December 17, 2018 at 3:24 PM #41426
Hello, folks . . .
Dave created a new forum for members to introduce themselves, which I shall do here. I have a lot to say and would rather get it all out here in the forum instead of run a continual thread.
First, about me . . .
I’m a 40-something single man living in the Washington, DC area. I have no children and live with my girlfriend, near the same age, in the area. I work for a Federal government contractor doing IT project/program management type work, and have been in the IT sphere for over 18 years now. I’m also an Army vet and served for six years where I did IT work stateside, in Germany, and during two deployments to Iraq. Six years was more than enough and, when I got out in early 2010, I headed here to the DC area to take a Federal job later that year. I’ve been continually employed ever since.
I’m not brand-spanking new to investing, having started to put away money in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) in early 2004 when it became available to uniformed members of the military. I then continued this when I left the military and went to work for the Federal government, stopping in late 2015 when I left the Fed and returned to the civilian world. 2004 was really the first time I seriously started to invest money (albeit in a “put it away and forget about it” manner), having not done any investments when I was in my 20s due to a combination of being in school, being grossly underemployed, and, when employed, not having any good investment vehicles in the pre-online days.
My parents also contributed to some of this attitude, not understanding investments other than a few stocks in Coca-Cola and Disney (which didn’t perform well from when they got them in the late 80s), and relying solely on their incomes and my father’s pension when he retired in the late 90s after 44 years at the same company. So, in many respects, they were of the “old guard” where the “old” ways would have worked had the economy not changed since the early 90s. Living in a small city, I struggled to try to get a decent-paying professional job until I was able to move to the DC area right after the tech bust and then living through 9/11. So, in short, when I wasn’t at a standstill, I was tossed on rough seas.
Things are much better for me now, but I feel that I’m somewhat behind the curve in terms of investing and making up for lost time. In general, though I’m not all that sophisticated when it comes to investing, I’ve always tried to live below my means and retain a strong cash position, following Dave Ramsey’s advice of putting at least six month’s worth of expenses and paying down debts so that I have a lot more financial freedom. To date, this has largely served me well and has kept me out of trouble, while allowing me to take trips all over the US and internationally.
Second, about my current situation . . .
My main reason for getting involved with Dave’s group is that I like his philosophical approach to investing, and about retirement. Since I’m in my 40s, I’m now starting to think more seriously about retirement and what that means, but also cognizant of the fact that “retirement” won’t be like what my father experienced for the last 15 years of his life, living on his pension. Neither of my parents lived above their means, and neither were prepared for the possibility of serious medical expenses (e.g., my father’s last five years was marred by Parkinson’s, and my mother just now has recovered from a bad car accident around the same time that my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s) or the possibility of outliving their money (as might be the case with my mother, now 79, and without my father around).
Over the past year, I’ve look at many different avenues for investing and some of them are attractive, but none of them are simple enough to me where I could put the foundations in place and then learn on the fly. Given the current economic climate, I know that resting on a pile of cash isn’t doing me any good in the long run and that I have to get the money out there, circulating. But, there’s a lot of information, much of it contradictory, and much of it “bro”-type investing that puts me off. Much of it doesn’t accord with my general investment philosophy, which is:
I want to create a mechanism where the money is circulating, has good velocity, is earning a good return, and is liquid enough where I can access it if I need it, while avoiding catastrophic loss.
So far, I’ve not found this, nor have found anyone to really help with getting something set up that isn’t the typical info that you’d get from a Fidelity or Vanguard. Put another way, I know about and respect those vehicles, but I’m also attuned to slightly unorthodox views for how to increase the velocity and money an make it work the best for my lifestyle. I’m very likely to retain my current lifestyle well until I shuffle off this mortal coil and would rather the money compound and be there when I need it.
To wit, these are my current investment vehicles:
1. TSP (in which I contributed from 2004 until 2015, when I left the Fed)
2. a 401K from a previous employer
3. my current Vanguard 401K with my current employer
4. a brokerage account with Vanguard
5. a Roth IRA with my current bank (USAA)
6. a deferred compensation vehicle (like an additional 401K), which helps to reduce my tax burden, with my current employer
7. a Health Savings Account (HSA) with my current employer
In addition, because I worked for at least five years as a Federal employee, I’m eligible for some of the pension once I turn 62, and that will be additional income to Social Security, so I plan it out.
I also have decent health insurance, life insurance, and disability insurance that will pay at least 60% of my salary should I become incapacitated and unable t work
At last count, I have a total of around $360,000 in all my accounts, with the bulk of it in cash. One of my immediate goals is to not be so heavy in cash and get a good chunk of that money circulating and getting a good return. A friend of mine, who once was a member of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange years ago, has provided me some guidance concerning stocks, etc., but he hasn’t been that reliable and so I want to take more of this into my own hands.
My more long-term goal is to have at least $1M in all of my accounts (and any future accounts, depending on change in employment) by the time I reach 57, which is also the age that my girlfriend, who works for the Arlington, VA county government, could be eligible for retirement. I’m talking about $1M for myself and separate from my girlfriend. She’s likely to stay at her job for another ten or more years and then retire from there. Both of us are also likely to inherit money from our parents once they pass away, but my girlfriend is likely to get much more because her parents have more liquid assets, and two mortgage-free houses in North Carolina. Together, we both would easily have $1M + in liquid and non-liquid assets by the time we reach 60, but I’m focusing mainly on myself as a form of antifragility. Neither of us have kids and aren’t going to have any, so we don’t have those expenses and can reach our goal that much quicker.
Lastly, though my goal is to reach around $1M before I turn 60, I don’t plan on retiring and want to continue to work, either at a job or some small business, for as long as I can. Both of my parents continued to work (though not necessarily paid) until they were closer to 70 because they wanted to stay active and productive. I want to follow this course, too.
So, I think that’s enough to get the ball rolling. I really look forward to being active in the groups here on Dave’s site this coming year. I did sign up for membership a few years ago, when Dave first opened it up, but I let it slide because I didn’t have much to work with and I was distracted by other personal issues. Things are much more stable now and I can focus much better.December 18, 2018 at 4:28 PM #41511
Tim, I will share my thoughts in Plus Episode 234.January 3, 2019 at 3:18 PM #42958
Hi, Welcome to the forums! Wow, 300% in 15 years those are some ambitious goals!
Have you checked out an online calculator for ‘Compound Interest’?
(Here’s a random selection: https://www.bankrate.com/calculators/savings/compound-savings-calculator-tool.aspx)
Most of what I’ve read says your ability to contribute while you are still working is your greatest asset.
Save as much as you can (or want to).
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