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Advice to a 26 year old MFJ

Advice to a 26 year old MFJ

Back in my July 2017 report I got a few comments from a reader Dan who asked me what advice I would give a 26 year old MFJ. My first thought was holy crap people still read this blog and my second thought was holy crap I’ve been writing this blog for a long time and was actually 26 when I started it. So it seemed like a pretty good idea for a blog post.

I originally started this blog as a way for me to keep track of my thoughts and decisions and use it as a learning tool for myself. I also thought well if things go as planned some day I will have a ridiculous sum of money and I will have a detailed record of the simple steps that I took to get there that my friends, children, or random strangers on the internet could follow. I’m certainly not quite there yet, but I think this is a good time to do a retrospective of what I’ve done and if there is anything different I wish the 26 year old me would have done.

Spend Less Than You Earn
I think this is probably the most important piece of advice I could give the 26 year old MFJ and I think this is something that MFJ and Mrs. MFJ did a pretty good job with and something that came natural. When we got married I was making $45k per year and had to pay for full-time school for both my wife’s college and my MBA out of my pocket and still managed to save a good chunk of money. A few years later I was making $57k and had managed to live on less than $8000 outside of our mortgage cost. If you really want to become wealthy and have that financial independence you need to save at least 50% of your income and invest it wisely.

The 10-15% stuff that is the general rule of thumb is great if you want to work until you are 65-70, but if you want a different path which the 26 year old MFJ wants you need to save and invest a much larger percentage of your income. I have a liquid 7 figure portfolio and I’ve done it while not making ridiculous money on a single income while having 5 kids and living a pretty posh lifestyle. Had I been hardcore through it all I would probably have double this amount now.

Invest in yourself
That MBA you are going for will pay you back many times over. It’s just an excuse for people to pay you more money. You don’t need an expensive MBA from a fancy college, that $10k MBA will be paid back in earnings in year 1. Continue to learn and read and pick up new skills both within and outside of your area of expertise. Nothing is more valuable than the knowledge you accumulate and it has the same compounding affect that your portfolio does and is very likely related to how fast that nest egg will compound.

Continue to learn all about personal finance and investing. Read personal finance blogs, listen to podcasts, and become a resource for those around you when it comes to finance. Find out as early as you can that becoming very wealthy is actually very simple. If it’s not you are doing something wrong. Save, invest simply, and wait for your number. There are no shortcuts, no get rich quick schemes, and nothing that requires any serious brain power. Ignore everything you read or hear in the news or from the financial experts – they are not serving your interests and their advice is 99.99% garbage.

Spend money on experiences and not things
It’s always a fine line between frugality and cheapness – life is all about balance. Enjoy things now and don’t be afraid to spend money on experiences that you will enjoy. Travel more and see more things especially before you have kids. Yes traveling can increase your expenses, but like most things the best things in life don’t have to be expensive. Instead of the all-inclusive resort where you see nothing and empty your bank account – go see a national park, sleep in a tent, and spend the money getting to these amazing places, once there live frugally just like you would at home. Buying that fancy hotel room or dinner will be forgotten tomorrow, but what you will remember are all of the free things you saw and experienced.

Plan for the future, but live in the moment
Life goes by so incredibly fast. Enjoy every minute with your kids – that job is just a means to an end so don’t put it or co-workers ahead of spending time with your family. That point where you decided to take $10-20k less per year to get a job with a more work/life balance will pay for itself in spades. Seems counter-intuitive to tell you to take less money when every bit of advice is about saving money and finding ways to make more money to accelerate that nestegg growth, but don’t lose sight of why you are doing it. It’s simply to be able to be a better husband, father, friend and spend more time with your loved ones. That doesn’t start when your nestegg hits some magic number – it starts now and you should never feel guilty about turning down a career opportunity or putting in those extra hours to make the boss happy for spending time with your family. Find that job that allows you to drop the kids off at school and leave early to coach their sports teams or run them to doctors appointments. They are the most important thing in your life and your job/employer should respect that. If you have invested properly in yourself you will be valuable enough to call your own shots and find an employer who will gladly give you this freedom. Take all of your vacation damn it and do something fun with it!

Write your goals down and follow up on them
This silly blog that you started one a whim after running across 2 million’s blog will be invaluable. All of those thoughts, plans, and ideas running around in your head should be put down on “paper” and design actual plans to reach those goals. They might seem like lofty goals, but you will easily blow through them somehow without even putting anywhere close to full effort towards them. You will make mistakes and hoard loads of cash for a new house during one of the largest runups in stock market history and it won’t even matter. You’ll get your cake and eat it too, and that basketball court.

Stick with your plans
You will never regret not driving a fancy car or not blowing money on clothes, liquor, cable tv, or other necessities that many of your friends blow their money on. You will still be driving that used Honda Accord you bought for your wife 14 years later with minimal repairs and a weird sense of pride every time someone comments about how old and crappy your car is. I’m 100% confident that you will enjoy that much more than if you lost your mind and bought a new car every 3-5 years. Know why you are quote “making sacrifices” that others aren’t and that some day they will be looking at you with jealously and confusion when you stop working 20 years before they do.

I know it makes sense on paper, but your small bit of skepticism about is this really possible and if it’s so easy why won’t everyone be doing this doubts are unfounded and yes it really is that easy and yes you will have accumulated millions in retirement accounts and be well on the way to a 2 million dollar net worth before you are forty. Did I mention you are going to have 5 kids and your wife will be staying at home to take care of them and yet you still still easily achieve your financial goals. It really is easy. Save money, invest it, and keep doing that until you have more money than you need.

Enjoy the journey.

38 year old MFJ

Retirement Nestegg Report June 2018

Retirement Nestegg Report June 2018

Well the first time I finished a month in 7 figures and another great month for my individual stock portfolio which is now beating the SP500 by over 30% in the first 6 months of the year and carrying my nestegg to new heights. Fun to have that extra comma back in the month’s report.

Taxable Account- $57,596.45 (+10.06%)
Private Stock $66,900 (+0.00%)
Traditional Rollover IRA – $30,747.16 (+3.46%)
My Roth IRA – $260,607.33 (+5.49%)
Wife Roth IRA – $168,960.37 (+7.54%)
Wife 401k – $3,903.56 (-0.01%)
Traditional 401k – $441,745.38 (-0.10%)

Roth/Traditional % = 41.69% (tax free)

Total Retirement Nest Egg $1,030,460.25 (+3.13%)
Retirement Salary (4%) $41,218

Monthly Contributions $2,194.62 (401k)
SP500 Performance +0.48%
My Monthly Investment Performance +2.91% (+1.43% vs SP500)
My Monthly Individual Stocks Performance +6.52% (+6.04% vs SP500)

Retirement Nestegg Report May 2018

Retirement Nestegg Report May 2018

Well only 1 day in the double comma club, but it still felt good. Overall another strong month for my retirement nestegg growing $40k during the month and reaching 7 figures for the first time ever. Overall my nestegg investment performance is outpacing the SP500 by over 12% points led by my individual stock performance besting the market by over 23%. Big numbers get bigger and strong investment performance throws gas on the fire.

Taxable Account- $52,333.03 (+2.25%)
Private Stock $66,900 (+6.02%)
Traditional Rollover IRA – $29,718.48 (+0.56%)
My Roth IRA – $247,045.91 (+3.56%)
Wife Roth IRA – $157,120.33 (+5.48%)
Wife 401k – $3,906.27 (+3.07%)
Traditional 401k – $442,199.28 (+4.15%)

Roth/Traditional % = 40.45% (tax free)

Total Retirement Nest Egg $999,223.30 (+4.10%)
Retirement Salary (4%) $39,968

Monthly Contributions $1,511.85(401k)
SP500 Performance +2.16%
My Monthly Investment Performance +3.94% (+1.78% vs SP500)
My Monthly Individual Stocks Performance +3.81% (+1.65% vs SP500)

Welcome to the two comma club

Welcome to the two comma club

Well today was a special day for me and my now 12 year old blog. I officially joined the double comma club and achieved another goal set forth on this blog. My $1,000,000 retirement nestegg by age 40 goal. I really thought was a bit of a stretch, but turns out I’ve had stellar returns and actually achieved this goal at the age of 38.

A couple of things stand out for me with this accomplishment. First I added $100,000 to my nestegg in less than 5 months which is the quickest I’ve added $100k. Makes total sense and with the power of compounding these 100k milestones will come quicker and quicker to the point where I will add $100k in a month eventually.

I actually added $100k while the market was down over 3% since my last milestone. My individual stocks have performed very well and have allowed me to best the market over the last 12+ years. I actually would not advise most people to own individual stocks or at least not a significant portion of their portfolio. I have questioned myself whether or not owning individual stocks was worth the effort and risk, but thanks to this blog and some tracking I’ve been able to see that somehow I did a pretty good job picking and managing my individual stocks. That being said I still have nearly half of my portfolio in vanguard index funds in our 401k accounts and that percentage will likely increase over time.

Writing your goals down has a very powerful affect. I started this blog very much for me so that I could look back at my thinking over time and learn from it. I also wanted to set out a vision for what my future would look like financially. This has actually been invaluable to me and I don’t think I would be where I am today without this blog. I also knew deep down that the path I had laid out in my youth was going to result in me becoming wealthy down the road and I wanted to have a good documentation of how I got there. I got there slowly over time through common sense saving and investing that anyone can do. It won’t come quickly and there were short term ups and downs, but in the grand scheme of things it actually was not that hard and anyone can do it given enough time. 12 years seems like an eternity when you are in your early 20s, but looking back from my late 30s the path from $0 to $1,000,000 went pretty darn quick.

I started this blog the year my oldest son was born. He just turned 13 this week, the same week that my nestegg got an extra comma. Life goes so fast and I want to do my best to enjoy it. My Financial Journey was a tool I used to put myself in a situation where I could enjoy life and have more freedom than I would if I took the standard approach to finance.

So what do I do now that I’m a millionaire? I’m not exactly sure, but I do know I have a lot more options having a 7 figure pile of F-you money. In theory I could tap $40k per year out of it and never run out of money (4% rule). I could do nothing and leave it invested and have roughly $3M by age 50, $8M by 60, $13M at age 65, etc.

The final goal in my financial journey will probably fall somewhere in between those two scenarios. I have 5 young kids who are growing up faster than I could have ever imagined and the whole point of all of this was to give me the freedom to spend more time with my family. I now need to spend some time to lay the groundwork for what this looks like and put some tangible plans in place for making this happen. Bottom line our retirement is secure and now I just need to figure out how much my wife and I need to work going forward to meet our short term expenses while our nestegg grows to some larger number that makes working entirely optional.

Cheers!
MFJ

Taxable Account- $53,234.73
Private Stock $66,900
Traditional Rollover IRA – $29,822.55
My Roth IRA – $248,902.12
Wife Roth IRA – $158,073.85
Wife 401k – $3,905.71
Traditional 401k – $442,491.91

Roth/Traditional % = 40.68% (tax free)

Total Retirement Nest Egg $1,003,330.87
Retirement Salary (4%) $40,133

$100,000 NestEgg Milestones

Date DOW Jones Value MFJ Nestegg
Oct 2008 10,000 $ 69,300
Oct 2009 10,000 (+0%) $100,000 (+44%)
Feb 2012 13,000 (+30%) $200,000 (+100%)
Jul 2013 15,423 (+19%) $300,000 (+50%)
Feb 2014 16,395.88 (+6.3%) $400,000 (+33%)
April 2015 18,084.48 (+10.30%) $500,000 (+25%)
August 2016 18,636.05 (+3.05%) $600,000 (+20%)
January 2017 20,068.51 (+7.69%) $700,000 (+17%)
June 2017 $21,182.53 (+5.56%) $800,000 (+14%)
January 2018 $25,484.72(+20.31%) $900,000 (+12.5%)
May 2018 $24,667.78(-3.21%) $1,000,000 (+11.1%)
Retirement Nestegg Report April 2018

Retirement Nestegg Report April 2018

Overall a pretty boring month. I love how boring is now an increase of $33,000 in a month. My individual stocks carried me this month outperforming the market by a little under 6%. It’s earnings season so we could see some volatility and if things go well maybe flirting with the 2 comma club again. I received a large bonus at work which is where the big 401k contribution came from this month. Other than that not much to report.

Taxable Account- $51,179.86 (+7.51%)
Private Stock $63,100 (+0.00%)
Traditional Rollover IRA – $29,701.81 (+3.00%)
My Roth IRA – $238,554.51 (+5.52%)
Wife Roth IRA – $148,955.78 (+6.97%)
Wife 401k – $3,790.01 (+0.35%)
Traditional 401k – $424,592.26 (+1.60%)

Roth/Traditional % = 39.43% (tax free)

Total Retirement Nest Egg $959,874.23 (+3.59%)
Retirement Salary (4%) $38,395

Monthly Contributions $6,110.75 (401k)
SP500 Performance +0.27%
My Monthly Investment Performance +2.93% (+2.66% vs SP500)
My Monthly Individual Stocks Performance +6.07% (+5.80% vs SP500)

Retirement Nestegg Report March 2018 (almost joined the 2 comma club)

Retirement Nestegg Report March 2018 (almost joined the 2 comma club)

Well as with February March was a very interesting and exciting month. I actually came within $1,000 of hitting a $1M nestegg during the month and ended up the month $74,000 lower that that intra-month high. We’ll see if I regret it or not, but I did have an opportunity to at least temporarily hit the double comma club by making a contribution during the month, but ultimately decided to see if I could hit it all natural and well that back fired 🙂

First off the growth of my nestegg and the outperformance of my investments to the market over the last 2 years or so has been rather astounding. My March 2016 nestegg report I was going bananas because I had a $46k monthly increase to jump my nestegg from $485k to $531k in a single month and now 2 years later my nestegg was within breathing distance of the mythical $1,000,000 barrier.

Now I also have to look at this growth and realize very quickly that it is not realistic and that even if my nestegg dropped by a few hundred thousand dollars I’m probably still doing quite well. Everyone looks like a genius when the market has been going up and well the market has been doing nothing but going straight up for the last decade so I should be very careful not get a false bravado about my financial and investing acumen. The law of averages will catch up and I’ll probably be looking back at this time with fond memories of the good old days.

The other piece that almost got put into action by me meeting my last financial goal is to start thinking about what is next for me. Because let’s be honest having a $1M retirement nestegg and a $999k nestegg for one day really doesn’t change much. I really need to start putting together the “what’s next” piece of this blog. I started this blog with a goal to save $100,000 for retirement by age 30 which I came very close to achieving. Then I transitioned to the $1M by age 40 goal which while still in progress I damn near achieved this month (I’m 38 by the way).

The last goal for this blog will be me spending much less time working for money and more time with my family and I really need to figure out what that means because right now that’s a really fluffy goal. Part of me thinks I could probably start this now and part of me thinks oh crap that’s really scary and dangerous. I need to spend some time fleshing out the scary and dangerous parts and try to see if I can remove some of the fear so hopefully I feel comfortable enough to pull the trigger on what has been the entire point of my financial journey.

Taxable Account- $47,605.61 (-11.04%)
Private Stock $63,100 (+0.00%)
Traditional Rollover IRA – $28,837.41 (-3.91%)
My Roth IRA – $226,082.88 (-3.19%)
Wife Roth IRA – $139,244.41 (-4.42%)
Wife 401k – $3,776.69 (-1.78%)
Traditional 401k – $417,926.40 (+0.59%)

Roth/Traditional % = 39.43% (tax free)

Total Retirement Nest Egg $926,573.40 (-1.97%)
Retirement Salary (4%) $37,062

Monthly Contributions $8,573.23 (401k)
SP500 Performance -2.69%
My Monthly Investment Performance -2.87% (-0.18% vs SP500)
My Monthly Individual Stocks Performance -4.51% (-1.82% vs SP500)

Retirement Nestegg Report February 2018

Retirement Nestegg Report February 2018

Well as much as the end result for this month was not very impressive, what happened during the month was actually pretty impressive. At one point this month I was down just under $100,000 from my month end total at the end of last month and ended up only having my nestegg be down $2k.

The other impressive area was once again my individual stock performance which bested the market by over 6% after besting it by over 10% last month. My individual stocks are besting the market by over 17.5% YTD!

Taxable Account- $53,514.91 (-0.92%)
Private Stock $63,100 (+0.00%)
Traditional Rollover IRA – $30,012.23 (+2.16%)
My Roth IRA – $233,525.80 (+2.60%)
Wife Roth IRA – $145,684.13 (+3.25%)
Wife 401k – $3,844.99 (-3.73%)
Traditional 401k – $415,460.29 (-2.99%)

Roth/Traditional % = 40.12% (tax free)

Total Retirement Nest Egg $945,142.35 (-0.24%)
Retirement Salary (4%) $37,805

Monthly Contributions $1,873.92 (401k)
SP500 Performance -3.89%
My Monthly Investment Performance -0.24% (+3.65% vs SP500)
My Monthly Individual Stocks Performance +2.36% (+6.25% vs SP500)