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If People Can Do It I Can Do It Too | Vivian Connects With Leslie Tayne | Households Of Fi | Ep 255

Households of FI – Vivian

What You’ll Get Out Of Today’s Show

  • Picking back up with the Household of FI series, Vivian is a single mom who found FI in the last year, but initially, it seemed impossible. It wasn’t until she was introduced to the ChooseFI podcast and saw real people reaching financial independence that she believed she could do it too.
  • Vivian has been dealing with a number of challenges: a cancer diagnosis, a child custody battle, and caring for parents who have no savings of their own.
  • As a pharmacist, she earns a significant income. She’s already managed to pay off $300,000 in student loans in six years and believes she can save $60,000 a year.
  • Vivian has been paired with mentor, Leslie Tayne, also a single mom and attorney who helps people with debt relief.
  • Leslie acknowledges that what Vivian is going through with her separation is one the most challenging times in her life and it is a very emotional experience along with being financially damaging. However, there is a light on the other side and she will come out with more freedom and more control.
  • Because her significant other’s mom used to watch her child while she was a work, childcare is a challenge right now. Childcare is expensive and not something you can find discounts on.
  • As an attorney, Leslie helps her clients to fix their financial messes without judgment. She doesn’t believe in a debt-free life since life has its ups and downs. Instead, it’s okay if being debt-free is not realistic. We should learn to embrace our debt but what is important is how you manage the debt.
  • Due to the separation, Vivian will be selling the house that is entirely in her name. If she makes a profit, she should talk to her tax preparer about qualifying for a capital gains exemption.
  • Vivian is also interested in ways to save for her child’s college education to which Leslie offers several options: contributing to a 529 plan, a state pre-pay program, or a regular savings account.
  • There are tax advantages to contributing to a 529 plan over a savings account and should Vivian’s child decide to not go to school, the money in the 529 plan may be used for grandchildren or withdrawn with earnings taxed at regular income tax rates.
  • The Texas pre-pay option would allow Vivian to lock in current undergraduate tuition rates and required fees.
  • When it comes to budgeting for groceries, Leslie says that her family mostly eats at home and orders out just once a week. One trick to not overspending at the grocery store is not to take the children with you, shop with a list, don’t allow yourself to get distracted, and buy non-perishables in bulk.
  • When you have no choice but to bring your child with you, you can allow them to pick one item so that they can pick something they want without filling your cart with everything they want. It limits your financial exposure when shopping.
  • While eating out, rather than order a kid’s meal, share bites of your own meal, and develop a taste for adult foods.
  • Vivian’s daughter is not yet attending pre-K schooling, due to the virus but may be able to find reasonably-priced options that give her the option to socialize.
  • Because her significant other has not been cooperative during their separation, all of the attorney costs and other fees have gotten be very expensive. Vivian needs to be as cooperative as possible to limit her financial exposure.
  • Leslie says a good piece of advice is don’t marry or get involved with anyone you don’t want to be divorced from.
  • It’s often advisable to keep finances separate in a relationship and protect any assets with a prenup or postnup because it is very tricky to untangle them should the relationship end.
  • Everyone should look at what deciding to combine finances in a relationship really means and how it impacts things.
  • Brad reviewed the capital gains tax question and said because Vivian has lived there for at least two of the last five years, she would be eligible for up to $250,000 in capital gains tax exclusion.
  • The decisions being made should be ones that will make life better over the long-term. Brad’s goal is to set the groundwork for a successful life.
  • Jonathan notes that Vivian doesn’t appear to have an issue with her savings rate, instead, she may be at risk of slipping into a deprivation state. To fight this urge, Brad believes we need to have a better idea of what the path looks like for her.
  • As ChooseFI follows Vivian during this study, she will need to better understand her expenses and her FI number. She needs to have a sense of where she is to know where she is going.
  • ChooseFI recognizes that some audience members are just finding and joining us now. ChooseFI is building out a curated path to help you figure out where you are and what information will serve you best. Sign up to receive this information and more at

Resources Mentioned In Today’s Conversation

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