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February 04, 2013


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Hi CA,

I'd say take a look at other companies besides your own when looking to benchmark for a raise. It's hard to say what the target amount should be without knowing much about your industry, title, company and market.

The biggest raises I've ever received came from other companies.



I do not care for big cities so I would move. Your housing expenses would not increase as much and, perhaps your daycare costs would be lower in a smaller centre.

How much will you have to pay to doctors and the hospital when you have another baby? All free here in Canada but I wondered if you have a health care, dental savings account for these cost?

My health care is free but my dental care is not. My employer pays a portion of the cost but I put money in to an account every pay to cover this expense which varies greatly from year to year.

I have a few comments regarding kids. We had two kids while living in a two bedroom condo and found it to be extremely challenging. One was no problem, even great. Two was hard and If I had it to do over again I would move to a house sooner (we moved when baby was 6-8 months).

It also does not look like you are saving for college yet. Run some numbers and it may motivate you to start saving. We aim to save at least $500 a month per kid and put extra in at the end of the year. I mention all of this because it sounds like you are planning on having #2 soon. If that is true, I would also earmark some your wife's pay for more childcare.

Finally, I would not put more money into your condo. Seems to me it would make sense to start building up some cash for a down payment fund and get rid of your student loans. But I am more conservative than you regarding debt I think.

Looks like you are doing very well keeping expenses in check, living well within your means and growing your net worth. Great job!

What I didn't see articulated is life and disability insurance for the two of you. Hopefully you have it and just failed to mention it.

Thanks for the comments so far!

@Cathierne - I have about $600K in life insurance. My wife has half that - we'll increase it once she finishes school and potentially bump mine up to ~$1M. (Note, the costs are very minimal and are lumped in to the mortgage / insurance payment.)

I'm confused about your child's college savings line item. Are you saying you making over $13K/month and you are only saving $20 a month for your child's collge plan? This almost sounds like a joke (or hopefully a typo).

a comment about your career.... Please remember that your emloyer may "really want you to stay" soley for the reason of eliminating the hassle of replacing you in your current role. The goal of your employer should be to move you to the role where they get the best return from their investment in you, so if other senior execs in your company are recruiting you, then I think you should seriously pursue this. If you are so valued by your current boss, then why would you have to go ask for a raise? Shouldn't this person be paying you at your market rate, or fighting to get you market rate pay, if you are so valuable?? If I can remember a quote from the book "Die Broke" regarding "Your Job", you have to consider yourself a commodity (just like soybeans or porkbellies) and sell yourself to the highest bidder. It is nice to have a boss tell you how valuable you are to the organization and that you are irreplacable, but those are just words. What actions back them up.

You do not see to give much to charity. You give 146 dollars of 13k income or right around 1%. Also, I dont see why you dont use pay your student loans off and be done with it. I know last year my wife and I paid ours off and it is a great filling to not receive that bill in the mail every month.

I would also have to concur with everyone else about the college savings being too low unless you plan to fund college out of the Roth IRA.

Sounds like you're doing fine - I'm glad you're conscious of lifestyle creep, that seems to be one of the biggest stumbling blocks for people as their income grows.

I only have two thoughts. First of all, let's say you lose $10k-20k on your condo were you to sell now. How does that compare to what you would have lost over the past few years had you rented? I'm not advocating for or against selling, just pointing out a perspective you may not have considered. Secondly, why are you carrying $5k in credit card debt? If it is less than, say, 5% interest, then you could make an argument for keeping it I suppose. If it's higher, divert some of your e-fund dollars (whether from the index funds or the cash) and pay it off. Your return on that investment is equal to the interest rate on the credit card, and is guaranteed (and you don't have to pay taxes on it). I say this as someone who doesn't feel e-funds are nearly as important as the PF community makes them out to be, at least for people of your net worth, likely credit rating, earning potential, and risk tolerance.

CA is doing well.

My opinions...

If you are happy in the city you are and want to stay there then I would stay. You've got increase income coming and sounds like you can afford a bigger house with a yard if you wanted. You are doing well financially and I don't see a strong reason to move to a cheap city just to save money if thats not what you want.

I'd put more money in you liquid savings. You never know what will happen and you have a fairly low balance there for your situation.

I would not rent out that condo especially if you move away. I don't see that being a great investment and it may not even break even after expenses, vacancies, etc.

I would also not expect or bank on 10-20% raises annually. You're clearly doing well in your career if you've gotten that so far but it very likely won't last and you're going to plateau at some point probably fairly soon. Only so many levels of management to climb before you hit your max and the fat raises will trail off. Not sure if you're thinking you will get such raises in the future but just wanted to say.

I have a comment for Jane [email protected] money puzzle. I too am a Canadian. However my health care is not free. It is taxpayer funded. Last year my wife and I paid $130,000 in federal and provincial income tax as well as unmeasured amounts of sales taxes.

The only way that your health care is free is if you paid no taxes of any kind, which in my opinion is impossible in Canada.

It would be better (especially for our American friends who read these posts) if you referred to your health care as being "taxpayer funded" as opposed to "free" as someone ultimately has to pay the government for them to pay the bills.

One piece of advice I would offer is that there are great benefits to be had by becoming an active investor, i.e. by knowing what to be in, when to get in, and when to get out.

I was just looking at the charts for the period 2/1/2001 to 2/1/2013, a period of the last TWELVE years.

The annual return for the NYSE Index was 2.03%, Total Gain = 27.2%
The annual return for the Total Stock Market Index was 1.84%, Total Gain = 24.4%
The annual return for the NASDAQ Index was 1.12%, Total Gain = 14.2%
My return (that includes being 100% in bonds for the last 5 years) was 7.52%, Total Gain = 138.7%

However to do this you would need to obtain a comprehensive market analysis and charting package of the type that I have had since I retired in 1992. This requires a VERY substantial time investment at the beginning to learn how to use the software but once you have become knowledgeable it takes very little time.

I am now 78 and the two most important lessons I have learned about building wealth are:

@Noah et al - it's not a typo, I'm only saving $20/month towards college. I don't really count this as savings - it was more of a way for me to hold myself accountable for opening a 529 plan for my daughter. Once my wife is back to work, we'll ramp up the investments in the plan. That said, I don't plan to save the entire cost of college for my kids. I'd like them to be able to go to any school they want, but also will expect them to help contribute (through working summers and part-time in college). I'm also hopeful that my kids will be like me and my wife and get scholarships to help out.

@Old Limey - I think you're on to something here. A lot of PF blogs talk about making side income, etc, but at this point in my career my time is very limited (and actually pretty valuable based on my salary). So becoming a more active investor could be a great way to leverage my time. Specific thoughts on where and how to start?


You say "I’m a lot riskier than most of the commenters and the blogger – I hold much of my emergency fund in index funds"

Yes, that is riskier, and imho, stupid. Let's say something happens to you tomorrow; your wife and child are left with less than 2 months of emergency funds, and only one month in cash! Even with insurance...which can and does takes months to collect; your wife would be faced with having to cash out your retirement accounts. And even that could take months to convert into her name. I hope you have a benevolent employer and family with lots of cash to chip in to help your wife and child if the "worst case" happens.

Sorry if this comes off a bit harsh.But, take it from someone who's been there. You have a family now, I suggest you tone down the risk a notch or two and build that emergency fund up to 6 months in cash.

I am in a really similar situation to you although about 3 years behind. In my opinion you are a bit too optimistic about the future... be really careful not to pay for today's spending with tomorrow's raise. You're doing great but not "retire at 50" great. I think I would want several million in assets including a paid-for house and plenty of passive income before I retired that early.

If you do decide to rent your place out be sure to look in to a refinance beforehand. "Non-owner occupied" costs you at least half a percent on the rate. Also greater cash on hand (6 months payments I think) and LTV is 75% as opposed to 80%.

Personally I would build up cash/equities, pay off the student loans as soon as you have sorted the wife's career, then buy a house if you wish to move. Buy a house at least one "notch" below what you can afford at the time to keep yourself flexible for employment changes (staying at home, job loss, etc). Given your semi-retirement goals you might want to adjust that to "afford at the time on a 15-year fixed" so you can be done with it sooner.


"That’s not what I aspire for – my wife and I both expect to work for at least 15 more years (and probably more like 25-35) so want to be sure to enjoy our income now too."

Just to be clear, the poster said he would most likely be retiring in 25-35 years, putting him in the 55-65 range.

This is the link to the company where I have been a subscriber since I retired.
They offer a free trial period, however the complexity of the program is quite daunting. It wasn't too bad in the early nineties when the software was writtem in MS-DOS and came with a nice easy to read manual. That's when I knew the software inside out, the internet was in its infancy, there were a whole lot less investors, and I used it to increase my portfolio from $320K on 12/28/1992 up to $3,309,000 on 3/6/2000 thanks to first, a bubble in emerging markets, quickly followed by the bubble which I exited quickly. I got out primarily because of my #1 rule which is "Don't Lose Money". I have never had a losing year since I retired.

FastTrack later rewrote the software in Windows, added two stock databases (which I have never used) and a host of new features. For the last 5 years since I moved into primarily individual corporate and muni bonds I rarely use the software however I do download the database update every market day. The service costs between $462 and $808 annually depending upon the number of databases you require. Unless you are willing to spend a great many hours learning how to use the software I would not recommend that you get it. I did not become an active investor at your age, I was far too busy with my career as an aerospace engineer working on weapons of mass destruction for the US Navy's nuclear submarines, as well as doing things with our three young children, especially with my son's sports.


This comment is not to pick on you. This comment is actually not for you, it is for everyone. You just said the magic words in quotes below that I hear so many repeat so it is the catalyst for this comment:

"I'd like them to be able to go to any school they want"

I hear this phrase repeated often. Our govt's financial aid program is based on exactly this idea that a student should be able to attend any college they want.

I would like to ask people to reconsider that statement and think about it to see if that broad statement makes sense. I think it is not often given much thought and often is just taken as a given fact that needs little thinking.

Consider the following:

I would like my child to be able to own any car they want (Ferrari?)

I would like my child to be able to live in any home they want (10 million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills?)

I would like my child to be able to have any and as many friends as they want (drug dealers and gang members?)

We don't usually throw around what a child wants quite this flippantly. So why do we talk this way about college? What does "want" have to do with it and since when is our highest aspiration for our kids simply what they want, especially when you are talking about a life changing decision being made by a 17 year old based primarily on what they want.

I would encourage parents to get more directly involved in their kids post secondary education choices. Your kids are not mature enough, smart enough, wise enough, or have enough discernment and experience to make this decision. You may feel you do not either and you are probably right, but your kids certainly do not and worse yet, they often think they do. The only thing worse than ignorance is ignorance that is confident it is not ignorant. You and your kids both need to work together to educate yourself on the choices and make a wise decision that balances their desires with some real world facts. This includes both desires about which institution to attend as well as what to study while there. I am also not suggesting you should make your child become a doctor because you think that has the best prospects. What they want to do has to be a component. But it cannot be the only component or we would have 5 million professional sports athletes, or music majors who intend to start the next Beattles as it were. Or even potentially high paying careers like doctors may not be a good fit or provide good prospects for your child even if they want to do that they simply may be a poor fit for that field. Have they honestly considered what it will take to make it. 8 years of school (if they stay on task otherwise 10), 5 years of residency -- at a pitiful level of pay with 70-80 hour weeks (that's 13-15 years from now before they see any real money or quality of life from their choice). Do they know what they are signing up for? Do they have the ability and work ethic to stick with it and do what it takes? As I said, they are 17, they are not equipped to make this decision on their own.

Now I am not saying there are not very good reasons to go to Harvard or Stanford, or Columbia or whatever the college may be. But wanting to go there is not one of them. Wanting to have a prestigious name on your diploma is not a good reason. They have a cool or inviting campus is not a good reason.

So I would submit that the phrase should be changed to I want my kid to be able to afford to go to the college that has the best overall offerings that fit with their goals and future career path options after considering all the ramifications of cost/quality/connections/recruiting/reputation/etc. A top prestige school is often not the best answer to balance all those factors but the assumption is often made that it is.


If college was a no-brainer decision that you could hardly go wrong on this wouldn't be that important. 2 generations ago that used to be true. 1 generation ago it was more true that not. Today it is not true.

The link above is from a USA Today article on a study just from just last week that showed that there were currently 41 million people in the USA with a college degree but only 28 million jobs that required one. That is 13 million people with a degree for which there is no employer who even desires that you have one. That is 1/3 of all people with degrees who cannot even get a job that requires a degree. Not just can't get a job in the field of their degree. Can't even get a job that matters that you have any degree at all. Where is the promise of a higher paying job from college with those kinds of stats. In the article it pointed out that 15% of taxi drivers have a bachelors degree. 25% of retail sales clerks have a bachelors degree.

The goal of this post is simply to get parents to get heavily involved in helping their kids with this monumental decision. I have so many neighbors who I asked them about why their kid wants to go to this or that school and these are the kinds of answers I have gotten: they like the campus, or they like the east coast, or they are really smart and can get into these schools, etc. You will notice that none of those answers address a reason that involves making a choice that is best for their future or about why this college is a really good fit for the path they plan to pursue. I almost never hear an answer like that. And it's seems to be because its coming from checked out parents who think this is their kids decision or who are unwilling to get heavily involved in working through the decision with their kids beyond a subtle nudge.

1st, if you are providing money, it is not exclusively their decision.

2nd, even if you are not, do you not try to offer advice and council to your kid even if they have reached legal age now. Granted you can't force them to do anything once they leave home but I think too many parents at this stage feel it's their kid's decision and there is little say that they have.

My hope is that some parents would reconsider that kind of thinking. Most 17 year old kids in the 21st century are simply not equipped to make this decision properly. If you don't help them, they are on a tight rope with no net. It may not end well.

Amen Apex!

That's a scary stat about 41 mil people with college degrees and only 28 mil jobs that require degrees. Too many young people have hopes and dreams with the idea that they shouldn't worry, because "I'll find a way to get by". If you aren't studying to be in a growing field, be prepared to either be better than everyone else, or simply don't go to college at all. Better to be working at Starbucks with $0 debt than working at Starbucks with $15K college debt.

Apex makes good points. When I was 18 I really had no clue what college I should be going to. Even more kids have no clue what to major in. Personally I think choice of major is the bigger problem. I knew I wanted to go into engineering so if I'd not picked the perfect school I'd still have an engineering degree and I'd take that over most degree options.

Nationally we've handed out around 2 million degrees in psychology, communications and performing arts in just the past 10 years or so. Far too many people getting degrees in fields that have little job demand.

Whats more around 40% of people don't graduate within 6 years. Thats I think a good sign that we've got a lot of people going into college that shouldn't really be there in the first place. I'm not sure whats worse, having a bachelors and being a retail clerk or being a college drop out and being a retail clerk.

This is an extract from the Huffington Post.
"The cost of a college degree in the United States has increased "12 fold" over the past 30 years, far outpacing the price inflation of consumer goods, medical expenses and food".

When I contrast this with the cost of my education there's no comparison.

BSc equivalent in mechanical engineering at a local Municipal College, then in aeronautical engineering at a nearby University, (1951-1956), while I was working as an apprentice for a famous British aircraft company, was paid for by the taxpayers.

MS in engineering mechanics, part time, at a private Jesuit University, the University of Santa Clara in Silicon Valley (1960-1963), was $30/unit for 30 units, paid for by my employer, a well known aerospace company. The only stipulation was that my employer required a grade of B or higher for tuition reinbursement.

During my working career that lasted from 1956 to 1992 I worked with a great many engineers. I didn't notice a strong correlation between their ability and the university they had attended. I did notice however that it is easier to get hired if you had attended one of the big name universities which in my field were Stanford and MIT. My education didn't cost either me or my parents anything. Those were the Good Old Days in many ways!

There were some really great comments on here but I vote for Apex's and Adam's as the best.

I am also one of those folks who has a job that doesn't require a college degree. Fortunately, I get better pay and benefits than a retail clerk :-) ....but my salary is well below average for where I live in Silicon Valley.

I also agree with the others... I was one of those aimless folks in college, got a liberal arts major...Honestly, unless money is no object or unless a kid is both really focused and really grounded regarding realistic prospects in the job market for their major, they probably shouldn't be majoring in most liberal arts fields. I am 42 it's been almost a generation since I graduated from college. There were rumblings among some that college was getting to be a scam even we really must open our eyes and really scrutinize the costs and benefits very closely. Very few 17 year olds are going to be prepared to do that. I know I wasn't.

One more comment. I really do think having only 12.5K in cash is really low for your situation. I work a public sector job, make 45K per year, and have about 9K in cash plus 6.5K in savings bonds and I think MY cash position is too low.

If your expenses are 11K per month, then really 33K in cash (only 3 month's expenses) would be the absolute bare minimum. (Granted, if you wanted to put some of that in a short term bond fund...I could go along with that).

It sounds like you're doing GREAT in your career, certainly much better than I ever have.

The problem with people who do well at work is they get overconfident and think there's always going to be "more where that came from" and that nothing bad can ever happen to them. Adversity happens to everyone, even those who manage their careers well.

You have done an amazing job of growing your income- to have $160K of income at 33 with senior executives pursuing you is phenomenal. You should recognize you have an outstanding skill for generating income and use it to the best of your ability.

Reading through your profile I noticed the following:
>My biggest difference is that I’m a lot riskier than most of the commenters and the blogger
I’m a lot more conservative now but at your age I was a lot riskier too… so please think about the following questions that I wish someone had asked me at 30:
Is your wife also OK with that much risk? How about your children? Why are you taking the extra risks when you don’t have any apparent need to?
You already save a lot and have $2448 in extra net income per month. You are expecting that income to grow possibly substantially. Wouldn’t investing that excess remove any need to take extra risk? If you can reach your financial goals without taking extra risks, then why do you want to take extra risks?
>. I’ve had ups and downs (mostly related to short-term investments in stocks that went south),
Have you compared your stock performance to index performance? I did and it was a humbling experience. When I was young I believed I was smart enough to beat the market. At times I did... but in the long run it is really hard to beat the indices. A single bad mistake wiped out a lot of my gains. Now I'm smart enough and wise enough to accept market performance for my investments. It also means I don’t have to take much time to think about them either- that is pretty important when you have a family.

-Rick Francis

Just put the surplus into a cash account for the next 6 months. A lot of the decisions you're inquiring about hinge upon your wife's job search and whether you'll relocate or not.

Once you have clarity on your mutual job situations, then revisit how you'll spend the $15K you saved up - furnishings for a larger property, remodeling the condo, paying off student loans, etc.


College, for me anyway, was less about a formal education, a name on a diploma or prestige.

College was about growing up, moving away from home, learning to survive on my own starting at 17(I paid for my school), eating peanut butter & crackers for dinner because I couldn't afford food, getting up for an 8:00 class even though I was up with my friends until 3:00 AM (learing responsibility), showing up for work 30 hours per week while taking 21 credit hours, failing a class because I didn't study, learning to study, making the Dean's list, having straight A's, meeting contacts from all over the country whom I would stay connected to for the rest of my life, getting a decent-paying starting job.

College isn't just about cost - there are other factors to consider. As a guy who took a bit to grow up & insisted on learning things for myself, I met some great people & role models who I would have never met if I had not gone to college. I learned responsibilities of doing things on my own that I wouldn't have had to learn if I would have stayed at home & relied on mom & dad.

It is expensive though - you do have a point there. I wouldn't be nearly as successful as I am today if I didn't go to college though, no doubt in my mind.

To each his/her own! :)

Sorry to hi-jack your comment section CA!


College can be a benefit to many different people in many different ways. I am not knocking college. College has been greatly beneficial to me as well. It is just not a universal benefit like getting the polio vaccine is but unfortunately for too long many people have believed it is. That was the primary point of my post. Not to invalidate the varied experiences and benefits people have had. It worked out well for you. Not so much for everyone.

I agree - some majors can also have a better payoff than others. ie - history degree from private school to teach HS - ahem - private is not likely worthwhile.

Other paths college is absolutely required, although it doesn't need to be private - ie accounting.

This is a whole other post though...


I went to college and lived at home. I was going to a local university (UCI) and it didn't make sense for me to move away from home (45 min commute).

I probably could have lived on campus, but I don't believe the additional cost(s) would have been worth it. Yes, I missed out on making a few good college friends. Yes, I missed out on getting drunk at crazy parties and waking up on the grass. Yes, I missed out on learning how to buy groceries and do my own laundry at age 18. However, I was able to save up a ton of money working at a minimum wage job and leave college with no debt. I also was responsible and never had to pull an all-nighter.

I don't think most 18 year-olds make a lot of good decisions when they are dropped into a college environment and coaxed to buy their own credit card by on-campus advertisements. I saw far too many smart and talented people screw around and waste lots of time and money when they should have been taking their lives seriously. Conversely, most commuters were able to better balance a job and their studies, even with the added drive time. I also was able to use my parents as valuable resources when making decisions about my future.

I realize not everyone has the opportunity to live at home when attending college, but I think in many cases it's the right decision. There will be plenty of time to learn how to do menial day to day tasks. Why burden an 18 year-old who doesn't know what they want to do with their lives and need to focus on studying? Now that I'm married with a regular job, I'm able to pick up a lot of the skills I would have been forced to learn at age 18.

Now at 78, I can't begin to imagine what my life would have been like if I had not obtained a university education. I ended up with a MS in engineering but I missed the whole campus experience because I was always a part time student. Unfortunately my parents were unable to help me be a full time student so I missed out on all the extracurricular activities that campus life has to offer.

Looking back I realize that if I had not obtained a university education, later on in life I would have never even known about all the things that I would have missed. I would have never had the skills I needed to be able to emigrate and have an engineering career in Canada and the USA, and I would have never even known about the American Dream, let alone been able to realize it to the fullest. I also would never have been able to afford to travel all over the globe and have the wonderful experiences that adventure travel can provide.

I think it should be every young person's goal to have a better life than their parents, and that better life starts with a great education that will lead you into a great occupation.

Without the mathematical skills I obtained I would have also never been able to write the large software program that I wrote (and marketed) after I retired, that became a major contributing factor to my success as an investor.


I think we both agree that college shaped who we have become as repsonsible people. I wish the local college was a good one & I could have stayed at home, but it was almost like a second high school for all the people in our small population area so it wasn't an option for me because there just weren't many prospects locally after school.

It may have been different with some people my age who did exactly what I did as a Freshman & didn't "make it out". You are exactly correct on 18 years olds, a lot don't make the best decisions (especially the male gender) in that new party environment. If my parents would have been paying for my school I'm pretty sure they would have made me come back home, but I eventually learned for myself how to do it & emerged victorious! :)

It also worked out well as I met the love of my life at school, so that was a bonus.

Old Limey,

At 78 - you were way ahead of the game when you went to school because it put you way ahead of the crowd at the time to have a college degree. Now, at least in the business world, a BS/BA or MS/MA is an absolute minimum. I have a few clients that want their administrative assistants to have a college degree before they even get an interview. It's a crazy world we live in.


As long as it worked out in the end, you can consider yourself a success :)

I call it a work in progress (WIP). :)

I was the first person in my extended family to get a degree. I also grew up in a very different world from today. I well remember my first day at school because the lady teacher put me over her knee and spanked my behind pretty hard. I told my mother and asked her to go to the school about it but her reply was, "I'm sure you deserved it". Later on in elementary school I was caned across the palm of my hand quite a few times and then at home my father used to keep one of his leather belts hanging up in the kitchen just in case I needed a reminder to behave. However the best teacher I ever had was my 4th. grade Math teacher, she was very strict indeed but she made Math so interesting that it became my favorite subject from then on and I did everything I could to please her.

In 1950, regardless of their grades, very few working class kids ever went to college but the apprenticeship system was quite widespread. Fortunately a large aircraft company was located a few miles away so I became an indentured trade apprentice for 5 years and started to rotate through the various manufacturing departments, as well as having one day off/week plus every evening to attend a local municipal college. After my first exams where I got straight A's they converted me from being a trade apprentice to an engineering apprentice. I then gave up wearing overalls, switched to a suit, collar & tie, and started rotating through all the design, analysis, and test departments and the rest is history.

After I left England, the Labor (i.e Democratic) party came into power and started building universities in all of the major towns and cities. Today the town I'm from has a large university and the tuition costs are all paid for by the government, as it is in most European countries. In fact the house where I grew up was later torn down to make room for the university.

You're obviously doing great. You have lots of options. Financially as long as you are maxing out all retirement accounts and keeping 6 months cash in savings (which you are not yet) then you are fine. With the rest I would split half between cash savings and half to investing in stock index funds (for tax purposes - hold bonds and other assets in your retirement accounts). Nobody ever regretted having too much cash, and if you have to move suddenly for a job you'll be glad you have it. And if you plan to buy another place in the next 5 years you could make it a goal to have at least 10% in reserves for the down payment (preferably 20% of course).

One note: You have a career and a budding family to manage - do not get sucked into trying to be an active day trading investment manager. Even pros who do it all day long every day for years dont' outperform indexes over time.

Regarding the condo - Unless it's your plan to become a landlord, just sell it and move on. Even if you want a rental property that condo isn't likely to be your best option (condos are very hard to cash flow due to the HOA fees). Another good reason to beef up your cash account in case you have to take a loss.

Regarding your job - I say wait and see what your wife drums up first. It's been all about your career so far; now let her look for the best job she can find (focusing on your current city and the cities where you have opportunities to transfer internally). Then go from there. In the meantime by all means push for a raise and company-paid training. I'm sure your boss won't mind; it's a lot cheaper than hiring and training a replacement. And it doesn't prevent you from moving anyway if you need to for your wife's job.

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