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Meh, if I'm in the 35% tax bracket now and plan to be in the 33% when I retire, I'm not worried about the tax rate moving 3% one way or the other.

I suppose that's your prerogative, but it seems kind of like purposefully dodging the point. A few thousand dollars is a few thousand dollars regardless of the bracket I'm in... :shrug:

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Well, today we paid off the last 22 years of our mortgage.  We sold/closed our investment property last week that we bought in 2013.  We did well on it and rolled that money up with some savings and p

Can't really talk about it with RL friends and most of it is pre-tax, but sat down with the wife and figured out that the household is officially in the two comma club. Ten years ago I was unemployed

My big win was in getting educated on personal finance, getting organized, and making a plan. Details: 1. Learned the value of an HSA and contributed for 2019 and 2020. 2. Got my wife’s

Meh, if I'm in the 35% tax bracket now and plan to be in the 33% when I retire, I'm not worried about the tax rate moving 3% one way or the other.

I suppose that's your prerogative, but it seems kind of like purposefully dodging the point. A few thousand dollars is a few thousand dollars regardless of the bracket I'm in... :shrug:
So now you're the one in the Delorean. ;)
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Two other selling points on the Roth. First, they are not subject to Required Minimum Distributions so upon retirement you may choose to dip into it or not. Which leads to point two: if you face a high tax bracket in retirement then you can choose to cash in Roth money which is not taxed because you already paid Uncle Sam. With a hearty mix, you could almost determine which tax bracket you'll be in during retirement. This could be significant savings because if you have saved a ton all in 401k then you are going to get tagged with a big tax bill on your RMDs. The moral remains: diversify.

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Also, i can do a Roth 401K through work. OK to do that instead or IRA?

Not all employers offer Roth 401k. If they do great. Roth 401k and Roth IRA are same thing- it is just that the 401k is administered by your employer and the IRA is on you.

I'd do some searching and reading about Roth 401ks over at Bogleheads. They, if memory serves, don't like them much. Not sure why - I don't have that option so didn't delve into it.

Cost. Same as regular 401k's. With a 401k you are at the mercy of your employer. With an IRA, you are the customer and you can get the best deal possible as you wish.

I meant more 401k vs Roth 401k. I agree about the IRA, but really that isn't a typical choice you can make while employed.

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In fact, if you've got kids, I'm going to give you a 23 year-old's perspective on some things that my parents did that seem to have worked, as I'm a pretty conscientious saver and budget-er - compared not only to the average American but especially to my age cohort. Both of my parents are CPAs, and I got my accounting degree before moving on to grad school.

1. Save half. Of everything: From the very earliest time I can remember receiving birthday or Christmas gifts that were simply cash or a check (or some other form of money that wasn't just an actual gift), my parents would take half of it and put it in a savings account for me. I got to keep the other half. Event today, my instinct is to take half of any money I receive and put it in a savings account, rather than a checking account. In fact, whenever I receive actual paychecks rather than direct deposit, I do just that - cash it, put half in savings and put half in checking.

2. Vacation Allowances: Whenever we went on vacation (typically an 8-16 day road trip making stops at various National Parks for camping 1-4 nights), my younger brother and I were each given an allowance. We were given simply instructions with it as well - you can spend it on whatever you want, but you don't get any more and you get to keep what you don't spend. If we all decide to get ice cream, or we go to dinner somewhere, that's a family thing, but if you want a poster or a post card or a hat pin or a hat or a candy bar or (you get the point), then that's your choice to make.

To this day, I have a poster from at least half the national parks, and while a number are in storage while I'm in this tiny-### apartment, I'll one day have a whole room in my home where the walls are covered in these framed posters of places I've been. I still try to collect them when I travel, though I do so far less often on a grad student budget.

3. Be the employer: My parents offered to match any Roth IRA contribution I made until I finished college. From the time I was 16 and got my first job at a mall cookie shop, to the time I was a pizza cook, officiated basketball, TA'd in college, summer internships, etc, I have always saved up half of my earned income up to $2,750 and set it aside for a Roth IRA contribution. At the end of the year, my father would match any contribution just like his company matched 401(k) contributions. When I work full-time for employers with matching plans, the first thing I'll do is fill out the paperwork to push, at a minimum, an amount which will get the full company match into my account.

I'm sure there are other things (an obvious one is simply setting a good example) and you can obviously teach just by teaching with words and having open financial discussions, but those three things in combination with a good example and lots of discussion surrounding financial decisions of the family have set me up very well. For that I am grateful and owe them a lot. And I do mean a lot of awareness of financial situations we were in. I was part of discussions with the financial advisor when it was time to pay for college, I was always informed as to what we were doing when we refinanced a mortgage or something...part of that was me being interested, but I think part of why I was interested was because of how my parents treated those things. It led to me being far more informed about all those topics upon arrival at college.

Great posting.

My parents did something pretty similar. Just the behavior alone put me light years ahead of all my peers in all things personal finance.

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If you think you can predict your tax rate at retirement, you've either got a Delorian I want to borrow, you're very close to retirement already, or you're delusional.

I don't think tax rates will change that much, particularly at the low end. Given the ability to shift monies around and collect very nice tax free dividends from Munis I'm going to plan things out to try and hit $0 tax liability. Right now (2015 dollars) you can do that with an AGI up to about 90k.

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If you think you can predict your tax rate at retirement, you've either got a Delorian I want to borrow, you're very close to retirement already, or you're delusional.

I don't think tax rates will change that much, particularly at the low end. Given the ability to shift monies around and collect very nice tax free dividends from Munis I'm going to plan things out to try and hit $0 tax liability. Right now (2015 dollars) you can do that with an AGI up to about 90k.

Yeah I'm planning to do the same, just started putting the strategy in motion. I can retire in 14 years but likely will stay a few years past that, maybe as many as six. Then I'm going to spend a lot of my 401k in my 60s, and then ramp it down into my 70s if I make it that far. By the time you're 80 you need a lot less than you did when you were 60 IMO, I won't need half the speed boats and hookers I used to have.

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Also, i can do a Roth 401K through work. OK to do that instead or IRA?

Not all employers offer Roth 401k. If they do great. Roth 401k and Roth IRA are same thing- it is just that the 401k is administered by your employer and the IRA is on you.

I'd do some searching and reading about Roth 401ks over at Bogleheads. They, if memory serves, don't like them much. Not sure why - I don't have that option so didn't delve into it.

Cost. Same as regular 401k's. With a 401k you are at the mercy of your employer. With an IRA, you are the customer and you can get the best deal possible as you wish.

I meant more 401k vs Roth 401k. I agree about the IRA, but really that isn't a typical choice you can make while employed.

I can't think of anything other than the tax implications of each but that would not be any different over a traditional/Roth IRA. If you come across something, I would love to see it if it is possible to link.

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I think I am going to just stick with my 403b contributions cause ya'll are confusing the #### out of me. Let me go put my dunce cap on while I bump my 403b contributions from 20% to about 25% (haven't seen it yet for sure, but I think I got over a $2.00 an hour bump in pay this week, and don't want to get used to earning more).

Instinctive, nice post. I wish my parents did that for me. They did teach me to save some money and not spend on stupid crap, but not near to the level I wish they would have. There was never talk of investing or anything. When I got my first RN job I SHOULD have just contributed the max to my 403b and simply learned to live with whatever I got after that. That would actually be saving LESS than the half you talked about, but still would be VERY significant amount over time.

It's amazing how well off people can be financially (assuming you have at least an OK job) just by following some simple rules. At 35 I STILL don't follow all those rules, but getting better at it. Also trying to get my wife better at it. Pretty sure she doesnt factor in retirement in any capacity in her thought process. I control all the money, so at least I have that going for me/us.

Edited by ghostguy123
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I think I am going to just stick with my 403b contributions cause ya'll are confusing the #### out of me. Let me go put my dunce cap on while I bump my 403b contributions from 20% to about 25% (haven't seen it yet for sure, but I think I got over a $2.00 an hour bump in pay this week, and don't want to get used to earning more).

Instinctive, nice post. I wish my parents did that for me. They did teach me to save some money and not spend on stupid crap, but not near to the level I wish they would have. There was never talk of investing or anything. When I got my first RN job I SHOULD have just contributed the max to my 403b and simply learned to live with whatever I got after that. That would actually be saving LESS than the half you talked about, but still would be VERY significant amount over time.

It's amazing how well off people can be financially (assuming you have at least an OK job) just by following some simple rules. At 35 I STILL don't follow all those rules, but getting better at it. Also trying to get my wife better at it. Pretty sure she doesnt factor in retirement in any capacity in her thought process. I control all the money, so at least I have that going for me/us.

Good luck with everything. The diversification part is not all that complicated and it's a pretty fundamental rule. Even if you don't know everything there is to know about Roth's, you might want to kick that extra 5% into one and learn as you go.

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I need a recommendation to roll-over and consolidate a few old 401(k) accounts that I've left with previous employers. I'm looking for a good low-cost buy/hold option, like Fidelity or Vanguard I guess? I have an account at Etrade, but it seems more geared toward active investors rather that long term, low fee buy & hold folks. tia

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I need a recommendation to roll-over and consolidate a few old 401(k) accounts that I've left with previous employers. I'm looking for a good low-cost buy/hold option, like Fidelity or Vanguard I guess? I have an account at Etrade, but it seems more geared toward active investors rather that long term, low fee buy & hold folks. tia

Call Vanguard and they will recommend an appropriate split across a handful or less of low cost funds.

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Can you transfer money from a 403b from a previous job to something else?

For example, my wife has money that has been sitting in a Fidelity 403b from her previous job. Her current job does not have a 403b or 401k, or anything in terms of a retirement account she can contribute to.

Obviously she can still just let the money sit there in that particular account, but is there anything that can be done with that money? Can it somehow get transferred into MY 403b? Just wondering what the options are on something like that.

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Apparently the internet is good for more than just random babble. I just read that you have 4 options:

  1. Take an early distribution 403b (cash it out)
  2. Keep it in your previous employers plan
  3. Transfer to qualified retirement account such as another 403b or Rollover IRA
  4. Rollover into a Roth IRA

Option 1 is a no. Option 2 is what is already happening. Option 3 seems like a lateral move but with more investment option. Option 4 seems interesting, but I have a question.

If we transferred the money to a Roth IRA there would obviously be the tax implications. Say the amount is $20,000 and we transferred the entire amount into a Roth IRA. Would that $20,000 get added to our income for the year and be taxed as the top $20,000 for the current year (if that makes sense)?

Just wondering that the best way to go about rolling it into a Roth IRA in terms of tax implications.

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You have to be careful rolling it into a Roth because of the tax implications you mentioned. Personally, I would determine how much liquid cash is available to pay a tax bill and also how much room you have before bumping up to the next tax bracket. For me, this means estimating my taxes in December which most people find horrifying, I bet. But you don't want to pay a higher % of taxes than you need. Taxes on 20 grand might be 2 or 3 thousand which is no chimp change. I typically rollover about 5K per year to keep that bill manageable.

Eta: yes, it counts like income for tax purposes.

Edited by pecorino
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I need a recommendation to roll-over and consolidate a few old 401(k) accounts that I've left with previous employers. I'm looking for a good low-cost buy/hold option, like Fidelity or Vanguard I guess? I have an account at Etrade, but it seems more geared toward active investors rather that long term, low fee buy & hold folks. tia

I have Fidelity which is good. No cost other than the funds and/or trade fee ($7 a trade). Also they have a good number of retail locations so if for some reason you want/need to go in and drop some stuff off and sign docs etc (like I did about 6 months ago) it is easy. But trying to buy Vanguard funds from Fidelity you get a load charge upfront while they don't charge for their family of ETF's, funds, etc. Website is good. No complaints really.

Heard good thing about Vanguard. Don't think there will be a huge difference between the two but I could be wrong.

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I need a recommendation to roll-over and consolidate a few old 401(k) accounts that I've left with previous employers. I'm looking for a good low-cost buy/hold option, like Fidelity or Vanguard I guess? I have an account at Etrade, but it seems more geared toward active investors rather that long term, low fee buy & hold folks. tia

I have Fidelity which is good. No cost other than the funds and/or trade fee ($7 a trade). Also they have a good number of retail locations so if for some reason you want/need to go in and drop some stuff off and sign docs etc (like I did about 6 months ago) it is easy. But trying to buy Vanguard funds from Fidelity you get a load charge upfront while they don't charge for their family of ETF's, funds, etc. Website is good. No complaints really.

Heard good thing about Vanguard. Don't think there will be a huge difference between the two but I could be wrong.

Vanguard is a no brainer for me as I'm highly invested in their funds and they don't charge transaction fees to buy into them like other brokerages will.

Edit: I originally thought their first class of preferred membership clients (voyager) got a limited number of free trades but apparently they do not give you discounted pricing until you get into the upper tiers ($500k and up). Some other brokerages may give better discounts so if you are big into trading in and out of individual stocks.

Edited by thecatch
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Also, i can do a Roth 401K through work. OK to do that instead or IRA?

Not all employers offer Roth 401k. If they do great. Roth 401k and Roth IRA are same thing- it is just that the 401k is administered by your employer and the IRA is on you.

I'd do some searching and reading about Roth 401ks over at Bogleheads. They, if memory serves, don't like them much. Not sure why - I don't have that option so didn't delve into it.

Cost. Same as regular 401k's. With a 401k you are at the mercy of your employer. With an IRA, you are the customer and you can get the best deal possible as you wish.

I meant more 401k vs Roth 401k. I agree about the IRA, but really that isn't a typical choice you can make while employed.

I can't think of anything other than the tax implications of each but that would not be any different over a traditional/Roth IRA. If you come across something, I would love to see it if it is possible to link.

Roth IRA and Roth 401k are not the same thing. They are similar, but not the same thing.

- Roth 401(k) is subject to required minimum distribution rules similar to a traditional 401(k). Note that Roth IRAs are not subject to RMD rules but traditional IRAs are.

- An advantage of the Roth IRA is the ability to withdraw contributions early without being taxed or penalized (assuming certain criteria are met). This is not the case for a Roth 401(k) - the taxpayer is more likely to be subjected to tax and penalties. For a Roth IRA, the distribution ordering rules are such that contributions come out first when a withdrawal occurs. These ordering rules do not apply to Roth 401(k) accounts - the balance of contributions and earnings is pro-rated on a distribution; the contributions do not come out first.

- I believe a Roth IRA cannot be rolled into a Roth 401(k). A Roth 401(k) can be rolled into a Roth IRA (thus potentially avoiding the RMD rules noted above once the plan participant has separated from service).

- If you roll a Roth 401(k) to a Roth IRA, the 5-year holding period for penalty-free distributions could begin anew - this is not the case with a Roth IRA to Roth IRA rollover.

There's probably more pitfalls. Just a few off the top of my head...consult an advisor if you have real questions, don't take my word for it. They are surely not the same thing.

Edited by Steve Tasker
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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

Despite having no car payment, no cell phone payment, a house that's well within my budget, no gym memberships, no expensive hobbies, a very short commute, don't eat out much and not really having traveled much this year, the Dentist family has spent in excess of 100K each of the past 2 years.... now certainly I can afford this... but I just don't understand how my bills could be this high... it sure seems like I live a lifestyle that someone making a lot less than I do could afford.

Now.. to be fair I've had 2 kids over the last 2 years... so some of the expenses are medical... i had to acquire a lot of baby stuff.. and incurred a decent number of medical bills over the last two years.... however, it feel like that was offset by the lack of travel, less booze, less entertainment, etc.

Anyway.. I'm open to all suggestions of where I can trim the fat and get my expenses leaner and meaner. Here are my Mint Numbers:

Home $39,413.72

Food & Dining $15,088.89 - somewhat misleading here as things like Costco and Target are on here and so there's a lot of non-food on here.. like dry-cleaning, supplies, etc.

Health & Fitness $12,786.44 - higher than usual due to baby #2

Shopping $10,198.86

Bills & Utilities $5,750.71

Uncategorized $3,878.53 - mostly ATM withdrawls... like take out $300 to goto the casino.. and many times what I win or don't lose goes back into the account later

Auto & Transport $4,027.62

Kids $3,592.42

Travel $1,472.89

Entertainment $1,244.56

Personal Care $699.20

Gifts & Donations $519.69

Business Services $182.44

Misc Expenses $175.00

Financial $168.29

Education $20.00

Fees & Charges $19.50

By Merchant - just the top expenses.

Wf Home Mtg $28,464.13

Hy-Vee $8,357.60

Blue Cross $6,510.32

Painting $4,815.00

Costco $3,911.95

Amazon $2,226.46

Comcast $2,003.17

Online Paym Mo $1,922.57

Overhead Door $1,770.00

Walgreens $1,700.20

Target $1,482.76

Northwestern Mutual $1,284.47

American Family Insurance $1,109.80

Babies "R" Us $1,033.61

QuikTrip $1,002.87

BuyBuyBaby $997.60

Centerpoint Med $985.26

Missouri Gas Energy $978.02

2014:

Home $46,473.05

Food & Dining $14,969.45

Shopping $13,830.19

Auto & Transport $8,194.52

Health & Fitness $7,740.67

Bills & Utilities $6,056.56

Education $4,314.46

Uncategorized $3,565.91

Travel $3,454.21

Kids $2,871.01

Gifts & Donations $1,698.21

Personal Care $1,042.40

Entertainment $667.36

Business Services $221.93

Financial $166.22

Fees & Charges $15.61

Edited by Dentist
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I don't really see huge chunks to make meaningful cuts - more careful meal planning/shopping to drop the $15K some. I mean only $100 a month for the family for entertainment is already very low ...

Thanks for reading/looking.

I mean my wife is a REALLY good meal planner.. we eat a lot at home and while she does purchase some organic milk and some organic fruits... in general we eat run of the mill stuff.. I suppose a lot of it is that we purchase a lot of fresh things and not a lot of frozen/canned...

But again we rarely eat out so I feel like we deserve to at least eat decent stuff at home.

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I don't really see huge chunks to make meaningful cuts - more careful meal planning/shopping to drop the $15K some. I mean only $100 a month for the family for entertainment is already very low ...

Thanks for reading/looking.

I mean my wife is a REALLY good meal planner.. we eat a lot at home and while she does purchase some organic milk and some organic fruits... in general we eat run of the mill stuff.. I suppose a lot of it is that we purchase a lot of fresh things and not a lot of frozen/canned...

But again we rarely eat out so I feel like we deserve to at least eat decent stuff at home.

Also the $3K Misc. "fun money" is the other spot that I see - it still only represents 3%. The vacation budget is very reasonable if you can stick to it. Tough to take a small family on even an inexpensive beach vacation for $3.5K.

The miscellaneous category the toughest for me to track. I keep all our receipts and sift them along with the credit card detail to put things in a more refined categories that I want. I have always been a big budget guy.

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Yeah, even though you don't eat out much, if you add up the food/dining and shopping, that's $25k right there....over $2k a month. This could be cut down.

Also, the $4k for auto/transport, is this for gas/auto repairs? I'm guessing it's mostly for one car with the wife being home with the kids. Gas has been relatively cheap and I know you have an older, paid for car.....are repairs hitting you hard? Maybe start looking at a newer car that won't require so many repairs?

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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

...snip...

Home $39,413.72

Health & Fitness $12,786.44 - higher than usual due to baby #2

Shopping $10,198.86

Uncategorized $3,878.53 - mostly ATM withdrawls... like take out $300 to goto the casino.. and many times what I win or don't lose goes back into the account later

Auto & Transport $4,027.62

while you're spending around $20k more annually than we are, these are the only items that warrant mentioning IMO.

the house is much more than we spend (we're under $24k) but that's not neccessarily something you'd want to change.

is there a way to separate health care from fitness?

seems like a lot for shopping.

uncategorized is hard to tell but $300 casino trips surely could be cut if you wanted to do so.

what auto costs? if this includes gas, insurance, maintenance etc, we're probably similar.

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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

This is like Raider Nation asking for help finding internet porn.

I think the answer to your question is having 2 kids in 2 years. As you now know, newborns are incredibly expensive and need a surprising amount of stuff. It usually starts to get less expensive after 2 or 3 years.

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Looks like may contributing factors are likely involved, rather than a single smoking gun.

Shopping $10,198.86

Uncategorized $3,878.53 - mostly ATM withdrawls... like take out $300 to goto the casino.. and many times what I win or don't lose goes back into the account later

Kids $3,592.42

Travel $1,472.89

Entertainment $1,244.56

  • Understanding this $20k is important. $1k every month seems like *a lot* of "shopping" on top of food, dining, kids, entertainment, etc. If this $20k were eliminated, your and my annual spends would be roughly equivalent. I'm "frugal" as well.

Painting $4,815.00

Overhead Door $1,770.00

  • Do you have a home repair budget you follow? I allocate $200/M on home repair, $150/M on car repair, and $300/M on new car ($25k/7Y). Your $6k home expenses last year is 3x my budget, and I have a good sized house.

Many of your categories overlap, making it challenging to understand. Do you have a budget spreadsheet where you make a plan for variable expenses, and monitor against that plan? PM me and I can email you what I use. Below is the general monthly plan for our house, which includes $100/week entertainment/miscellaneous (easy to track mentally). As long as the credit card totals (in red) are under $2k per month, excluding car and home repair, then I know we are doing well. All the bank autopays happen monthly (in green). House and Insurance also viewed separately, as they don't change.

Groceries 1200

Clothes 200

Ent./Misc 400

Car Gas 200

Car Tags 41

Car Pay 0

Cars/Boat/Life Insure 161

Water 20

Trash 12

WH Elec (Avg) 80

Natural Gas60

Phones (Boys Cells) 50

Cable 40

Internet 0

Dogs 66

Lifetime Fitness 48

Special Xfr 200

sTotal 1 (Cards) 2000

sTotal 2 (Autopays) 578

Xfr 200

Car Repair / M Fund 150

(25k/7Y Car Fund)/M 300

House Repair Fund/M 250

MONTHLY TOTAL 3478

Edited by inca911
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You have to be careful rolling it into a Roth because of the tax implications you mentioned. Personally, I would determine how much liquid cash is available to pay a tax bill and also how much room you have before bumping up to the next tax bracket. For me, this means estimating my taxes in December which most people find horrifying, I bet. But you don't want to pay a higher % of taxes than you need. Taxes on 20 grand might be 2 or 3 thousand which is no chimp change. I typically rollover about 5K per year to keep that bill manageable.

Eta: yes, it counts like income for tax purposes.

Rolling over some of it per year is probably a good idea. I can pretty easily see how much taxable income i will have before the end of each year to make sure i wont bump up a tax bracket.

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Yeah, even though you don't eat out much, if you add up the food/dining and shopping, that's $25k right there....over $2k a month. This could be cut down.

Also, the $4k for auto/transport, is this for gas/auto repairs? I'm guessing it's mostly for one car with the wife being home with the kids. Gas has been relatively cheap and I know you have an older, paid for car.....are repairs hitting you hard? Maybe start looking at a newer car that won't require so many repairs?

auto/transport includes insurance on 2 vehicles and gasoline.

I did get tires last year, and have to get new spark plugs.

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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

...snip...

Home $39,413.72

Health & Fitness $12,786.44 - higher than usual due to baby #2

Shopping $10,198.86

Uncategorized $3,878.53 - mostly ATM withdrawls... like take out $300 to goto the casino.. and many times what I win or don't lose goes back into the account later

Auto & Transport $4,027.62

while you're spending around $20k more annually than we are, these are the only items that warrant mentioning IMO.

the house is much more than we spend (we're under $24k) but that's not neccessarily something you'd want to change.

is there a way to separate health care from fitness?

seems like a lot for shopping.

uncategorized is hard to tell but $300 casino trips surely could be cut if you wanted to do so.

what auto costs? if this includes gas, insurance, maintenance etc, we're probably similar.

Some things are hard to separate out on mint.

My gym membership at 24 hour fitness is $110 a YEAR. My wife has no fitness spending.

So basically it's ALL health care.

I don't lose $300 at the casino each time... which is what is annoying about the uncategorized... it's all ATM withdraws. And I know for a fact at least 2/3rds of that ends up getting redeposited. Sometimes I win even.

Admittedly Home is expensive because I'm on a 10 year mortgage, and last year I put 25K extra on the mortgage and this year 10K extra in principal... so those were choices.

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Looks like may contributing factors are likely involved, rather than a single smoking gun.

Shopping $10,198.86

Uncategorized $3,878.53 - mostly ATM withdrawls... like take out $300 to goto the casino.. and many times what I win or don't lose goes back into the account later

Kids $3,592.42

Travel $1,472.89

Entertainment $1,244.56

  • Understanding this $20k is important. $1k every month seems like *a lot* of "shopping" on top of food, dining, kids, entertainment, etc. If this $20k were eliminated, your and my annual spends would be roughly equivalent. I'm "frugal" as well.

Painting $4,815.00

Overhead Door $1,770.00

  • Do you have a home repair budget you follow? I allocate $200/M on home repair, $150/M on car repair, and $300/M on new car ($25k/7Y). Your $6k home expenses last year is 3x my budget, and I have a good sized house.

I allocate about 2% to the price of the home for repairs each year. which is about $4000. Both of the last two years I have exceeded that.

Many years I do nothing other than basic maintenance on the home.

Unfortunately the last few years haven't been kind.. I"m at that sweet spot where the home is old enough that a lot of the original stuff broke down all at once.. water heater, garage door, AC/heat, paint, etc.

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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

This is like Raider Nation asking for help finding internet porn.

I think the answer to your question is having 2 kids in 2 years. As you now know, newborns are incredibly expensive and need a surprising amount of stuff. It usually starts to get less expensive after 2 or 3 years.

Sure.. but lots of people have children that make like 50-75K a year as a family... and while those people have a lot of government subsidies on their health care.... they still get it done on a lot less.

My income is a lot higher than that.. but again I FEEL like I really live a frugal lifestyle and I'm obviously spending a lot more than those people do.... there's a lot of bleeding. I need to minimize this bleeding.

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Dentist, if you want to cut your expenses, then you basically need to stop leaving the house, cook all meals at home, and live a completely horrible boring and unfullfilling life.

I mean, you could always pretend you are poor, downsize, buy a cheap 1,000 square foot condo in a bad neighborhood, and eat unhealthy stuff like ramen noodles 10 times a week.

Otherwise, hell, you dont even have a cell phone, which already puts you 200 bucks a month ahead of the game.

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Dentist, if you want to cut your expenses, then you basically need to stop leaving the house, cook all meals at home, and live a completely horrible boring and unfullfilling life.

I mean, you could always pretend you are poor, downsize, buy a cheap 1,000 square foot condo in a bad neighborhood, and eat unhealthy stuff like ramen noodles 10 times a week.

Otherwise, hell, you dont even have a cell phone, which already puts you 200 bucks a month ahead of the game.

Business pays for cell phone

Also I'm already doing most of what you suggest minus the ramen, and somehow spend 100k a year doing it

Edited by Dentist
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Dentist, if you want to cut your expenses, then you basically need to stop leaving the house, cook all meals at home, and live a completely horrible boring and unfullfilling life.

I mean, you could always pretend you are poor, downsize, buy a cheap 1,000 square foot condo in a bad neighborhood, and eat unhealthy stuff like ramen noodles 10 times a week.

Otherwise, hell, you dont even have a cell phone, which already puts you 200 bucks a month ahead of the game.

Business pays for cell phone

Also I'm already doing most of what you suggest minus the ramen, and somehow spend 100k a year doing it

Downsize your house, buy lesser quality items.

There is nothing else you CAN do other than that. You alreadymake good fiancial decisions, but you already knew that.

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I need a recommendation to roll-over and consolidate a few old 401(k) accounts that I've left with previous employers. I'm looking for a good low-cost buy/hold option, like Fidelity or Vanguard I guess? I have an account at Etrade, but it seems more geared toward active investors rather that long term, low fee buy & hold folks. tia

I have rolled all my 401(k) and Roth 401(k) monies from previous employers to Vanguard. I also have a taxable account there where I do some trading. It's straight forward, cheap investments. You can trade all Vanguard funds and ETFs commission free. Non-vanguard ETFs and stocks are $7/trade, although unless you breach a minimum (IIRC its $50k) you only get 5-7 trades at that price. I like Vanguard.
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Dentist, if you can't save any more, then make more. Open a second location. Maybe look at starting a Dentist franchise with a catchy name.

Nice thought but I should definitely be able to save more. No one needs to spend what we're spending, it's ridiculous

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Dentist, if you can't save any more, then make more. Open a second location. Maybe look at starting a Dentist franchise with a catchy name.

Nice thought but I should definitely be able to save more. No one needs to spend what we're spending, it's ridiculous

So spend less. Cheaper house, cheaper clothers, cheaper food, cheaper furniture, cheaper utilities (comes with cheaper house).

Your only other option is to get rid of the wife and kids so you can go live in a cardboard box and spend 1% of your income.

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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

This is like Raider Nation asking for help finding internet porn.

I think the answer to your question is having 2 kids in 2 years. As you now know, newborns are incredibly expensive and need a surprising amount of stuff. It usually starts to get less expensive after 2 or 3 years.

Sure.. but lots of people have children that make like 50-75K a year as a family... and while those people have a lot of government subsidies on their health care.... they still get it done on a lot less.

My income is a lot higher than that.. but again I FEEL like I really live a frugal lifestyle and I'm obviously spending a lot more than those people do.... there's a lot of bleeding. I need to minimize this bleeding.

From an accounting perspective your mortgage interest is an expense but the principal is not. I suspect the reason you feel like you are spending more than most people is because you are spending a significant amount to reduce debt while the people you are comparing yourself to have 30 year mortgages making only the required payment.

Also, I believe you have mentioned that you have an HSA. Do the medical costs include HSA contributions? Are you taking HSA withdrawals to pay out of pocket costs or did you make a decision to fund them out of pocket to allow the HSA to grow? This is another area where good financial decision making can distort spending figures.

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I need help fixing the family budget at home and was hoping for some input from some of the fine posters in here.

This is like Raider Nation asking for help finding internet porn.

I think the answer to your question is having 2 kids in 2 years. As you now know, newborns are incredibly expensive and need a surprising amount of stuff. It usually starts to get less expensive after 2 or 3 years.

Sure.. but lots of people have children that make like 50-75K a year as a family... and while those people have a lot of government subsidies on their health care.... they still get it done on a lot less.

My income is a lot higher than that.. but again I FEEL like I really live a frugal lifestyle and I'm obviously spending a lot more than those people do.... there's a lot of bleeding. I need to minimize this bleeding.

From an accounting perspective your mortgage interest is an expense but the principal is not. I suspect the reason you feel like you are spending more than most people is because you are spending a significant amount to reduce debt while the people you are comparing yourself to have 30 year mortgages making only the required payment.

Also, I believe you have mentioned that you have an HSA. Do the medical costs include HSA contributions? Are you taking HSA withdrawals to pay out of pocket costs or did you make a decision to fund them out of pocket to allow the HSA to grow? This is another area where good financial decision making can distort spending figures.

I pay health stuff with the hsa. Not funding and then not using it to stockpile (which some people definitely recommend).

If you only count mortgage interest, insurance, and maintenance and not principle, then my yearly expenditures go down a lot. Probably under 80k, still high, but less bothersome

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Here's where I'm at for spending on take home pay from a % basis. A few notes on things that aren't reflected below (i.e. deducted from my paycheck):

  • I'm maxing out my 401K (pre tax)
  • another 5% (after tax) is going to my companies stock purchase program
  • I don't budget my bonus which is conservatively 20% of my salary
  • Home and Cars are all paid off, only debt is student loans at less than 1%
      Group       % of take home pa                                        Description       Auto             3.32%                        AAA, Registration, Inspection Sticker, Fuel, Maintenance       Kids            17.13%           Babysitters, Birthday Parties, Clothes, Hair cuts, Tuition, Swimming Lessons, Camp    Donations           0.18%                                             Charity Things  Entertainment         4.10%      Museum, Country Club, Events, Parties Hosted, Saints Tickets, Spotify, Netflix, Various Entertainment       Food            10.88%                                   Groceries, Restaurants, Own Meals      Gifts             3.48%                      Birthdays, Xmas, Birthday Party Gifts, All gifts in generalHome: Fixed Costs       8.19%                                            Incurance, Taxes   Home: Upkeep         5.06%                Air Filters, Cleaning/Maintenance, Maid, Lawn, Pest Control, Decorations    Insurance           1.53%                                             Jewlery, Life   Investments          8.65%                                          Kids - 529 accounts       Loan             4.11%                                             Student Laons     Medical            1.04%                                                Co Pays Membership Dues        0.23%                                      Amazon Prime, Costo, Churce     Personal           8.19%      Personal Spending (we each get a certain $ per month to do what we want), Haircuts, Cleaners, Gym    Utilities           6.96%            Alarm, Cable, Cloud Storage, Electricity/Gas, Internet, Cell Phone, Water/Sewer     Vacation           3.55%                        Various Trips (family, and individual guys/girls trips)     Total:            86.71%                                              Total budget Monthly Surplus       13.29%                                                 ExcessTotal Take Home Pa     100.00%                                                Total
Edited by Tiger Fan
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Some of you guys are making me feel bad about what I spend on food (groceries, eating out, beer :banned: ).

I am thinking the best way to budget is to put away as much as you can into investments (or savings) and spend the rest however you see fit. If you want to spend less, then put more away.

It's hard to NOT spend what you have available to you, harder to convince the wife and kids of this same phenomenon.

Did anyone know wives are bad with money? No one told me this 8 years ago.

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Some of you guys are making me feel bad about what I spend on food (groceries, eating out, beer :banned: ).

I am thinking the best way to budget is to put away as much as you can into investments (or savings) and spend the rest however you see fit. If you want to spend less, then put more away.

It's hard to NOT spend what you have available to you, harder to convince the wife and kids of this same phenomenon.

Did anyone know wives are bad with money? No one told me this 8 years ago.

Everyone's situation is different. I've documented in here a bunch that due to fear of my job eventually moving away from the city where I live (and me never wanting to leave here) I had a priority of paying my house off as soon as possible (vs. putting excess $ in the market).

My perception on "put away as much as you can into investments." can be a very dangerous statement. I would assume that on the surface everyone agrees with that....but in practicality, a majority of Americans can't resist keeping up with the joneses and don't have a good view of the actual money required in the future....thus end up screwing themselves.

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Dentist - you need to look at mvelopes.com. Mint is for amateurs IMO.

Thanks, what's it going to do?

It uses the envelope budgeting system as it's core - I took the following from this site, note that the site advocates to use cash for everything, but obviously I don't think that applies in your case (so ignore those references below).

Envelope Budgeting System – How It Works

The envelope budgeting system is very tangible. You use cold hard cash to control your spending and when you run out, you stop spending. Here is the process for how it works:

1. Determine Your Discretionary Income

Before you start the envelope system, determine how much you have available after you pay your bills and put money aside for savings and investments.

2. Decide on a Budget

Once you know how much money you have left, decide how to divide it among the different budget categories in which your monthly spending varies. Some examples of common categories include: groceries, household items, entertainment or dining out, clothing, gifts, gas, and allowance (to be spent as fun money).

Tip: Look back at your bank statements to get an idea of how much you have been spending in these areas.

3. Create Envelopes and Stuff Them with Cash

Get an envelope for each category and write the category name on the front. Then, after each paycheck, put in the budgeted amount of cash.

Advantages
  1. It Works! The best part about the envelope budgeting system is that it simply works. If you are only paying for things using cash, and you run out of cash, you cannot possibly overspend. The envelope system has been around for a long time for good reason.
  2. It Will Help Discipline You. We all need discipline in our lives to make us better people, whether it is with ourspending habits, our eating habits, or our productivity at work. The more you practice being disciplined, the easier it is to take responsibility for other life areas you want to improve.
  3. It Can Be Used as an Emergency Fund. Instead of carrying cash, many people carry plastic, which can be a problem if an emergency arises. Though the money in the envelope system is not intended for emergencies, you can always use it for one – like if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and you need to pay for a tow or a ride back home.
  4. Your Budget Becomes Tangible. The concept of money is much more tangible if you use cash instead of plastic. Credit cards can easily cause you to overspend. When using envelope cash, you will be more in tune with your budget because you’ll be reminded of it every time you reach for an envelope to spend from.
  5. No Overdraft Charges. Have you ever been charged an overdraft fee from your bank? If you put away your debit card and use cash instead, you are much less likely to overdraft and get charged the absurd fee.
  6. Less Wasteful Spending. When I used an Excel spreadsheet to create my budget, I would look back at the end of the month and be surprised to see what I wasted my money on. However, when you use the envelope budgeting system, you are more likely to think through every purchase. You’re less likely to spend wastefully when you see the money disappearing before your very eyes. In fact, people spend 10% to 15% less when using cash.
Disadvantages
  1. It’s Tough to Get the Whole Family on Board. Some people are adamantly against using cash. They like the simplicity and ease of using plastic, and who can blame them? However, for the envelope budgeting system to be successful, the whole family needs to be fully committed to making it work. Otherwise, it won’t.
  2. Getting Started Can Be Confusing. I know that the process I described sounds pretty straight forward, but you will eventually come across situations that can be confusing. For example, if you make a purchase at Target and buy $20 worth of groceries, $20 worth of clothing, and $20 worth of house decor, where do you get the cash from? You will probably need to get it from three different envelopes. You’ll experience a learning curve as you figure out how to stick to your categories.
More Tips for the Envelope Budgeting System

1. Pick Categories You Have the Most Trouble With

My husband and I used to have an envelope for clothing. But after about six months of never using any cash from that envelope, we decided it was wasteful to budget money to that category. Instead, we put more money towards household goods, and if we ever decide to buy new clothes, it can come out of that category. There is no need for an envelope category that you do not overspend in.

2. Use a Small Accordion Folder Instead of Envelopes

A good friend of mine made this suggestion. She recommends it because instead of having seven different envelopes to keep track of, she only has one. Her accordion folder is envelope size, so it is perfect for keeping cash. It is also more durable than paper envelopes.

3. Only Take the Cash You Need

If you have budgeted $100 for eating out this month and go to a work lunch, don’t bring all $100. Instead, just take what you need from the envelope at home and put it in your wallet for the day. This is especially helpful when you have multiple people using the same main envelopes.

4. Budget by Paycheck

There are several different ways you can set up your budget: by week, by month, by quarter, and by paycheck. I recommend doing it by paycheck because you can accurately plan your budget according to the timing of your paycheck and bills.

5. Adjust Your System as Necessary

It may take a while to get everything set up correctly. You may go through a dozen pay periods before you get your budgeting amounts and categories just right. Definitely make adjustments. Nothing is set in stone until you decide you are comfortable with the program.

6. Reduce Your Bills

By reducing your bills, you significantly increase your discretionary income. Consider strategies like finding a cheaper cell phone plan or getting rid of cable TV. Reducing your bills provides more cash for your envelopes.

7. Decide the Rules Beforehand

One issue my husband and I debated was whether or not to borrow from other categories if we ran out of cash in one of them. This is up to each person or family who uses the system. However, I recommend determining the ground rules before starting to avoid possible confusion. Through trial and error, we eventually decided to combine categories that we commonly borrowed from. Remember, it’s fine to adjust as necessary.

8. Use Extra Money to Pay Down Debt

If you do have extra money at the end of your budgeting cycle, use it to pay off debt. If you are debt free, I recommend either investing that money or saving it. I save extra money for the purchase of a van since it is an upcoming expense that we want to pay cash for.

9. Stick with It

It takes time to get disciplined, and it will take time to get the correct amounts budgeted for your envelopes. Have some patience because if you do, the envelope budgeting system will not fail you.

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Dentist- what are you spending $1700 at Walgreens for? If it is not medication of some kind- then that should be an easy cut in expenses. For example, if you hit up your local Walgreens to get a soda everyday it is a lot more expensive than stocking up from Costco or even a regular grocery store. Medication is really the only thing there that is not marked up a huge margin that you can't get better elsewhere.

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Dentist- what are you spending $1700 at Walgreens for? If it is not medication of some kind- then that should be an easy cut in expenses. For example, if you hit up your local Walgreens to get a soda everyday it is a lot more expensive than stocking up from Costco or even a regular grocery store. Medication is really the only thing there that is not marked up a huge margin that you can't get better elsewhere.

my wife had 4 rounds of these $400 a month shots for her pregnancy. It is over now. It was all part of the deductible to have the baby.

Normally i wouldn't spend much there at all.

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Also occurred to me that a lot of the uncategorized is that I am commissioner for a pick'em league and two ffl leagues.

we don't use leaguesafe... people just pay me... and i pay that out.

I probably take in about $5500 worth of ffl payments each year and then pay out the vast majority of that which i don't personally win.... and those checks go into uncategorized... they really shouldn't even be on the books.. i'm going to have to look into that.

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