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Midlife crisis crossroads... any and all help and/or opinions appreciated

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  • Midlife crisis crossroads... any and all help and/or opinions appreciated

    This is my first time posting, so I hope I’m doing this correctly. I am so sorry if I am not, I feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing with anything lately. My husband and I are having a bit of a midlife crisis (hard to say which of us at this point) and are at a crossroads in deciding where we go from here.

    Stage of Life: Both 34 year old veterinarians, he will hit 10 years in practice and I will be at 9 this year.

    Social Situation: Both working full time, three kids, 3.5y, 2y, and 5 months

    Annual Income: ~$475K

    Net Worth: according to Mint just over 1 million (I’m not sure this is correct)

    Tax Bracket: 35% (35% Federal, 0% State)

    State of residence: Texas

    Insurance Policies:

    30 year term life about $1.5M each

    We have disability policies but I would have to check on the details.

    Low deductible low premium healthcare plans provided by each of our employers, I have the kids on mine because it is better.

    Adequate auto and home insurance

    Liability provided by our employers

    • Mortgage: $270K at 4.25%
    • 2nd Mortgage $725K at 0%
    • Student loans are paid off
    • His car loan: $8K at 4% - will pay off this fall
    • My car and truck are owned outright
    • No credit card debt, balance paid frequently
    • Total debt: $1M

    • House: Zillow value $750K
    • Property: Zillow value $850K
    • His 401(k): $80K
    • Her 401(k)s: $95K + $9K
    • Backdoor ROTH IRAs: $12K each
    • 529s: 25K, 17K, 3K respectively
    • Taxable retirement through NWM: $73K
    • Emergency Fund: usually about 60K, currently only at 49K due to large tax bill

    Portfolio Size: $281K + kids $45K
    • His 401(k) 28%
      • Mass Mutual
    • Her 401(k)s: 37%
      • Fidelity 34%
      • Voya 3% - this is the current employer with a match, but was only able to contribute 4K ish due to high earner limits
    • Her Roth: 4%
      • Northwestern Mutual
    • His Roth: 4%
      • Northwestern Mutual
    • Taxable account: 26%
      • Northwestern Mutual
    • I left the kids out of the percentages since that money isn't for us... I'm sorry if I should be including it.


    We bought a property on a whim last fall, it was well-priced and a great location. My parents currently hold the note, and we intend to build our forever house there. It also currently has a shack (literally) and another small house on the property which could both be rented (the shack currently is tenanted and has been by the same dude since 1989 for $500/month). My husband has had the dream of traveling in our airstream rather than being tied down, so we are looking at the option of doing that instead of building after we sell our current house (going on the market in 2 weeks). We are trying to figure out what the heck to do financially, when it comes to our jobs, the property, pretty much everything.

    1) My husband would have to leave his job if we were traveling, and could be a relief vet (1099). The market is great right now for relief docs. My job as CMO of a small company could theoretically be remote, but is 60-70 hours a week and involves a lot of travel to hospitals, and I'm not sure I would want to do that if the whole point of being on the road is to spend time enjoying the family and travel. So my first question is if there would be more benefit in me working my job remotely, but maintaining health insurance and some retirement accounts (albeit limited due to high earner limits listed above).

    2) My company is being bought, so I may lose my job anyway. In which case, if both of us are 1099s what are your best tips? We would need health insurance from somewhere and would need to set up additional retirement options (I'm assuming).

    3) Renting the house/land on our property... we're thinking this would be helpful to offset the cost of keeping it until we're ready to live there full time. Any suggestions with that?

    4) I have no idea if we seem to be on track financially. I do not feel like we are saving enough. If all of these things in questions 1-3 change and we hit the road, I'm estimating that we would still need to be bringing in about 300k per year combined in order to maintain our current investment amounts and projected living expenses on the road. Is that enough? Should we budget more?

    If you've made it this far and are willing to chime in, I really truly appreciate you.

  • #2
    Wow. Y’all are going through a lot. It might help if you could give us an idea of what kind of savings rate you’ve had the last couple years and which buckets get that savings


    • #3
      First, welcome.

      Second, breathe.

      A lot to unpack here, and I’ll defer most of the details to others, but you’re doing fine.

      You have no student debt, no credit card debt, a lot of equity in your primary home, a high income, life insurance, and disability insurance. All great!

      With both of you working and three kids under 4, I have no doubt you’re exhausted. Would be hard not to be.

      Yes, you could have more in retirement savings and liquid assets. Seems like you could benefit from some better investment options as well, and I’m sure other will comment on the second property purchase.

      But my main questions are how much are you putting away each year toward retirement (not emergency fund, not college fund, but retirement), and how long are you and your husband planning on working?


      • #4
        PedsCCM right now including the kids college accounts we're at about 20% going into savings. Roughly 9% 401K, 5% Mutual funds, 3% 529s, 3% IRAs.

        With all of the home renovation stuff happening to get our house sold we have been spending a lot there so I'm hoping we can move some of that into savings. If we hit the road with the kids we will also be able to cut 46K of daycare out of the equation, but we'll be limited on how much my husband and I can work since someone will have to be home with the kids.


        • #5
          bovie Thank you. We are imminently selling our primary residence, and will have the option to downsize into the 1200sq ft tenant house on the new property if we want to.
          We are currently putting about $75,000 towards retirement (401Ks, IRAs, mutual funds). We are theoretically on track to retire at age 55, but I would love to retire or go part time much sooner than that, and that is part of the consideration for us too.


          • #6
            You are doing pretty well. Save at least 20% of gross to retirement and you’ll be just fine.

            Im going to reckon northwestern mutual is taking advantage of you financially via fees and you get your taxable and Roth and perhaps 401k accounts over to fidelity or Schwab or vanguard


            • #7
              The big question is how do you feel about living in an airstream for an extended period of time with 3 kids under 5?


              • #8
                Anne I am starting to think NW Mutual was a mistake... I'm trying to figure out how we can correct it. I think Vanguard is probably the answer, I've just been too chicken to take the plunge and move things around. I feel like I don't know enough yet.

                Regarding the kids in the Airstream... I'm willing to give it a shot. My in laws are about to get on the road in their RV and my BIL and SIL just converted a van, so theoretically we may have a lot of help.


                • #9
                  I would suggest looking at the fees you are paying in your northwestern mutual accounts. You should be able to find better accounts at Vanguard or Fidelity. A 1% AUM fee can make a big difference in the long term. There is also something wrong with your investment choices or math if you have been saving 20% per year at 10 years post training or 75K per year for more then 4 years and only have 281K. You should be able to easily roll your roth accounts into a brokerage of your choice by filling out a roll over form but the taxable account may have some tax consequences of rolling it over (although it may not be that significant this year given how down the markets are and what your investment capital gains must have been to have accumulated so little). You should probably meet with a fee only financial advisor or two to go over your investments and come up with a financial plan.


                  • #10
                    Welcome to the Forum. There is a lot of info and many positives. That said, the current numbers don’t add up for the last 9 or 10 years. They really don’t.
                    • You say the parents are currently carrying the land note. What is your plan? $725k at zero interest is propping this up.
                    • A family of 5 needs a reliable source of income and a place to raise those 3 kids. Park that Airstream in the driveway right now or in a campground. You can do that without selling a thing. You don’t need to jeopardize and anything. Just move in this week.
                    • Now this dream house, I just don’t see the pieces of the puzzle coming together for two wandering nomad vets. Listen to me, it’s all good to dream. How are you going to pay for it?
                    • Employed, 1099 at animal hospitals or a private practice are what I know as stable vet opportunities. Cats & dogs, rural livestock, and horses all need vets. I would suggest you figure out the best opportunities.
                    Full disclosure: congratulations on knocking out the student loans debt. That is big. Take a break and recharge.

                    Short version, you aren’t financially independent.
                    You need to payback your parents, save for retirement, and raise the kids. Just like everyone else. You will be fine. Don’t take offense, none intended. I have a brother and a niece that are vets in Texas.

                    NWM is not doing you any favors. Change, you can do better.


                    • #11
                      Wow. Hard to get my arms around all that.
                      I’ll start with the basics. Are you for real? You are two veterinarians under 35 with two properties and three kids under 5 and want to live in an airstream and maybe chuck your current jobs.
                      1. It’s a marathon not a sprint. Find some jobs that you like. One or neither of you need to work full time. You got in Vet school which is tougher than med school and you must have some niche with animals you enjoy.
                      2. Raise your kids in a stable home with pets. You have two properties to choose from, but you could sell both if it meant finding work you would enjoy long term.
                      3. Chuck any investment counts w/ NWM and go for big three Vanguard, Fidelity or Schwab


                      • #12
                        There is a lot to unpack but the good news is there is rush.

                        I do not have time to go into detail on all your stuff right now but welcome!

                        Life is an adventure!

                        You are young, talented and making great money.

                        Now you just need to get more organized, develop a plan, and save like crazy.

                        Is the travel idea something you are excited about?
                        Have you done this before?

                        I would buy the WCI books and read them both:

                        NWM is not a good investment,


                        • #13
                          Hi and welcome! One of my close friends is a vet and you will find many animal people here. Sounds like you will net around $450k from sale of current residence. How much will the dream house cost?

                          Take this from someone who might enjoy a few weeks here and there to roam in airstream but wouldn’t consider pulling up stakes during prime earning years with a handful of little ones although better to do it before they are in school I suppose. In my opinion your current income is solid but savings isn’t where I would be comfortable unplugging from a stable lifestyle just yet. I would probably move into the small home on your property to keep a home base and initially try hitting the road for short periods to see if it is really all you have envisioned.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by klkraft87 View Post
                            bovie Thank you. We are imminently selling our primary residence, and will have the option to downsize into the 1200sq ft tenant house on the new property if we want to.
                            We are currently putting about $75,000 towards retirement (401Ks, IRAs, mutual funds). We are theoretically on track to retire at age 55, but I would love to retire or go part time much sooner than that, and that is part of the consideration for us too.
                            I would keep that housing option open. I would consider moving into that house, if the travel trailer is not fun.
                            Last edited by Tangler; 04-25-2022, 12:45 AM.


                            • #15
                              nephron a couple of things have affected our savings.

                              1) I did an internship my first year out and made 25K, and then was in equine practice making 60K for 1.5 years after that.
                              2) We paid off over 180K in student loans about 5 years ago.
                              3) Our earnings are currently the highest they have ever been, the last two years are the first time we broke $400K.
                              4) We just opened the mutual fund and started the Roth IRAs last year.

                              We do have a financial advisor, however he is with NW Mutual so I don’t think he is likely the best choice (although he hasn’t tried to sell us whole life yet, so there is that). We will likely ditch them once I feel like I have a better grasp on things.