Investments without large fees

Investing is not one of our best endeavors and many just don’t take the time to learn. With only a few minutes left in the year, here is some information you might not want to miss.  

I was just listening to the ChooseFI podcast and found out a few things to pass along.  First, I recommend listening to them as you journey through life whether you are planning to retire early or not.  

HSAs or Health Savings accounts for any high deductible insurance plan that is define as 1350 for an individual or 2700 for a family.   You can put away 3450 individual or 6900 for a family in an HSA TAX FREE.   Any medical expenses can be taken out TAX FREE at any time / any year!  This of course means you have to keep your receipts for your accountant for years.  After age 65, it acts like a traditional IRA or can be used for medical expenses later in life.  If your plan started dec 1 you could find the entire amount.  Fidelity now has a zero fee HSA management account (funds or investments places in the account may have some fees).  

This is way different than an FSA as those funds don’t fully roll-over year to year.   these funds are for your yearly medical expenses and are typically use or lose.

We are typically interested in low fees and trying to keep our income in our pockets.  Mutual fund investments are just about the most common across the nation and ChooseFI often touts the Vanguard total stock index fund or VTSAX which had a hefty $10k minimum which has now changed to a $3k minimum for getting started.  This opens the fund up to those who are wanting to get started investing at one of the lowest fee mutual funds on the market at an annual fee of just 0.04%! 

Some of you may know these things but the mutual fund information is pretty new.  If you are thinking of setting up the Solo401k it has to be done and funded by the end of the year and if you are looking at a sep IRA it must be done and funded by April 15.   

It’s time to get your investment on! 

Change is inevitable

It’s Thursday and I’m in my last two days of Massachusetts. This is what I’m doing.  I’ve confirmed my credentials for Texas and started the credentialing in Virginia. Virginia is a different group as the previous took 8 months and came back with telling me I would have to resubmit everything and starting over.  I’ll never deal with a group that does that again.  

So, I’m preparing my luggage and work bags.  I’m making sure copies of hotel bills are sent to the agency.  I’m making sure the final hourly bill is sent tomorrow after work.  I’m slowly packing and getting things ready to go.  I’ll be doing homework the next two nights so more time can be spent with family when I get home.   

I sent in my foreign corporation documents by fax and mail to Texas.  This took 4 minutes from searching the foreign corporation and Texas Secretary of State.   

Min the meantime I’ve been in contact with my accountant.  Talking about the change of location.   

I’ve tracked my route to Texas and planned the day of start in Texas so that all is ready and done for a good and quick start.  I have a badge and person that I’m meeting.  Hotel is set and ready to go.  Seems all I need to do is show up and get started. 

Otherwise we are working on the real estate.  We are offering currently on another potential rental, but we are only getting it if it’s at a deal level. The market is turning again to a buyer level in some environments like where I invest, YouTube for Francisco (growing and getting ready to monetize with ads), and getting Elizabeth set for schools and bank accounts (preparing to pay her annually for work). We are finally hunting for what may be our November vacation as we haven’t done a just Francisco and I vacation in a year or two ;).  The journey continues.   


Debt reduction as a locum.

I’ve been so fortunate that Francisco is an amazing parent!  Elizabeth has been at home with Francisco 90% of the time and we found a great babysitter through a friend.  Francisco has been knocking it out-of-the-Park with his YouTube channel/ website   

I looked at our debt 7 months ago and was so stressed that we were over $250k in debt not including our home.  I traded my truck for less than half the cost new SUV.  I went to work on locums and raised my rate while telling the place I needed any hours or call I could get.  I’ve been away from the family returning about every 4 weeks for a few days to a week.  We’ve still had time to visit family and a good “working” vacation.  I’m happy to report that our net worth is positive and debt is below 100K.  I’m going to a 2 week on 2 week off lifestyle with intermittent days on my weeks off that will allow us to keep decreasing our debt and allow me more time at home!  Our rental properties have picked up and are now paying for one new property per year and paying thier own expenses.   

I have approximately 3 more weeks away before getting started on my new locum contract!  I’m 12 weeks into my MBA carrying a 3.8 gpa and learning weekly.  I get to pour over financial reports and am doing better each week with my own reports as well!   

I continue to consider business opportunities and think that with time 1,2 or 3 could become something just like the rentals, YouTube or the websites.   

I just wanted to check in and thank you all for the positivity and thank our Locum professionals for keeping us in great standing so we can work, travel, & provide for our families!  We are so blessed!   


Flexibility with Travel, Work, & Vacations

The flexibility & vacation time in working locums drew me in and kept me as a locum nurse Anesthetist.  

Work flexibility with a few facilities around the country has allowed the opportunities to do more with my time. 

Recently, my family visited Costa Rica and extended family!  I was able to speak and although I was a little excited, nervous, & even got a little lost in speaking; it was great to see other CRNAs and have them meet the family.   

We moved to Virginia for surrogacy and failed our first attempts.  It was a true and sad failure but due to locums I’ve been able to pay down the debt that occurred for this attempt.   

We’re paying down our debt load and continued to build the real estate venture over the past 6 months.  It’s been amazing to follow a move and family changes over the past 6 months.  I’ve been able to build on relationships and although working a lot... we are still well on our way to continued financial success in our lives.  Although, I know it’s possible to do this in one location with one job, it’s getting done on a condensed schedule.   

Life, flexibility and continue strong work ethic are leading to change as I continue all the things that are important in our family life.   

Finally, school is just about to finish the first 10 week term toward the MBA.  Nothing game-changing but working on a business mindset continues to be a fun opportunity for change despite my whining and complaining :).   

Totally looking forward to the coming weeks and months!  More to come. 

Work a little more

I seem to be one that says... “OK, I’ll just work a little more...”. I think it’s fine to say that once in a while for a one time expense but I have learned that saying that on long term expenses... stinks.  I honestly think I’ve thought about this and am much more attuned to.  It always seems there is something that happens just about the time that you make a little extra.  The dog has a vet visit, a crown is needed at the dentist, or a plumber is needed.  So, FI movement says pay off things rapidly and get 6 months or more in savings etc... I get it, I have to work on this and I know it’s do-able!  This is the first weeks of my 6 month run on this.  I get a paycheck next week and that already has it’s assignment.  But I’m assigning 3/4 of it and leaving 1/4 in the bank account for safety.  I know most emergencies can go on a credit card but I have a tendency to fear over-drawing an account ... it happened once 20 years ago!  Mom would tell me to get a checkbook register and write it all down.  Many people recommend writing down every single expense but I have yet to do this while on the road.  

This week I’m home and I want to go through and make sure I’m not stuck in subscriptions or reoccurring payments for apps or things I don’t need or worse just don’t use.   

I’m so exciting to be sitting in the airport and heading home for the week.  Many people tell me it’s about being home and taking the time to be present.  I totally agree and know that in the coming 6 months I’ll be going against that somewhat but those 6 months will make possible time to be home with the family more often and more in tune with all.  I’m feeling so excited to just be working toward a little freedom from payments ... not to mention the anticipation of the road of financial independence.  I hope all know I appreciate the comments... despite my reluctance to get rid of everything in a fire sale ;).  Have an amazing weekend and I’ll write more while at Mid-year Assembly! 

What about earnings?

What about earnings and potential earnings?  So, many offered the advice of... 

Selling off all assets in order to pay off debt and then re-buy assets.  

Selling the houses in a stagnant market that doesn't really go up or down would basically mean selling at a loss and then trying to re-buy them later as they are money making assets vs stocks or retirement which doesn't really make $$$.  Now, if you said take a leverage your IRA for a reduced interest rate that might make sense but I don't have enough in those IRAs to make it worth doing.  

The homes are a life insurance policy that my family would be ok if they had to go and return to a home and I died.  They would have money coming in for life that would ultimately cover the bills.  So, to sell them would give no piece of mind.  The life insurance would more than pay the bills and what's owed and they would be ok.  

The goal in going through all of this is to think about earnings as a 1099 and where the $$ go.  I may not have $200K in student loans but $100K in credit cards is pretty bad but not Rock Bottom as someone mentioned.  I say that because I have never been at the point that I can not pay the bills.  

There are some slow months that came in at about $10K for the month and having 2-3 of those months and not actively paying down the debt is what caused me the point of freaking out a little.  As a locum though, I know that if I'm willing to travel and work hard with a plan... I can wipe out most of this debt over the coming 6 months.  So, that is what I'm writing about.  I'm tired of not wondering if I can pay my bills... I'm just tired of having the bill altogether.  

I figured out the payment of the bills comes to just under 7K/month with the house-payment, rental payments and income not included as those are a long term play.  That doesn't include paying extra or paying much in taxes.  Sounds like a ton to those not sitting in the position that I can work hard and pay down over 100K in just about 6 months and be much more healthy from a balance sheet perspective.  

I have a monthly running total of debts and will be updating all of this over the coming week.  That said, I have paid in 9K to my Sep IRA this month, 10K in tax payments and 10K toward credit card debt.  That is substantial for being 2 weeks into the month.  As I continue down this path to financial independence... I don't expect it to be easy.  I don't expect to be blowing 10K here and there but making a concerted and real effort to be more responsible.  

With that said.  We are holding off on baby number 2.  This process will have to start over in 6 months as it is a 2 year process each time we do it.  We started the process and made a valliant effort with our surrogate without the agency fees etcetra. However, that attempt failed twice.  Had we been successful the $50K would have been well worth it.  Unfortunately, we did not have success and that means we have to stop, regroup, re-fund that savings.  We are not rushing into this and we are not trying to our detriment.  We knew that this was possible but we also discussed that had we failed we would have to take the time before starting over.  

I took the truck to car max and offered to sell it back but they took blue book value and slashed 20% off of that value and then offered that for the truck which would have put us at zero for the truck.  Then when I went back to wanting a truck I would have been paying carmax more for a truck in 6 months than I would have saved in truck payments and that they had offered for a smaller less equipped truck and so it was a better option to keep the truck and just continue the plan to pay it off after the credit cards.  

The house in Virginia.  We like the home and need a place to be.  We have friends in the area and it is central with good community and school for Elizabeth in the coming years.  It's not perfect and hindsight being 20/20.... I'd have done that differently but there isn't a way to sell the house and just go down the street.  We could rent it in a year or two and be just fine or at least break even but the family is happy there and I can hopefully get credentialing done and start locums in the future ... in that area.  Had the credentialing not been delayed for 5 months by ... I don't know exactly whom, I wouldn't have to be traveling away from family so much.  

So, maybe this helps with some insight into the thinking.  Honestly, this is so all can see the flexibility and ability to pay down significantly utilizing locums to do so. This also will show how in the future that debt pay down can then be used to advance my rentals and our savings to a more comfortable place and the same locum job used to bust my butt working.... can become an opportunity to slow down and be with the family as we grow the family.  

Have an amazing weekend and enjoy the journey!  I know we are :)