Teacher Uses 75% of His Paycheck to Become Debt-Free

More often than not, people of the internetwebs are sad, depressed, and uninspiring. Those adjectives, however, do not describe the couple you’re about to meet.

Credit: Hoyt Family

Credit: Hoyt Family via CNBC

Bobby Hoyt and his wife, Coral, are a different breed.  They’re the type of couple that likes to keep it real with themselves when it comes their personal finances.  That personality dynamic is why they decided in 2012 to become a debt-free family.  Don’t take that lightly though because that decision came with plenty of sacrifices.

To become debt-free, that meant the Hoyts had to vanquish $40,000 worth of student loans.  As school teachers with school teacher salaries, that was a heavy load for them to lift.  Fortunately, they quickly learned how to lighten their load.

Whether it was renting from the in-laws to driving an old clunker to wearing old clothes, they got rid of as many unnecessary expenses as possible.  At their peak, they were putting 75% of Bobby’s salary towards student loan payments.  And that’s pretending as if taxes didn’t negate a huge chuck of his gross pay during that time.

At the end of the day, the young millennial couple ended up paying off the $40,000 in a whopping 18 months.  Now that the debt is completely gone, Bobby quit being a teacher and has become a full-time blogger.

So the next time you’re feeling hopeless, just remember: if two young school teachers can change the trajectory of their lives, then you can too.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

NYC Wife Shocked by Husband’s 401(k) Balance

I recently ran across an article about the couple below that left me completely irritated about millennial marriages and marriages in general when it comes to financial communication.

business-insider-article

The highly attractive couple shown here were recently featured in Business Insider via Yahoo Finance.  In the feature, the wife recounted the time she realized that her husband saves a much higher percentage of his individual income than she does her individual income—three times higher to be exact.

After coming to this realization, she finally gets her bearings and decides that she will up her 2 percent retirement contributions to 8 percent with the eventual hope of reaching the 12 percent milestone that her husband is currently at.

This may seem like the end of the story and a happy ending, but I can’t help but wonder why her husband was so oblivious to this massive miscommunication problem as it relates to their long-term financial future.

Other than purchasing a house (the reason for his wife’s great discovery happened), the husband in this relationship has done nothing to truly unite himself with his wife.  He’s done nothing to visibly prepare his marriage to last the long haul, at least in terms of finances.

Given that the number one reason for divorce in North America today is money fights and money problems, I hope this couple really improves their financial communication.  As a fellow millennial, I want their marriage to thrive financially.  Not just for the wealth, but for the dreams.

As a world-famous John Maxwell says, “Teamwork makes the dream work!”

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Potential Retirement Nest Egg for a Median Household in Each Alabama County by Age 67

The following chart shows what a current median-age, median-income household in each Alabama county will have saved for retirement by age 67.  The most recent median age data was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau, and the most recent median household income (HHI) was collected from the Alabama Center for Business and Economic Research.  Annualized rate of return of investing is set at 9 percent inside a tax-free growth Roth IRA, Roth 401(k), or Roth 403(b).  The savings rate per year is set at 15 percent of median household income.  The assumption is that each median household starts with zero saved in retirement, and that each median household never gets an annual pay raise.

County County Seat Median HHI Median Age Retirement Value at 67
Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa $46,892 32.4 $1,594,896
Lee Opelika $41,256 31.0 $1,592,745
Shelby Columbiana $69,432 38.6 $1,331,831
Pike Troy $31,844 31.5 $1,175,095
Madison Huntsville $58,833 38.4 $1,150,001
Autauga Prattville $54,366 38.3 $1,072,737
Montgomery Montgomery $43,054 35.8 $1,072,574
Elmore Wetumpka $54,298 38.4 $1,061,356
Russell Phenix City $35,585 34.9 $963,211
Jefferson Birmingham $44,852 37.6 $945,107
Mobile Mobile $42,943 37.3 $930,623
Limestone Athens $51,175 39.3 $918,721
Dale Ozark $41,940 37.4 $900,434
St. Clair Ashville $50,571 39.9 $857,498
Coffee Elba $46,931 39.2 $850,561
Chilton Clanton $41,450 38.9 $772,872
Morgan Decatur $45,082 40.2 $742,825
Calhoun Anniston $41,123 39.4 $731,286
Houston Dothan $40,124 39.3 $720,328
Blount Oneonta $45,567 40.9 $702,017
Bibb Centreville $39,546 39.6 $689,998
DeKalb Fort Payne $36,241 39.0 $669,382
Franklin Russellville $33,881 38.4 $662,267
Marshall Guntersville $36,536 39.2 $662,165
Baldwin Bay Minette $49,626 42.6 $648,075
Escambia Brewton $37,077 39.8 $634,714
Talladega Talladega $39,999 40.9 $616,235
Cullman Cullman $39,922 40.9 $615,049
Lauderdale Florence $41,324 41.3 $612,532
Macon Tuskegee $28,518 37.6 $600,922
Barbour Clayton $34,971 39.8 $598,662
Etowah Gadsden $39,904 41.5 $580,138
Colbert Tuscumbia $43,057 42.3 $579,064
Washington Chatom $41,321 41.9 $577,840
Cleburne Heflin $40,418 41.9 $565,213
Perry Marion $27,403 37.9 $561,419
Sumter Livingston $25,413 37.2 $555,895
Lawrence Moulton $41,574 42.5 $548,275
Butler Butler $32,512 40.5 $520,527
Hale Greensboro $33,315 40.8 $518,225
Dallas Selma $26,602 38.5 $515,109
Clarke Grove Hill $36,620 41.9 $512,101
Walker Jasper $37,245 42.3 $500,900
Crenshaw Luverne $34,445 41.5 $500,773
Marengo Linden $32,977 41.3 $488,807
Bullock Union Springs $26,580 39.5 $468,199
Monroe Monroeville $34,733 42.3 $467,117
Pickens Carrollton $31,933 41.5 $464,253
Lowndes Hayneville $30,675 41.2 $459,103
Jackson Scottsboro $36,923 43.1 $459,020
Randolph Wedowee $36,939 43.3 $450,225
Chambers LaFayette $34,116 42.5 $449,920
Covington Andalusia $36,149 43.1 $449,398
Henry Abbeville $39,930 44.2 $444,947
Marion Hamilton $37,707 43.9 $432,974
Geneva Geneva $34,425 43.1 $427,965
Fayette Fayette $35,664 43.5 $426,150
Clay Ashland $35,940 43.7 $420,994
Tallapoosa Dadeville $36,779 44.2 $409,835
Wilcox Camden $24,035 40.4 $388,516
Lamar Vernon $34,553 44.4 $377,378
Winston Double Springs $35,528 44.7 $376,476
Cherokee Centre $38,013 45.9 $356,450
Choctaw Butler $35,049 45.3 $349,476
Greene Eutaw $26,504 42.7 $342,737
Conecuh Evergreen $29,101 44.2 $324,277
Coosa Rockford $34,679 46.8 $296,217

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Retirement US News

Share Retirement Dreams for Chance to Win Free Book

Let’s dream a little bit.  Most people think more about their next vacation than they ever think about retirement.  But I believe that’s mostly because people get sidetracked by the numbers and forget the dreams.

So leave a comment and share what your retirement dreams are.  For your participation, one lucky commenter will win a free copy of the #1 New York Times Bestselling book, Retired Inspired.

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or on AL.com here.

Retire Inspired Giveaway

How Long-Distance Couples Decide Who Has to Quit

Long-distance emotional stress affects military spouses or newly married spouses quite often.   It also affects couples who have a spouse that has received a dream job offer in a distant city.   If you and your spouse work with employers that are hundreds and thousands of miles apart, then you have a pretty arduous decision ahead of you: determining which one of you has to quit.

This can be very difficult because both spouses may love their jobs; however, spouses need to love each other more than their jobs.  Firstly, seek to see if you can just transfer within your current company.  Secondly, if this is not possible or takes too much lead-time, then you will have to quit.  This does not have to be an immediate resignation, but you definitely need to get the ball rolling in that direction.

It’s been a while, but my wife and I have been in those shoes.  When we got married 5 years ago, I ended up being the spouse that moved.  That certainly wasn’t the only option we had, but it ended up being the best option for us long-term.

Have you and your spouse ever been in this situation?

Follow me on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or at AL.com here.

Kissing

Originally posted on my LinkedIn back in August 2015.

While Family Sleeps, Increase Your Skills and Abilities

night-owlChances are very likely that if you are reading this, you are not doing so right after midnight.  If you look at the time stamp of this posting though, you will notice that, in fact, it was posted right after midnight.

That strange time frame is not by accident.  I intentionally try to get postings like this done while my family is asleep and doesn’t care what I’m doing.  That’s no slight on my family, but they primarily want me to care about them while I’m with them.  And deservedly so.  However, many major things for my family and for myself would never get done if I didn’t make the best use of the inconvenient times of the day.

For example, my entire household is asleep by 8:30pm central.  In most places, that’s still considered early, and it is considered early for me too.  So when the family sleeps, I get to work.

  • Business school homework and assignments
  • Church projects that can be done from home
  • Literature of the non-fiction , uplifting variety
  • Family budgeting and long-range planning
  • Catching back up with missed emails and calls
  • Decluttering, reorganizing, and doing laundry
  • Laughing aloud with friends on social media
  • Heroically rocking our toddler back to sleep
  • The list goes on, and on, and on, and on

While it may seem a bit overwhelming, I’ve naturally become more effective at the above activities simply because I perform them regularly.  As the old adage goes, “we become what we practice.”

So that’s my story.  What are some tasks that you would like to become better at or more intentional about?

Leave a reply in the comments section, and please hit subscribe.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter or AL.com.

Choose Your Coworkers Wisely

Coworkers can be a blessing, or they can be a curse.   Nothing is more crucial than having the right mix of people around you to make your day more productive and more fulfilling.  But how do you make sure your coworkers are a blessing and not a curse?

Well, if you’re going to spend over 50 percent of your waking day at a workplace, you really want to vet your potential coworkers as much as possible before you start working with them.  Once you accept a job offer or a department transfer, you’re often stuck with your decision for an extended period of time.

So talk to potential workers, scan online reviews, read about the company culture, and ask your potential boss as many questions as possible.  If you do all of those things and still have a warm and fuzzy feeling, then you should feel pretty comfortable about signing the dotted line on a job offer.

From there, all you can do is pray and hope for the best.

This post was previously written by Ben on LinkedIn.

Follow Ben on Twitter @Ben_Baxter

Types-People-You-Work

Love-Robinson, Most Famous Black Doctor of All-Time?

I know it’s a stretch.  But is it possible that in just a few short days, Malachi Love-Robinson has become the most famous black doctor of all-time?

Right now, there are only a few famous black doctors.  One of them is Republican presidential hopeful, Dr. Ben Carson.  However, since he’s retired and doesn’t wear lab coats anymore, I think he should be disqualified from this discussion.

There is also west coast music mogul, Dr. Dre.  He’s been known to “go in the lab” quite often, but there’s no evidence that he meant a medical lab.  Also, his lack of a lab coat just doesn’t cut it.

This leaves herbal therapist, Doctor Malachi Love-Robinson.  While he is youthful, he makes up for this by being completely unapologetic.  Can you blame him? He’s more motivated to make an income than most adults, and yet, we want to shut his business down.

Live on, Malachi! Viva la, Malachi!

Follow @Ben_Baxter on Twitter. Or find him on AL.com and TouchdownAlabama.net.

Fake Doctor

Getting Tax ‘Refund’ No Reason to Quit Work, Buy New Car

Look.  I get it.  Eight out of 10 filers nationwide received a refund during last year’s tax season.  In the state of Alabama specifically, refund-eligible filers received $2,821.  That’s more money than most of us have at any given time, but it is not enough money to start making rash decisions with.  Unfortunately, this wisdom is not as widely known as it should be, and the absence of this virtue leads to the following common tax-season blunders.

Quitting a Job

Believe it or not, this happens a lot.  This is surprising too since 62 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings and 21 percent have no savings.  But as mind-boggling as that is, workers quit in droves during tax season.  And many of these same workers aren’t immediately looking for a replacement job.

I’m not sure why many of us believe we can truly survive on $2,821 long-term.  The math just doesn’t add up.  Try as one might, one can probably only live on $2,821 for about 2 or 3 months.  And that’s only if one’s expenses are extremely low.   So word of advice on this: don’t quit your job.

Buying a New Car

If we are just buying a cheap used car to get you back and forth to work, this would be fine.  However, most of us who do this already have a decent commuter car; we just want a newer car with a monthly payment.  That’s a sign of lack of contentment and will keep us broke forever.  Let’s put a stop to this bad habit once and for all.

Follow @Ben_Baxter on Twitter.  Or find him on AL.com and TouchdownAlabama.net.

tax-refund

Moving to ATL Won’t Solve All Life’s Problems

A good friend of mine, Robert, tipped me to a great tweet from this weekend that really spoke to me. From @akidnamedspiffy it reads “Why do black people think moving to Atlanta will solve all their problems?”

Can we get an “amen” up in the house tonight?! I’ve never understood the obsession with Atlanta.  The only reason Atlanta is of any worth is because millennials and X-geners, like myself, have obsessed about the city and the overgrown suburbs for nearly 20 years.  Life imitated hype.

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t hate Atlanta.  I just think we should be realistic with ourselves and understand that cities like Birmingham, Augusta, Memphis, etc could be world-class if all of our best talented young people didn’t lustfully flock towards Atlanta.

What do you think?  Am I being too cruel?

Stay Away from ATL