • $1250 / month — Vanguard Healthcare Fund (to get to $50k admiral minimum)
  • $400 / month — loyal3 fee-free partial stock investing
  • $850 / month — Vanguard fund TBD to get to $10k admiral (might reinvest in the dividend growth fund I sold for losses after a month or so. We’ll see.)

Retirement: $190k (max out 401k and IRA for 2016 — $23.5k additional investment, or $2k per month)

  • $18k = 401k max
  • $5.5k = vanguard IRA (post tax)

Cash: $10k – I’d like to close out the year with a $10k emergency fund.

This = a total monthly investment of approximately $4.5k per month, up to $6.5k if the market drops further. $6.5k is fairly impossible w/ my general monthly expenses plus the wedding, so I think the $4.5k goal (esp with some of it in pre-tax dollars) is a reasonable objective. If the market sucks this year then I probably won’t get to $400k, but I’ll still be buying discount stocks which will hopefully go up at some point in the next 10 years to make up for any losses.

If I can do this then and maintain my job I should be able to close the year out with $400k net worth. This would be a very exciting achievement for this year, as I’d still be on target to hit $500k prior to 35 (2018.)