Reader Case Research: Two Nurses, One Child and One Cat on the Coast FIRE Path

Posted on

Peter and his spouse, Kim, each work as registered nurses in a medium-sized metropolis within the Jap United States. They grew to become a household of three once they adopted their daughter, Rachel, in October 2020. Properly, household of 4 together with their cat, Pringles. Peter and Kim each get pleasure from their careers as nurses, however are at a degree the place they should step again to part-time work to be able to scale back burnout and fatigue and for the betterment of their psychological well being. The couple plans on pursuing Coast FIRE and would really like our assist analyzing their monetary projections to make sure they’ll be capable to each work part-time, care for his or her daughter, and revel in a sustainable work/life stability. 

Liz Frugalwoods popping in with a fast definition. Based on Enterprise Insider:

Reaching Coast FIRE [financial independence retire early] means you now not have to save cash to achieve retirement. The distinction between Coast FIRE and common FIRE is that with common FIRE, you now not want revenue to retire. With Coast FIRE, you continue to want revenue to cowl bills, you simply don’t want to fret about saving cash for retirement.

And now again to our Case Research…

What’s a Reader Case Research?

Case Research deal with monetary and life dilemmas that readers of Frugalwoods ship in requesting recommendation. Then, we (that’d be me and YOU, expensive reader) learn by their state of affairs and supply recommendation, encouragement, perception and suggestions within the feedback part.

For an instance, take a look at the final case examine. Case Research are up to date by members (on the finish of the put up) a number of months after the Case is featured. Go to this web page for hyperlinks to all up to date Case Research.

The Aim Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research intend to spotlight a various vary of monetary conditions, ages, ethnicities, areas, targets, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research sequence started in 2016 and, thus far, there’ve been 75 Case Research. I’ve featured of us with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and internet worths starting from -$300k to $2.9M+.

I’ve featured single, married, partnered, divorced, child-filled and child-free households. I’ve featured homosexual, straight, queer, bisexual and polyamorous folks. I’ve featured ladies, non-binary of us and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender folks. I’ve had cat folks and canine folks. I’ve featured of us from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured folks with PhDs and other people with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured folks of their early 20’s and other people of their late 60’s. I’ve featured of us who reside on farms and folk who reside in New York Metropolis.

The purpose is variety and solely YOU will help me obtain that by emailing me your story! If you happen to haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Research, I encourage you to use to be a Case Research participant by emailing

Come Hear Me Speak on April eighth!

Transient observe unrelated to at the moment’s Case Research… I’m thrilled to share that I’ll be talking on a panel on Friday, April eighth on the on-line Mamas Speak Cash: The Legacy You Go away convention. I’m honored to be on this panel with:

  • Sandy Smith, the famend founding father of the Elevate Group and (greatest web site title ever). Sandy shaped the Elevate Group to, “elevate consciousness and shine better gentle on the monetary points that folks of shade face. The 400+ members of the Elevate Group group are monetary professionals, lecturers, writers, bloggers, and educators of shade who’re dedicated to bettering the monetary lives of individuals of shade.”
  • Jamila Souffrant, the founding father of the extremely profitable I used to be really on Jamila’s Journey to Launch podcast again in 2018 and met her in individual after we have been each pregnant with our little women (who are actually FOUR!).

If you happen to’re occupied with attending this three-day on-line convention, it can save you $5 off the $49 ticket value through the use of the coupon code FRUGALWOODS. Go right here to get your ticket and register to attend. I hope to see you there!

Reader Case Research Pointers

I most likely don’t must say the next since you of us are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please observe that Frugalwoods is a judgement-free zone the place we endeavor to assist each other, not condemn.

There’s no room for rudeness right here. The purpose is to create a supportive atmosphere the place all of us acknowledge we’re human, we’re flawed, however we select to be right here collectively, workshopping our cash and our lives with optimistic, proactive strategies and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a skilled monetary skilled and I encourage folks to not make severe monetary choices primarily based solely on what one individual on the web advises. 

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out the most effective plan of action for his or her funds. I’m not a monetary advisor and I’m not your monetary advisor.

With that I’ll let Peter, at the moment’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Peter’s Story

A park in Peter & Kim’s metropolis

Hello Frugalwoods :-)! I’m Peter, I’m 36 years outdated, my spouse Kim is 35 and we’ve one daughter and one cat. We reside in a medium-sized metropolis within the Jap United States the place we’re each Registered Nurses. Kim’s been a nurse since commencement, whereas nursing is a second profession for me. We acquired married in 2015 after I graduated from nursing college and our daughter, Rachel, is a 12 months and a half outdated. We even have an alert, agreeable cat referred to as Pringles. 

Peter & Kim’s Careers as Nurses

I initially graduated with a bachelors in psychology in 2007, however as soon as I used to be in the true world, discovered that my diploma didn’t match with what I wished to do for work. I ultimately determined to return to highschool for nursing and ended up finding out in the identical metropolis the place Kim was working. We met by mutual associates at our native church and began relationship whereas I used to be attending lessons.

Despite the fact that Kim had been a nurse for a few years, after we married she was gracious sufficient to “return to nights” to work the identical shift as my new nursing job. For a few years, we did the evening shift factor collectively: working and dwelling nocturnally. This double-income-night-shift-lifestyle helped us speed up paying off my scholar loans. That’s after I stumbled upon FIRE blogs. These blogs finally led me to the Frugalwoods, most certainly by the Mad Fientist’s weblog/podcast. 

A number of years after being married, we each have been lucky sufficient to realize some seniority on the hospital and transfer to working day-shifts in our respective items. After that, we determined to purchase a small three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. For quite a lot of years we tried unsuccessfully to have organic youngsters, together with infertility therapies. Finally, we determined to attempt for home toddler adoption by a Christian company.

Peter & Kim’s Monetary Upbringing

We each grew up in households that felt very loving, however have been actually tight financially, at the very least in our childhood years. As each of us entered our teenage years, our households grew to become extra financially solvent. Between scholarships and household help, neither of us accrued extreme debt for our bachelor’s levels. In our younger grownup years, we each felt privileged to observe our desires and callings quite than what was most financially prudent. We really feel blessed to be in our present monetary place and understand that given totally different household conditions, this may not be the case. 

Peter & Kim’s Monetary Philosophy

Pre-Covid journey to Arches Nationwide Park

We every regulate totally different monetary elements. Usually, Kim runs the day-to-day funds. This implies caring for the ins and outs within the checkbook, paying the month-to-month payments that aren’t automated, and holding observe of receipts. We do that by YNAB, which makes it pretty easy to see the place our funds sits. I take care of our long-term funds together with monitoring our net-worth, mortgage amortization/prepayments, and funding accounts.

We’ve a written monetary plan which I made, however was “ratified” by Kim. Thus far this association has labored fairly nicely, however actually it hasn’t actually been stress examined. Our funds was constructed on the “minimal hours” scheduled, which in our discipline not often happens.

If we’re scheduled to work a 12 hour shift on the hospital, we’re often working at the very least 12 ½ hours if not 13 hours per working day. With our hourly wage, this provides up over the course of the 12 months. Usually we’ve additional money every month, which Kim allots into varied sinking funds (healthcare, house/automotive upkeep, and subsequent bigger purchases).  If our money readily available will get too excessive, we begin dollar-cost-averaging the additional into our brokerage funding account or growing our prepayments on our mortgage. 

Peter & Kim’s Daughter, Rachel

This brings us to 2020 the place, in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been matched with a pair who have been searching for somebody to undertake their (but unborn) child lady. In October of 2020, we have been in a position to undertake Rachel from delivery. She’s now a 12 months and a half outdated and retains us on our toes for all of our waking moments! Her adoption was legally finalized in July 2021, and we have been in a position to apply and obtain her social safety card late in fall of 2021. We’ve already been reimbursed for a few of our adoption bills by the adoption tax credit score, however it doesn’t negate the monetary burden of adoption by an extended shot. Now we’re ready for an additional refund from our 2020 tax return for the kid tax credit score (you want a social safety quantity) and count on to obtain the expanded little one tax credit score on our 2021 taxes. 

Peter & Kim’s Hobbies

Peter & Kim on a close-by hike

In our spare time, we’re principally outdoor. We wish to go for walks round our neighborhood, path hikes (for so far as Rachel will permit), and sustain our vegetable backyard. Whereas we each wish to hike, Kim enjoys operating and I get pleasure from biking for particular person every day train.

Thankfully, we’ve been in a position to incorporate Rachel into each of these actions with a child jogger and bike trailer! Within the subsequent few years, we stay up for getting her into swim lessons and, when age-appropriate, an out of doors pre-school. She is most assuredly the middle of our lives and we’re grateful for the chance to dad or mum her. 

What feels most urgent proper now? What brings you to submit a Case Research?

Since initially inquiring about submitting a Case Research, our questions have modified considerably. Largely because of the circumstances of our life and the way it has morphed and advanced during the last 12 months and a half, some attributable to Rachel turning into a part of our lives, some because of the Covid-19 pandemic. With all of those adjustments we really feel we’re coming to a crossroads of types.

A bit extra about the previous couple of years will assist clarify:

  • Previous to adopting Rachel our monetary life was pretty flush. We lived as a DINK family (twin revenue, no children) and saved a considerable portion of our revenue into retirement. Our financial savings price grew from 15% after we have been first married to round 40% of our gross revenue previous to adoption. Not included in these percentages: saving for the downpayment on our house, saving for infertility therapies, after which adoption bills.
  • By mid-2020, we have been maxing out our Roth IRAs, nearly maxing out our 403b’s, investing in our brokerage account, and making more and more massive funds to pay down our mortgage early. To today, our greatest short-term purpose is having our home paid off within the subsequent 3-7 years. At present we’re paying about $500 additional per 30 days in precept with a few $1,000 additional principal funds within the months the place we’ve a 3rd paycheck. 
  • If we proceed with this plan, our mortgage payoff date might be circa February 2028. We perceive prepaying on a mortgage isn’t essentially the “greatest” funding, however it’s a assured return. We see our prepayments sort of like including extra bonds to our portfolio. Since bonds aren’t producing very a lot return proper now, making funds on a mortgage seems like extra progress. 
  • Our need for having the mortgage paid off stems from: 1) Not desirous to be beholden to others (e.g. a financial institution) by debt.  2) If the US healthcare system collapses, we’ll undergo from a dramatic lower in revenue.  3) We wish to have the ability to volunteer in some unspecified time in the future in our grownup lives and “needing” much less revenue would assist facilitate that purpose. 

The Child Change

After adopting Rachel in October 2020, we shifted our work-life stability for childcare functions. Kim continued working full-time, and I went to working per-diem shifts round her schedule. This labored for some time, as Kim coated our healthcare insurance coverage and I used to be in a position to get sufficient shifts to keep up my competency as a nurse. All of the whereas, we continued to work towards our monetary targets. Whereas this did imply we noticed our bills rise and our revenue lower, we have been nonetheless in a position to save substantial parts of our revenue into retirement accounts and proceed making funds towards our mortgage. Usually this has been about 30 to 35% towards retirement and 10% towards prepaying the mortgage.

The Pandemic Change

In January 2022 we downshifted once more, this time because of the Covid-19 pandemic. As nurses each engaged on high-acuity items, work has change into more and more difficult and burnout grew to become crushingly actual, particularly for Kim. That’s why, going ahead, Kim might be working part-time. Selecting to work fewer hours is useful to combat fatigue/harm/work dissatisfaction, however means one other massive discount to our family revenue. 

Pre-Covid journey to Fenway Park

I’ll proceed to work per-diem round Kim’s schedule, however will probably have much more shift-flexibility than I had beforehand. Financially this implies we’ve taken a pause on investing additional to an after-tax brokerage account and considerably decreased my 403b contributions (I had been contributing 35% and can scale back this to twenty% or probably 0%). 

Initially we have been submitting our case examine to ask if the thought of “Coast FIRE” was a chance, however now we’re primarily doing a modified trial run out of necessity for Kim’s psychological well being. In true Coast FIRE trend, we wouldn’t contribute something towards retirement accounts and would allow them to sit and develop till we attain conventional retirement age.

In the mean time, we’re merely reducing our financial savings price. For our 2022 funds, when you don’t embody the tax refunds, we’ll be spending greater than we earn most months. Nevertheless, twice a 12 months when we’ve a 3rd paycheck, we find yourself with additional cash making a little bit of a buffer in our accounts for the slight overspend. In the mean time we’re comfortable with this state of affairs since we’ve loads of money. If it doesn’t appear to work financially we may save much less to our 403b’s or I may all the time return to working full-time with Kim working per-diem. Going again to working full-time feels the least probably on condition that we extremely worth our break day collectively and life flexibility.

Long run we see ourselves volunteering in some capability. Whether or not that is throughout the States or internationally, we don’t have robust convictions but. We’ve each hung out abroad by Christian Ministries (Peter as an grownup for 3 years as a volunteer and Kim as a toddler along with her mother and father who have been missionaries). Ideally we wish to do volunteering work (esp. as it could contain frequent strikes) when Rachel is youthful, up till about age 11. We wouldn’t be transferring rather a lot whereas Rachel is in center or highschool, as we hope to supply her some social stability by staying put.

What’s the most effective a part of your present way of life/routine?

The most effective a part of our present way of life is the flexibility for each of us to dad or mum Rachel. Working as nurses gives a dwelling wage and permits Kim to solely work two days per week (beginning in 2022) and nonetheless qualify for part-time advantages. This implies we share childcare duties on days when the opposite works, but additionally spend just a few days per week collectively as a household. Our days off collectively permit Kim mandatory “introvert time” and Peter the possibility to play technique board video games, both regionally (when Covid-19 isn’t a difficulty) or on-line. 

Having just a few days off per week collectively as a household permits us to get out and expertise the world round us. We reside inside an hour of a nationwide park and a number of different mountain ranges, which gives ample alternatives to go mountaineering. We’re additionally a few hours’ drive from just a few main cities, so we will expertise some bigger scale city life as nicely! That being mentioned, our personal metropolis has a big college and smaller faculties within the neighboring cities, so it has quite a lot of points of interest and numerous eating places, which aren’t essentially current in all cities of our measurement. 

What’s the worst a part of your present way of life/routine?

Lakeside sundown with household

The worst a part of our present way of life is the stress from our jobs. Working through the pandemic has been sporting on us and our colleagues. We each wish to proceed to get pleasure from caring for folks of their time of want, and we hate what the US healthcare system has carried out to hospital care. We’ve decreased our hours partly to take care of Rachel with out taking over important childcare bills and partly in order that we don’t burn out fully.

An extra latest problem is navigating the “stealth wealth” stability. With us each working for a similar employer, when Kim introduced she was going part-time, many assumed I might be transitioning again to full-time. Kim is uncomfortable attempting to navigate these discussions along with her colleagues, a lot of whom are simply as burned and disillusioned with the work. It brings up damaging feelings related to having wealth and being privileged sufficient to take a step again financially, just because we wish to. With neither of us working full-time, it’s a important sacrifice to our employer advantages and wages, which might be not misplaced on our colleagues. 

One other Adoption?

Kim and I aren’t but certain if we’ll pursue adopting a second little one. Adoption is an advanced nut to crack and will most likely be its personal case examine of professionals and cons!

The adoption course of felt elongated for us because it tagged onto our expertise with infertility, which was already over two years. The method for getting accredited and on a listing was about 6 months between preliminary software, house examine, and last adoption record approval. We then waited one other 2 years earlier than being chosen by our daughter’s delivery mother and father. Ready time for us turned out to be lower than common. Most individuals adopting by our company (who have been profitable adopting, not together with individuals who voluntarily dropped off the record) waited about 3-4 years. Our buddy circle consists of two {couples} who waited round 10 years. Each three years, it is advisable “renew” your home-study, which is a further monetary value we weren’t burdened with. If we solely needed to wait one other two years, we’d most likely be extra open to the thought of adopting a second little one, however the considered having a second little one in our late 40s is much less interesting.

Pre-Covid Climbing in Redwoods

Concerning the prices, we really feel fairly assured that if we develop robust convictions towards adopting once more, we’d be capable to determine it out. The adoption tax credit score lessens the monetary blow by about $15k, which might be 35%-40% of complete adoption prices (although that cash wouldn’t come again initially, usually 2-3 years after adoption). To “get on the record” prices round half of the entire adoption bills. So we would wish round $15-17k in money. Nevertheless, our employer simply added a profit for full and part-time workers of $10k or $5k respectively towards adoption bills. This wouldn’t hold us with our employer, but additionally will not be one thing we’d flip down if we went down the adoption path once more sooner or later. 

Financially we really feel we may abdomen the short-term hit to our funds to save lots of the money for adoption. It might contain a mixture of lowering Roth IRA contributions, lowering 403b contributions to six%, stopping pre-payments to our mortgage, and/or liquidating investments from our brokerage account. If we did all of this stuff, we’d have the money to instantly “get on the record” and would be capable to save the remainder of the bills over 8-12 months after which resume our former financial savings/investments.

A second adoption would delay our potential “transferring to be able to volunteer” plans if the adoption didn’t happen for some time as we wouldn’t be capable to transfer out of state whereas on an adoption record. The potential ready sport is the massive unknown. All that to say, we’re contemplating it, however as of but are undecided.

The place Peter & Kim Wish to be in Ten Years:

1) Funds: 

  • Paid-off home; in a position to work solely to cowl day-to-day bills. 
  • Lengthy-term we all know it isn’t the most effective determination to repay low-interest debt, particularly in an inflationary atmosphere, however we worth the good thing about having a paid-off house.
  • Would like to have sufficient in retirement accounts to “Coast FIRE” to age 59.5, primarily not needing to contribute to our retirement accounts anymore, however nonetheless be tremendous for retirement. At present I’m utilizing 5% because the inflation-adjusted return for estimating our potential retirement financial savings sooner or later.
  • A few of our monetary assumptions embody:
    • For net-worth functions we think about our house an asset, however not a part of our retirement financial savings. To be conservative, we’re nonetheless valuing it at buy value till it’s really offered though the native housing market has gone up dramatically.
    • Social Safety can pay out at the very least 70% of its anticipated return (round $24-36k per 12 months relying on how lengthy we work or after we begin gathering).
    • Our office pensions are “sprinkles on the cake.” We intend to take the payout when eligible at age 55 and roll that quantity into IRAs so we’ll preserve management and have entry to funds. Whereas our pensions are insured, we don’t belief that every one pensions throughout the US received’t fail concurrently and due to this fact be decreased in worth.

2) Way of life: 

  • We want to be at house collectively at the very least three days per week. Days off would come with time outdoors collectively as a household with probably some kind of staff recreation for Rachel, however who is aware of at this level. Path mountaineering at the very least as soon as per week is fascinating. Visiting each units of grandparents at the very least two instances a 12 months would even be ultimate. Principally, spending our days with parenting and childcare. In some ways we’re already there, in order that’s a plus!
  • We wish to give Rachel the chance to see a lot of the world in some unspecified time in the future in her life. A few of this touring would hopefully occur as she grows up so it turns into widespread to see different cultures and experiences.
  • We might wish to pursue a second adoption.

3) Profession:   

  • Each Kim and I wish to be working or volunteering away from house/parenting at the very least two days per week for psychological stimulation, probably in a special nursing capability. Not sure if this could be with a brand new group or some volunteer nursing gig.

Peter & Kim’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Peter estimated W2 revenue $2,400 Estimated month-to-month internet wage minus: 20% to 403b (no match obtainable), taxes, well being and dental insurance coverage, 401k contributions, and taxes.
Kim estimated W2 revenue $2,040 Estimated month-to-month internet wage minus: 10% to 403b (receives 3% match), taxes, household medical insurance/dental value of $888/month from January 2022
Tax refund 2021 $277 Anticipated minimal quantity of $3,600 from 2021 tax refund as a result of we didn’t have Rachel’s SS quantity till the top of 2021, therefore couldn’t apply for any advance of the kid tax credit score, divided by 13 since we’re paid biweekly
Tax refund 2020 v2. $115 Modification to 2020 tax return as soon as Rachel’s SS card arrived, $,1500 due, hasn’t arrived but (can take as much as 16 weeks to be accomplished in a standard 12 months), divided by 13 since we’re paid biweekly
Month-to-month subtotal: $4,832
Annual complete: $62,816 Month-to-month x 13 attributable to being paid biweekly, with out refunds ~$57,708 or $4,440/month

Mortgage Particulars

Excellent mortgage stability Curiosity Fee Mortgage Interval and Phrases Fairness Buy value and 12 months
$92,237 4.25% 30-year mounted price, precept & curiosity is $812.68/month $114,263 $206,500, bought in April 2017


Merchandise Quantity Notes Curiosity/kind of securities held/Inventory ticker Identify of financial institution/brokerage Expense Ratio
Kim 403b $193,337 10% pretax contributions (~$430/month), extra 3% match from employer FXIAX, VTWIX, FXNAX Constancy 0.015, 0.08, 0.025
Peter 403b $160,143 20% pretax contributions (~$680/month), no match from April 2021 FXIAX, VTWIX, FXNAX Constancy 0.015, 0.08, 0.025
Kim Roth IRA $89,656 $500/month to max every calendar 12 months VTSAX Vanguard 0.04
Kim 529 $85,772 Don’t typically embody in internet value, at present held by Kim’s mother and father. Initially for Kim, however now additionally could possibly be re-designated for Peter or Rachel’s use. Not sure Not sure Not sure
Peter Brokerage $54,373 Sinking funds & long run spending, stopped contributing in Jan 2022 VTSAX Vanguard 0.04
Financial savings account $23,500 Emergency fund / sinking funds 0.03% Credit score union N/A
Peter Roth IRA $15,681 $500/month to max every calendar 12 months VTSAX Vanguard 0.04
Kim 401a $15,664 Prior employer, no extra contributions FFFGX Constancy 0.51
Checking account $14,000 Month-to-month cashflow Earns primarily 0% Credit score union N/A
CD/various financial savings account $10,487 Money for subsequent automotive 2% on first 1k, 0.4% on the rest Totally different Credit score union Taxed at marginal revenue
Peter HSA $7,275 Prior profit, no extra contributions VTSAX HealthEquity 0.04
Donor suggested fund $4,000 Don’t typically embody in internet value Cash market Credit score Union N/A
Kim Pension $209/month @ age 55 to $349/month @ age 65 Present worth, will improve.  Lump sum of $54,480 @ 55, $77,279 @ 65 N/A Present employer N/A
Peter Pension $110/month @ age 55 to $217/month @ age 65 Frozen worth, won’t improve.  Lump sum of $29,500 @ 55, $41,000 @ 65 N/A Present employer N/A
Whole: $673,888


Car make, mannequin, 12 months Valued at Mileage Paid off?
Honda Civic 2008 $4,400 115,000 Sure, paid for money 11 yrs in the past
Honda Civic 2001 Priceless 203,000 Sure, paid for money 7 yrs in the past
Whole: $4,400


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Mortgage $813
Further to mortgage $667 $500.56/month + $1k 2x/12 months with third paycheck months
Tithe $500 Roughly 10% of take-home pay, will improve or lower relying on after tax revenue
Groceries $480 Meals, alcohol, and formulation; could also be rather less going ahead since Rachel is now off formulation
House upkeep $354 Sinking fund purpose of 20k, at present has $5800
Property tax/insurance coverage $185 Via Erie
Trip $177 Sinking fund, at present has $7,000
Medical $175 Consists of all bills and co-payments, elevated in 2021 attributable to Rachel having eye surgical procedure, sinking fund purpose of 7k totally funded
Babysitting $120 3hrs ~1x/week
Electrical $116 Range and warmth pump/AC are electrical
Subsequent automotive $100 Sinking fund purpose of 20k, at present has $12,000
Family $88 Consists of rest room paper, diapers, cleansing provides, cat meals, litter
Eating places $84 Take out, admittedly greater attributable to Covid-19
Gasoline $79
Water $55
Web $55 Lowest value for high-speed web obtainable from Comcast/another suppliers
Automotive upkeep $55 Sinking fund, at present has $1800
Auto insurance coverage $49 Via Erie
Life insurance coverage $45 25-yr time period for each Peter and Kim by Erie, will probably ditch as soon as home paid off
Clothes $44
Telephone $43 Verizon for Kim, Ting for Peter
Birthday/items $42
Christmas $35
Peter “enjoyable cash” $30 Sinking fund for Peter, common spend is definitely much less, however that is allotted for being spent
Kim “enjoyable cash” $30 Sinking fund for Kim, common spend is definitely much less, however is allotted for being spent
Malpractice insurance coverage $18 Along with automated protection from our employer, mixed value for Peter and Kim, thought of a should have
Auto property tax $17
Nursing license renewal(s) $12 Sinking fund for renewals each two years on even 12 months for Peter and odd 12 months for Kim
Subscriptions $11 Costco, Disney+
YNAB $7 YouNeedaBudget annual subscription
Subsequent laptop $0 Absolutely funded sinking fund purpose of 1k
Subsequent cellphone $0 Absolutely funded sinking fund purpose of $500
Leisure $0 Usually taken from “enjoyable” cash funds, consists of gadgets like redbox, wine/beer tastings, date nights
Month-to-month subtotal: $4,486
Annual complete: $53,828

*Sinking funds for trip, house, and subsequent automotive, and automotive upkeep could also be kind of relying on month-to-month spillover

Credit score Card Technique

Card Identify Rewards Kind? Financial institution/card firm
Visa Money again Native credit score union (held constantly by Kim since graduating school in 2009)
Capital One Quicksilver 1.5% Money again Capital One (affiliate hyperlink)

Peter & Kim’s Questions for You:

  1. Is Coast FIRE actually one thing we will do? In different phrases, not saving in the direction of retirement beginning at age 40/45/50 and solely incomes sufficient to reside on for these years?
    • Our estimated retirement funds, together with taxes, is round $60k/12 months or $1.5 million in retirement accounts by age 59.5, not together with Social Safety.
    • Our anticipated bills and not using a mortgage are ~$72k/12 months, however that also consists of $6k every to Roth IRAs and costly medical insurance (see beneath). If we don’t contribute to our Roth IRAs, bills are round $60k/12 months.
    • Are the Roth financial savings too good to surrender? Thus far I really feel the reply is sure. The tax diversification offers extra monetary flexibility. We plan on persevering with to max out our Roth IRAs so long as we will as a result of these contributions may all the time be withdrawn if wanted, though that’s lower than ultimate.
  2. Pre-Covid Climbing in Arizona

    Are my assumptions too conservative or too aggressive? (e.g. anticipated actual return of 5% with low value index funds):

    • If I’m being too conservative, we’ve already reached “Coast FIRE” with a 6% actual return.
    • Present asset allocation is 88% shares/12% bonds in our 403b accounts and 100% shares in Roth IRA/taxable.
    • I’m planning on rebalancing to 70/30 inventory/bond allocation throughout our 40s with the purpose of reaching that allocation by age 50.
  3. What’s the most effective technique for our mortgage?
    • Regardless of the most effective rates of interest in historical past, we determined towards refinancing. We hated the thought of paying cash for a refinance if we would pay it off in just a few years or transfer and promote anyway. The break even level would have been round 4 years with our present mortgage servicer. We determined to deploy extra of our money towards the mortgage due to the assured return we get paying down debt vs investing in an uncertain market. 
    • Now the query turns into whether or not to deploy a part of our funding account (may use investments by early to mid 2024 with conservative return to repay the mortgage) or simply proceed our prepayment technique and be carried out by early 2028. 
    • Eliminating our mortgage cost (required $813 plus additional month-to-month principal $500 and $1,000 biannual funds) would lower our bills by nearly $18k/12 months, which might free us as much as both construct up our investments once more shortly or work much less.
  4. What to do about medical insurance?
    • Would each of us going per-diem after which getting insurance coverage by the ACA be a good suggestion? Or wouldn’t it be higher to pay by the nostril to maintain insurance coverage as a part-time worker (our household plan is at present $888 a month)? Benefiting from the ACA subsidy (we’re not eligible except we’re each per-diem) may lower our month-to-month healthcare premiums by an estimated $300-400/month.
  5. Any ideas on how to consider some medium-term life targets?
    • At present each units of our mother and father are of their mid-60s and comparatively wholesome. We all know this won’t probably all the time be the case. Suggestions for how you can stability the unknown of fogeys’ well being and needing to maneuver nearer to them with doing what works greatest for our household?
    • It’s unlikely we’ll wish to transfer as soon as the toddler is in center or highschool. So we’ve a 12-13 12 months window till that occurs to probably relocate nearer to oldsters or take volunteer gig(s). The uproot-and-volunteer choice would imply we may promote the home and financial institution the fairness right into a taxable/cash market account or lease it out till we return. We’re not in favor of being landlords, however promoting and storing our stuff does appear more and more daunting. Domestically there are just a few small healthcare organizations the place we would get our ft moist volunteering, however they most likely wouldn’t present a housing and meals stipend like some worldwide choices.
  6. Any strategies on how you can take care of the uncomfortableness of the privilege of “stealth wealth” we’re at present experiencing? 

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

Pre-Covid journey to NYC

Peter and Kim are in implausible monetary form and I commend them for a way rigorously they’ve mapped out their future. I feel a lot of what they’re searching for at the moment is affirmation of their math and a double-check on their plans.

In some ways, I don’t have an entire lot to inform Peter and Kim as a result of they’ve already carried out many of the monetary steps I recommend. They’ve clearly spent a number of time researching and studying how you can handle their cash and are on an awesome path!

Peter and Kim have already:

  1. Paid off their scholar loans and stayed out of debt.
  2. Saved up a sturdy emergency fund. 
  3. Invested for retirement.
  4. Began a taxable funding account to develop their wealth over the approaching many years.
  5. Opened a Donor Suggested Fund to plan for future philanthropy.
  6. Accelerated funds on their mortgage to be able to have a paid-off house.
  7. Saved their bills low by driving older automobiles, shopping for a house they will afford, embracing frugality, and focusing their spending on their highest and greatest priorities.
  8. Executed a sensible bank card technique to boost their credit score and earn cash-back rewards.

Doing these 8 steps places Peter and Kim within the “superior” echelon of monetary administration and I hope their story serves as an inspiration and information to others. Do what Peter and Kim are doing :)!

Okay, okay, I’ll really dive into their questions…

Peter’s Query #1: Is Coast FIRE one thing we will do?

This can be a query greatest answered by a calculator! We’re going to make use of certainly one of my all-time favorites from Participating Information, the aptly named “FIRE Calculator: When can I retire early?” calculator, a must-do for anybody contemplating any type of FIRE.

For Peter and Kim, I enter the next variables:

  • Investments: $528,854 (that is the sum of their retirement accounts + taxable investments. This excludes their money, Donor Suggested Fund, HSA, 529 and pensions)
  • Retirement age: 36 (Peter is 36)
  • Goal withdrawal price: 4% (that is the % they’d withdraw from these accounts after age 60)
  • Asset allocation: 70% shares/30% bonds (that is what Peter famous he’ll do)
  • Spending per 12 months: $0 (they won’t be touching this cash till age 60, so their spending from these accounts must be $0)
  • Revenue: $0 (below the ideas of Coast FIRE, they wouldn’t be contributing any extra cash to those accounts)

What this simulates is the state of affairs of Coast FIRE whereby Peter and Kim cease contributing to their retirement accounts at the moment, however proceed to cowl their bills (by incomes an revenue) till the age of 60. At age 60, they cease working to cowl their bills and start drawing 4% from their retirement (and taxable funding) accounts to be able to cowl their bills.

Right here’s the outcome:


This reveals that Peter & Kim wouldn’t attain their FIRE quantity till age 66. Nevertheless, what I like about this calculator is that all the variables are adjustable. Peter and Kim ought to spend some high quality time with this calculator inputting totally different variables to see the place they’ll find yourself. On the finish of the day, that is all conjecture and simulation, however it gives a really helpful foundation for them to function from.

I encourage them to guage a few of their assumptions:

  1. Asset allocation: is 70% shares/30% bonds acceptable for his or her time horizon? 70/30 is fairly conservative and so they’d see a shift in the event that they have been extra closely weighted towards shares. Nevertheless, it is a query of their private threat tolerance (since shares are greater threat/greater reward) and there’s nobody proper reply.
  2. Common inventory returns: how dedicated are they to the 5% return projection? 5% returns could be very conservative and once more, they’d see a significant shift in the event that they went with a better return %.
  3. Financial savings: how dedicated are they to being 100% Coast FIRE proper now? Would they be prepared to cut back their bills by a bit to be able to funnel a bit more cash into retirement financial savings yearly?

Peter and Kim ought to attempt plugging in several financial savings charges, totally different asset allocations, and so forth and see the place they land.

It’s additionally essential to notice that this calculation doesn’t embody their pensions OR social safety. The numbers look far more favorable while you do embody these two variables.

Peter’s Query #2: Are my assumptions too conservative or too aggressive? (e.g. anticipated actual return of 5% with low value index funds):

Chatting FIRE by the hearth

As I famous above, Peter’s assumptions typically lean conservative, however that’s not essentially a foul factor. Conservative vs. aggressive is all about your personal threat tolerance and what you are feeling comfy with. Moreover, Peter famous they’re not planning on Social Safety being there for them, however I actually suppose that’s extra of an existential query.

If Social Safety within the US fails, all of us have WAY larger issues and will’ve been stockpiling ammunition and antibiotics in our bunkers.

I fully agree with Peter’s “belt and suspenders” method to investing and saving, however at a sure level, all of us must keep in mind that the solar may explode tomorrow and all the pieces can be moot. In different phrases, generally we’ve to proceed with the most effective and most certainly state of affairs (that Social Safety might be tremendous) versus all-out apocalypse. If you happen to want all-out apocalypse, start researching bunker availability now.

Peter’s Query #3: What’s the most effective technique for our mortgage?

In my view, if you wish to repay your mortgage early, the most effective technique is commonly to do it in a single fell swoop. This entails using a model of greenback value averaging whereby you make investments all the cash you WOULD use to pay it off early after which, upon getting the entire quantity wanted to repay your mortgage in its entirety, liquidate shares and pay it off abruptly. The rationale behind this method is two-fold:

  1. It offers you extra liquidity and adaptability within the brief time period (as a result of your cash isn’t tied up in your mortgage; it’s technically extra accessible in a taxable funding account)
  2. It may be higher mathematically from a possibility value perspective since you’re not shedding out on the potential beneficial properties within the inventory market whereas placing the cash right into a lower-return car (your mortgage).

There’s, after all, additionally hazard concerned on this method–as there may be with each single kind of funding:

  • The market may enter a downturn and you could possibly quickly “lose” your mortgage pre-payment cash. If that occurred, you’d have to attend till the market rebounded earlier than you have been in a position to liquidate and pay it off.

All that being mentioned, there’s nothing “flawed” with Peter & Kim’s present technique of paying it off little by little every month. That is simply one other technique for them to think about. 

Peter’s Query #4: What to do about medical insurance?

I feel this is likely to be extra a query of “what to do about our jobs?” as a result of when it comes to medical insurance, I feel the choices are fairly easy:

  1. Proceed paying for employer-sponsored medical insurance whilst you’re working.
  2. Analysis the ACA in your state when/when you now not qualify for employer-sponsored medical insurance (listed here are the main points on how I signed my household up for the ACA earlier this 12 months. TLDR: the ACA varies WILDLY by state and by your particular person/household circumstances, so the true reply is that it’s important to do your personal analysis).

Peter & Kim’s Jobs:

Peter & Kim on a nationwide park journey

I’m questioning if Peter and Kim have thought of taking nursing jobs in a special, non-acute context? Actually their present jobs are more likely to command the best RN salaries, however they’re reaching the purpose the place this work is now not tenable from a psychological well being/life stability perspective.

This leads me to ask in the event that they’ve seemed into:

  • College nursing? Not nice pay; however, similar hours/holidays because the kiddo.
  • Main care workplace nursing? I’m certain it’s referred to as one thing totally different, however you realize what I imply… 
  • Different kinds of much less demanding nursing? Clearly I’m not a nurse and have restricted data right here, however I do know tons of Frugalwoods readers are nurses and can be capable to provide wonderful concepts!

I do know Peter and Kim are primarily contemplating per diem work on the hospital, however I ponder if that wouldn’t nonetheless be very demanding because it lacks predictability and nonetheless entails nursing within the acute care context?

The job market is on fireplace proper now, so in the event that they’re , I’ve to think about Peter and Kim would be capable to discover nursing positions in a lower-stress capability. A profession shift for much less stress and fewer cash isn’t going to tank their long-term monetary targets and would possibly dramatically improve their high quality of life.

Peter’s Query #5: Any ideas on how to consider medium-term life targets?

In a number of methods, the reply right here is: too many variables and too far sooner or later to supply concrete recommendation. I feel Peter and Kim are good to suppose long-term, however I additionally suppose it’s okay to just accept that none of us can know our future. I feel researching attainable future volunteer alternatives is nice, as is contemplating the place they may reside down the street. However, I personally wouldn’t get too twisted up in attempting to map out 20 years sooner or later as a result of Peter and Kim are already doing the 2 BEST issues attainable for his or her future:

  1. They’re saving and investing their cash.
  2. They’re clear on their priorities and are placing their most prized sources (money and time) in the direction of these priorities.

Past that? There’s not an entire lot we will management. Since Peter talked about each his mother and father and in-laws, I recommend he and Kim learn the e book, Mother and Dad, We Have to Speak: Have Important Conversations with Your Mother and father About Their Funds by Cameron Huddleston (affiliate hyperlink) after which have frank conversations with their mother and father. Step one right here might be to grasp what their mother and father envision for their very own future.

Peter’s Query #6: Any strategies on how you can take care of the uncomfortableness of the privilege of “stealth wealth” we’re at present experiencing? 

I personally think about this query throughout the context of two totally different classes of individuals:

  1. These for whom it’s not their enterprise/they don’t care and I merely don’t carry up cash.
  2. These to whom I’m very shut and I thoughtfully broach the subject as a result of it might be very bizarre in the event that they didn’t know my monetary state of affairs.

Pre-Covid journey to Canyonlands – Druid Arch

The primary class consists of acquaintances, neighbors, folks I volunteer with, not-super-close associates, prolonged household, and so forth. I’m huge on “don’t ask, don’t inform” within the context of non-public finance. I don’t go round speaking about cash and, I discover it doesn’t come up within the regular course of acquaintance/neighbor chit-chat conversations. It simply doesn’t.

The second class are my shut associates, speedy relations and colleagues. I don’t, like, electronic mail them my internet value breakdown from Private Capital (that may be bizarre), however I’m trustworthy about our FIRE journey as a result of it might forestall intimacy if I wasn’t (affiliate hyperlink). It might be powerful for me to have shut associates who didn’t learn about this side of my life; simply as it might be powerful to have shut associates who didn’t know different private particulars about me.

I too went by a panic of “WHAT IF PEOPLE FIND OUT?????” on the outset of our FIRE journey again in 2014, however over the previous 8 years I’ve realized the elemental, life-long fact that:

No person cares what you’re doing along with your life.

They REALLY don’t. I used to be strolling round again in 2014 pondering everybody wished to be up in my monetary enterprise and, seems? They don’t. My shut associates? These bitches care as a result of they’re invested in me as an individual. However everybody else? Nope. It’s TMI. 

All that to say, Peter and Kim, you’re accountable for what you share with different folks. I recommend you:

  1. Give you a set of solutions you are feeling comfy telling different folks IF THEY ASK YOU DIRECTLY, which I can nearly assure they won’t as a result of folks would quite ask you the place you purchase your underwear than about your funds.
  2. Resolve how/when/if you wish to talk this to your loved ones. It actually is probably not related to them and should solely engender resentment/jealousy to carry it up within the first place. Once more, are they asking? Or are you simply feeling compelled to share?
  3. Decide how/when/if to broach the subject along with your shut associates WHEN/IF it feels such as you’re stopping a deeper relationship by NOT sharing this info. Make sense?

You don’t “owe” anybody an evidence about your cash or your life. It’s your life, it’s your cash, you’re adults, you do you. As Littlewoods says anytime anybody tries to assist her with something:

Fear about your personal self.

Different Notes

Donor Suggested Fund:

The opposite solution to responsibly deal with privilege and wealth is to acknowledge it to your self and to donate cash. Peter and Kim have already got a Donor Suggested Fund for this goal, which is identical method I take advantage of for my philanthropy. I’ve two articles detailing how you can use a DAF to make sure efficient, lifelong philanthropy:

Pre-Covid journey to Neuschwanstein Citadel

Kim’s 529:

Kim ought to have a dialog along with her mother and father about this account. It can probably take advantage of sense for them to switch it over to Rachel’s title, which is one thing they’ll wish to iron out nicely earlier than Rachel reaches school age. That is a type of issues that’s most likely simpler to do sooner quite than later.

Cell Telephone Invoice:

Peter and Kim ought to be capable to minimize their $43 cellphone invoice in half by placing Kim onto an MVNO (Peter famous she’s nonetheless on Verizon). I pay $28 a month for my each husband and myself. Not an enormous deal, however it’s a tremendous simple method for them to save lots of more cash each month.


  1. Spend time with the “When can I retire” calculator and check a few of their assumptions, notably round asset allocation, price of return and financial savings price.
  2. Discover/think about discovering nursing jobs in much less demanding contexts and transferring away from acute hospital care.
  3. Contemplate altering the mortgage payoff method per the above dialog.
  4. Have conversations with mother and father about long-term planning, in addition to the particular observe of Kim’s 529.
  5. Brainstorm responses to “are you wealthy” questions from colleague/acquaintances and a timeline for when/in the event that they want/wish to share their monetary plans with shut family and friends. 
  6. Really feel assured that they’ve mapped out an exquisite future and that the unknown unknowns are okay and that none of us can plan for each eventuality. 

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation do you could have for Peter? We’ll each reply to feedback, so please be happy to ask questions!

Would you want your personal case examine to look right here on Frugalwoods? E mail me ( your transient story and we’ll discuss.

By no means Miss A Story

Signal as much as get new Frugalwoods tales in your electronic mail inbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.