I earn what I think is a very comfortable salary, so why does it feel like I’m unable to save for a house/grad school, afford to live on my own, or really spend money to enjoy life?

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Dude mad respect for your retirement saving. You’ve got a great salary and clearly your cost of living is low. If you want to save for a house you’re probably going to need to cut back on your retirement savings for a time. That doesn’t mean forever, or all of it. If you redirect $1k month from retirement you’ll have a pretty solid chunk for a down payment in 18 months (especially in a low cost of living area.)


You are saving a lot – depends on your age and that mount you already have saved towards retirement. Sounds like you may want to change to some shorter-term goals.


Yes sacrifice some retirement saving so you can save up for more things for the short term. Also, what do you mean “which could potentially increase my salary” if you are going to go to grad school it should say “which WILL increase my salary”. Please please do not go to grad school without knowing what your future profession will make on average in the location you plan on living long term. You need to know average income, likelihood of finding a job after school, how much loans you’re going to have to take out, etc.


There are many paths in life. One path to financial freedom is to put less in retirement and save for a house. In 30 years the house is paid off and you have a lower cost of living and less retirement money. Another path to financial freedom is to put a lot of money into retirement and not a house. You then have the money to continue to pay rent when you retire. As of now you are choosing the second path. There is nothing wrong with this path. You can stop putting so much money in your retirement and hop on the other path if you chose.


My personal financial philosophy is to max out tax advantages retirement accounts while I’m young to take advantage of compounding interest, but if you really do have shorter term savings goals, it’s not the worst thing in the world to shift how you are saving for a few years. I’m also a bit confused by your deductible budget. Are you putting that away each month so that you can meet your health insurance deductible? While it takes away from your HSA investments, it may be worth to just use your HSA towards the deductible to allow you to shift those dollars towards actual savings.