Since I started getting hassled from my IRL readers about not updating (hi dad!), I thought I should update the blog before we got too deep into Q4. When last we chatted, the world was burning around us and there was a worldwide pandemic in full swing. Turns out, 3 months later, not much has changed there.
So, let’s focus on the good stuff from the last 3 months: In July and August, we got to visit two national parks here in Alaska: Denali and Wrangell-St. Elias (the largest national park in the US). Because of the lack of tourists, Denali, which is usually only accessible by bus, opened the road to 70 cars per day for a few weekends. The tickets were nearly impossible to get (first to click through wins), but we had 4 computers and 4 people clicking and Penny will be the first to brag that she scored us the tickets. It was an INCREDIBLE trip. We had bears, caribou, porcupines, hares, and ground squirrels all crossing the road right in front of us. It was magical.
Wrangell-St. Elias and the Kennicott Copper Mine town (header image) are accessible via a 60-mile railroad pass road which is rough and narrow. Once you get to the edge of the water, you camp there with your car and bike across the river bridge (not accessible to cars) to get to McCarthy and Kennicott. This was also a great trip. Visiting places in Alaska with all locals is so enjoyable!
The kids also started school, via Zoom. It’s going well, for the most part, but the tag-teaming parenting/full-time jobs/3 kids in school is still an exhausting daily effort. My job is still 100% COVID-19 research which comes with a healthy dose of existential angst and Alaska’s cases have never been higher, so that doesn’t help much. But, we have a nice pod so we’re not totally starved for socialization and we’re healthy and so very lucky to still be employed, so there’s not a ton to complain about here.
The Money Stuff
I will say what I said last quarter: This still feels like the least important conversation ever, at best, and unfair bragging at worst, but I committed to being transparent and that will continue. The most helpful thing to me on my journey was people sharing actual numbers. I hope ours can prove useful to someone else.
Still have a giant new (as of March) mortgage. $327,000. At 3% for 15 years, my goal is to not pay it down early, but save enough money to cover it before early retirement (an account just for paying down the mortgage each month).
Our investments are up over $50,000 in the past quarter which still completely blows my mind because there is something seriously wrong with this economy. I covered successful investing on the Twitter:
So easy. Well, our investments now sit at $371,000. If market returns continue like this and we don’t die, we’ll early retire in no time!
Work, for me, got weird this quarter. My boss of 10+ years was laid off leaving me in management limbo. Currently, the consensus is I’m valuable because I’m the “COVID girl” but we’ll see what happens. In this world, anything is possible.
With Mr. T and I both working, I had said that my goal was to max out all the retirement accounts for the first time ever. I still go back and forth on whether we’ll actually do this. I want to hoard all the cash, but also know I want to invest a whole bunch too. #RichPeopleProblems
- Max Out My 401k ($17,003/$19,500) – Fun fact: my company uses percentage of pay instead of actual dollar amounts, so I’m gonna have to play with that to get close.
- Max Out Mr. T’s 401k ($14,140/$19,500) – Another fun fact: Mr. T’s work uses an arbitrary slider for contributions. So, he can contribute something $784 or $832, but no number in between… so, we’ll have to play with that to get close this year as well.
- Max Out my Roth IRA for 2019 ($6000/$6000) – Done (thanks to the extended July 15 deadline).
- Max Out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2019 ($6000/$6000) – Done. Same.
- Max Out my Roth IRA for 2020 ($0/$6000)
- Max Out Mr. T’s Roth IRA for 2020 ($0/$6000)
- Figure out and Contribute to a SEP-IRA – Not yet, but for tax purposes, I’m def gonna need to figure this out.
I hope you are all well. Take care of yourself. Be kind to one another. The world is dark enough.