How can I navigate financial planning for family planning, retirement, and taxes as a latecomer to financial literacy?

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      I’m a latecomer to financial literacy. My whole life has been working towards my profession – I literally started my first job one year ago aged 38. I had no idea even how “productivity” in my job would be calculated. I ended up making about 1.17 pretax. This year I am on track for 1.4-1.5. I don’t anticipate my income to increase much more than that. I maxed out everything I could – 403b, 457b. I did my backdoor.

      I am trying to have a kid. I hope I can eventually have two. I bought a house for my parents – 1.3 with 400 downpay. I am paying double the monthly mortgage with the extra going to principle – should be paid off in 10 years. I’m happily driving my Honda. I have a small house (paid off) that my boyfriend and I have been living in. I have no desire to upgrade to a bigger house for myself. I have zero debt.

      What should I be doing now? Last year the sticker shock of paying 500k in taxes was nuts. I’m a first generation immigrant so I am literally constantly living in fear of running out.

      • Money market fund 150
      • Cash 25
      • Investment 350
      • Roth 90
      • Retirement 500

      I need to do surrogacy for family planning – does anyone know how much this will eat into my ability to save? I wish I knew more about real life but in reality I’ve just studied my whole life and I constantly feel like I have no idea what I am doing outside of work. Any words of wisdom appreciated.

      #95352 Reply

        What line of work are you in? Is there an opportunity to start a business or a small side hustle, just for purposes of a tax offset?

        And ignore the surrogacy naysayers— they’re all insane. Good luck in your baby journey. I had mine at 38 after establishing my career and have zero regrets.

        #95353 Reply

          Surrogacy is bad for children. Sometimes a mother or father dies or is unable to care for a child, but to intentionally conceive a child with a premeditated plan to deprive the child of his/her natural mother.

          A baby forms a natural bond with the birth mother, and taking that away is harmful. Also, men cannot be mothers and women cannot be fathers. A child needs both.

          #95354 Reply

            This is when you interview several fee only, flat fee advisors to partner with you on your financial journey. I wouldn’t attempt to do surgery on my own hand, I’d go to a hand surgeon. Highest and best use of your time seems to be doing what you do to earn that income then trying to have a family.

            Scarcity mentality is real. I see it with my 1st generation high income clients, but it can be addressed when you have a written strategic financial plan that addresses all aspects of your financial life – income, assets, risk management, tax, and don’t forget estate planning. My advice – start interviewing advisors, but first document your values and see which of those advisors ask you about your values that shape your goals.

            Wishing you continued prosperity and peace.


            A CPA/PFS

            Suggested: How much did you have in a retirement fund at age 34?

            #95355 Reply

              Based on your numbers you have enough money saved and you make enough money to hire a surrogate. But you need to know that once you have a baby you might need to adjust your career unless your boyfriend is going to stay home and take care of your child, or you have free childcare.

              So you need to factor in childcare fee, possible reduced hours of work and increased cost of everyday essentials due to having a child like food, toys, insurance, diapers, etc… but even than based on your description, if you really want to have kids, you might need go make some sacrifices such as pay less on your parents mortgage so you can use that money for the kids in the future.

              #95356 Reply

                I can’t speak to most of this, but 1 IVF cycle if you’re using your genetic material is $25-35k including meds, and a surrogate journey would be $100k. These are average figures in the US. There are some lower cost IVF places, but nothing about surrogacy is ever lower cost.

                #95357 Reply

                  At age 38 I would look into freezing your eggs if you don’t plan on or are unsure about the plan for having kids within the next 1-2 years. The eggs aren’t going to get any better in quality and you will have more options if later it is difficult to conceive.

                  Best of luck!

                  #95358 Reply

                    You have a lot going on here, including the surrogacy which is a huge financial question mark.

                    Focusing on your investing education (start reading and podcasting) and consulting with a flat-fee only financial advisor may be your best bet. And if you’re terrified of running out with such a high salary, some therapy support.

                    Useful: Invest $200k from rental sale for growth or keep for passive income till retirement at 59?

                    #95359 Reply

                      I would just buy a S&P500 or Total Market Index Fund in a taxable brokerage account and forget you have it.

                      If you have to look, count dollars when the market is up and shares when the market is down.

                      #95360 Reply


                        Sure, real estate is awesome but honestly – you don’t need any more stress. Unless the boyfriend has a lot of time on his hands and you combine finances? Maybe he wants to work out real estate. For my money, you’d be better off just socking away whatever you can in tax advantaged accounts, dumping any extra in VTSAX and not overthinking things.

                        There’s a physicians FIRE group that might be helpful – The White Coat Investor.

                        #95361 Reply

                          Max out an IRA in addition to 401k.

                          Rental properties do have tax benefits with depreciation and mortgage interest so think about your tolerance for that.

                          Paying off the houses is a great strategy. If the interest on the mortgages is over 4.5%, I would keep paying them off as soon as possible.

                          If you’re paying taxes you’re making money, so keep focusing on a low cost lifestyle like you have and keep it up.

                          Oh and Ignore haters who don’t provide sources for any data or “study” they found online.

                          #95362 Reply

                            How wonderful you live in a paid home, bought a home for your parents and will have it paid in 10 years and you have saved. I would say you are ahead of most Americans financially. Ask your colleagues who they use for a financial planner.

                            Also please ignore that awful comments about surrogacy. I have a friend who was a surrogate twice, once with twins and one more time.

                            She had two kiddos of her own and it allowed their family to buy a home.

                            Also I am adopted. There are so many ways to have a family.

                            Related: What are good investment options for a 16-year-old with $4k? Any recommended books for early retirement?

                            #95363 Reply

                              Right now you should be looking at how you’ll care for the child and also explore having your own if possible-I’m not against surrogacy specifically but I had a child at 38 and another at 40 with zero complications. Age alone should not be a determining factor for paying someone else to carry a child IMO.

                              Figure out if you continue 120hr work weeks how you’ll care for and bond with a child, will you use a daycare and a nanny? Boyfriend stay home? Cut back your hours? A child will likely contribute to decreasing your taxable income esp if you contribute to a 529 for their schooling. Unless the interest rate is high on your parents home I would stop paying double and put the extra into the market or at least a HYSA. Have you taken advantage of a HSA? Will the house be adequate for a family of four? Nearby schools or the schools you may want are in reach? Will you by marrying? Does your insurance cover any pregnancy assistance or surrogacy?

                              I’d also absolutely talk to your accountant and some fee only financial planners to get that taxable number lower and plan for your goals. The Honda is great but you may want a newer and/or safer car when you’ve got a kiddo in it.

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