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HomeMoney SavingReader Case Research: A Doula, A Scientist & Three Youngsters in Alaska

Reader Case Research: A Doula, A Scientist & Three Youngsters in Alaska

Kait and her husband Dave stay in Alaska with their three younger kids. Kait works as a Postpartum Doula and Dave as a scientist for the state. They love their outdoorsy way of life and have created an extremely close-knit group with their neighbors and mates. Nevertheless, their beloved dwelling has some critical structural points that should be remediated, however will seemingly be very costly. Let’s journey to Alaska to assist Kait and Dave decide what to do subsequent.

What’s a Reader Case Research?

Case Research deal with monetary and life dilemmas that readers of Frugalwoods ship in requesting recommendation. Then, we (that’d be me and YOU, pricey reader) learn by their scenario and supply recommendation, encouragement, perception and suggestions within the feedback part.

For an instance, take a look at the final case research. Case Research are up to date by contributors (on the finish of the publish) a number of months after the Case is featured. Go to this web page for hyperlinks to all up to date Case Research.

The Purpose Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research intend to focus on a various vary of economic conditions, ages, ethnicities, places, objectives, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research sequence started in 2016 and, up to now, there’ve been 80 Case ResearchI’ve featured people with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and web worths starting from -$300k to $2.9M+.

I’ve featured single, married, partnered, divorced, child-filled and child-free households. I’ve featured homosexual, straight, queer, bisexual and polyamorous folks. I’ve featured ladies, non-binary people and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender folks. I’ve had cat folks and canine folks. I’ve featured people from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured folks with PhDs and folks with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured folks of their early 20’s and folks of their late 60’s. I’ve featured people who stay on farms and folk who stay in New York Metropolis.

The objective is range and solely YOU might help me obtain that by emailing me your story! Should you haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Research, I encourage you to use to be a Case Research participant by emailing your temporary story to me at [email protected]

Reader Case Research Tips

I in all probability don’t must say the next since you people are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please be aware that Frugalwoods is a judgement-free zone the place we endeavor to assist each other, not condemn.

There’s no room for rudeness right here. The objective is to create a supportive atmosphere the place all of us acknowledge we’re human, we’re flawed, however we select to be right here collectively, workshopping our cash and our lives with constructive, proactive recommendations and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a skilled monetary skilled and I encourage folks to not make critical monetary selections based mostly solely on what one individual on the web advises. 

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out the most effective plan of action for his or her funds. I’m not a monetary advisor and I’m not your monetary advisor.

With that I’ll let Kait, at the moment’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Kait’s Story

Household water adventures

Howdy! I’m Kait, I’m 37, my husband Dave is 41 and we’ve got three children (an 8-year-old lady, a 5-year-old boy, and a 1-year-old lady). We stay in Alaska the place I work as a Postpartum Doula and Dave as a scientist for the state. I additionally handle some administrative stuff for a builder (8 hours/month) and in the summertime I handle AirBnbs (though, due to the pandemic, I solely managed one final summer season and am undecided if I’ll proceed this summer season. It would depend upon the homeowners of the home).

We love Alaska (that is the place I grew up) and being open air. Favourite actions embrace: climbing, snowboarding, tenting, gardening, biking, fishing and mainly something exterior. I’m fairly obsessed with rising and preserving meals. Most summer season weekends you will discover us out adventuring in a method or one other. Within the winter, we’ll be snowboarding, ice skating on the close by lagoon, sledding and studying books.

Kait’s Frugal Journey

I’ve been on a frugal journey for many of my life. I’ve all the time hated procuring and the buildup of stuff. My mind feels cluttered on the within so it’s vital to have my exterior world organized so I can operate. The knock on impact is that I don’t wish to convey issues into the house and due to this fact actually deliberate earlier than buying something. I’ve been a saver perpetually however, till a couple of years in the past, didn’t actually have a plan as to what I used to be doing with my financial savings. Investing was one thing that was talked about in my household however my dad invests very in another way. He  spends a whole lot of time and vitality on it and that fashion actually put me off. It wasn’t till I discovered about index funds that I used to be like, “Whoa! That is my jam. Set it and neglect it!” Since then, I’ve socked away each further penny with a objective.

Huge carrot from our backyard

My husband’s monetary values tremendously differ from mine. Whereas I’m completely happy to do with out for the long run objective of attending to do what I would like once I need, he desires to spend cash now on what he desires. He grew up within the UK the place there are much more monetary security nets like common heath insurance coverage and the place, with out actually eager about the longer term, you may stay off your pension whenever you’re older. Now we have been married 10 years now and he’s leaning extra to my approach of issues. Having a standard objective is basically useful although I don’t suppose ours line up precisely.

He loves his work and truthfully doesn’t suppose he desires to retire early. I’m attempting to color the image for him that not every little thing all the time goes to plan and having choices–even should you don’t use them–will solely enhance the standard of our lives in the long term. I lastly bought him to learn The Easy Path to Wealth (after years of attempting) and I believe it’s actually serving to together with his journey (affiliate hyperlink). I additionally actually need our kids to be raised in an atmosphere the place cash isn’t the reply to each query.

View from the ocean

I really feel like I’m fairly dang frugal. We use the library, I make 99.9% of our meals at dwelling from scratch, I bake sourdough bread like its my job, purchase in bulk when it’ll save us over the long run, make the most of Purchase Nothing for gifting and receiving, and all my mates know we’re grateful for hand-me-downs. And after we want outside gear, I promote to our native gear resale store after which get what I would like within the subsequent dimension up. I play the loooonnnggg recreation ready for issues that we want or need. I’ve solely bought a pair gadgets of clothes for myself in the previous few years (together with a sweatshirt that was technically a Christmas current that claims Kale Yeah! I’ve no regrets).

Mountain climbing

We subsistence fish for salmon in the summertime and I develop a large backyard and freeze, can, smoke and protect no matter I’m ready. Throughout apple and berry season, each evening after dinner we exit and harvest. I in all probability dry 10 gallons of apple chips, freeze 10 gallons of raspberries, make jam, can 4 or 5 flats of apple sauce, and so on. Having a root cellar would make using my harvest final a lot longer. I mainly don’t purchase something that isn’t on sale and we don’t actually purchase any comfort meals.

Dave jokes that we’ve got a U-PICK farm in our yard as somebody is all the time stopping by for one thing. My older children arrange a mini farmers market in our neighborhood. They used this cash as their enjoyable fund. The oldest selected to hitch lady scouts this 12 months and paid for the membership, vest and a few actions together with her earnings. We do eat meat however not loads. Most of our protein comes from beans and lentils. I’m a die-hard On the spot Pot fan!

We stay solely off of Dave’s earnings and all my earnings go into investments. I undoubtedly need to maintain residing this manner.

What feels urgent proper now? What brings you to submit a Case Research?

1. The Home:


Our home has some points, particularly basis cracks and basement leaking.

These points would forestall us from ever renting the home out as they require fixed vigilance. I think about the fee to restore them shall be astronomical in comparison with the worth of the home (which is round $400k) and so I really feel like it isn’t price it to restore. We haven’t gotten estimates on the restore prices but. Backstory on the home: it was my brother’s and he handed away, so I don’t really feel like I can ever promote it.

I understand that making monetary selections based mostly on feelings just isn’t a good suggestion however, right here we’re. We love our neighborhood and significantly that we’ve got a big south dealing with yard (oh so vital in Alaska) and our back-of-the-fence neighbors are like household to us. There’s a gate within the fence and a well-trod path between our homes, which we affectionately confer with because the compound. We eat dinner there on Sundays and typically greater than as soon as every week. The household is a mum, dad and a pair of teenage boys who will each be in school come fall. We don’t have any household close by, so the emotional, sensible and bodily assist this household gives for us is priceless. The considered shifting even one block away makes me really feel horrible.

I additionally am now the one youngster and shall be accountable for my getting old father when the time comes (he’s 78). My superb is to rebuild our home and add an connected condominium for my dad or different guests to make use of when wanted. I might AirBnb the condominium when it wasn’t in use to assist offset the prices of the construct. Then, when our children are grown and out of the home, Dave and I might stay within the condominium and lease out the primary home. So as to add a little bit of complication to this equation, I’m very all in favour of constructing a web zero (or shut) home, which might add to the general prices. My dad has supplied to repay no matter we’ve got left on our mortgage if we determine to rebuild.

2. The Job


My husband is on the prime of the place he can go for his profession right here in Alaska (he works as a scientist for the state). He doesn’t suppose he’ll be prepared to maneuver on to one thing else for no less than one other 5 years, however when he’s, it’ll seemingly imply a transfer or a transition into consulting work.

My vote can be to not transfer, however there are a whole lot of elements that may come into play. If and after we transfer, I wouldn’t need to promote the home, however we couldn’t lease it as is. To be clear, this isn’t one thing that should occur instantly, nevertheless it’s on the horizon.

3. The Lengthy-term Targets

Our long-term objectives are Coast FIRE or FIRE. 

What’s the most effective a part of your present way of life/routine?

The place we stay particularly and likewise the wilds that we’ve got inside simple attain. The sense of group I’ve from our neighborhood is the one factor that has stored me sane these previous couple of years. Once I was 38 weeks pregnant, I had a complete trailer stuffed with manure delivered to the opposite aspect of the compound (again fence household) as a result of it was nearer to my backyard beds then delivering it to the entrance aspect of our home. Simply the truth that they agreed to let me dump a whole bunch of kilos of poop of their yard is one thing in and of itself.

Finish of an 8 mile hike with children

After it was delivered, I had a bit freak out that my VERY pregnant physique was not going to have the ability to put a dent on this pile and it needed to be completed. I texted a handful of neighbors an SOS and inside three hours, the complete pile had been doled out to all my backyard beds and the rest to everybody else’s gardens. The remainder of my gardens have been harvested and put away for the winter and a number of the harvest was taken by one other neighbor to make into ferments for me. I delivered precisely one week later. Each my husband and I’ve a handful of shut “I might do something for you” mates in our neighborhood and I’m not certain I may ever replicate this. I suppose if I didn’t stay proper right here I wouldn’t even need to stay in Alaska!

It’s additionally really easy to get out into the mountains or go off tenting right here. I like the entry to the outside as it’s our important supply of enjoyment as people and as a household.

What’s the worst a part of your present way of life/routine?

Fixed fear about the home and what we should always do about it. I’m already exhausted with resolution fatigue from having 3 children, not to mention being in a pandemic.

The place Kait Needs to be in Ten Years:

  • Funds:
    • Solidly Coast FIRE or FIRE.
  • Way of life:
    • In a position to go away our home for prolonged durations of time and journey extra.
    • Have the choice to work as wished, not as a result of we want it. Possibly stay different locations for a pair months at a time (winters listed here are LONG!)
  • Profession:
    • I’d wish to proceed working as a Postpartum Doula, however in a capability that matches with taking numerous time for household issues.
    • Dave want to advance in his profession by taking over new challenges. What this truly means for him is unknown at this level.

Kait & Dave’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Dave’s Revenue $5,407 Minus retirement contributions, insurance coverage, and taxes
Kait’s Revenue Variable Variable as we stay off of Dave’s and all of mine goes into our investments.
Month-to-month subtotal: $5,407.00
Annual whole: $64,884

Mortgage Particulars

Excellent mortgage steadiness  Curiosity Price Mortgage Interval and Phrases Fairness Buy value and 12 months
$133,974 2.75% 30-year fixed-rate mortgage $110,000 Home was a part of an property settlement in 2013. Value $400k.

Money owed: $0


Automobile make, mannequin, 12 months Valued at Mileage Paid off?
Customized Camper 1980 Priceless 180,000 Paid off and I’ll by no means eliminate her. My grandparents had her constructed within the 80’s and gave it to us a pair years in the past. She is her personal individual!
Honda Pilot 2016 $14,000 70,000 Sure
Subaru Forrester 2012 $8,000 90,000 Sure


Merchandise Quantity Notes Curiosity/kind of securities held/Inventory ticker Title of financial institution/brokerage Expense Ratio
Dave’s mixed retirement accounts by work $311,151 By way of the state Goal retirement date funds
Gold & silver cash $112,000
Joint brokerage account $71,354 Oomph, this seemed loads higher in April VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Joint financial savings account $36,027 Emergency fund + journey fund and 7k+ enterprise financial savings for taxes 2k 0.50% ALLY
Dave’s IRA $17,453 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Joint Checking at Native Credit score Union $8,421 Used for month-to-month bills. I maintain the steadiness round $7-8k for simple entry. AKUSA
Kait’s IRA $8,287 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
529 Child #1 $6,753
Funding Fund for Child #1 $5,564 My dad manages this and I let him do his personal factor.
Dave Particular person account at native credit score union $4,300 Simply in case-quick entry cash AKUSA
529 Child #2 $4,269
Brokerage Child #1 $3,525 Half of their Everlasting Fund Dividend goes in right here the opposite half to their 529 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Funding Fund Child #2 $2,848 My dad manages this and I let him do his personal factor
Brokerage Child #3 $2,000 Half of their Everlasting Fund Dividend goes in right here the opposite half to their 529. She has extra as a result of the primary time she bought a PFD all of it went in right here. VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Kait Particular person at Native Credit score union $1,800 Simply in case-quick entry cash AKUSA
Brokerage Child #2 $1,350 Half of their Everlasting Fund Dividend goes in right here the opposite half to their 529 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
529 Child #3 This one is below my husband’s identify and I cant log in in the intervening time. We have to name. It’s in all probability about $1k
Complete: $658,202


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Mortgage $1,937
Groceries $675 It was $575 however I used to be discovering it more durable and more durable to remain inside finances. Issues will get simpler as soon as the backyard begins producing, however as of now there may be nonetheless a little bit of snow left! Consists of all home goods akin to cleansing provides, diapers (however we EC so solely use one at evening).
Straight to investments $425 Robotically despatched to investments. On the finish of the month I additionally switch no matter is left into Investments. Child #2 is completed with preschool now (so we’re not paying for that) and are placing most of that to investments.
Petrol $350 It’s excessive because the camper is a hungry lady.
Automobile Insurance coverage $201 Will enhance a bit after we put the camper again on for the summer season
Enjoyable Fund for Dave and Kait $200 We every get $100 to do as we see match, for presents, hair cuts, garments and so on. We additionally get PFDs (normally 1k/12 months) and do with them as we please.  I nearly all the time make investments mine.
Pure Gasoline $180
Water, Waste Water and Utility $115
Electrical $110 Clearly greater within the winter and variable however I do my greatest to maintain this low. Go placed on a sweater!
Misc $100 For something this isn’t in a class above.
Cell Telephone $90 Just lately switched to Cricket
Web $80 On the bottom month-to-month.  No higher choices within the land of the midnight solar
Accounting $50 I technically personal a few of my dad’s firm so it is a should
Trash $21 Downgraded the scale of our can as we by no means fill it up
Month-to-month subtotal: $4,534 
Annual whole: $54,408 

Credit score Card Technique

Card Title Rewards Sort? Financial institution/card firm
Alaska Airways Visa Journey Chase Financial institution

Kait’s Questions for You:

  1. Is it even possible to contemplate rebuilding our dwelling? 
    • How a lot would this derail our Coast FIRE or FIRE plans?
    • Would the additional earnings from renting out the property offset that in the long run?
      • The world we stay in is subsequent to the downtown and the path system, so it’s a very fascinating space for AirBnb-ing.
      • I’m assured we may get $150-$200 an evening within the excessive season and $100+/evening within the off-season.
  2. I’ve lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work.
    • I solely work evenings and a few weekends in order that I may be with the newborn through the day. All of my earnings goes into our  investments, however this determine is very variable.
    • Is the fee and threat of childcare price it to work extra?
    • Or ought to I take into account some kind of distant place that I can do whereas additionally dwelling with the newborn?
  3. Are we truly on observe for Coast FIRE?

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

Swinging with a view

I’m thrilled to have Kait as a Case Research at the moment as a result of I very a lot establish with having “One Massive Factor” weighing in your thoughts. In studying by Kait’s story, it feels just like the scenario with their house is taking over a whole lot of psychological vitality for Kait and is one thing she’ll really feel extraordinarily relieved to resolve. I can’t provide a magic bullet resolution, however I hope I might help her and Dave suppose by some concrete (no pun meant… ) subsequent steps to set them on the trail to decision. I’ll contact on the opposite components of her monetary life–as a result of we are able to’t ever cope with one monetary query in isolation–however our focus at the moment shall be on The Home.

Kait’s Query #1: Is it even possible to contemplate rebuilding our dwelling? 

I encourage Kait and Dave to hunt out opinions and estimates from specialists on what it’ll price to repair the muse points. You possibly can’t know if it’ll be possible/sensible till the worth tag. I additionally encourage them to fully divorce the muse/basement points from any potential future building-an-apartment prices. The precedence is to repair the prevailing issues. They want to try this first, then flip their consideration to different attainable renovations/building-an-apartment.

If it have been me, I might:

  • Name a BUNCH of various contractors/firms and have them come to the home, assess and diagnose the muse/basement points, and supply estimates on the work.
  • Construct a listing of estimates and diagnoses to check and distinction what completely different specialists are saying.
  • Don’t rent the primary one who comes to supply an estimate! That is a type of belongings you actually need to comparability store.

Midsummer backyard

It doesn’t sound like this must be remediated ASAP, so I encourage Kait and Dave to take their time with gathering estimates and suggestions on how you can full this work. Ask neighbors who they advocate–phrase of mouth suggestions are GOLD.

After the muse points are resolved, Kait and Dave can work on replenishing their financial savings after which flip their consideration to getting bids for constructing an ADU (accent dwelling unit)/condominium on their property.

Some issues to contemplate:

  • What are the zoning legal guidelines for an ADU/condominium? What restrictions/allowances are in place?
  • Does Kait’s dad undoubtedly need to stay there in his previous(er) age?
  • If that’s the case, what is going to the monetary association be?
    • Will he pay them lease?
    • Will he pay to construct the ADU after which personal it?
      • How does subdivision of loads work of their city?
      • Can her dad legally personal the ADU if it’s on their property?
    • How will this influence taxes and insurance coverage?
    • What are the legal guidelines on how you can tie an ADU into the water/sewer methods and energy traces?

I strongly encourage Kait, Dave and Kait’s dad to iron out all the authorized and monetary implications earlier than deciding to construct an ADU. That is NOT one thing you need to go away to likelihood. Rent a lawyer to make every little thing official–it’ll be a lot simpler in the long term.

In the event that they do determine to construct some type of ADU/condominium and lease it out on AirBnB, listed here are a couple of extra issues to contemplate:

  1. Is the first objective to make a house for Kait’s dad or to create a revenue-generating rental?
  2. What’s going to or not it’s wish to have AirBnB renters proper there of their yard/home? Will this impinge on their gardening/household time and house?
  3. Will they share the income from the AirBnB with Kait’s dad?
  4. Is shifting for Dave’s job in circa 5 years an actual risk? If that’s the case, how would that influence these plans?

Mountain climbing

If the objective is to create a revenue-generating rental, Kait and Dave ought to construct a marketing strategy and discover getting a development mortgage. That is primarily a separate proposition from creating a house for an getting old relative and must be analyzed from a enterprise perspective. We will’t know if an AirBnB rental will offset the price of constructing with out realizing the next:

  • The price of development
  • Projected rental charges by season
  • Anticipated vacancies (as in, which days/weeks is it prone to not be rented)
  • Upkeep and repairs
  • Property taxes, insurance coverage, AirBnB charges
  • Administration of the unit (cleansing, furnishing, key exchanges, and so on)
  • Metropolis and state restrictions, rules and charges for operating an AirBnB

Moreover, the thought of constructing web zero thought is very commendable, however not one thing Kait and Dave can afford at their present salaries. If that is their #1 objective, they’d must curtail all different spending/investing/saving, get greater paying jobs and let go of the FIRE/Coast FIRE objectives.

Kait and Dave are at an thrilling juncture: the analysis juncture! Now’s the time to collect as a lot information as they’ll.

Kait’s Query #2: I’ve lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work. Is the fee and threat of childcare price it to work extra?

If I’m studying this appropriately, I sense that Kait is asking this query from each an emotional and a monetary perspective.

From the monetary perspective, she will be able to–and will–collect the info wanted to make an correct calculation:

  1. Bread

    How a lot does she earn per hour?

  2. How a lot does childcare price per hour?
  3. Would her and Dave’s earnings outpace the price of childcare?

Further issues to contemplate:

  1. Assuming she works for herself as a Postpartum Doula, does she have the shopper base to broaden her hours?
  2. Is there a community of Doulas she will be able to faucet into to broaden her hours?
  3. Will these hours align with the hours supplied by the childcare choices?
    • If not, will her hours complement Dave’s work hours such that he can watch the children?

Financially, I believe it’s in all probability a reasonably easy resolution. One caveat is that childcare prices would possibly outpace her preliminary earnings as she ramps her enterprise as much as full-time. I take into account {that a} completely nice and cheap cost-of-doing-business and wouldn’t let that dissuade her initially.

From the emotional perspective:

Seaside artwork

Solely Kait can reply this query. Sending children to childcare is ok; not sending children to childcare can also be nice. Each mum or dad and each household has to make this resolution for themselves. And guess what? That call is prone to change over time!!!! My husband and I made a decision this previous college 12 months to ship Littlewoods to all-day preschool, which price within the neighborhood of $200-$400/month (relying on what number of college days there have been in every month). I don’t remorse that expense for a single second. Actually, we’ll be sending her to all-day preschool once more this coming college 12 months whereas Kidwoods goes to first grade. Through the pandemic, we labored from dwelling with the children at dwelling and, uh, I did NOT love that association. It really works for some households; it doesn’t for others.


  1. Should you WANT to work extra, should you want the success and pleasure of working, should you crave that have in your life, do it!
  2. Conversely, you are feeling you SHOULD work extra to be able to earn extra money, however don’t need to? Don’t do it!
    • You and Dave usually are not in a financially precarious place. You’ve made sensible selections through the years, which suggests you will have crucial monetary reward of all: OPTIONS.

Kait’s Query #3: Are we truly on observe for Coast FIRE?

I’m going to reply this query by going by all of Kait and Dave’s belongings.

1) Retirement:$336,891

Basket of backyard goodness!

Between their particular person IRAs and Dave’s work retirement account, they’ve a mixed whole of $336,891 in retirement investments. Since they’re circa 40 years previous, they need to at present have 3x their earnings in retirement investments. We don’t know Kait’s earnings, so we’ll base this solely on Dave’s:

$64,884 x 3 = $194,652

Based mostly on this metric, they’re in nice form! Moreover, this doesn’t account for Social Safety, which presumably they’ll obtain.

Attaining “Coast FIRE” implies that Kait and Dave would proceed working till a conventional retirement age, however cease contributing to their retirement investments and as an alternative allow them to “coast.” A technique to consider that is that, should you now not must earn sufficient to contribute to your retirement accounts each month, you want much less earnings and thus, can presumably work much less–assuming you retain your bills low sufficient to be lined by your earnings. Relying on the age at which they’d wish to enact Coast FIRE, they’ll must do the calculations with that age and the quantity of their retirement accounts at the moment. Proper now, they look like on observe, however once more, they’ll should re-assess with the precise Coast FIRE age in thoughts.

2) Money: $50,548

Between their 4 completely different checking/financial savings accounts, they’ve $50,548 in money. I’m undecided I perceive the necessity for 4 completely different accounts and, if it have been me, I might consolidate to at least one, high-yield account. However, if there’s a stable motive for having 4 accounts, go for it! It’s not “flawed” to have completely different accounts, it’s simply not essentially the most environment friendly and it doesn’t benefit from rates of interest since three of their accounts earn 0% in curiosity. Right here’s the mathematics on that:

In the event that they moved this $50,548 into American Categorical’ Excessive Yield Financial savings account, which earns 1% curiosity as of this writing, in a single 12 months their $50,548 would develop to $51,053 (affiliate hyperlink). They’d earn $505 per 12 months simply by having their cash on this excessive curiosity account. By the best way, the rates of interest on financial savings accounts are just like the ONE benefit of the Feds elevating rates of interest.

By way of their emergency fund–which is definitely accessible money held in a checking or financial savings account–Kait and Dave are in nice form. You need to have between three and 6 months’ price of your bills in your emergency fund. They spend $4,534 per thirty days, which suggests their emergency fund needs to be within the vary of $13,602 ($4,534 x 3) to $27,204 ($4,534 x 6). In mild of that, they’re truly overbalanced on money, however I perceive their impulse for retaining further money available. In the event that they do plan to remediate the basement/basis points within the close to future, they’ll want this money to pay for the repair.

3) Investments: $71,354

Backyard sourdough focaccia

I commend Kait and Dave for having a taxable funding account (which means non-retirement funds invested within the broader inventory market). And I doubly commend them for choosing a low-fee brokerage with a complete market index fund. Excellent job. Should you’d wish to be taught extra about investing, I extremely advocate the ebook that Kait talked about, The Easy Path to Wealth (affiliate hyperlink).

4) Youngsters: $26,309

Between their 529s and funding accounts, Kait and Dave’s children have $26,309 invested on their behalf. Properly completed! The one caveat right here is for Kait and Dave to all the time make sure they’re “placing their very own oxygen masks on first” with regard to investing for his or her kids. I too have 529s for my children and there’s nothing flawed with saving and investing to your children’ futures, you simply should be sure it’s not coming on the detriment of your personal future (i.e. your retirement). That’s not the case with Kait and Dave, nevertheless it’s a caveat I all the time like to say since children can take out loans for school, however you may’t take out loans to your retirement!

5) Gold & Silver Cash: $112,000

Early spring hike

This can be a actually giant share of their web price. If it have been me, I might fastidiously take into account this resolution from a threat perspective. Is that this held in a financial institution? (please don’t reply this on-line!). If not, this represents an unlimited threat of loss through theft, pure catastrophe, and so on. When you will have a bodily asset–like gold cash or a home–there’s a large safety threat that simply doesn’t exist with, say, an index fund.

I additionally query the longterm viability of getting such an outsized share of their web price in cash. To every their very own, however I encourage Kait and Dave to contemplate the return they’re seeing on this funding, the inherent dangers, and what this cash may earn out there (if invested for the long run).


  1. Solicit bids from contractors for fixing the basement/basis points. Separate this price from the price of constructing an condominium/ADU. Focus vitality first on remediating the prevailing downside.
    • You possibly can’t know if that is price it till you get bids for the work. Get as many bids as you may and comparability store.
  2. As soon as the muse is mounted (and absolutely paid for), begin to take into account the condominium/ADU query with Kait’s dad within the dialog. See above for all concerns and attainable inquiries to broach with him.
  3. If Kait desires to work full-time, she ought to decide how a lot she’d earn from full-time work and the way a lot childcare would price. She must also take into account the emotional aspect of this query and make the choice that feels proper to her. There isn’t a proper or flawed reply right here and, as a result of their years of frugality, she doesn’t HAVE to work extra if she doesn’t need to.
  4. It seems that Kait and Dave are on observe for Coast FIRE, however that quantity may very well be tremendously impacted by how a lot they determine/must spend on remediating the home, Kait’s profession, future earnings and at what age they’d like to succeed in Coast FIRE. They’ll control these calculations themselves through the years.
  5. Take into account consolidating the 4 checking/financial savings accounts into one high-yield account.
  6. Take into account the dangers/advantages/longterm progress potential of holding a lot of their web price in gold and silver cash.
  7. Really feel assured within the data that they’ve made glorious monetary selections through the years, which suggests they are going to in all probability proceed to take action!

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation do you will have for Kait? We’ll each reply to feedback, so please be at liberty to ask questions!

Would you want your personal case research to seem right here on Frugalwoods? E-mail me ([email protected]) your temporary story and we’ll discuss.

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