Financial Independence

  1. 401 (k) up to employer match
  2. HSA
  3. IRA
  4. Max the rest of 401 (k)
  5. After Tax Accounts

401 (k) up to employer match

If your company offers a contribution by matching a certain amount or percentage that you put into your 401 (k) you want to make sure you are obtaining all of those extra funds.  (Note:  What your employer contributes does not count towards your max contribution for the year)

HSA – Health Savings Account

Max your Health Savings Account (if available) 2015 Max Contribution for Individual $3,350 and Family $6,650

An HSA is triple tax advantage, meaning:

  1. You are not taxed on the money you put in
  2. Earnings you make in the account are not taxed
  3. When you take money out for qualified expenses, you are not taxed.

If you take money out of this account for non-qualified expenses you are taxed at 10% which is much less than the average person’s typical tax rate

Fund your HSA by Payroll Deductions to avoid paying FICA taxes (Social Security and Medicare) which will save you 7.65% (Assuming you are an individual contributing the full amount this would save you just over $256 for 2015)

Links to Learn More

Learn from my mistakes

Year 1 (2014) didn’t contribute anything extra to my HSA

Year 2 (2015) contributed $1800 from my bank account, paying $137.70 more than I had to because that is the amount I paid in FICA taxes that would not have been taxed if I would have funded my HSA by payroll deduction

Mistakes I am currently making (2015), paying medical expenses with my HSA instead of paying out of pocket

IRA – Independent Retirement Account

As long as you have employment compensation you can contribute to an IRA.  For 2015 if you have your own job (employment compensation) and are age 49 and under then you can contribute $5,500 to your own IRA.  If you have employment compensation and are age 50 or older you can contribute $6,500 to your IRA in 2015.

Note:  If you are married and only one of you is employed, you cannot put money into the non-working spouse’s IRA.  (Each person has their own IRA, unlike a HSA which you can have one account for the family.)

What you need to know about Roth vs Traditional IRAs

Traditional IRAs are tax deferred (you are taxed when you take the money out), the funds you use to fund your traditional IRA will be completely deducted from your taxes if your AGI is below $61,000 for single or $98,000 for married filling joint returns (see phase out amounts).

Roth IRAs are taxed now, and you do not pay any taxes when you take the money out (see phase out amounts to see if you qualify).

Links to Learn More

Learn from my mistakes journey

Year 1 (2014) We almost missed contributing to our IRAs, but luckily we were able to contribute to our IRAs for 2014 in 2015 before we filed our taxes.

Note:  You can also enter the amount you are planning to contribute to the prior year’s IRA contribution and file your taxes before you actually put your money in.  April 15th is the last day to put money into your IRA for the previous year.  I would still recommend front loading (putting all your money in at the beginning of the year) your IRA if you are able.

Year 1 (2014) IRAs were 100% Roth because we took the advice of a Financial guy who works for Fidelity that came to our work and he basically said, “If you are young [and going to be working for a long time] just go with Roth, if you are close to retirement then it makes more sense to go with traditional.”

Year 2 (2015) I contributed $3,000 to my Roth IRA before I understood the quickest route to Financial Independence and more importantly this article Traditional IRA vs Roth IRA by the Mad Fientist.  The remaining $2,500 I will be opening up a Traditional IRA at Vanguard and investing in VTSAX.  I will also be guiding my husband to open a Traditional IRA at Vanguard for him to contribute his $5,500 into VTSAX for 2015.  Please note, the reason I am contributing to traditional now is because I plan on converting my traditional IRA to a Roth IRA when I am in a lower tax bracket, this is often referred to as a Roth Conversion Ladder.

Max the rest of 401 (k)

The Max contribution for 401 (k), 403 (b) and most 457 plans for 2015 is $18,000 for those of you who are age 49 and under.  If you are age 50 and older you can contribute an additional $6,000 for 2015.

After Tax Accounts

You pay taxes on these funds before you put them into the account and you pay taxes on the gains (any amount higher than the initial amount you put in).  You can take out funds from these accounts at any age without penalty.

How much you will be taxed on the gains depends on how long you held the investment for.

Short-term capital gains are investments held for a year or less before being sold and are taxed at your normal tax rate.

Long-term capital gains are investments held for more than one year taxed at a lower rate.  Currently the tax rate is 0% for the 10%–15% brackets, 15% for the 25%–35% brackets, and 20% for the 39.6% bracket.

My Journey to Becoming a Better Person

So I haven’t been having the easiest year, but I’m determined to turn my life around and become a better person.  I plan on doing this by being more positive and greatful for all that I have.  I need to stop isolating myself and socialize more.  Sometimes I focus too much on the future and the past and I forget to just enjoy the moment.

I plan on reading books, I really enjoy them and really only stopped because I always had so much homework, but I’ve been out of school for more than enough time to start getting back to learning for enjoyment and entertainment from books.  I have started a list of suggestions of books I have found here and there, and perhaps I will write about them as I have moments of breakthrough in my life.  I have had some of these [breakthroughs] by just by reading some blogs or getting outside of my head (which is difficult lately) but then days later I can find myself back in a “why bother” state of mind.  (The simple things like getting out of bed or eating an actual breakfast.  Avoiding spending money gets in my way a lot.  It isn’t healthy.)

Anyways the title is really what I am thinking (the personal part of) this site should be about.  I think saving money is really important, but that doesn’t make a person truely happy.

I’m also going to look into happiness through subtraction.  And if you are here reading this and haven’t found any of these things done, feel free to call me out on it.  Even if it is online we all do better with community, support, and accountability.  For now I will do my best to be accountable for the person I am, the lifestyle I live, and my own happiness, or lack there of. 

My life

I’m venting really, so no need to read on…


I finished my painting

Got the fitting day and receival day of my sons helmet moved up

Organized all the baby clothes that got thrown on the floor

My husbands follow up appointment for getting his wisdom teeth removed is Thursday not Friday (see below)

July 4th is a holiday for work (and daycare)

Other stuff:

I go back to work on (Friday) July 1st 

Daycare is closed Friday July 1st 

The next fitting to get my sons cranial helmet is July 1st 

My husband keeps saying we should put our son up for adoption (regardless of if he actually means this or not, it still hurts like hell to hear)

Finding Dory (3D) keeps getting into our plans like we are going and then it feels like a carrot that gets ripped out every time I’m told it is not happening (I don’t want to go to a movie where I want to giggle by myself)

I can’t set up my sons urology appointment yet because the doctor/nurse haven’t set over the referral so I have to wait another 48 hrs before this can be set up…. I should add that he already had an ultrasound at 1 month of age but one side was inconclusive (so no I don’t want to go back to the same ultrasound place that couldn’t get the job done the first time, I might as well jump to the specialist so it saves me more appointments and trips) … His kidneys were being monitored in utero for being different sizes/too large/holding to much liquid/a bunch of other medical terms that actually describe what they were seeing and what they were concerned about.

My son also needs a physical therapist for his neck because the helmet alone will not fix all of his problems that the crainial specialists were able to find.  (Had to get referrals from his pediatrician  [cause reasons] so we will be waiting by snail mail for a list of those to come through and then I will have to do the research and select someone from there.)

So I am feeling pretty bitter towards my manager about letting him know about my July 1st return to work date and then later giving him a “heads up” to let him know my daycare is closed and my husband has his follow up appointment appointment that day as well and his response basically being … What exactly does this mean do you need to leave early, leave late, can you please clarify… And I’m pretty livid when I get that response because my thoughts are along the lines of, hey, it is a heads up that I don’t know what it means yet but I thought I would let know know what I know when I know it so you aren’t blind sided, I need to do what I need to do for my family.  So because I couldn’t think of anything productive to say and not wanting to stress myself out anymore I didn’t respond.  So he has no idea about my sons Doctors appointment, and he is not exactly being a nice caring guy as I’ve gone through all this crap when I was back at work after having my son I predict his response will be something along the lines of buisness as usual get work done, and because it is a Friday so close to the Fourth of July I don’t predict my HR rep will be there to help me with him at all…. Long story short I feel like telling him things in my life that I would like to attend will get me no where (I feel that if the world cared about my sanity they would have my return to work date be Tuesday July 5th)

I don’t like feeling trapped, I like having options and the freedom to make my own choices… I should mention that my company has unlimited sick days, if I cared more about myself I would take advantage of that, but clearly I have problems because I let the fear I have of my manager prevent me from doing what is right for me and my family.

It might also be useful knowledge to know that I am determined to make it at this company for at least one year at minimum!

Networking in Austin 

Today I followed through with and attended a meetup event, I got to meet a lot of well-minded ladies and I hope I can continue to attend such events.

Yesterday I made progress on my “you are my sonshine” series (basically only got the outline of the word love, but it is still progress).

My son will be getting a cranial helmet (which his head seems so much more misshaped now that it has been pointed out to me).

My husband got his wisdom teeth pulled. My son started daycare that same day. This past weekend was stressful, I have been using daycare so I can come home and take a nap.  

I am really not looking forward to July 1st, the inevitable return to work.

It is storming now so I’m going to try to get some more rest.  (Plans for the week, finish the featured painting and decide what to invest the rest of our IRAs in for 2016, oh and return to work😕)

Notes from today (6-7-16)

I have been told I am not best suited to be a stay at home mom because I have too much brain power, and as rewarding as being a stay at home mom might be it is like watching the grass grow.  I guess it feels a lot less intrusive being told this from someone else besides my husband and my father.

Life in Minnesota really makes me want to move back, but it is so gorgeous this time of year, I need to keep thinking about how cold the winters are and how annoying it is to be around so many ticks and mosquitoes!

Regardless of where I am in the future I am so happy to always have this place to be able to come back to!  The featured picture was me and a friend (technically distant cousin) doing our own painting session! (My painting is on the right)


Figuring things out…

I really like my job, so it is really difficult to find myself wanting to spend my time elsewhere.  Now if you do not like your job, change it, find something you would enjoy and figure out how to make it work. 4/14/16 9:15 AM – SAS

Alternatively you can find a high paying job and just suck it up and enjoy yourself later in life while you save now.  Or,  You do things you enjoy in your free-time and enjoy your life now, but work longer. (9:17 AM)

It is really all a matter of priorities.

-SAS (9:18 AM)

Post whatever you want here and it will be approved!

Hey YOU!

My time is very precious and valuable, so if anyone (including yourself) writes a comment to this article, it will be approved.  All self promotions going forward that are on other pages will probably be marked as spam.  But, for the sake of the crazy internet, I will try to keep  this as my “featured article” while I am still getting my site going.

Thank you,

and post away,


Aspirations for this site

Hello Dear Blog,

After having a baby roughly 2 months ago I am amazed at how much my priorities are shifting and I see the person that I want to be, but I so easily fall into old habits that are undesirable.  If you can image I am insanely busy, working a full time job, figuring out how to be a good mother, wife, and daughter, and trying to keep my own sanity.  My mom is down from Minnesota and broke her foot within a week of getting here.  The intent was for her to make life easier by being a granny nanny, (which believe me she is awesome at) but I was not expecting her to break her foot and the struggles of so many changes all at once which have been making me a better person.  It makes me happy to make my family happy.  I have realized that when I go out of my way to make their life easier, they will do the same for me in return.

As I sit here writing I can hear my husband playing the piano beautifully  from the floor below me.  He saw me getting frustrated after being pulled so many different directions and told me to go take a break.  So I came up here to simply say that I have been recording ideas for future articles when I will finally have the time.

I am hoping to take FMLA (up to 12 weeks unpaid leave) and go make a King sized quilt in Walnut Grove, MN.  That is were all of my major quilting has been done.  I believe the last quilt I made was completed when I was 13 years old, so I figure if I don’t take the time soon (to just relax out in the country and enjoy the quality time with my Grandmother, Mother, and Son), I may never get the chance.

My Mother suggested getting everything done except the binding and then going out there to do that, but that would mean missing out on the journey of the quilt-making.  I want to just spend the time out there, as long as it takes, to make and complete the quilt.  I don’t want to rush, or think about the city life, work, or all my other responsibilities, I just want to take the time to enjoy some precious moments with my family while I can.  My Husband will be fine staying back in Texas because I will be leaving him with our puppies and of course the internet which connects him to all of his friends (and my family if I might add).

I am thinking the best way to ask my Grandma if she would be willing to have me, my mom, and my newborn stay with her as we work on a three generation quilt is by snail mail.  I could easily pick up the phone and ask, but I want my life to be about quality, not quantity and getting instant results, after all the good things in life are worth waiting for.