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rated:
Hello everyone,

Been coming to this forum for the past several years. Everyone's posts and advice have been incredibly helpful with getting my own finances in-line. But now I'm looking for help on what to do next. Any and all advice, critiques or insights welcome. 

Here's a breakdown of my current situation:

  • I'm a single 33 year old man living in a small city in Florida (not the kind of Florida you're thinking of).
  • I've been at my job for the last 10 years (first job out of college).
  • I own my car outright, and have no debt other than credit cards which are paid off every month (about $2000, which I know I should lower).
  • I have a credit score in the low 800s, have some pretty good rewards credit cards
  • I've maxed-out my company's 401(k) matching and currently have $44,000 in my account (it hasn't performed well since my company switched to Slavic401k from TD Ameritrade). 
  • Other than the 401k, I have no other investment accounts.
  • I take home about $2600 a month.
  • My bills are minimal: $500 in all-inclusive rent (living with roommates), car insurance, phone, pets, etc.

For the past several years, I had been saving up an emergency fund (granted, it wasn't a lot). I had depleted that fund a year ago when my father passed away. Unfortunately, just a month or two before he died, his life insurance lapsed from a missed payment, and I had to absorb the financial cost of his funeral expenses alone. I've been working to recoup the loss and currently have about $10k sitting in savings and growing (slowly). I now support my mother (and claim her as a dependent on my tax returns) who has been unable to find a job for the past year, equating to roughly $500 a month, plus any bills.  

I love the community I live in, but I feel I've hit the ceiling in terms of what I can get paid. I'll only be able to make more money if I move to a larger city. While I've been working to grow my emergency fund again, I'm also contemplating buying a house (in the 100k range), especially one that my mother can stay in should I ever decide to move out of the area. And, with my recent experience with my father's funeral, I know I should probably also look at life insurance. 

At this point in my life, I'm not real sure what else to do. Open a separate Roth IRA to supplement my poor-performing 401k? Use the money in my saving as relocation to a new area, where I may be able to secure a higher paying job (obviously, I'd work to get a job prior to moving)? Not do anything for awhile until I grow my savings more substantially? Start looking at life insurance plans? Or, move forward with the purchase of a home? Am I missing some other option that I'm not seeing, or an opportunity I'm not seizing?

Any advice or insights are greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 

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rated:
Save up an emergency fund first. Then a down payment on house.

rated:
What's important to you? Career or proximity to family and friend? I wouldn't buy a place if career is on top your list.

Sounds like your parent doesn't have much of a saving, so maybe take a small term life to make sure your mom will be ok if something happens to you. The rule of thumb doesn't change, 401k up to the match then to the annual limit, then Roth IRA.

rated:
My sympathies on your father passing away and having to deal with those expenses.

- Is your mom eligible for survivor social security benefits?
- Some of the math doesn't make sense. How long have your contributed to 401K? If you are maxing it out (18K), how come the balance is only 44K?
- What are your fund choices at Slavic and what did you choose?
- What is your degree and occupation? Just saying that you want a 100K job doesn't mean you will get it. Have you done some research to see how much does your job pay in bigger cities?
- What is your gross? 70Kish? If yes, with your low expenses, you seem to be on the right track. Obviously, things like Roth are good for tax free growth. Personally, I would not never tap my 401/IRA/Roth for buying a house - so if you do Roth, it leaves you less money for the house. I am not going to recommend buying a house unless you do some math on how it compares with your/your mom's rental and whether the property values are appreciating in the area.

rated:
BTW - these two sentences seem so contradictory to each other:

> other than credit cards which are paid off every month (about $2000, which I know I should lower).
> My bills are minimal: $500 in all-inclusive rent (living with roommates), car insurance, phone, pets, etc.

How can you have minimal bills and still have a $2,000 credit card bill every month?

rated:
forksifter said:   I'm a single 33 year old man living in a small city in Florida (not the kind of Florida you're thinking of).  

What kind of Florida am I thinking of? And why does a 33 y.o. that is 10 years out of college, still live with roommates? Isn't that stigma worse than still living with your parents?

rated:
Getting married, having a few kids, buying some stuff, retiring to Florida, and dying

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A higher paying job (assuming you can find one in a few months) would be my first priority. Make sure you look at the total package in deciding about the job; not just the salary. (e.g., benefits, COL in new place, additional expenses due to commute from new place to mom's place etc.).

Life insurance for whom? Yourself or mom? I dont see any point in life insurance for mom since you are not financially dependent on her. Use your savings for her funeral expenses. You could consider life insurance for yourself, you provide for your mom, in case of your untimely death. Look for simple term life policy.

Are you getting a match from your employer for 401k. Contribute just enough in the 401k to get the maximum match; put the rest in an IRA (trad. or Roth, depending on situation).

rated:
As scrouds implied, you just keep repeating day in and day out this garbage that we all do every day until you die.

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PrincipalMember said:   My sympathies on your father passing away and having to deal with those expenses.

- Is your mom eligible for survivor social security benefits?
- Some of the math doesn't make sense. How long have your contributed to 401K? If you are maxing it out (18K), how come the balance is only 44K?
- What are your fund choices at Slavic and what did you choose?
- What is your degree and occupation? Just saying that you want a 100K job doesn't mean you will get it. Have you done some research to see how much does your job pay in bigger cities?
- What is your gross? 70Kish? If yes, with your low expenses, you seem to be on the right track. Obviously, things like Roth are good for tax free growth. Personally, I would not never tap my 401/IRA/Roth for buying a house - so if you do Roth, it leaves you less money for the house. I am not going to recommend buying a house unless you do some math on how it compares with your/your mom's rental and whether the property values are appreciating in the area.

  
Thanks for the reply.

  • My parents were divorced. My step-mother has survivor benefits, but my biological mother is who I'm supporting. 
  • I was wrong in my original post. I meant to say that I max out my employer matching. I don't max out my annual contribution at the end of each year. 
  • I was advised to fund the "aggressive" portfolio which is a pre-selection of various stocks. To be honest, I haven't really dived into it much since I first started it. My advisor said to "Set it and forget it."
  • My degree is in communications/advertising/pr. My current job skills would be best described as a Creative Director or Chief Creative Officer in larger markets, where they make between $80-140k depending on the company.
  • My current pre-tax salary is $63,000. I usually get a bonus at the end of the year that pushes me over the $70k line. I don't plan on tapping into my 401k for a home, but rather raising funds to put cash down. 
  • My mom (biological) is another situation entirely. She is homeless and is staying with friends, jumping from house to house. Another reason why I feel compelled to move forward with a house, at least to give her some stability.
  • My personal bills (utility) are minimal, however a large part of the $2000 credit card statements is due in part to supporting my mother, in combination with other normal life stuff (lunches, dinners, bars, etc). I've been working to curb much of that spending in the past few months. 

I feel a bit overwhelmed by all the possibilities of what I could do, and I'm not sure where to really start as Step 1. 
atikovi said:   
forksifter said:   I'm a single 33 year old man living in a small city in Florida (not the kind of Florida you're thinking of).  

What kind of Florida am I thinking of? And why does a 33 y.o. that is 10 years out of college, still live with roommates? Isn't that stigma worse than still living with your parents?

  
Most people think of Florida as Orlando and Miami. I'm basically in Lower Alabama. 

I ask myself the same question every time I have to deal with my crap roommate's habits. Believe me, I don't want to be in this situation either. My original savings account was for a solid downpayment on a home a few years ago, but my father's passing extended my timeline longer than I had planned.

With regards to the roommate situation: on one hand, I'm ready to move out on my own, but on the other, paying $500 a month all-inclusive makes it easier and faster to save than paying a $800 mortgage and plus other utilities.
fwuser12 said:   A higher paying job (assuming you can find one in a few months) would be my first priority. Make sure you look at the total package in deciding about the job; not just the salary. (e.g., benefits, COL in new place, additional expenses due to commute from new place to mom's place etc.).

Life insurance for whom? Yourself or mom? I dont see any point in life insurance for mom since you are not financially dependent on her. Use your savings for her funeral expenses. You could consider life insurance for yourself, you provide for your mom, in case of your untimely death. Look for simple term life policy.

Are you getting a match from your employer for 401k. Contribute just enough in the 401k to get the maximum match; put the rest in an IRA (trad. or Roth, depending on situation).

  
Thanks for the advice. Definitely something I've been looking more and more into, not just for the money alone, but also for personal and professional development. 

Life insurance for myself. Honestly, it's all Latin to me. I've heard and read of people doing mix-n-match plans where they pull out a term life insurance policy to supplement other insurance. Are there certain best practices for people around my age?

Yes, I'm maximizing my match already, however, I don't maximize my annual contribution. I've been a little wary doing that since my 401k plan isn't a good performer. It was performing great when it was with TD Ameritrade. I was thinking exactly what you suggested: use the rest of my money for an IRA. But should that be a priority over purchasing a house?

 

rated:
Sorry Mods, I didn't know how to quote several posts in one reply. I've moved these responses to the original. 

--Deleted--

rated:
--Deleted--

rated:
forksifter said:   My personal bills (utility) are minimal, however a large part of the $2000 credit card statements is due in part to supporting my mother, in combination with other normal life stuff (lunches, dinners, bars, etc). I've been working to curb much of that spending in the past few months.
Guess what, lunches, dinners, bars etc. are all personal expenses. You need to get a good sense of what you are spending each month with a rough breakdown into broad categories (e.g., food, housing/utilities, entertainment, etc.). Tracking every single expense for 2-3 months might be illuminating.

rated:
fwuser12 said:   Guess what, lunches, dinners, bars etc. are all personal expenses. You need to get a good sense of what you are spending each month with a rough breakdown into broad categories (e.g., food, housing/utilities, entertainment, etc.). Tracking every single expense for 2-3 months might be illuminating.
  
Oh, I'm well aware. I'm pretty detailed about tracking my expenses. I didn't think I needed to bore everyone with an itemized list. The rather large monthly amount isn't something that isn't manageable, but I'm already working toward cutting it. 

rated:
She is homeless and is staying with friends, jumping from house to house.

This is your main problem in going forward in your life.  Hopefully its not mental, addiction or attitude.
You sound like a good son. Until you figure this out you won't feel right doing any of the other things.

I feel compelled to move forward with a house, at least to give her some stability.
Rent her a small manufactured home in a safe area and see if it will give her a base to get herself together.
    I have to deal with my crap roommate's habits.
Maybe mom could be a helpful roommate with a place that had more room for the both of you
There is no shame living with parents in this day and time.  You can always stay at girlfriends for a break.

I live in the area and you got to go a fair way to get to a " big " city. Wish you luck in accomplishing your goals

 

rated:
>  My current pre-tax salary is $63,000. I usually get a bonus at the end of the year that pushes me over the $70k line.
> I take home about $2600 a month.

You need to work out your real "net per-month"  - this way you can make a budget. 2600x12 = 31K. 39K for taxes and 401K where you are not maxing out seems a bit high (since you don't have state income tax either). Once you figure out your net income (after taxes and 401K) per-year, then create a budget - this would give you a better idea of your finances and what you can save.

> I was advised to fund the "aggressive" portfolio which is a pre-selection of various stocks. To be honest, I haven't really dived into it much since I first started it. My advisor said to "Set it and forget it."
> (it hasn't performed well since my company switched to Slavic401k from TD Ameritrade). 

Do you trust the advisor? If you are saying that it hasn't performed well, what is your basis? Are you comparing to some market averages? If you provide what you are invested in, maybe people can help you. But do your homework - the market has really done well here after Trump and if you haven't done well, either you are wrong in your conjecture or your fund choice is questionable.

> My degree is in communications/advertising/pr. My current job skills would be best described as a Creative Director or Chief Creative Officer in larger markets, where they make between $80-140k depending on the company.

There is always a large range of salary for any job. The question is whether you are operating at a level that would justify the max salary or higher salary? Have you been getting some awards etc. to say that you are doing really well? [But I can easily see that for the type of job you are doing, you may have maxed out your potential in a small city]. [BTW, my personal belief is that unless you are working for a douche bag, you never really max out. If you are working hard, then your managers/boss will find a way to reward you. People who generally talk about "maxed out" are working their 9-5 everyday and taking coffee breaks to the wazu - obviously, they have maxed out their potential since they have maxed out their usefulness to the organization].

> My personal bills (utility) are minimal, however a large part of the $2000 credit card statements is due in part to supporting my mother, in combination with other normal life stuff (lunches, dinners, bars, etc). I've been working to curb much of that spending in the past few months. 

Get a grip on this stuff and you said that you are looking at it. My gut says that your expenses are too high for your income - particularly if you want to save and build for the future. 

Given your mom situation, looks like you are stuck in the current job/town. So make the best of it for now by getting a handle on your "net income" and "expenses" before you do anything else.
 

rated:
If your bio mother was married to your father >10 years she will be able to claim survivor soc sec benefits as well. Check into that.

rated:
forksifter said:   
For the past several years, I had been saving up an emergency fund (granted, it wasn't a lot). I had depleted that fund a year ago when my father passed away. Unfortunately, just a month or two before he died, his life insurance lapsed from a missed payment, and I had to absorb the financial cost of his funeral expenses alone. I've been working to recoup the loss and currently have about $10k sitting in savings and growing (slowly). I now support my mother (and claim her as a dependent on my tax returns) who has been unable to find a job for the past year, equating to roughly $500 a month, plus any bills.  


 

Sorry to hear about your father.  Did you investigate if the life insurance was still valid, despite the 1-2 missed payments?  
Just seems wrong to me that if someone steadily makes payments and then misses a payment when they are gravely ill they would lose all their benefits.
Your father can't be the first person that this situation arose in...
 

rated:
post the available funds and expense ratios in your 401k and some kind soul will be able to advise you if there's anything amiss with your allocation

rated:
I'd suggest, as best you can, work on building your career through skill building (webinars, conferences, self training) and your professional network in desired markets using linkedin and professional networking. Also consider reading job listings to inspire the direction you might ultimately take. In other words, start working on your professional future even as you feel a bit stuck where you are doing what you are doing. This is the time in your life you determine if you continue your upwards trajectory or settle in.

In regards to buying a house, strongly consider renting for your mom the flexibility it offers. You might even find a situation where she is a roommate for someone suitable.

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