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116 | Adoption, FFLC & the House of FI | Wendy Mays

Wendy Mays, from House of FI, tells the story of growing her family from 4 to 8 through adoption all while moving states and changing careers, and ultimately kickstarting her family’s pursuit of financial independence.
  • Wendy and her family first learned about financial independence about 4 years ago.
  • Wendy was commuting from Phoenix, Az., to San Diego, Ca., as her husband was living in California in pursuit of a new teaching job.
  • Wendy now has a family of six children, four of whom are adopted.
  • During her husband’s job search Wendy’s law practice in Phoenix was the family’s primary income, so she made significant changes to balance keeping her job with the family’s logistical challenges, including a shift in the type of legal work she did.
  • In the midst of this hectic commuting lifestyle, Wendy and her husband finalized the adoption of three of their children, including a 4-day-old baby.
  • Once the adoptions finalized, Wendy finally moved fully to San Diego.
  • In March 2017, Wendy started adjusting their financial lifestyle to begin pursuing financial independence.
  • First step was understanding where their money was really going.
  • Wendy dropped her average food/grocery expenses from about $3,500 to about $1,000.
  • By eliminating a few unnecessary big-ticket items, and optimizing smaller expenses, Wendy cut about $6,000 from their monthly expenses.
  • Beginning in 2018, Wendy’s husband maxed out his savings and retirements accounts, increasing their family savings rate to about 28%.
  • In October 2018, Wendy transitioned from legal work in Phoenix to real estate in San Diego.
  • Having a large family impacts Wendy’s financial commitments:
    • Larger housing expenses
    • Larger vehicles – a Suburban
    • Bigger clothing expenses
  • Financially reasonable family activities require creativity.
  • Currently, Wendy’s family is on a 7-year path to financial independence.
  • Making these changes has been really challenging for Wendy, but tracking progress and looking back is encouraging.
  • There are several different types of adoption
    • Domestic private adoption – using courts, lawyers, very expensive
    • Private international adoption – using courts, lawyers, very expensive
    • Adoption via foster care – usually low cost
  • After adopting through foster care, there are ongoing financial assistance programs that help Wendy and her husband to offset the costs associated with raising adopted children.
  • Wendy is hopeful she might pay off her student loan debt in 5 years.

Links mentioned in this episode:

House of FI “Our Adoption Story… Part 1” – JL Collins
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