It was such a pleasure meeting you at the Great American Homeowner Challenge in Seattle on March 13. We introduced ourselves as first-time homeowners and you suggested we send along our story, so here it is…
We are a young married couple in our late 20’s (Danielle is 27 and Gus is 29). We’ve been married for almost 2 years and now have a combined income of more than $120,000. About 2½ years ago (fall 2003), we relocated to western Washington and were renting an apartment. Gus started with your “Smart Couples Finish Rich” book, then moved on to “Automatic Millionaire” and “Start Late, Finish Rich” –- at age 27 he thought we were starting too late. Now 2½ years later, we have a lot to show for our efforts.
We bought our first home while in our mid-20’s (ages 25 and 27) with 3% down and took out a $162,000 mortgage. We’re using the biweekly payment like you’ve suggested.
Our “Latte Factor” was dining out, which we’ve decreased to once per week.
We’ve been “paying ourselves first” since we’ve started our careers and have increased our contributions significantly over the past two years. We now have over $53,000 combined in our employee retirement funds!
We’ve established our “Emergency Fund” with ING Direct – we started it in January 2004 and it now has over $12,000. We have a second savings account with over $1,200 that we use for travel and home improvements. We also have a mutual fund that includes contributions we’re planning to use for our next house or an investment property in a few years, and this account currently has over $4,000.
We both started our Roth IRAs in 2004 and now have more than $11,000 total. Gus is currently making his maximum annual contribution and Danielle just increased her monthly contribution.
We’ve attacked our credit card debt going from nearly $9,000 total down to $0 in just 2 years! Now, we only have 1 school loan and 1 car payment.
To sum it all up, we now have more than $81,000 in our savings and retirement accounts (and no credit card debt)! Most of this can be attributed to the simple steps that are discussed in your books. Many thanks to you for helping manage our money and getting us on our path to “Finish Rich!”