Starting Point

So ….what happened between our first jobs until now? How did we get to $335k assets today (August 2016) plus some college savings plus some equity in our home and a lot of travel stories?!

Well, it is a long story, but let me share some highlights with you.

Financial Stuff

  • As two early 20s liberal arts graduates, we start our working careers.
  • Combined starting salary, around $72k in a high COL area.
  • Starting with approximately $12k in undergrad loans, no other debt.
  • Assets post college are pretty much $0. My boyfriend then (now husband) had like $600 bucks, I think. I had nothing. I know, I know…I married up.
  • Saved the standard 10-12% and got 3% matches in our 401ks for the first few years.
  • 2002, bought a tiny 1 bed condo ($169k), which we later rented, then sold ($241k) a few years ago. We used that $115k (equity) for the down payment on current home.
  • Total student loans post grad school, $35k. Boo! At least we had jobs lined up.
  • 2006, saved about $30k a year after taxes for a couple of years.
  • Two kids later and after a work break living abroad, got back to working full time again and move back to the USA. Southern USA fits the bill. We have been here since.
  • 2012, first car purchases ever for us. Two used cars $16kish. Needed in new city. Yuk. At least one has an awesome tape player (hello old mixed tape box and pencils!)
  • 2015, finish paying student loans, get serious about financial independence, start tracking expenses on and investments with
  • 2015, despite the good in this year I managed to make a very, very stupid move (despite my husband’s wise warning): I bought a brand new car ($32k) that I did not need with credit (zero % interest at least). Urgh. Live and learn.
  • Mid 2016 – I start this blog!

Travel, Higher Education & Family Time

  • During our 20s, we splurged on several trips (before kids!) and visited places like India, New Zealand, Tahiti, Peru, France, Italy, Switzerland, etc. What a life!
  • We got our master degrees abroad a few years after working (more liberal arts, hooray!). Despite the $78k in total cost (including travel during school break), it was the best year we have had so far. This living abroad thing is awesome.
  • When child #1  was about 6 months old, we moved abroad once again (cheaper COL), and took some time to be with our son while deciding our future priorities. Bad financial move, much needed healing and bonding time. Priceless.
  • While abroad, we welcomed child #2. Cost of delivery and all dr visits equaled the same as one month of private health insurance in the USA. Best decision ever.

Income Pre-2016

I got our records from SS online to show you what was going on financially in terms of income during that time, rounded.

As you can see,  we had many years with less than remarkable income but still managed to save and do some non-traditional living, with a few years off in between. Upon our return from our family time abroad, we scored better paying jobs after extensive research and careful targeting  – it is great to be fresh and ready to work after having spent time with the family for a while and once you actually know what you want to do for a living!

I believe 2015 was the first year we maxed out one of our 401k, 2016 is the first year we hope to both do it. Woot! Small victories.

Work Year
Two incomes again!
New job for one, great pay
One job only
One full time & a part time
Project based work
Project based work
Park time work
The other, promotion
Moving up, one promotion
Adulting is not that bad
Half year grad school
Half year grad school
Double promotion
$92k First bonus for one of us
Yikes working is hard!


As of August 2016, our investable assets stand at $335k (excludes home value/equity).

I guesstimate (sorry did not keep track those years!) that about $200k of this came from our savings minus crazy spending from 2001 until 2009. We did not save anything from then until about 2012 really, the rest was saved from late 2013 to today.

Our 529s ended 2015 with about $5k. Today (August 2016) we have a combined $26k balance for both kids, much of which was added this year as we started a super funding strategy.

Future Tracking

Starting January 2017 –  I want to take a year by year approach to show you income, savings, expenses and final portfolio, similar to this post, my favorite ever. “From Zero To Millionaire in 10 Years” from the super inspiring Root of Good.

Until then, I will show you how we are doing towards our 2016 year end goals which are:

  • Finish year with $360k in assets – COMPLETED
  • Have $25k on each of the kids 529s – COMPLETED
  • Mortgage balance at $110k – COMPLETED
  • Total spend for the year was capped at $80k (this one will be close!!!) – COMPLETED