I'm often amazed when I read about other couples in the US who have amassed an enormous amount of savings and wealth in their 30's. My question is 'how do they do it?". My wife and I are both 42. We met each other at the age of 30 and were married at 37. We are both working professionals (me sales manager/her project manager) and we make a decent income. Our income has been progressive and I don't believe we over spend, however we aren't great savers either. When we met our combined gross income was probably $80K a year. Last year our gross income was $137K. We both had periods of time when we were laid off in our careers and they set us back financially. Still we've been blessed and lucky to be steadily working in our current jobs... her's 7 years, mine almost 9 years. In total we have only $107K in retirement income set aside. Another $23K in savings. We have $14K in auto loan, $4800 in CC debt and $310K in mortgage. Student loans PIF. I think we're doing OK... but I worry we could be doing better. Then I read an article like this: WTF???? 3 properties... income of $184K and $78K in cash... $234K in retirement??? Another $105K in stocks??? $800K in real estate... and they are 33 yrs old. Let's assume that both have been working professionally since 27... 6 years. I'm just trying piece this all together.
We both file bankrupcies in the 1990's. We both live in NY. When we met we started rebuilding our financial futures together at age 30. Back in 2005 my wife an I got engaged. We paid for our own wedding ($20K) of which we were able to return $11K into savings. The following year my father in law passed away and my wife and I committed ourselves to care for my disabled mother in law (bed bound with MS). We purchased a house in 2007 for $350K in NY. We were able to put 5% down which after closing left us with $5000 in savings. We pay $10K a year in annual taxes and insurance.
Our net monthly is $7500 per month. Heating oil averages $5000 per year. Utilities, maintenance other expenses put us over $42K per year in house hold expenses+ mortgage ($3000 per month). We don't collect rent from my mother in law...she has SS income however it isn't enough to cover all her medical and living expenses. Between federal and state taxes last year we payed out another $29K. I'm not complaining. Our head is above water. My wife and I probably overspend on groceries... we like to dine out ($200 a month easily). We have gym memberships. two car payments and insurance ($800).
We can afford it all and probably stand to cut back a lot. I'm worried at 42 we'll be working until 70 before retirement. I still can't wrap my head around couples above who are a decade younger and seemingly 9,000 paces ahead. Or the 'caller' on a money management program (Suze Orman or Dave Ramsey) who is 46 has $6000 per month in income, $180K mortgage and have and wants to know if they can afford dance lessons? What is the secret??? Windfall income? A dead aunt? Sleeping rent free in a park for several years? No one I know of is in that personal financial situation unless they have amassed massive debt for the cause and aren't being truthful. Or perhaps it's just that I live in the Northeast... an expensive area of the country, where the dollar doesn't stretch as far. I'm not jealous... I want to know the 'secret'.
We gave two incomes and live on one; we save 100 percent of the lower of the two incomes