Computing Long-Term Inflation-Adjusted Expense Averages

In my last post, I detailed how to compute your monthly expenses, and then categorize them into a) required monthly expenses, b) required yearly expenses, and c) discretionary monthly expenses.

Now that we have those numbers, let’s determine what you REALLY need to compute your withdrawal rate (which in turn you need for determining if you’re Financially Independent).

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How We Track Our Expenses

Alrighty, now that I have described our process for validating our expenses (to catch any fraud/mistakes), it’s high time to lay out exactly how we track our expenses.

Long time readers know that I’m always rattling on about how important it is to track your expenses to achieve FI. But I know that it can be really overwhelming to actually DO THAT when you first start.

If you’re just getting started, hopefully our process will give you a solid template to build on for tracking your expenses.

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How to Catch Mistaken and Fraudulent Expenses

My next post was going to cover how we track our expenses, since I’ve been wanting to do that for a while, and my last post detailing our 2023 expenses gave me extra motivation.

But as I was writing that post I realized I had quite a bit of content regarding how to validate our expenses – i.e. ensuring there are no mistakes or fraud on our credit card statements.

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Our 2023 Expenses

It’s that time of year again – summarizing our annual expenses! Woohoo! I know that’s everyone else’s favorite activity as well.

Last year I thought I might try to do quarterly expense updates, but that definitely was too ambitious. There are way too many other things to do, including lots of analysis and other posts I want to write. 

So from now on, I’ll be doing just annual expense updates.

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Choosing Your Obamacare Plan – With Math!

A few years back I created a post titled “Choosing Your Health Insurance Plan – With Math!”. Back then we were deciding between a high deductible and a standard plan at Mrs. EYFI’s employer (back when she was still full time).

This year we faced another tough health insurance decision: picking an Obamacare plan. Otherwise known as Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance. I’ll mostly use “ACA” below because it’s shorter/easier.

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Roth vs Traditional IRA Contributions in Grad School

Last week at FinCon (review post coming soon!) I had the privilege to meet Emily Roberts, who hosts the Personal Finance for PhDs podcast and has helped many PhD students with personal finance since she graduated with her PhD in biomedical engineering in 2014. 

As far as I know, she is the first fellow PhD in engineering I’ve ever met at FinCon, which was really nice – there aren’t too many of us interested enough in personal finance to go to a conference about it!

One question we discussed was whether grad students should invest any savings they can scrape together in a Traditional IRA (which is fully deductible, equivalent to 401(k) “pre-tax” dollars) or a Roth IRA (which you contribute to after paying taxes, but grows tax-free after that).

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