broke
Debt FIRE Student Loans

February Update: We’re Broke

Since the beginning of 2017, we have been living paycheck to paycheck. The other night, Mrs. MilitaryFIRE asked how much we were making after each paycheck. “Zero,” I said, “we’re essentially broke.” We started the year with our checking account below its normal level due to some 2016 year-end IRA contributions and we haven’t been able to bring it up yet. A higher than normal heating oil bill set us back even further this month. It’s a tough situation to contemplate, but for the first time since my FIRE conversion I’ve come close to tapping into our emergency funds to

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FIRE

Learnin’ and Planin’

One of the disadvantages to the military lifestyle is the inability to iet up a forever home until later in life. While the moving and travel may be a bonus for some, I’d be happy to set up shop in one place for the rest of my career. Our family is all located in New England, and we want to start building our life here too.lver In the past few months, I’ve come to the somewhat disagreeable conclusion that for at least the next 12 years we will be stuck in a cycle of renewal. Each new place we go

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Tracking goats
FIRE

How do we track our spending? January Expenses Revealed!

If you want to make it to Early Retirement or Financial Independence, you absolutely must know what your spending is. Tracking your expenses is the only way to gain a holistic view of your spending habits. I I have said before, tracking is not budgeting. We are “toughening up, cupcake”, avoiding the excuse to spend and not using mental crutches to curtail our bad habits. For a family which has never tracked expenses before, this exercise can be painfully enlightening. Carried over several months and years, your recurring expenses drill a painful hole in your wallet. Tracking helps spotlight wasteful spending

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The Military Guide
FIRE Investing TSP

Guest Post on The Military Guide: Blended Retirement System

Hello everyone, I’m proud to announce the publication of my guest post over at The Military Guide. Doug Nordman was kind enough to feature my thoughts on the new military Blended Retirement System. In my guest post I also provide a spreadsheet which you can use to calculate what you stand to gain – or lose – if you chose to opt into the BRS. Many service members have a choice coming up in 2018. Either stay with the old “cliff vested” pension system, or jump to the new been BRS, which reduces the pension by 10% but provides a

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Fire anemone
FIRE Investing

Why FIRE?

Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE) As part of our pre-marriage financial summit, my wife and I took a long look at our retirement goals. At the time I hadn’t discovered Mr. Money Mustache or any of the FIRE crowd. What we found was pretty dismal. I had graduated from a top university with no debt, had worked with a generous salary for 6 straight years, and had managed to accumulate a personal net worth of about $70,000.  Of that, my TSP held only slightly more than half, even after six years of investing. Somehow I had managed to spend nearly my entire

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Maxing the TSP should guide you like a Lighthouse
FIRE Tax TSP

Financial Independence with the TSP and IRAs

In a previous post we discussed how the actual annual TSP (Military 401K) contribution limit is $18,000. Most military folks, and indeed the general public, don’t know you can max out your contributions at work and continue to save for retirement by using IRA’s, with all the tax benefits that come with these methods. This got even more confusing when the TSP instituted the “Roth Option.” For years I have seen the “Roth” part of the TSP and conflated it with the Roth IRA. The TSP’s website and the IRS are not very clear as to whether you can contribute

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