Saturday, November 19, 2022
HomeMoney SavingReader Case Research: Empty Nest in Denver, Shifting to The Dominican Republic?

Reader Case Research: Empty Nest in Denver, Shifting to The Dominican Republic?

Leigh is a diabetes educator dwelling in Denver, CO. Her kids are on the cusp of maturity and he or she’s trying round her soon-to-be empty nest, contemplating her choices. She’d wish to downsize to a smaller house in her identical Denver neighborhood and is thinking about exploring the potential of shopping for a second house in The Dominican Republic. Leigh desires to proceed her work, a ardour she feels referred to as to, however would take pleasure in decreasing her hours. Let’s assist Leigh work out this subsequent chapter of her life!

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, expensive reader) learn via their state of affairs 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 contributors (on the finish of the submit) 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, places, objectives, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research collection started in 2016 and, up to now, there’ve been 78 Case Research. I’ve featured people with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and web 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 girls, non-binary people and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender folks. I’ve had cat folks and canine folks. I’ve featured people 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 people who stay on farms and people who stay in New York Metropolis.

The aim is variety and solely YOU can assist me obtain that by emailing me your story! Should 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 transient story to me at

Reader Case Research Tips

I in all probability don’t must say the next since you people are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please observe 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 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 strategies and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a educated monetary skilled and I encourage folks to not make severe 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 Leigh, at this time’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Leigh’s Story

Leigh portrait 2022, drawn by a affected person. I like working with children!

Hello Frugalwoods, I’m Leigh and I’m a 49-year-old diabetes educator dwelling in Denver, CO. I’ve been amicably divorced since 2019, when my companion and I made a decision that our child-raising was largely completed and we have been coming to a pure finish of our marriage. Our children are 21 and 19, and are my largest pleasure and precedence in life. Getting them launched effectively in life with help, love, and as a lot steerage as potential, has been my primary precedence for a few years. Once we divorced, I purchased my companion out of his fairness in our house so I might preserve the household house. It’s the one house my children have identified since they have been 6 and 4.

It’s been a terrific state of affairs for the previous few years, as my children have been house greater than I ever anticipated (because of COVID and distant studying being in impact for every of them at totally different occasions). I’ve additionally really loved having our house be an area for them to relaxation and calm down throughout their faculty summers and breaks. My oldest graduated with their BA a couple of months in the past, and is presently dwelling at house and making use of for grad faculty to start out within the fall. They’re pleasant and I’m having fun with what will be the final time they stay at house for an prolonged time! My child is a sophomore in faculty learning engineering at a state faculty, and lives in school with their roommates. I’ve two senior cats, George and Lucy, who’ve been our household pets for a few years, and provides me a lot enjoyment, particularly with the periodic empty nest I’ve skilled over the previous few years.

Leigh’s Neighborhood and Hobbies

Along with my fantastic children and a job I actually love, I really feel fortunate to stay in a group of fabulous neighbors. Now we have ebook membership, coffees, a neighborhood park, library, strolling trails, and a group of caring folks. Anybody in my circle who wants meals, pet-sitting, or simply normal care will get taken care of by a loving group of neighbors. My cat-sitter lives down the road, I bartered yard work in change for storing a neighbor’s trailer on my additional parking house, I learn over 50 books per 12 months totally free courtesy of my library department’s fabulous inter-library mortgage system, and I stroll most days when the climate is good and see neighbors out doing the identical. I’m additionally very lucky that two of my sisters stay close by and we see one another continuously and are a beautiful help system for each other.

My hobbies are studying, mountain climbing, meditation and yoga, watching nice collection on Netflix, and ingesting espresso and/or wine with buddies. I’m grateful to have a wholesome physique and a wholesome group. Colorado has so many hikes and I’m having enjoyable exploring totally different ones! I additionally love thrifting and am extra dedicated than ever to purchasing most issues ethically or second-hand.

One in all my largest passions is journey to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been going to the identical space for a few years and have developed a love for my buddies there and the folks and tradition. I hope to stay there part-time once I retire, and certainly one of my objectives for the subsequent 5 years is to purchase both land and construct a house, or purchase a house, and spend a few weeks per 12 months there with my buddies who are actually like household.

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

1) Profession:

Leigh’s midlife disaster tattoo, “love”

My profession is fulfilling and I like what I do. I’ve no plans to retire early at this level. I’m at a beautiful diabetes middle with a terrific group and, as a pure helper and educator, I really feel a powerful sense of mission and goal in my work. I’ve at all times been a bilingual (Spanish) educator so I really feel significantly referred to as to working with our Spanish-speaking purchasers.

Previous to my divorce, I labored three days per week, for a complete of 30 hours. I’ve been lucky to maneuver to full-time work inside my present place; nonetheless, I miss the flexibleness and further break day I loved once I was working 3 ten-hour shifts per week. I moved to full-time to have the ability to afford all my bills, significantly my mortgage, and really feel fortunate to have carried out so over the previous couple of years. Nevertheless, with the latest adjustments in my mortgage, in addition to potential future downsizing, I ponder if I’d return to my lighter work schedule.

If I decreased to 30 hours per week, my wage can be $3,300/month.

2) Downsizing:

My different query, typically, has to do with ultimately downsizing. My aim, because the divorce, has been to maintain the home till each of my children are in their very own locations and graduated from faculty. My dad and mom at all times allowed me to maneuver house throughout faculty and I so appreciated this stability throughout a time in my life that was crammed with change and I hope to proceed to offer this for my younger grownup children. Additionally, I’m very connected to my home and my neighborhood. And there aren’t many smaller locations close by. Denver’s housing market is insane proper now, the costs are excessive throughout the board and there’s a really small stock of properties on the market. Persons are usually telling tales of sellers having a number of money presents for effectively above asking value. Whereas this may be wonderful for me on the promoting finish, it might be tough on the shopping for finish. Moreover, I’d favor to remain in my home for no less than one other 2 years, till my child has their BS diploma accomplished. Plus I’m choosy about staying adjoining to my present neighborhood, as that is the place a lot of my shut group is.

My house is estimated to be value $630k-650k. Denver house costs are bananas proper now! I purchased this house in 2007 for $290k. The townhomes I’m thinking about are within the $550k-$600k vary. Additionally bananas. I’m fairly ambivalent about downsizing proper now given the excessive value of a townhome.

3) The Dominican Republic:

In certainly one of my most cherished locations, the Dominican Republic, visiting family and friends

Associated to this query is my need to probably purchase or construct a small place within the DR. I believe it is likely to be potential prior to I believe, though I’m a reasonably risk-averse particular person. However lots of my buddies who stay there are in development, so I believe I might rent a few of them. I additionally marvel about hiring a few of my buddies to be caretakers of the house and presumably utilizing the house as an AirBnb. I do know nothing about any of this and haven’t carried out a lot analysis–I’m within the “dreaming” stage at this level.

A pricey relative handed away throughout COVID and left me a major inheritance. I’m so appreciative of this unimaginable generosity, and used the reward to repay my mortgage. I now have the peace of thoughts of proudly owning my house and never having to fret about paying my mortgage funds! I acknowledge the immense privilege of this case and am grateful for my household.

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

  • Working 4 days per week at a job I like and really feel referred to as to
  • Well being and bodily skills: mountain climbing, yoga, walks, and sustaining my house and yard (with some assist from Activity Rabbit contractors)
  • Children who’re doing effectively and thriving at school and life
  • Pals close by for hangouts deliberate and spontaneous
  • Being in control of my very own private funds and house. I like a tidy house house and am a homebody at coronary heart
  • Reference to my sisters
  • Yearly journey to the DR (paid for final time with bank card factors)
  • A few yearly smaller journeys to see buddies in CA and NM
  • Time to learn

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

The place Leigh Needs to be in Ten Years:

1)    Funds:

  • Saving sufficient for retirement
  • Not burdened about each day bills
  • Residing in a smaller house that’s close to my present neighborhood

2)    Way of life:

  • Working at my present job
  • Touring extra usually to the DR
  • Mountain climbing and catching up with buddies each domestically and in different places
  • Having fun with my grown children, sisters and prolonged household

3)    Profession:

  • Persevering with to excel in my profession and to interact with my sufferers and colleagues

Leigh’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Job $4,458 Web take house after deductions for 401K, healthcare, life insurance coverage and incapacity insurance coverage
Little one help $200 Month-to-month till youngest graduates from faculty, was $400 per 30 days till 2021 when our oldest acquired their bachelor’s diploma, which was our settlement, our youngsters stay with me in our household house when they aren’t at school (on breaks, throughout summers)
Month-to-month subtotal: $4,658
Annual complete: $55,896

Mortgage: none, paid off

Money owed: none


Merchandise Quantity Notes Curiosity/sort of securities held/Inventory ticker Identify of financial institution/brokerage Expense Ratio
Residence $630,000 Paid off my mortgage in 202. I acknowledge my privilege in that household items helped me repay the steadiness of my mortgage, in addition to my excessive luck of being a home-owner through the loopy market beneficial properties up to now 20 years, significantly the previous 15 years in metro Denver.

My house is estimated to be value $630k-650k. Denver house costs are bananas proper now! I purchased this house in 2007 for $290k.

TIAA-CREF work 401K $165,000 Invested in a focused retirement fund that grows extra conservative the nearer I get to a predicted retirement age of 65 TIAA-CREF
Thrivent retirement account Conventional IRA $140,442 Reasonably aggressive allocation Thrivent
Thrivent retirement account Roth IRA $68,622 Reasonably aggressive allocation Thrivent
Thrivent annuity $94,000 Thrivent deferred variable annuity
Thrivent brokerage account $52,000
Money: emergency fund $25,800 I switch $625 per 30 days into this account. Common financial savings Wells Fargo
Money: checking $4,400
Money: escrow account for insurance coverage and taxes $3,750 I preserve this small financial savings account to pay my annual bills of property taxes and insurance coverage since I don’t’ have a mortgage
Whole: $1,184,014


Automobile make, mannequin, 12 months Valued at Mileage Paid off?
Subaru Outback 2018 $20,800 44,000 Sure! I wish to joke that that is the requisite automobile for dwelling in CO, particularly in case you wish to hike or do outside issues!


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Taxes and property insurance coverage $750 I’m my very own escrow account!
Groceries $394 Varies: as excessive as $700 when each children house, as little as $250 when simply me on trip for half the month!
Residence utilities: water, sewer, electrical, photo voltaic, compost, trash and recycle $302 water-73, electrical -93 (would possibly go down this 12 months, photo voltaic was new as of 8/2021, I’m leasing the system), solar-60, trash and recycle 17,(paid yearly, with a reduction)  curbside compost -28 (superior program that permits you to compost all the pieces together with meat, bones, oil, and it’s weekly curbside drop-off and pickup of a bucket! ) , sewer -31
Automotive: fuel, oil adjustments, upkeep, registration $252 Fuel- 95, oil change- 16, registration- 25, repairs 116 (4 new tires and a few brake and differential repairs)
Eating places $230 Decrease when it’s simply me, increased when my children are house and I wish to rejoice and deal with them. This additionally consists of espresso with buddies and dates.
Residence upkeep $228 Fridge alternative, furnace annual service, storage door restore, sprinkler system restore, garden care, dryer vent clear out, biannual garden cleanup (paying somebody to assist with that) and residential provides like followers, lightbulbs, vacuum baggage, cleansing provides, and so on.
Costco $200 Month-to-month stock-up on espresso, cat litter, bathroom paper and some different fundamentals
Insurance coverage: auto $175 paid each six months via USAA with a prepayment low cost
Charitable Giving $160 To help buddies within the DR, to an immigrant authorized fund via my church
Trip $120 A number of journeys to NM to see my faculty child, a staycation with my sisters and cousin, a visit to the DR (lengthy overdue) to see buddies. I booked flights with factors.
Presents $103 Christmas, birthdays, a few graduations, so blessed to have the ability to rejoice with so many family members this 12 months!
Miscellaneous $87 Skincare merchandise (I purchase good stuff, I’m actually hooked on skincare), postage, care packages for my faculty children, cat sitter, uber and airport parking, commencement bulletins for my faculty child!
Healthcare (physician and dentist copays) $87 Copays for myself and my two college-aged children who’re insured below my plan, we’re comparatively wholesome and I’m so grateful, we had a few pressing care and one ED copay this 12 months, consists of PT and remedy copays
Pet care $70 Meals, litter, and vet visits for George and Lucy
Healthcare: my contacts and glasses $66 Yearly contact provide, purchased new glasses this 12 months, plus examination (not low cost for middle-aged folks)
Therapeutic massage $60 month-to-month
Clothes $52 I purchased a brand new leather-based purse from a sustainable firm, changed my 13-year-old Danskos, purchased a brand new (on clearance) pair of mountain climbing boots, and largely thrift or get hand me downs for all the pieces else (have been shopping for used for years, the thrifting scene is wonderful right here in CO).
Wine $45 Fancy boxed wine for my nightly glass of pink
Telephone- two telephones via Republic wi-fi $43 Mine and my child’s telephones
Web $40 Via Century Hyperlink
Pedicure $40 month-to-month
Espresso $40 Espresso out. I drink quite a lot of espresso. I convey it from house to work a good quantity however actually take pleasure in almond milk lattes within the pm at work.
Tax prep $18 paid a professional to do that for me
Residence décor $15 Principally candles, I’ve a tiny downside
Haircut $15 my haircut, $60 thrice per 12 months
Subscriptions $9 NYT digital (should do the spelling bee day by day) and Sojourner, I share Hulu with my sister
Month-to-month subtotal: $3,601
Annual complete: $43,212

Credit score Card Technique

Card Identify Rewards Kind? Financial institution/card firm
Chase Sapphire Most well-liked Journey Chase Financial institution (affiliate hyperlink)
Jet Blue Journey Barclays

Leigh’s Questions For You:

1) Is my timeline of planning to downsize to a smaller house in two years cheap? Or ought to I do it sooner?

  • My present house is estimated to be value $630k-650k. I purchased this home in 2007 for $290k. My mortgage is paid off.
  • The townhomes I’m thinking about are within the $550k-$600k vary.

2) Can I afford my Dominican Republic dream house?

3) Can I afford to chop again to 30 hours per week?

  • If I decreased to 30 hours per week, my take-home pay can be $3,300/month.

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

I like that Leigh got here to me for a Case Research at this juncture in her life. She’s carried out a terrific job along with her funds up thus far and I’m assured we can assist her chart a sustainable path ahead. I believe the overarching theme for Leigh is that she will be able to do among the issues she desires to do, however not all of them, and never all on the identical time. Let’s discover!

Leigh’s Query #1: Is my timeline of planning to downsize to a smaller house in two years cheap? Or ought to I do it sooner?

Leigh’s favourite mug- given as a present by her oldest baby, a motto for all times and motherhood.

This can be a powerful one. Usually, downsizing saves you cash, however on this case:

  1. Leigh’s home is paid off and represents a major proportion of her web value.
  2. Smaller properties in her space value nearly precisely the identical quantity as her present house.

On condition that, there’s actually no profit to downsizing.

Sometimes, the explanation to downsize is to release extra of your property as you age: you don’t want as a lot home, so that you promote your massive home and purchase a less expensive, smaller house. However in Leigh’s desired space of Denver, she’d basically get a smaller home for a similar value, with all of the hassles and bills of promoting, shopping for and shifting. I perceive the will to stay in a smaller place, but it surely doesn’t seem to be there’s any monetary upside to doing so. If something, it’d be a monetary detriment.

Nevertheless, if Leigh is ready to discover a smaller place that prices WAY lower than her present house, that will possible be a terrific monetary determination. If, for instance, she needed to promote and transfer to a decrease value of dwelling space, that would work in her favor. It’s a vendor’s market and it’s exhausting to say what is going to occur with housing costs sooner or later.

One other concept: if Leigh actually desires to unload her home throughout this sizzling market, she might promote it after which hire a smaller place till she finds an inexpensive smaller house to purchase. Nevertheless, that includes a good quantity of disruption with no assured pay-off.

Leigh’s Query #2: Can I afford my Dominican Republic dream house?

I don’t know. We don’t have sufficient data to adequately reply this one. This can be a nice space for Leigh to dig into analysis!

  1. Summer season entrance porch studying at Leigh’s home

    How a lot are properties within the area she’s thinking about?

  2. Would she qualify for a mortgage within the DR or would she want to purchase a house in all money?
  3. How a lot are taxes and insurance coverage on a house within the DR?
  4. What are the opposite authorized ramifications of proudly owning a property there?
  5. How a lot wouldn’t it value to rent a caretaker to look in on the house whereas she’s overseas?
  6. What are the legal guidelines governing AirBnB leases (referral hyperlink).
  7. How a lot might she hire the property out for?
  8. How a lot is a cleansing service for cleansing the property in between friends?

Heaps to discover! If Leigh runs the numbers and is ready to buy a property that will be a cash-flowing funding, that could possibly be a terrific choice. Nevertheless, she will be able to’t–at current–afford the carrying prices of two properties that don’t generate income.

The opposite consideration is whether or not or not she’d be capable to hire out her Denver house whereas within the DR? It’s a troublesome monetary proposition to personal two properties and have one standing empty when you’re on the different. On the very least, she’d must hire out one–if not each–to remain solvent.

Additionally, if Leigh continues to be working full-time, I’m questioning how a lot time she’d be capable to spend within the DR? If it’s only a week right here or there, I ponder if it wouldn’t be cheaper (and much much less problem) to hire an AirBnb/resort room for these visits? Residence possession is a large expense and problem, and I wouldn’t enter into it until there’s a compelling motive–monetary or in any other case–to take action. If, however, she intends to spend portion of the 12 months within the DR, would possibly it take advantage of sense to promote her costly Denver house and hire whereas she’s within the states? I believe figuring out how a lot time she’ll spend in every area will assist inform her selection.

I’m a fan of long-term analysis and dreaming, so I believe Leigh could be very good to start out contemplating her choices now.

Leigh’s Query #3: Can I afford to chop again to 30 hours per week?

A stupendous fall, mountain cross hike in Colorado.

This is dependent upon what she decides to do concerning her Denver house and her DR dream house. Once more, it’s a query of with the ability to do some, however not all, of her goals.

Let’s break down the numbers:

  • Leigh’s present month-to-month take-home: $4,458 (I’m omitting the month-to-month baby help fee since she famous that may finish when her youngest graduates from faculty)
  • Leigh’s present month-to-month spending: $3,601
  • Leigh’s month-to-month take-home if she decreased to 30 hours/week: $3,300

At her present spending degree, a decreased wage would put her at a $300 deficit each month, which isn’t tenable. Nevertheless, if Leigh is thinking about decreasing her month-to-month spending within the following discretionary classes, for instance, she’d be capable to break even on the very least:

  • Eating places: $230
  • Trip: $120
  • Presents: $103
  • Miscellaneous: $87
  • Therapeutic massage: $60
  • Clothes: $52
  • Wine: $45
  • Pedicures: $40
  • Espresso: $40
  • Haircuts: $15
  • Residence Decor: $15

Sightseeing within the Dominican Republic

It’s a query of trade-offs and of what Leigh most desires to do. I’m assured Leigh might make her month-to-month bills work if she chooses to go all the way down to 30 hours per week, partially due to her detailed, rigorous expense monitoring.

The extent of element she offered exhibits that she is certainly monitoring her spending each single month, which is the one method to create an correct image of your annual spending and the way it fluctuates all year long. Very effectively carried out, Leigh! Should you’re not monitoring your spending in granular particulars, I exploit and suggest the free service from Private Capital (affiliate hyperlink). Right here’s my full write-up on why.

One other key query is whether or not or not Leigh’s employer presents a match on her 401k contributions and if she would nonetheless qualify for that if she decreased to 30 hours?

Let’s spend a while having a look at her property.

Leigh’s Property

As I discussed, Leigh’s major asset is her paid-off house, which is valued at $630k-$650k. Setting that apart–since she’s dwelling in it–Leigh’s property complete $554,014 and are damaged down as follows:

1) Retirement: $374,064

Appetizers for dinner

Leigh is on monitor for a conventional retirement! Superior work, Leigh! Let’s examine in with our retirement rule of thumb:

Purpose to avoid wasting no less than 1x your wage by 30, 3x by 40, 6x by 50, 8x by 60, and 10x by 67 (Constancy).

Since Leigh is 49, we’ll go along with 6x by age 50, which might be [($4,458 x 12) = $53,496] x 6 = $320,976. Perfecto!

Leigh must also go forward and calculate her anticipated month-to-month Social Safety funds by following these directions on the best way to retrieve her earnings tables from (the federal government’s Social Safety web site). Realizing the greenback quantity she will be able to count on to obtain from Social Safety each month is a useful think about her retirement funds. Common observe: Social Safety advantages improve the later you begin taking them.

2) Money: $33,950

Leigh has a sturdy emergency fund right here, which is commendable! An emergency fund is money–held in a checking or financial savings account–that equals three to 6 months’ value of your bills. Leigh spends $3,601 per 30 days, which suggests she ought to goal an emergency fund within the vary of  $10,803 (three months’ value) to $21,606 (six months’ value).

My query: why is that this unfold throughout three totally different accounts? If it have been me, I’d consolidate to 1 high-interest account. Leigh famous she’s not incomes any curiosity on this cash, which is a misplaced alternative. Regardless that you’re not going to earn thousands and thousands of {dollars} via a high-interest financial savings account, you would possibly as effectively earn one thing. One thing is healthier than nothing! At all times query in case your cash isn’t incomes something! Right here’s the mathematics on that:

If Leigh moved this $33,950 into, for instance, American Categorical’ Excessive Yield Financial savings account, which earns 0.65% curiosity as of this writing, in a single 12 months, her $33,950 would develop to $34,171 (affiliate hyperlink). She’d earn $221 per 12 months only for having her cash on this excessive curiosity account!

3) Taxable Investments: $52,000

Winter studying with George the fats tabby.

I’m not accustomed to the brokerage Thrivent–the place Leigh’s funding accounts are–so I checked out their web site and I’ve to say, I didn’t like what I noticed:

  1. They pressure you to name an advisor so as to open/view their funding merchandise.
  2. They don’t clearly state their charges or expense ratios.

Each of these items point out one factor to me: they’re over-charging for his or her service. Most likely WAY over-charging. Now I is likely to be fallacious, however I’m prepared to guess two corndogs I’m not. Why pressure a buyer to work via an advisor and never share your charges publicly if the charges are low?

Given my infinite curiosity, I googled round and discovered this PDF, which breaks down Thrivent’s charges. I’m owed two corndogs:

For the “reasonably aggressive allocation” (TMAAX) Leigh’s invested in, Thrivent is charging her an eye-watering 1.33% yearly. What does that imply for Leigh?

  • Leigh has a Roth IRA, a Conventional IRA and a taxable funding account via Thrivent, which complete: $261,064.
  • Thrivent costs her 1.33% yearly on that complete quantity AND they charged her 5.50% on her preliminary funding (that is referred to as a “gross sales cost” or “entrance finish cost”). Sure certainly, some unscrupulous funds skim off a proportion of your preliminary funding while you put your cash into their fund.
  • To calculate what Leigh is dropping in charges, I used this calculator from and enter the next variables:

If Leigh have been to stay invested in these funds for the subsequent 20 years, and the inventory market delivered its annual common 6% return, her investments will stand at $605,339 and she may have misplaced a complete of $231,929 to Thrivent, damaged down as follows:

   $121,781 in alternative prices (in different phrases, what the cash she paid to charges might’ve earned her if invested out there)

+ $110,148 in charges (in different phrases, funds to Thrivent)

$231,929 misplaced to Thrivent’s charges

A Colorado bluebird day hike via the snow.

That’s some huge cash! Like, A LOT OF MONEY! For this reason it’s so essential to know the expense ratios and costs in your funding accounts. It’s not a small factor, folks! And whereas 1.33% would possibly sound small, it’s demonstrably not!!!!

I wish to level out that it’s not like Thrivent has some particular sauce they’re sprinkling onto her investments. There is just one inventory market, folks. Thrivent is investing within the identical inventory market that I put money into, however I do it myself and pay solely 0.015% in charges yearly.

PANIC on the monetary disco!!!!

I wish to be crystal clear about one thing: I’m NOT blaming or shaming Leigh. This isn’t her fault. That is one thing MOST folks don’t perceive and MOST folks overpay and lose cash to excessive charges each single 12 months. This isn’t one thing she “ought to’ve identified” or “is doing fallacious.” Moderately, it’s a terrific wake-up name to do one thing about it ASAP. Like, at this time.

I additionally really feel compelled to share how abhorrent I discover this as a result of Thrivent is a Lutheran firm. They purport they’ve, “…been serving to others stay extra beneficiant lives whereas guiding them on their monetary path” and that they, “…assist all Christian denominations obtain monetary readability.” In actuality, what they’re doing is charging folks like Leigh out the nostril!

Tacos are the sixth love language, battle me.

To be clear, I’ve no downside with companies earning money. Companies are imagined to earn cash! What I’ve an actual downside with is a enterprise that purports to stick to Christian values whereas taking gross benefit of individuals like Leigh. It actually boils my blood. If you wish to cost excessive charges? Be upfront about it. Clarify to folks–in plain English–what you’re charging them and why.

Clarify what you’re doing with Leigh’s $231,929. Clarify why you must take that cash away from her.

I hardly ever rant, however the ethical overtones of Thrivent’s advertising feels dangerous and disingenuous while you dig into what they’re charging folks. Whew, okay, I’ll try to cool off right here.

Questioning the best way to discover a fund’s expense ratio? Take a look at the tutorial in this Case Research.

In STARK distinction to Thrivent, the next three brokerages supply DIY funding choices and are extraordinarily forthright about their charges:

  • Constancy’s Whole Market Index Fund (FSKAX) has an expense ratio of 0.015%
  • Charles Schwab’s Whole Market Index Fund (SWTSX) has an expense ratio of 0.03%
  • Vanguard’s Whole Market Index Fund (VTSAX) has an expense ratio of 0.04%

Do-it-yourself tacos

What you’ll observe with all of those brokerages is that they clearly establish this data on their web sites. Anybody can learn it, perceive it and put money into it on their very own. They’re happy with the providers they’re offering, in order that they don’t attempt to cloak it behind intelligent advertising or pressure you to name an advisor.

Let’s check out the place Leigh’s cash can be if she have been as an alternative invested with a brokerage with an expense ratio of 0.015%:

  • If Leigh have been to stay invested for the subsequent 20 years, and the inventory market delivered its annual common 6% return, her investments would stand at $833,925 and he or she would’ve misplaced a complete of $2,031 in charges with a $1,311 alternative value. That’s an astronomical distinction from Thrivent.

If Leigh stays with Thrivent, she stands to pay them $231,929

If she switches to a brokerage with a 0.015% expense ratio, she’ll pay them a mere $3,342

I believe you realize my recommendation with regard to Thrivent…

Sadly, Leigh’s employer-sponsored 401k is with TIAA-CREF, which can also be not identified for low charges. I can’t discover the charges on Leigh’s 401k with out figuring out what it’s invested in at TIAA-CREF, however I urge her to do some digging to search out that data. If Leigh’s employer presents one other brokerage choice for her 401k, she ought to examine these charges and examine them to TIAA-CREF’s.

4) Variable Annuity: $94,000

Empty nesting and beginning a tiny plant obsession.

Typically, I’m not a fan of annuities due to the charges they cost. Annuities are basically a sort of insurance coverage, which suggests you’re transferring some quantity of danger to the insurer. I believe the best method to describe a variable annuity is that it’s invested within the inventory market and you’ll obtain a specified proportion of cash as a pay-out as soon as you might be out of the buildup part and within the annuitization (pay-out) part.

You might be mainly betting that this proportion can be increased than what the market can ship you by itself. For this danger mitigation, you might be paying decently excessive charges to your dealer. I encourage anybody trying into annuities to learn this web page from the US Securities and Alternate Fee ( Anytime a monetary skilled tries to promote you a product, really feel enfranchised to google it and browse up on it by yourself.

With most annuities, it’s not potential to money them out with out incurring severe penalties. Nevertheless, Leigh ought to go forward and browse the prospectus for her particular variable annuity simply to verify there’s no choice for cashing this out with out incurring astronomical charges.

Abstract Solutions for Leigh:

  1. Begin researching the method for buying a house within the Dominican Republic:
    • Housing costs.
    • The method/legal guidelines for getting a mortgage, taxes, insurance coverage, and so on.
    • The method/legal guidelines for renting out a property on AirBnb or as a long-term rental (referral hyperlink).
    • The provision of a property supervisor/AirBnb supervisor and cleaners.
    • Contemplate how lengthy she’d be spending in every nation and whether or not it might make sense to personal properties in each places OR if it might be extra tenable to hire in a single location and personal within the different.
  2. Contemplate the trade-offs for decreasing her work to 30 hours/week:
    • There’s no proper or fallacious: it’s a query of trade-offs.
    • What’s she prepared to remove from her month-to-month funds so as to stay on a smaller wage?
    • Is shopping for a house within the DR her #1 precedence? If that’s the case, she’ll must proceed working 40 hours per week so as to afford it.
  3. Look into shifting her investments over to a brokerage that provides low-fee funding choices. Do that ASAP as she’s dropping cash day by day to Thrivent’s extreme charges.
  4. Learn the prospectus on her variable annuity from Thrivent simply in case there’s a approach for her to money this out with out incurring charges.
  5. Ask her HR division if there’s an choice aside from TIAA-CREF for her 401k. Learn up and examine the charges (aka expense ratios).
  6. Discover consolidating her money accounts and shifting them to a high-yield financial savings account in order that she’s incomes curiosity.
  7. Calculate her anticipated Social Safety funds, in order that she has a way of what to anticipate in retirement.
  8. Proceed contributing to her employer-sponsored 401k in order that she stays on monitor for retirement.

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation do you’ve gotten for Leigh? We’ll each reply to feedback, so please be happy to ask questions!

Would you want your individual case research to look right here on Frugalwoods? E mail me ( your transient story and we’ll speak.

By no means Miss A Story

Signal as much as get new Frugalwoods tales in your e mail inbox.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments