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  • #16
    I also agree that the 19K car loan is reasonable given your salary and the need for reliable transportation to work. A new base Honda Accord costs that much at a year end clearance.

    Comment


    • #17
      Thank you all, extremely valuable!  Just to clarify or comment on a few things:




      If you want to follow the 20% rule-of-thumb, that’s $80k a year you’d need to save for retirement. $55k + 11k + 6.9k = $73k, so close.
      Click to expand...


      So 55K comes from IRA/401K, 11K comes from ROTH?  6.9K comes from what?  HSA?


      You’ve literally already dodged a bullet with that car accident. Imagine if you would have been paralyzed from the waist down and couldn’t work.
      Click to expand...


      You said it.  Totally lucky on that one, and I think about it every day.  Even drove by my accident site today.  I got lucky.  I swear it was a sign from god and I'm not even religious at all.


      Are you guys sure you really want to own a home at this point?
      Click to expand...


      I wish I was paying my rent/mortgage in a way that we don't have to move again.  I hate moving and we have moved several times.  Right now we are renting a single family home in Bay Area, for 2000 sq ft for $4150/month.  It's a steal.  I'm very thankful that our landlords love us and I think they really have no reason to sell their home.

      But you, and/or someone else bring up a very good point.  Maybe we just stay here until the kids go to college (knock on wood...) and then buy something smaller like a 1500 sq ft condo or townhome or something.


      My take on the original post is there is not enough money coming in vs expenses.
      Click to expand...


      Well...just did a spreadsheet.  These are *monthly* estimates...and highly accurate ones.

      Salary = $34,000

      Taxes (30%) = -10,200

      Student Debt (3.25%) = -1,460

      Car (0%) = -310

      Rent = -4,150

      Kaiser Health Ins = 1,489

      Phone/TV/Internet/Utilities = -683

      HSA = -562

      SEP-IRA = -4,500

      These add up to $23,354, so I have over $10K a month left over to pay for food/gas/toys/stuff, plus more retirement, 529, etc.  But I probably don't make enough to save substantially for a house.




      Debt/Lifestyle:

      -Debatable on which takes priority.  Student debt repayment gradually vs saving for downpayment to get into a home — personal choice on this — lots of debates of virtues of either — Personal choice which to attack or split decision
      Click to expand...


      StarTrekDoc loved your post.  Thanks.  On some level we are gonna need a place to live but maybe we don't try to buy in 3-4 years and instead wait for the kids to go to college.  Youngest is in 6th grade, so we wait another 6 years?  Jeez.

      I was a software engineer for 8 years prior to becoming a doctor.  It was a good change for my career, and I knew it would be difficult financially for a period of time.  But I never knew it would be this difficult.

       


      One choice my husband made during those first 3.5 years was to moonlight. He picked up an extra 4-5 shifts a month, some of which required hours of commuting. He did this because he knew A) he would never have more energy for working his butt off than he did right out of residency, and B) it’s better to have the money early on and get it started compounding. Oh, and C) it was kinda interesting to work in different hospital systems with different patient bases.

      I think I know where you are getting at....I am working extra shifts.  I'm working about 18-20/month.


      I would be curious why you took out more debt (car loan) if you say you abhor it? Not trying to be nasty or nit-picky I just think you need to explore more fully what your actual attitude towards debt is. Presumably insurance paid out on your car? Not to get too Dave Ramsey on you but if you have a car loan after a wreck it means you upgraded, not replaced.

      Insurance did pay out on my car, got 5K.  Thought long and very hard about this.  Was planning on buying another car for about $14K like I did before.  I drive a lot for work and I just don't see buying a car for $5,000 with 100K miles on it.  It turns out that the used car (Mazda) I wanted for $14,000 that is 5 years old, you get the same car new for $19,000.  I don't feel bad about this decision.  I receive a tremendous amount of happiness walking up it.  I remember WhiteCoatInvestor talking about how buying a car should be like buying a dishwasher or laundry machine.  Never on credit and other things...I'm not going to beat myself up over this.  It's pretty miserable now paying off all these things I work 18-20 shifts a month.  Can I enjoy the 1 hr ride to and from work?


      Regarding your salary and what you mentioned, I would agree with you in trying to keep your job. Your salary is very good and I’d say is above the average for EM. Not sure if it’s location specific, but in many other parts of the country it would be hard to get to that number (unless of course you’d be taking a lot of extra shifts, moonlighting, etc…). On the other hand, if you move to low cost area, obviously your money would go a longer way, but at the same time you need to be happy where you are.

      From the little bit of research I've done CA is a good place to practice.  I did a very simple calculation last year.  I added up all the hours I worked and divided that into my 1099 total and it came to $250/hr.  I am working 18-19 shifts/month though and it's grating.  Very little other time to enjoy things.

       




      About the car, 19k loan is very reasonable! Not sure why others found this too much.

      Good luck!


      Yea I don't think it is unreasonable.  It's not like I bought a 50K car.  And I love cars.  Some people like boats.

       

       

       

      So it looks like the things to do NOW is, in order

      - get more life insurance, and get disability

      - max out retirement savings, saving min 80K a year

      - with any extra money can pay off student debt OR save towards house

      - help contribute to college fund

       

       

      Few other things

      - there is a good chance Kaiser (I work there part time) will ask me to work for them in the next 1-2 years.  I will probably take it too as you get a pension and that drastically changes the retirement formula.

      - my wife can also get a job too.  She even said she wants to work so her money can be used as a downpayment on a house!  I estimate she can make $65K - $85K / yr.

       

      Comment


      • #18
        --  commute 1 hour?  BA there's a lot of mass transit - couple with Uber for the  final miles and probably still cheaper than your commute car.

        --   the time is can be right for that move closer to work with the kids in middle school still.  We moved from central valley to San Diego during those ages.  The windshield time along is 1 shift a week right there.

        -- Kaiser may not bring in the salary as you are now; but the pension+401k+health benefits are second to none.   If that's in the equation; perhaps something more fringe BA would be in the cards with modest adjustment --Central Valley/Sacramento/East Bay/Salinas

        Comment


        • #19



           


          I would be curious why you took out more debt (car loan) if you say you abhor it? Not trying to be nasty or nit-picky I just think you need to explore more fully what your actual attitude towards debt is. Presumably insurance paid out on your car? Not to get too Dave Ramsey on you but if you have a car loan after a wreck it means you upgraded, not replaced.

          Insurance did pay out on my car, got 5K.  Thought long and very hard about this.  Was planning on buying another car for about $14K like I did before.  I drive a lot for work and I just don’t see buying a car for $5,000 with 100K miles on it.  It turns out that the used car (Mazda) I wanted for $14,000 that is 5 years old, you get the same car new for $19,000.  I don’t feel bad about this decision.  I receive a tremendous amount of happiness walking up it.  I remember WhiteCoatInvestor talking about how buying a car should be like buying a dishwasher or laundry machine.  Never on credit and other things…I’m not going to beat myself up over this.  It’s pretty miserable now paying off all these things I work 18-20 shifts a month.  Can I enjoy the 1 hr ride to and from work?

           




          About the car, 19k loan is very reasonable! Not sure why others found this too much.

          Good luck!


          Yea I don’t think it is unreasonable.  It’s not like I bought a 50K car.  And I love cars.  Some people like boats.

           
          Click to expand...


          19k is absolutely reasonable, and you certainly can enjoy your commute. I'm not nearly as partisan as WCI on never ever having a car payment. My point was that if you abhor debt you should explore why you went farther into it. It's really easy to make these little decisions about how you want to enjoy your commute or you deserve this or that toy and next thing you know you still have a bunch of payments when you're 50 years old.

          Comment


          • #20






            If you want to follow the 20% rule-of-thumb, that’s $80k a year you’d need to save for retirement. $55k + 11k + 6.9k = $73k, so close. 
            Click to expand…


            So 55K comes from IRA/401K, 11K comes from ROTH?  6.9K comes from what?  HSA?


            HSA family limit is 6.9k. But even beyond that, you can save for retirement in "regular" (taxable) accounts. Don't limit yourself to only the retirement savings that are tax-advantaged.

             

            Big picture, though, are you SURE you need to live where you do? You said yourself that finances are making things harder than you expected. $250/hr is not exceptional wage for your field. In fact, it's about median. And hour+ of commuting is brutal. Just for fun, why not find a job posting somewhere you think you *might* be able to live, and take a trip there to check it out? Interview for a position. Have a real estate agent show you around. Heck, even just spend a few minutes looking at houses for sale in places like Omaha or Des Moines and see if it surprises you.

            You're paying a huge premium to live in a place with desirable weather, but you're working so much you're barely benefiting from it.

            Comment


            • #21


              I think I know where you are getting at….I am working extra shifts. I’m working about 18-20/month.
              Click to expand...




              Very little other time to enjoy things.
              Click to expand...




              It’s pretty miserable now paying off all these things I work 18-20 shifts a month. Can I enjoy the 1 hr ride to and from work?
              Click to expand...


              You can see the pattern from your one post. A lot of shifts with very little time to enjoy life. Do you get time to enjoy family outings. Weekend vacations. Time for kid's school activities?. As you know time flies and if you don't spend time with the kids now it will never be back. I am unsure how much quality time you have, after your exhausting work.

              Is there a family or something there that ties you to Bay area or CA?. I am not saying that you should move to a Podunk place in the middle of nowhere but there are many areas of the country that gives good lifestyle, great pay, good weather and other activities that make life worth living.

              Comment


              • #22





                I think I know where you are getting at….I am working extra shifts. I’m working about 18-20/month. 
                Click to expand…




                Very little other time to enjoy things. 
                Click to expand…




                It’s pretty miserable now paying off all these things I work 18-20 shifts a month. Can I enjoy the 1 hr ride to and from work? 
                Click to expand…


                You can see the pattern from your one post. A lot of shifts with very little time to enjoy life. Do you get time to enjoy family outings. Weekend vacations. Time for kid’s school activities?. As you know time flies and if you don’t spend time with the kids now it will never be back. I am unsure how much quality time you have, after your exhausting work.

                Is there a family or something there that ties you to Bay area or CA?. I am not saying that you should move to a Podunk place in the middle of nowhere but there are many areas of the country that gives good lifestyle, great pay, good weather and other activities that make life worth living.
                Click to expand...


                Not sure it's that easy to change location, especially when you're married and have kids. Maybe extended family is around, or maybe all the social network of friends is there.

                Comment


                • #23


                  Not sure it’s that easy to change location, especially when you’re married and have kids. Maybe extended family is around, or maybe all the social network of friends is there.
                  Click to expand...


                  I agree if the extended family is vital or one is taking care of elderly parents, living in that are is unavoidable.

                  But as far as married with family and kids, that is a toss up. The OP's quality of life ( from his description) is not great. His spouse is not working. His children are not yet in high school, as per their ages. If there is a window of opportunity to move and have better life, this is it. Two years later when one kid is in 10th grade, it may be a bit late.

                  If you have lived in one place for a long time you think that is the greatest place and everything else is inferior or "not up to our standards". Only when you explore and move do you realize that the place you lived was a s****le. I know, I used to have similar views of NJ when I lived there.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Let's see OPs reply.  There maybe a reason for anchoring in the City area.   If so, mass transit can be leveraged nicely.   Also moving to the fringes and still be earshot of the City is great and minimal disruption.

                    Moving with middle school kids is not a bad time.  We did it.  Our kids still have childhood friends hanging on snapchat and instagram from then and makes great visits too---very different from our days of moving away.

                    Comment


                    • #25


                      . I am not saying that you should move to a Podunk place in the middle of nowhere
                      Click to expand...


                      Hey now, we prefer "geographically challenged" not Podunk or Flyover country..

                      Comment


                      • #26




                        —  commute 1 hour?  BA there’s a lot of mass transit – couple with Uber for the  final miles and probably still cheaper than your commute car.

                        —   the time is can be right for that move closer to work with the kids in middle school still.  We moved from central valley to San Diego during those ages.  The windshield time along is 1 shift a week right there.

                        — Kaiser may not bring in the salary as you are now; but the pension+401k+health benefits are second to none.   If that’s in the equation; perhaps something more fringe BA would be in the cards with modest adjustment –Central Valley/Sacramento/East Bay/Salinas
                        Click to expand...


                        No mass transit options for me.  Dunno if you are familiar with the Bay Area, I live in North Bay (Marin County) and work in East Bay.  Good news is if I work at Kaiser that is in North Bay and 8 minutes from the house I'm renting.


                        HSA family limit is 6.9k. But even beyond that, you can save for retirement in “regular” (taxable) accounts. Don’t limit yourself to only the retirement savings that are tax-advantaged.
                        Click to expand...


                        To me, seems like HSA shouldn't necessarily be counted towards retirement.  I understand it's a great deal (triple-tax savings...) but we are constantly drawing from it to pay for medicines, one of my son's regular psych appts, dental appts, etc.  For instance, over the past three years I have max'ed contributions (about 20K), yet only have 8K.

                         




                        Big picture, though, are you SURE you need to live where you do? You said yourself that finances are making things harder than you expected. $250/hr is not exceptional wage for your field. In fact, it’s about median. And hour+ of commuting is brutal. Just for fun, why not find a job posting somewhere you think you *might* be able to live, and take a trip there to check it out? Interview for a position. Have a real estate agent show you around. Heck, even just spend a few minutes looking at houses for sale in places like Omaha or Des Moines and see if it surprises you.

                        You’re paying a huge premium to live in a place with desirable weather, but you’re working so much you’re barely benefiting from it.
                        Click to expand...


                        No we don't NEED to live here, but most people don't NEED to live where they do.  I was raised in Metro Detroit and my parents are still there, but I have no reason to move to Michigan.  Nothing there for us.  My wife even told me not to rank UofM ER residency high because she didn't want to live in MI.  My spouse has several family members in the Bay Area.  About 10 people.  Before med school I lived here and was part of the dot.com boom/bust.  Met my wife here.  We visit her family a few times/month.

                        Additionally my mother-in-law has advanced cancer and only has a limited amount of time.  Another reason to come to the Bay Area.

                        So, when I graduated residency from NY City, we talked about where to move.  We decided back to the Bay Area because of family.  If that weren't a big issue, my wife would have wanted to stay in NYC!  She had a job paying > 100K and loved Manhattan.  I didn't like the city.

                        After moving to the Bay Area, during our first year took a driving vacation to Portland and Seattle.  I have a surgeon friend who lives in Seattle.  I though I would like Portland, but did NOT enjoy our visit there.  I would live in Seattle or very close by in a heartbeat but even their COL is getting up there.  Plus, at the time we went a few years ago, there were no ER jobs within 2 hrs of Seattle.  And...from my research OR and WA are not good income states for ER docs.

                        There are lots of very nice places to live in America.  I am much more willing to live in suburbia than my wife.  For instance, she wishes she was back in SF.

                        Anyway, some of the best advice I've read here is the notion that maybe we just rent until the kids go off to college in 6 years.  I'm much more open to that.  Right now our rent is $4,150 monthly!!!!  And where I live in Marin County, that is a steal!  Rents for similar places are all $1,000-$2,000 more.  Now would it be better to move somewhere and pay $1,500 / month for a similar place?  Sure.

                        Moving is challenging.  I work in two hospital systems and three hospitals, and I'm very fortunate that I have good jobs, these are good places to work.  So if I were to move anywhere, I would first want to moonlight for 4-6 months to make sure I like the ER.  I think it's absolute folly to move to a new city where we potentially know nobody, and now I hate my job!!!  If my wife works again which I think is becoming more and more likely, she works in finance and her jobs are in big cities, finance-like cities.

                         


                        You can see the pattern from your one post. A lot of shifts with very little time to enjoy life. Do you get time to enjoy family outings. Weekend vacations. Time for kid’s school activities?. As you know time flies and if you don’t spend time with the kids now it will never be back. I am unsure how much quality time you have, after your exhausting work.
                        Click to expand...


                        No, I don't have enough time.  And I'm often tired.  I don't know what to do.  I'm trying my best.  Would love to work 14x/month, but then I wouldn't have been able to pay 8-10K/month paying down my student debt for 2 years.  I need to win the lotto.  All I want is $500K!!


                        But as far as married with family and kids, that is a toss up. The OP’s quality of life ( from his description) is not great. His spouse is not working. His children are not yet in high school, as per their ages. If there is a window of opportunity to move and have better life, this is it. Two years later when one kid is in 10th grade, it may be a bit late.
                        Click to expand...


                        This is a serious thing we have to talk about.

                         

                         

                         

                         

                         

                        Comment


                        • #27


                          No, I don’t have enough time. And I’m often tired. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying my best. Would love to work 14x/month, but then I wouldn’t have been able to pay 8-10K/month paying down my student debt for 2 years. I need to win the lotto. All I want is $500K!!
                          Click to expand...


                          Genuinely sorry to hear about it. But with your MIL advanced cancer you might have no other choice but to live where you are.

                          Hang in there. Maybe once your wife starts working, the student loans can be paid off and if you take the Kaiser job the lifestyle will become easier.

                          If I were you I would spend the time with the children and not be so anxious about paying the student loans at a faster clip. Pay at usual rate and once the children leave for college you will have the free time to earn and ramp up the payments. I also would not be too aggressive about 529 since in state education in CA is very very good at the higher tier colleges and very affordable for California residents.

                           

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Agree with above, if i were you i'd definitely cut a little on the shifts and try to spend more time with your family. Last thin you want is to burn out. You'll feel much better once you get a better life insurance and disability, that will give you some peace of mind.

                            Personally I think if you keep on having a consistent income in the 300-350k range (with the possibility that your wife gets back to work and add some more), and maximize your retirement accounts, you will be fine. Assuming you stay healthy, you still can work for another 25 years. Good luck!

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