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Tying Up Loose Ends...I recently realized that I have a number of loose ends out there from previous posts that my regular readers might be wondering about.  So I thought I would take an opportunity to put out a post following up to hopefully tie up those loose ends a bit…

Switching to an Accountant

This was the first year I decided not to use TurboTax and go to an accountant.  If you remember, I had three goals with this:

  • Check over my work
  • Get advice for how to structure things
  • Provide help on future strategy planning

I’ve since met with the accountant and I really liked the guy.  He knows his stuff and he owns a rental property of his own.  It was important for me to find someone who was familiar with this avenue as this was the area that I plan to grow out more over time.  The meeting went extremely well and he answered a number of questions I had.

Additionally, I got my return back from him and I’m getting back a lot more than I was anticipating.  Comparing his return with the one I had started in TurboTax, I was able to see some things that I wasn’t necessarily doing wrong, but could have been doing better.  For instance, I wasn’t being aggressive enough with certain deductions because I didn’t realize everything I was able to claim.  This alone helped to pay for his fees.

Since then, I’ve taken things even further to build my team.  I talked to the same financial mentor who referred me to the CPA and was able to get a referral for a real estate attorney to talk to about how to best hold my rental properties.  My concern had to do with if I should deed them under my name (always a bad idea), keep them under our trust, or move them to an LLC I had previously created.  Long story short, he’s preparing the quitclaim deed to move the rental properties under our LLC.

So the best part of all of this is that I’m continuing to build a strong team, which will be essential for success.  I consider myself to be a pretty smart guy, but I would much rather have professionals that are smarter in his or her own area to handle their respective jobs.  I now have a strong real estate agent, mortgage broker, property manager, accountant, and real estate attorney.

How the New Duplex is Going

In The Rental Property Investment Chase [Part 3], I continued to discuss the investment we had made with the duplex we purchased.  We had already picked up a new tenant as soon as we fixed up the one side.  Now that we are done with the work that needed to be done on the second side (which wasn’t that much in all reality), we’re just waiting for it to be filled.

It’s been turned over to our property management company and hopefully we’ll get a bite soon.  We’re coming up on the right time of year for making this happen, so I’m not really worried.  In the meantime, the current tenant that we have is paying more than the mortgage payment (including taxes) so that’s definitely helpful.

Our 8 Financial Goals for 2016

If we’re going to talk about loose ends, we should probably discuss the financial goals we had set for this year.  We’re about a quarter of the way into 2016, so this a good time to see how things are progressing…

  1. Build back up our online savings – this goal has gone a little awry.  We had a little over $15k in it at the beginning of the year.  However, I needed to take out a little bit from it to put toward getting the duplex rent-ready.  Between pulling money but still continuing the automatic contributions, we now have a little over $14k in it.  The good news is that I think we’re done with everything for the time being, so it should now just continue to go up.  Additionally, we have a little over $2k coming in from our refund thanks to the new accountant, so that will go right into it as well.
  2. Invest more in my HSA – I’m going to blame the duplex on this as well. 🙂  I’ve pulled down my list of investment options that I can elect to buy into, but I haven’t had a chance to really dig into them yet since we’ve been focusing so much on the duplex.  Now that we’re done with that though, I’m going to try to do this sometime very soon.
  3. Get both sides of our duplex filled – Halfway there!  As I said before, we got a new tenant for one side so we’re good for the year.  The other side is ready to go and will hopefully be filled soon.
  4. Pay down more principal on our home – Boy, more duplex talk… in order to have some more money to put toward the principal on our residence, I need to get the other side of the duplex filled… in due time grasshopper!!
  5. Change our 401(k) investments – I did this right away and boy am I sleeping better at night.  I simplified everything and, according to Personal Capital, I’ll probably save over $50k in fees alone… that’s almost unfathomable to me.  We made similar changes to wife’s 401(k) plan as well.
  6. Open up a HELOC – I took this one off the list.  The more I thought about this, the more it didn’t make sense to do.  I found a good option through my credit union, but you were expected to make a draw from the get-go.  I didn’t need the money in hand, I just wanted to have it available in case of an emergency.  Instead, we can get a HELOC later if needed – the turnaround is pretty quick.
  7. Optimize our taxes – Progress!  I’ve already learned quite a bit from the conversations with my new accountant.  I’m going to keep pushing to learn as much as I can on this.  The more I can optimize this, the more money that we save… and usually not in tiny amounts either.
  8. Further our daughter’s education and financial education – Boy, I’m a little on the weak side with getting my goals done!  I still haven’t upped the contributions for my daughter’s 529 plan, but that will come soon.  I’m expecting a pay increase very soon – in fact, I’ll probably be asking my boss about it this week if he doesn’t mention anything.  With the increase, I’ll bump this up a little bit.  On the plus side, I’m still having good conversations with my daughter about money.  I know she’s only 5, but I think it’s never too early to learn.  I keep the conversations brief and simple and she seems receptive and intrigued… fingers crossed!

Revealing Our Numbers

I’m still contemplating whether or not to reveal our numbers in my blog.  I definitely received a lot of good feedback from you guys and some of you are for it and some against.  I’m not in a hurry to make a decision on this, especially if I decide to actually reveal the numbers.  This is the Internet, so obviously, if I put them out there, it’s done and might as well be considered permanent.

So for the time being, I’m going to hold tight on this and just see how things go.

The Game Plan

Finally, I’m working on creating a new page with my game plan on how we will financially be making ends meet throughout early retirement.  I won’t dive into the numbers too much on the page, but it will hopefully help you (and more importantly, me) see how we’re going to make this work.  If you’re still figuring out your own plan, maybe it will help give you an idea or two to work off.  Keep an eye out for it as I’m hoping to get that done sometime this week.  It will appear as a new menu item once it’s done and will continue to be a work in progress with each passing day closer to quitting the 9-5.


So that’s the scoop!  Hopefully that helps to tie up most of the loose ends that I had out there!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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Tying Up Loose Ends…
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8 thoughts on “Tying Up Loose Ends…

  • April 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm
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    You’ve got quite a few commendable goals here, good luck with making progress on all of them. We are all hungry for info on different paths to FI, so anything you feel comfortable sharing would be much appreciated. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • April 5, 2016 at 2:59 pm
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      Thanks, Harmony – I appreciate the kind words and I’ll keep sharing what I know and learn!

      — Jim

      Reply
  • April 11, 2016 at 12:28 pm
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    Quite a few goals that you listed here. Optimizing taxes is always a good thing, that’s what we’re doing now. 🙂

    Reply
    • April 11, 2016 at 4:07 pm
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      It’s something I’ve always put on the back-burner, but it’s definitely time! Good luck on yours!!

      — Jim

      Reply
  • April 16, 2016 at 10:56 pm
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    These are some great initiatives. I’m following your lead and developing my own financial checklist. I’ll publish them in a future post.

    Reply
  • May 30, 2016 at 12:41 am
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    Good luck with all of your goals Jim 🙂

    I think going with an accountant is a good idea. It might ‘save’ money by not, but the more wealthy we get, the more things can go wrong plus can go well if planned properly.

    Tristan

    Reply
    • May 30, 2016 at 9:05 am
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      That’s actually worked out pretty well since that article was written. He’s helped me with some planning questions that I’ve had and, as an added bonus, just throws the cost in as part of his doing my taxes.

      — Jim

      Reply

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