Monday, October 14, 2019

Baby AF in Daycare

Today is the first day of Mrs. Done by Forty's new job, a cool post-doc position that will let her work in her field for a couple of years and let us stay local, all complete with a hardly-believable set of benefits. We're both excited for this opportunity for her to use her PhD in a project that just sounds so cool to me.

I'd tell you about it, but we're weird about keeping our anonymity. Just know that her job is way neater than mine.

It is a little bittersweet though, as that also means Baby AF will be going to daycare for the first time. He's sixteen months old now, and has never spent a day away from Mrs. Done by Forty and me. 

In fact, Baby AF has only been truly babysat by time. So this might be an adjustment for all of us.

Monday, October 7, 2019

To Jax

It was two days before we flew back from Germany that we got the email.

"Please call when you can, son. It's about Jax."

Due to the time difference there was no answer when we called. We spent the day thinking the worst, but felt relieved when we finally were able to get in touch later that evening. Jax was having trouble walking, but, honestly that is something we've seen before and it's usually just that he sleeps directly on the tile rather than on his bed. He has arthritis in one of his hips but, even still, when it's too hot he prefers the cool tile to a soft bed. 

I told my mom to convince him to sleep on the bed and to turn down the AC a bit, and I bet he'd be walking fine in a day or two.

But then we got another email the day before we were getting on a plane. Jax wasn't eating now.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Of Course They Don't Want to Talk Politics

Of Course They Don't Want to Talk Politics
Our flight to Paris was canceled due to a mechanical issue, which I suspect was the result of the under-reported mechanics' strike. Workers of the world unite, but do you think you could let us make our connecting flight?

Monday, September 9, 2019

Tiny Privileges from Buying in Bulk

I went to Target this weekend for some last minute shopping for our upcoming trip to Europe with Baby AF. It was our third trip to Target, recently, because no matter how many lists I make there's always something I think of later.

The worst part is that, thanks to an ongoing renovation at our Target store, I can't even engage in my favorite junk food shame: ordering the chicken fingers from the little food court in the store, placing the cardboard container directly on the seat of the cart where rando babies put their rando bums with only a napkin in between, and then walking through the store to shop for the things I need. Sure, I get some weird looks, but they are just jelly of my chicken.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Trust Fund Baby AF?

There's a certain amount of pride that I feel, being the son of an immigrant. I like that part of my personal history; after the divorce, I was raised by a Filipino woman. She taught me lessons borne out of her life of poverty, in another country, in a culture very different to that in the US.

Before spending a dollar, she'd tell me, ask yourself three times whether you really need to spend it. 

No matter how much or how little you make, Brian, always set aside something for savings: pay yourself first. 

The world is not always fair. To even the odds, you need to work harder than others: they may be bigger or richer or smarter than you, but never let them outwork you.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Baby AF Goes to Europe

Baby AF Goes to Europe
After a two year haitus while Mrs. Done by Forty was pregnant and, then, while she was somehow finishing her PhD dissertation and dealing with all the stresses of Baby AF's first year of life, we are finally taking another international trip next month. And this time, Baby AF is along for the ride.

With apologies to our fellow travelers who will have to deal with some crying and constant complaints to crawl/walk down the aisles of the plane, we're sucking it up and making it happen.

So I figured I'd dust off one of my favorite posts to write: a summary of the trip we're taking, and how we're trying to keep the costs down using some points.

Monday, August 19, 2019

America's Dumb Approach to Childcare

America's Dumb Approach to Childcare
Mrs. Done by Forty was offered a new position recently, which means in addition to enjoying the ridiculously unfair tax benefits and the joy that comes from being a two income household, we'll also get to experience what it's like to pay for full time childcare for Baby AF.

We got recommendations on childcare from friends and family. We made calls, asked questions, looked up rankings when possible, and visited about six of the facilities we thought might be the best fit. Finally, we settled on a place we really liked, and where a couple of our friends had sent their children. While the hourly costs were higher, they had a pricing system that allowed us to only pay for the hours we needed and wanted: scaling up or down as needed for vacations, or working fewer hours in the office.

So we'd settled on our choice of daycare.

And then I heard an amazing short podcast on the American approach to childcare from the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty, and why our system is so flawed. So let's talk about that today: our system of caring for children, and how it might be improved.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Two Years Out: Are We on Track for Financial Independence?

Two Years Out: Are We on Track for Financial Independence?
Today's my birthday. I turn thirty nine, one away from the big year where I leave my thirties, turn forty, and run against the number I foolishly set as my goal for reaching financial independence.

Astute readers will note that I'm only one year from turning forty, and wonder why the post says I'm still two years out from the goal.

A while back I decided to give myself a little wiggle room: that if I hit financial independence by the last day I'm still forty years old, I'd call it a success. I used to post net worth updates and budget porn posts, giving readers (and myself) a monthly check in on all the financial details in the Done by Forty household. Somewhere along the line I decided I didn't like doing that, so now you voyeurs just get one chance a year to peek in.

So let's take stock and see where we stand. Are we on track to make the goal in time?

Monday, August 5, 2019

Even Out the Tax Benefits for All Workers Saving for Retirement

Even Out the Tax Benefits for All Workers Saving for Retirement
We are awash in big news these days. Right after reaching the milestone of paying off our mortgage we found out we maybe, technically might have achieved the goal this blogger set out to accomplish way back in 2012: being financially independent according to the 4% rule.

With all that still fresh in the air, last Friday Mrs. Done by Forty accepted a full time post-doc position to begin when we return from a trip abroad. She'll get to work in her field, and locally, too: two things we never thought would be possible at the same time when she entered the PhD program.

Her new job will bring on some changes, which we're going to tackle in our first ever collaborative post in the coming weeks.

But today I wanted to talk about one big change that's going to occur specific to our financial independence plans: Mrs. Done by Forty will have an employer-sponsored retirement account for the first time in over a decade.