I See no Path Forward Financially

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
chris319
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Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:04 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by chris319 »

In personal finance there are two basic type of expense: discretionary and non-discretionary.

Non-discretionary expenses are things you literally can't live without: rent, groceries, electricity, heat, etc. In your case I would add debt payments to this category. Also, car expenses because you need one for work. Also the cell phone and Internet charges.

Discretionary expenses are things you can live without: all travel (non work-related), restaurant dining, toys (come on, you know you buy yourself the occasional trinket/plaything/porn), nights on the town, etc.

Until you're out of debt the latter category will be a little lean. Then you can open things up. And save/invest. Pay yourself first!

I just retired from 51 years in TV production so I'm having to switch from wages to social security, pension and Medicare, so I'm having to completely rearrange my finances so I can get by in retirement.

Make sure your wages are being reported to Social Security. You should get a soc sec statement every year.

I've always lived within my means. A friend of mine used to make double what I made but couldn't control his spending, which included racking up credit card bills. One of us had to declare bankruptcy, a permanent black mark on your credit history. Guess which one of us had to declare bankruptcy.
The only person you have to please in life is yourself.
SnowBog
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by SnowBog »

As others noted, I suspect you are doing much better than you think.

I just looked back, and we (married young) had about $2k saved between us starting out (but had a negative net worth due to school loans, etc.). Slow and steady can do amazing things.

A few random thoughts.

You mentioned a retirement account - but didn't provide any details. For many, that's the best way to save early on. I can remember the first time I contributed to my 401k (let's say $100) being surprised that my paycheck went down by less than that amount (due to less taxes owed). And if your employer has any sort of "match", that's basically free money. Combined, you can save a lot more with less impact on your pay than you might expect.

This is also part of a "pay yourself first" approach. Even if you can only do a small amount initially, if you are disciplined and add say 50% of all future pay raises to your contribution, your savings will grow exponentially.

Other than having some money in a saving account, our retirement account was our only savings until we were probably mid- to late- 30s (and started to make enough money to easily max out retirement savings and so have excess to save).

As others noted, it's going to "feel" like really slow progress initially. The first year we contributed to our 401k, by year end we only had $2k saved. By the end of the next year, it was up to $8k. The following year due to career growth (and putting the bulk of that into our 401k) we ended up at $25k. But keep doing it long enough, and the snowball picks up speed as "compounding" does its magic.

On the expenses side, if you don't yet, recommend using a tool like mint.com to track your spending, and eventually (like after 12 months of tracking) figure out a budget. My guess is you'll get a better understanding of "where the money goes". (We sure did...). We aren't overly strict about the budget, as you mentioned "life happens", but it's a great way to understand and make informed decisions on how to prioritize where your money gets used.

Best of luck on the journey ahead! Keep a positive attitude, be patient, and get the savings snowball started.
Exchme
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Exchme »

Not to be mean, but you wouldn't be writing if you thought things were turning around. I think you need to tackle this right away, you obviously feel like you are drowning in debt and I think you will feel more hopeful once you see progress in getting this debt monkey off your back. The obvious culprit is the family and friend commitments you keep making. People drowning in debt don't spend $1000 on travel to family gathering, or spend $750 on a friend's wedding weekend, that's waaaay beyond your means right now. Just admit to people you can't do the expensive stuff as you have to dig out of debt. They will understand and respect you for tackling the issue.

The credit card debt is the worst offender, put yourself on rice and beans, no travel, no nuthin until it's gone. Then once you've achieved that goal, add a specific thing back to life as a reward and work next debt down. But quit shooting yourself in the foot by agreeing to things that are beyond your current means, the debt is taking too big an emotional toll, so getting rid of it is your priority.
Small Savanna
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Small Savanna »

I was about your age before my net worth went from negative to positive. If you stay employed and pay off the credit cards as soon as you can, the rest will work itself out.
Big Heart
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Big Heart »

I remember living in NYC, and it felt like $20 bills would fly out of my hand as soon as I stepped outside. I called it the "$20 I stepped outside the door tax." Most memorably, I once got a $50 ticket because I took out my trash, inside of which was an envelope from a friend's greeting card -- in the trash not recycle -- they literally used the address on that envelope to track me down and give me a ticket for my recycling noncompliance.

There's not a lot of room to make mistakes in NYC it feels like.

Bravo on all you've achieved.

The only thing to add is I think you should get YNAB, the budget web app. I know you are not looking for a new expense. But it turned everything around for me because it made it very easy, and even strangely *fun*, to see where those dollars were going and then to make good choices and to see my positive choices build up. Try it for a free month and really spend the time learning it (there's a learning curve) and see if it helps. Some of what I hear in your post is just a general sense of not having control and things happening all around and not knowing how to get a grip - YNAb addresses that. Learning how to save comes before learning how to invest.

It's way better than Mint. I think Mint is good for people who already kind of intuitively understand money flow. It never did a thing for me other than allow me to track my transgressions- not fun. Ynab is a very different setup and much more positive and proactive I think.

I think it saved me $1500 in my first two months of using it. Just by bringing mindfulness. I think with your background experiences too, it could really help you create some positive structure, sense of control, and sense of building achievement. Just an idea - good luck to you.
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Sandtrap
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Sandtrap »

Welcome

Suggest reading in paperback form the following.
Read often with a pencil, underline, yellow marker.

“Life Strategies” by Dr Phil McGraw
“Life Code” by Dr Phil McGraw

Available Amazon.com
j🌺
Wiki Bogleheads Wiki: Everything You Need to Know
elle
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by elle »

I think you are doing fine. At your age many people are drowning in student loan debt or being young and having fun. I think what you are feeling is normal. I have friends in their 30’s who are still paying college debt!

On this site, it’s hard not to feel like you are behind. I’m 10 years older and have over a million in assets and I still feel like I’m behind. This site has more high earners than I know in real life haha.

Focus on reducing recurring expenses. Invest in yourself. Start on your cell phone and seeing if you can reduce car insurance like many said. Focus on that high interest discover card. Ruthlessly prioritize social events and conveniences. :). Eat a large snack before going out to dinner with friends. Put together some freezer meals that you can throw in the instant pot on days you would do door dash. Google ‘freezer one pot meals’. Pre-make a couple lasagnas.
banook
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by banook »

Exchme wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:50 pm Not to be mean, but you wouldn't be writing if you thought things were turning around. I think you need to tackle this right away, you obviously feel like you are drowning in debt and I think you will feel more hopeful once you see progress in getting this debt monkey off your back. The obvious culprit is the family and friend commitments you keep making. People drowning in debt don't spend $1000 on travel to family gathering, or spend $750 on a friend's wedding weekend, that's waaaay beyond your means right now. Just admit to people you can't do the expensive stuff as you have to dig out of debt. They will understand and respect you for tackling the issue.

The credit card debt is the worst offender, put yourself on rice and beans, no travel, no nuthin until it's gone. Then once you've achieved that goal, add a specific thing back to life as a reward and work next debt down. But quit shooting yourself in the foot by agreeing to things that are beyond your current means, the debt is taking too big an emotional toll, so getting rid of it is your priority.
+1 on the saying no to the short-term gratification, the rice and beans, veggie/meat soups with bread you make. It hurts, but paying off debt feels amazing. For 5 years in grad school I lived on 12k-17k a year grant + some odd jobs, took out a secured student line of credit just to cover certain expenses - I'll just say one of those "certain expenses" was a vacation I "felt obligated to take". I don't have regrets about the vacation, but it created anxiety. But somehow, when I came out and looked at 10k of debt @5.75% + 24k @4.975% on a car loan - I smartened up. I was 33 by the way with technically a negative net worth, but a salary/income of 40k. In all honesty, I knocked the highest interest down first, but committed to paying what I could on the car loan. I always ensured some went into savings for family vacations and there was at least a month of emergency expenses, which gradually got bigger. Retirement came last, if I had leftovers, normally 10% went in. The debt was the easiest thing to attack because I hated it. A co-worker at my first mega-corp job (a higher bump in salary to low 6 figs) told me about Jack Bogle, Bogleheads, TIPS, passive index funds, and Dave Ramsey (I know there's diverse opinions here on it - but he's mega right on the emotional toll and stress of debt). It took approximately 6mos -1 year to be debt free. I knew how to live cheaply, and then I went crazy on saving/investing with advice from this very forum - lurker since 2015. In 3 years, I had gone from negative net worth to positive growth with a simple 3 fund portfolio (tax efficient accounts maxed out first). There's still no feeling like not having debt, not even reaching 7 figures of paper net worth (which occurred 2 years ago) - I am being serious. I would pay our mortgage debt if I was allowed - the interest rate is good, and cap gains of selling index funds would eat into it.

In other posts, recently, I may talk about crypto (I don't own any individual stocks), but that is for when you can harness that risk (it is money you can afford to lose). It is not for today, it really isn't. I would never have bought crypto/stocks back in my debt situation nor did I even commit much to the classic 2-3 fund portfolio - so sell em (the stocks and the crypto). Others are right about getting rid of that and individual stocks. I still have the habits developed from that period of scarcity/debt pay-off - once you have those habits - you build wealth. FAST.

You're going to get there.
BarbBrooklyn
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by BarbBrooklyn »

Do you need a car as large as a Honda Pilot? I would sell it, pay off your dad and get a used Honda Fit (cheaper to run, easier to park, just get liability ins).
BarbBrooklyn | "The enemy of a good plan is the dream of a perfect plan."
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Watty
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Watty »

Hi PlasmatronSeven

Welcome to the forum.

It sounds like you have made it through what hopefully has been the worst of the pandemic and for someone that has been struggling with alcohol abuse that is a HUGE accomplishment. I have not been following it closely but from what I have heard is that it has been brutal for people who are in recovery. The financial stuff is important but don't lose track of the things that have improved in your life.

A few things that might help with the finances though.
PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 5:51 pm Cell Phone: $110.00
That is $1,320 a year that is way too high. There are lots of ways to cut that dramatically.
PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 5:51 pm Discover: $5,573.72 @ 12.99% APR
That is over $700 a year in interest. You would of course want to see if you can get a lower interest credit card that you can transfer the balance to. While you are trying to figure that out one thing you can do is to call their 800 number and ask them if they will lower your interest rate. They may or may not agree to do that but a lot of people have had success with calling and asking for a lower rate. The worst thing that can happen is that they can say "no" and you wasted 20 minutes of your time.
PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 6:58 pm Yes Atlanta and LA are the other two, I've begun to consider ATL as it might be cheaper
I am in Atlanta it, like pretty much everywhere, is likely less expensive than NYC but one thing to watch out for is that the prices for things like housing and apartments vary a lot from one area to another. You might see some affordable apartment on the internet only to find out it is an hour+ commute from where you need to work. You cannot just go by the distance since the traffic can be terrible and if you are going the wrong way at the wrong time it can take a long time to travel very far.
chris319
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by chris319 »

Exchme wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:50 pm The obvious culprit is the family and friend commitments you keep making. People drowning in debt don't spend $1000 on travel to a family gathering, or spend $750 on a friend's wedding weekend, that's waaaay beyond your means right now. Just admit to people you can't do the expensive stuff as you have to dig out of debt. They will understand and respect you for tackling the issue.

The credit card debt is the worst offender, put yourself on rice and beans, no travel, no nuthin until it's gone. Then once you've achieved that goal, add a specific thing back to life as a reward and work next debt down. But quit shooting yourself in the foot by agreeing to things that are beyond your current means, the debt is taking too big an emotional toll, so getting rid of it is your priority.
I have to agree with this. Family is one thing; a friend's wedding is another.

I had to travel a lot when my mother was terminally ill, then travel some more to settle her estate when she passed. It was all necessary.

I've missed countless years of Thanksgiving and xmas because the ball and chain of the job prevented me from having time off, let alone traveling, and that was before the pandemic. You just deal with it. On the bright side, at least I had stable employment.

Don't give yourself malnutrition by going the rice and beans route, though. No need to spend money on books by Dr. Phil, either.
The only person you have to please in life is yourself.
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davibi02
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by davibi02 »

First three things that came to mind, in order of priority:
1. Prioritize your sobriety.
2. Start a "zero-dollar" budget.
3. $110/mo cell is about $100 too high. Try Tello or Mint or another MVNO.

You have a lot of great advice from a lot of well wishers here!
quantAndHold
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by quantAndHold »

Welcome. You’re doing fine, a lot better than the many people who wake up in their 40’s with debts that are a multiple of what you have and no way they’re ever going to pay them off.

I spent my 20’s similarly to how you did, got sober, got my life together, met my wife, and the rest...is history. All I can say is stay clean and sober and keep plugging away, and the miracles will happen when you’re ready for them.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
JBTX
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by JBTX »

PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 5:51 pm Hi all,

I’m brand new to the forum and want to go over my financial situation. I’m 28 years old and a large percentage of the past decade of my life was marred by depression and alcoholism, a combination that has led me to have a decent amount of debts and almost no money in the bank. Even though I was always working throughout my late teens and early to mid 20s, I lived a self-destructive lifestyle that caused me to spend everything and save nothing. As dark as it is to say, when I was in the throws of my depression and alcohol abuse, it didn’t seem necessary to save for a future that I didn’t think would exist. That is where I’ll end the mention of these issues because 1.) they no longer define me and 2.) I don’t want to make excuses - I’m in solution mode now.

So what is life like for me these days? I am better now mentally and physically. I work in an industry (TV/Film) that I’m passionate about and I actually make pretty decent money. However, due to the nature of my industry employment can be volatile. In 2020 I worked a total of 15 weeks due to the industry being shut down by the pandemic. In a normal year, as 2021 has been, I can miss anywhere from 4-8 weeks of work due to holiday hiatuses (unpaid) and time between gigs. During these 4-8 weeks I file for unemployment.

I also recently got bumped up to a new position. I make just above $1,700/week AFTER TAXES. Prior to this raise which went into effect five weeks ago, I was making $1,110/week after taxes.

If I average it out and say that I’ll miss six weeks of work a year, my salary after taxes for 46 weeks of work is $78,200. There is obviously additional money that would come in due to unemployment benefits, but I’d prefer to not have to account for that.

Now that I’ve laid out my scenario a bit, let’s get into the numbers and my reasoning for the title. Below is a breakdown of my debt…

Credit Card Debt:
Discover: $5,573.72 @ 12.99% APR
Capital One: $2,007.83 @ 4% APR

Car (I need one for my job):
2015 Honda Pilot that I bought from my father. I still owe him $9,080. I pay him $365/month. It will be paid off in 25 months. This is the rate we agreed upon, I’d prefer to not try to make it lower.

Student Loans:
My parents were able to pay for most of my education and I went to a state school. I owe them $14,000. They charge no interest and I currently make no payments. I will start paying them once the car is paid off. If I never pay them off it will come out of whatever they have put away for me in their will. I am aware that this is an extremely privileged situation I’m in.

Total Debt = $30,661.55
——————

I’m glad that part is over, but this next part isn’t great either. Let’s talk about what money I have. It’s embarrassing to type it out that this all I have at this age and it’s really hard not to shame spiral, but here it goes…

Savings: $500.00 just sitting in a savings account
Stocks: $1,100.00 in stocks
Crypto: $75.00 in crypto

Total Assets: $1,675.00

I should also mention that through my job’s union I have a retirement account and a pension. I have absolutely no idea how to value these but I’m doing a webinar in the near future to try to figure that out.
——————

Moving on to my monthly expenses, isn’t this exciting?

Rent: $1,150.00 (I live in NYC)
Car Payment: $365.00
Car Insurance: $350.00 (I know this is crazy, I’ve shopped around and can’t find a lower rate)
Cell Phone: $110.00
Apartment Related Bills: $155.00
Discover Min Payment: $200.00
Capital One MP: $50.00
Gas: $240.00 (drive a lot for work)

Total Monthly Expenses: $2,620.00

So based on my $1,700 week and four paychecks a month I’m at:

$6,800.00 in pay
- $2,620.00 in expenses
= $4,180.00 leftover

Let’s say I spend $250.00 a week for groceries and entertainment. This figure may seem high to some, but this is pretty reasonable for NYC, especially when you have a girlfriend (slight sarcasm). That becomes…

$4,180.00 leftover
- $1,000.00 spending
= $3,180.00 extra

That’s a nice chunk of change to pay down my credit cards which is what I should be doing. A thing that I always find impossible to budget for is what I’ll call “Life Commitments”.

For example, next month I’ll be visiting both of my sisters who live in California for two weeks while I’m in between gigs. I haven’t seen them in almost two years. Even using flight credits and travel hacking my way through the trip it will still cost me probably $1,000.00 all told.

Then in July I’m a groomsmen for my friend’s wedding. Again, even doing things cheaply that long weekend will cost $750.00 if not more.

Then in August I have to move because one of my roommates is moving in with his significant other. The move will cost me at minimum $3,000.00.

I know that the simple answer to these problems is don’t travel, don’t visit family, don’t go to the wedding, etc. These are not realistic for me, I value my family and friends too much to not see these Life Commitments through.

You could say to not live in NYC but my career is tied to the city as it is one of the three major hubs in the United States where you can work in my industry successfully.

Could it really be that wanting to participate in these Life Commitments with my friends/family and live in a decent place (I’m truly not splurging on where I live, my current place has no washer/dryer, central air, etc) is holding me back from creating a better future for myself?

Here’s another one, in the Fall my car will need new tires. Even if I go cheap that’ll be $600-$700. This extra $3,180.00 just gets attached to all of these things and seems to disappear right in front of me.

I guess this ultimately boils down to - how do you get ahead when you’re playing from behind because of poor decisions made in your young life? Every time I have a decent amount of money put away some friend has a wedding coming up or my car needs a repair.

How do I use my money to best benefit myself? There has to be a way to do it without saying no to things. I’m fine with saying no to a lot of things (concerts, baseball games, fancy dinners, etc), but even these basic Life Commitments seem to drain me financially.

I’m tired of feeling like a loser because I barely have any money. I hope this post doesn’t come off as whiney, I’m sure in many ways it does and I apologize to everyone rolling their eyes at this. I am thankful for my life and all of the things I get to do. I just don’t see a way to pay off my debts and then begin to save for something like a house all while living my life.

Maybe I’m overthinking this. Maybe the easy answer is I finally just started making good money for the first time in my life and I’m coming off a tumultuous year financially due to the pandemic and just so happen to have a lot of life commitments coming up all at once. Maybe this will get better in due time.
———————
Any advice is welcomed and appreciated. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.

If you’re depressed, anxious, or abusing a substance, please talk to someone. It saved my life. It can save yours too.

While everyone is unique, I can somewhat empathize as I have a college age daughter who is kind of stuck in a loop you were. Mental illness, depression, bad decisions, spend money, rinse repeat. What I see in her is occasionally she starts to get going in the right direction, and then starts mapping out the myriad of things she needs to get from 1 to 10, and then gets discouraged and overwhelmed and falls back into the cycle. All we have ever told her is she just needs to make progress- whatever that is. Concentrate on getting from 1 to 2, and then to 3. Don't worry about 10 right now.

It seems like you have done a great job getting to 5 or 6 which is frankly better than many people your age. But you are overwhelmed at what it takes to get to 10. Stop worrying about 10. Concentrate on 7, then after that 8.

Your situation is really not that bad. Keep doing what you are doing and you will get there.

As to what you owe you parents, if they are anything like us, they are more concerned about with you continuing to move forward as opposed to recovering their loans to you. It's not something you have to resolve right away.

Credit card debt is not optimal, but as long as you are maintaining or reducing the balances, that is good enough. As to vacations, trips, etc, you just have to decide how those weigh against other goals, like paying of debts, etc. Make a decision based upon your priorities and values, then be comfortable with it. Again, as long as you are moving forward that is the key.

As to specifics, it's hard to save living in NYC, especially if you have a car. If you need it so be it, but it's going to be expensive

Good luck, keep it up, you are doing great. I would be ecstatic if my daughter is where you are at your age and be very proud of the progress.
chris319
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by chris319 »

As to what you owe you parents, if they are anything like us, they are more concerned about with you continuing to move forward as opposed to recovering their loans to you. It's not something you have to resolve right away.
To OP: is there any way to put a moratorium on your car-loan payment schedule (without adiitonal interest) until you pay off your credit cards? No harm in asking. The worst they can do is say "no". Then resume payments when the cc's are paid off. I'd venture to say that parents charge less interest than a credit-card company :moneybag

Also, is there a way you can see your relatives more cheaply than traveling to them? Could they travel to you?
The only person you have to please in life is yourself.
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eye.surgeon
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by eye.surgeon »

Lots of good advice here. I would agree that getting out of NYC is probably the single biggest play to improve your financials, although post-covid as people flee the big cities that may be less true than it was 2 years ago.

And don't be too hard on yourself, you're young and you're thinking about saving, investing, and the future--that's more than most people your age even if they didn't have the problems you went through, or maybe it's because they didn't have the problems you went through.
"I would rather be certain of a good return than hopeful of a great one" | Warren Buffett
Prahasaurus
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Prahasaurus »

PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:12 pm
typical.investor wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 8:01 pm
PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 5:51 pm I guess this ultimately boils down to - how do you get ahead when you’re playing from behind because of poor decisions made in your young life? Every time I have a decent amount of money put away some friend has a wedding coming up or my car needs a repair.

How do I use my money to best benefit myself?
Those are deeply individual questions.

I'd encourage you to invest as much as you can given as you say your "industry employment can be volatile".

I'd encourage you to find inexpensive hobbies that you can enjoy.

I'd encourage you to not evaluate your success by looking at others.

I'd say at 28 you are in a good position if you keep working your plan.

"no path forward financially" is quite extreme. I'd be wary about looking for immediate solutions that will afford you a Lamborghini and take you to the moon.
Even after I was done writing this I felt the title was a bit and extreme and now after reading everyone's advice I realize it is. There does indeed seem to be a path forward. I will try my best to take your third point to heart. Thank you!
Exactly. After reading the title, I was expecting a truly dire situation. You are fine. You've been given some great advice in this thread. The main thing is to have a reasonable plan and stick with it. You can't just do this for a few years only, the impact will be almost zero.

Also, I don't know how practical it is with your job, but when I lived in a large city in Europe, I never had a car. It was just so much stress (parking!) and of course a major expense. I sold it and rented cars on the rare occasion I needed them, e.g. a week-long vacation driving around Italy, or visiting Austria to ski, etc. That was typically once a year. Otherwise, when traveling outside the city, I took the train or bus. In the city, it was always metro, tram, and occasionally bus. Plus I walked everywhere! It was great.

Even now that we are no longer in a big city and definitely need a car, my wife and I share one car (bought used, paid in cash). Ditch that car if you can!

Good luck!
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Nohbdy
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Nohbdy »

You have some great advice here.
I just have 1 thing to add, since you mention travel hacking. It is possible to win at that game, but you really have to be organized and timely. Until you have a plan and are able to reliably carry no balance on the credit cards, please understand that you are almost certainly losing at travel hacking. Those trips should feel painful financially.
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Beensabu
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Beensabu »

You have less than $10k in in interest bearing debt not owed to family. You make $78k a year. You have $3k after essential expenses per month. You can get rid of that CC debt in a year. You can pay your dad back for the car in another year. You can pay your parents back for school in another year and a half. You can be debt free by 31, while still saving and living your life.

Pay off the higher interest rate card first, while making minimum payments to the other. Then pay off the other. Then put one monthly bill on one, another monthly bill on the other, and set up monthly auto-pay on both.

Set aside what you need for June and July life commitments and August move. After that, the $3k monthly excess goes to: $1k savings, $1k CC debt, $1k "second savings" (aka "life commitments / irregular expenses fund").

You're not a loser. You're making good money doing something you want to do that people are willing to pay you decently for. You make what you need to live your life. You have family support. You care about the people in your life and keeping them a part of your life. You're doing super fabulous actually.

You don't need to save for a house. You just need to save.

You don't need to compare yourself to anybody else.

It'll be okay. You're doing great.
"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next."
walleyf
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 08, 2017 9:51 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by walleyf »

Are you a member SAG-AFTRA ? I have a BIL in NYC who is a member. Maybe they could help you with your car insurance as they have many member benefits.
chris319
Posts: 571
Joined: Thu Jan 28, 2021 6:04 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by chris319 »

Before you move OP to Atlanta, consider that he is now getting work primarily in NYC.He has contacts there and presumably a good reputation in the industry. If he moves to another city, he won't necessarily have the employment opportunities he has now in NYC..
The only person you have to please in life is yourself.
Prahasaurus
Posts: 1002
Joined: Fri Mar 29, 2019 1:02 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Prahasaurus »

Beensabu wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 12:02 am You're making good money doing something you want to do that people are willing to pay you decently for. You make what you need to live your life. You have family support. You care about the people in your life and keeping them a part of your life. You're doing super fabulous actually.

You don't need to save for a house. You just need to save.

You don't need to compare yourself to anybody else.

It'll be okay. You're doing great.
Exactly!

Bogleheads.org is a fantastic site, perhaps the best single site on the internet for those who want to take control of their finances, save long term, etc.

However.... The demographics here are insane. While I can't say for sure, the typical Boglehead seems to be quite affluent, over 50, North American or European (mainly American), and highly educated. Not very representative of your typical 28-year old American!

Reality check: the median income of all Americans is 31k USD per year. Your typical 28 year old American has saved around 16k USD for retirement: https://www.synchronybank.com/blog/medi ... gs-by-age/.

Some Bogleheads started with nothing and have 7-figure portfolios. Many others here were given a lot from birth, born on 3rd base and convinced they hit a triple... Some write software for Facebook, which for some insane reason is paid 10x much more than teaching our children to read and write. But that's the world we live it, sadly. You are going to feel inadequate if you follow a lot of posts here and compare their portfolios to yours. And they've been saving for decades!
Asset Allocation: VT
LeftCoastIV
Posts: 348
Joined: Wed May 01, 2019 7:19 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by LeftCoastIV »

When I saw the title of this post, I was expecting a disaster. Instead, I see positive monthly cash flow, reasonable debt, and a career.

I would suggest signing up for mint.com, linking your bank accounts, and tracking your spending in detail. You have the recurring expenses listed, but the one-off expenses and subscriptions people forget about can surprise you.
Barefootgirl
Posts: 2377
Joined: Tue Oct 06, 2009 7:05 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Barefootgirl »

The best news is that you're in the best place to lay this all out and get helpful advice. Paying attention is key.

The second best news is that you have put it out there for examination and planning. Most people, particularly in the earlier decades of life, are too busy having fun to really crunch the numbers and make a serious plan forward.

Lastly, you called yourself a loser. Oh my god, you are anything BUT.

**We become what we overcome** By any definition, you are a WINNER.

Embrace your wisdom and strength gained - the earlier the better, you are on a great track.

Best wishes for a great future.
How many retired people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Only one, but he takes all day.
hamhocs
Posts: 52
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:31 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by hamhocs »

"So based on my $1,700 week and four paychecks a month I’m at"

If you get paid every week, since there are 52 weeks in a year you'll have an extra payment every 3 months. Or $567/month in income for your budgeting.
redmaw
Posts: 278
Joined: Mon Apr 22, 2019 7:20 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by redmaw »

I haven't read most of the replies so this is probably some repeat here.

First you are making 80k/year after tax and before unemployment ...that looks like well over 100k gross, and well above average even for NYC. So going forward you are pretty well set up. Second, 7k in credit card debt isn't good, but I think you will find that's less than most 20 somethings end up with. SO really you are financially you are probably better off than most, even if it doesn't seem that way.

My suggestions are pretty obvious. You laid out an essentials budget which leave say 3k/month for non-essentials. I think you need to decide how much of this you will spend and how much you will keep. I would suggest keeping at least 50% of it, and make sure the family visits, and weddings etc. can be covered by the other half. It doesn't take a lot of planning to cover 1-3k expenses when you have 1500/month to work with. With the other 1500, pay off the CC debt first obviously, this should only take 5-6 months. Keep paying your Dad for the car as agreed, and once the CC are paid I would start paying an equal amount towards the student loans (this is not a great financial decision, but I feel its the right thing to do), and because the CC are paid off it won't really change your budget going forward. So by the end of the year you are out of CC debt, have a few thousand sitting around as an emergency fund, and in about 3 years you won't owe your parents anything either. From there I would make sure you take full advantage of any retirement accounts available to you, at a minimum I would start a roth ira immediately, but you may be eligible for other accounts depending on the nature of your employment.

On the side - i think right now you don't have much business owning stock or crypto, but the total amount you have is small enough to not make any difference either way.

On the car front, 350/month sounds like a lot for insurance, but if I assume there are some black marks on your record, and fairly young, and in NYC, covers business use, that actually doesn't sound that far out of line. It should come down a bit over a few years of clean driving, improving your credit can help too. The only thing I can suggest to quickly lower your costs is to go to something smaller than a pilot, but if your job includes hauling stuff that may not be viable either.

So I actually think you are in a pretty good place, and with a bit of forethought and discipline you will do just fine.
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Gundy
Posts: 27
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Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Gundy »

I stopped reading when I saw you are 28 years old. The rest doesn't matter.

Youth is a tremendous asset, and you have it.

Every 80-year-old billionaire would switch places with you right now.
I'm a man! I'm 40!
WhyNotUs
Posts: 1985
Joined: Sun Apr 14, 2013 11:38 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by WhyNotUs »

You have already made the hardest step, choosing sobriety.

If you are an Equity Union member and work union shoots, they actually have a pretty good retirement system that you can look into as you move forward.

As you probably already know, you recent pay raise is a window of opportunity to free yourself from debt. You already know the process, take advantage of it to get rid of the cc debt. As others have noted, life commitments are not one offs, they will be part of your budget. Prioritizing those events over other lifestyle creep (dining out, fancier car, latest electronics, etc) will give you the ability to say yes to some of them.

The advice about creating a small emergency fund to start is good IMO as it can break the dependence on thinking of your credit card as the tool for those situations. Your debt is not great and if 2021 goes well, then you can be free of cc and car debt and have a small emergency fund by 2022. That puts you into a position to understand more about paying off your car, understanding your work retirement plan and building a larger emergency fund in 2022.

Best wishes
I own the next hot stock- VTSAX
cbs2002
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:10 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by cbs2002 »

Congratulations! You've maybe done the hardest thing you will do in your life, to pull yourself out of substance abuse and depression. I know this is a lifelong struggle and it's maybe more important than anything else being discussed here. It's incredible.

I looked back at my spreadsheets - I was negative net worth until I was around 30 (paid off around 40K of student loans), and I didn't make a six-figure income until I was 37. 17 years of compound growth have allowed my spouse and I to do very very well.

As others have said, the two things that make this harder are 1) car and 2) residence. I didn't own a car, ever, until after I was married and had two incomes coming in. And the big one - my now-spouse put the down payment down on a condo before we were married. Obviously this was fortunate for me and not something within your control.

so ditch as much of the car expense as possible and lose any pride attached to that. For residence, just keep it as low as possible until you are at positive NW. And you've got a huge opp over the next two years to wipe out all that debt.

Don't sacrifice real relationships - family and true close friends. They have value beyond anything. Note I don't mean casual friends and social acquaintances, that should be put on hold until you are out of debt IMHO.

Good luck!
HomeStretch
Posts: 6368
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by HomeStretch »

Congratulations on your success.

You just received a large raise. It’s time to get rid of your debt. Get a 2nd job or paying side gigs. Reduce your car expenses. Reduce your discretionary expenses for “wants” like eating out and vacations. See if you can transfer the high-APR CC balance to a zero/low-interest CC. Aggressively pay off the credit card debt and your parent loans for car and schooling as agreed-to when you borrowed it (your parents may need this money). Once the debt is eliminated, it’s fine to add back some luxuries.
chazas
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Nov 01, 2017 1:22 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by chazas »

Honestly, that’s a pretty good platform to start. Your debt is not really unmanageable, you just need to chip away at it. If you have to make some choices to do that, it’s life.

I just found out how much student loan debt my newish SO will have after finishing another round of grad school starting this fall. Like 10x your total debt. He works in the nonprofit world. And he seems unconcerned. Falls in the category of not my business, but that’s what a crushing debt load really looks like.

Congrats on the sobriety part.
Amanda999
Posts: 38
Joined: Sat Apr 22, 2017 12:48 pm
Location: Boston suburbs

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Amanda999 »

Just wanted to give you a big thumbs up, for helping yourself up!
Depression, alcoholism - those challenges are very very difficult. I have a loved one who has been through recovery. It is truly a day by day challenge.

Just know if you feel relapse 'feelings,' well you did it once, you can pull yourself up again. Please do find a relationship with a licensed therapist? Even if you pooh pooh the concept, or just go once every 2 or 3 months, I PROMISE PROMISE it will be of use. At worst, you can laugh about how useless it is to friends.
Rose
Posts: 131
Joined: Fri Nov 13, 2015 11:16 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Rose »

Beensabu wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 12:02 am You have less than $10k in in interest bearing debt not owed to family. You make $78k a year. You have $3k after essential expenses per month. You can get rid of that CC debt in a year. You can pay your dad back for the car in another year. You can pay your parents back for school in another year and a half. You can be debt free by 31, while still saving and living your life.

Pay off the higher interest rate card first, while making minimum payments to the other. Then pay off the other. Then put one monthly bill on one, another monthly bill on the other, and set up monthly auto-pay on both.

Set aside what you need for June and July life commitments and August move. After that, the $3k monthly excess goes to: $1k savings, $1k CC debt, $1k "second savings" (aka "life commitments / irregular expenses fund").
This is the key. See if you can open several no-fee accounts, either in online bank or brick and mortar bank, and mark one for "Life Commitments" and another one for Emergency Saving. Once your emergency saving builds up to a certain number, say $500, put half towards credit card payment.

Another trick from a BH member, Klangfool, is to pay yourself first. Put a good amount of the extra from every week to the Emergency Saving bucket and each week only spend what's remaining in your regular account. Then once Emergency Saving account builds up, use half to pay debts, starting with the credit card payments.
Topic Author
PlasmatronSeven
Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 11, 2021 5:45 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by PlasmatronSeven »

Beensabu wrote: Wed May 12, 2021 12:02 am You have less than $10k in in interest bearing debt not owed to family. You make $78k a year. You have $3k after essential expenses per month. You can get rid of that CC debt in a year. You can pay your dad back for the car in another year. You can pay your parents back for school in another year and a half. You can be debt free by 31, while still saving and living your life.

Pay off the higher interest rate card first, while making minimum payments to the other. Then pay off the other. Then put one monthly bill on one, another monthly bill on the other, and set up monthly auto-pay on both.

Set aside what you need for June and July life commitments and August move. After that, the $3k monthly excess goes to: $1k savings, $1k CC debt, $1k "second savings" (aka "life commitments / irregular expenses fund").

You're not a loser. You're making good money doing something you want to do that people are willing to pay you decently for. You make what you need to live your life. You have family support. You care about the people in your life and keeping them a part of your life. You're doing super fabulous actually.

You don't need to save for a house. You just need to save.

You don't need to compare yourself to anybody else.

It'll be okay. You're doing great.
This, along with many of the other posts on this thread, have made me tear up. Thanks to you and everyone else for the kind and encouraging words as well as the amazing advice. I am so happy I found this forum. Thank you
caffeperfavore
Posts: 434
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 11:45 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by caffeperfavore »

You received some great advice, so I'll just offer my story as further proof that things can and will improve. At the age of 32 I was over $75k in debt (student loans and credit cards) with virtually no savings or retirement. It felt pretty bleak but I buckled down, paid off the debts, started a savings, and plowed every leftover penny into retirement. Over the years, my income grew, I married someone with a similar income (she came with debt too, pushing us under -$100k net worth, but we paid it off), we moved to a lower COL area, we lived below our means, and kept plugging. Now, we're in the two comma club and the money we've saved is really starting to snowball. Our yearly gains in investments are beginning to eclipse our income. We're in a good place.

Paying off debts and building wealth became a game. Every month I would update a simple Excel spreadsheet that tracked assets, liabilities, and net worth. Setting realistic, specific, but challenging goals along the way helps. It's been gratifying to see it grow. Early on, Mr. Money Mustache was a source of inspiration, ideas, and motivation (begin with "Start Here" on his home page). I've since graduated to Bogleheads, but it was useful to me when I was in a similar stage.

We're rooting for you.
surfstar
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by surfstar »

OP, as others have said - first congrats to realizing your problems and taking them on. It might seem like you have a hard road ahead, but honestly the financial stuff will be much easier than what you've already accomplished. If you make a plan and stick to it (which you are already doing), it will come together. It will seem like a while before your current decisions truly "pay-off", with regards to finances, but it is a snowball effect and things will continue to look better as debts are paid and money is saved.

You have a good idea on specifics from other posters already, I just wanted to give another hang-in-there / congratulatory note. Many people do not start having positive financial outcomes (saving for retirement, a home, etc) until their 30s - you are not behind at this stage, and having a plan will put you ahead of the overwhelming majority of Americans.

Congrats again and best of luck.
hi_there
Posts: 870
Joined: Sat Aug 29, 2020 7:00 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by hi_there »

I think you should also make some mental accounting for being involved in a profession that you are personally interested in, since this is part of a conscious financial compromise. People don't become accountants or orthodontists because of genuine passion (usually).
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WolfpackFan
Posts: 389
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:18 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by WolfpackFan »

Nice work getting out of the rut (I too in my younger days was in a similar kind of rut). I will say you are still super YOUNG so you've got plenty of time to get to sorting things out and your financial situation can definitely get better as you stay focused on it.

My immediate financial advice is to see where you can shave down the monthly expenses.. one that jumped off the page to me was the cell phone bill. I think I paid Republic Wireless like $210 for the entire year of service. In your situation, as you are just beginning this financial journey to financial security, every little bit that you can save each month is huge.

I'm mostly posting though to say Way To Go! on focusing on making improvements in your life and to encourage you to keep pushing forward, even if it's two steps back and one step forwards at times. Many people in our types of prior situations never find a way to escape. Good luck on your journey!
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mmmodem
Posts: 2457
Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 1:22 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by mmmodem »

OP, the short of it is at your age, I had nothing but my car and I made less than you. I even had a medical payments judgement made against me on my wages. A little over a decade later we are now millionaires. YOU WILL BE FINE.

The long of it is the decisions you make need not be binary. It's not whether you choose to go to a wedding. It's go to the wedding and spend less. I was groomsman also in my 20's. I lived in a high cost of living area San Francisco and I didn't spend anywhere near $750. I chose to drive home after the wedding instead of getting a hotel room. Don't choose: Drive a Honda Pilot or don't own a car. Choose to drive a used Prius instead. I flew from Boston to San Francisco last September during the pandemic by myself to visit family for a week. (Ooh, that sounds bad. It was a necessary flight.) My cost was closer to $500 signing up for a new credit card to use the airline miles. I've since canceled that card.

That's the kind of decision making that allowed me to enjoy the richness of life and be able to save. $15 cell phone bills and cheap liability only insurance on small economy cars with tires that cost $400 to replace. Those are the choices. $1150 rent in NY is fantastic by the way. My rent was in SF was in the $1300-$1400 range 10 years ago.
Superleaf444
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 9:12 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Superleaf444 »

Heya,

Welcome to the forum!

I think you got a ton of great advice, so at this point I might just be repeating things, but I'll throw out some info.

First off, you are doing way better than you think you are. At your age and also in the city, I was in FAR more debt and made a little less than you at the time. So, it can be done.

Your rent is pretty solid, but you could go cheaper. I know the city and it is a bit of a shitshow, so it is sorta like do you want to risk it. But my cheapest rent was in Ditmas Park in a 2 bed w/ roommate for $600. I eventually got comfy in an Astoria 2 bed w/roommate and paid roughly $1,080 for everything including utilities. Prime location (I miss that apt so much). Again, I know how awful it is finding a place in the city, so I totally understand if you are like screw that.

You can also for sure lower your cell phone bill. I have unlimited with Cricket, which runs on the ATT network, and pay $35 a month after I set it up on autopay.

Call your credit card companies and ask for a lower interest, that will help out.

Rent and meal planning was my biggest savers. I planned all my meals and froze them to make my life so much easier. But meal planning takes some getting used to and you gotta have a plan. Think something like bake a sheet of 12 chicken breasts and season them 4 different ways, so you aren't eating the same crap. Same with veggies, etc. Then make a bunch of different dishes and freeze them.

"Life commitments" are also always insane in the city. Sometimes you can make them cheaper, but sometimes you can't. I would sometimes eat at work, then show up to whatever and just be like, oh yeah I just ate. Then get like a seltzer and lime, so I could give up the idea I was drinking and not be bothered with "why aren't you drinking" kinda thing. As for the traveling, eh, yeah man, idk, gotta use google flights smartly and stuff like auto slash. Look for deals and book the best you can. Having flexibility with the time of the trip is the best thing you can do to save money. (I went to Japan and Thailand for $500 because I booked off-season) But I totally get not everyone has that luck or flexibility.

Also, be real with your friends about weddings. I also had endless amounts to go to and all over the country. I would have an honest talk with my friends. "Hey man, I really really want to come to this wedding. But I'm broke af living here and trying to get on my feet. You know anyone that might want to share a hotel or ride? Anyway we can make being a groomsmen cheaper?" I never had a negative reaction. With that said, I know people have when they had that talk, but I guess all my friends are super chill.

I agree with others that you need an emergency fund. And I mean, do that immediately and get a solid cushion. IMO with a high cost of living like NYC, you need 1-2 months at the start before you attack your credit cards. Because emergencies are also more expensive there.

Other things that helped me, working multiple jobs and moving up in my field until I didn't have to, the library for all entertainment (you can't beat NY public libraries), city pools and city playgrounds for exercise, city concerts and classes for entertainment.


BTW this is a solid local group for inspiration:
https://www.meetup.com/NYC-FI-RE-meetup
RetiredCSProf
Posts: 632
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:59 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by RetiredCSProf »

You will be fine. At age 27, I had a total of $100 to my name. I had left a husband and job behind me and moved across the country. I had spent about $200 on filing divorce papers (could not afford a lawyer). No bank would give me a credit card because all my credit history was in my ex-husband's name (even though I had been the breadwinner for four years).

I moved into an apartment within walking distance of my new job, which started on the 1st of the month. My parents paid my security deposit and my first month's rent. My new employer paid monthly, and I had to stretch that $100 for a full month until I received my first paycheck. I walked and rode buses for two years until I could afford to purchase a used car from a family member.

Since you need to move in August, consider looking for a situation where you can reduce your rent or transportation cost.
Jaymover
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed May 12, 2021 8:19 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Jaymover »

I didn't really save anything until I was about 31 when I lived somewhere cheap on good pay and could pile up some savings. Then got the wife and kids and mortgage. Now divorced with a $1million invested but renting at 51. It seems like wages plateau for most in their 50s unless you are on a solid career path. The middling wage is the issue for me which makes it hard to save, even when living like a student once again.

A good tip is learn about relationships and, if you chose to have kids, have them with the right person. And then I would say one is enough.

And you don't drink. Do you know how much people spend on booze these days? Invest those savings once you clear your debts and build up an emergency buffer.
bluegill
Posts: 178
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:15 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by bluegill »

You can easily reduce your cell phone bill. Get a pre-paid cell phone service. Try WalMart.
I used to use a prepaid cell phone service and it only cost about $10 per month.
get out of that high interest credit card debt.
Robdac
Posts: 77
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2019 3:23 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Robdac »

As mentioned above, you really don't need Bogleheads at this point. You need Dave Ramsey.

You've already swallowed some tough medicine by looking at your situation and laying it out very clearly. Now you need to make some tough choices and stick with them until you get what you want most.

Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life. -Jerzy Gregorek

Good luck!
bluegill
Posts: 178
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:15 am

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by bluegill »

28 ! You have a long time to fix things. I wish you well, and I think you will be successful.
victw
Posts: 163
Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:07 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by victw »

If it hasn't been mentioned before I recommend YNAB. Even if you don't buy the product all of their videos and information is free.

Vic
Kittens
Posts: 63
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:33 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Kittens »

I've only skimmed this thread but if you decide to end up selling the car, now is probably the best time since used (and new) cars are way up. Depending on mileage your Pilot is probably worth 15-20k. Carvana is showing 15.2k estimate for the most basic trim at 60k miles
Snowjob
Posts: 1641
Joined: Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:53 pm

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Snowjob »

PlasmatronSeven wrote: Tue May 11, 2021 5:51 pm Hi all,

I’m 28 years old...
Total Debt = $30,661.55...

Total Monthly Expenses: $2,620.00
So based on my $1,700 week and four paychecks a month I’m at:

$6,800.00 in pay
- $2,620.00 in expenses
= $4,180.00 leftover

Maybe I’m overthinking this.
Age -- holy crap your young man, I'm 38 and I'd still trade places with you in a heartbeat. Youth / time is always our most valuable asset.
Debt -- completely reasonable for anyone your age, probably way less then average considering you have a car and a degree.
Income -- dude you make 140k a year (1700 after tax a week) that puts you in the top 3-5% of income earners for your age.
Expenses -- other than expensive car insurance that not to shabby, frankly having that much disposable income is awesome.

You just got a 600 / week cash bump (after tax) that's an extra 32k a year. That's HUGE -- your about to pop off man.

My advice, put 18k / year into a 401k to get the tax benefit -- that reduces your extra 32k/year of cash coming in the door by only 14k due to the tax savings. Second, with the remaining 18k (32-14 = 18) dedicate 6k / year to debt repayment. Use the Dave Ramsey style where you pay off the smallest debt first and then snowball into the next smallest. This will have the psychological benefit of eliminating debts in rapid fire, one after the other, finally with the last 12k you can cover all the things you've been missing out on in life -- the extra trips etc.

Over the next 5 years you will have done the following:
- Saved 90k in a 401k -- growth of these balances will be gravy
- Paid off all your debts
- Gotten to enjoy the things you've been missing out on, namely travel and visiting family

If you want to turbo charge this, moving to a cheaper area like ATL (rent & vehicle costs), getting a cheaper cell plan, getting cheaper car are also all options. You'll be still in your prime in your early 30s, debt free with probably 150k-200k of invested assets to your name and one hell of an income. Sounds like an amazing situation most people would kill to be in man. Good luck
Colorado13
Posts: 1200
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:58 pm
Location: Colorado

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by Colorado13 »

I want to chime in and congratulate you for overcoming difficult obstacles and very demonstrating grit and determination. As others have noted, with a few tweaks to your expenses you will be just fine. Your situation may seem overwhelming, but it's not at all dire. Others have given great advice regarding your debt management and expenses (car and phone could be more affordable.)

Posting here to obtain advice regarding how to get your financial house in order is a big step in the right direction.

Be proud of what you have accomplished; you are gainfully employed and are on track to enjoy a fulfilling career. Kudos to you!

Please continue to pose your questions to us; we're here to help.
investnoob
Posts: 327
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 7:57 am
Location: Ottawa
Contact:

Re: I See no Path Forward Financially

Post by investnoob »

I think you might need to just make a plan.

You have $3,180 a month "extra" - after expenses.

That is $38,000.

That is a decent chunk of change. You should be able to make this work.

Decide how much of it will go to your "Life Commitments" and work from there. Remember, new tires are not a Life Commitment. Make a budget line for stuff like that. Maybe its another $500 a month, actually leaving $2,680 a month or $32,000 a year.

Will 25% or 50% of that go to Life Commitments?
Even if its 50% - you will $16,000 left over.

It would take about 2.5 years, now, to knock out your debt.
You could even take some of the $16,000 and invest it. Say $4,000. Now your debt repayment is stretched out to something like 3.5 years.

Don't sweat to many of the details. Try to understand the big picture.

You have a path forward, you just aren't seeing it because you haven't made a plan yet.
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