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

Kait and her husband Dave stay 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 life-style and have created an extremely close-knit group with their neighbors and associates. Nonetheless, their beloved residence has some critical structural points that have to be remediated, however will doubtless 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 tackle monetary and life dilemmas that readers of Frugalwoods ship in requesting recommendation. Then, we (that’d be me and YOU, expensive reader) learn by means of 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 individuals (on the finish of the publish) a number of months after the Case is featured. Go to this web page for hyperlinks to all up to date Case Research.

The Objective Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research intend to spotlight a various vary of economic conditions, ages, ethnicities, areas, objectives, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research sequence started in 2016 and, thus far, there’ve been 80 Case ResearchI’ve featured people with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and web 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 individuals. I’ve featured girls, non-binary people and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender individuals. I’ve had cat individuals and canine individuals. I’ve featured people from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France. I’ve featured individuals with PhDs and folks with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured individuals of their early 20’s and folks of their late 60’s. I’ve featured people who stay on farms and folk who stay in New York Metropolis.

The purpose is range and solely YOU will help me obtain that by emailing me your story! For those who haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Research, I encourage you to use to be a Case Research participant by emailing your transient story to me at

Reader Case Research Pointers

I most likely don’t have to say the next since you people are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please word 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 atmosphere 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 constructive, proactive solutions and concepts.

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

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out one of the 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, in the present day’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Kait’s Story

Household water adventures

Hey! I’m Kait, I’m 37, my husband Dave is 41 and we’ve three youngsters (an 8-year-old woman, a 5-year-old boy, and a 1-year-old woman). We stay 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 time and am undecided if I’ll proceed this summer time. It should rely upon the homeowners of the home).

We love Alaska (that is the place I grew up) and being outdoor. Favourite actions embrace: mountaineering, snowboarding, tenting, gardening, biking, fishing and mainly something outdoors. I’m fairly captivated with rising and preserving meals. Most summer time weekends you’ll find us out adventuring in a method 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 procuring and the buildup of stuff. My mind feels cluttered on the within so it’s vital to have my outdoors world organized so I can operate. The knock on impact is that I don’t prefer to convey issues into the house and subsequently actually deliberate earlier than buying something. I’ve been a saver eternally 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 in a different way. He  spends a number of time and power on it and that type 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 neglect it!” Since then, I’ve socked away each further penny with a goal.

Large carrot from our backyard

My husband’s monetary values vastly differ from mine. Whereas I’m comfortable to do with out for the long run purpose of attending to do what I need after I need, he needs to spend cash now on what he needs. 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 occupied with the longer term, you may stay off your pension while you’re older. We have now been married 10 years now and he’s leaning extra to my approach of issues. Having a standard purpose is basically useful though I don’t suppose ours line up precisely.

He loves his work and actually doesn’t suppose he needs to retire early. I’m attempting to color the image for him that not every part at all times goes to plan and having choices–even when you don’t use them–will solely enhance the standard of our lives in the long term. I lastly acquired him to learn The Easy Path to Wealth (after years of attempting) and I believe it’s actually serving to along with his journey (affiliate hyperlink). I additionally actually need our youngsters to be raised in an atmosphere 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 associates know we’re grateful for hand-me-downs. And after we want outside gear, I promote to our native gear resale store after which get what I would like within the subsequent dimension up. I play the loooonnnggg sport ready for issues that we want or need. I’ve solely bought a pair gadgets of clothes for myself in the previous few 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 most likely dry 10 gallons of apple chips, freeze 10 gallons of raspberries, make jam, can 4 or 5 flats of apple sauce, and so on. Having a root cellar would make using my harvest final a lot longer. I mainly don’t purchase something that isn’t on sale and we don’t actually purchase any comfort meals.

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

We stay totally off of Dave’s earnings and all my earnings go into investments. I undoubtedly wish to hold residing 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 forestall us from ever renting the home out as they require fixed vigilance. I think about the fee to restore them shall 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 understand that making monetary choices primarily based on feelings just isn’t a good suggestion however, right here we’re. We love our neighborhood and notably that we’ve a big south dealing with yard (oh so vital 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 consult with 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 pair 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 offers for us is priceless. The considered shifting even one block away makes me really feel horrible.

I additionally am now the one little one and shall be accountable for my growing older father when the time comes (he’s 78). My excellent is to rebuild our home and add an hooked up condo for my dad or different guests to make use of when wanted. I’d 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’d stay within the condo and lease out the principle home. So as to add a little bit of complication to this equation, I’m very excited by constructing a web zero (or shut) home, which might add to the general prices. My dad has provided to repay no matter we’ve left on our mortgage if we resolve 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 at the least one other 5 years, however when he’s, it can doubtless imply a transfer or a transition into consulting work.

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

3. The Lengthy-term Targets

Our long-term objectives are Coast FIRE or FIRE. 

What’s one of the best a part of your present life-style/routine?

The place we stay particularly and in addition the wilds that we’ve inside simple attain. The sense of group I’ve from our neighborhood is the one factor that has stored me sane these previous few years. After I was 38 weeks pregnant, I had a whole trailer filled 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 tons of of kilos of poop of their yard is one thing in and of itself.

Finish of an 8 mile hike with youngsters

After it was delivered, I had slightly 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 accomplished. 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 a number of 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’d do something for you” associates in our neighborhood and I’m not certain I might ever replicate this. I suppose if I didn’t stay proper right here I wouldn’t even wish to stay 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 fundamental supply of enjoyment as people and as a household.

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

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

The place Kait Desires to be in Ten Years:

  • Funds:
    • Solidly Coast FIRE or FIRE.
  • Life-style:
    • In a position to go away our home for prolonged durations of time and journey extra.
    • Have the choice to work as wished, not as a result of we want it. Perhaps stay different locations for a pair months at a time (winters listed here are LONG!)
  • Profession:
    • I’d prefer to proceed working as a Postpartum Doula, however in a capability that matches with taking plenty of time for household issues.
    • Dave wish to advance in his profession by taking over new challenges. What this really means for him is unknown at this level.

Kait & Dave’s Funds


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Dave’s Revenue $5,407 Minus retirement contributions, insurance coverage, and taxes
Kait’s Revenue Variable Variable as we stay off of Dave’s and all of mine goes into our investments.
Month-to-month subtotal: $5,407.00
Annual complete: $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. Value $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 eliminate 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 individual!
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 means of work $311,151 By means of the state Goal retirement date funds
Gold & silver cash $112,000
Joint brokerage account $71,354 Oomph, this appeared lots 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 hold 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 acquired 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 beneath my husband’s title and I cant log in for the time being. We have to name. It’s most likely about $1k
Complete: $658,202


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Mortgage $1,937
Groceries $675 It was $575 however I used to be discovering it tougher and tougher to remain inside finances. Issues will get simpler as soon as the backyard begins producing, however as of now there’s nonetheless a little bit of snow left! Contains all home goods akin to 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 completed 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.
Automotive Insurance coverage $201 Will improve a bit after we put the camper again on for the summer time
Enjoyable Fund for Dave and Kait $200 We every get $100 to do as we see match, for presents, hair cuts, garments and so on. We additionally get PFDs (normally 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 greater 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 Telephone $90 Lately 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 dimensions of our can as we by no means fill it up
Month-to-month subtotal: $4,534 
Annual complete: $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 earnings from renting out the property offset that in the long run?
      • The realm we stay in is subsequent to the downtown and the path system, so it’s a very fascinating space for AirBnb-ing.
      • I’m assured we might get $150-$200 an evening within the excessive season and $100+/night time within the off-season.
  2. I’ve lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work.
    • I solely work evenings and a few weekends in order that I could be with the infant through the day. All of my earnings goes into our  investments, however this determine is extremely variable.
    • Is the fee and threat 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 infant?
  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 in the present day as a result of I very a lot determine with having “One Large Factor” weighing in your thoughts. In studying by means of Kait’s story, it feels just like the state of affairs with their house is taking on a number of psychological power for Kait and is one thing she’ll really feel extraordinarily relieved to resolve. I can’t supply a magic bullet resolution, however I hope I will help her and Dave suppose by means of some concrete (no pun meant… ) 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 in the present day shall 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 value to repair the muse points. You’ll be able to’t know if it’ll be possible/sensible till you understand the worth tag. I additionally encourage them to utterly divorce the muse/basement points from any potential future building-an-apartment prices. The precedence is to repair the present issues. They want to try this first, then flip their consideration to different potential renovations/building-an-apartment.

If it had been me, I’d:

  • Name a BUNCH of various contractors/corporations 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 check and distinction what totally different consultants are saying.
  • Don’t rent the primary one that comes to supply an estimate! That is a type of stuff 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 proposals on the right 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 undoubtedly wish to stay there in his outdated(er) age?
  • If that’s the case, what’s going to the monetary association be?
    • Will he pay them lease?
    • Will he pay to construct the ADU after which personal it?
      • How does subdivision of lots work of their city?
      • Can her dad legally personal the ADU if it’s on their property?
    • How will this impression taxes and insurance coverage?
    • What are the legal guidelines on the right way to tie an ADU into the water/sewer methods and energy strains?

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

In the event that they do resolve to construct some type of ADU/condo and lease it out on AirBnB, listed here 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’s going to it’s prefer to have AirBnB renters proper there of their yard/home? Will this impinge on their gardening/household time and house?
  3. Will they share the income from the AirBnB with Kait’s dad?
  4. Is shifting for Dave’s job in circa 5 years an actual chance? If that’s the case, how would that impression 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 development 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 development
  • Projected rental charges by season
  • Anticipated vacancies (as in, which days/weeks is it more likely to not be rented)
  • Upkeep and repairs
  • Property taxes, insurance coverage, AirBnB charges
  • Administration of the unit (cleansing, furnishing, key exchanges, and so on)
  • Metropolis and state restrictions, rules and costs for working an AirBnB

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

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

Kait’s Query #2: I’ve lately been contemplating transitioning to extra full-time work. Is the fee and threat 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 value per hour?
  3. Would her and Dave’s earnings 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 broaden her hours?
  2. Is there a community of Doulas she will faucet into to broaden her hours?
  3. Will these hours align with the hours provided by the childcare choices?
    • If not, will her hours complement Dave’s work hours such that he can watch the youngsters?

Financially, I believe it’s most likely a reasonably easy determination. One caveat is that childcare prices would possibly outpace her preliminary earnings as she ramps her enterprise as much as full-time. I think about {that a} completely tremendous and cheap 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 youngsters to childcare is ok; not sending youngsters to childcare can also be tremendous. Each mother or father and each household has to make this determination for themselves. And guess what? That call is more likely to change over time!!!! My husband and I made a decision this previous faculty yr to ship Littlewoods to all-day preschool, which value within the neighborhood of $200-$400/month (relying on what number of faculty days there have been in every month). I don’t remorse that expense for a single second. In actual fact, we’ll be sending her to all-day preschool once more this coming faculty yr whereas Kidwoods goes to first grade. Through the pandemic, we labored from residence with the youngsters at residence and, uh, I did NOT love that association. It really works for some households; it doesn’t for others.


  1. For those who WANT to work extra, when you need the success and pleasure of working, when you crave that have in your life, do it!
  2. Conversely, you’re feeling you SHOULD work extra to be able to earn extra money, however don’t wish to? Don’t do it!
    • You and Dave will not be in a financially precarious place. You’ve made sensible decisions over time, which suggests you may 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 means of all of Kait and Dave’s property.

1) Retirement:$336,891

Basket of backyard goodness!

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

$64,884 x 3 = $194,652

Based mostly 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, when you now not have to earn sufficient to contribute to your retirement accounts each month, you want much less earnings and thus, can presumably work much less–assuming you retain your bills low sufficient to be lined by your earnings. Relying on the age at which they’d prefer to enact Coast FIRE, they’ll have to do the calculations with that age and the quantity of their retirement accounts at the moment. Proper now, they seem like on observe, however once more, they’ll should re-assess with the precise Coast FIRE age in thoughts.

2) Money: $50,548

Between their 4 totally different checking/financial savings accounts, they’ve $50,548 in money. I’m undecided I perceive the necessity for 4 totally different accounts and, if it had been me, I’d 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 “incorrect” to have totally different accounts, it’s simply not essentially 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 mathematics 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.

When it comes to their emergency fund–which is well 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 monthly, which suggests 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 further money readily 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. For those who’d prefer to study extra about investing, I extremely advocate the e-book that Kait talked about, The Easy Path to Wealth (affiliate hyperlink).

4) Youngsters: $26,309

Between their 529s and funding accounts, Kait and Dave’s youngsters have $26,309 invested on their behalf. Properly accomplished! The one caveat right here is for Kait and Dave to at all times be sure 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 youngsters and there’s nothing incorrect with saving and investing on your youngsters’ futures, you simply have to be sure it’s not coming on the detriment of your personal future (i.e. your retirement). That’s not the case with Kait and Dave, but it surely’s a caveat I at all times like to say since youngsters can take out loans for school, however you may’t take out loans on your retirement!

5) Gold & Silver Cash: $112,000

Early spring hike

This can be a actually giant share of their web price. If it had been me, I’d fastidiously think about this determination from a threat perspective. Is that this held in a financial institution? (please don’t reply this on-line!). If not, this represents an unlimited threat of loss by way of theft, pure catastrophe, and so on. When you may have a bodily asset–like gold cash or a home–there’s a large safety threat that simply doesn’t exist with, say, an index fund.

I additionally query the longterm viability of getting such an outsized share of their web 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 might earn out there (if invested for the long run).


  1. Solicit bids from contractors for fixing the basement/basis points. Separate this value from the price of constructing an condo/ADU. Focus power first on remediating the present downside.
    • You’ll be able to’t know if that is price it till you get bids for the work. Get as many bids as you may and comparability store.
  2. As soon as the muse is mounted (and totally paid for), begin to think about the condo/ADU query with Kait’s dad within the dialog. See above for all concerns and potential inquiries to broach with him.
  3. If Kait needs 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 value. She must also think about the emotional aspect of this query and make the choice that feels proper to her. There isn’t a proper or incorrect reply right here and, on account 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 could possibly be vastly impacted by how a lot they resolve/have to spend on remediating the home, Kait’s profession, future earnings and at what age they’d like to succeed in Coast FIRE. They’ll control these calculations themselves over time.
  5. Contemplate consolidating the 4 checking/financial savings accounts into one high-yield account.
  6. Contemplate the dangers/advantages/longterm progress potential of holding a lot of their web price in gold and silver cash.
  7. Really feel assured within the data that they’ve made glorious monetary decisions over time, which suggests they are going to most likely proceed to take action!

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

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