Kayla is torn between paying off a loan early or catching up on missed retirement contributions.
Josh wants to retire early and meets the threshold for zero capital gains taxes. Should he put all his retirement savings into a brokerage account?
An anonymous caller wants to know how to merge financial lives with her husband from another country.
Former financial planner Joe Saul-Sehy and I tackle these three questions in today’s episode.
P.S. Got a question? Leave it here.
Kayla asks (at 01:19 minutes): Should we prioritize debt payoff or catching up on missed retirement contributions?
My husband and I put a pause on retirement savings following a layoff. After six months of searching, he accepted a high-paying job in a new city.
We’re now facing two competing financial obligations: we need a new car and we need to catch up on a year of missed contributions.
Between tax credits and lower maintenance and fuel costs, we’ve decided to buy a brand-new electric SUV.
We’ll need to take out a 36-month loan at 6 percent interest to buy it.
Our goal is to pay it off by sometime next year, but how do we balance that goal with making catch-up retirement contributions?
My husband has access to an HSA, along with a 401k and Roth 401k. His employer matches 401k contributions at 50 percent and also offers a mega backdoor Roth.
Meanwhile, I’ve only contributed 50 percent to my 401k for the year and my employer offers a less generous match.
We know that investing in the stock market will yield more than six percent in the long run, but we also don’t want the car loan to loom over our heads.
What should we focus on?
Josh asks (at 25:43 minutes): What’re the trade-offs between a tax-advantaged retirement account and a traditional brokerage account in the context of early retirement?
My wife and I are 28 and want to retire early.
I could easily structure my portfolio around long-term, low-cost, indexed ETFs and live a tax-free retirement.
Why would anyone who shares my retirement outlook contribute to a retirement account over a more liquid brokerage account?
Anonymous asks (at 36:39 minutes): What’s the best way for a transnational couple to merge two independent financial lives?
I’m getting married in 2024. I’m a US citizen, and my fiancé is a non-US citizen from West Africa.
We plan to legally marry in his birth country. Then we’ll use that marriage license to start the US spousal visa process.
We’ll likely live outside both our home countries for the better part of the next decade.
We have our own checking and savings accounts and we don’t pool our income.
I contribute regularly to a brokerage account. I’d like to retire in 15 years, so I max out a 403B, Roth IRA, and HSA.
He doesn’t have retirement savings but will have access to a pension in West Africa.
We live separately and both own property in our respective countries. I have a house. He’s building rental units on land he owns.
I have a federal student loan that’s eligible for forgiveness soon, along with a mortgage, which I’ll pay off in six years. He has no debt.
After marriage, we think we’ll need a joint bank account, a joint credit card for travel, and a place to invest for his retirement.
We’d also like to use savings vehicles like 529s or custodial Roth accounts once we expand our family.
Ideally, we’d keep all expenses low and easy to manage while overseas.
What are the questions we should be asking? What aspects make sense to merge, and what aspects should stay as is?
How do we protect our individual and joint financial health as we start a life together?
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