In 1996, my wife and I started out together with $50k in student loan debt and another $19k in credit card debt. We were in awful shape. Now, at ages 40 and 36 with two kids (5 & 7), we have:
**$0 credit card debt (but use a Rewards Visa for everything…saving or investing the rewards checks);
**over $380k in savings ($25k in an emergency cash account earning over 5%) and 401k/403b/taxable investment accounts (355k);
** $1.1 million each in life insurance ($500k each VUL (which we hold now for estate planning flexibility); $600k each term);
** Combined $22k in 529 plans for our kids which are linked to UPromise for additional, “no-brainer” contributions.
** $95k in home equity;
We paid off my high interest (9%) student loan and are paying on my wife’s down which is at about 4%. We have been able to max out our 401k/403b accounts as well as fully fund Roth’s and save $700/pay check in HSBC’s online savings account (5.05%). Over the past two years we bought 2 hybrid cars to replace our old ones and benefited from federal and state tax credits.
Our secret has been simple: we read your book and others and we pay ourselves first, and don’t carry credit card debt.
Contrary to others who may comment that ideas like the Latte Factor and paying yourself first are quaint or won’t work for most, we say NONSENSE! We really enjoy our life – we eat out, go to movies, and travel…we’re just preparing for a nice retirement as well.
I’d be happy to share the rest of our story. Believe me, if we can turn it around, so can anyone else. Thanks, David!