Hardcore Savings: 2014 Results & 2015 Goals

Greetings all!  It’s tax time, so I’ve been looking over last years numbers.  All in all, it was a good year financially.  While we only worked five months in 2014 (we were busy doing other things), we did manage to stash away a little over $46,000.  Most of our savings went to the 457 accounts at our new jobs.  We also maxed out our traditional IRAs and our health savings account.  Our 2014 savings total also includes our son’s accounts:  a Coverdell ESA, a 529 plan, and a UTMA account.  Here is what we were able to do last year:

2014 Savings Accomplishments
Retirement AccountsSelf Spouse Total
457$12,890$12,150$25,040
403b$0$0$0
Traditional IRAs$6,500$5,500$12,000
Total Retirement$19,390$17,650$37,040
Other AccountsFamilySonTotal
HSA$6,550$0$6,550
Coverdell ESA$0$2,000$2,000
529$0$300$300
UTMA$0$185$185
Total$6,550$2,485$9,035
Grand Total for 2014: $46,075

In 2015 we hope to save even more by fully funding every retirement account available to us just like we did back in our Echols County days.  There is nothing glamorous or sexy about this savings strategy; it’s just good ole hardcore savings*.  Last December I went to my employer’s human resource office and set our 457 contributions to $4,000 a month for both my wife and myself.  That means we’re putting $8,000 away every month; we’ll do this every month until we hit our 457 and 403b limits.**

Since I am now officially an old fart (51 years old), I qualify for “catch up” contributions to my 457, 403b, and IRA accounts.  So, I can now save an extra $6,000 a year in my 457 and 403b accounts while also adding an extra $1,000 to my IRA…in total an extra $13,000 a year!  Keep in mind, those contributions are on top of the already generous contributions limits of $18,000 on 457 and 403b accounts and $5,500 on IRAs.

Apart from our retirement accounts, we plan on fully funding our HSA account and our son’s Coverdell ESA this year.  We also plan on investing $1,000 in a taxable mutual fund account with Vanguard within the next month.  As we have done for the last nine years, we’ll continue to fund our son’s 529 plan and UTMA account.  We plan on upping the UTMA contributions to $25 a month.

Here’s what we hope to accomplish in 2015:

2015 Savings Goals
Retirement AccountsSelf Spouse Total
457$24,000$18,000$42,000
403b$24,000$18,000$42,000
Traditional IRAs$6,500$5,500$12,000
Total Retirement$54,500$41,500$96,000
Other AccountsFamilySonTotal
HSA$6,650$0$6,650
Mutual Fund$1,000$0$1,000
Coverdell ESA$0$2,000$2,000
529$0$300$300
UTMA$0$300$300
Total$7,650$2,600$10,250
Grand Total for 2015: $106,250

Is anyone else out there planning on saving a bunch of money in 2015?  If so, how do you go about it?

**  The Mad Fientist refers to this as “front-loading.”

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Investing:  The majority (90%+) of our money is invested at Vanguard.   If you know of a better low-cost option, please let me know.  Why Vanguard?
Net Worth Tracking:  We use Personal Capital to track our various accounts.  Personal Capital is an great way to aggregate all of your financial accounts at one easy-to-use website.
Banking:  We have used USAA for our checking and savings accounts since 1997.  We also have checking and savings accounts at three credit unions:   AlliantElements Financial, and Navy Federal.  Finally, we have an online checking account with Simple.
Health Savings Account:  We use Elements Financial to access commission-free, low-cost Vanguard ETFs at TD Ameritrade.
Phone Options:  My wife loves her $10 a month plan at Republic Wireless.  I had the same plan and liked it too, but unfortunately I broke my phone in Mexico.  I currently use a WiFi-enabled phone at a cost of $0 a month thanks to three Google apps: Voice, Hangouts, and Hangouts Dialer.  We also have a Skype subscription with its own number for unlimited U.S. calls ($80 a year).
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5 Comments

  1. Alaska 49

    Wow, that savings rate is impressive.,…there used to be a premium for teaching in Alaska; that seens to have disappeared. I have never heard of a district paying for an annuity for their teachers, Is this common in the lower 48?

    • Ed Mills

      Alaska 49, district annuities are rare. My former employer did not have Social Security and paid 6% to our annuity in lieu of S.S. Those days were great: an extra $6,000 a year for us AND we did not feel the bite of Uncle Sam’s S.S.!

  2. Wow. I love your aggressive saving/investing goals. Thanks for the inspirational post. I will have to keep up and stay top of my game.

    Cheers,

    BeSmartRich

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