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Reader Case Research: A Doula, A Scientist & Three Children in Alaska

Kait and her husband Dave dwell in Alaska with their three younger kids. Kait works as a Postpartum Doula and Dave as a scientist for the state. They love their outdoorsy way of life and have created an extremely close-knit group with their neighbors and pals. Nonetheless, their beloved residence has some critical structural points that should be remediated, however will seemingly be very costly. Let’s journey to Alaska to assist Kait and Dave decide what to do subsequent.

What’s a Reader Case Research?

Case Research deal with monetary and life dilemmas that readers of Frugalwoods ship in requesting recommendation. Then, we (that’d be me and YOU, expensive reader) learn by their state of affairs and supply recommendation, encouragement, perception and suggestions within the feedback part.

For an instance, try the final case research. Case Research are up to date by members (on the finish of the submit) a number of months after the Case is featured. Go to this web page for hyperlinks to all up to date Case Research.

The Aim Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research intend to focus on a various vary of monetary conditions, ages, ethnicities, places, targets, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research sequence started in 2016 and, so far, there’ve been 80 Case ResearchI’ve featured people with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and internet worths starting from -$300k to $2.9M+.

I’ve featured single, married, partnered, divorced, child-filled and child-free households. I’ve featured homosexual, straight, queer, bisexual and polyamorous folks. I’ve featured ladies, non-binary people and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender folks. I’ve had cat folks and canine folks. I’ve featured people from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured folks with PhDs and other people with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured folks of their early 20’s and other people of their late 60’s. I’ve featured people who dwell on farms and people who dwell in New York Metropolis.

The purpose is variety and solely YOU might help me obtain that by emailing me your story! When you haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Research, I encourage you to use to be a Case Research participant by emailing your temporary story to me at

Reader Case Research Tips

I in all probability don’t must say the next since you people are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please be aware that Frugalwoods is a judgement-free zone the place we endeavor to assist each other, not condemn.

There’s no room for rudeness right here. The purpose is to create a supportive surroundings the place all of us acknowledge we’re human, we’re flawed, however we select to be right here collectively, workshopping our cash and our lives with optimistic, proactive solutions and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a skilled monetary skilled and I encourage folks to not make critical monetary choices primarily based solely on what one particular person on the web advises. 

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out the very best plan of action for his or her funds. I’m not a monetary advisor and I’m not your monetary advisor.

With that I’ll let Kait, at the moment’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Kait’s Story

Household water adventures

Good day! I’m Kait, I’m 37, my husband Dave is 41 and now we have three children (an 8-year-old woman, a 5-year-old boy, and a 1-year-old woman). We dwell in Alaska the place I work as a Postpartum Doula and Dave as a scientist for the state. I additionally handle some administrative stuff for a builder (8 hours/month) and in the summertime I handle AirBnbs (though, due to the pandemic, I solely managed one final summer season and am undecided if I’ll proceed this summer season. It’s going to rely on the homeowners of the home).

We love Alaska (that is the place I grew up) and being outdoor. Favourite actions embrace: climbing, snowboarding, tenting, gardening, biking, fishing and principally something exterior. I’m fairly obsessed with rising and preserving meals. Most summer season weekends you’ll find us out adventuring in a technique or one other. Within the winter, we’ll be snowboarding, ice skating on the close by lagoon, sledding and studying books.

Kait’s Frugal Journey

I’ve been on a frugal journey for many of my life. I’ve at all times hated purchasing and the buildup of stuff. My mind feels cluttered on the within so it’s essential to have my exterior world organized so I can perform. The knock on impact is that I don’t prefer to carry issues into the house and subsequently actually deliberate earlier than buying something. I’ve been a saver without end however, till a number of years in the past, didn’t actually have a plan as to what I used to be doing with my financial savings. Investing was one thing that was talked about in my household however my dad invests very otherwise. He  spends a variety of time and power on it and that model actually put me off. It wasn’t till I realized about index funds that I used to be like, “Whoa! That is my jam. Set it and overlook it!” Since then, I’ve socked away each additional penny with a objective.

Large carrot from our backyard

My husband’s monetary values tremendously differ from mine. Whereas I’m blissful to do with out for the long run purpose of attending to do what I need once I need, he desires to spend cash now on what he desires. He grew up within the UK the place there are much more monetary security nets like common heath insurance coverage and the place, with out actually enthusiastic about the longer term, you’ll be able to dwell off your pension whenever you’re older. We’ve been married 10 years now and he’s leaning extra to my approach of issues. Having a typical purpose is basically useful despite the fact that I don’t suppose ours line up precisely.

He loves his work and actually doesn’t suppose he desires to retire early. I’m making an attempt to color the image for him that not all the things at all times goes to plan and having choices–even should you don’t use them–will solely enhance the standard of our lives in the long term. I lastly obtained him to learn The Easy Path to Wealth (after years of making an attempt) and I feel it’s actually serving to together with his journey (affiliate hyperlink). I additionally actually need our kids to be raised in an surroundings the place cash isn’t the reply to each query.

View from the ocean

I really feel like I’m fairly dang frugal. We use the library, I make 99.9% of our meals at residence from scratch, I bake sourdough bread like its my job, purchase in bulk when it can save us over the long run, make the most of Purchase Nothing for gifting and receiving, and all my pals know we’re grateful for hand-me-downs. And once we want outside gear, I promote to our native gear resale store after which get what I want within the subsequent measurement up. I play the loooonnnggg recreation ready for issues that we want or need. I’ve solely bought a pair gadgets of clothes for myself in the previous couple of years (together with a sweatshirt that was technically a Christmas current that claims Kale Yeah! I’ve no regrets).

Mountain climbing

We subsistence fish for salmon in the summertime and I develop a large backyard and freeze, can, smoke and protect no matter I’m ready. Throughout apple and berry season, each night time after dinner we exit and harvest. I in all probability dry 10 gallons of apple chips, freeze 10 gallons of raspberries, make jam, can 4 or 5 flats of apple sauce, and so forth. Having a root cellar would make using my harvest final a lot longer. I principally don’t purchase something that isn’t on sale and we don’t actually purchase any comfort meals.

Dave jokes that now we have a U-PICK farm in our yard as somebody is at all times stopping by for one thing. My older children arrange a mini farmers market in our neighborhood. They used this cash as their enjoyable fund. The oldest selected to hitch woman scouts this yr and paid for the membership, vest and a few actions together with her earnings. We do eat meat however not so much. Most of our protein comes from beans and lentils. I’m a die-hard Immediate Pot fan!

We dwell fully off of Dave’s revenue and all my earnings go into investments. I positively wish to preserve dwelling this manner.

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

1. The Home:


Our home has some points, particularly basis cracks and basement leaking.

These points would stop us from ever renting the home out as they require fixed vigilance. I think about the fee to restore them might be astronomical in comparison with the worth of the home (which is round $400k) and so I really feel like it’s not price it to restore. We haven’t gotten estimates on the restore prices but. Backstory on the home: it was my brother’s and he handed away, so I don’t really feel like I can ever promote it.

I notice that making monetary choices primarily based on feelings is just not a good suggestion however, right here we’re. We love our neighborhood and significantly that now we have a big south dealing with yard (oh so essential in Alaska) and our back-of-the-fence neighbors are like household to us. There’s a gate within the fence and a well-trod path between our homes, which we affectionately seek advice from because the compound. We eat dinner there on Sundays and typically greater than as soon as every week. The household is a mum, dad and a couple of teenage boys who will each be in school come fall. We don’t have any household close by, so the emotional, sensible and bodily help this household gives for us is priceless. The considered transferring even one block away makes me really feel horrible.

I additionally am now the one youngster and might be liable for my growing older father when the time comes (he’s 78). My supreme is to rebuild our home and add an hooked up condo for my dad or different guests to make use of when wanted. I might AirBnb the condo when it wasn’t in use to assist offset the prices of the construct. Then, when our children are grown and out of the home, Dave and I might dwell within the condo and hire out the principle home. So as to add a little bit of complication to this equation, I’m very serious about constructing a internet zero (or shut) home, which might add to the general prices. My dad has supplied to repay no matter now we have left on our mortgage if we determine to rebuild.

2. The Job


My husband is on the prime of the place he can go for his profession right here in Alaska (he works as a scientist for the state). He doesn’t suppose he’ll be prepared to maneuver on to one thing else for not less than one other 5 years, however when he’s, it can seemingly imply a transfer or a transition into consulting work.

My vote can be to not transfer, however there are a variety of elements that may come into play. If and once we transfer, I wouldn’t wish to promote the home, however we couldn’t hire it as is. To be clear, this isn’t one thing that should occur instantly, nevertheless it’s on the horizon.

3. The Lengthy-term Objectives

Our long-term targets are Coast FIRE or FIRE. 

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

The place we dwell particularly and likewise the wilds that now we have inside straightforward attain. The sense of group I’ve from our neighborhood is the one factor that has stored me sane these previous couple of years. After I was 38 weeks pregnant, I had a whole trailer stuffed with manure delivered to the opposite aspect of the compound (again fence household) as a result of it was nearer to my backyard beds then delivering it to the entrance aspect of our home. Simply the truth that they agreed to let me dump a whole lot of kilos of poop of their yard is one thing in and of itself.

Finish of an 8 mile hike with children

After it was delivered, I had just a little freak out that my VERY pregnant physique was not going to have the ability to put a dent on this pile and it needed to be achieved. I texted a handful of neighbors an SOS and inside three hours, the complete pile had been doled out to all my backyard beds and the rest to everybody else’s gardens. The remainder of my gardens had been harvested and put away for the winter and among the harvest was taken by one other neighbor to make into ferments for me. I delivered precisely one week later. Each my husband and I’ve a handful of shut “I might do something for you” pals in our neighborhood and I’m not positive I may ever replicate this. I assume if I didn’t dwell proper right here I wouldn’t even wish to dwell in Alaska!

It’s additionally really easy to get out into the mountains or go off tenting right here. I like the entry to the outside as it’s our predominant supply of enjoyment as people and as a household.

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

Fixed fear about the home and what we must always do about it. I’m already exhausted with choice fatigue from having 3 children, not to mention being in a pandemic.

The place Kait Desires to be in Ten Years:

  • Funds:
    • Solidly Coast FIRE or FIRE.
  • Way of life:
    • Capable of depart our home for prolonged intervals of time and journey extra.
    • Have the choice to work as needed, not as a result of we want it. Perhaps dwell different locations for a pair months at a time (winters listed below are LONG!)
  • Profession:
    • I’d prefer to proceed working as a Postpartum Doula, however in a capability that matches with taking a lot of time for household issues.
    • Dave wish to advance in his profession by taking up new challenges. What this really means for him is unknown at this level.

Kait & Dave’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Dave’s Earnings $5,407 Minus retirement contributions, insurance coverage, and taxes
Kait’s Earnings Variable Variable as we dwell off of Dave’s and all of mine goes into our investments.
Month-to-month subtotal: $5,407.00
Annual whole: $64,884

Mortgage Particulars

Excellent mortgage stability  Curiosity Fee Mortgage Interval and Phrases Fairness Buy value and yr
$133,974 2.75% 30-year fixed-rate mortgage $110,000 Home was a part of an property settlement in 2013. Price $400k.

Money owed: $0


Automobile make, mannequin, yr Valued at Mileage Paid off?
Customized Camper 1980 Priceless 180,000 Paid off and I’ll by no means do away with her. My grandparents had her constructed within the 80’s and gave it to us a pair years in the past. She is her personal particular person!
Honda Pilot 2016 $14,000 70,000 Sure
Subaru Forrester 2012 $8,000 90,000 Sure


Merchandise Quantity Notes Curiosity/kind of securities held/Inventory ticker Identify of financial institution/brokerage Expense Ratio
Dave’s mixed retirement accounts by work $311,151 Via the state Goal retirement date funds
Gold & silver cash $112,000
Joint brokerage account $71,354 Oomph, this appeared so much higher in April VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Joint financial savings account $36,027 Emergency fund + journey fund and 7k+ enterprise financial savings for taxes 2k 0.50% ALLY
Dave’s IRA $17,453 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Joint Checking at Native Credit score Union $8,421 Used for month-to-month bills. I preserve the stability round $7-8k for simple entry. AKUSA
Kait’s IRA $8,287 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
529 Child #1 $6,753
Funding Fund for Child #1 $5,564 My dad manages this and I let him do his personal factor.
Dave Particular person account at native credit score union $4,300 Simply in case-quick entry cash AKUSA
529 Child #2 $4,269
Brokerage Child #1 $3,525 Half of their Everlasting Fund Dividend goes in right here the opposite half to their 529 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Funding Fund Child #2 $2,848 My dad manages this and I let him do his personal factor
Brokerage Child #3 $2,000 Half of their Everlasting Fund Dividend goes in right here the opposite half to their 529. She has extra as a result of the primary time she obtained a PFD all of it went in right here. VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
Kait Particular person at Native Credit score union $1,800 Simply in case-quick entry cash AKUSA
Brokerage Child #2 $1,350 Half of their Everlasting Fund Dividend goes in right here the opposite half to their 529 VTSAX Vanguard 0.01
529 Child #3 This one is underneath my husband’s title and I cant log in for the time being. We have to name. It’s in all probability about $1k
Complete: $658,202


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Mortgage $1,937
Groceries $675 It was $575 however I used to be discovering it more durable and more durable to remain inside funds. Issues will get simpler as soon as the backyard begins producing, however as of now there may be nonetheless a little bit of snow left! Contains all home items resembling cleansing provides, diapers (however we EC so solely use one at night time).
Straight to investments $425 Routinely despatched to investments. On the finish of the month I additionally switch no matter is left into Investments. Child #2 is finished with preschool now (so we’re not paying for that) and are placing most of that to investments.
Petrol $350 It’s excessive because the camper is a hungry woman.
Automobile Insurance coverage $201 Will improve a bit once we put the camper again on for the summer season
Enjoyable Fund for Dave and Kait $200 We every get $100 to do as we see match, for presents, hair cuts, garments and so forth. We additionally get PFDs (often 1k/yr) and do with them as we please.  I nearly at all times make investments mine.
Pure Gasoline $180
Water, Waste Water and Utility $115
Electrical $110 Clearly increased within the winter and variable however I do my finest to maintain this low. Go placed on a sweater!
Misc $100 For something this isn’t in a class above.
Cell Cellphone $90 Not too long ago switched to Cricket
Web $80 On the bottom month-to-month.  No higher choices within the land of the midnight solar
Accounting $50 I technically personal a few of my dad’s firm so this can be a should
Trash $21 Downgraded the scale of our can as we by no means fill it up
Month-to-month subtotal: $4,534 
Annual whole: $54,408 

Credit score Card Technique

Card Identify Rewards Sort? Financial institution/card firm
Alaska Airways Visa Journey Chase Financial institution

Kait’s Questions for You:

  1. Is it even possible to contemplate rebuilding our residence? 
    • How a lot would this derail our Coast FIRE or FIRE plans?
    • Would the additional revenue from renting out the property offset that ultimately?
      • The realm we dwell in is subsequent to the downtown and the path system, so it’s a very fascinating space for AirBnb-ing.
      • I’m assured we may get $150-$200 an evening within the excessive season and $100+/night time within the off-season.
  2. I’ve just lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work.
    • I solely work evenings and a few weekends in order that I may be with the child in the course of the day. All of my revenue goes into our  investments, however this determine is extremely variable.
    • Is the fee and danger of childcare price it to work extra?
    • Or ought to I think about some kind of distant place that I can do whereas additionally residence with the child?
  3. Are we really on observe for Coast FIRE?

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

Swinging with a view

I’m thrilled to have Kait as a Case Research at the moment as a result of I very a lot establish with having “One Large Factor” weighing in your thoughts. In studying by Kait’s story, it feels just like the state of affairs with their house is taking over a variety of psychological power for Kait and is one thing she’ll really feel extraordinarily relieved to resolve. I can’t provide a magic bullet resolution, however I hope I might help her and Dave suppose by some concrete (no pun supposed… ) subsequent steps to set them on the trail to decision. I’ll contact on the opposite parts of her monetary life–as a result of we will’t ever cope with one monetary query in isolation–however our focus at the moment might be on The Home.

Kait’s Query #1: Is it even possible to contemplate rebuilding our residence? 

I encourage Kait and Dave to hunt out opinions and estimates from consultants on what it can price to repair the muse points. You possibly can’t know if it’ll be possible/smart till the worth tag. I additionally encourage them to fully divorce the muse/basement points from any potential future building-an-apartment prices. The precedence is to repair the prevailing issues. They want to do this first, then flip their consideration to different attainable renovations/building-an-apartment.

If it had been me, I might:

  • Name a BUNCH of various contractors/firms and have them come to the home, assess and diagnose the muse/basement points, and supply estimates on the work.
  • Construct a listing of estimates and diagnoses to match and distinction what completely different consultants are saying.
  • Don’t rent the primary one who comes to supply an estimate! That is a kind of belongings you actually wish to comparability store.

Midsummer backyard

It doesn’t sound like this must be remediated ASAP, so I encourage Kait and Dave to take their time with gathering estimates and suggestions on the best way to full this work. Ask neighbors who they advocate–phrase of mouth suggestions are GOLD.

After the muse points are resolved, Kait and Dave can work on replenishing their financial savings after which flip their consideration to getting bids for constructing an ADU (accent dwelling unit)/condo on their property.

Some issues to contemplate:

  • What are the zoning legal guidelines for an ADU/condo? What restrictions/allowances are in place?
  • Does Kait’s dad positively wish to dwell there in his previous(er) age?
  • In that case, what is going to the monetary association be?
    • Will he pay them hire?
    • Will he pay to construct the ADU after which personal it?
      • How does subdivision of so much work of their city?
      • Can her dad legally personal the ADU if it’s on their property?
    • How will this influence taxes and insurance coverage?
    • What are the legal guidelines on the best way to tie an ADU into the water/sewer programs and energy traces?

I strongly encourage Kait, Dave and Kait’s dad to iron out all the authorized and monetary implications earlier than deciding to construct an ADU. That is NOT one thing you wish to depart to likelihood. Rent a lawyer to make all the things official–it’ll be a lot simpler in the long term.

In the event that they do determine to construct some form of ADU/condo and hire it out on AirBnB, listed below are a number of extra issues to contemplate:

  1. Is the first purpose to make a house for Kait’s dad or to create a revenue-generating rental?
  2. What is going to it’s prefer to have AirBnB renters proper there of their yard/home? Will this impinge on their gardening/household time and area?
  3. Will they share the income from the AirBnB with Kait’s dad?
  4. Is transferring for Dave’s job in circa 5 years an actual chance? In that case, how would that influence these plans?

Mountain climbing

If the purpose is to create a revenue-generating rental, Kait and Dave ought to construct a marketing strategy and discover getting a building mortgage. That is primarily a separate proposition from creating a house for an growing older relative and must be analyzed from a enterprise perspective. We will’t know if an AirBnB rental will offset the price of constructing with out realizing the next:

  • The price of building
  • Projected rental charges by season
  • Anticipated vacancies (as in, which days/weeks is it prone to not be rented)
  • Upkeep and repairs
  • Property taxes, insurance coverage, AirBnB charges
  • Administration of the unit (cleansing, furnishing, key exchanges, and so forth)
  • Metropolis and state restrictions, laws and charges for operating an AirBnB

Moreover, the thought of constructing internet zero thought is extremely commendable, however not one thing Kait and Dave can afford at their present salaries. If that is their #1 purpose, they’d must curtail all different spending/investing/saving, get increased paying jobs and let go of the FIRE/Coast FIRE targets.

Kait and Dave are at an thrilling juncture: the analysis juncture! Now’s the time to assemble as a lot knowledge as they’ll.

Kait’s Query #2: I’ve just lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work. Is the fee and danger of childcare price it to work extra?

If I’m studying this accurately, I sense that Kait is asking this query from each an emotional and a monetary perspective.

From the monetary perspective, she will–and will–collect the info wanted to make an correct calculation:

  1. Bread

    How a lot does she earn per hour?

  2. How a lot does childcare price per hour?
  3. Would her and Dave’s revenue outpace the price of childcare?

Further issues to contemplate:

  1. Assuming she works for herself as a Postpartum Doula, does she have the shopper base to develop her hours?
  2. Is there a community of Doulas she will faucet into to develop her hours?
  3. Will these hours align with the hours supplied by the childcare choices?
    • If not, will her hours complement Dave’s work hours such that he can watch the children?

Financially, I feel it’s in all probability a fairly easy choice. One caveat is that childcare prices may outpace her preliminary earnings as she ramps her enterprise as much as full-time. I think about {that a} completely high-quality and affordable cost-of-doing-business and wouldn’t let that dissuade her initially.

From the emotional perspective:

Seaside artwork

Solely Kait can reply this query. Sending children to childcare is okay; not sending children to childcare can be high-quality. Each dad or mum and each household has to make this choice for themselves. And guess what? That call is prone to change over time!!!! My husband and I made a decision this previous college yr to ship Littlewoods to all-day preschool, which price within the neighborhood of $200-$400/month (relying on what number of college days there have been in every month). I don’t remorse that expense for a single second. The truth is, we’ll be sending her to all-day preschool once more this coming college yr whereas Kidwoods goes to first grade. In the course of the pandemic, we labored from residence with the children at residence and, uh, I did NOT love that association. It really works for some households; it doesn’t for others.


  1. When you WANT to work extra, should you need the achievement and pleasure of working, should you crave that have in your life, do it!
  2. Conversely, you are feeling you SHOULD work extra to be able to earn more cash, however don’t wish to? Don’t do it!
    • You and Dave aren’t in a financially precarious place. You’ve made smart selections through the years, which implies you could have an important monetary reward of all: OPTIONS.

Kait’s Query #3: Are we really on observe for Coast FIRE?

I’m going to reply this query by going by all of Kait and Dave’s belongings.

1) Retirement:$336,891

Basket of backyard goodness!

Between their particular person IRAs and Dave’s work retirement account, they’ve a mixed whole of $336,891 in retirement investments. Since they’re circa 40 years previous, they need to at present have 3x their revenue in retirement investments. We don’t know Kait’s revenue, so we’ll base this solely on Dave’s:

$64,884 x 3 = $194,652

Primarily based on this metric, they’re in nice form! Moreover, this doesn’t account for Social Safety, which presumably they’ll obtain.

Attaining “Coast FIRE” signifies that Kait and Dave would proceed working till a standard retirement age, however cease contributing to their retirement investments and as an alternative allow them to “coast.” A method to consider that is that, should you not must earn sufficient to contribute to your retirement accounts each month, you want much less revenue and thus, can presumably work much less–assuming you retain your bills low sufficient to be coated by your revenue. Relying on the age at which they’d prefer to enact Coast FIRE, they’ll must do the calculations with that age and the quantity of their retirement accounts at the moment. Proper now, they look like on observe, however once more, they’ll must re-assess with the particular Coast FIRE age in thoughts.

2) Money: $50,548

Between their 4 completely different checking/financial savings accounts, they’ve $50,548 in money. I’m undecided I perceive the necessity for 4 completely different accounts and, if it had been me, I might consolidate to at least one, high-yield account. However, if there’s a strong cause for having 4 accounts, go for it! It’s not “mistaken” to have completely different accounts, it’s simply not probably the most environment friendly and it doesn’t make the most of rates of interest since three of their accounts earn 0% in curiosity. Right here’s the maths on that:

In the event that they moved this $50,548 into American Categorical’ Excessive Yield Financial savings account, which earns 1% curiosity as of this writing, in a single yr their $50,548 would develop to $51,053 (affiliate hyperlink). They’d earn $505 per yr simply by having their cash on this excessive curiosity account. By the way in which, the rates of interest on financial savings accounts are just like the ONE benefit of the Feds elevating rates of interest.

By way of their emergency fund–which is definitely accessible money held in a checking or financial savings account–Kait and Dave are in nice form. You wish to have between three and 6 months’ price of your bills in your emergency fund. They spend $4,534 per thirty days, which implies their emergency fund ought to be within the vary of $13,602 ($4,534 x 3) to $27,204 ($4,534 x 6). In mild of that, they’re really overbalanced on money, however I perceive their impulse for retaining additional money available. In the event that they do plan to remediate the basement/basis points within the close to future, they’ll want this money to pay for the repair.

3) Investments: $71,354

Backyard sourdough focaccia

I commend Kait and Dave for having a taxable funding account (which means non-retirement funds invested within the broader inventory market). And I doubly commend them for choosing a low-fee brokerage with a complete market index fund. Good job. When you’d prefer to be taught extra about investing, I extremely advocate the e book that Kait talked about, The Easy Path to Wealth (affiliate hyperlink).

4) Children: $26,309

Between their 529s and funding accounts, Kait and Dave’s children have $26,309 invested on their behalf. Properly achieved! The one caveat right here is for Kait and Dave to at all times make certain they’re “placing their very own oxygen masks on first” with regard to investing for his or her kids. I too have 529s for my children and there’s nothing mistaken with saving and investing to your children’ futures, you simply should be sure it’s not coming on the detriment of your individual future (i.e. your retirement). That’s not the case with Kait and Dave, nevertheless it’s a caveat I at all times like to say since children can take out loans for school, however you’ll be able to’t take out loans to your retirement!

5) Gold & Silver Cash: $112,000

Early spring hike

It is a actually massive proportion of their internet price. If it had been me, I might rigorously think about this choice from a danger perspective. Is that this held in a financial institution? (please don’t reply this on-line!). If not, this represents an infinite danger of loss through theft, pure catastrophe, and so forth. When you could have a bodily asset–like gold cash or a home–there’s a large safety danger that simply doesn’t exist with, say, an index fund.

I additionally query the longterm viability of getting such an outsized proportion of their internet price in cash. To every their very own, however I encourage Kait and Dave to contemplate the return they’re seeing on this funding, the inherent dangers, and what this cash may earn out there (if invested for the long run).


  1. Solicit bids from contractors for fixing the basement/basis points. Separate this price from the price of constructing an condo/ADU. Focus power first on remediating the prevailing downside.
    • You possibly can’t know if that is price it till you get bids for the work. Get as many bids as you’ll be able to and comparability store.
  2. As soon as the muse is fastened (and totally paid for), begin to think about the condo/ADU query with Kait’s dad within the dialog. See above for all issues and attainable inquiries to broach with him.
  3. If Kait desires to work full-time, she ought to decide how a lot she’d earn from full-time work and the way a lot childcare would price. She also needs to think about the emotional aspect of this query and make the choice that feels proper to her. There is no such thing as a proper or mistaken reply right here and, as a result of their years of frugality, she doesn’t HAVE to work extra if she doesn’t wish to.
  4. It seems that Kait and Dave are on observe for Coast FIRE, however that quantity might be tremendously impacted by how a lot they determine/must spend on remediating the home, Kait’s profession, future earnings and at what age they’d like to succeed in Coast FIRE. They will control these calculations themselves through the years.
  5. Contemplate consolidating the 4 checking/financial savings accounts into one high-yield account.
  6. Contemplate the dangers/advantages/longterm development potential of holding a lot of their internet price in gold and silver cash.
  7. Really feel assured within the data that they’ve made wonderful monetary selections through the years, which implies they’ll in all probability proceed to take action!

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation do you could have for Kait? We’ll each reply to feedback, so please be at liberty to ask questions!

Would you want your individual case research to seem right here on Frugalwoods? Electronic mail me ( your temporary story and we’ll discuss.

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