The Intersection of FIRE and Disney

amalone1013

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 15, 2016
I'm going to bring my favorite emoji over here:
:badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc:
over DHs 401k plan.

I am going to do some digging into it next week for a few reasons.
  • I really need to look through the options (for both of us) and the fees so I can figure out the best order for HSA/IRA/401k
  • DH thought he had signed up for the minimum to get the match when he started, 3% to get 3% match. We did increase that last year but someone told him recently that the match is something like 0.25% for every 1% you put in, up to a 3% match from the company... but it doesn't list the match in the online account, so he needs to get the info from HR. I didn't read the paperwork when he started because we were just dating at the time, it will be sad if he's given up free money the last 4 years. The match isn't on his paystub, only his contribution, so I never noticed.
  • DH has also been hearing some stories lately of people's 401k contributions not going into their accounts, going to the wrong accounts, not going towards a 401k loan they took out even though their paystub shows the withdrawal... concerning. And the 401k management company is who caught these issues, not the employees or employer. I've always been good about checking my hours on my paystub because I've always been paid hourly, but I never pull up my 401k account to make sure the contribution matches the paystub so we want to get into the habit of that for both of us
  • And what inspired my emojis... started poking around yesterday and noticed that his company only moves money into his 401k once a month. I've only had two 401ks, and the contribution showed up either on pay day or the next business day, so I'd never seen that. But they didn't move anything into his 401k account in September, they just did all of September and October at the end of October... whyyyyyy.
  • Really all of this just makes me hate his company even more. They just have a bunch of shady crap going on all the time, it seems. The HR guy is incredibly useless.
 

1st*toright

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 1, 2017
I'm going to bring my favorite emoji over here:
:badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc::badpc:
over DHs 401k plan.

I am going to do some digging into it next week for a few reasons.
  • I really need to look through the options (for both of us) and the fees so I can figure out the best order for HSA/IRA/401k
  • DH thought he had signed up for the minimum to get the match when he started, 3% to get 3% match. We did increase that last year but someone told him recently that the match is something like 0.25% for every 1% you put in, up to a 3% match from the company... but it doesn't list the match in the online account, so he needs to get the info from HR. I didn't read the paperwork when he started because we were just dating at the time, it will be sad if he's given up free money the last 4 years. The match isn't on his paystub, only his contribution, so I never noticed.
  • DH has also been hearing some stories lately of people's 401k contributions not going into their accounts, going to the wrong accounts, not going towards a 401k loan they took out even though their paystub shows the withdrawal... concerning. And the 401k management company is who caught these issues, not the employees or employer. I've always been good about checking my hours on my paystub because I've always been paid hourly, but I never pull up my 401k account to make sure the contribution matches the paystub so we want to get into the habit of that for both of us
  • And what inspired my emojis... started poking around yesterday and noticed that his company only moves money into his 401k once a month. I've only had two 401ks, and the contribution showed up either on pay day or the next business day, so I'd never seen that. But they didn't move anything into his 401k account in September, they just did all of September and October at the end of October... whyyyyyy.
  • Really all of this just makes me hate his company even more. They just have a bunch of shady crap going on all the time, it seems. The HR guy is incredibly useless.
Holy smokes! That's all really disconcerting and sketchy. Good thing you're around to keep an eye on stuff now! I did work for a company (years ago) where the HR person screwed up withholding for the entire company and didn't figure it out until December, so everyone had a really small paycheck on December 15th with all the extra withholding taken out! Who knows what they were doing with the 401k stuff!

My company is generally really good about stuff, but I need to keep a better eye on my 401k info (as I've said MANY times on this thread). I'm salaried, so my paycheck is always the same. Anytime it changes, I'm all over it - and I march right down to my friend in payroll and get him to explain it to me.
 

Deffenm

DIS Veteran
Joined
Apr 15, 2005
I have a situation and would like honest opinions. I won't get offended if you are harsh. I will be getting my official 60 day notice on Monday as my job is being eliminated. They told us in Nov so we could be prepared. I am wondering if I should reduce my 401k contributions to 0 (currently at 7% to get full company match) until I either find a new job within the company or leave. This would allow me to put more money into savings. Our savings is nothing due to car issues and even then it was only $2k. This is a goal this year to increase the emergency fund and savings.
I will receive my official packet tomorrow with the details but I know I will be getting 19 weeks of pay, my bonus this year and a pro-rated bonus in 2020, and paid for vacation not taken.

My other situation is I have a Disney trip booked for Spring Break for my daughter and myself. Airfare is booked, deposit is made, and I have the money to finish paying off trip, due in Feb. I am torn between just going ahead and going since it is essentially already paid for but the other part of me says that we could use the $1800 and put it in savings and just use the airfare credit for brothers wedding cruise in Nov (which I am not missing). Of course if I am able to find a new job within the company between now and March 15 (last day with company) then I won't change anything, but if I don't have job by time final payment is due for Disney trip I need to make a decision.

I have been a top performer with this company for almost 20 years and so this has been very hard for me. DH works part time as a soccer coach so he is now looking for a better job as well but I have always been the main source of income and benefits for our family.

Thank you for your input and advise!
 
  • runwad

    Dis Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2006
    Geez sorry for your situation @Deffenm!!

    If it were me, because I am a nervous Nelly, I would suspend the 401k contributions to get as much as I could in savings. I'd also cancel my trip if I didn't have a new job by the final payoff date, especially since you have other plans for the fall that you could use the air fare.

    From the sounds of it you are a good worker, so I don't think you'll have an issue getting another job. Not a lot of people out there today have a work ethic so I think if you do you are ahead of the game!

    Much luck to your family.
     

    amalone1013

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2016
    Holy smokes! That's all really disconcerting and sketchy. Good thing you're around to keep an eye on stuff now! I did work for a company (years ago) where the HR person screwed up withholding for the entire company and didn't figure it out until December, so everyone had a really small paycheck on December 15th with all the extra withholding taken out! Who knows what they were doing with the 401k stuff!

    My company is generally really good about stuff, but I need to keep a better eye on my 401k info (as I've said MANY times on this thread). I'm salaried, so my paycheck is always the same. Anytime it changes, I'm all over it - and I march right down to my friend in payroll and get him to explain it to me.
    I'm very diligent about my pay at this job, because we have so many rates... regular time, two OT rates, holidays, special rate for hours worked on a holiday, PTO, personal days, award days (extra days off for attending meetings), shift differential, plus the shift differential also has the two OT rates for each shift... by the end of the year, my paystub will have lines for 14 different pay rates. Plus we pay super weird. Like tomorrow, I will get paid my base 80hr salary for 12/31 to 1/13, and then all OT/holiday/etc and deductions from the base salary for the holiday/PTO/etc for 12/17 to 12/30. This paystub came out on 1/8. It is the most complicated system ever. And EVERYTIME I work on a holiday, my pay is wrong and I have to get it corrected. :sad2: Actually, this is the first time in forever that it's not messed up - part of the issue is our days are 7am to 7am, and I work 6:45am to 3:15pm, and sometimes am in around 6am, so anything before 7am is holiday pay for me and that usually causes issues.

    I'm going to start checking our 401ks each once a month to make sure contributions match up (might just do mine every paycheck when I look through the stub anyways. But ugh, his place drives me batty. I can't believe the stories he comes home with sometimes. The HR guy is USELESS. He has no record of when DH switched positions, and has his name spelled wrong on his 401k account. Zach instead of Zack and wrong middle initial. So DH told him, and he corrected the H but not the initial :badpc::badpc::badpc: And the guy is never in the office. At the beginning of last year we tried to change our withholding, for DH from single/2 allowances to married/0 allowance/$63 additional... all he did was the $63 additional. Had to go to him 3 times to get it changed to married. :badpc::badpc::badpc: And the guy is a criminal, seriously. He got off on a technicality for sexual assault of a 14 year old, it was because they were debating if she was a child or not for the case. This isn't office rumor, you can find the news stories on the internet still. It had happened several years before, but when she came forward he was running Denver's Toys for Tots program. Why the heck would you hire this guy in HR???
     

    1st*toright

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2017
    I'm very diligent about my pay at this job, because we have so many rates... regular time, two OT rates, holidays, special rate for hours worked on a holiday, PTO, personal days, award days (extra days off for attending meetings), shift differential, plus the shift differential also has the two OT rates for each shift... by the end of the year, my paystub will have lines for 14 different pay rates. Plus we pay super weird. Like tomorrow, I will get paid my base 80hr salary for 12/31 to 1/13, and then all OT/holiday/etc and deductions from the base salary for the holiday/PTO/etc for 12/17 to 12/30. This paystub came out on 1/8. It is the most complicated system ever. And EVERYTIME I work on a holiday, my pay is wrong and I have to get it corrected. :sad2: Actually, this is the first time in forever that it's not messed up - part of the issue is our days are 7am to 7am, and I work 6:45am to 3:15pm, and sometimes am in around 6am, so anything before 7am is holiday pay for me and that usually causes issues.

    I'm going to start checking our 401ks each once a month to make sure contributions match up (might just do mine every paycheck when I look through the stub anyways. But ugh, his place drives me batty. I can't believe the stories he comes home with sometimes. The HR guy is USELESS. He has no record of when DH switched positions, and has his name spelled wrong on his 401k account. Zach instead of Zack and wrong middle initial. So DH told him, and he corrected the H but not the initial :badpc::badpc::badpc: And the guy is never in the office. At the beginning of last year we tried to change our withholding, for DH from single/2 allowances to married/0 allowance/$63 additional... all he did was the $63 additional. Had to go to him 3 times to get it changed to married. :badpc::badpc::badpc: And the guy is a criminal, seriously. He got off on a technicality for sexual assault of a 14 year old, it was because they were debating if she was a child or not for the case. This isn't office rumor, you can find the news stories on the internet still. It had happened several years before, but when she came forward he was running Denver's Toys for Tots program. Why the heck would you hire this guy in HR???
    OK, Ewwwwww. And I think they should pay you for all the time you spend reconciling your paycheck. Thats nuts!
     

    Mome Rath

    3 Decade Disney Traveler
    Joined
    Mar 13, 2014
    I have a situation and would like honest opinions. I won't get offended if you are harsh. I will be getting my official 60 day notice on Monday as my job is being eliminated. They told us in Nov so we could be prepared. I am wondering if I should reduce my 401k contributions to 0 (currently at 7% to get full company match) until I either find a new job within the company or leave. This would allow me to put more money into savings. Our savings is nothing due to car issues and even then it was only $2k. This is a goal this year to increase the emergency fund and savings.
    I will receive my official packet tomorrow with the details but I know I will be getting 19 weeks of pay, my bonus this year and a pro-rated bonus in 2020, and paid for vacation not taken.

    My other situation is I have a Disney trip booked for Spring Break for my daughter and myself. Airfare is booked, deposit is made, and I have the money to finish paying off trip, due in Feb. I am torn between just going ahead and going since it is essentially already paid for but the other part of me says that we could use the $1800 and put it in savings and just use the airfare credit for brothers wedding cruise in Nov (which I am not missing). Of course if I am able to find a new job within the company between now and March 15 (last day with company) then I won't change anything, but if I don't have job by time final payment is due for Disney trip I need to make a decision.

    I have been a top performer with this company for almost 20 years and so this has been very hard for me. DH works part time as a soccer coach so he is now looking for a better job as well but I have always been the main source of income and benefits for our family.

    Thank you for your input and advise!
    Geez sorry for your situation @Deffenm!!

    If it were me, because I am a nervous Nelly, I would suspend the 401k contributions to get as much as I could in savings. I'd also cancel my trip if I didn't have a new job by the final payoff date, especially since you have other plans for the fall that you could use the air fare.

    From the sounds of it you are a good worker, so I don't think you'll have an issue getting another job. Not a lot of people out there today have a work ethic so I think if you do you are ahead of the game!

    Much luck to your family.
    I ditto runwad above. You want to pile up a safety net for sure, and I think it's fine to wait to see how things play out before canceling the Disney trip, but I would cancel it if things don't appear to be going smoothly.
     
  • pillow

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 21, 2007
    • And what inspired my emojis... started poking around yesterday and noticed that his company only moves money into his 401k once a month. I've only had two 401ks, and the contribution showed up either on pay day or the next business day, so I'd never seen that. But they didn't move anything into his 401k account in September, they just did all of September and October at the end of October... whyyyyyy.
    I can think of a couple reasons . . . they are "borrowing" your contribution to payoff and/or float debt or they are earning interest on your money for that time period. How do you feel about the company who administers the 401k? Is it the company or the administrator who is holding up the contributions? I think I might start asking some questions. This is extremely sketchy. Yikes!
     

    QueenIsabella

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2016
    I ditto runwad above. You want to pile up a safety net for sure, and I think it's fine to wait to see how things play out before canceling the Disney trip, but I would cancel it if things don't appear to be going smoothly.
    +1. You can wait to cancel the trip until the last minute, and then if things work out, go ahead. But I don't think I could enjoy a Disney trip under the circumstances you currently see yourself in. Once things settle into a new normal (you have another job, etc.), you can always re-schedule--Disney will still be there.
     

    amalone1013

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 15, 2016
    I can think of a couple reasons . . . they are "borrowing" your contribution to payoff and/or float debt or they are earning interest on your money for that time period. How do you feel about the company who administers the 401k? Is it the company or the administrator who is holding up the contributions? I think I might start asking some questions. This is extremely sketchy. Yikes!
    I think you are dead on about them borrowing it to float debt or make money... definitely feel its DHs company messing with things. Basically the only reason DH hasnt run for the hills yet is hes about to sell 2 jobs that will be tens of thousands in commission.
     
  • 1st*toright

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2017
    I have a situation and would like honest opinions. I won't get offended if you are harsh. I will be getting my official 60 day notice on Monday as my job is being eliminated. They told us in Nov so we could be prepared. I am wondering if I should reduce my 401k contributions to 0 (currently at 7% to get full company match) until I either find a new job within the company or leave. This would allow me to put more money into savings. Our savings is nothing due to car issues and even then it was only $2k. This is a goal this year to increase the emergency fund and savings.
    I will receive my official packet tomorrow with the details but I know I will be getting 19 weeks of pay, my bonus this year and a pro-rated bonus in 2020, and paid for vacation not taken.

    My other situation is I have a Disney trip booked for Spring Break for my daughter and myself. Airfare is booked, deposit is made, and I have the money to finish paying off trip, due in Feb. I am torn between just going ahead and going since it is essentially already paid for but the other part of me says that we could use the $1800 and put it in savings and just use the airfare credit for brothers wedding cruise in Nov (which I am not missing). Of course if I am able to find a new job within the company between now and March 15 (last day with company) then I won't change anything, but if I don't have job by time final payment is due for Disney trip I need to make a decision.

    I have been a top performer with this company for almost 20 years and so this has been very hard for me. DH works part time as a soccer coach so he is now looking for a better job as well but I have always been the main source of income and benefits for our family.

    Thank you for your input and advise!
    I'm so sorry you find yourself in this situation. You are looking at it in the right way, for sure. I would agree that ready cash is much more important than a little bit more retirement savings at this juncture. I'd hold off on a decision about the Disney trip as long as you can, but that sounds like another potential source of savings that you may need to tap.

    My other advice is to see if there is anything you can do to cut back on other expenses (anything you would have to do differently if you didn't have a job) and start doing that now, if at all possible. My DH lost his job suddenly last year, and from the day he found out, we started living on my salary only - 100% of his severance, my bonus, fed tax refund and every other penny that came in other than my salary went into savings. Nothing like as stressful because I was working full time already, but making changes immediately set us up well for when the severance ran out.

    I really hope another great opportunity comes along quickly and alleviates the stress.
     

    bcwife76

    DisneyMomma
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2014
    I pay all the bills in the house, keep track of due dates and such. I set up all the automatic transfers into various savings accounts and the kids accounts. DH handles the investment side of it because he's actually interested in that whereas I'm still trying to figure out the difference between bear and bull markets :p My filing system is pretty basic when it comes to bills and such so hopefully if he had to take it over for whatever reason, I hope he wouldn't find a big mess and could actually handle it all :rotfl:
     

    Deffenm

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2005
    Thank you all for your guidance. It helped to know I was making the right decisions. Luckily we live very frugally on a daily basis. I am working to cut down our grocery budget, no eating out or buying anything. I use the library for books, magazines, and movies. I am trying to remain positive through this whole process. It has also motivated me even further to get out of debt and save as much as possible. It would have been nice for this to happen and have enough money and no debt to where I could say.. Yahoo early retirement.
     

    NY Pirate Princess

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 26, 2014
    Finances, i handle everything. I am jealous of all you folks with company match, but mine is a 457b so i can start taking distributions without penalty at 55. Woohoo!
     

    SouthFayetteFan

    Saving Money on Disney Vacations since 2006
    Joined
    Sep 6, 2014
    I have a situation and would like honest opinions. I won't get offended if you are harsh. I will be getting my official 60 day notice on Monday as my job is being eliminated. They told us in Nov so we could be prepared. I am wondering if I should reduce my 401k contributions to 0 (currently at 7% to get full company match) until I either find a new job within the company or leave. This would allow me to put more money into savings. Our savings is nothing due to car issues and even then it was only $2k. This is a goal this year to increase the emergency fund and savings.
    I will receive my official packet tomorrow with the details but I know I will be getting 19 weeks of pay, my bonus this year and a pro-rated bonus in 2020, and paid for vacation not taken.

    My other situation is I have a Disney trip booked for Spring Break for my daughter and myself. Airfare is booked, deposit is made, and I have the money to finish paying off trip, due in Feb. I am torn between just going ahead and going since it is essentially already paid for but the other part of me says that we could use the $1800 and put it in savings and just use the airfare credit for brothers wedding cruise in Nov (which I am not missing). Of course if I am able to find a new job within the company between now and March 15 (last day with company) then I won't change anything, but if I don't have job by time final payment is due for Disney trip I need to make a decision.

    I have been a top performer with this company for almost 20 years and so this has been very hard for me. DH works part time as a soccer coach so he is now looking for a better job as well but I have always been the main source of income and benefits for our family.

    Thank you for your input and advise!
    Alternate viewpoint...

    Continue to contribute 7% to get the full company match. You don't specifically say what that match is so for these purposes I'll assume you get dollar for dollar on that 7%. So let's say you make $1,000 per paycheck for easy math...
    • You contribute $70
    • You get $70 in match
    • You avoid taxes on the $70
    • If you didn't contribute the $70 you wouldn't actually end up with $70 in your pocket due to taxes withheld.
    • Let's say this occurs for 10 paychecks...
    • You contributed $700 (when you maybe could have had $525 cash in your pocket instead if you had stopped assuming a 25% tax rate for this example)
    • You got $700 from your employer
    • You are then let go...you have $1,400 more in your 401k. You roll that into an IRA with the investment options you like
    • Oh no...you have an emergency and need funds...I wish I had the $525
    • Oh wait...we have $1,400 we can take from the IRA
    • That stinks...we now have to pay taxes on it (which you would've paid initially) and a penalty.
    • I withdraw the whole $1,400...I pay 25% taxes PLUS 10% penalty...I have $910 left...
    I know this is an overly simplified example...but company match is FREE money. That free money outweighs the penalty you'd pay to take it out...

    Of course this requires a lot of extra steps/work....but food for thought :)
     

    dalmatian7

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Dec 27, 2008
    HI all, I just found this thread and am very FIRE curious, even thought we pretty much have been doing a lot of this already.

    Before I introduce myself, The HR guy sounds like a disaster. Not to defend him though, I run an office and we only deposit into the retirement (Simple IRA) once a month. It is how Ameriprise has us do it. For reference we are a small company with under 20 employees, so not enough to float anything.

    Okay DH and I are in our early 40s with one DD(8). No credit card debt, no student loans. We do have a mortgage, because we built our forever home after living in a tiny (800 sq ft) house for 11 years. So our modest 1600 sq ft house feels huge. WE both work full time, but I used to have my own business so my salary was low for my early working years with no 401k. WE max out our 401k (him), simple IRA (me) and I have been tracking our household expenses to get that even tighter.

    In addition to our full time jobs, we have a small farm that is more for something to do then income. If DH can be FI by 55, we are building it up to where he could make that more a real thing (which we were doing a few years ago, but DH changed jobs and the travel left too much for me to do by myself). I love it too, but I also love going out into the world everyday, so I will never "retire", I just won't work full time or I will work more for the non-profits I am involved in. Our biggest question is with a significant disbursement we have started to receive from his family's FLP (family limited partnership). After our tax obligations for it, we have been working on paying off the mortgage (our original goal was before DD went to college and the interest adjusted in 10 years), paid off one vehicle, (mine is a smaller amount at 0%), built an emergency account, and contributing to her education savings. Once we look at this past year, and are able to figure out our tax obligation for the coming year, I feel like we need a strict plan on what to do with the money to maximize it.

    I have enjoyed hearing that we aren't the only ones out there living like this and I enjoy reading everyone's ideas. I am working on a new farm spreadsheet and I think I will make one for all our expenses/income also. Would anyone care to share a blank version of theirs? or what it looks like? I can build them, I am just not good on how to decide to lay it out.
     

    1st*toright

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2017
    Alternate viewpoint...

    Continue to contribute 7% to get the full company match. You don't specifically say what that match is so for these purposes I'll assume you get dollar for dollar on that 7%. So let's say you make $1,000 per paycheck for easy math...
    • You contribute $70
    • You get $70 in match
    • You avoid taxes on the $70
    • If you didn't contribute the $70 you wouldn't actually end up with $70 in your pocket due to taxes withheld.
    • Let's say this occurs for 10 paychecks...
    • You contributed $700 (when you maybe could have had $525 cash in your pocket instead if you had stopped assuming a 25% tax rate for this example)
    • You got $700 from your employer
    • You are then let go...you have $1,400 more in your 401k. You roll that into an IRA with the investment options you like
    • Oh no...you have an emergency and need funds...I wish I had the $525
    • Oh wait...we have $1,400 we can take from the IRA
    • That stinks...we now have to pay taxes on it (which you would've paid initially) and a penalty.
    • I withdraw the whole $1,400...I pay 25% taxes PLUS 10% penalty...I have $910 left...
    I know this is an overly simplified example...but company match is FREE money. That free money outweighs the penalty you'd pay to take it out...

    Of course this requires a lot of extra steps/work....but food for thought :)
    Fair point, and good math skills :thumbsup2 My (irrational) aversion to dealing with my retirement accounts would lead me to decide its too much trouble for a few hundred dollars (which is ridiculous coming from someone who will drive all over town to save $20 on gift cards...

    Speaking of being penny wise and pound foolish, I was just exploring my HSA account website. Its with Health Equity, and I generally ignore the account except for once a year when I go in and request a reimbursement from my dependent care account for the entire previous year. This year I did take some of my balance and invest it (thanks @SouthFayetteFan for reminding me about that functionality). I was trolling around and noticed that they get all the transactions from my health insurance company and indicate whether each claim was all paid via insurance/HSA funds or if there is a portion that is "unpaid" - which would mean that it got paid via credit card or whatever instead of through my HSA, and I can pull cash out of the HSA to reimburse myself. I just requested reimbursement for a whole bunch of little charges that didn't go through my HSA (because my card wasn't working for a while this year). It also means it will be super easy to start using points earning credit cards for health costs, then request reimbursement from pre-tax funds with a few clicks, which is my plan going forward. DH was concerned that it would be too confusing - this will get him fully on board!
     

    1st*toright

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 1, 2017
    HI all, I just found this thread and am very FIRE curious, even thought we pretty much have been doing a lot of this already.

    Before I introduce myself, The HR guy sounds like a disaster. Not to defend him though, I run an office and we only deposit into the retirement (Simple IRA) once a month. It is how Ameriprise has us do it. For reference we are a small company with under 20 employees, so not enough to float anything.

    Okay DH and I are in our early 40s with one DD(8). No credit card debt, no student loans. We do have a mortgage, because we built our forever home after living in a tiny (800 sq ft) house for 11 years. So our modest 1600 sq ft house feels huge. WE both work full time, but I used to have my own business so my salary was low for my early working years with no 401k. WE max out our 401k (him), simple IRA (me) and I have been tracking our household expenses to get that even tighter.

    In addition to our full time jobs, we have a small farm that is more for something to do then income. If DH can be FI by 55, we are building it up to where he could make that more a real thing (which we were doing a few years ago, but DH changed jobs and the travel left too much for me to do by myself). I love it too, but I also love going out into the world everyday, so I will never "retire", I just won't work full time or I will work more for the non-profits I am involved in. Our biggest question is with a significant disbursement we have started to receive from his family's FLP (family limited partnership). After our tax obligations for it, we have been working on paying off the mortgage (our original goal was before DD went to college and the interest adjusted in 10 years), paid off one vehicle, (mine is a smaller amount at 0%), built an emergency account, and contributing to her education savings. Once we look at this past year, and are able to figure out our tax obligation for the coming year, I feel like we need a strict plan on what to do with the money to maximize it.

    I have enjoyed hearing that we aren't the only ones out there living like this and I enjoy reading everyone's ideas. I am working on a new farm spreadsheet and I think I will make one for all our expenses/income also. Would anyone care to share a blank version of theirs? or what it looks like? I can build them, I am just not good on how to decide to lay it out.
    Budgeting! My favorite! Welcome - the wrinkle of having a home farm business is interesting. I've heard about lots of peoples side-hustles, but that isn't a common one.

    And now a plug for YNAB (you need a budget), and online software budgeting tool that a handful of other posters (and I) use. You can set up multiple budgets, so you could track farm stuff separate from personal stuff if you wanted to. I don't separate my (very small) rental real estate side business from my regular budget, but I may do that in future. If you google YNAB you can see intro videos etc that tell you how to use it. For me on my semi-FIRE journey (DH switched careers which was a little like the RE part in that his income went way down), the managing expenses part is the key to our savings rate. We make enough money that we don't have to pinch every penny, but if we don't pay attention to our spending habits lifestyle creep quickly impinges on our savings goals.

    The issue of having large one-time payments to play with/manage is an interesting one. In my job, I get a substantial bonus once a year (any day now, actually...) My DH has always wanted to treat bonuses as "free money" and use them for fun stuff (this was in a previous job when the bonus would be like $1k, so less impactful). Similar to what you are doing, I use my bonus check to make big strides towards my savings goals - mostly college savings at this point, plus putting some $ away for our next car (no car payments now, hoping to keep it that way when we add a vehicle for my teen to drive (gulp).) Its very satisfying to see those balances increase substantially instead of the little increments I'm able to add on a monthly basis. YNAB has a good way of showing you your financial goals and your progress towards those goals.
     
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