Tax Takeaways Learned When Filing as Married


It’s not what you make, but what you keep.

How do I minimize the amount of taxes we pay?  It seems like with every promotion and pay increase, I end paying more taxes. Unfortunately, 20% pay bumps only equates to a few hundred more in net pay per month.  Our marginal tax system means if your pay increase pushed you into the next tax bracket, every extra dollar earned is taxed more.  I often hear that the super wealthy pay very little taxes as a percentage of income but they have businesses that might enable them to be crafty.  Warren Buffett at one point even said his tax rate is lower than his secretary.  How can we get in on some of that strategy?!?   Continue reading “Tax Takeaways Learned When Filing as Married”

403B?457? Worth It?

We decided to embark on a quest for FIRE (Financial Independence Early Retirement) a few months ago and a consistent theme among FI content is to exploit all tax advantage accounts. For Mr. Quest, he was already maxing out his 401k from the beginning. As soon as he got his first full-time job out of grad school, he made sure he was getting his employer’s contributions.

For me, I held back. As a teacher, I am eligible for a 403b AND a 457. I know you FI readers right now are probably drooling over the possibility of how much I can save. However, I didn’t take advantage of it. Why? I didn’t get any contributions from my employer so I didn’t feel the need to contribute to it.

I was a damn fool. Continue reading “403B?457? Worth It?”

Minimalism Mondays: Books

As a secondary English teacher, I have amassed so many books for various reasons. A main one is for my classroom library, another is because I use to teach those novels. Also, I have multiple copies of the same books. Why? From bouncing around to different schools and grade levels, I’ve just been a hoarder of these classic books because I never knew when I would need it again. I know my fellow teachers understand. Continue reading “Minimalism Mondays: Books”

How Minimalism Affected Our FI Journey

My parents came to this country as refugees. They had nothing and literally built everything they have from the ground up. Growing up, my parents eventually accumulated a lot of material things and desired the name brand luxury items. They worked so hard and my mom would reward herself with a designer purse several times a year. My immediate and extended family were always about the German cars, designer purses, clothes, and watches.  Possession of those things along with a big fancy house were the metrics of success and happiness.  I don’t blame them since they essentially immigrated to the States with nothing. They have the means now so why not treat themselves? As a result, I grew up desiring those things with a mindset that I will be seen as more successful and in turn, be happier.  This couldn’t be further from the truth! Continue reading “How Minimalism Affected Our FI Journey”

FI180’s Milestones of FI: Where Are We?


We recently read FI180’s Milestone of FI post and also listened to the awesome podcast interview from ChooseFI.  We really enjoyed how Joel from FI180 laid out these tangible checkpoints to help gauge where we are in our journey.  It caused us to take a breath and reflect on where we are at, how far we have come, but more importantly, to acknowledge/celebrate our accomplishments thus far.   Continue reading “FI180’s Milestones of FI: Where Are We?”