Early Retirement, Financial Planning, Lifestyle, Purchase Decisions

Early Retirement and Health Care Coverage and Premium

December 11, 2017

Back in September, 2017, when I shared on the blog that my husband was going to join me in early retirement, many of you asked about our health care insurance situation once he leaves his W2 employment. In this post, I’m sharing the process my family and I went through to get health care coverage for year 2018. 

The Perceived Obstacle to Our Early Retirement

The thought of having to pay the high cost of health insurance premium out-of-pocket (we were thinking about $1,000/month) was one of the biggest reasons my husband and I hesitated about retiring early. Early retirement conversations first came up between us around year 2012. Back then, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a mystery to us, and we were too lazy/busy to do more research.

I’m typically pretty resourceful and I’d search above and beyond to get the information I want. However, the following years continued to be big transition times for my family and I, and learning more about ACA was not on the priority list. So, as a couple, we reasoned (and made a compromise) that we’d have to work more years to save up for full, out-of-pocket health insurance premiums and retire when we reach our late 40s or early 50s. 

New Information Helped Made Early Retirement Possible for Us

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Early Retirement, Financial Empowerment, Financial Planning, Girlfriend to Girlfriend Money Chat, Kids and Money, Lifestyle, Marriage and Money, Money Habits, On Investing, On Self-Development, Retirement Planning, Women and Financial Literacy

All I Needed was an Inspiration (and a Free Gift to You)

November 30, 2017

I Didn’t See Myself Being a Good Teacher/Coach

I’m what some people might call a Type A, perfectionist, or over-achiever. I have high standards for myself. Growing up and while in school, unlike many other Asian parents, mine didn’t pressure me to receive certain grades or go into a certain profession. I was always the one that was self-driven and put lots of pressure on myself.

Knowing that about myself, I didn’t pursue a career in teaching, despite having contemplated becoming a teacher during my freshmen year in college. Yet, somehow, being in academia attracted me (and the over-achiever in me) and I went on pursuing a doctoral degree. While finishing up my advanced degree, I was a teacher’s assistant for two semesters. I did not enjoy that experience. I lacked the patience. Being a mother has been a trying experience for me every day. I’m very thankful to have an extremely patient partner along my side.

inspiration financial coaching

Several months ago, when my husband suggested to me to consider doing financial coaching with him, specifically to work with couples, I immediately closed the conversation. It was not that I lacked interest. Everything I do and share on this blog stems from my strong desire to inspire, encourage and promote smart and savvy financial skills. I just didn’t see myself being a good coach. I lacked the confidence.

Self-doubts were casting all over my head. To give you an example:

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Lifestyle

“It’s a Gift to Your Body”

November 26, 2017

As the last of the leaves are falling off the trees, the days are getting chiller. This past week, I’ve been finding myself having a harder and harder time getting out of bed and head out for a run. I typically do my run (6 miles in distance) between 7:30 to 8:00 a.m. My goal is to finish my run shortly after Ruby wakes up. Then, we can begin the day as a family and have breakfast together.

Yesterday morning when I woke up around 7:30, I noticed the heater was running. We had the thermostat set at 69 degrees overnight. By that signal, I knew it would be cold outside. My husband checked the temperature on his phone. It was 43 degrees.

exercise routines

By my comfort level, 43 degrees is extreme temperature. I was trying to make excuses so that I could just stay in bed, underneath the warm comforter. Sure, I could put on long-sleeve top and bottom and even wear a hat and glove. I could even double each layer. With the appropriate clothing and winter accessories, no temperature should be too cold to head out for a run.

My Thoughts on Exercise Gears and Performance

However, I’m pretty typical when it comes to putting on clothing and exercising. I don’t like wearing more than three layers of clothing in general. Perhaps it’s my smaller frame. Anything over three layers on the top tires out my shoulders and I feel “too” bundled up. When I exercise, I prefer to wear one layer on top and one on the bottom. I can tolerate wearing a pair of shorts over a pair of long pants. Anything heavier would make me feel restrictive. And I feel like I wouldn’t be able to perform my best. Each time I exercise, I want to feel like I put out a lot. I push myself to increase my performance. I seriously feel wearing anything more than one or two thin layers would affect my performance.

As I continued staying under the blanket, my husband could tell I was struggling. I was either going to get out for my run right then or the run would have to wait until the next day. And I had no desire to remove myself from the warm blanket. I turned to my husband and started chatting with him. I felt guilty. Maybe he could say something to relieve my guilt?

Instead, every word that came out of his mouth was the opposite of what I wished to hear. Then, he said something very profound that had me paused my thoughts and pondered. He said, “It’s a gift to your body. I promise that by the second mile you’ll feel good and you’ll feel great by the time you finished.” And by “it”, he was referring to keeping up with my exercise routines.

My Current Exercise Routines, Leg Injuries and Past Setback

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Early Retirement, Financial Freedom, Financial Independence, Financial Journey, Travel

August – October 2017 Non-W2 Incomes Reports and Life Updates

November 19, 2017

Feeling Thankful

Before getting to the contents of this post, I’m taking a moment going back to my previous post on Scarcity Mentality. I was flooded with heartfelt tears reading all your comments and personal stories you shared with me through emails, social media and on the blog. I was touched by your kind (and encouraging) words and support. Your voices reminded me that we’re here to lift each other up. Your sharing reminded me of the many reasons I keep going with this blog.

Even though both my husband and I have retired from our W2 employment, every day we have so many activities going on. Some of these involve volunteering (mostly providing guidance on effective money management for disadvantaged families), promoting financial literacy in schools, getting involved in our communities, raising a toddler and doing self learning. When being asked about how my retirement has been, my typical response is, “busier than ever.”

In general, producing contents for this blog hasn’t been on the priority list. I have many topics I’d like to share on the blog, but finding the time to do research, write and edit has been challenging. Your comments, feedback and stories have been the most rewarding part of blogging. So, I want to thank you for taking your time to share with me and other readers of this blog. Your words inspire me. Your stories and courage are worth sharing. Thank you for being on this journey with me.

Life with the Seibolds

Next, I want to give you a snapshot of what has been going on in my family since my husband retired back in September. In the month of October, we took a one-month long trip to the Northwest, including visiting Washington and Canada. The fall colors and food were amazing in all the places we visited. This was the longest trip we’ve taken. We certainly enjoyed the luxury of slow travel. Our most memorable times were a day trip out to Mount Baker and visiting an apple orchard. Once we arrived home, we took one full week to recover from the trip and to take care of unattended errands.

As I’m writing this, our family routine is finally back to normal. This past week we have been busy doing research and going to home centers. My husband and I are taking on a huge project remodeling our home, and we plan to do most of the work ourselves. This will be a very interesting and challenging experience for both of us. Prior to this work, neither one of us have really picked up any tool other than those that came in a cheap tool box set. We’ll be setting up a wood shop in our garage and shed. The next project on our agenda is to build a farmhouse dining table and a bench. If that goes well, we’d move on to build a breakfast nook. The first DIY project we worked on was replacing the flooring in the laundry room.

Yesterday, we visited Home Depot looking at table saws, jig saws, miter saws, orbital sanders, drills and safety tools. I feel proud as I’m writing out those words. Even just a year ago, I would’ve never thought myself becoming a handy/wood-making person. But never say never, right?

My family and I also recently celebrated Ruby’s 3rd birthday.

Personal Finance in the Seibold Family

In the world of personal finance, we have several pending items on the to-do list prior to the end of the year. These including finish funding our HSA and opening a solo 401(k).

Some of you have asked about our health insurance situation. My husband’s COBRA ended in October and we’re currently on a health care plan through Healthcare.gov. We aren’t receiving any subsidies for the month of November or December. Our annual income for 2017 surpassed the set income criteria. Now through December 15th, it’s open enrollment period for year 2018 on Healthcare.gov. We are planning to finish the application by the end of this month. By then, I’ll have a lot more to share on the blog.

Non-W2 Income Reports

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Financial Journey, Marriage and Money, Money Psychology, Retirement Planning, Social Comparison

Scarcity Mentality: The Onset and Its Effects on My Family and My Health

September 30, 2017

The Onset

I recently went through a pretty dark period in my life. Back in late 2016, when my husband brought up the topic of early retirement for both of us, I suddenly found myself going down the rabbit hole of fearing there’s “not enough”.

By that point, he and I have reached a consensus that we’d be in a great financial position to retire (for both of us) within the next year or two. That was our agreed terms, so I thought (I soon learned that was really the terms I put on our relationship). There was a certain financial number I (and only I) wanted us to reach. That was the number I was comfortable with. I don’t know why I was so stickle about that particular number. Maybe I like the sound of it. Maybe I like the roundness of that certain number. Maybe I like having extra built-in cushions in our finances before having both of us retired from our jobs. Whatever the reason(s) might be, I was adamant about reaching that magic and comforting number.

In the fields of economics and psychology, one living with the fears of “not enough” is said to be living with a scarcity mentality (or mindset). If you google “scarcity mentality” and read some of what’s been written, you’d quickly gather that living life with a scarcity mentality can be limiting and debilitating.

scarcity mindset onset effects

For me, I tie much of my sense of security to money. I don’t need to have a lot of money. However, when we’re talking about early retirement, I’d have liked to have reached a certain amount of money before I can feel safe. Both my husband and I had very good compensation benefits. Those benefits were a big part of my family’s safety net. In this blog, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about the awesomeness of reaching financial independence and early retirement (see here and here). What I left out was my fear of giving up all the great benefits that came with W-2 employment (see here). The thought of having to let go of all that safety net seemed scary, overwhelming and wasteful. And I cringed at the thought of all that we’d lose when we leave our employment.

Naturally, feelings and thoughts of scarcity started creeping into my head and I found myself in a big mess. Consequently, the quality of my marriage and family life suffered. My mental and emotional health had also suffered.

Shedding Some Light into this New Mental State Experience

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