July 2015 net worth update (+1.4%)

31-Dec-2014 30-Jun-2015 31-Jul-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $10,400 $7,800 -$2,300 -$4,500
savings $47,800 $49,600 $55,600 +$6,000 +$7,800
investments $164,500 $203,100 $206,500 +$3,400
+1.7%
+$42,000
+25.5%
mortgage $143,000 $138,600 $137,900 +$700
+0.5%
+$5,100
+3.6%
net worth $531,600 $574,200 $582,000 +$7,800
+1.4%
+$50,400
+9.5%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $58,400 $56,200 +$2,200
+3.8%
+$14,400
+20.4%
$ until FI $811,300 $849,300 $806,500 -$42,800
-5.0%
-$4,800
-0.6%

This month, I continued to work on maxing out my after-tax 401(k). I have 3 more paychecks of that left. I also sold some ESPP and moved the money to my general savings account. It turned out that when I transferred 2x as much as usual to my checking account for July, I really only needed the normal amount, oops! So I only transferred about $200 to my checking account this month. That resulted in a 105% savings rate for July and a combined 58% savings rate between June and July.

Expenses: I spent $3,578 in July including the mortgage or $2,551 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $0 clothing
  • $33 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $133, average last year: $211] – this was all eating out with friends.
  • $10 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $6, average last year: $18]
  • $12 Work lunches [average so far this year: $56, average last year: $147] – I brought my lunch every day until our fridge had an issue and then I bought lunch on two days because of that.
  • $114 A birthday present and a donation to a friend’s GoFundMe campaign (my donations account isn’t all for deductible donations!)
  • $1,456 Housing: regular HOA dues, annual condo insurance policy, repairing the fridge, and buying a new guest bathroom sink.
  • $ Annual umbrella insurance policy
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $0 Toiletries [average so far this year: $39, average last year: $33]
  • $120 Shopping – A second can of paint and some painting supplies that we’d forgotten about with the first trip. Also some plants for the balcony.
  • $481 Transportation: six month car insurance policy and one tank of fuel
  • $78 Travel – my half of the rental car

As per usual, housing was 70% of my spending this month. I’m expecting it to be about 90% of next month’s spending.

PSA: Make sure to shop around for insurance every few years. I was able to save 25% on my package of insurance policies by shopping around, from what my previous insurance carrier wanted to charge me.

Savings: $55,600 (up $6,000)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at Ally.

This is up from my HSA getting a nice boost this month, as well as me transferring the ESPP proceeds to my general savings account, which is back up to $18,000 and a balance I’m much happier with. The plan for non-retirement savings for the rest of the year is to boost this account up to $30,000, top up the grad school savings account a bit more, and then pre-pay the mortgage.

Investments: $206,500 (up $3,400 or +1.7%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. Large contributions to the after-tax 401(k)
  2. Employer matching contributions (almost double what I got at my last job!)
  3. A month’s ESPP deposits
  4. A quarter’s ESPP contributions sold
  5. My investments were mostly flat this month
Mortgage: $137,900 (down $700 or -0.5%)

Some statistics here:

  • 2.5%: the interest rate on my 5/1 ARM
  • January 2018: when the interest rate on my mortgage is set to reset, possibly to 7.5%
  • 28.1%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%; down 0.2 percentage points)
  • 61.5%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price (up 0.3 percentage points)
  • 51.8%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down (up 0.3 percentage points)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out for the year.

TOTAL: $582,000 (up $7,800 or +1.4%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I’ve seen a change of +$50,400 or +9.5% so far this year. I’m going to set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

July 2015 Net Worth Update

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Reining in the why behind my clothing spending

A few astute and critical readers have commented on my clothing spending occasionally. This year, I had spent $2,608.02 on clothing as of June 30th. In July, I spent $0 on clothing. My goal for August is to, again, spend $0 on clothing.

I’m mostly fairly controlled about my spending, so you’re probably wondering why I spend so easily on clothing. I’ve wondered that too. For most of my life, I’ve kept spending low by being busy with school or work and not having the time to shop for miscellaneous items, which then results in a flurry of spending once the busy season ends. Online shopping can blow that out the window since it’s so easy to buy stuff.

There’s no real reason for me to save the amount of my income that I do. I’m far over-saving for a “normal” aged retirement. I could easily cut back on savings and be just fine, eventually. But there’s also no real reason to unconsciously spend money on stuff that doesn’t bring me joy. Sure, I have a really nice leather purse now, but I have one. And sure, I have a nice smartphone, but I keep them for 3 years before getting another one. The real kicker though is that I still have my five year old car and plan to keep it for many more years, same with my condo.

The little spending can easily get away from you when you make enough money, when it seems small. That exorbitant sum of money I’ve spent on clothing is a whopping 4% of my net income so far this year. I’ve resolved that with my level of income, I’m more than willing to spend money on things that bring me joy. Our trip to New Zealand earlier this year cost me around $7,000, plus two months unpaid off work (that made it a very expensive trip!), but that was totally worth it.

Do you know why I realized I was spending so much money on clothing this year so easily? My new job. At my old job, my to do list was never ending. At this job, sometimes the to do list does end and then I need to busy myself with finding more tasks or go home early. Or sometimes, there’s more wait time while in the middle of task. You know, compiling. Well you know what I was busying myself doing while compiling? Looking at clothes online. And BUYING them. That’s not all of the spending though. One thing I’m good at it is not having too many of one particular item…so then I create new categories of items and buy one of those!

Most of my projects for the summer have been to try to see what I’ll give up for grad school, combined with some deep cleaning. I’ve figured out how to get my hour of exercise a day: walking to/from the bus stops on my commute and going for a 15 minute walk mid-afternoon at work. Getting an hour of exercise on the weekends will always be a work in progress. I’ve developed some strategies for bringing my lunch to work and that it’s not that expensive anymore if I forget. I’m trying to reduce the amount of time I spend thinking about clothing. I’ve developed some strategies for spending less time geeking out over spreadsheets: reducing transactions has been a huge help with this. We have also been purging and reorganizing things around the house as part of merging two households into one.

Usually telling myself I can spend $0 on a category results in me spending tremendous amounts of money on it, so I’m quite surprised this worked. Now to stick to this no clothing buying plan through August as well!

Readers, how do you keep yourself from spending money on clothing?

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Q2 2015 Update

Income

Things were pretty normal in terms of income in Q2. There were no bonuses or missed paychecks. I did get only about $375 in paychecks though! Probably my lowest paycheck amount ever other than unemployed quarters in the past? My net income was about $300 less than Q1.

Saving

In Q2, I only saved 59% of my net pay: depositing 105% of my net pay to various savings accounts and withdrawing about 45% of my net pay from savings accounts to cover spending. My savings deposits were split up to the following accounts:

2015 Q1 Savings Distribution

This quarter, I finished maxing out the pre-tax 401(k) at $18,000. My employer will continue to make their matching contributions every paycheck for the rest of the year, as if I had been contributing each paycheck. I started on the after-tax 401(k) contributions.

Spending

Q2 2015 Spending

All in all, I spent $11,706 in Q2, with education taken out. Housing + shopping + clothing added up to 80% of my spending this quarter. The pie chart cut off the legend for the following categories: personal care, recreation, life, and financials.

I had estimated I would spend $8,548 in Q2, so I went $3,415 over my estimate. $2,429 of this was the refurnishing and repainting of my home office. Most of the rest of the overage was extraneous clothing spending. I came in under my estimate in travel, entertainment, food, and transportation. Housing was right on the dot and was high this quarter because of some extra HOA dues and property taxes. Food and entertainment were mostly under because my boyfriend has been picking up those costs with our current expenses arrangement.

For kicks: I spent $87.37 on transportation in Q2, which bought me two tanks of gas, one Uber/Lyft/taxi ride home from somewhere, and a top up to my prepaid tolls account. Living in the city has some frugal benefits! I also spent a whopping $10.32 on travel and $157.61 on entertainment for the entire quarter. I spent $211 on average in 2014 on entertainment, MONTHLY. My food costs were also about half of what they were in Q1.

With the overages this quarter, I estimate that I am on track to spend $42,190 this year overall, which is about $4,083 over my original estimate or an 11% increase.

I’m not going into too much detail here since you can see that in my monthly reports.

Goals

Let’s check in on my goals from the beginning of the year:

1) Enjoy living together! Have an awesome trip to NZ! ON TRACK! Living together is going great overall. It’s definitely taking some time to get the place to a point where it feels more like things were chosen by both of us.

2) Contribute the maximum to all tax-advantaged accounts available to me. This means $5,500 in a Backdoor Roth IRA, $18,000 in a pre-tax 401(k) and possibly some additional funds to the after-tax 401(k) and possibly my 2016 Roth IRA amount in a savings account ready to deploy in January. This will account for probably about 2/3 of my savings in 2015. ON TRACK! I’m done with the Backdoor Roth IRA, the pre-tax 401(k), and have started on the after-tax 401(k).

3) Learn the ropes at my new company and have an awesome first year! ON TRACK! Things are going great so far. I like my group and things seem to be much less toxic than in my previous company. I’m really optimistic about how things are going!

4) Exercise for at least 45 minutes per day. My phone is really helpful at tracking this for me! ON TRACK! I’ve exercised for an average of 53 minutes per day according to my phone. February was the best month with the traveling!

5) Go to the gym (or run) three times per week. FAIL! This is just a flat out fail. I’ve managed to lose some of the stress weight from my last job and get a reasonable amount of general exercise and outside time (yay city life!), so I’m fine with this.

6) Contribute enough to a Health Savings Account such that Out Of Pocket Maximum ~= Current HSA balance + Employer contribution + my contribution. ON TRACK! I may increase this once my after-tax 401(k) is done for the year, we’ll see.

7) Succeed at Operation Bayes – I’ll explain this later. SUCCESS! Now you all know that this was applying to and getting into grad school, which I did successfully! Yay!

8) Spend under $40,000. FAIL! I’m now on track to spend $42,000 this year.

9) Save 70% of my net income monthly…and 100% of my bonuses. (Yay for a big raise that will allow me to save that much of my monthly income!) NO IDEABetween the ESPP, lump sum contributions to my 401(k), etc. this got far more complicated to calculate in the same way that I was doing before. So far, I’ve saved 69% of my net income overall.

10) Contribute the maximum that I can to the Employee Stock Purchase Plan. ON TRACK! Definitely doing this.

11) Pay down the mortgage with any funds that are leftover after 2), including the proceeds of 10). NOT HAPPENING! I’m reasonably confident at this point that I will not make any extra mortgage payments in 2015, mostly due to two months of no income, setting aside money for grad school, increasing my emergency fund, and maxing out my after-tax 401(k). All of those things took….$85,000. Wow!

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June 2015 net worth update (+0.3%)

31-Dec-2014 31-May-2015 30-Jun-2015 MoM YTD
cash $12,300 $7,100 $10,400 +$3,000 -$2,200
savings $47,800 $56,900 $49,600 -$7,300 +$1,800
investments $164,500 $197,900 $203,100 +$5,200
+2.6%
+$38,600
+23.5%
mortgage $143,000 $139,300 $138,600 +$700
+0.5%
+$4,400
+3.1%
net worth $531,600 $572,600 $574,200 +$1,600
+0.3%
+$42,600
+8.0%
taxable assets – debts $70,600 $53,500 $58,400 -$4,900
-9.2%
+$12,200
+17.3%
$ until FI $811,300 $806,000 $849,300 +$43,300
+5.4%
+$38,000
+4.7%

This month, I finished maxing out my pre-tax 401(k)! My employer will continue to contribute the match amount each paycheck throughout the rest of the year (~$300/month). I’ve started the after-tax 401(k) and will finish that in mid-September. My savings rate was really low this month (12%) because I had to borrow about 2x the normal amount from my savings account to keep my checking account appropriately flush for July.

The (taxable assets – debts) figure keeps going in the “wrong” direction because I’ve been living off of savings in order to max out my pre-tax and after-tax 401(k). That will start going in the “right” direction again once the 401(k)s are done in the fall.

Also, woo for my investments surpassing $200,000 this month!

Expenses: I spent $4,645 in June including the mortgage or $3,617 without it. Some of my controllable expenses broke down as follows:

  • $519 clothing – I returned that skirt I bought last month and bought a different one. I also bought a pair of running shoes, some pajama shorts, a summer robe, and a pair of denim crops.
  • $83 Entertainment/Social [average so far this year: $150, average last year: $211] – this was all eating out with friends. I didn’t buy any books this month – I went through several library books though!
  • $12 Eating out by myself [average so far this year: $5, average last year: $18]
  • $60 Work lunches [average so far this year: $63, average last year: $147] – I started bringing my lunch partway through the month :)
  • Check for a friend’s wedding, plus two wedding cards
  • Some extra condo dues
  • $20 Eyebrows
  • $30 Toiletries [average so far this year: $46, average last year: $33] – cream, refillable travel bottle, and nail polish remover
  • $1,500 Shopping – as part of our 2015 furniture rearranging project, I bought a new desk. The old one will be disposed of. My five-year old Kindle also finally died and I bought a new one (good timing since they just came out with new ones!) and a case for it. The Kindle saves me so much money since it makes it much easier to have a gazillion library books on me. I also bought some paint and painting supplies!
  • $28 Fuel [$111 so far this year, $70 at this time last year]
  • $10 Travel – some food while traveling

I’ve been spending a lot on clothing this year. My goal for July is to buy no clothing. No clothing in July! My other goal is to bring my lunch 15 of 20 days. I have to pay the annual insurance bill in July, but I should still manage to spend less than in June.

In June, I hung out with at least one friend per week. With how busy our trip was with hanging out with people and the condo projects we have planned for July (painting, furniture assembly/disassembly, and some deep cleaning), I’m not going to keep that goal for July.

Savings: $49,600 (down $7,300)

These funds are spread across a checking account that gets free ATM fees anywhere in the world, my current employer’s health savings account, a health savings account at my credit union, a bit of a buffer in my credit union checking account, and general and grad school savings accounts at Ally.

This is down since I didn’t get much of a paycheck in June and used funds from savings to replenish my checking account for June, plus the furnishings spending between May and June that was not really in the budget.

I transferred my old employer’s HSA to my credit union in June, which turned out to be a really dumb move because they charged a closeout fee that equated to 5% of my balance! I should have just spent it down, like my original plan was until the online login got ridiculously annoying, oops.

I also finally got a bonus for a new savings account I opened up near the end of last year and then happily moved all of my savings back to Ally and divided it into labeled accounts again, which was a pretty magical feeling! I missed having labeled savings accounts like I did when I had less money, but the fact of the matter is that until I decided on grad school, I had no real short-term goals to make labeled savings accounts make any sense.

This is getting dangerously low – only about $12.5k of this is my emergency fund. The rest is my HSA and my grad school savings account. In July/August, I won’t take any money out of it and then in September I’ll get a paycheck again, so I should be fine. And if there are any real emergencies that would empty this account, then I’ll take the money out of my grad school savings account anyway.

Investments: $203,100 (up $5,200 or +2.6%)

This includes my pre-tax 401(k), employer 401(k) matching, my after-tax 401(k), my Roth IRA, and my taxable investments including stock index funds, Series I Savings Bonds, and ESPP cash/shares.

The change here comes from:

  1. Finishing maxing out the pre-tax 401(k)
  2. Starting on the after-tax 401(k)
  3. Employer matching contributions (almost double what I got at my last job!)
  4. A quarter of ESPP contributions that finally bought the stock :)
  5. About $3,000 in stock market losses

I’ve been really enjoying seeing this growing so quickly over the last few months with contributing so much to the 401(k)! I can’t wait to finish paying off the mortgage and watch the taxable account grow by leaps and bounds like my 401(k) has been lately.

Mortgage: $138,600 (down $700 or -0.5%)

Some statistics here:

  • 2.5%: the interest rate on my 5/1 ARM
  • January 2018: when the interest rate on my mortgage is set to reset, possibly to 7.5%
  • 28.3%: portion of my regular payment went to interest (originally was 59%; down 0.1 percentage points)
  • 61.2%: amount of equity in my condo, assuming purchase price (up 0.2 percentage points)
  • 51.5%: amount of the mortgage I’ve paid down (up 0.2 percentage points)

I’m just letting the regular, automatic payment go for now, until my cash savings is at the level I want and my 401(k) is fully maxed out.

TOTAL: $574,200 (up $1,600 or +0.3%)

I ended 2014 with a net worth of $531,600, so I’ve seen a change of +$42,600 or +8.0% so far this year. I’m going to set the y-axis on this graph to $650,000 so we can see how my net worth grows towards that throughout the year.

June 2015 Net Worth Graph

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Net Worth: Why I Track It

There are a lot of arguments over what you should and shouldn’t track in your net worth. Your house value? Your cars? Shouldn’t you care more about your investments balance than your net worth? And yet I track my net worth every month, religiously, and have done so since I was 16. (It was a lot less impressive at 16, I promise you.) Shouldn’t you care more about how much you save in a month than net worth?

Why do I track net worth? I like that it is an overall picture of my finances. I’m a pretty detail-oriented person, which means that I’ll obsess over why I spent $5.32 on that random dinner and why did I not cook my own dinner at home instead of looking at the big picture. Tracking my net worth helps me to focus on the big picture. Sure, I haven’t gotten much of a paycheck since March and won’t get much of one until September, but I’m maxing out my 401(k) quite quickly, which is exciting in its own right. By looking at net worth instead of just cash flow, I am calmed to know that my net worth is still going up even though my cash flow is currently terrible. Money is fungible.

If I’m prioritizing paying down my mortgage, then my investments balance isn’t going to be nearly as exciting to track, but my net worth is still going to be doing great! If I’m bummed that I’m not prioritizing my mortgage at the moment, but I am stuffing my entire paycheck into investments, then my net worth is still going to be doing great. It is an overall snapshot of your finances at any given time.

It’s just like why I like to smooth my budget throughout the whole year. Monthly spending can get super lumpy. Some months this year I’ve spent $4-5k and other months I’ve spent $2-3k. That’s just the nature of expenses. There are more travel costs some months, insurance is paid out in one big lump sum, property taxes in two lump sums, sometimes my condo board does special assessments, some months have more presents to buy, and soon there will be grad school tuition (though I won’t be counting that in the spending that I report here). This year, I did a spending estimate for the year by breaking things down by category/item for the entire year and then estimated which month and quarter this spending would fall in. I expect some quarters/months to be more expensive than others. I can look at that and know that I’ll most likely spend less money in Q3 and Q4 than I did in Q1 and Q2 and that helps me not obsess as much over my spending being high in a particular month, unless there were huge unexpected expenses.

I also like net worth in that it is reasonably anonymous. Your income and some of your expenses aren’t that anonymous, nor is the value of your house (public records and all), but until my mortgage is paid off (as far as I know), that is reasonably anonymous, as is my net worth. My 401(k) provider doesn’t know my entire net worth, nor does my mortgage company, my savings account bank, my credit union, or my investments firm.

That said, even though I track net worth, I don’t make goals against it. I don’t set a goal to hit $N in net worth by the end of the year. That would be silly when my stock investments could drop 50% in a year. I set goals based on how much I want to put into savings in a particular year, broken down by category.

Readers, how old were you when you started tracking your net worth? Why do you track net worth?

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Reflections on Homeownership: 3 Years In

It was three years ago this month that I bought my condo. I was pretty staunchly single then and life has definitely changed quite a bit, but the two bedroom condo that I bought has been able to evolve with my life, which is really great. We’re still working on the furniture tetris game from my boyfriend moving in. We at last know exactly what we’re doing with all the furniture, even if it hasn’t happened yet, and we’re planning on re-painting a room and have mostly picked a color. By the end of 2015, it should definitely feel like a shared living space rather than just my place. We both feel like we’ve finally found the right way to balance sharing living costs! I pay for all of the costs related to the condo, we both have separate insurance policies, and he covers a similar dollar amount in other costs, which right now works out to the internet and electricity bills, groceries, music services, small appliances and furniture, and eating out together.

I’ve stopped comparing whether renting vs buying is better because as of February, assuming I could sell my condo for the exact same amount I bought it for 3 years ago, buying was cheaper by $1,500. A realtor from the brokerage I used to buy my place contacted me in February and he mentioned that he would list my place at about 25% more than what I paid for it. Based on the emails I get about similar units near me, I think it’s up about 30% from purchase price now, but I’m going to leave it at 25% up in my net worth calculations. I am so, so glad I bought when I did! It has been such a slam dunk in terms of being cheaper than renting and the market is so much crazier than when I bought.

In 2015, I expect this condo to cost a total of $13,700 in housing expenses (mortgage interest, HOA dues, property taxes, condo insurance, electricity, repairs, interest lost from having the equity locked up, and tax savings. If we wanted to rent a similar place, we would be paying about $36,000 to $40,000 per year in rent between the two of us, so somehow I have a feeling we would have moved to a cheaper part of town if I hadn’t bought this condo.

In the last year, the mortgage hasn’t moved nearly as much as it was in the past. Last June, it sat at $152,167.66. Now? It’s at $138,600.73. Meaning I’ve paid it down by $13,566.93 in the last 12 months, about 2/3 of which came from the regular payments. I have 13.25 years left on the mortgage and have paid off 51.5% of it. Why has the mortgage paydown slowed down so much? I’ve been prioritizing other things like changing jobs, taking a couple months off unpaid, setting aside money for tuition, textbooks, and a larger emergency fund in planning for grad school, and contributing even more money to retirement accounts. It’s still on my radar, but I doubt I’ll make any substantial progress on it until 2016.

I don’t care that much about how much my condo has appreciated (that’s just icing on the cake) because our housing costs are pretty much dirt cheap for how much money we make. My housing costs are approximately 9% of my expected gross income this year, which ignores the fact that my boyfriend also makes a decent income and he also has pretty minimal fixed expenses, which means that we have pretty decent savings power between the two of us.

As much as I like to run the numbers on buying vs renting, homeownership is also a lifestyle choice and I’m so glad I chose it. It is a really good fit for my personality and my boyfriend’s and I could see us staying in this condo for many more years. Neither of us are big on moving and keeping fixed expenses low is pretty sweet for being able to spend more money in other areas of your life, like travel and/or putting more into savings and investments.

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I don’t want kids.

There, I said it. I am a late twenty something woman with no maternal instincts, no desire to have children, and no, your children aren’t cute. (And no I probably won’t like the photos of your kids on Facebook. Why do you post so many??? But get a puppy or kitten and I’ll like ALL of those photos. Because puppies are awesome, but I don’t want the work right now, so please do get puppies and post all the photos.) And I’m not sorry for saying this. I will congratulate you on the birth of your child because life changes are exciting and you are so excited about it. I will also get excited when your kids start learning math and you talk about that, because math is cool. Or when you talk about your kids doing things that I can remember doing as a kid. But that doesn’t mean I want kids.

Don’t tell me that I’ll change my mind. I know that you can change your mind on almost anything in life, later on. Maybe that’ll happen. But for the last 10 years, I’ve been confident that I don’t want children and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

Getting into my late twenties has been interesting, watching friends get engaged, decide to have kids on a specific timeline, and also quit their jobs and travel the world. Everyone has a different idea of what their ideal life looks like and there are so many options! There are people who have retired in their 30s and 40s and those who kept working and have donated good chunks of their income. It’s been pretty scary watching people make all of these life decisions as I’m a planner and I don’t have any timeline for my future like my friends do. It’s freeing in another way though as I have decades of life ahead of me to learn, to experience the world, and to enjoy life.

A lot of people buy into the American Dream of going to college, getting a good job, getting engaged, getting married, buying a house, popping out 2.5 kids, and then working hard until they retire at 65, all in that order. A lot of people aren’t just buying into it – it honestly seems to be what they want. But for those who start to question it, how much of it do you question? What path do you want to follow?

I don’t want to have kids.
I don’t want to quit my job and travel around the world.
I don’t want to work at a startup, unless it is my own and even then only maybe.
I don’t want to move to a small-town to downgrade my cost of living. I like how accessible living in the city is.
I don’t feel closed in by owning a condo already. I don’t mind having so much of my net worth locked up in either my condo or my retirement accounts because I don’t want to move. And if I did, I could sell my condo.
I don’t want to be self-employed. I like the routine of my job.
I would like to have more vacation time than I do. It does sound like it might be possible to get extra unpaid time at my current company, which would be pretty sweet.
I don’t want to live in a house. At least not any time soon. Maybe when we get a dog at some point in the future though and a yard would be cool, but there are parks nearby and off-leash dog parks.

When I was in my early twenties, a coworker told me that he missed being my age, that it was fun times. He spent his twenties partying it up, barhopping and checking out the latest clubs. Now he lives in suburbia with his wife and two small children. I don’t want either of those pictures – him in his early twenties or him in his early thirties.

So many people told me not to buy property when I did (at 23), that I would regret it. That I would regret tying myself down. I don’t, one bit. Buying this condo was an excellent decision and I love this place so much. I am super glad I bought a two bedroom condo with plenty of space for two.

As I’ve watched friends quit their jobs and go traveling for a year, my first thought is how cool and fun that looks (if I’m interested in the places they’re going) and after some reflection, I realize that that life of spontaneity isn’t really me. Our month-long trip to New Zealand this year was pretty fun, but I’m a homebody and by the time we left, I was looking forward to not moving around as much. It was so nice to come home to internet, our home, friends, and our city. Slow travel might be okay in my books, but too fast of travel isn’t. I don’t have much of an interest in traveling for months throughout Southeast Asia, which then makes travel more comparable in costs to living at home. I’ve had good luck in the past with working while traveling (e.g. an internship/study abroad type thing) as it gives me something to occupy my days and also allows me to immerse myself in the local culture and travel.

So what do I see my life looking like in 5 years? I see myself living in my condo with my boyfriend, working at a job, having my Master’s degree, and having knocked a few more items off of my travel bucket list. I’m not particularly concerned over when/if we get married, especially with the marriage income tax penalty we would incur and the fact that due to our incomes and asset levels (hello me being a half-millionaire at age 26 and our combined annual household income being around $300-400k – I love being able to check off the “other” box for household income now) would result in a pre-nup with marriage and a decent separation of his and hers accounts, maybe even of post-marriage assets. I would probably feel differently about marriage if I wanted kids.

Looking at the above list of all the things I don’t want, most people would then see no point in saving. No future goals? No reason to save. That’s not how I look at it. (Thanks to nicoleandmaggie for this tip several years ago – you can just save for the sake of saving and that buys you freedom later!) I can live a pretty luxurious lifestyle on $30k/year plus travel ($18k/year+travel if you take out my mortgage payments) and still manage to bank ~$100k/year. Keep in mind too that vacation time is more of a limiting factor in how much I can spend on travel than money too. Those savings will buy me options in the future for when I do end up making goals that I didn’t have the time to save up for (see grad school that I kept trying to save for, then never applying, and using the money for something else like mortgage pre-payments).

This isn’t an early retirement blog. That isn’t my plan. I’m just living the lifestyle I want, which happens to be relatively-frugal for my income level, and saving the rest.

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