Monday, August 14, 2006

makingourway receive's JLP's Blog of the Week!!! oh, and a question: how old are you?

Dear readers,

I was recently suprised by a spike in readership yesterday, Sunday, a day which often had a small recovery from the Saturday dolldroms. After reviewing the logs I noticed that the very large spike was significantly referred from JLP's Blog All Financial Matters.

We won the blog of the week! I consider this quite an honor as quite frankly I often feel like I'm writing this to a very small community of regular PF Blogger commentators and visitors.

JLP's comments were very interesting and inciteful. As you know we are in our mid-30s/ late-30s and our networth is a bit above $500k. JLP places us as a bit older than the average PF Blogger with a networth higher than some due to age, in other words, we're probably 10 years further down the path!

For those younger readers, JLP raised an excellent point, in 10 years time it's very reasonable that you can and will amass a networth of over $500k. Probably more. So even though saving seems tough (especially for those just out of school), you will get there. We managed to do so - despite the fact that we took an aweful hit in a collapsed financial deal - lost about $2.5M several years ago. I suppose our blog title would have been different if I hadn't lost the mega bucks - but we keep on moving forward.

He also made reference to our family budget, which was a wonderful experience. I think we ended up receiving greater than 30 comments over several revisions - it's been wonderfully helpful. I'd like to thank our cadre of advisors - it was very helpful.

Here is my question for this blog's readers, I hope you're willing to comment:

1. how old are you and where do you feel you are along your financial timeline?
2. what topics do you enjoy in makingourway the most? Is there anything we should emphasize or avoid?
3. what can we do better?

JLP, thanks for the recognition.

Dear readers thank you for reading our blog, sharing your thoughts and keeping us honest.



JLP said...

No problem. I'm always happy to let my readers know of new and different blogs. Keep up the good work.

I am nearly 37 and my wife is nearly 35. We are in the midst of saving for retirement, college for our 3 kids, and trying to fix up our house.

As far as your other two questions, I really don't have much to add. Just keep doing what you're doing.

Take care,



Anonymous said...

I am 32, and my financial goals have been changed. My wife and I decided that she should be a stay at home mom for benefit of our children. No regrets in the least, but realistically it is hard to save as much as we did prior to her quitting. Both working, we were able to sock away about $2k/month. Just me: we're only saving about $500/month. Fortunately I had a networth (excluding home) of $250k prior to her quitting, so we don't feel we're in too bad a shape.

Anonymous said...

I ma in a similar situation to yours. I am 42, my wife is 40 and we have two boys 9 and 11. Our financial situation seems similar to where you are. Net worth of $600K plus about $200K in home equity. We max out our 401(k)s, we put $500 per month, per child into 529s. We refinanced last year to go to a 15 year note at 8.125.

My question is about asset allocation and not in the traditional sense. I am more interested in what should be the splits among the following: home equity, retirement, college saving, and my taxable accounts?

I know that paying down the house is discouraged by some, but there is a powerful allure to having no house payment when the kids are done with school.

Also, with access to credit cards (we never hold balances) and home equity, how much cash do we really need to keep in a CD or money market account?

Anonymous said...

Hi makingourway,

Congrats on being JLP's blog of the week :)

Here are my answers to your questions:

1.) My husband and I are both 29 and we have a lot of debt and a negative net worth. We've had a rocky start to our financial lives, but now that we are earning more it's time to turn things around.

2.) I wouldn't change what you are blogging about. I think you have a good mix of topics and you even touch on some things that I cannot implement with our finances right now (in regards to assets and investing), but with the help of your blog I am learning. JLP sort of hit the nail on the head when he said younger people should be reading your blog. I look to it for inspiration of where I want to be and the topics I would like to be discussing 10 years down the road.

3.) Just keep on keeping it real and honest. That's what I feel when I read your blog and it is appreciated.

Here's to happy blogging! :)

Medicated Money said...

I am 27 and my wife is 28. We feel at times that we are seriously behind the curve due to many of our 20's spent in school and the more-then-average student loan debt!

Yet, we feel that we have begun to lay the groundwork needed for financial security, but it may be a long road until we reach the point that you currently are at!

As for the second part of this question, I am a fairly new reader and have enjoyed reading your personal experiences. For us, reading and learning the skills possessed by others is key in helping us make the 'right' decision when we cross that path!


Anonymous said...

1. how old are you and where do you feel you are along your financial timeline?

Early 40's, married, professional. I feel I am at mid-point, probably about 15 years away from true financial independence. I'm a late starter, so now have to aggressively save for retirement. However, goal is to fully fund retirement by 50, so that I would no longer have to worry about saving so much, only about investments, returns, etc.

2. what topics do you enjoy in makingourway the most? Is there anything we should emphasize or avoid?

I'm a new reader, so difficult to say just yet. Nice to find a blogger who's situation is closer to mine. Most PF blogs seem to be written for and by 20-something year-olds just starting out or people getting themselves out of debt. There is clearly a place for that, but I've been there, done that, now pretty well down the road. Most people don't understand how base-line expenses could be more than $150K (yours). Mine are closer to $200K (I live in NYC).

3. what can we do better?

I don't know yet. I have a great finl planner, an estate attorney, and a tax accountant and such, so don't exactly need fin'l advice. Mostly, I like insight into what you consider important; What are your fears, concerns; How are you dealing with them; What kind of lifestyle do you lead?; Wish you led?; What can you do without?; What can't you do without?; What do you spend money on and how much?; etc.

I'm especially curious to understand what kind of retirement you envision for yourself, when and how you think you'll acheive it, what is your "number", stuff like that.

makingourway said...

JLP, Thanks for the recognition and input. Several of the other commentors re-iterated your thoughts that the blog would be valuable for younger people looking ahead 10 years.

anonymous at 32 - your situation sounds great. You've got a great nest egg saved up and you're still saving, which is most important. The extra time you invest in your children will certainly be returned emotionally and most likely financially in reduced expenses, better judgement and improved academic scores (and scholarships).

anonymous at 42 - I certainly will take a shot at asset allocation in a future posting. as a matter of fact, I've read a book this year that directly addresses it. I'll have to dig it up. I'm sure you'll find the ideas useful - too bad I don't have your e-mail address to send the details. I think the asset allocation strategy you choose directly influences how you'll structure your money saved aside. Also, depending upon your investment temperment and approach, you may have very different philosophies on how much cash to keep on hand; i.e. if you expect the market to crash, cash is good to support buying opportunities.

Tricia, thanks for the wonderful supporting statements. as i heard more and more that the average pf blogger was 10 years younger than me I became increasingly concerned that I would be blogging in isolation. I also appreciate your perception of candor. I try to be very forthright here, including admitting my mistakes. I'd like to right a post on DB/DC retirement plans that are likely to be something for future consideration for the 20s crowd, but are very worth knowing - they allow you blow past the $44k retirement limits of the present and save upto $150k pre tax per year.

medicated money, it sounds like you're about to turn the curve, having finished expensive schooling that has probably increased your earnings potential. My wife is in the health care industry so we do understand what that's like. Good luck moving forward. My biggest recommendation is to take the fairly rapid increase in income very carefully and save as much of it as you can.

Miguel, glad to have you over here. thanks for the comments. I certainly should post more on thoughts and vision for the future - what are we saving for? what do we expect out of retirement?

Also, I'm behind on updating our annual goals status. Placing to thermometer bars hardly creates a truely accurate record of where we are. That'll have to be done.

Readers, thank you for your feedback it is very helpful and I hope to hear more.

have a wonderful day,

mOOm said...

1. how old are you and where do you feel you are along your financial timeline?

I'm 41. Till I was 31 I was a student (including a PhD) or employed for shorter periods of time. Moving around a lot and so current financial survival was the goal. My current goal is to reach a level of financial independence fairly quickly.

2. what topics do you enjoy in makingourway the most? Is there anything we should emphasize or avoid?
3. what can we do better?

I think your blog is interesting. I like to read the more entrepreneurial PF blogs rather than ones about cutting costs and I you are on that side mostly.

mOOm said...

PS - I think we older bloggers need to tell all those 20 something bloggers freaking out about debt and retirement to just relax. Don't get into any very high levels of consumer debt, but don't worry about student loans or $5000 or whatever of debt. Have fun while you're young! :)

sf mom said...

I'm 31, married (my husband is 40), with an 18month old daughter. I work full-time, my husband stays home with our daughter and works part-time selling real estate. We have a net worth of about $400K (that includes real estate equity and investments.) I am responsible for keeping track of our financial life and am quite obsessive about it:)

I find myself in a similar situation to the other responders here. I don't feel like I'm in the 20-something category; I have some financial stability, but I have a far way to go to say that I have things completely under control.

I enjoy reading about experiences. I can read articles about 401ks, savings, etc., but I like to hear how you/your family/others make decisions about everyday financial decisions.

Foobarista said...

Hi everyone,

I'm an older (42) Silicon Valley techie, married to a wonderful self-employed business broker, and we're currently in "hyper-saving" mode. Our non-RE net worth is about $600K, and we're shooting for about 1.6M before considering a "major life change". Not sure if it'll be "retirement", but it would be doing something other than software for a living. I'm good at it and do very well by it, but I will need to change at some point.

I also find most PF blogs to be generally targeting a different group than the late 30/early 40 professional, and am glad that you're talking about stuff that is more relevant to people in this stage of life.

As for finances, we max out 401Ks, including my wife's self-employed 401K, and when we could qualify for Roth's, we funded them to the max. Our taxable accounts are partially in a partnership which funds short-term commercial loans as well as some direct hard money. Our living expenses are quite low - I'm lucky enough to have been a SV native and bought our place several years ago - so we save 40-50% of our gross income.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 32 here - I reread your post and realized I didn't answer your questions fully. I answered the first question and stopped.

I like reading your posts because they relate to me: a 32 married father of two with a modest net worth.

What to avoid? Don't move to China!! I got hooked reading, then MM moved to china (I believe), and his blog went downhill IMO. Keep doing what you are doing!!

What can you do better? More financal planning ideas.

Anonymous said...

I've just started reading your blog from JLP's. :)

I'm 25 and my wife is 30. We've only been married a year and have no kids (for now at least). Be very interested to read your blog and see where I might be in 10 years. We are currently working on digging out of our debt, and figuring out the right things to do beyond there.

Keep doing what you are doing, so others younger and older can learn from your experience, and maybe comment on some of their own!

Tiredbuthappy said...

I'm 29. Spouse is 43. We have one child, age 2.5.

I am shifting from the "just starting out" phase to the "keep on keepin' on" phase. Priority now is to inch savings levels up.

I think I am in a good space for my age, but I worry that we won't be prepared for spouse's retirement. He started saving for retirement four years ago. I've been saving for retirement for almost a decade. So we're playing catch-up for him, and trying not to compromise contributions to my accounts too much. I'm also resisting the temptation to throw too much into college funds because we can't really afford to take too much $$ away from retirement savings.

I enjoy your blog because you talk about family finance a lot, which is very useful for me. Also, your aggressive savings goals are inspiring. I agree with others that your blog is valuable because you're not in the frugal twenties stage.