Saturday, November 19, 2022
HomeMoney SavingReader Case Research: A Doula, A Scientist & Three Children in Alaska

Reader Case Research: A Doula, A Scientist & Three Children 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 life-style and have created an extremely close-knit neighborhood with their neighbors and mates. Nevertheless, their beloved house has some critical structural points that must 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 handle 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 state of affairs 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 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 Objective Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research intend to focus on a various vary of monetary conditions, ages, ethnicities, areas, targets, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research sequence started in 2016 and, to this point, 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 individuals. I’ve featured girls, non-binary of us and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender individuals. I’ve had cat individuals and canine individuals. I’ve featured of us from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured individuals with PhDs and other people with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured individuals of their early 20’s and other people of their late 60’s. I’ve featured of us who stay on farms and people who stay in New York Metropolis.

The purpose is range and solely YOU might help me obtain that by emailing me your story! In the event 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

Reader Case Research Pointers

I most likely don’t must say the next since you of us 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 purpose is to create a supportive surroundings 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 ideas and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a educated monetary skilled and I encourage individuals to not make critical monetary choices based mostly solely on what one individual 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, at the moment’s Case Research 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 now have 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 unsure if I’ll proceed this summer season. It can rely on the house owners of the home).

We love Alaska (that is the place I grew up) and being outside. Favourite actions embrace: mountain climbing, snowboarding, tenting, gardening, biking, fishing and principally something outdoors. I’m fairly keen about rising and preserving meals. Most summer season weekends you will see that 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 buying 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 convey issues into the house and subsequently actually deliberate earlier than buying something. I’ve been a saver endlessly 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 lots of time and power 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 enormously differ from mine. Whereas I’m completely satisfied to do with out for the long run purpose 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 fascinated by the long run, you’ll be able to stay off your pension whenever you’re older. We have now been married 10 years now and he’s leaning extra to my method of issues. Having a standard purpose is de facto 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 every little thing all the time goes to plan and having choices–even in the event you don’t use them–will solely enhance the standard of our lives in the long term. I lastly received him to learn The Easy Path to Wealth (after years of making an attempt) and I feel it’s actually serving to along with his journey (affiliate hyperlink). I additionally really need our youngsters to be raised in an surroundings 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 mates know we’re grateful for hand-me-downs. And once we want out of doors 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 sport ready for issues that we want or need. I’ve solely bought a pair objects 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 an enormous 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 most likely dry 10 gallons of apple chips, freeze 10 gallons of raspberries, make jam, can 4 or 5 flats of apple sauce, and so forth. Having a root cellar would make using my harvest final a lot longer. I principally don’t purchase something that isn’t on sale and we don’t actually purchase any comfort meals.

Dave jokes that we now have 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 along with her earnings. We do eat meat however not so much. Most of our protein comes from beans and lentils. I’m a die-hard Instantaneous Pot fan!

We stay solely off of Dave’s earnings and all my earnings go into investments. I undoubtedly wish to preserve dwelling this fashion.

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 associated 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’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 understand that making monetary choices based mostly on feelings just isn’t a good suggestion however, right here we’re. We love our neighborhood and significantly that we now have a big south going through 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 typically greater than as soon as per 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 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 shall be liable for my ageing father when the time comes (he’s 78). My ideally suited is to rebuild our home and add an connected house for my dad or different guests to make use of when wanted. I’d AirBnb the house when it wasn’t in use to assist offset the prices of the construct. Then, when our youngsters are grown and out of the home, Dave and I’d stay within the house and hire out the principle home. So as to add a little bit of complication to this equation, I’m very eager about constructing a internet zero (or shut) home, which might add to the general prices. My dad has supplied to repay no matter we now have 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 a minimum of one other 5 years, however when he’s, it should seemingly imply a transfer or a transition into consulting work.

My vote could be to not transfer, however there are lots of elements that can come into play. If and once 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 Objectives

Our long-term targets are Coast FIRE or FIRE. 

What’s one of the best a part of your present life-style/routine?

The place we stay particularly and in addition the wilds that we now have inside straightforward attain. The sense of neighborhood I’ve from our neighborhood is the one factor that has stored me sane these previous few years. Once I was 38 weeks pregnant, I had a whole trailer stuffed with manure delivered to the opposite facet of the compound (again fence household) as a result of it was nearer to my backyard beds then delivering it to the entrance facet of our home. Simply the truth that they agreed to let me dump lots of 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” mates in our neighborhood and I’m not positive I may ever replicate this. I suppose 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 like the entry to the outside as it’s our foremost supply of enjoyment as people and as a household.

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

Fixed fear about the home and what we should always do about it. I’m already exhausted with choice 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:
    • Capable of depart 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 prefer to proceed working as a Postpartum Doula, however in a capability that matches with taking numerous time for household issues.
    • Dave wish to advance in his profession by taking over new challenges. What this really means for him is unknown at this level.

Kait & Dave’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Dave’s Earnings $5,407 Minus retirement contributions, insurance coverage, and taxes
Kait’s Earnings 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 stability  Curiosity Charge Mortgage Interval and Phrases Fairness Buy worth 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


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 appeared so much 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 preserve the stability 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 received 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 beneath my husband’s title and I cant log in in the mean time. We have to name. It’s most likely about $1k
Whole: $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 price range. Issues will get simpler as soon as the backyard begins producing, however as of now there’s nonetheless a little bit of snow left! Contains all home goods corresponding to cleansing provides, diapers (however we EC so solely use one at evening).
Straight to investments $425 Mechanically 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 once 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 forth. We additionally get PFDs (often 1k/12 months) and do with them as we please.  I virtually all the time make investments mine.
Pure Fuel $180
Water, Waste Water and Utility $115
Electrical $110 Clearly larger 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 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 dimensions 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 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 could be with the newborn throughout the day. All of my earnings goes into our  investments, however this determine is extremely variable.
    • Is the associated fee and danger of childcare price it to work extra?
    • Or ought to I contemplate some kind of distant place that I can do whereas additionally house with the newborn?
  3. Are we really 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 determine with having “One Huge Factor” weighing in your thoughts. In studying by Kait’s story, it feels just like the state of affairs with their house is taking over lots 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 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 parts of her monetary life–as a result of we will’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 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 understand the worth tag. I additionally encourage them to utterly 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 potential renovations/building-an-apartment.

If it have been me, I’d:

  • Name a BUNCH of various contractors/corporations 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 match and distinction what completely different consultants are saying.
  • Don’t rent the primary one that comes to supply an estimate! That is a type of belongings 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 proposals on the way to full this work. Ask neighbors who they suggest–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)/house on their property.

Some issues to contemplate:

  • What are the zoning legal guidelines for an ADU/house? What restrictions/allowances are in place?
  • Does Kait’s dad undoubtedly wish to stay there in his outdated(er) age?
  • In that case, what’s 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 so much work of their city?
      • Can her dad legally personal the ADU if it’s on their property?
    • How will this impression taxes and insurance coverage?
    • What are the legal guidelines on the way to tie an ADU into the water/sewer programs and energy strains?

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 wish to depart to probability. 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 kind of ADU/house and hire it out on AirBnB, listed here are a couple of extra issues to contemplate:

  1. Is the first purpose to make a house for Kait’s dad or to create a revenue-generating rental?
  2. What is going to it’s prefer to have AirBnB renters proper there of their yard/home? Will this impinge on their gardening/household time and area?
  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? In that case, how would that impression these plans?

Mountain climbing

If the purpose 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 ageing 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 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 forth)
  • Metropolis and state restrictions, rules and charges for working an AirBnB

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

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 lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work. Is the associated fee and danger 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 information 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?

Further issues to contemplate:

  1. Assuming she works for herself as a Postpartum Doula, does she have the shopper base to develop her hours?
  2. Is there a community of Doulas she will be able to faucet into to develop 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 youngsters?

Financially, I feel it’s most likely a fairly easy choice. One caveat is that childcare prices would possibly outpace her preliminary earnings as she ramps her enterprise as much as full-time. I contemplate {that a} completely superb 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 superb. Each mum or dad and each household has to make this choice for themselves. And guess what? That call is more likely to change over time!!!! My husband and I made a decision this previous faculty 12 months to ship Littlewoods to all-day preschool, which value within the neighborhood of $200-$400/month (relying on what number of faculty 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 faculty 12 months whereas Kidwoods goes to first grade. In the course of the pandemic, we labored from house with the youngsters at house and, uh, I did NOT love that association. It really works for some households; it doesn’t for others.


  1. In the event you WANT to work extra, in the event you need the achievement and pleasure of working, in the event you crave that have in your life, do it!
  2. Conversely, you’re feeling you SHOULD work extra so as to earn more cash, however don’t wish to? Don’t do it!
    • You and Dave are usually not in a financially precarious place. You’ve made clever decisions over time, which suggests you might have an important monetary present of all: OPTIONS.

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

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

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 presently 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” signifies that Kait and Dave would proceed working till a conventional retirement age, however cease contributing to their retirement investments and as a substitute allow them to “coast.” A method to consider that is that, in the event you 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 coated 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 observe, however once more, they’ll must re-assess with the particular 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 unsure I perceive the necessity for 4 completely different accounts and, if it have been me, I’d consolidate to 1, high-yield account. However, if there’s a stable motive for having 4 accounts, go for it! It’s not “improper” to have completely different accounts, it’s simply not probably the most environment friendly and it doesn’t make the most of 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.

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 monthly, 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 gentle of that, they’re really overbalanced on money, however I perceive their impulse for preserving 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 (meaning 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. Good job. In the event you’d prefer to study extra about investing, I extremely suggest the ebook that Kait talked about, The Easy Path to Wealth (affiliate hyperlink).

4) Children: $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 all the time make 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 improper with saving and investing in your children’ futures, you simply must 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 faculty, however you’ll be able to’t take out loans in your retirement!

5) Gold & Silver Cash: $112,000

Early spring hike

It is a actually massive share of their internet price. If it have been me, I’d rigorously contemplate this choice from a danger perspective. Is that this held in a financial institution? (please don’t reply this on-line!). If not, this represents an infinite danger of loss by way of theft, pure catastrophe, and so forth. When you might have a bodily asset–like gold cash or a home–there’s an enormous safety danger 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 may earn out there (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 house/ADU. Focus power first on remediating the prevailing drawback.
    • You possibly can’t know if that is price it till you get bids for the work. Get as many bids as you’ll be able to and comparability store.
  2. As soon as the inspiration is fastened (and absolutely paid for), begin to contemplate the house/ADU query with Kait’s dad within the dialog. See above for all issues and potential 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 contemplate the emotional facet of this query and make the choice that feels proper to her. There isn’t a proper or improper 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 observe for Coast FIRE, however that quantity might be enormously 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 achieve Coast FIRE. They will control these calculations themselves over time.
  5. Contemplate consolidating the 4 checking/financial savings accounts into one high-yield account.
  6. Contemplate the dangers/advantages/longterm development potential of holding a lot of their internet price in gold and silver cash.
  7. Really feel assured within the data that they’ve made wonderful monetary decisions over time, which suggests they are going to most likely proceed to take action!

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation do you might 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 temporary story and we’ll speak.

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