Tuesday, March 28, 2017

March

After several months, I'm happy to report that all of the husband's retirement accounts are now up and running. We started 403b contributions in January. We will throw in $18,000 to the 403b this year, about $2,700 in mandatory contributions to the Florida SUSORP, and $18,000 into the 457.

The biggest update is: the husband has gotten his disability rating back. 80%! That's pretty great. There are two ratings in his package we are going to try and raise, but that will not drastically change our situation. This monthly check could be for the rest of his life, or they could try and re-evaluate him at any time. But for now, so far so good. This check helps us out a lot. If he keeps receiving it for the rest of his life, we will have a tax-free income of over $20,000.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

November

The husband's job is going well. There's not much to report, really. His employer still pitches 5% of his salary into his "pension" (it's a defined-contribution plan), and we put in 3%. We are still working on maxing out his 457 plan. Next year we will do the pension, 457, and 403b. We can't do the 403b this year because we have already filled the TSP. Anyway, now that the election is behind us, the stock market has turned around a bit, and our balances are increasing again.

The husband still has not gotten his disability determination from the VA. We expect it will be at least several more weeks. Our local facility takes on average, 135 days to make a final determination, and so far, it has been only two months. So we wait! And wait, and wait some more.

Thanksgiving is coming up next week. We'll be driving to my in-law's house which is just a few hours from here. My family situation is at best, "complicated," so fortunately, (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) we won't be traveling to them over the holidays.

Our overall net worth was down at the end of October, but I think November may show a small increase, which would be great. It helps keep us motivated. We've had a lot of expenses with regard to getting the house fixed up, so we aren't saving as much as we usual right now.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

It's been over a month since my last post, and life is moving along as it always does. The husband is working through appointments for his VA disability claim. We don't know yet what percentage he will be awarded, or even if he will be awarded anything at all. I suspect it will be several months before he receives word. The great thing is that in a few days he will be finished with the military. His contract is up within the week!

We've received our insurance information from his new job. I found out we can't participate in an HSA and have him using VA healthcare, so for now, we are using the "regular" health insurance plan: low deductible, but costs more. If for some reason he receives no disability care from the VA, we can always switch to the HDHP/HSA but I doubt that would be beneficial. The cost of his appointments and medications would likely exceed the savings in premiums.

After nearly two months, his SUSORP plan is up and running and has received its first contribution. Yay! I was worried they had messed up the paperwork, but the contributions finally showed up after this past paycheck. It will be great having his employer toss in 5% of his wages into this fund. We put in 3%. This year we are also maxing a 457 plan. We can't do a 403b until 2017, because the TSP was already maxed for the year. I'm waiting until we file our taxes to see whether we should contribute to our Roth or Traditional IRAs this year.

On top of all that, now that we "own" our house, we are building up equity. I say "own" in quotations because we have a mortgage. In the last few months our balance has decreased by about $2,000. That's not much, but it's something. I will focus on paying down our mortgage after cash flow isn't tight. As of now, a very large portion of his salary is going to retirement accounts. Eventually, he'll get raises and things will loosen up. It just hasn't happened yet!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Settling into life...

We've been in Florida for about a month now, and had a chance to do a few outings. First, we took the little bugger to the Lego store on the south side of Orlando. He had fun. Other than an extremely over priced lunch that went along with this outing, it was a good way to get out of the house and see things. Bugger has also decided he likes the beach. We've made two trips to the coast, and although he likes playing in the sand, he won't stick a toe in the water. With all the jelly fish on the beach, this could be a good thing.

This winter or should I say, "winter," I would like for us to get out a bit more. We'll use up some of the husband's vacation time doing a camping trip. Maybe we will do a run down to the keys. It'll be great being able to take our time on these trips and explore a bit.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

We've moved!

We're in Florida now, and life is going great. The husband's job is fairly low-stress, and isn't overly time consuming.

On the financial front, things are doing OK too. As a government employee, the husband now has access to a 403b, and a 457 plan, in addition to a separate retirement system the government contributes to. He also has access to an HSA, but due to some prescription medications he takes, we are not using a HDHP right now, and are going the traditional health insurance route.

We are trying to separate our life from the military as much as possible, but it hasn't happened quite yet. The husband has submitted his disability claim to the VA, and we are waiting to see what percentage he is awarded. From what I can tell, the amount will be between $100-$3,000/month. It's a big difference. I have no idea how long it will be before we hear anything, but I'm going to count myself lucky if we get anything from them at all before Thanksgiving.
 -------
I managed to get the TSP maxed for the year. Yay! But, now that the new job has started, we are trying to squeeze in another $18,000 of savings for the year. The 457 plan is great for early retirees as there are no early withdrawal penalties. We can take the money out as we need it. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Retirement savings for 2016

I mentioned that I had planned to shut off the TSP for a while. Well, now it's back on. Due to our increased income this year, we will be using only the traditional side. From what I understand, the TSP can be rolled to his new job's 457 plan. Due to our early retirement plans, having money in the 457 will be a huge advantage. It can be withdrawn without penalty after leaving your job (no penalty for being under 59 1/2). So, I'm getting the TSP stocked as well as I can before the husband separates.

Last month we put in a little over $3,500. This month it will be more because he gets a raise (because of his time in service). Since we don't know exactly when his last day will be, I'm not sure if we will get the TSP "filled" for this year or not. We will see.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We're in debt!

We closed on our house. As I said before, we are electing to use a VA loan and were able to get a rate of 3.375%.

Right now, I don't have plans to pay this down aggressively. We definitely need to let the dust settle as we get moved into the new place and get our life started in Florida.

More to come!