Today I have an update for you from a previous millionaire interview.
I’m letting three years pass from the initial interviews to the updates, so if you’ve been interviewed, I’ll be in touch. 😉
This update was submitted in November.
As usual, my questions are in bold italics and their responses follow…
How old are you?
My wife and I are both 49 years old. I am soon to be 50 in February and my wife a few months after that.
We are not big birthday party people, but I am thinking of trying to get a bunch of her friends together for her 50th and surprise her. I am able to surprise her not very often, and I think this one would be a good one.
We have been married for about 22.5 years.
Do you have kids?
We have 3 kids. Girl, Girl, Boy.
The oldest is now 20 and in her junior year in college.
The middle one is now 18 and in her freshman year at college.
The youngest is now 15 and in his sophomore year in high school.
It is Thanksgiving week as I write this, and I am looking forward to having all of them home since early September.
What area of the country do you live in (and urban or rural)?
We still live in the same house in the same suburb of the same large city in Texas.
When we moved here 16 years ago, the city only had 3 stop lights end to end. Now I think we have 8 of them. We have gotten more and more urban as the years go by, and for those readers in Texas we found out that HEB purchased a large chunk of land about a mile from my house that will screw up traffic even more.
Needless to say, we can’t wait for the last kid to get out of high school so we can make a move somewhere a little less crowded.
What was your original Millionaire Interview on ESI Money?
I was originally Millionaire Interview 202 should you want to go back and compare the before and current.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I hope to be in the retirement interview series in the next three years.
Today is my 17-year anniversary at my place of work.
I still like to play Ultimate Frisbee two times a week.
What is your current net worth and how is that different than your original interview?
As of today, our net worth is $3,594,004.22 That is down about 90k from the high back on August 1 of this year.
Looking back at the original interview that is up almost 1.2 million.
Breaking it down the same way as the original interview would look like this:
- Cash $186,585 for 5%
- Company stock in RSU and ESPP $334,630 for 9%
- Roth IRAs $472,343 for 13%
- Tax Deferred $1,133,642 for 32%
- Taxable brokerage $748,504 for 21%
- House $718,000 for 20%
Most of the percentages in each category are close to what they were during the original interview.
I have not included the kids’ 529 plans that my wife and I have or the ones that grandparents have for them. That money will get used for their education and if it doesn’t all get used, then we will most likely transfer the ownership of the 529 to them so they can use it for their kids. Each kid has a little over 200k in total in the 529 plans.
What happened along the way to make these changes?
The biggest change that I made was to start putting more focus on the taxable brokerage account.
I know that my timetable has me able to retire in about 2.5 years, but I didn’t have enough access to the cash needed to survive from 52.5 to 59.5. I increased our savings in that category.
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your net worth?
I am still just continuing to maintain my status quo.
I put money into my 401k, ESPP, and taxable brokerage account out of each paycheck or monthly.
Barring any crazy worldwide pandemics, the graphs just keep going up and to the right.
What is your job?
My job has changed since the original interview. I used to be a Technical Solutions Architect which just translates to a Technical Sales Guy. I decided about a year and a half ago that I was done being the technical person and informed my manager that I was looking to move into a management role.
Luckily my company is very progressive and good with this type of job change. So, I worked with my old manager for about 6 months interviewing for different management positions until I got one. As a matter of fact, the role that I got was offered to me a year ago this week after a chance encounter with the hiring manager when I was in the office during Thanksgiving week.
The interview lasted about 2 minutes, and then I was told the job was mine if I wanted it.
What is your annual income?
My annual income now is 175k plus a 12% bonus that can go up/down depending on the company performance and how I am rated.
How has this changed since your last interview?
This changed quite a bit with the job move.
Moving from a sales role where the potential is there for some crazy commission checks, the same is not true in my new role. My old sales role had a total compensation value of $216,600 which was my base pay of $162,450 plus my commission which would make up 25% of my overall pay if we hit 100% of our sales goal. It could go way up if we went above 100% on the sales goals.
The new role has a total compensation value of $196,000. Comparing what I would get at 100% of the sales goal and 100% of my bonus in the new role, I took a pay cut of $20,600.
Totally the wrong move in the calculation of getting to the finish line sooner, but I was just done with the technical side and have really enjoyed this past year working with my team.
I manage 16 solid engineers in providing support on our security products.
Have you added, grown, or lost any additional sources of income besides your career?
As noted above I lost about 21k a year in salary and bonus/commission.
The silver lining for this is that my former team on the Sales side did not hit their targets for the last 6 months I was there nor the first 6 months after I left.
I haven’t done the math on it, but I might have come out ahead in this first year.
What is your annual spending and how has it changed since your interview?
Based on what I have tracked over the last few years, it looks like our average spend is at 110-120k a year. That is up from what I had listed in the interview from 2017-2019.
The last 3 years has had a lot of travel out of state when my girls were in gymnastics. The good news is that I am no longer paying for gymnastics nor having to travel for those meets.
My son is the only one that has school related stuff to travel for and his only includes a single trip to Ohio.
I do not expect the 110-120 a year to go up.
What happened along the way to make these changes?
Nothing much has changed in the general amount of living expenses.
I know that in the past 3 years we have bought a used car for my middle daughter and my wife finally got out of driving minivans for 15 years and got a mid-sized SUV last year. I will be buying a new car in the first part of 2024 as my son will inherit my 6-year-old Accord.
What are your current investments and how have they changed over the years?
My investments have not changed at all since the original interview.
I bought into the Kool-Aid of the three-fund portfolio after seeing it work for others that were well ahead of me in the savings game and had moved onto the retirement side of things.
I have no desire to maximize every single variable to produce the most fantastic portfolio anyone has ever seen. I don’t have the drive for that and will spend more free time chasing a flying piece of plastic.
What happened along the way to make these changes?
Reading ESI and Physician on FIRE is what helped me make the changes to my retirement savings that I needed to retire early.
What other financial challenges or opportunities have you faced since your last interview?
The only challenge I have had is the loss of total earnings through my job move. I knew that was going to happen ahead of time, so it was not a shock to me.
Since my original interview, my wife and I sat down with her dad to discuss his finances. He’s been retired for several years now, and he wanted to prepare us with his overall financial picture, which is good, so we know moving forward that there will be some kind of inheritance in the form of money and/or property.
Overall, what’s better and what’s worse since your last interview?
I think my overall mental health is a little better.
Even though I get paid less and work a few more hours, I am really enjoying this latest part of my career in management. I can see myself riding this role into retirement.
What are your plans for the future?
My earliest day for retirement is after my son graduates from high school in 2.5 years, but my actual date will probably be when I hit my 20-year mark at the company. I don’t get anything special for getting to 20 years. I just think it would be cool to make it that long.
Even though my workday isn’t all that stressful, I am really looking forward to not waking up to an alarm.
I am also not sure how far ahead I need to tell whoever my boss is. I am thinking less than 6 months’ notice but definitely not 2 weeks.
My wife has asked me many times what my plans are for retirement. She has been a stay-at-home mom for over 20 years now, and she doesn’t want me to wreck her daily life so I eventually came up with a list to show her what I would like to do/try:
- Travel spots – New Zealand, Australia, England, France, Italy, Germany, Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Thailand, Portugal, Spain, Costa Rica, Colombia, somewhere with snow
- Volunteer at MPD (Murphy Police Department)
- Volunteer at ELPO (East Lake Pet Orphanage)
- Learn to play a little guitar
- See a college ultimate finals tourney
- Referee -Ultimate and/or Derby?
- Get motorcycle and ride it
- Play more ultimate frisbee
- Workout more per week…up to 5 times
- Start playing racquetball again
- Try pickle ball
- Work a Tough Mudder
- I would like to snowboard again
- Nap when tired
- Watch a derby worlds tournament
- Figure out where we want to live
Given that you have a bit more wisdom and experience, what advice do you have these days for ESI Money readers?
I do not have any really good new things to say for this one.
Save early and save often. Don’t quit. Let time work for you.