Saturday, July 16, 2022
HomeMoney SavingReader Case Examine: A Doula, A Scientist & Three Youngsters in Alaska

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

Kait and her husband Dave stay in Alaska with their three younger youngsters. 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 neighborhood with their neighbors and associates. Nevertheless, their beloved house has some critical structural points that have to be remediated, however will doubtless be very costly. Let’s journey to Alaska to assist Kait and Dave decide what to do subsequent.

What’s a Reader Case Examine?

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

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

The Aim Of Reader Case Research

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

The Case Examine sequence started in 2016 and, thus far, there’ve been 80 Case ResearchI’ve featured of us with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and internet 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 of us and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender folks. I’ve had cat folks and canine folks. I’ve featured of us from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured folks with PhDs and other people with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured folks of their early 20’s and other people of their late 60’s. I’ve featured of us who stay on farms and folk who stay in New York Metropolis.

The aim is range and solely YOU may also help me obtain that by emailing me your story! In case you haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Examine, I encourage you to use to be a Case Examine participant by emailing your transient story to me at

Reader Case Examine Pointers

I in all probability don’t must say the next since you of us are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please word 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 aim is to create a supportive setting 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 solutions and concepts.

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

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out one of the best 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, as we speak’s Case Examine topic, take it from right here!

Kait’s Story

Household water adventures

Whats up! 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’ll depend upon the house owners of the home).

We love Alaska (that is the place I grew up) and being outdoor. Favourite actions embrace: mountain climbing, snowboarding, tenting, gardening, biking, fishing and mainly something outdoors. I’m fairly enthusiastic about rising and preserving meals. Most summer season weekends you’ll find us out adventuring in a technique 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 at all times hated purchasing and the buildup of stuff. My mind feels cluttered on the within so it’s vital to have my outdoors world organized so I can operate. The knock on impact is that I don’t prefer to deliver issues into the house and due to this fact actually deliberate earlier than buying something. I’ve been a saver endlessly however, till a number 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 variety of time and power on it and that type 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 overlook it!” Since then, I’ve socked away each additional penny with a function.

Huge carrot from our backyard

My husband’s monetary values vastly differ from mine. Whereas I’m glad to do with out for the long run aim of attending to do what I would like after 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 fascinated with 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 method of issues. Having a standard aim is basically useful despite the fact that I don’t suppose ours line up precisely.

He loves his work and truthfully doesn’t suppose he desires to retire early. I’m making an attempt to color the image for him that not all the pieces at all times 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 making an attempt) and I believe it’s actually serving to along with his journey (affiliate hyperlink). I additionally really need our youngsters to be raised in an setting 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 house from scratch, I bake sourdough bread like its my job, purchase in bulk when it should save us over the long run, make the most of Purchase Nothing for gifting and receiving, and all my associates 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 measurement up. I play the loooonnnggg sport ready for issues that we want or need. I’ve solely bought a pair objects of clothes for myself in the previous couple of 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 an enormous backyard and freeze, can, smoke and protect no matter I’m in a position. Throughout apple and berry season, each night time 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’s not 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 at all times 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 along with her earnings. We do eat meat however not loads. Most of our protein comes from beans and lentils. I’m a die-hard Immediate Pot fan!

We stay fully off of Dave’s earnings and all my earnings go into investments. I positively wish to hold residing this fashion.

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

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 will likely be astronomical in comparison with the worth of the home (which is round $400k) and so I really feel like it’s not 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 notice that making monetary choices based mostly on feelings is just not 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 discuss with because the compound. We eat dinner there on Sundays and generally greater than as soon as per week. The household is a mum, dad and a pair of teenage boys who will each be in faculty come fall. We don’t have any household close by, so the emotional, sensible and bodily assist this household supplies for us is priceless. The considered shifting even one block away makes me really feel horrible.

I additionally am now the one little one and will likely be accountable for my getting older father when the time comes (he’s 78). My splendid is to rebuild our home and add an connected condominium for my dad or different guests to make use of when wanted. I’d 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’d stay within the condominium and hire 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 internet zero (or shut) home, which might add to the general prices. My dad has provided to repay no matter we’ve got left on our mortgage if we resolve to rebuild.

2. The Job


My husband is on the high 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 should doubtless imply a transfer or a transition into consulting work.

My vote can be to not transfer, however there are a variety of components that may come into play. If and after we transfer, I wouldn’t wish to promote the home, however we couldn’t hire 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 one of the best a part of your present way of life/routine?

The place we stay particularly and in addition the wilds that we’ve got inside straightforward attain. The sense of neighborhood I’ve from our neighborhood is the one factor that has stored me sane these previous couple of years. After I was 38 weeks pregnant, I had a complete trailer filled 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 slightly 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 achieved. I texted a handful of neighbors an SOS and inside three hours, all the 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’d do something for you” associates in our neighborhood and I’m not positive I might ever replicate this. I assume if I didn’t stay proper right here I wouldn’t even wish to stay in Alaska!

It’s additionally really easy to get out into the mountains or go off tenting right here. I really like the entry to the outside as it’s our fundamental 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 must 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.
  • Life-style:
    • Capable of depart our home for prolonged intervals of time and journey extra.
    • Have the choice to work as needed, not as a result of we want it. Perhaps stay different locations for a pair months at a time (winters listed below are LONG!)
  • Profession:
    • I’d prefer to proceed working as a Postpartum Doula, however in a capability that matches with taking a lot of 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 Charge 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. Price $400k.

Money owed: $0


Car make, mannequin, 12 months Valued at Mileage Paid off?
Customized Camper 1980 Priceless 180,000 Paid off and I’ll by no means do away with 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 particular person!
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 Via the state Goal retirement date funds
Gold & silver cash $112,000
Joint brokerage account $71,354 Oomph, this regarded 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 hold 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
Whole: $658,202


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Mortgage $1,937
Groceries $675 It was $575 however I used to be discovering it tougher and tougher to remain inside finances. Issues will get simpler as soon as the backyard begins producing, however as of now there’s nonetheless a little bit of snow left! Consists of all home items reminiscent of cleansing provides, diapers (however we EC so solely use one at night time).
Straight to investments $425 Routinely 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.
Automotive Insurance coverage $201 Will improve 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 (often 1k/12 months) and do with them as we please.  I virtually at all times make investments mine.
Pure Fuel $180
Water, Waste Water and Utility $115
Electrical $110 Clearly increased 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 Not too long ago 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 this can be 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 house? 
    • How a lot would this derail our Coast FIRE or FIRE plans?
    • Would the additional earnings from renting out the property offset that ultimately?
      • The realm 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 might get $150-$200 an evening within the excessive season and $100+/night time within the off-season.
  2. I’ve not too long ago been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work.
    • I solely work evenings and a few weekends in order that I will be with the child throughout 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 think about some kind of distant place that I can do whereas additionally house with the child?
  3. Are we truly on monitor for Coast FIRE?

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

Swinging with a view

I’m thrilled to have Kait as a Case Examine as we speak as a result of I very a lot determine 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 variety of psychological power for Kait and is one thing she’ll really feel extraordinarily relieved to resolve. I can’t supply a magic bullet resolution, however I hope I may also 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 as we speak will likely be on The Home.

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

I encourage Kait and Dave to hunt out opinions and estimates from consultants on what it should value to repair the inspiration points. You possibly can’t know if it’ll be possible/clever till you realize the worth tag. I additionally encourage them to fully divorce the inspiration/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’d:

  • Name a BUNCH of various contractors/firms and have them come to the home, assess and diagnose the inspiration/basement points, and supply estimates on the work.
  • Construct a listing of estimates and diagnoses to check and distinction what totally different consultants are saying.
  • Don’t rent the primary one that comes to supply an estimate! That is a type of stuff you actually wish 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 the best way to full this work. Ask neighbors who they advocate–phrase of mouth suggestions are GOLD.

After the inspiration 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 positively wish to stay there in his outdated(er) age?
  • If that’s the case, what is going to the monetary association be?
    • Will he pay them hire?
    • 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 the best way to tie an ADU into the water/sewer methods and energy strains?

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

In the event that they do resolve to construct some type of ADU/condominium and hire it out on AirBnB, listed below are a number of extra issues to contemplate:

  1. Is the first aim to make a house for Kait’s dad or to create a revenue-generating rental?
  2. What is going to or not it’s prefer 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 chance? If that’s the case, how would that influence these plans?

Mountain climbing

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

  • The price of development
  • Projected rental charges by season
  • Anticipated vacancies (as in, which days/weeks is it more likely 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, laws and charges for operating an AirBnB

Moreover, the concept of constructing internet zero concept is very commendable, however not one thing Kait and Dave can afford at their present salaries. If that is their #1 aim, they’d must curtail all different spending/investing/saving, get increased 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 knowledge as they’ll.

Kait’s Query #2: I’ve not too long ago 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 accurately, 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 may–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 value per hour?
  3. Would her and Dave’s earnings outpace the price of childcare?

Extra issues to contemplate:

  1. Assuming she works for herself as a Postpartum Doula, does she have the consumer 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 provided 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 fairly 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 think about {that a} completely fantastic and affordable 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 okay; not sending children to childcare can also be fantastic. Each mother or father and each household has to make this resolution for themselves. And guess what? That call is more likely to change over time!!!! My husband and I made a decision this previous college 12 months to ship Littlewoods to all-day preschool, which value 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. In truth, we’ll be sending her to all-day preschool once more this coming college 12 months whereas Kidwoods goes to first grade. Throughout the pandemic, we labored from house with the children at house and, uh, I did NOT love that association. It really works for some households; it doesn’t for others.


  1. In case you WANT to work extra, should you need the achievement and pleasure of working, should you crave that have in your life, do it!
  2. Conversely, you’re feeling you SHOULD work extra as a way to earn more cash, however don’t wish to? Don’t do it!
    • You and Dave will not be in a financially precarious place. You’ve made clever selections over time, which implies you will have a very powerful monetary reward of all: OPTIONS.

Kait’s Query #3: Are we truly on monitor 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 outdated, they need to at the moment 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

Primarily based 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 standard 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 prefer 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 seem like on monitor, however once more, they’ll must re-assess with the precise Coast FIRE age in thoughts.

2) Money: $50,548

Between their 4 totally different checking/financial savings accounts, they’ve $50,548 in money. I’m undecided I perceive the necessity for 4 totally different accounts and, if it have been me, I’d consolidate to 1, high-yield account. However, if there’s a strong purpose for having 4 accounts, go for it! It’s not “mistaken” to have totally 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 maths on that:

In the event that they moved this $50,548 into American Specific’ 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 way in which, the rates of interest on financial savings accounts are just like the ONE benefit of the Feds elevating rates of interest.

When it comes to their emergency fund–which is definitely accessible money held in a checking or financial savings account–Kait and Dave are in nice form. You wish to have between three and 6 months’ price of your bills in your emergency fund. They spend $4,534 per thirty days, which implies their emergency fund ought to be within the vary of $13,602 ($4,534 x 3) to $27,204 ($4,534 x 6). In gentle of that, they’re truly overbalanced on money, however I perceive their impulse for maintaining additional 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. In case you’d prefer to study extra about investing, I extremely advocate the e-book 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 achieved! The one caveat right here is for Kait and Dave to at all times be sure they’re “placing their very own oxygen masks on first” with regard to investing for his or her youngsters. I too have 529s for my children and there’s nothing mistaken with saving and investing on your children’ futures, you simply have to 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 at all times like to say since children can take out loans for faculty, however you may’t take out loans on your retirement!

5) Gold & Silver Cash: $112,000

Early spring hike

This can be a actually massive share of their internet price. If it have been me, I’d fastidiously think about 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 by way of theft, pure catastrophe, and so on. When you will have a bodily asset–like gold cash or a home–there’s an enormous 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 internet 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 might earn available in the market (if invested for the long run).


  1. Solicit bids from contractors for fixing the basement/basis points. Separate this value from the price of constructing an condominium/ADU. Focus power 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 inspiration is fastened (and totally paid for), begin to think about 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 value. She also needs to think about the emotional aspect of this query and make the choice that feels proper to her. There isn’t a proper or mistaken reply right here and, as a consequence of their years of frugality, she doesn’t HAVE to work extra if she doesn’t wish to.
  4. It seems that Kait and Dave are on monitor for Coast FIRE, however that quantity could possibly be vastly impacted by how a lot they resolve/must spend on remediating the home, Kait’s profession, future earnings and at what age they’d like to achieve Coast FIRE. They will regulate these calculations themselves over time.
  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 internet price in gold and silver cash.
  7. Really feel assured within the information that they’ve made glorious monetary selections over time, which implies they’ll 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 happy to ask questions!

Would you want your personal case research to seem right here on Frugalwoods? E-mail me ( your transient story and we’ll discuss.

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